LAKSHMI AMMA Vs. KALLIANI AMMA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.) The defendant, who was a kuzhikanom tenant, has been directed by the lower courts to pay damages for cutting and removing seven coconut trees and also for removing some earth from a portion of the holding and selling it to a panchayat. The question is whether this decision can be sustained in law.
(2.) A kuzhikanom tenant has fixity of tenure; and the rent payable by him is for the fruit-bearing trees of the landlord already existing on the holding and also for the fruit-bearing trees he plants. The argument of the counsel of the appellant is that the cutting of the seven coconut trees, which are found to be superannuated once by the commissioner, cannot be said to be a damage to the holding which entitles the landlord to claim damages so long as the tenant is willing to pay the rent agreed upon. He contends further that if at all the landlord is entitled to damages, the question can arise only when the property is surrendered by the tenant. Regarding the removal of the earth the counsel of the appellant contends that the tenant is entitled to enjoy the holding in any manner he likes even by removing and selling a portion of the earth, unless it is established that such removal of earth has caused permanent damage to the holding, in which case alone the landlord may have a right to claim damages.
(3.) The reasoning of the lower courts in this case is that since the trees and the earth belonged to the landlord and since they were appropriated by the tenant without the permission of the landlord, the tenant is bound to pay damages. In other words, the lower courts have concluded that the mere removal of trees and a portion of the earth belonging to the landlord without his permission is causing damage to the holding.;
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