KUNHAVULLA HAJEE Vs. KRISHNAN
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.) The respondent in O. A. 581 of 1964 on the file of the Land Tribunal, Cannanore is the revision petitioner. The O. A. was filed by the tenant for fixation of fair rent under S.16 (1) of Act IV of 1961.
(2.) The property in respect of which the fixation of fair rent was prayed for is 40 cents of wet land in R. S.54/5 of Narikot desom, Ezhome amsom, Cannanore Taluk. The respondent is in occupation under an oral lease arrangement. The landlord contended that the petition is not maintainable, that the yield shown in the petition is unreasonably low and that the paddy field in question would fall under "tharam" one. Except filing a counter raising these contentions, nothing further was done, by the landlord to substantiate his contentions. The learned Land Tribunal has himself stated in the order that the contentions were not pursued at the final stage. Therefore, the learned Land Tribunal was compelled to fix the fair rent, on the materials available before him. The Revenue Inspector's report was before him and on its basis fair rent was fixed at 9 Palghat paras and 4 Edangazhis of paddy which is 1/4 of the gross produce, and less than the contract rate. From the decision of the Land Tribunal the landlord appealed to the Subordinate Judge of Tellicherry in C. M. A. 134 of 1965. Learned Subordinate Judge went into the matter in greater detail and on a minute consideration of the Revenue Inspector's report he came to the view that the minimum yield adopted by the Revenue Inspector was not correct. The land in question is registered in the settlement records as of soil classification 7 : 2 and "tharam" 3. The lands which yield annually between 105 to 120 Palghat paras (60 nazhi para) per acre could alone be classified as tharam 3. Tharam 2 would be lands which yield annually more than 120 paras per acre. The Revenue Inspector has stated in his report that the land in question is, a superior quality disclosing no defects or drawbacks. That being the case he was clearly in error in having accepted 105 paras as the annual yield. It was in these circumstances that the learned Subordinate Judge was compelled to fix the yield at 115 Palghat paras (as per 60 nazhi para) per acre. The fair rent fixed by the Land Tribunal was accordingly raised to 10 Palghat paras, 3 edangazhies and 2 nazhies of paddy. Being dissatisfied with this fixation the landlord has come up in revision.
(3.) We hardly see any reason to interfere with the fixation made by the learned Appellate Judge. All relevant factors that are necessary to be taken into consideration in fixing the fair rent have duly been considered by the learned Subordinate Judge. The point stressed before us by the learned counsel for the revision petitioner is that the statistics of gross produce published under S.44 of the Act have not been considered by the courts below in fixing the fair rent and on that ground he would ask for a remand of the case. R.4 of the Kerala Land Reforms (Tenancy) Rules, 1964 has laid down the factors to be considered by the court in ascertaining the normal produce in respect of any land and they are:
(a) the normal produce of the class of land to which it belongs;
(b) the season reports and rainfall accounts;
(c) the results of crop cutting experiments conducted by the Govt;
(d) the statistics of gross produce published under S.44;
(e) the accounts of landlords and cultivating tenants, wherever available, in respect of that land and in respect of similar lands enjoying similar advantages; and
(f) the oral or documentary evidence adduced by parties and decrees of civil courts.
The rule it must be remembered does not make it mandatory on the part of the Land Tribunal or the appellate court that the fixation should be based on these factors alone. On the other hand, the very wording of the Rule shows that the Tribunal may consider among other things these factors also. Neither party in the present case was prepared to adduce any evidence to help the court to ascertain the yield of the land. No accounts whether of the landlord or of the cultivating tenant were made available for the court's guidance. No oral evidence was also adduced. The court was guided mainly by the settlement records and the Revenue Inspector's report in respect of the yield. In the settlement records the nilam is classified into "tharams". The 42 cents of land involved in the present case is registered in the settlement records as of soil classification 7:2 and tharam 3. Lands whose yield is 105 to 120 Palghat paras per acre would normally fall under tharam 3. Tharam 2 are lands of estimated yield of 120 paras per acre and more. All lands which are yielding 105 paras and more but less than 120 paras per acre would fall under tharam 3. Learned appellate Judge has pointed out the defect in the Revenue Inspector's report. The report would show that the land in question does not suffer from any defect. That being the case, the Revenue Inspector was in error in having adopted the minimum yield of 105 Palghat paras per acre in respect of this land. The petitioner who is a cultivating tenant is normally expected to give the exact estimate of the yield; but in this case as already pointed out, no data was produced by him. Therefore the learned appellate Judge was compelled to make the fixation on the basis of the settlement records as pointed out above. He has fixed the yield at 115 Palghat Paras per acre, regard being had to all available data before him. Deducting 1/10 for harvesting charges the gross produce has been fixed at 41 Palghat paras and 4 edangahies of paddy. The fair rent is to be fixed at 1/4 of the same which would be 10 Palghat paras, 3 edangazhies and 2 nazhies. We think this fixation is quite acceptable in the circumstances of the case.;
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