D.SANTHANADURAI Vs. A.NISHANTH JOE RAJ
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
A.Nishanth Joe Raj
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(1.) This Civil Revision Petition is posted before us by way of reference to answer the following questions:
(1) An agricultural lease deed, not drawn in the prescribed form as per Section 4(B) of the Tamil Nadu Cultivating Tenants Protection Act (Act 25 of 1955), whether attracts stamp duty under the Indian Stamp Act and whether the same requires registration under the Indian Registration Act?
(2) Whether the document drawn in triplicate as per Section 4(B) (1) of the Tamil Nadu Tenants Protection Act is only an intimation to the authorities for the purpose of updating the record of tenancy rights or does it create lease?
(2.) For the better understanding of the context in which the above questions arise for consideration, the brief facts of the present case are relevant and they are as follows:
2.1.The revision petitioner filed a suit in O.S.No.10 of 2011 on the file of the District Munsif Court, Sathankulam, for an injunction restraining the defendants from evicting the petitioner from the suit properties otherwise than by due process of law. The suit properties are described as six items measuring a total extent of 7.34 acres with reference to four boundaries out of an extent of 11.06 acres in Kommadikottai Village within Palayamkottai Registration District.
2.2.The case of the petitioner in the plaint is that the suit property originally belonged to second defendant and that the same was purchased by the first defendant. It is the further case of the petitioner that the first defendant after purchasing the properties entered into a lease deed on 30.11.2010 in respect of the suit properties. In short, the petitioner claimed himself as cultivating tenant under the first defendant in the suit based on the lease deed dated 30.11.2010. The second defendant filed a written statement questioning the transfer of properties in favour of the first defendant and the lease deed as a whole.
2.3.During the pendency of the suit, the petitioner filed an application in I.A.No.715 of 2011 in O.S.No.10 of 2011 seeking permission to mark the unregistered lease deed dated 30.11.2010 as a document on plaintiff's side. The said application was opposed by the second defendant. The unregistered lease deed is styled as "[xxx]"? and it is an agricultural lease. The document is just executed in a 100 rupees stamp paper and it is unregistered. Since the document is insufficiently stamped and unregistered, the petition filed by the petitioner for marking the document, namely, the unregistered agricultural lease deed is dismissed. Aggrieved by the order of the learned District Munsif, Sathankulam, the above Civil Revision Petition is preferred by the petitioner, the plaintiff in the suit.
(3.) When the revision petition was heard by Hon'ble Mr.Justice N.Anand Venkatesh, the learned Judge after taking note of the conflicting views expressed by this Court earlier on the issues, requested the Hon'ble Administrative Judge of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court to pass appropriate orders to place the matter before a Division Bench to be constituted by the Hon'ble Administrative Judge. The Hon'ble Judge recorded that the issue that requires to be decided in the Civil Revision Petition is as to wether an agricultural lease requires compulsory registration even if it is an annual lease or for a period exceeding one year, under Section 17 (1)(d) of the Indian Registration Act, 1908. Though the Hon'ble Judge referred to the earlier order passed by a learned Single Judge of this Court seeking reference and to place the matter before the Hon'ble Chief Justice for constituting a Division Bench, it was noted that the matter was not referred to the Division Bench till then. The Registry thereafter noticed that the order of reference made in C.R.P.(PD)No.342 of 2012 was mistakenly listed earlier on 05.03.2018 before a Single Bench and it was thereafter directed to be posted before the Division Bench concerned. It is unfortunate to note that the Civil Revision Petition in C.R.P.(PD) No.342 of 2012 is not posted before this Bench but the Civil Revision Petition in C.R.P.(MD)No.1697 of 2012 alone is posted. Considering the position that the facts in both the Civil Revision Petition with reference to questions posed before this Court are similar, we also propose to answer the questions that were referred to by the Hon'ble Judge who heard the Civil Revision Petition in C.R.P.(PD)No.342 of 2012 in the case of Ganapathy v. Maheshkumar and others.;
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