APARANJI CHETTI Vs. ARUNACHALAM CHETTIAR
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
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Krishnaswami Nayudu, J. -
(1.) This appeal arises out of an application for payment of monies remaining in court-deposit under the Land Acquisition Act (I of 1894). The lands acquired belonged to one Kanniya Chetti and the acquisition was after his demise. Kanniya Chetti had no issue but left a widow, Bangaru Animal, and during her lifetime, the properties were acquired and the monies deposited into Court under the provisions of Section 31 of the Land Acquisition Act as she was a limited owner. During her lifetime she was paid the interest accruing from the deposit. She died on the 17th February 1945, and one Arunachalam Chettiar, claiming to be the sister's grandson of Kanniya Chetti filed a petition, M. P. No. 307 of 1946 in O. P. No. 236 of 1925 for payment of the monies. The next of kin of Kanniya Chetti were made party respondents to the petition. The petitioner claimed this amount by virtue of being the son of Kanniya Chetti's sister, Ammayi Ammal's son, Veeraraghava Chetti, and relied on a surrender deed executed by Bangaru in favour of Veeraraghava who was then the nearest reversioner to the estate of Kanniya Chetti. Apart from being the son of Veeraraghava in whose favour the surrender was executed, the petitioner also claimed as entitled to Veeraraghava's rights under a transfer executed by Veeraraghava in favour of the petitioner on the 27th December 1944. This application for payment was opposed by the respondents on the ground that the petitioner was not the nearest reversioner that his father was not the nearest heir and that the alleged surrender deed, if true, was invalid, and if at all it was a mere fraudulent and collusive transaction and was not 'bona fide'. The learned District Judge held in favour of the petitioner and the fourth respondent has now filed this appeal.
(2.) The other contentions that were found against which were also raised and argued besides the right of the petitioner to the properties, were that the Land Acquisition Court had no power to decide disputes 'inter se' between the parties as to who is entitled to the compensation money and that it could only in such circumstances refer the disputes to court, and further that a succession certificate was necessary before the amount can be paid.
(3.) Evidence was adduced as to the relationship and it is observed by the learned Judge that at the hearing of the petition none of the contentions was strenuously pressed, the contentions obviously relating to that of the petitioner not being the nearest heir and also about another question that was raised, namely, that even Kanniya Chetti was not adopted to Narayana Chetti. It is urged on behalf of the appellant that the lower court has not given any finding as to the validity and binding nature of the surrender in favour of the petitioner's father and the settlement deed in his favour and that this is a case which should be remanded to the lower court for a finding on that issue. Issues were not settled on the pleadings, but there does not appear to have been any request on either side for framing issues. I have no reason to disregard the statement made by the learned Judge that none of the contentions was strenuously pressed. It is not open, therefore, to the appellant to contend that there is no finding on the question of the surrender and the settlement deed. By virtue of the altitude taken by the respondents, it must be deemed to have been given up as a contention not worthwhile agitating before the lower court. It is further pointed out that the learned Judge has not properly approached the question that arises for determination as by his finding in paragraph 9 of his judgment that the petitioner is the nearest reversioner entitled to the money in court deposit, the learned Judge has not applied his mind to the question of the surrender and the settlement deed. 'Prima facie' the language of the finding of. the lower court lends support to the argument, but I consider that in view of the statement of the case given in the earlier part of the judgment, it is not as if the learned Judge was unaware of the real point that arose for decision and in view of the failure on the part of the respondents to pursue the contentions and being quiet except raising them in the counter affidavit, the learned Judge held that the petitioner was the person entitled to the amount, though it is not correct to say that he is the nearest reversioner. He was certainly not the nearest reversioner but for the surrender and settlement deed, he is the nearest heir of the surrenderee Veeraraghava Chetti. What the learned Judge meant was that he was the nearest heir entitled to the amount.;
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