Decided on April 14,1952

Ravu Janardhana Krishna Ranga Rao Bahadur Appellant


- (1.) THE petitioner is the younger brother of the Zamindar of Bobbili, the third respondent. In the affidavit filed in support of the petition he states that he is a junior coparcener of the joint family which owned the ancient and impartible estate of Bobbili which was notified under the Madras Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act of 1948 with effect from 7th September 1949, that on the date when this estate was so notified the joint family consisted of the petitioner, the third respondent, the fourth respondent the son of the third respondent and the male descendants of the petitioner himself, that after the estate was taken over by the Government the Government deposited in the office of the Estates Abolition Tribunal, Vizianagaram (second respondent) on 30th March 1950 a sum of Rs. 8,17,445 towards advance compensation under Section 41 of the Act and a further sum of Rs. 58371 under Section 50 of the Act on 14th July 1950, that on and from the notified date the Madras Impartible Estates Act, 1904, should be deemed to have been repealed in its application to this estate under Section'66 of the Act, and that having regard to the rights of the parties and applying the general law ignoring the rule of impartiality and the rule of primogeniture which is incidental thereto he is entitled to a half share of the compensation money remaining after the satisfaction of the claims, if any, of the genuine creditors of the estate and of the maintenance holders.
(2.) THE petitioner impugns the validity of the Act providing for a distribution of the compensation amount in the case of certain impartible estates. The following are such provisions : "45(1) In the case of an impartible estate which had to be regarded as the property of a joint Hindu family for the purpose of ascertaining the succession thereto immediately before the notified date, the following provisions shall apply. (2) The Tribunal shall determine the aggregate compensation payable to all the following persons, considered as a single group - - (a) the principal landholder and his legitimate sons, grandsons and great grandsons in the male line living or in the womb on the notified date including sons, grandsons and great grandsons, adopted before such date (who are hereinafter called 'sharers'); and (b) other persons who, immediately before the notified date, were entitled to maintenance out of the estate and its income either under Section 9 or 12 of the Madras Impartible Estates Act, 1904, or under any decree or order of a court, award, or other instrument in writing or contract or family arrangement which is binding on the principal landholder (who are hereinafter called 'maintenance -holders) . Provided that no such maintenance -holder shall be entitled to any portion of the aggregate compensation aforesaid, if, before the notified date his claim for maintenance or the claim of his branch of the family for maintenance, has been settled or discharged in full .... ... ... .... (4). The portion of the aggregate compensation, aforesaid payable to the maintenance holders shall be determined by the Tribunal and notwithstanding any arrangement already made in respect of maintenance whether by a decree or order of a court, award or other instrument in writing or contract or family arrangement, such portion shall not exceed one fifth of the remainder referred to in Sub -section (3), except in the case referred to in the second proviso to Section 47, Sub -section (2).. ... ... ... (6) The balance of the aggregate compensation shall be divided among the sharers, as if they owned such balance as a joint Hindu family and a partition thereof had been effected among them on the notified date. 47(1). Every maintenance -holder entitled to a portion of the compensation under Section 45 shall also be entitled to the grant of a ryotwari patta in respect of a portion of the lands referred to in Section 12 or 14, as the case may be. (2) The Tribunal shall determine the total extent of the lands in respect of which ryotwari pattas may be granted to the maintenance -holders and divide the same among them, and in doing so, the Tribunal shall, unless for reasons recorded in writing it considers that it is inappropriate to do so, haying regard to the considerations set forth in Section 45, Sub -section (5) and the manner in which the compensation payable to the maintenance -holder has been or may be apportioned among them under that Sub -section: Provided that the total extent of the lands granted to all such maintenance -holders shall not exceed one -fifth of the extent of the lands in respect of which a ryotwari patta may be granted under Section 12 or 14: Provided further that where it is found to be inconvenient or impracticable to grant any such lands, or to grant any such lands to the full extent to which the maintenance -holder may be regarded as entitled, whether on the ground that such a grant will result in the creation of an uneconomic holding or for any other reason, the share of the compensation awarded to the maintenance -holder may be increased by such amount as the Tribunal may consider reasonable; (3) The lands in respect of which a ryotwari patta may be granted under Section 12 or 14, after excluding any lands which may be granted to maintenance holders under Sub -section (2) shall be divided among the sharers, as if they owned such lands as a joint Hindu family and a partition thereof had been effected among them on the notified date." Section 50 provides for interim payments.
(3.) THE validity of these sections is impeached on several grounds, viz., that it was not competent of the Provincial legislature to pass any law on that subject -matter, because it is not covered by "any entry in the State Legislature List, or Concurrent List that these provisions are on the basis of an arbitrary classification offending against Article 14 of the Constitution and that the scheme of distribution interferes with the vested rights of the other members of the family like the petitioner. Mr. Rajah Aiyar, however, pressed upon us at the outset the position that the compensation amount represents the equivalent of an ancestral estate' to which the incident of impartibility can no longer attach after its conversion into money and after the repeal of the Madras Impartible Estates Act. Having taken the place of ancestral property and having lost the special feature of impartibility the compensation amount would be partible as between the persons having the right of survivorship based on the right by birth. So the argument ran. It is on this point we heard the matter fully, and in our opinion the petition can be disposed of on the decision which we have arrived at on this point.;

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