NALLATHAMBI ALIAS VENKATACHALAM CHETTY AND ORS. Vs. PERUMAL CHETTY AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Nallathambi Alias Venkatachalam Chetty And Ors.
Perumal Chetty And Ors.
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Rajamannar, J. -
(1.) THIS appeal arises out of a suit, O. S. No. 55 of 1945, filed in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Salem by 22 persons who were occupying separate lands in the village of Kannurpatti Agraharam for a declaration that the lands in their possession are ryoti lands in an estate within the meaning of the definitions of those terms in the Madras Estates Land Act and therefore the plaintiffs have occupancy rights therein. The learned Subordinate Judge dismissed the suit. Plaintiffs 1, 3, 6, 3 to 15 and 17 to 19 are the appellants. During the pendency of the suit itself, some of the plaintiffs compromised with the defendant -landholders, and they withdrew from the suit". During the pendency of the appeal some of the appellants have also entered into compromise with the respondent -landholders, and it is common ground before us that the only appellants who press this appeal are appellants 1, 3, 4 and 5.
(2.) THE only question' which arises in this appeal is whether the lands in suit are situated within an estate within the definition of that term in Section 3(2)(d), Madras Estates Land Act. That definition, in so far as it is material to this appeal, runs thus:
"Any inam village of which the grant has been made, confirmed or recognised by the British Government, notwithstanding that subsequent to the grant, the village has been partitioned among the grantees or the successors in title of the grantee or grantees.........
Explanation 3: Where a portion of an inam village is resumed by the Government, such portion shall cease to be part of the estate, but the rest of the village shall be deemed to be an inam village for the purposes of this sub -clause. If the portion so resumed or any part thereof is subsequently re -granted by the Government as an inam, such portion or part, shall, from the date of such regrant, be regarded as forming part of the inam village for the purposes of this sub -clause."
The only evidence we have which has a bearing on the question in issue is furnished by the extract from the Register of Inams prepared at the time of the Inam Settlement during 1863 to 1866. From this extract, we obtain the following information about the origin and history of the inam grant of the lands now in occupation of the appellants. Originally, about 300 years before the time of the Inam Settlement, there was a grant made by the then Palayagar, one Ramachandra Naick. It does not appear very clearly, but it may be assumed, that the original grant was of an entire village in inam. In the days of Tippu, one half of this village was resumed. After the British conquest, one Capt. Macleod appears to have granted to the descendants of the original grantees (agraharamdars) lands scattered here and there in the ryotwari village of Kannurpatti which yielded a moiety of the income of three inam villages. This was evidently in lieu of the moiety of the original village which had remained in the possession of the agraharamdars after the resumption in the days of Tippu. At the time of the inam settlement, the village was being enjoyed in 30 shares or vrittis. The vrittis varied in extent and his assessment in respect of each vritti also varied. The recommendation of the Inam Commissioner was that the total extent of the lands in possession of the several agraharamdars may be confirmed in one joint title deed, though specifying the quit rent which each vrittidar had to pay to the Government. This course was obviously adopted as a convenient method of determining the liability of the agraharamdars to the Government by way of quit rent. It is not disputed that the lands covered by the title deed did not form one whole block within defined boundaries, and down to this day, these scattered bits of land are found clubbed along with admitted ryotwari lands as part and parcel of the ryotwari village of Kannurpatti.
On these facts which are really the only facts which are material for a decision of the question in issue, there can only be one conclusion, namely, that the lands in suit are not situated within an estate within the definition of that term in Section 3(d) of the Act.
(3.) MR . Srirangachariar, the learned counsel for the appellants relied upon the fact that originally the grant was of an entire village.
He also relied on explanation 3 to Clause (d) and contended that here was a case of a portion only of an inam being resumed and therefore the rest of the grant shall be deemed to comprise an inam village within the meaning of that Explanation. That would be so if out of a whole village originally granted in inam a portion had been resumed and the remainder allowed to continue to be with the grantees. Then such remaining portion would by virtue of the terms of Explanation 3 be deemed to be an inam village for the purpose of Clause (d). But what happened in this case is quite different. The identify of the village originally granted in inam, assuming it was so, completely disappeared when firstly there was a resumption of a moiety and thereafter there was a grant by the British Government of scattered bits of land in lieu of the unresumed moiety of the original grant. There is therefore no confirmation or recognition by the British Government of a grant of a whole village as such. All that the British Government did was to make a grant of portions of what was a ryotwari village. The total extent of such portions cannot be held to be an inam village within the meaning of Clause (d).;
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