Decided on September 23,1953



Govinda Menon, J. - (1.) The petitioner is Sri Karumbaylram Pillai Annadhana Dharma Charities, Nachiarkoil, by its trustees and the petition is for issuing a writ of certiorari calling for the records and quashing the order dated 7-2-1953 in R. C. A. No. 100 of 1952 on the file of the Revenue Court, Tanjore, by which that court dismissed an appeal preferred to it from the decision of the Conciliation Officer, Kumbakonam, holding Dharma Charities Nachiarkoil by its trustees Srinivasa P... Page 2 of 4 that the first respondent is a "cultivating tenant" as defined in the Madras Act 14 of 1952 and had been in possession of the properties on 1-12-1951, and, as such, entitled to be let into possession hereafter for a period of five years. It is unnecessary to discuss the various questions that had been raised in the courts below. We have to take it as a fact that a receiver appointed to manage these charities leased out the lands to one Sambandamurthi Odayar from whom the first respondent took a sub-lease and that the first respondent was in possession on 1-12-1951. It is, therefore, the finding of the Revenue Court that the first respondent came within the definition of "cultivating tenant" and he had a tenancy agreement with Sambandamurthi Odayar who had derived all rights of land-owner from the receiver.
(2.) Mr. K. S. Desikan appearing for the petitioner contends that the order of the Revenue Court is without jurisdiction inasmuch as it has thoroughly misunderstood the meaning of the term "cultivating tenant" in Section 2(d) of the Act and the term "land-owner" in Section 2(g). The definition of the word "cultivating tenant" in Section 2(d) is as follows : " 'Cultivating tenant' or 'tenant' means a person who contributes his own physical labour or that of the members of his family in the cultivation of any land belonging to another, under a tenancy agreement, express or implied and includes the heirs of such person but shall not include a mere intermediary or his heirs;" "Land-owner" is defined in Section 2(g) in the following manner : " 'Land-owner' means the owner or other person deriving rights under him, who lets land or cultivates by a tenant, and includes the assignees, heirs or other legal representatives of such owner or person deriving rights under him". The argument of the learned counsel is that, in order that a person should be a tenant or a cultivating tenant, he must be in possession of the land under a tenancy agreement and that tenancy agreement should be from the person to whom the land belonged. The clause "any land belonging to another, under a tenancy agreement, express or implied" should be construed as meaning that the tenant should take it directly from the owner of the land and not be in possession as a sublessee, as in the present case.
(3.) The question therefore depends upon the meaning of the word "belonging to another". The word "belonging" is defined in Ramanatha Aiyar's 'The Law Lexicon' at page 128, among other things, in the following way : "The word 'belonging' may and very often does mean 'ownership' but it may also mean that which is connected with a principal or greater thing; an appendage; an appurtenance; and this is its use in the Charter of a Dharma Charities Nachiarkoil by its trustees Srinivasa P... Page 3 of 4 seminary exempting from taxation property belonging of appertaining to it." In Stroud's 'Judicial Dictionary' (3rd Edn.) Vol. I, at page 280 the word "belonging" is defined as follows : "Property 'belonging' to a person, has two general meanings: (1) ownership, (2) the absolute right of user. A road may be said, with perfect propriety, to belong to a man who has the right to use it as of right, although the soil does not belong to him." (per -- 'Martin B. Att- Gen. v. Oxford & Co. Railway', (1862) 31 LJ Ex 218 (A).;

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