Decided on November 16,1944

Pandan Govindan Karnavan And Manager Of The Tavazhi Tarwad Of Chirakkal Amsom Desom And Anr. Respondents


Horwill, J. - (1.) THE dispute between the parties is whether the respondent is entitled to compensation under the Malabar Compensation for Tenants Improvements Act for a shed erected by him on land leased to him by the appellant. The lease was in writing, from which it would appear that the purpose of the lease was the storing of tiles on the land for sale. A shed was to be erected for this purpose and was to be removed on the expiry of the lease. It is not disputed that if, in fact, this lease comes within the mischief of the Act, the tenant would be entitled to compensation for the erection of the shed as an improvement, despite the fact that he contracted to remove it upon the expiry of the term of the lease. Both the Courts below held that the respondent was entitled to the value of his improvements.
(2.) ALL the decided cases support the case of the appellant that the respondent is not entitled to compensation. Not a single case has been cited in which it has been held that a tenant is entitled to improvement unless it be with regard to agricultural land or a kudiyiruppu. The leading case on the subject is Chathukutty v. Kunhappu, (1987) 53 M.L.J. 824 :, I.L.R. 50 Mad. 813. In that case it was argued that the Act applied only to agricultural land. Jackson, J., repelled that argument and observed: I think it has invariably been held in Malabar that the Act applies to agricultural holdings and also to what are known as kudiyiruppu or vacant sites available for buildings.
(3.) That case has been cited with approval in all the subsequent cases that have had to deal with the question. Where the cases cited have had to deal with sites for dwelling houses, it has always been held that the Act applies to them. In cases dealing with claims for compensation for a building other than a house, the claim has always been disallowed. Chathukutty v. Kunhappu, (1987) 53 M.L.J. 824 :, I.L.R. 50 Mad. 813 was followed in Sabju Sahib v. : AIR1930Mad16 and again in -Avaru v. : (1931)61MLJ462 , a decision of a Bench of this Court, in which the scope of the Act was very fully considered. It is argued by the learned advocate for the respondent that the learned Judges in this last case spoke very generally of the scope of the Act and said that it applied to sites leased for building purposes. It is however abundantly clear from the numerous passages throughout the judgment of Wallace, J., that when a building was referred to, the learned Judge had in mind a dwelling house, and he was dealing in that case with a dwelling house. Moreover, the case on which the learned Judges based their decision was Chathukutty v. Kunhappu1 in which Jackson, J., as already observed said that the Act applied to kudiyiruppus and to agricultural lands. A somewhat, similar case was Pathuma Umma v. : (1931)61MLJ462 in which the judgment of Jackson, J., was referred to with approval. It is contended by Mr. Pocker that the word kudiyiruppu means any building site and not merely a site leased for building a dwelling house. I should have thought that there was no doubt whatever that the word kudiyiruppu meant a vacant site, a site intended for building a dwelling house. That this is so is made abundantly clear in Paredath Chori George v. : (1931)61MLJ462 where again Chathukutti v. Kunhappu, (1987) 53 M.L.J. 824 :, I.L.R. 50 Mad. 813 was referred to and followed. Ananthakrishna Ayyar, J., in speaking of kudiyiruppu explained in one place that it was a dwelling house. Later in his judgment, he defined kudiyiruppu as land on which the tenant " ordinarily puts up a house on a portion of the paramba and makes kuikars on the other portions convenient for the purpose, thus converting the paramba into a sort of garden house (garden with a house therein)." In view of the limitations on the application of the Act referred to in all the above decisions as being confined to agricultural lands and kudiyiruppus, and there being no case in which it has ever been held that the person who erects a structure on land leased for business purposes is entitled to compensation under the Act, I must hold that the lower Courts are wrong. The respondent is entitled, of course, to take away the materials used for the construction of the shed. The appeal is allowed with costs throughout.;

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