THE PROVINCE OF MADRAS, REPRESENTED BY THE COLLECTOR OF EAST GODAVARI Vs. SRI RAJAH UPPALAPATI SURYANARAYANESWARA JOGI JAGANNADHA RAJU GARU AND ANR.
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
The Province Of Madras, Represented By The Collector Of East Godavari
Sri Rajah Uppalapati Suryanarayaneswara Jogi Jagannadha Raju Garu And Anr.
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Wadsworth, J. -
(1.) THESE two appeals arise out of suits brought by the proprietors of the Gopalpur estate to establish their right to two lankas situated in the bed of the Vasishta branch of the river Godavari. The major appeal A.S. No. 58 of 1942 relates to what is alleged to be a re -formation of or accretion to, the Ralaramuni lanka adiacent to the zamindari villaee of Udumudi. This lanka lies between the seventh furlong of the 24th male and the fifth furlong of the 25th mile according to the mileage on the left bank of the river, and it is about thirty miles from the sea. A.S. No. 441 of 1 °42 relates to the Beillamoudi lanka situated between the 28th mile and the sixth furlong of the 28th mile that is to sa v. lower down the river. The evidence is to a large extent common in both anneals and the general questions arising are also common. I will deal first with the major appeal A.S. No. 58 of 1942 and thereafter consider the special features of the Ballampudi case.
(2.) THE village of Udumudi belonging to the Gopalpur estate is situated on the left bank of the Vasishta Godavari more or less opposite to two Government villages the northernmost being Nadupudi and the southernmost Pedamallam. The river flows roughly north to south. The mileage along the banks of the river is reckoned from the Dowleswaram anicut which goes right across the river Go -davari just before the various branches of the delta divide. The land claimed by the Gopalpur estate consists of a roughly triangular island with its apex in the south -eastern comer and its eastern side running more or less parallel to and within a furlong of the eastern bank of the river. This island consists of a central portion which is now under cultivation and an outer fringe of sand planted with nanal or reeds the usual procedure in reclaiming a sand -bank from the river being to plant reeds to assist the deposit of fertile silt. The island claimed by the plaintiffs lies roughly north of the site of the Balaramuni lanka as located in the earliest plan we have on record, namely, the survey of 1863. To the north of the site now in dispute there was in 1863 another lanka called Merka lanka. In 1863 the northern' portion of the Balaramuni lanka belonged admittedly to the Gopalpur estate except for a small strip on the western side which was attached to the Government village of Nadupudi situated on the western bank of the river. The whole of the southern portion of this Balaramuni lanka was in 1863 attached to the Government village of Pedamallam which is also situated on the west bank of the river. Similarly with the Merka lanka the southern portion of the lanka was attached to the estate village of Udumudi but there was a strip to the west of this which appertained to the Government village on the western bank. We do not know on what principle this division of the lankas, which lie almost entirely in the eastern half of the river, was made. The original grant of the Gopalpur estate is not produced. The survey of 1863 does not indicate that any portion of the bed of the river, apart from these islands was attached to the Gopalpur estate. The position, therefore, in 1863 was that both to the north and to the south of the area now claimed to be part of the Gopalpur estate there were islands owned partly by the Government and partly by the estate, the portions belonging to the estate being those portions adjacent to the area now claimed. It may be mentioned that the extreme northern portion of the area now claimed actually overlaps to a small extent the southern extremity of the Udumudi Merka lanka belonging to the Gopalpur estate as it existed in 1863.
(3.) WE know nothingabout the state of the river between 1863 and 1878. In 1878 however the Gopalpur estate was under the Court of Wards and a survey was made of the lankas belonging to that estate. There was also a land regis -ter prepared and with the help of the rough plans and the register the dimensions and shape of the lankas and the position of the individual survey numbers therein can be fairly accurately fixed. Exs. A series are the plans prepared in the Court of Wards survey. They are not drawn to scale; but the measurements, including a limited number of diagonal measurements, are given, so that it has been possible to plot this survey to scale. Ex. MMM is a plan drawn to scale of the Balaramuni lanka as it existed in 1878. It is clear from this plan that the Balaramuni lanka had extended in a northerly and easterly direction so as to comprise nearly double the area which fell within the Udumudi village in 1863. There was also an extension of the Merka lanka in a southerly and easterly direction. The effect of the accretions to these two lankas in relation to the present suit claim is clearly illustrated by a combined plan which has been prepared by the Lankas Deputy Surveyor at the instance of the Court during the hearing of this appeal. This plan has been exhibited in appeal as Ex. XXXIX. It will be seen from this plan that whereas no part of the Balaramuni lanka in 1863 overlapped the site now claimed by the Gopalpur estate, a considerable portion of the accretions to this lanka overlaps the south -west of the site now claimed. Similarly, the accretion to the Merka lanka at the time of the Court of Wards survey of 1878 extends very considerably the area of this lanka which coincides with the northern portion of the area claimed by the plaintiffs. Without taking actual measurements it would appear that between one -third and one -half of the site now in suit coincides either with the Balaramuni lanka or with the Merka lanka as they existed in 1878. It seems to me that there can be no question regarding the title of the estate to the accretions surveyed in 1878 as part of these two lankas falling within the estate. No doubt the survey may not strictly bind the Government, though it was presumably conducted by a Government Surveyor at the instance of the Estate Collector. But clearly the results of this survey were embodied without question in the land registers of the estate and it can be demonstrated that for many years the estate without objection from the Government treated the accretions to the two lankas as its own property, collecting revenue and auctioning those portions of the lankas which were not given on patta.;
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