NAGIREDDI RAMULU AND ANR. Vs. SRI CHINTALAPATI VENKATA SURYANARAYANARAJU GARU AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Nagireddi Ramulu And Anr.
Sri Chintalapati Venkata Suryanarayanaraju Garu And Ors.
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Horwill, J. -
(1.) THESE second appeals and civil revision petitions have been considered in four batches. In the first and second batches, the plaintiffs were the Chintalapati people, who owned two -thirds of the village of Etikopaka, while in the suits out of which the third and fourth batches arise, the plaintiffs were the Kota Uratla people, who owned one -third of that village. The first batch comprises S.A. No. 90 to 95 of 1943. All the suits out of which these second appeals arise were suits for rent or ejectment by the Chintalapati people. The allegation was that the village of Etikopaka, in which the suit lands are situate, was an enfranchised whole inam village and that from the beginning the melvaram and kudivaram rights in respect of all the lands in the said village passed to the mokhasadars of the village and have been enjoyed by them without objection. They claimed rent under an agreement of 1937. The contention of the defendants was that the grant was not of the melvaram and kudivaram rights but of the melvaram only. The tenants also pleaded that the agreement entered into in 1937 was brought about by coercion and fraud and was therefore not binding on them. They relied upon an agreement of 1907 in which a very much lower rent was fixed. The only question of importance raised in this batch of suits was whether the Etikopaka village became an estate in 1908 or whether it did not become an estate until the amending Act of 1936. That depended on the question whether the original grant was of both varams or of melvaram only. The Sub -Collector found the various issues in favour of the tenants and came to the conclusion that the grant was of the melvaram only and that the later agreement executed by the tenants was brought about by coercion. As on both these points the District Judge came to a contrary conclusion, the tenants have appealed.
(2.) THE question whether the grant of a village was of both varams or of melvaram only was largely one of fact; but the learned advocate for the tenants has drawn our attention to the four documents marked as EX. IX in S.A. No. 90 of 1943 and has contended that those documents indicate that the grant was of melvaram only. We are, however, of opinion that the learned District Judge was right in holding that from Ex. IX it was much more probable that the grant was of both varams. The first two documents in Ex. IX were mokhasa pattas, and in each of these the grantee was exhorted to make the land bear fruit and enjoy the fruits thereof. We think that this language is inconsistent with the idea of the grant of melvaram only, in which case one would have expected that the grantor would1 have exhorted the grantee to enjoy the revenue from the lands. The fact that the grantee was to make the land bear fruit and to enjoy the fruits thereof suggests that he was to cultivate the lands himself or get them cultivated by others. The learned advocate for the appellants also attacks the judgment of the lower Court on the ground that it failed to consider two important documents, namely, Exs. 3 -1 and B. Ex. J -l is the Inam Statement given by the mokhasadars at the time of the Inam Commission. The only entry in the Inam Statement on which reliance is placed in this connexion is that found in Clause (6) that the grant was made by the grantors to their brothers -in -law, Chintalapati Neeladri Raju and Simhadri Raju, from which it is argued that it is unlikely that the Maharaja would have granted the kudivaram to his brother -in -law. We do not consider this entry of very much significance. Exhibit B is an account of the estate of 1785 and 1786, which shows that the ryots were getting a share of the produce, from which it is argued that ryots were already in possession of the land at the time when the grant was made and that one must therefore presume that what was granted to the mokhasadar was what was not already enjoyed by the ryots, namely, the molwaram interest only. We do not however know exactly when the grant was made; and we cannot fairly presume from the mere fact that the ryots were enjoying the produce of the lands in 1785 that they were enjoying occupancy rights at the time when the grant was made. Moreover, these accounts do not show that the ryots were entitled either to a fixed share or to a fixed quantity of the produce of the lands. On the contrary, they show that the quantity falling to the shares of the landlord and of the tenant varied from year to year. Exhibit C -l is another series of accounts much to the same effect. We do not think it necessary to refer to the various inconclusive statements found in the other documents, as we do not consider that they are of sufficient weight to disturb the finding of the lower Court on this point.
(3.) THE learned advocate for the appellants has pointed out that in the two mokhasa pattas and in the first of the two takids one finds the telugu expression "ma" which, it is argued, stands for mauza, which was a circumstance very much relied on by the Privy Council in Seethayya v. Somayajulu, A.I.R. 1929 P.C. 115 as indicating that the grant was one of melvaram only. Madhavan Nair J. However in Kondapanaidu v. Mahalakshmamma , A.I.R. 20 1933 Mad. pointed out that it would not be safe to presume that "ma" stood for mauza in the absence of an admission to that effect by the parties. In Seethayya v. Somayajulu, A.I.R. 1929 P.C. 115 both parties agreed that "ma" after the name of the village meant mauza. In the case considered by Madhavan Nair J. - as well as in the three documents which we are considering in this case -the "ma" was in front of the name of the village. Two translators of this Court are of opinion that, read with the context, "ma" stands for madura (hamlet); and one finds in the third document that the word madura is used in front of the words "Kondakoppaka" as meaning a hamlet. Whether "ma" means madura in these three documents or not, we are certainly not prepared to say that it means mauza. On the contrary, we think it highly improbable.;
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