Decided on October 26,1971

M/S. The Krishnappa Asbestos And Barytes (P) Ltd. Appellant
The State Of A.P. And Others Respondents


KONDAIAH, J. - (1.) Plaintiff in O.S. No. 34 of 1965 on the file of the Court of the Sub-ordinate Judge, Cuddapah is the appellant. The suit is for recovery of a sum of Rs. 39,272-32 p. from the State of Andhra Pradesh, the District Collector, Cuddapah, the Chairman, Zilla Parishad, Cuddapah, the President of the Panchayat Samithi, Pulivendla and the Presidents of the grain Panchayats of Gunakanapalli, Lingala, Brahmanapalli, Gondipalli, Ippatla, Vemula, Ramanuthalapalli and Lopatnuthala defendants 1 to 12 respectively. The plaintiff, a private limited company, had obtained a transfer from A. Krishnappa and Sons, mining lessees, of mining leases with the approval of the State Government in the year 1947 and was carrying on mining in barytes and asbestos on the fields specified in the plaint schedule. The Government surface rents in respect of the various areas occupied and cesses thereon as well as royalty for the minerals mined and exported from the lands were being paid by the plaintiff. According to the plaintiff, on December 29, 1959, a sum of Rs. 28,088-26 p. was demanded by the Tahsildar, Pulivendla towards the arrears of ceases on royalties as well as surface rents and ceases thereon for the entire leased areas after deducting the amounts actually paid by the plaintiff for the period commencing from 1-4-1952 and ending with September 30, 1959. The Government, on the representation of the plaintiff, clarified the position to the effect that rent should be collected from the lessee only in respect of the actual area used for mining in the land granted under the lease. The plaintiff sought to quash the aforesaid demand in Writ petition No. 249 of 1960 on the ground that the demand was illegal and without jurisdiction. A learned single Judge of this Court, Jaganmohan Reddy, J. (as he then was), by his order dated 22-8-1962, issued a writ of Mandamus restraining the State of Andhra Pradesh from collecting from the plaintiff-petitioner the amount mentioned in the demand notice issued by the Tahsildar, holding that no single demand is permissible for a period covering more than one year and there should be year-war assessments. However, the learned judge observed that it was open to the authorities "to issue the necessary demands and to make yearly assessments calling upon the petitioner to pay the amounts subject to any representation the petitioner may make in this regard." Pending the Writ Petition, the Plaintiff had deposited a sum of Rs. 10,000/- on 7-7-1962 which was drawn by the Collector on August 22/62. Therefore, separate assessments were made on December 12, 1962 for each year commencing from 1-4-1952 to 30-6-1959 demanding a total sum of Rs. 28,088-26 p. A consolidated demand notice dated April 28, 1964 demanding a sum of Rs. 20,311-93 p. as balance of arrears due from the plaintiff for the period commencing from April 1, 1952 to September, 1963 was issued by the District Collector, Cuddapah. Therein a total sum of Rs. 48,400-19 p. was shown to be due and a sum of Rs. 28,088-26 p. was shown as already recovered and hence, the balance of Rs. 20,311.93 p. was demanded. A sum of Rs. 9,187.87 p. included in the balance demand of Rs. 20,311.93 p. was stated to be payable as Royalty and hence, the recovery of Rs. 11,184-06 only which was due towards ceases on royalty, was alleged to be illegal. Hence the suit for the recovery of Rs. 28,088.26 p. plus Rs, 11,184.06 p. which comes to Rs. 39,272-32 p.
(2.) Defendants 3 to 12 remained Ex parte. They did not file any written statements. The written statement filed on behalf of the State of Andhra Pradesh, the 1st defendant was adopted by the District Collector of Cuddapah, the 2nd defendant. The sum and substance of the defence of die contesting defendants is that the demands for the payment of surface rent, cesses and royalties are valid and justified and the dues have been validly recovered and, that any arrears of such dues could be collected under the Madras Revenue Recovery Act and they are not barred by limitation and hence, there is no merit in the suit claim. The trial court framed the following issues: 1. Whether after the passing of Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act, the state has no jurisdiction to claim royalties or the suit amounts from the plaintiff? 2. Whether there was no assessment for each year regularly and whether consequently any portion of the claim was barred by time? 3. Whether the sum of Rs. 28,088-26 paise was illegally recovered from the plaintiff? 4. Whether the sum of Rs. 11,184-06 paise was illegally recovered from the plaintiff? 5. To what amount is the plaintiff entitled ? 6. To what relief?
(3.) No oral evidence was adduced by both the parties. It was found by the Trial Court that there is no conflict between the Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act and Sections 78 and 79 of the District Boards Act and therefore, the State has jurisdiction to claim ceases on royalties, and issue No. 1 was held against the plaintiff. On issue No. 2 it was held that the assessments were made for each year and no portion of the demand was barred by limitation. On issue No. 3 a sum of Rs. 3,378-31 p. was held to have been collected illegally from the plaintiff. In the result, a decree for a sum of Rs. 3,378-31 p. with subsequent interest thereon at 6% per annum till date of payment and with proportionate costs was passed against the defendants 1 and 2. The suit for the remaining amount was dismissed with proportionate costs of defendants 1 and 2. Defendants 2 to 12 were found to be necessary parties to the suit. Hence this appeal by the plaintiff.;

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