Decided on November 09,1972



- (1.) Defendants 4, 5, 8 and 9 are the appellants herein. This appeal arises out of the suit O.S. NO. 54 of 1962 on the file of the Subordinate Judge's Court, Narasaraopet, for a declaration that the order of the Inam Deputy Tahsildar, Narasaraopet dated 16th January, 1959, passed in Inam Case No. 1678 of 1958 is void and does not bind the public of the village Polur and for a decree against the defendants 1 to 5 and for other consequential reliefs.
(2.) The two plaintiffs represent the public of Polur. Their case briefly is as follows: After the passing of the Inam Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari Act (XXXVII of 1956), the Inam Deputy Tahsildar conducted an enquiry into the inams covered by that Act in the village. An extent of Ac. 2-24 cents, in Survey No. 317 covered by T.D. No. 16, is a public charitable tamarind tope, for which the defendants 1 to 5 happen to be the hereditary trustees. The third defendant is the karnam of the village. In the said inquiry no notices were issued and no publication was made regarding the inquiry and no communication of the decision was made, as contemplated by the Act and the Rules. The defendants 1 to 5 deliberately kept the inquiry as a. secret to benefit themselves. The defendants committed breach of trust and played fraud on the enquiring authority, misrepresenting to it that the inam was their personal one. They deliberately failed to produce the Inam Fair Register and other necessary documents in the said enquiry and managed to get a decision in their favour to the effect that the inam was held by individuals and not by a public institution. Though the decision of the Inam Deputy Tahsildar was made on 16th January, 1959, the plaintiffs came to know about it only a year later i.e., in March, 1960. The second plaintiff thereupon filed an appeal before the Revenue Court, Narasaraopet in Inam No. 12 of 1960. The Revenue Court held on and May, 1960 that the appeal was barred by time, but in as much as the enquiry conducted was not according to rules, it was illegal and void and therefore remanded the matter for further enquiry. The said order was questioned by defendants 1 to 5 in C.R.P. No. 1212 of 1960 before this High Court and this Court has set aside that order. The defendants 6 and 7 in the suit, representing the villagers have filed a suit O.S. No. 11 of 1959 on the file of the Subordinate Judges Court, Narasaraopet for removal of defendants 1 to 5 from the trusteeship and also for framing a scheme for the suit inam. Defendants 1 to 5 are contending in the said suit that patta was issued to them in their individual capacity for the inam in question and the inam is no longer a trust property. Plaintiffs therefore state that the proceedings taken by the Inam Deputy Tahsildar and the orders passed by him are void. The suit was therefore for a declaration that the said order is ultra vires, illegal and is therefore one at any rate procured by fraud and misrepresentation and therefore void. Plaintiffs therefore state that their suit was saved from the bar of limitation under Article 120 of the Limitation Act.
(3.) Second defendant filed a written statement, which was adopted by the other defendants. He contended that the suit property is the private property exclusively belonging to defendants 1 to 5. It was never granted for the benefit of the public. The public are estopped from contending otherwise. The original grantee was only a donee, but not a trustee in the sense of the term. These defendants have been enjoying the said inam in their own right by alienating portions of the same. The enquiry conducted by the Inrm Deputy Tahsildar was proper and the procedure prescribed under the Act has been followed. Plaintiffs have been personally aware of the proceedings. The mandatory provisions of law having been followed the enquiry was not a secret one. The plaintiffs are estopped from questioning the said enquiry and the order, in view of the decision of the High Court in C.R.P. No. 1212 of 1960, to which the second plaintiff, 6th and 7th defendants are parties. The allegations that the defendants 1 to 5 committed wanton breach of trust, suppressed the factum of even the farce of an enquiry and they played fraud on enquiry authority misrepresenting to it and deliberately withheld the entries in Inam Fair Register are all deliberate concoctions without any foundation or regard for truth and the enquiry was proper, legal and binding on the plaintiffs and all concerned. The order passed by him was within his jurisdiction. The allegations in the plaint that they came to know about it in March, 1960 is a deliberate falsehood. It was made only to get over the period of limitation. Defendants 6 and 7, with whose collusion the suit is filed are the plaintiffs in O.S. No. 11 of 1959, relating to the very same property. Even prior to that one K.Subbaiah filed a suit regarding this property claiming absolute rights in a portion of it. First plaintiff herein is the defendant in O.S. No. 200 of 1958 filed by said Subbaiah. on the file of District Munsif's Court, Narasaraopet, which is now pending. The defendants therefore, state that the suit is hopelessly barred by time and Article 120 of the Limitation Act does not apply to the present suit. On the other hand they state that Article 14 that is applicable to the suit, and the suit not having been instituted within one year from the date of decision of Inam Deputy Tahsildar, it is barred by time. Moreover the order of the Tahsildar was published in Official Gazette and that in itself is notice. The defendants therefore contend that the suit is barred by limitation and it should therefore be dismissed.;

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