VADAPALLI VENKATA VARADA MEENAKSHI Vs. ESTATE MANAGER, DEPUTY TAHSILDAR, E.G. DIST. AND OTHERS
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Vadapalli Venkata Varada Meenakshi
Estate Manager, Deputy Tahsildar, E.G. Dist. And Others
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JAGANMOHAN REDDY,J. -
(1.) The simple question for determination in this writ petition is whether the petitioner is entitled to a ryotwari patta under Section 11 of the Estates Abolition Act in respect of a tank bed land. The Assistant Settlement Officer, Settlement Officer, Director of Settlements and the Board of Revenue have all uniformly held that the land, which is a tank bed land in excluded from the purview of Section 11, and therefore the petitioner is not entitled to a patta. The learned Advocate for the petitioner contends that the land under the occupation of the tenant over which a tank is built by the Zamindar or by the tenant is an improvement within the meaning of Section 3(4) of the Estates Land Act, and consequently she would be entitled to a ryotwari patta in respect of a land which otherwise she would have been entitled to obtain under section 11 of the Estates Abolition Act. This contention has been well met and well discussed by the Director of Settlements in his order R.P. No. 181 of 1960 dated 31st October, 1960 in which he has held firstly that there is no evidence that the tank was not there before the permanent settlement or at the time of the grant. On the other hand, there are ancient documents to show that such a tank existed so that the contention of the petitioner before him that the tank bed land was granted to her was not made out. Secondly, he has pointed out that according to the Adangal extract filed by the petitioner before the Assistant Settlement Officer, the cultivation of the tank bed is of recent origin, and the encroachment was described as new one which fact disproved the contention that the tank was an abandoned one. Thirdly, he was pointed out that under Section 3(16)(A) of the Estates Land Act, tanks, tank beds and bunds are excluded from the definition of 'ryot lands' and as such merely because the tank bed was granted on patta and was held by the previous pattadar, it would not make any difference, and would not have the effect of including it within the definition of 'ryot land'. It was also found that the improvement was not made out by the petitioner. According to him, it must follow that the only possible conclusion that can be drawn is that the tank was given on patta by the land-holder to the predecessors in title of the present petitioner, which inclusion was not proper, and it cannot be held that this land can be included in the petitioner's ryotwari patta under Section 11(a) of the Estates Abolition Act.
(2.) The Board of Revenue also took a similar view and was of the view that there is no provision in the Estates Abolition Act which contemplates the grant of a patta of a tank bed. It has pointed out specifically Section 3(g) of the Estates Abolition Act, which is as follows:-
"Ryots in the estate and persons holding under them shall, as against the Government be entitled only to such rights and privileges as are recognised or conferred on them by or under this Act: and any other rights and privileges which may accrue to them in the estate before the notified date against the principal or any other landholder thereof shall cease and determine and shall not be enforceable against the Government or such landholder."
(3.) The Board also referred to the decision of this Court in Rajah Yarlagadda Sivaramo Prasad v. State of A.P. 1960 A.L.T. 188 : (1960) 1 An.W.R. 40 to which I was a party, as supporting the view that the tank cannot be regarded as a private land. In that case, it was held that "Section 12(a) of the Madras Estates Abolition Act only provides for the grant of patta in regard to private lands falling within the purview of Section 3(10-a) of the Madras Estates Land Act and does take in those covered by Section 3(16) of that Act. It is difficult to postulate that a tank could be regarded as a private land notwithstanding its situation in the middle of other lands to which the landholder could claim a ryotwari patta. To satisfy the definition of 'private land', it should be capable of cultivation. The test could be complied with in regard to a tank. That being the position, its being appurtenant to other lands is decisive of the matter". His Lordship the Chief Justice observed, after referring to the definition in Section 3(16) of the Estates Land Act and Section 2 of the Madras Land Encroachment Act, at page 41 as follows:-
"Consequent on the abolition of the estate, the Zamindar cannot have any pretensions to any of the properties situate in the estate and the Government steps into the shoes in that regard. That being the case, the Government becomes the proprietor of the properties enumerated in Section 2 of the Madras Land Encroachment Act. That apart, when once the estates are notified, the land therein will be treated as ryotwari area. In that position all the incidents of ryotwari tenure attach to those in erstwhile estate and therefore are attracted to a patta pertaining to private land.";
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