RAJA BAHADUR OF KHALLIKOTE Vs. LINGARAJ PADHI
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
Raja Bahadur Of Khallikote
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PANIGRAHI, J. -
(1.) THE petitioner is the landholder and the opposite party are his tenants in respect of plots Nos. 147 and 148 measuring 10.62 acres in Rambha village. These two plots are recorded as 'Barshadhar' that is rain -fed. The point for determination is whether the lands come within the category of 'wet lands'
occurring in Sub -section (2) of Section 2, Ganjam Smallholders Relief Act, 1947 (Orissa Act xxx  of
(2.) ORISSA Act xxx  of 1947 defines a smallholder as a 'person' who holds land not exceeding six acres of wet land or twelve acres of other land'. The petitioner's ease is that the classification of the suit lands as
'rain -fed' is itself an indication that they are wet. The view taken by the Revenue Divisional Officier is
that 'rain -fed' is a category different from 'wet and he relies on Board's standing order no. 7 cl. 7, which
'as a rule all lands are classed under the two general heads 'wet' and 'dry'. In some districts another class of
lands called Manawari has been recognized by Government. These are lands upon which wet crops are
down grown with the aid of rain water impounded on the land.'
The note to this paragraph also says that the transferred of ryati land from 'dry' to 'wet' and vice versa and
from Manawari to dry and wet and vice versa are sanctioned by collectors. The Orissa Act does not define
'wet -lands' and it must be presumed that the meaning attaching to the expression in the area to which the
Act is made applicable holds good. 'Wet land' etymologically means, 'holding water, saturated with water
heavily,' while wet crop means, 'grown in a .moist or watery soil,' the most valuable of the wet crops
being sugarcane; see Hunter's Imperial Gazette of India, vol. II, page 63. In the Madras Presidency the
word 'wet' has a well recognized meaning and is applied to lands where wet crop3 can be grown. Paddy is
admittedly wet crop: see Baden -Powell, vol. iii, p. 65. The further sub -division of wet into 'irrigated' or
'Manawari' or 'rain -fed' is made by the Settlement Department and a different rate of assessment,
intermediate between irrigated and dry, is levied upon lands which grow paddy crops with the help of
rain -water. Wet means mostly paddy crop land or land irrigated by river channels or tanks or those aided
by wells': see Baden -Powell, vol. iii p. 56, note, and 'survey field' is defined as 'land not exceeding 6 acres
of wet land or 12 acres of dry land'. In this case, as already pointed out above the Record of Rights
describes the land as 'rain -fed' (Barahadhar). The question, therefore, is whether 'rainfed' land is or is not
to be deemed 'wet land'.
The opposite party was examined as p. W. 1 and his evidence is that in two or three acres, out of the plots in dispute, paddy is grown, in two acres mandia is grown, while the rest is left uncultivated. There is
no source of water supply except rain. If admittedly paddy is grown on two or three acres that extent must
indisputably be 'wet land' within the meaning of Sub -section (2) of Schedule of the Act. Explanation 2 to
Schedule , further lays down:
For the purpose of this clause, in the case of a person who owns wet land or other land one acre of wet
land shall be deemed to be two acres of dry land and vice versa.'
If the opposite party grows paddy on two to three acres, this must be equivalent to his being in possession
of '4 to 6 acres of 'other land'. Admittedly he has got in all, 10.6 acres recorded in his name. Even if we
take the minimum average of land according to the evidence of the opposite party, as two acres -on which
paddy is grown -he will still then be left with, 8.6 acres of 'other land'. Computing the two acres of paddy
lands equivalent to four acres of other land according to the calculation laid down in Expln. 2 to Schedule
, he would thus be in possession of 12.6 acres in all and would not be a 'smallholder' as defined in the Act.
(3.) THE view taken by the Revenue Divisional officer that Barshadhar, cannot be 'wet' must, in the circumstances, be held to be incorrect. Even in the other view, if paddy is grown on a portion of the land
the opposite party would lose the benefit conferred upon smallholders by the Act.;
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