Decided on January 12,1960

VISHWAS RAO Respondents


- (1.)This is an appeal on a certificate granted by the High Court of Nagpur under clause (c) of Article 133 (1) of the Constitution to the effect that the case is a fit one for appeal to this Court. It raises some important questions as to the right of the revenue authorities of the State Government concerned, to resume certain lands which are known as "patel ki huq inam" lands situate in what was previously known as the ceded area of Berar. The plaintiff Bhagwantrao Shivaji Patel (Bhagwantrao, to give his short name) is the appellant before us. Vishwasrao Patel, who was defendant No. 2 in the suit, is now respondent No. 1. Originally, the Provincial Government of the Central Provinces and Berar was defendant No. 1, and now the State of Bombay is respondent No. 2 before us. Formerely, the lands in suit lay within the province of Central Provinces and Berar; later they fell within the State of Madhya Pradesh, and now they are in Bombay.
(2.)The relevant facts which have given rise to the appeal may now be shortly stated. The lands in suit were comprised in six survey numbers stated in paragraph one of the plaint. They lay in village Nawabag, a jagir village, of Ellichpur (now called Achalpur) taiuq of Berar, and we shall hereinafter give some more details of that jagir. In that village there were four families of Patels some members of which held the Patel's office in rotation of ten years each. These four families went by the surnames of Dongre, Rokade, Raut and Ingle. We are concerned with the Rokade family. One Shivajirao of that family had two sons, called Amrit and Bhagwant. Bhagwant, as we know, is the appellant before us. Vishwasrao, respondent No. 1, is the son of Amrit. Shivajirao died sometime in 1886. His son Amrit died in 1920. In 1923 there was a partition between the appellant and respondent No. 1. The case of the appellant was that as a result of this partition, the "patelki inam" lands were divided and the lands in suit were allotted to the share of the appellant. When Shivajirao was alive, he worked as patel; so did Amritrao in his turn. Lastly, Vishwasrao also worked as patel. In 1935 a special officer was appointed by Government to prepare a record of rights of the jagir village of Nawabag. This officer submitted a report on which certain enquiries were made. As a result of these enquiries it was held that the appellant was not entitled to hold the "patelki inam" lands which were given as emoluments of his office to the working patel from the Rokade family. It was ordered by the Deputy Commissioner that the lands in possession of the appellant should be resumed and regranted to the working patel, viz. respondent No. 1. The appellant appealed against this order. The Commissioner of Berar set aside the order of eviction, but maintained the status quo pending final orders of Government. Ultimately, on December 19, 1941, the financial Commissioner held that the person actually working as patel was entitled to receive the full emoluments of his office, and revenue officers had consistently refused to admit any claims to shares in patelki emoluments. Accordingly, he set aside the order of the Commissioner and restored that of the Deputy Commissioner. Thereupon, the appellant brought his suit in 1942 in which he claimed that the Government had no jurisdiction or authority to resume and regrant the lands to respondent No. 1 and the orders passed by the revenue authorities concerned were null and void. The appellant asked for possession and mesne profits. By a subsequent amendment of the plaint, the appellant alleged that at least two of the plots, 2 /1A and 9/1A, had ceased to be "patelki inam" lands and were private property of the family. Therefore, in any view of the matter, Government had no right to resume these two plots. His claim with regard to these plots was alternatively placed on a somewhat different footing and we shall, in due course, consider that claim.
(3.)The suit was dismissed by the trial Judge, but on appeal by the present appellant the learned Additional District Judge of Amraoti decreed the suit. There was a second appeal to the High Court of Nagpur which allowed the appeal, set aside the decree of the lower appellate court, and restored that of the trial Judge. The High Court substantially held that (1) the lands in suit were granted by the then sovereign authority by way of remuneration of emoluments for services to be rendered by the patel and the grant was recognised as a service inam, by the British Government, and (2) it was open to the revenue authorities to resume and regrant the lands in accordance with the provisions of the Patels and Patwaris Law, 1900 in force in Berar and S. 190 of the Berar Land Revenue Code, 1928. Thereafter, the appellant applied for and obtained a certificate from the High Court and the present appeal has been brought pursuant to that certificate.

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