Subba Rao, J. -
(1.)These three connected petitions filed under Art. 32 of the Constitution raise the question of the constitutional validity of the Madras Marumakkathayam (Removal of Doubts) Act, 1955 (Madras Act 32 of 1955) (hereinafter referred to as the impugned Act). These petitions were heard by this Court on a preliminary question raised by the respondents and the judgment thereon was delivered on 4-3-1959. This Court rejected the preliminary objection and directed the petitions to be heard on merits, and pursuant to that order, these petitions were posted for disposal or merits.
(2.)The facts have been fully stated by Das, C. J., in the preliminary judgment and it would, therefore, be sufficient if the relevant facts pertaining to the questions raised were stated here.
(3.)The petitioner in Petition No. 443 of 1955 is Kavalappara Kottarathil Kochunni @ Moopil Nair. He is the holder of the Kavalappara sthanam to which is attached Kavalappara state situate in Walluvanad Taluk in the district of South Malabar. In pre-British times the Kavalappara Moopil Nair, who was the seniormost male member of Kavalappar Swaroopam (dynasty), was the ruler of Kavalappara territory. He had sovereign rights over his territory. Besides the Rajasthanam, the Kavalappara Moopil Nair held five other sthanams granted by the Raja of Palghat for rendering military services and two other sthanams granted to his ancestors by the Raja of Cochin for rendering similar services. Properties are attached to each of these sthanams. The petitioner's immediate predecessor died in 1925 and the petitioner became the Moopil Nair of Kavalappara estate and as such the sthanee of the properties attached to the various sthanams held by him. The petitioner in Petition No. 443 of 1955 will hereafter be referred to as "the sthanee". Respondents 2 to 17 are the junior members of the Kavalappara tarwad, and, according to the sthanee, they have no interest in the said properties.