HARI RAM Vs. BABU GOKUL PRASAD
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: MADHYA PRADESH)
BABU GOKUL PRASAD
Click here to view full judgement.
R. M. Sahai, J. -
(1.)The short question that arises for consideration in this appeal by grant of special leave against judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court is if the appellant who was ordinary tenant under Madhya Pradesh Revenue Code of 1954 became an occupancy tenant under Madhya Pradesh Revenue Code of 1959 and consequently acquired Bhumiswami rights or the lease being annual he lost his right by efflux of time after expiry of one year and was liable to ejectment and mesne profit.
(2.)Basis for seeking eviction were forcible occupation by appellant after the respondent had purchased the land from its Bhumiswami on 3rd November, 1958, letting being for cutting grass the appellant could not claim tenancy rights and in any case tenancy having been terminated in April, 1959 the appellant was liable to eviction. While resisting the suit the appellants claimed rights as occupancy tenant since their ancestors were sub-tenants over last thirty or forty years, and who acquired rights of ordinary tenant under See. 166 of M. P. Land Revenue Code, and the appellants having held the land as such on the date of enforcement of the M. P. Land Revenue Code of 1959 became occupancy tenants under sub-sec. (1) of S. 185 and Bhumiswami under See. 190. Notice of termination was assailed as invalid. It has been found by all the three Courts that the appellants were sub-tenants and the land was not let out to them or their predecessor for cutting grass. The Courts held that even though the Kabuliyat indicated that it was for growing grass but from the revenue records and other evidence, it was clear that a part of the land was used for growing agricultural crops. It being a finding of fact could not be assailed in second appeal. The High Court further agreed with the appellate Court that since notice terminating tenancy gave only 7 days time, it was not in accordance with law, and invalid. But the High Court allowed the second appeal as "if it is assumed that the defendants became ordinary tenants under the M. P. Land Revenue Code, 1954, their tenancy is to be terminated by efflux of time at the end of each agricultural year and they were not ordinary tenants of the land in suit on the date the M. P. Land Revenue Act came into force".
(3.)Section 166 of M. P. Land Revenue Code, 1954 reads as under:
"Any person who holds land for agricultural purposes from a tenure-holder and who is not an occupancy tenant under Section 169 or a protected lessee under the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act, 195 1, shall be ordinary tenant of such land.
Explanation - For the purposes of this section -
i) any person who pays the lease-money in respect of any land in the form of crop share shall be deemed to hold such land;
(ii) any person who cultivates land in partnership with the tenure-holder shall not be deemed to hold such land;
(iii) any person to whom only the right to cut grass or to graze cattle or to grow singhara (Trapa bispinosa) or to propagate or collect lac is granted in any land shall not be deemed to hold such land for agricultural purposes.
A bare perusal of the Section indicates that any tenant other than occupancy tenant if he held the land for agricultural purposes from a tenure-holder, then he became ordinary tenant by operation of law. Doubt if any stood removed by the explanation which clarifies the class of persons who could be deemed to be covered under a tenant other than occupancy tenant. Since it has been found that the land was let out to appellant not only for the right to cut grass, he could not be held to be a person who was not. holding the land for agricultural purposes. The word ,only in Explanation (iii) is significant. It postulates that entire land should have been used for the purposes enumerated. If part of the land was used for cultivation, then the land could not be deemed to have been granted for cutting grass only. It has been found that out of 5 and odd acres of land, the land under cultivation was 2 acres. Therefore, the negative clause in Explanation (iii) did not apply and the appellant became ordinary tenant under Section 166. In 1959, M. P. Land Revenue Act was enacted and Section 185 provided for the persons who could he deemed to be occupancy tenants. Its relevant part is extracted below:
(1) Every person who at the coming into force of this Code holds -
(i) in the Mahakoshal region -
(a) to (b)**********
(c) any land as an ordinary tenant as defined in the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, 1954 (11 of 1955).
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.