Decided on July 15,1955

Ravipati Kotayya And Another Appellant
Ramasami Subbarayadu And Others Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



VISWANATHA SASTRY,J. - (1.)This is an appeal by defendants 4 and 5 from the Judgment of Subbarao, J. (as he then was) in A. S. No. 819 of 1948 affirming the decree of the Subordinate Judge of Bapatla in O. S. No. 57 of 1947 awarding the plaintiffs possession of their share in Acs. 9-88 cents of land situated in the village of Dhenuvakonda, Defendants 4 and 5 are purchasers of the lands under Ex. B-33 dated 26-10-1936 from the father of the 6th defendant and 7th defendant who in turn purchased them under Ex. B-5 dated 13-7-1936 from defendants 1 and 2. The plaintiffs are the younger brother and the sons of the 1st defendant and they alleged that the sales Exs. B-33 and B-5 were invalid and not binding on their interest in the lands sold. The plaintiff's case, accepted by the trial Court as well as by the learned judge, is that the lands are Dasabhandam inam lands whose alienation by defendants 1 and 2. the defendants of the original grantee, is illegal and void. Before us Sri P. Somasundaram, the learned Advocate for the appellants urged the following points:-
(1) It has not been proved that the lands were granted as Dasabhandam inam.;

(2) The inam was granted in lieu of past services and was not burdened with any obligation to continue the service in future.

(3) The inam was grant only of the melwaram;

(4) Even if the lands were Dasabhandam inam, their alienation is illegal or void.

(2.)On the first point, it is urged that the original grant has been produced by the plaintiffs, the descendants of the original grantee, who should have custody of it and therefore a presumption adverse to their claim should be drawn. The grant was made nearly 200 years ago by the then Zamindar of Venkatagiri to an ancestor of the plaintiffs several degrees remote and it is quite possible that the original grant, though it appears to have been filed in some earlier proceedings, has now been lost. (After discussion of the documentary evidence their Lordships proceeded). On these documents the only conclusion possible is that the lands in suit are Dasabhandam inam lands.
(3.)On the second point, the learned Advocate for the appellants contended that the Dasabhandam grant was in lieu of past services in constructing a tank at Dhenuvakonda and there was no obligation on the part of the grantee to render service in future by keeping the tank in good repair. Dasabhandam inam, generally, though invariably, carries with it the condition of keeping the tank or channel or other sources of irrigation on repair. Board's standing order 56 gives the power to the Government in Ryotwari villages and the Zamindars in permanently settled Estates to resume Dasabhandam inams in case of default of service. See also Section 140(2) of the Madras Estates Land Act and Section 17(2) of the Madras Estates Abolition Act 1948. In the present case there is conclusive evidence that the inam was a grant burdened with service by way of keeping the tank in repair, Ex. A-4, an extract from the suit register shows that the Zamindar of Venkatagiri filed O. S. No. 568 of 1867 against Ramaswami Ramalingam, the ancestor of the plaintiffs, and got a decree against him for the amounts spent by the Zamindar for effecting repairs to Dhenuvakonda Cheruvu. This Judgment indicates that the inamdar was bound to keep the tank in repair and as he defaulted to do so, the Zamindar effected the repairs and recovered the cost from him. Ex. A-5 the judgment in O. S. No. 521 of 1914 shows that person who was employed by Ramasani Sethuramayya, the then holder of the Dasabandham inam, to repair the tank obtained a decree against his employer for the amount payable to him for the work done. Exs. A-10 dated 25-11-1953 and A-11 dated 1-6-1946 are notices given on behalf of the Venkatagiri Zamindar to Subbarayudu and Ramalingayya the then inamdars, to repair the tank or on default of their doing so, to deliver possession of the inam lands. Lastly Ex. B-4 dated 22-1-1936 the contract of sale Ex. B-5 the sale deed dated 13-7-1936 and Ex. B-33 the subsequent sale deed dated 26-10-1936 in favour of the appellants all provide that the vendees of the inara lands should themselves do the cheruvu repairs pertaining to the Dasabandham inam from the date of sale. We therefore, find the second point against the appellants.

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