Decided on September 16,1955



- (1.)This is an application for revision of the order of the District Munsif, Kovvur in I.A. No. 1639 of 1954 in O.S. No. 587 of 1953 declining to stay the trial of the suit. I.A. No. 1639 of 1954 was filed under section 4(1) of the Andhra Inam Tenants Prelection Ordinance (No. IV of 1954) by the defendants who were sought to be evicted from an extent of 19 acres and 44 cents in the Mokhasa village of Kunchanapalli in their possession. The plaintiff claims to be a permanent lessee of these and other lands from the inamdar under a registered lease deed dated 20th April, 1953. It is the plaintiff's case that before he got the permanent lease from the inamdar in 1953, he was an yearly tenant of the lands and the defendants were his sub-tenants paying him an yearly rent. He alleged that soon after he obtained a permanent lease from the inamdar, the defendants surrendered possession of the lands to him and agreed to hold the lands for the years 1953-54 on a fresh tena , subject to certain terms and conditions which however, had not been complied with. The defendants pleaded that they were tenants with permanent rights of occupancy, having been admitted to the possession of the lands by the previous landholder and that they were never the sub-tenants of the plaintiff. The plaintiff's case is-and for the purposes of this revision petition it may be assumed to be correct-that the mam lands now in question are not situated in an "estate" as denned in section 3 (2) (d) of the Madras Estates Land Act. The inam grant has to be taken to be of less than a village. Ordinance IV of 1954 subsequently replaced by Act XIV of 1954 would apply to the case.
(2.)Section 4 (1) of the Ordinance which is almost in the same terms as section 4 (1) of the Act XIV of 1954 ran as follows :
"All suits, proceedings in execution of decrees or orders and other proceedings for the eviction of the tenants from their land, or in which a claim for such eviction is involved, whether in addition to a claim for rent or not, which are pending at the commencement of this Ordinance or which may be instituted after such commencement, shall stand stayed subject to the provisions of the following sub-sections."
The expression "Tenant" is defined in section 2 (4) as "a person who holds any inam land for the purpose of cultivation on condition of paying rent to the inamdar." The expression "inamdar" is defined as a person including the assignee, heir or other legal representative of the inamdar." The question is whether the plaintiff, who claims under a permanent lease granted by the inamdar, is his "assignee" within the meaning of the above definition. The expressions "heir" and "legal representative" contemplate a devolution of the estate of a deceased inamdar. The expression "assignee" connotes a transferee inter vivos from the inamdar. It was argued that the word "assignee" in the context in which it occurred in section 2 (2) contemplated a transferee under an absolute sale, gift or exchange and not a permanent lessee of inam land from the inamdar. An assignment may be of the entire interest of a person in the property assigned as in the case of a sale, or it may be of a partial interest as in the case of a permanent lease. "Assignment" is a transfer of an estate or interest in property and an "assignee" is a person who takes some right, title or interest in property by an assignment from the owner. It has been held that a covenant not to assign or part with the premises or any part thereof of the whole or any part of the term of the lease is broken by a sub-lease. A permanent lease of lands involves the transfer of a substantial interest to the lessee in the lands leased to him. It is the transfer of a right to enjoy such property in perpetuity subject to any rent payable by the lessee. On the grant of a permanent lease, it is the lessee that has the exclusive right to the possession of the lands leased to him, and it is he that has got the right to realise the rents from cultivating tenants, if any, in occupation of the lands, and to eject trespassers or tenants for a term holding under him or a previous lessor. The object of the Ordinance being the protection of certain classes of tenants of minor inam lands from eviction, it would be defeating the provisions of section 4 (1) if I were to hold that the inamdar could, by granting a lease to another person, bring about the eviction of the tenant. In my opinion, the word "assignee" occurring in the definition of art "inamdar" in section 2 (2) should be construed as including transferees of the interest of the inamdar who would be entitled as an incident of such transfer to the possession of the inam lands. I am unable to agree with the reasoning or conclusion of the lower Court to the effect that the plaintiff is not an "assignee" of the inamdar within the meaning of section 2 (2) of the Ordinance.
(3.)Sri E. Venkatesam, the learned Advocate for the respondent, contended that the defendants were not "tenants" within the definition of section 2 (4) of the Ordinance. He referred me to the allegation in the plaint that the lands were originally let out in the year 1944 to the defendants for "pasturage" and argued that the lands were not held for the purpose of cultivation as required by section 2 (4). But then it is the plaintiff's case that there was a fresh arrangement in April, 1953, under which the defendants were allowed to hold the lands as his tenants. Reference may be made in this connection to the allegation in paragraph 8 of the plaint that a notice was issued on behalf of the plaintiff to the defendants claiming a "right to take possession of the property with all the crops therein". In paragraph 11 of the plaint, the cause of action is stated to have arisen "towards the end of April, 1953, when the defendants entered into the property on a conditional lease.....and on nth August, 1953, when the plaintiff issued a notice to the defendants terminating the tenancy."

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