Both the above suits were clubbed together. Evidence was recorded in Original Suit No.32/1974, whereupon, it was held, that the appellant was a cultivating tenant in respect of the above agricultural land, long prior to the notified date (-17.01.1959), and that, the appellant had occupancy rights over the above land, prior to taking over of the ‘Inam Estates’ by the State Government, under the 1948 Act. And further that, with effect from the notified date – 17.01.1959, the relationship of landlord and tenant, between the erstwhile landowner Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu – respondent no.1, and the ryot stood terminated. And that, the appellant was entitled to a “ryotwari patta” for the suit land. This determination was recorded in Original Suit No.32/74, consequent upon the appellant being able to establish the above position, through the evidence of an “archaka” and a “trustee” (P.W.2 and P.W.3 respectively), of the temple in question. The appellant was also able to demonstrate, that the appellant and his predecessors-in-interest, were cultivating tenants of the suit land, long prior to the notified date – 17.01.1959. It is in the aforesaid view of the matter, that Original Suit No.32/1974 came to be decreed. 11. As against the above, the Estate Officer, Devasthanam, could not establish the execution of the alleged rent deed (kadapa), dated 29.11.1970, in favour of the appellant. And as such, the Devasthanam could not establish the relationship of landlord and tenant, between Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu and the appellant, as alleged. It was therefore, that Suit No.73/1974 was dismissed. The judgment and decree in Original Suit Nos.32/1974 and 73/1974 were passed on 31.10.1977. It is not a matter of dispute between the rival parties, that the aforesaid determination attained finality between the parties.

Reportable

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 11306 2016
(Arising out of SLP(C) No.14895 of 2010)

Dokiseela Ramulu
…….Appellant
versus

Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu and others …….Respondents
J U D G M E N T

Jagdish Singh Khehar, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. The present controversy admittedly relates to 1 acre and 80-1/2 cents
of agricultural land. Out of the above land, 33-1/2 cents is in Survey
No.123/5, and the remaining 1 acre and 47 cents is in Survey No.129/2, of
the revenue estate of Sangam Agraharam Village in Vangana Mandal,
Srikakulam District, in the State of Andhra Pradesh. It is the case of the
appellant before this Court, that he is a poor landless person, and that,
his family has been in occupation of the above land for many years. In
fact, it is the appellant’s case, that his forefathers had been cultivating
the above land, which eventually passed on to him, and members of his joint
family.
3. The Rent Reduction Act was applied to Sangam Agraharam Village vide
G.O.M.S.No.3724 dated 31.03.1950. As indicated above, the land in question
was a part of Sangam Agraharam village. Sangam village was declared as an
‘Inam Estate’, within the meaning of Section 3(2)(d) of the Madras Estates
Land Act. Eventually the same, was abolished through the Andhra Pradesh
(Andhra Area) Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari), Act 1948
(hereinafter referred to as ‘the 1948 Act’).
4. The State Government notified Sangam Agraharam village, under Section
3 of the 1948 Act, vide Notification No.28 dated 17.01.1959. It is not a
matter of dispute, that the land which is subject matter of the instant
controversy, was notified and published in Part-I of the State of Andhra
Pradesh Gazette, under the 1948 Act.
5. On 25.02.1959, the notified land in Sangam Agraharam village, was
taken over by the State Government. The appellant, and before him, his
forefathers were cultivating tenants in respect of the land in question,
for many years prior to the taking over of the above land/estate, by the
State Government. On and with effect from the notified date, the landlord
and tenant relationship between the appellant and the erstwhile landlord –
respondent no.1 (– Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu) herein, therefore, stood
terminated statutorily. The landlord’s right thereafter, was only limited
to compensation. Possession of such lands, was also transferred to the
State Government, except land in possession of persons entitled to a
“ryotwari patta”. A cultivating tenant was entitled to “ryotwari patta”,
under Section 11 of the 1948 Act. In order to demonstrate the position, as
expressed hereinabove, Sections 3 and 11 of the said Act, are being
extracted hereunder:
“3. Consequences of Notification of estate:– With effect on and from the
notified date and save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act-

(a) the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Permanent Settlement Regulation, 1802,
the Estates Land Act, and all enactments applicable to the estate as such
except the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Estates Land (Reduction of Rent)
Act, 1947, shall be deemed to have been repealed in their application to
the estate;

(b) the entire estate (including minor inams (post-settlement or pre-
settlement) included in the assets of the zamindari estate at the permanent
settlement of that estate; all communal lands and porambokes; other non-
ryoti lands; waste lands; pasture lands; lanka lands; forests; mines and
minerals; quarries; rivers and streams; tanks and irrigation works;
fisheries; and ferries), shall stand transferred to the Government and vest
in them, free of all encumbrances; and the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area)
Revenue Recovery Act, 1864, the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Irrigation
Cess Act, 1865 and all other enactments applicable to ryotwari areas shall
apply to the estate;

(c) all rights and interests created in or over the estate before the
notified date by the Government cease and determine;

(d) the Government may, after removing any obstruction that may be offered,
forthwith take possession of the estate, and all accounts, registers,
pattas, muchilikas, maps, plans and other documents relating to that estate
which the Government may require for the administration thereof:

Provided that the Government shall not dispossess any person of any land in
the estate in respect of which they consider that he is prima facie
entitled to a ryotwari patta –

(i) if such person is a ryot, pending the decision of the Settlement
Officer as to whether he is actually entitled to such patta;

(ii) if such person is a landholder pending the decision of the Settlement
Officer and the Tribunal on appeal, if any, to it, as to whether he is
actually entitled to such patta;

(e) the principal or any other landholder and any other person whose rights
stand transferred under clause (b) or cease and determine under clause (c),
shall be entitled only to compensation from the Government as provided in
this Act;

(f) the relationship of landholder and ryot shall as between them, be
extinguished;

(g) ryots in the estate and persons holding under them shall, as against
the Government, be entitled only to such rights and privileges as are
recognized or conferred on them by or under this Act, and any other rights
and privileges which may have accrued to them in the estate before the
notified date against the principal or any other landholder thereof shall
cease and determine and shall not be enforceable against the Government or
such landholder.
xxx xxx xxx
11. Lands in which ryot is entitled to ryotwari patta :-
Every ryot in an estate shall, with effect on and from the notified date,
be entitled to a ryotwari patta in respect of –

(a) all ryoti lands which, immediately before the notified date were
properly included or ought to have been properly included in his holding
and which are not either lanka lands or lands in respect of which a
landholder or some other person is entitled to a ryotwari patta under any
other provision of this Act; and

(b) all lanka lands in his occupation immediately before the notified date,
such lands having been in his occupation or in that of his predecessors-in-
title continuously from the 1st day of July, 1939;

Provided that no person who has been admitted into possession of any land
by a landholder on or after the first day of July, 1945 shall, except where
the Government, after an examination of all the circumstances otherwise
direct, be entitled to a ryotwari patta in respect of such land.

Explanation:– No lessee of any lanka and no person to whom a right to
collect the rent of any land has been leased before the notified date,
including an jaradar or a farmer on rent, shall be entitled to ryotwari
patta in respect of such land under this section.”
(emphasis supplied)

6. The appellant having felt threatened of being dispossessed from the
above agricultural land, over which he was a “ryotwari pattadar”, filed
Original Suit No.32/1974 before the District Munsif, at Palakonda. The
appellant prayed for a declaration, that the land in question, was a part
of Sangam Agraharam village, to which the Rent Reduction Act had been
applied vide G.O.M.S.No.3724 dated 31.03.1950, and further, that Sangam
Agraharam village was an ‘Inam Estate’ within the meaning of Section 3(2)
of the Madras Estates Land Act, and hence, was subject to the provisions of
the 1948 Act. And that, the ‘Inam Estate’ stood abolished after the
enactment of the 1948 Act. The appellant also prayed for an injunction, so
as to restrain the erstwhile landlord – respondent no.1 (– Sri Sangameswara
Swamy Varu) from interfering with the appellant’s possession.
7. Simultaneously, Suit No.73/1974 was filed by the Estate Officer,
Devasthanam, asserting that the deity Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu –
respondent no.1, was the absolute owner of the land in question, situated
in Sangam Agraharam village. It was also the case of the Devasthanam, that
the appellant was inducted into the above land, at an agreed rent of Rs.103-
78 per year. It was the case of Devasthanam, that the appellant had
executed a kadapa (rent-deed) in favour of the Devasthanam, on 29.11.1970.
And that, the appellant had been cultivating the above land as a tenant
under, the Devasthanam. Since the appellant had allegedly failed to pay
rent for the years 1970-71 to 1972-73, despite several demands made by the
Devasthanam, the above suit was filed for the recovery of an amount of
Rs.311-34 being rent/damages, for use of the land in question, and also,
for interest and cost thereon.
8. In Original Suit No.32/1974, filed by the appellant, the following
issues were framed:
“1. Whether the plaintiff is entitled to the injunction prayed for?
2. Whether the suit is framed is not maintainable?
3. To what relief?”

7. The following additional issue is framed on 1-8-77:-

“Whether the plaintiff is entitled for the declaration prayed in the
suit?”

9. In Suit No.73/1974, filed by respondent no.1, the following issues
were framed:-
“1) Whether the plaintiff is entitled to collect rents from the
defendant?
2) Whether the defendant acquired occupancy rights over the lands for
which rent is claimed?
3) To what relief?”

10. Both the above suits were clubbed together. Evidence was recorded
in Original Suit No.32/1974, whereupon, it was held, that the appellant was
a cultivating tenant in respect of the above agricultural land, long prior
to the notified date (-17.01.1959), and that, the appellant had occupancy
rights over the above land, prior to taking over of the ‘Inam Estates’ by
the State Government, under the 1948 Act. And further that, with effect
from the notified date – 17.01.1959, the relationship of landlord and
tenant, between the erstwhile landowner Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu –
respondent no.1, and the ryot stood terminated. And that, the appellant was
entitled to a “ryotwari patta” for the suit land. This determination was
recorded in Original Suit No.32/74, consequent upon the appellant being
able to establish the above position, through the evidence of an “archaka”
and a “trustee” (P.W.2 and P.W.3 respectively), of the temple in question.
The appellant was also able to demonstrate, that the appellant and his
predecessors-in-interest, were cultivating tenants of the suit land, long
prior to the notified date – 17.01.1959. It is in the aforesaid view of
the matter, that Original Suit No.32/1974 came to be decreed.
11. As against the above, the Estate Officer, Devasthanam, could not
establish the execution of the alleged rent deed (kadapa), dated
29.11.1970, in favour of the appellant. And as such, the Devasthanam could
not establish the relationship of landlord and tenant, between Sri
Sangameswara Swamy Varu and the appellant, as alleged. It was therefore,
that Suit No.73/1974 was dismissed. The judgment and decree in Original
Suit Nos.32/1974 and 73/1974 were passed on 31.10.1977. It is not a matter
of dispute between the rival parties, that the aforesaid determination
attained finality between the parties.
12. Whilst the claim of the appellant before this Court, was based on a
collective reading of Sections 3 and 11 of the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area)
Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 (already
extracted above), the claim of the Estate Officer, Devasthanam (on behalf
of Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu) was based on Section 82 of the Andhra
Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act, 1987
(hereinafter referred to as ‘the 1987 Act’). Section 82 aforementioned, is
being extracted hereunder:
“82. Lease of Agricultural Lands:-(1) Any lease of agricultural land
belonging to or given or endowed for the purpose of any institution or
endowment subsisting on the date of commencement of this Act shall,
notwithstanding anything in any other law for the time being in force, held
by a person who is not a landless poor person stand cancelled.

(2) In respect of leases of agricultural lands other than those lands
situated in Municipalities and Municipal Corporations held by landless poor
person for not less than six years continuously, such person shall have the
to purchase such lands for a consideration of seventy five per centum of
the prevailing market value of similarly situated lands at the time of
purchase and such consideration shall be paid in four equal instalments in
the manner prescribed. Such sale may be effected otherwise than by tender-
cum-public auction:

Provided that if such small and marginal farmers who are not able to
purchase the land will continue as tenants provided, if they agree to pay
at least two third of the market rent for similarly placed lands as lease
amount.

Explanation:- For the purpose of this sub-section ‘landless poor person’
means a person whose total extent of land held by him either as owner or as
cultivating tenant or as both does not exceed 1.011715 hectares (two and
half acres) of wet land or 2.023430 hectares (five acres) of dry land and
whose monthly income other than from such lands does not exceed thousand
rupees per mensum or twelve thousand rupees per annum. However, those of
the tenants who own residential property exceeding two hundred square yards
in Urban Area shall not be considered as landless poor for the purpose of
purchase of endowments property.

Explanation II:- For the purpose of this sub-section, small and marginal
farmer means a person who being a lessee is holding lands in excess of
acres 0.25 cents of wet land or acres 0.50 cents of dry land over and above
the ceiling limits of acres 2.50 wet or acres 5.00 dry land respectively
they may be allowed to continue in lease subject to payment of 2/3rd of
prevailing market rent and excess land held if any more than the above
limits shall be put in public auction.

(3) The authority to sanction the lease or licence in respect of any
property or any or interest thereon belonging to or given or endowed for
the purpose of any charitable or religious institution or endowment, the
manner in which and the period for which such lease or licence shall be
such as may be prescribed.

(4) Every lease or licence of any immovable property, other than the
Agricultural land belonging to, or given or endowed for the purpose of any
charitable or religious institution or endowment subsisting on the date of
the commencement of this Act, shall continue to be in force subject to the
rules as may be prescribed under sub-section (3).

(5) The provisions of the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Tenancy Act, 1956
(Act XVIII of 1956) and the Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Tenancy and
Agricultural Lands Act, 1950 (Act XXI of 1950) shall not apply to any lease
of land belonging to or given or endowed for the purpose of any charitable
or religious institutions or endowment as defined in this Act.”
(emphasis supplied)

The case of respondent no.1 – Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu is, that any
lease of agricultural land belonging to, or given, or endowed for the
purpose of any institution or endowment, subsisting on the date of
commencement of the instant Act, shall stand cancelled. Based on Section
82, it was asserted, that all existing rights in the appellant would
automatically stand terminated on the coming into force of the 1987 Act.
13. In order to support his aforestated contention, learned counsel for
the respondent institution placed reliance on Muddada Chayanna v. Karnam
Narayana, AIR 1979 SC 1320, on the following:
“3. It is not disputed that the lands are situated in Bhommika village. It
is not also disputed that Bhommika village was in Inam estate and that it
was taken over by the Government under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh
(Andhra Area) Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act. The
appellant claims that he is the lawful ryot of the lands in dispute and
that the respondents are his tenants. On the other hand the respondents
claim that they are the lawful ryots of the holding. The question at issue
between the parties therefore is, whether the appellant or the respondents
are the lawful ryots of the holding. Under Sec. 56(1)(c) of the Andhra
Pradesh (Andhra Area) Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act
“where, after an estate is notified, a dispute arises as to (a) whether any
rent due from a ryot for any fasli year is in arrear or (b) what amount of
rent is in arrear or (c) who the lawful ryot in respect of any holding is,
the dispute shall be decided by the Settlement Officer”. Section 56(2)
provides for an appeal to the Estates Abolition Tribunal against the
decision of the Settlement Officer and further provides that the decision
of the Tribunal shall be final and shall not be liable to be questioned in
any Court of law. Prima facie, therefore, the question as to who is the
lawful ryot of any holding, if such question arises for decision after an
estate is notified, has to be resolved by the Settlement Officer and by the
Estates Abolition Tribunal under Secs. 56(1)(c) and 56(2) of the Andhra
Pradesh Estates Abolition Act. The Andhra Pradesh Estates Abolition Act is
a self contained code in which provision is also made for the adjudication
of various types of disputes arising after an estate is notified, by
specially constituted Tribunals. On general principles, the special
Tribunals constituted by the Act must necessarily be held to have exclusive
jurisdiction to decide disputes entrusted by the statute to them for their
adjudication.
xxx xxx xxx
5. A brief resume of the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area)
Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act relevant for our
present purpose is permissible here. As stated in the preamble the Act was
enacted to provide for the repeal of the Permanent Settlement, the
acquisition of the Rights of land-holders in permanently settled and
certain other estates and the introduction of the ryotwari settlement in
such estates. Section 1(4) provides for the notification of estates and
Sec. 3 enumerates the consequences of notifying an estate under Sec. 1(4)
of the Act. In particular Sec. 3(b) provides that the entire estate shall
stand transferred to the Government and vest in them free of all
encumbrances. Section 3(c) provides that all rights and interests created
in/or over the estate by the land-holder shall cease and determine as
against the Government. Section 3(d) empowers the Government to take
possession of the estate but saves from dispossession any person who the
Government considers is prima facie entitled to a ryotwari patta until the
question whether he is actually entitled to such patta is decided by the
Settlement Officer in the case of a ryot or by the Settlement Officer and
the Tribunal on appeal in the case of a land-holder. Section 3(f) provides
that the relationship of the landholder and ryot shall, as between them, be
extinguished. Section 3(g) provides that ryots in the estate shall, as
against the Government be entitled only to such rights and privileges as
are recognised or conferred on them by or under the Act. Section 11 confers
on every ryot in an estate the right to obtain a ryotwari patta in respect
of ryoti land which was included or ought to have been included in his
holding on the notified date. Sections 12, 13 and 14 confer on the land-
holder the right to obtain a ryotwari patta in respect of private land in a
Zamindari, Inam and Under-tenure estate respectively. Section 15(1)
provides for enquiry by the Settlement Officer into claims by a land-holder
for a ryotwari patta, Under Secs. 12, 13 and 14. Section 15(2) provides for
an appeal to the Tribunal from the decision of the Settlement Officer and
it declares that the decision of the Tribunal shall be final and not liable
to be questioned in any Court of law. Section 16 imposes on every person,
whether a land-holder or a ryot who becomes entitled to a ryotwari patta
under the Act in respect of any land, the liability to pay to the
Government the assessment that may be lawfully imposed on the land.
Sections 21 to 23 provide for the survey of estates, the manner of
affecting ryotwari settlement and the determination of the land-revenue.
Secs. 55 to 68 occur under the heading “Miscellaneous”. Section 55 provides
for the collection of rent which had accrued before the notified date.
Section 56 provides for the decision of certain disputes arising after an
estate is notified. It provides for the decision of a dispute as to (a)
whether any rent due from a ryot for any fasli year is in arrear or (b)
what amount of rent is in arrear or (c) who the lawful ryot in respect of
any holding is. The dispute is required to be decided by the Settlement
Officer. Against the decision of the Settlement Officer, an appeal is
provided to the Tribunal and the decision of the Tribunal is declared final
and not liable to be questioned in any Court of law.

6. Now the Act broadly confers on every tenant in an estate the right to
obtain a ryotwari patta in respect of ryoti lands which were included or
ought to have been included in his holding before the notified date and on
the land-holder the right to obtain a ryotwari patta in respect of lands
which belonged to him before the notified date as his private lands. The
Act makes express provision for the determination of claims by landholders
for the grant of ryotwari patta in respect of the alleged private lands. If
there is provision for the determination of the claims of a landholder for
the grant of ryotwari patta in respect of his alleged private lands,
surely, in an Act aimed at the abolition of intermediaries and the
introduction of ryotwari settlement, there must be a provision for the
determination of the claims of ryots for the grant of ryotwari patta.
Section 56(1) is clearly such a provision. But in Cherukuru Muthayya v.
Gadde Gopalakrishnayya (AIR 974 Andh Pra 85) (FB) it was held that an
enquiry as to who was the lawful ryot was permissible under Section
56(1)(c) for the limited purpose of fastening the liability to pay arrear
of rent which had accrued before a notified date and for no other purpose.
The conclusion of the Full Bench was based entirely on the supposed context
in which the provision occurs. The learned Judges held that Sec. 56(1)(c)
occurred so closely on the heels of S. 55 and S. 56(1)(a) and (b), that the
applicability of Sec. 56(1)(c) must be held to be “intimately and
integrally connected” with those provisions. We think that the approach of
the Full Bench was wrong. Apart from the fact that Secs. 55 and 56(1)(a),
(b) and (c) occur under the heading “Miscellaneous”, and, therefore, a
contextual interpretation may not be quite appropriate, the Full Bench
overlooked the serious anomaly created by its conclusion. The anomaly is
that while express provision is found in Sec. 15 of the Act for the
adjudication of claims by land-holders for the grant of ryotwari pattas,
there is, if the Full Bench is correct, no provision for the adjudication
of claims by ryots for the grant of ryotwari pattas. It would indeed be
anomalous and ludicrous and reduce the Act to an oddity, if the Act
avowedly aimed at reform by the conferment of ryotwari pattas on ryots and
the abolition of intermediaries, is to be held not to contain any provision
for the determination of the vital question as to who was the lawful ryot
of a holding. The object of the Act is to protect ryots and not to leave
them in the wilderness. When the Act provides a machinery in Section
56(1)(c) to discover who the lawful ryot of a holding was, it is not for
the Court to denude the Act of all meaning by confining the provisions to
the bounds of Secs. 55 and 56(1)(a) and (b) on the ground of “contextual
interpretation”. Interpretation of a statute, contextual or otherwise must
further and not frustrate the object of the statute. We are, therefore, of
the view that Cherukuru Muthayya v. Gadde Gopalakrishnayya (supra) was
wrongly decided in so far as it held that ambit of Sect. 56(1)(c) was
controlled by Sec. 55 and S. 56(1)(a) and (b). We do not think it necessary
to consider the matter in further detail in view of the elaborate
consideration which has been given to the case by the later Full Bench of
five Judges of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in T. Munnaswami Naidu v.
R. Venkata Reddi (AIR 1978 Andhra Pra 200) except to add that to adopt the
reasoning of the Full Bench of three Judges, in Cherukuru Muthayya v. Gadde
Gopalakrishnayya would lead to conflict of jurisdiction and the
implementation of the Act would be thrown into disarray.”
(emphasis supplied)

14. We have given our thoughtful consideration to the submissions
advanced at the hands of the learned counsel for the rival parties. First
and foremost, it needs to be determined, whether there is an existing lease
of agricultural land between the appellant and respondent no.1 – Sri
Sangameswara Swamy Varu. It is only if there was a subsisting lease when
the 1987 Act was promulgated, Section 82 can be invoked. We are satisfied,
that consequent upon issuance of a notification under Section 3 of the
Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Estates (Abolition and Conversion into
Ryotwari), Act 1948 on 17.01.1959, the agricultural land in question in the
revenue Estate of Sangam Agraharam village, was duly declared as an ‘Inam
Estate’. The right of the appellant in the aforesaid ‘Inam Estate’ is
obviously dependent on the determination of the tenancy claim of the
appellant prior to 17.01.1959, i.e., the notified date. Insofar as instant
issue is concerned, Original Suit No.32/1974 was decreed in favour of the
appellant, and it was duly declared that the appellant was in possession of
the land in question. The appellant and his ancestors were also held to be
in continuous possession of the land in question, well before the notified
date – 17.01.1959. That being the position, in terms of Section 11 of the
1948 Act, the appellant automatically became entitled to a “ryotwari
patta”. We say so because, it is only when the possession and occupation
of the agricultural land is subsequent to the first day of July, 1945, that
the State Government would examine the circumstances of each case, and
thereupon, in an appropriate case, issue a direction, that “ryotwari patta”
was to be extended to the tenant of such agricultural land. However, since
Original Suit No.32/1974 clearly declared, that the agricultural land in
question was under the tenancy of the appellant and his ancestors well
prior to the notified date – 17.01.1959, the appellant was automatically
entitled to “ryotwari patta”, in respect of the land in question.
15. Having concluded as above, we are satisfied, that Section 82 of the
1987 Act, is inapplicable to the present controversy, because the appellant
cannot be treated as a lease holder of agricultural land belonging to, or
given, or endowed for purpose of any institution or endowment, subsisting
on the date of commencement of the 1987 Act, namely, on 21.04.1987. The
above position also emerges from the dismissal of Suit No.73/1974 filed by
the Estate Officer, Devasthanam, wherein the assertion made on behalf of
Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu, that there existed a landlord tenant
relationship with the appellant herein, on the basis of an alleged kadapa
(rent-deed) dated 29.11.1970, was rejected. The aforesaid finding
admittedly assumed finality between the parties. For the above reason, the
reliance placed on the judgment in the Muddada Chayanna case (supra), is of
no avail to the respondent institution, because in the above judgment the
undisputed position noticed in paragraph 3 (extracted above) was, that the
appellant was the lawful ryot of the lands in dispute, and that, the
respondents were his tenants. The appellant herein, is not the tenant of
Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu.
16. It is also relevant for us to notice, that in order to escape the
binding liability emerging out of the judgment and decree dated 31.10.1977
(passed in Original Suit Nos. 32 of 1974 and 73 of 1974), wherein the
relationship between the appellant and the Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu, was
held to be not as of tenant and landlord, learned counsel for respondent
no.1, vehemently contended, that the civil courts had no jurisdiction in
the matter, and as such, the appellant could not derive any benefit from
the above judgment. It is not necessary for us to deal in any detail, with
the provisions relied upon by learned counsel, because the precise
submission advanced on behalf of respondent no.1, was examined in State of
Tamil Nadu v. Ramalinga Samigal Madam, (1985) 4 SCC 10, wherein this Court
held as under:
“12. Now turning to the question raised in these appeals for our
determination (it is true that Section 64-C of the Act gives finality to
the orders passed by the Government or other authorities in respect of
the matters to be determined by them under the Act and sub-section (2)
thereof provides that no such orders shall be called in question in any
court of law. Even so, such a provision by itself is not, having regard to
the two propositions quoted above from Dhulabhai’s case (1968) 3 SCR
662, decisive on the point of ouster of the Civil Court’s
jurisdiction and several other aspects like the scheme of the Act,
adequacy and sufficiency of remedies provided by it etc., will have to be
considered to ascertain the precise intendment of the Legislature.
Further, having regard to the vital difference indicated above, in
between the two sets of provisions dealing with grant of ryotwari pattas
to landholders on the one hand and ryots on the other different
considerations may arise while deciding the issue of the ouster of Civil
Court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the true nature of character of
the concerned land. Approaching the question from this angle it will be
seen in the first place that Section 64-C itself in terms provides that
the finality to the orders passed by the authorities in respect of
the matters to be determined by them under the Act is “for the purposes of
this Act” and not generally nor for any other purpose. As stated earlier
the main object and purpose of the Act is to abolish all the estates of the
intermediaries like Zamindars, Inamdars, Jagirdars or under-tenure holders
etc. and to convert all land-holdings in such estates into ryotwari
settlements which operation in revenue parlance means conversion of
alienated lands into non-alienated lands, that is to say, to deprive the
intermediaries of their right to collect all the revenues in respect of
such lands and vesting the same back in the Government. The enactment and
its several provisions are thus intended to serve the revenue purposes of
the Government, by way of securing to the Government its sovereign right to
collect all the revenues from all the lands and to facilitate the recovery
thereof by the Government and in that process, if necessary, to deal with
claims of occupants of lands, nature of the lands, etc. only incidentally
in a summary manner and that too for identifying and registering persons in
the revenue records from whom such recovery of revenue is to be made. The
object of granting a ryotwari patta is also to enable holder thereof to
cultivate the land specified therein directly under the Government on
payment to it of such assessment or cess that may be lawfully imposed on
the land. Section 16 is very clear in this behalf which imposes the
liability to pay such ryotwari or other assessment imposed upon the land to
the Government by the patta-holder. The expression “for the purposes of
this Act” has been designedly used in the section which cannot be ignored
but must be given cogent meaning and on a plain reading of the section
which uses such expression it is clear that any order passed by the
Settlement Officer either granting or refusing to grant a ryotwari patta to
a ryot under Section 11 of the Act must be regarded as having been passed
to achieve the purposes of the Act, namely, revenue purposes, that is to
say for fastening the liability on him to pay the assessment or other dues
and to facilitate the recovery of such revenue from him by the Government;
and therefore any decision impliedly rendered on the aspect of nature or
character of the land on that occasion will have to be regarded as
incidental to and merely for the purpose of passing the order of granting
or refusing to grant the patta and for no other purpose.”
(emphasis supplied)

For reason of the above legal position declared by this Court, it is not
possible to accept, that the judgment and decree dated 31.10.1977, was not
binding on the Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu.
17. It is also not possible for us to accept, that the claim raised by
the appellant was barred by limitation. It was never in dispute between the
parties, that the appellant was in possession of the land. Only that,
respondent no.1 claimed that the appellant was in possession of the land,
as its tenant. Our instant determination on the issue of limitation
emerges from the fact, that the appellant had preferred Execution
Application No.18/2007 when respondent no.1 allegedly tried to interfere
with the possession of the agricultural land in question, on 06.07.2005.
There was no justification for determining limitation, with reference to
the date when the decree in Original Suit No.32/1974 was passed. The
relevant date for determining limitation was 06.07.2005, when the
appellant’s possession was allegedly threatened. Viewed as above, the
claim raised by the appellant, was certainly not barred by limitation.
18. Having concluded as above, we are of the view, that the instant
appeal deserves to be allowed, and the same is accordingly allowed, and the
impugned order passed by the High Court is set aside.

……..
……………………………….J.
(JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR)
………………………………………J.
(ARUN MISHRA)

New Delhi;
November 29, 2016.

———————–
16

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.