Arunachellam Chettiar And Anr. vs Kadir Rowthen on 3 August, 1905

Madras High Court
Arunachellam Chettiar And Anr. vs Kadir Rowthen on 3 August, 1905
Equivalent citations: (1906) ILR 29 Mad 556
Bench: Benson, Moore


1. In this case the plaintiffs, the landlords, sued the defendant, their tenant for Rs. 25-8-8, the value of the share of produce (melvaram) alleged to be due from the tenant for fasli 1310, i.e., the year ending 30th June 1901. The harvest was reaped in February 1901. The patta was tendered on the 28th June 1901. The suit was filed on the 8th April 1904. It was found by the District Munsif that the melvaram was by custom due immediately after the harvest was gathered when the share of the landlord is divided from the tenant’s share, that is, in the present case, in February 1901. He therefore dismissed the suit as barred by limitation, having been brought mote than three years after the date when the rent was due.

2. We are asked to revise this decision on the ground that the rent cannot be held to be in arrear until the landlord can sue for it, and that Section 7 of the Rent Recovery Act VIII of 1865 prohibits the landlord from recovering the rent until after patta has been exchanged or tendered. The petitioner relies on the decision of the Privy Council in the case of Rangayya Appa Rao v. Bobba Sriramulu I.L.R. 27 Mad. 143.

3. We do not think that that case has any application to the facts of the present case. That was a case in which there was a dispute as to the amount of rent payable, and proceedings were taken before the Collector and in the Civil Courts to determine the amount of rent payable. What the Privy Council decided was that in such a case “as long as proceedings are pending before the Collector, and, on appeal from him, before the Civil Courts, the rate of rent is in suspense, for no one can tell what it will prove to be, and that therefore no arrear of rent can be said to have become due within the meaning of the Limitation Act.” They point out that in the Act the falling due of rent means the falling due of an ascertained rent, and that the provisions of the Act as to rent due, rent in arrear and the recovery of rent refer to ascertained rents. In the present case, however, the rent was ascertained as soon as the harvest was reaped. The Privy Council expressly point out that though in most cases the point of time at which rent becomes due in the close of the period in respect of which it is to be paid, this is not necessarily the case, and that legislation, custom, or express contract, or the special circum stances of any case, may make rent become due at a point of time different from the close of the period in respect of which it is to be paid, and that in India, by the custom of the country, agricultural rents are often payable before the close of the fasli year. There is nothing in the decision or in the grounds on which it is based, to support the contention that, where the rent is ascertained and is payable, as in this case, on some date before the close of the fasli year, the period of limitation does not run from such date but runs either from the close of the fasli or from the date of the tender of patta. It is true that the tender of patta is a condition precedent to proceedings for the recovery of rent, but there is nothing either in the Rent Recovery Act, or in the Limitation Act, or in the decision of the Privy Council which is relied upon, to render the date of such tender, in a case like the present, the date from which limitation begins to run.

4. There is nothing to prevent the landlord from tendering the patta early in the fasli, and it would be strange if his delay in doing so should operate to postpone the starting point of limitation after the rent was ascertained and was payable.

5. We must therefore dismiss the petition with costs.

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