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Dosson Daview And Ors. vs State Of Tamil Nadu Represented By … on 21 October, 1997

Madras High Court
Dosson Daview And Ors. vs State Of Tamil Nadu Represented By … on 21 October, 1997
Equivalent citations: (1998) 2 MLJ 143
Author: A Ldkshmanan


ORDER

A.R. Ldkshmanan, J.

1. Against the orders made in Check Slip Nos. 518/xxiv/S in O.S. No. 434 of 1993, 517/xxiv/S in O.S. No. 433 of 1993 and 519/xxiv/S in O.S. No. 435 of 1993 dated 9.12.1996, on the file of the District Munsif, Pattukottai, the above C.R.Ps. have been filed.

2. The petitioners in all these three revisions have filed three different suits on the file of the District Munsif Court, Pattukottai for declaration and injunction with respect to their ownership as ancestral rights and by valuing the suit property under Section 25(b) of the Tamil Nadu Court-Fees and Suits Valuation Act. The lower court has raised an objection by way of check slip stating that the relief claimed is an intangible right. The petitioners filed their objections stating that both the warams under the Inam Abolition Act, 1963 are with them and that no rent is paid to anyone. However, the learned District Munsif by order dated 5.9.1996 allowed the check slip objection and directed the petitioners to pay the court fees accordingly. Aggrieved by the same, the above three revisions have been filed by the respective plaintiffs.

3. The respective suits have been filed for the relief of declaration and injunction with respect to the suit property claiming ownership as ancestral ryot since the village in which the suit lands are situated had been taken over under Tamil Nadu Act 26 of 1963. The court below misconstruing the concept of ryot under Act 26 of 1963 has erroneously reasoned that the petitioners have claimed an intangible right and hence the suits ought to have been valued under Section 25(d) of the Tamil Nadu Court-Fees Act. The reasoning of the court below is materially irregular, illegal and liable to be set aside. In the plaint, the details of the valuation has been clearly given as under: “It is stated that the suit lands are not assessed to revenue as they are classified as poramboke though erroneously. As the poramboke lands are incapable of valuation, the plaintiff’s notional valuation of his relief sought for is Rs. 11,520 and half of its value is Rs. 5,760 which is higher than the minimum prescribed under Section 25(b). A court-fee of Rs. 432.00 is paid under Section 25(b) of Tamil Nadu Court-Fees Act.”

4. To the check slips issued by the office, objections were filed by the respective plaintiffs as follows:

(1) This is a suit for declaration of title and consequential injunction for the suit property. This is not the suit for declaration of the rental rights of the plaintiff. The suit village is Iruwaram Inam village. There is no Melwaram or Kudiwaram. The ryots are holding Iruwaram rights. Hence, there is no question of payment of rent to anybody. Hence, the citation Shahul Hameed v. Kanda Iyer is not applicable to this case.

(2) The relief claimed under Section 25(b) of Court-Fees Act is correct. Hence, the Check slip may be dropped and render justice.

I, the plaintiff herein declare that the particulars given above are all correct and true to the best of my belief and signed this at Pattukottai.

5. As rightly pointed out in the objection, the present suit is not a suit for declaration of the rental rights of the plaintiff. The suit village is an Iruwaram Inam village and there is no Melwaram or Kudiwaram. The ryots are holding Iruwaram rights. Hence, as rightly contended by the plaintiffs there is no question of payment of rent to anybody. The citation relied on by the office reported in Shahul Hameed’ v. Kanda Iyer , is not also applicable to this case because the said decision was based on rental rights. The lower court has also overlooked the fact that the petitioner had earlier filed O.S. No. 521 of 1992 and others for the self same relief which was subsequently withdrawn with liberty to file a fresh suit in order to specify the correct extent of the suit property and agitate their rights to the entire extent. Even in the earlier suit, the valuation was done under Section 25(b) and there was no objection whatsoever.

6. The relief for declaration of the plaintiff as ancestral ryot of the suit property denotes the prayer to declare the character of the land, subject matter of the suit, as well as the character of possession of the plaintiff under Tamil Nadu Act 26 of 1963. In this case the lower court failed to consider the meaning of the term ryot in the proper perspective of the Tamil Nadu Inam Abolition Act 26 of 1963, wherein the term adds significance with respect to the nature of possession and coexists with the character of the land. Therefore, viewed from that perspective the suit should be construed only as a suit with declaratory rights to the particular character of land, under Act 26 of 1963 and also the rights of the parties with respect to such land. The court below also overlooked the fact that the suit village is an Iruwaram Inam village and that the ryots hold both the warams and that they are not bound to pay any rent to others. They claim statutory rights of ownership ancestrally in this suit after the village was taken over by the government under Act 26 of 1963. Therefore, the relief is for a tangible property for which ownership is claimed as ancestral ryots in pursuance of Act 26 of 1963. Hence, the valuation under Section 25(b) is proper and correct.

7. Section 25(b) contemplates only a declaratory and consequential relief with respect to an immovable property. The lower court in its judgment totally misconstrued the substance of the relief in the suit and had taken only the nomenclature of the prayer and had reasoned it erroneously as intangible right which is not legally sustainable. The court below while dealing with the check slips overlooked the crucial factor while valuing the suit namely the nature of the relief sought and also the fact with reference to what the relief is prayed for. It is the specific case and relief sought by the plaintiff to declare them as ancestral ryots to the suit lands. In other words they claim ownership ancestrally to the suit lands after the village was taken over under Act 26 of 1963. Thus only a statutory ownership is claimed to the suit land through a civil court, which was not permissible prior to the decision of the Supreme Court reported in State of Tamil Nadu v. Ramalinga Swamigal Madam . Thus, viewed from any angle, the order of the court below dated 5.9.1996 in Check Slip Nos. concerned, is contrary to law and materially irregular and vitiated and therefore, are liable to be set aside.

8. Therefore, all these revision petitions are allowed and consequently, the respective orders impugned in these revisions are hereby set aside. In view of the disposal of the main C.R.Ps., the C.M.Ps. are dismissed. No costs.

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