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Madras High Court
F.G. Natesa Aiyar And Ors. vs Kaja Maruf Sahib on 17 November, 1926
Equivalent citations: (1927) 52 MLJ 295
Author: Krishnan


Krishnan, J.

1. This is an appeal in a land acquisition matter as between the landlord and the persons who claimed the land under him under a permanent lease. The actual appellant is said to be a purchaser from a purchaser of the permanent lease. The case has come before the Courts because the parties did not agree to the apportionment between them of the compensation awarded which came to about Rs. 1,400 and odd. Out of this the Subordinate Judge has granted about 2|3 to the permanent tenants and about a third to the landlord. Now it is very strongly contended before us by Mr. Muthukrishna Aiyar for the permanent tenants that the landlord is only entitled to have a capitalised value of the Rs. 4 rent payable by the permanent tenant to the landlord for the land and therefore the amount given to him should be reduced to Rs. 80 taking the capitalisation at 20 years’ purchase the balance should be given to the permanent tenants. The right of the parties really depend upon the document executed by the landlord under which he parted with his rights in this land to the permanent tenant. That document is Exhibit A. It is a sale of the landlord’s kudivaram interest in the land to certain individuals. The value put upon over 8 acres of this land under Ex. A is Rs. 150. Besides paying the Rs. 150 the permanent tenants were to pay also Rs. 4 every year to the landlord. The document speaks of itself not as a sale of the land itself but as sale of the kudivaram interest. Now it is contended that all the interest that the landlord has reserved to himself at the time of the acquisition of this land is the right to receive Rs. 4 from the tenants and that he has only a right to be compensated for that sum of money; in other words, if we give him a capitalised sum which would bring him Rs. 4 at a reasonable rate of interest, say 5 per cent.,that will be the only compensation that he is entitled to. This argument overlooks the fact that the landlord does not part with all his interest in the land by this sale. He has only sold the kudivaram interest. The melwaram interest is with him. It is difficult to say exactly what these two interests are. Kudivaram interest, one understands, is the interest the man in occupation of the land gets in the land for cultivating the land or utilising the land for any purpose for which it has been given. He gets possession of the land and he has also the user of the land. The melwaramdar has the rest of the interest in the land in himself. It is not merely a right to receive rent, he has got several other rights. For example, he could recover the land itself from the tenant; i.e, if the tenant denies his title there might be a forfeiture of the permanent tenancy. In that case the landlord would get back the land. There are other rights which the melwaramdar has in the land. To value the melwaramdar’s interest nearly at 20 years’ purchase of the rent that is reserved in his favour would, it seems to me, be quite unfair so far as he is concerned. It is not an easy thing in any case to apportion the value of the land between two persons who have got somewhat indefinite rights in the land such as the melwaramdar and the kudivaram-dar. The Subordinate Judge has divided the compensation as bet-when the landlord and the tenant at 1|3 and 2|3. I am not satisfied that it is really erroneous. The suggestion made by the learned vakil for the appellant seems to me on the face of it inequitable. When the land was leased out under Ex. A it was apparently a waste land fit only for pasturage of cattle and consequently valued at a very low figure. Now that the Railway Company has come forward and acquired the land compensation has been given for it apparently on the footing of a building site. This enhanced value is not due to the exertion either of the landlord or the tenant. It is a sort of windfall which has come to both the parties. There is no reason why one alone should have the whole of it and not the other. If we give the landlord only Rs. 80 we will be ignoring altogether the general right as melwaramdar which is in him. It seems to me therefore that this is not a fit case for interference in appeal. I would therefore dismiss the appeal with costs.

Odgers, J.

2. I agree. What we have to do is to see what the interests of the respective parties are under Ex. A in the lands which have been acquired compulsorily under the Land Acquisition Act and as far as possible to value those interests equitably between the parties. Now the difficulty in this case is largely caused by the expression used in Ex. A, ‘Kudivaram’ and ‘Melwaram’ because it is only faintly suggested that this is a settled Estate such as would fall under the Act of 1908. There was no question that it is not so. The landlord reserved a certain interest in this property. 1 think it is incorrect to say that Ex. A is an out and out sale subject to the reservation of a quit rent in favour of the landlord. In fact, it, in terms, purports to be only an absolute sale of the kudivaram right. It may be that other rights are inherent in the landlord who is styled the melwaramdar in this document. In any case, the land in 1909 was practically waste land. It has now increased enormously in value owing to its proximity to the new Railway Works of the South Indian Railway now being erected near Trichinopoly. As my learned brother has said, it is not owing to any exertions or expenditure on the part of either the landlord or the tenure-holder that this increase in value has come about. It is a pure piece of good fortune. Had Ex. A been an absolute sale of the land, of course there would have been no question that the whole of the money paid by Government would go to the purchaser. But that is not so and it seems to me it would be eminently unfair to say under the circumstances that all that the melwaramdar is entitled to is the capitalised value of Rs. 4 a year. The case in Dinendra Narain Roy v. Tituram Mukerjee (1903) ILR 30 C 801 was pressed upon us, but as pointed out in Sri Rajah Bammadevara Venkata Narasimha Naidu Bahadur v. Subbarayudu (1911) ILR 36 M 395: 25 MLJ 17 it is not clear exactly what was the tenure and its terms which existed between the parties in that case. Here, I think, it is quite clear from Ex. A that something more than a mere quit rent of Rs. 4 a year was intended to be reserved to the landlord. I am not satisfied that the Subordinate Judge was wrong in law and I consider it would be unfair to disturb his decision unless one was really satisfied that it was wrong in law and could not be sustained. I therefore agree that the appeal fails and should be dismissed with costs.

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