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Madras High Court
Vadlamannati Venkataramiah … vs Sri Rajah Venkatarangiah Appa Rau … on 11 November, 1907
Equivalent citations: (1908) 18 MLJ 37


1. In this case the Subordinate Judge of Kistna at Ellore dismissed the plaintiff’s suit without taking evidence apparently on the ground that on the admitted facts, the plaintiff had no cause of action. The suit was brought to recover damages for the wrongful attachment of the plaintiff’s crops for arrears of rent and the plaintiffs alleged that they were the persons to whom the tender of pattah ought to have been made because the rights of the previous tenants had been transferred to them before the beginning of the fasli, and that they had frequently called upon the defendant to tender a pattah to them. The defendant pleaded that there had been a good tender to the previous tenants, and whilst not denying the alleged transfer nor averring that there was any dispute about it, pleaded in paragraph 6 of the written statement, that the plaintiffs in answer apparently to an application for a pattah, had been informed that on production of the sale certificates and other instruments of transfer, their names would be entered in the village accounts and a pattah granted, but they had failed to produce them. It was the duty of the plaintiffs to produce the documents of transfer and get the names of the former pattadars removed, and the plaintiffs’ names, entered in the accounts. In this state of the pleadings, the Subordinate Judge dismissed the plaintiff’s suit without taking evidence, holding, on the authority of Orr v. Rakkumarathi (1905) I.L.R. 29 M. 83 that a landholder could not of his own authority and without being moved by the registered tenant recognize a third party as tenant and grant a pattah to him, and that until so moved the landholder was entitled to go on tendering pattahs to the registered tenant. All that is decided in Orr v. Rakkumarathi (1905) I.L.R. 29 M. 83 is, that where there is a bona fide dispute as to the transfer of the tenancy the landlord cannot refuse to grant a pattah to the old tenant on the ground of such transfer until the new tenant has established his right to recognition in a Court of law. The rule so laid down does not rest on any statutory basis, but in accordance with the custom of the country, and in conformity with the practice of Government as to transfers of ryotwari holdings. The rule must, however, in our opinion, be confined to cases where there is a bona fide dispute between the old and new tenants. A person claiming to have a pattah tendered him as transferee from a tenant is no doubt bound, if called on, to produce the transfer deed in his favour for the Zamindar’s inspection in proof of his claim, but if it is not apparently in order and if, after notice, which it is the Zamindar’s duty to give, the old tenant does not contest the validity of the transfer, it is, we think, (She duty of the Zamindar to grant a pattah to the new tenant, even though there is no petition from the old tenant asking him to recognise the transfer. Under these circumstances, we think the Subordinate Judge was wrong in dismissing the plaintiff’s suit without taking evidence and recording findings, and we accordingly set aside his decree and remand the case to him for disposal according to law. The costs in this Court will abide and follow the result.

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