PILLAMMA (DEAD) & ORS VERSUS M. RAMAIAH REDDY (DEAD) THROUGH LRs. & ANR.

PILLAMMA (DEAD) & ORS  VERSUS M. RAMAIAH REDDY (DEAD) THROUGH LRs. & ANR.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO(S). 10299 OF 2011
PILLAMMA (DEAD)   & ORS. ….APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
M. RAMAIAH REDDY (DEAD)
THROUGH LRs. & ANR.  ….RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
Rastogi, J.
1. The instant appeal is directed against the judgment dated 15th
September,   2008   passed   by   the   High   Court   of   Karnataka   at
Bangalore   affirming   the   finding   recorded  by   the   Land   Tribunal,
Anekal,   in   conferring   occupancy   rights   in   respect   of   the   land
bearing Sy. No. 184 to an extent of 10 acres 34 guntas and Survey
No. 17 to an extent of 1 acre 12 guntas of Halasahalli Village,
Anekal Taluk, in favour of the first respondent.
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2. Brief facts relevant for the purpose of this appeal are that first
respondent had filed an application in Form No. 7 on 3rd December,
1974 under Rule 19(1) of Karnataka Land Reforms Rules requesting
for registration of occupancy rights in his favour under Section
45(A) of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961(hereinafter referred
to as the “Act 1961”).
3. The case of the first respondent was that lands measuring Sy.
No.   184,   measuring   10   acres   and   34   guntas   and   Sy.   No.   17,
measuring   01   acre   12   guntas   both   situated   at   Halasahally,
Thippasandra Village were vested with the Government as on 1st
March, 1974 in terms of Section 44 of the Act, 1961 and he being
the  tenant  in respect of the aforesaid lands  was  entitled to be
registered as an occupant of these lands under Section 45 of the
Act 1961.
4. The Tribunal, in the first instance, by an Order dated 18th
November   1981,   rejected   the   application   filed   by   the   first
respondent but the High Court of Karnataka vide its Order dated
12th March, 1985 remitted the matter to the Land Tribunal for fresh
disposal   in   accordance   with   law   which   came   to   be   further
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challenged in writ appeal and by Order dated 16th March 1987, the
same was remitted back to the Land Reforms Appellate Authority
with a direction to dispose of the same in accordance with law.
5. The Land Reforms Appellate Authority conducted the trial but
during pendency of the application, the Land Reforms Appellate
Authority   was   abolished   and   with   the   intervention   of   the   High
Court, the matter was remitted to the Land Tribunal.
6. The parties filed their documents in support of their claims
which were duly exhibited as A­1 to A­10(D).   In support of the
claim, the first respondent examined his power of attorney holder R.
Ravindra as PW 1 and one Kamiah as PW 2 and the witnesses were
cross­examined by the respective parties and an enquiry was held
by the Tribunal in accordance with the procedure prescribed under
Section 48­A(5) of the Act, 1961 read with Rule 17 of the Karnataka
Land Reforms Rules.  After taking into consideration the material
on record and noticing the fact as claimed by the appellants before
the Tribunal, the subject property was sold by Venkataramaiah to
the appellants by a registered sale deed dated 10th July, 1970 and
they were stepped into the shoes of Venkataramaiah.
3
7. The defence of the appellants was that they had purchased the
lands from Venkataramaiah under registered sale deed dated 10th
July, 1970 and became owner of the subject land which was within
the   purview   of   Karnataka(Personal   &   Miscellaneous)   Inams
Abolition Act, 1954(hereinafter being referred to as the “Act 1954”)
and Act, 1961 has no applicability in the instant matter.
8. The further contention of the appellants before the Tribunal
was that the first respondent is not a tenant but is a trespasser and
there is no relationship of landlord and tenant and the land was in
unlawful possession of the first respondent.
9. The appellants also emphasized that in the proceedings earlier
initiated, the first respondent failed to establish his tenancy rights
under the Act 1954, as such, he was not entitled to claim later
occupancy rights under the Act 1961.
10. Taking into consideration the rival claims of the parties, the
Land Tribunal recorded a finding that on 1st March 1974, i.e., the
vesting   day,   the   subject   land   was   in   possession   of   the   first
respondent   and   his   father   and   that   was   the   admission   of   the
appellants   in   the   earlier   proceedings   initiated   under   the   Act,
4
1954(O.S. No. 210 of 1967) and later in subsequent suit filed by the
appellants in O.S. No. 1054 of 1974 on the file of the Addl. Second
Munsiff   at  Bangalore  and   was   persuaded   that   the   respondent’s
father was in possession as on 1st  March, 1974 and has lawfully
cultivated   the   subject   land   in   question   and   became   a   deemed
tenant as contemplated under Section 4 of the Act, 1961 and finally
disposed   of   the   application   after   assigning   detailed   and   cogent
reasons under its Order dated 16th December 2002.  The relevant
part of the order is as under:­
“The application filed in Form No. 7 by the applicant for
registration of the occupancy rights in respect of lands bearing Sy.
Nos. 17 and 184 to an extent of 1 acre 12 guntas and 10 acres 34
guntas respectively situated at Halasahalli Thippasandra Village,
Anekal Taluk, Bangalore Urban District is hereby allowed and we
hereby unanimously grant occupancy rights in respect of the above
said lands in the name of Sri H. Ramaiah Reddy and ordered
accordingly.”
11. The Order of the Land Tribunal came to be challenged by the
present appellants by filing of a writ petition before the High Court
of   Karnataka   and   the   learned   Single   Judge   of   the   High   Court
revisited   the   facts   on   record   and   after   affording   opportunity   of
hearing to the parties and taking into consideration the material on
record, was of the view that no manifest error has been committed
5
by the Tribunal in its Order granting occupancy rights to the first
respondent which may call for interference by judgment dated 28th
May, 2008 that came to be further challenged by the appellants in
writ   appeal   before   the   Division   Bench   of   the   High   Court   of
Karnataka.
12. The   bone   of   contention   of   the   learned   counsel   for   the
appellants in the writ appeal was that the first respondent has no
right to file an application in Form No. 7, more so, when he is not
able to justify his right to be the tenant under the Act, 1954 in the
earlier proceedings.
13. The second contention was that the first respondent earlier
claimed ownership rights over the subject land under the Act, 1954
which he failed to establish and later it is not open to the first
respondent to contend that he is the tenant of the subject property
under the Act 1961.  
14. Both the contentions in the writ appeal before the High Court
were rejected after recording a finding that so far as denial of right
to the tenant under the Act, 1954 is concerned, it, in no manner,
obviates the rights of the incumbent to claim occupancy rights
6
under   the   Act,   1961   and   so   far   as   the   second   contention   is
concerned, it was observed that there was no conflicting stand as
the occupancy rights under the Act, 1961 were to be looked into on
the date of vesting day, i.e., 1st March, 1974 and not under the Act
1954.   As such, the proceedings earlier initiated under the Act
1954, in no manner, has any relationship so far as the occupancy
rights   which   the   first   respondent   has   claimed   as   being   in
possession as on 1st March, 1974 under the Act, 1961 and taking
assistance of the judgment of this Court in Muniyallappa Vs. B.M.
Krishnamurthy  and  Others1
, the High Court dismissed the writ
appeal filed at the instance of the appellants.
15. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and with their
assistance examined the record.
16. The scope and ambit of the two Acts, namely, Act, 1954 and
Act,   1961   has   been   examined   by   this   Court   in
Muniyallappa(supra) in paragraph 5 as under:­
“5. It may be stated that the purpose and scope of the two Acts are
distinct. The Inams Abolition Act was enacted for the purpose of
abolition of inam tenures and conversion of such tenures into
1 1992 Supp.(3) SCC 26
7
ryotwari tenure and in that process, grant of occupancy rights to
the inamdars and the three classes of tenants specified in that Act.
The purpose of the Land Reforms Act, however, is quite different.
The main purpose was to abolish the relationship of landlord and
tenant in respect of tenanted lands and to confer occupancy rights
on tenants who are personally cultivating the lands. Therefore, the
rejection of the claim of the appellant under the Inams Abolition
Act   does   not   lead   to   the   inference   that   he   has   no   claim   for
occupancy right under the Land Reforms Act. The appellant claims
that he is a deemed tenant as provided under Section 4 of the
Land Reforms Act. The requirement of deemed tenant, as provided
under Section 4 of the Tenancy Act, must be determined by the
Land Tribunal. The High Court having come to the conclusion that
the procedure adopted by the Land Tribunal was not in accordance
with the rules of natural justice ought to have remitted the matter
to the Tribunal for fresh disposal.”
17. Under the scheme of the Act 1954, all lands in Inam villages
vested in the State Government.  But under the Act 1961, not all
agricultural   lands   vest   in   the   State;   only   lands   held   by   or   in
possession of tenants immediately prior to 1st March, 1974 vest in
the State Government.     The claim of the tenant or tenants for
registration of occupancy rights under the Act, 1961 has to be
decided with reference to the date of vesting under Section 44, viz.,
1
st  March 1974.   Under the Act 1954, the rights of the Inamdars
and tenants were decided with reference to the date of vesting, viz,
1
st February, 1959 under the said Act.
8
18. The   scope   and   purport   of   the   two   Acts   being   different,
termination of the proceedings under the Act, 1954 in regard to
grant of occupancy rights cannot bar an enquiry to establish the
claim under Section 45 of the Act, 1961 by the Land Tribunal.
What the Tribunal, under the Act, has to inquire into, is whether
the lands claimed by the applicant before it, have vested in the
State Government under Section 44 of the Act 1961.   For that
purpose, it has to decide whether the lands were held by or in the
possession of any tenant immediately prior to 1st March, 1974(the
date of vesting).
19. This is what has been examined by the Tribunal in extenso
and thereafter finding was recorded that the first respondent was in
possession   and   was   cultivating   the   subject   land   in   question
immediately   prior   to   1st  March,   1974   (the   vesting   date)   under
Section 44 of the Act, 1961 and accordingly declared to confer the
occupancy rights to the first respondent under its order dated 16th
December 2002. 
20. The appellants challenged the finding of the Tribunal before
the High Court in writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution
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and further in writ appeal and after due deliberation and revisiting
the   records,   both   the   Courts   affirmed   the   Order   of   the   Land
Tribunal upholding occupancy rights to the first respondent.
21. After we have heard learned counsel for the parties, find no
manifest   error   been   committed   in   the   findings   recorded   by   the
Tribunal in conferring the occupancy rights in favour of the first
respondent and needs no further interference of this Court.
22. Consequently, the appeal fails and accordingly dismissed.  No
costs.
23. Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of.
       ……………………….J.
       (AJAY RASTOGI)
       ……………………….J.
(C.T. RAVIKUMAR)
NEW DELHI
AUGUST 08, 2022.
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