State of Madras Vs. P. Govindarajulu
Naidu  INSC 192 (23 September 1965)
23/09/1965 SUBBARAO, K.
CITATION: 1966 AIR 969 1966 SCR (1) 915
Madras Estates (Abolition and Conversion into
Ryotwari) Act (26 of 1948), s. 2(15)-Under-tenure and Zamin estateDifference
In 1796 the suit village was granted to the
person occupying the office of Nattuvar conferring on him the, mirasi of the
village permanently, subject to his paying all just dues.
At the time of making the permanent
settlement in the District in which the village was situate, it was decided by
the Government to abolish the office of Nattuwar but to maintain the shrotiems,
that is, the grants made to Nattuvar, and realise the dues through the
instrumentality of the Zamindar. The policy was implemented by including the
shrotiem in the Tirumazhy zamindari and by transferring the Government's
ultimate reversionary rights to the Zamindar. The result was that the shrotriem
tenure in the hands of the Nature continued after the permanent settlement as
it existed prior to it, except that the tenure under the Government became an
under-tenure under the zamindar, as the zamindar intervened between the
Government and the Nattuvar.
In 1950, the appellant State notified the
shrotriem village as a zamin estate under s. 3 of the Madras Estates (Abolition
and conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948. The respondent who was in possession
and enjoyment of the village filed a suit for a declaration that the
notification was illegal and void. The trial court dismissed the suit, but the
High Court on appeal, held that the notification was illegal and void, because,
the village was not a zamin village, but a whole inam village.
In appeal to this Court, it was contended
that as the village was included in the assets of the zamindari at the time of
permanent settlement, it was part of zamindari.
HELD : As the village was held under a
permanent undertenure, it fell under the definition in s. 3 (2) (e) of the
Madras Estates Land Act, 1908, and was, therefore, an estate there under and
hence it was an undertenure estate under s.
2(3) of the Abolition Act. As the "under
tenure" estate is excluded from the definition of "zamin
estate", the notification by the Government on the basis that it is a
zamin estate was void. [928 A-B] Though a village is physically a part of a
zamindari, if it is held on a permanent under-tenure. it is included in the
definition of an estate under s. 3(2)(e) of the Madras Estates Land Act. To
constitute an under-tenure it is not material whether the grant was a
pre-settlement or postsettlement one, but what is important is : in whom the
reversionary interest rests. The reversionary interest may rest in the
proprietor of the zamindari either because at the time of permanent settlement
the inam was included in the assets of the zamindari or because he himself was
the grantor of a permanent under-tenure. 'Me showing of shrotriem village as
village of zamindar is not decisive in the context of the Act. The distinction
between zamin and under-tenure is relevant for the purpose of compensation.
[919 B, F-G; 920 A: 925 D] 916 Gopisetti
Veeraswami v. Sagiraju Seetharama Kanatayya, (1926) 51 M.L.J. 394 and
Narayanaswami Bahudur v. Boda thammayya, 1930 M.W.N. 945, referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 446 of 1963.
Appeal from the judgment and decree dated
September 9, 1958 of the Madras High Court in Appeal Suit No. 85 of 1956.
A. Ranganadham Chetty and A. V. Rangam, for
T.V.R. Tatachari, for the respondent.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Subba Rao, J. This appeal by certificate raises the question whether the
village of Mothirambedu is a zamindari estate under the Madras Estates (Abolition
and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 (Madras Act XXVI of 1948), hereinafter
called the Act.
The facts may be briefly stated. Mothirambedu
village is one of the shrotriem villages in the Chingleput district in the
State of Madras. The respondent purchased the same from one P.
Anathapadmanabacharlu under a sale deed dated July 10, 1946, for a sum of Rs.
26,000/-, and was in possession and enjoyment thereof. On December 12, 1950,
the Government of Madras issued a notification under s. 3 of the Act taking
over the said village as a zamindari estate. The Government took possession of
the same on January 3, 1951.
On March 15, 1954, the respondent filed O.S.
No. 22 of 1954 in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Chingleput, against the
State of Madras for a declaration that the said notification of his village as
zamindari estate under the said Act was illegal and void. In the plaint he
claimed that the said village was not an "estate" within the meaning
of the Madras Estates Land Act and, therefore, it did not vest in the State.
But that plea was subsequently given up and nothing need be said in that
regard. The State filed a written-statement asserting that the said village
formed part of Tirumazhy Zamindari, that it was separately registered in the
office of the Collector and that, therefore, it was a zamin estate within the
meaning of the said Act.
The learned Subordinate Judge, Chingelput,
held that the suit village was a zamin estate and that, therefore, the said
notification was legal and binding on the respondent.
On appeal, the High Court of Judicature at
Madras held that it was not proved that the said village was a zamin village,
but it was a whole 917 inam village. On that finding, it granted the plaintiff
a declaration that the notification of the said village as a zamin estate under
the Act was illegal and void, as the said village was a whole inam village.
Hence the appeal.
Learned counsel for the State contended that
the said village was a, included in the assets of the zainindari at the time of
the permanent settlement, that it continued to be, a part of the said estate
till it was abolished under the Act.
Mr. T. V. R. Tatachary, learned counsel for
the respondent, on the other hand, argued that the said village, was granted as
a shrotriement before the permanent settlement to a person holding the office
of a Nattuvar, that though the said village was included in the assets of the
zamindari, the pre-existing tenure was not disturbed, and that the grantee and
his successors continued to hold the village as an under-tenure from the
zamindar , as by reason of the permanent settlement the zamindar became an
In short, his contention was that the said
village was an under-tenure estate falling under s. 3(2) (e) of the Madras
Estates Land Act and that in any view, it had not been established that it was
is a zamin village.
Before we advert to the facts of the case it
will be convenient to notice some of the aspects of law relevant to the said
The Madras Estates Land Act, 1908 Section 3.
(2) "Estate" means(a) any permanently settled estate or temporarily
(b) any portion of such permanently settled
estate or temporarily settled zaminadri which is separately registered in the
office of the Collector;
(c) . . . . . . . . .
(d) (As it stood before the Amending Act
XVIII of 1936) any village of which the land revenue alone has been -ranted in
inam to a person not owning the kudiwaram thereof, provided that the grant has
been made, confirmed or recognized by the British Government or any separated
part of a village.
918 (After the Amending Act XVIII of 1936.
any inam village of which the grant has been made, confirmed or recognized by
the British Government, notwithstanding that subsequent to the grant, the
village has been partitioned among the grantees or the Successors in title of
the grantee or grantees.
(e) any portion consisting of one or more
villages of any of the estates specified in clauses (a), (b) and (c) which is
held on a permanent undertenure.
The Act Section 2. (3) "estate"
means a zamindari or an undertenure or an inam estate.
(7) "inam estate" means an estate
within the meaning of section 3, clause (2)(d), of the Estates Land Act, but
does not include an inam village which became an estate by virtue of the Madras
Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act, 1936.
(15) "under tenure estate" means an
estate within the meaning, of section 3, clause (2)(e) of the Estates Land Act.
(16) "zamindari estate" means-(i)
an estate within the meaning of section 3, clause 2(a), of the Estates Land
Act, after excluding there from every portion which is itself an estate under
section 3, clause 2(b) or 2(e), of that Act; or (ii) an estate within the
meaning of section 3, clause 2(b) or 2(c), of the Estates Land Act' after
excluding there from every portion which is itself an estate under section 3,
clause 2(e), of that Act.
The aforesaid provisions may be summarized
thus: The Madras Estates Land Act recognizes for the purpose of that Act 5
categories of estates. The Act grouped the said 5 estates under three
categories, namely, zamin, under-tenure and inam estates. The estates defined
in cls. (a), (b) and (c) of s.
3 (2) of the Madras Estates Land Act,
excluding there from in under-tenure estate, 919 are classified as zamin
estates. An estate falling under the definition in s. 3(2)(d) of the Madras
Estates Land Act, excluding there from an inam estate which became an estate
under the Madras Estates (Third Amendment) Act, 1936, is described as an inam
estate under the Act. An estate under the definition of s. 3(2)(e) of the
Estates Land Act is brought under the definition of the "under-tenure
estate" under the Act. It will be noticed at this stage that though a
village is physically a part of a zamindari if it is held on a permanent
under-tenure, it is excluded from the definition of a zamin estate but included
under the definition of an "under-tenure estate". The result of this
classification is, an inam village held under a permanent under-tenure is not a
zamin estate. A village can be held under a permanent under tenure whether that
village was the subject-matter of a pre-settlement grant or a postsettlement
grant. To illustrate : take a village which was granted permanently to an
inamdar before 1802 by the British Government. At the time of the permanent
settlement the said village was included in the permanently settled estate.
The effect of that was that the inamdar who
was holding the village under the Government continued to hold the same under
the proprietor. Take another illustration: after the permanent settlement the
proprietor made a permanent grant of the whole inani village to an inamdar. The
inamdar held the village under the zamindar. In either case the village was
held under the proprietor of the permanently settled estate. The proprietor,
who is liable to pay pish kush to the Government, is the tenure-holder. H.is
the intermediary between the inamdar and the Government; that is why the
inamdar is described as under-tenure holder. It is, therefore, clear that to
constitute an under-tenure it is not material whether the grant was a
pre-,settlement or a post-settlement one, but what is important is, in whom the
reversionary interest rests. That reversionary interest may rest in the
proprietor either because at the permanent settlement the inam was included in
the assets of the zamindari or because he himself was the grantor of a
permanent under-tenure. This aspect of the law was considered in two decisions
of the Madras High Court. Where a pre-settlement Mokhasa village was included
in the assets of the zamindari it was held that the village was held under a
permanent under-tenure within the meaning of S. 3 (2) (e) of the Madras Estates
Land Act : see Gopisetti Veeraswami v. Sagiraju Seetharama Kantayya(1), and Narayanaswami
Bahadur v. Boda Thammavva (2) . This legal position will be material when we
consider the documents filed in this case.
(1) (1926) 51 M. L. J. 394. (2) (1930) M. W.
920 It may be mentioned that the distinction
between "zamin estate", "inam estate" and
"under-tenure estate" made under the Act is relevant, inter alia, for
the purpose of payment of compensation. The basis on which compensation payable
in respect of an inam estate is to be calculated would yield a larger measure
of compensation than that in respect of a zamin estate. In regard to an
under-tenure estate, if the under-tenure was created prior to the permanent
settlement, the compensation payable would be ,on the basis adopted for zamin
estate with certain deductions; if .it was created subsequent to the permanent
settlement, the compensation would be on the basis adopted for a zamin estate.
In the present case, as the inam was created prior to the permanent settlement,
if the contention of the respondent was correct, be would get a higher
compensation. That is the reason for this dispute. (See ss. 27, 28, 3 1, 32,
35, 36 and 37 of the Act).
It will also be useful to know, as we said
for appreciating the ,evidence, who is a Nattuvar. Nattuvar or Natwar is
described in the Manual of Chingleput District thus, at p.
" The first and highest officer was the
"Natwar" or headman of a Nadu, or circle of villages, the cultivation
of which he supervised on the part of the Government. These officers were
possessed of considerable privileges, and were mean of great dignity and
reputed wealth. They appear to have been lost sight of after the territory was
made over to the British. The Nabob recognised or ignored them, deprived them
of their offices, or restored to the m their privileges, as they resisted or
fell in with his exactions, or as his rapacity was sharpened by the urgency of
Such a system had demoralized what was really
a very useful body of men, who were, moreover, eager to be relieved from the
consequences of the ascendancy of the dubashes, which had reduced them to the
condition of ordinary ryots. Mr. Place took advantage of the disposition they
now showed to return to the discharge of their duties, to which he therefore
restored them under certain guarantees for their good behaviour."
"The Natwars" were a very ancient body of officials." It will be
seen from the said extract that the office of Nattuvar was an important one,
that it possessed of considerable privileges, that it fell into evil days
during the period of the Nawabs, and that during the British rule Mr. Place,
the then Collector of Chingleput, 921 restored the office of Nattuvar under
certain guarantees for the good behaviour of the Nattuvars. It appears that at
the time of permanent settlement in the Chingleput District, which was then
discribed as a Jagir, the office of Nattuvar was abolished but the Nattuvars
were allowed to retain the shrotriem villages granted to them. This will appear
from the appendices to the Report of the Estates Land Committee, at pp. 228 to
253. Learned counsel for both the parties agreed that the extracts given in the
statement of case of the respondent are correct. As the report is not available
to us, we cite the extracts from the said statement of case.
Paragaraph 66 of the said Appendices
"'The permanent settlement of the land revenue having rendered
unnecessary, all the Subordinate officers of revenue between the Collectors and
the Carnums, the general instructions directed that those superfluous offices including
that of Nattuvar should be abolished. The nature of the powers exercised under
the duties attached to that office furnished abundant reason for annulling it;
but the individual persons now holding it
have claim to indulgence and it is our duty to submit their pretensions to your
Lordship's consideration................. They have been considered to be
honorable stations and length of possession has annexed to them the idea of
property although the emoluments of an office ought under ordinary circ umstances
to cease with the discontinuance of the office itself, yet it will be just
under the stated conideration, to grant a compensation in the case of the
Nattuwars adequate to the loss sustained by the immediate
incumbents............. We recommend that your Lordship in Council should
confer on them, as an act of indulgence, the possession of their Shrotriem
lands tenable under a Purnwanah of Government." Paragraph 67: Although the
Nauttuwars who were appointed under the authority of Government during Mr. Place's
management of the Jagheer cannot plead length of service, we yet recommend that
they might be included in this arrangement in consideration of the assistance
rendered by them in the lease of the lands at that period of time, Paragraph 74
: The Shrotriem lands in general ,ire so connected with the Government lands
that it 922 been deemed expedient to provide for the collection of the
shrotriem rent through the channel of the proprietor of the estate in which the
shrotriem lands are situated and to provide through the same channel for the
collection of the commuted marahs. The Zamindars will, therefore, be entitled
(according to usage) subject always to prosecution for the abuse of it to call
in the aid of the inhabitants of the shrotriem lands for purposes for which it
has been customary to render such assistance.
The following extracts from the Minutes of
Consultation in the Revenue Department dated April 13, 1802, may be useful:
"The subject of the Nauttawars is
familiarto the Board. The nature of the office and its connection with the
administration of the Revenue has been discussed at length on the records of
the Government. A reference to this discussion must demonstrate that the office
can no longer be useful. The superior advantages which the Nauttawars have
acquired by the enjoyment of the high warum and of mauniams, and the ground of
interference which they are calculated to afford with the rights of the
proprietor, render it expedient that the motives of such an influence should be
removed together with the office. The Board, therefore, authorise the abolition
of the office of Nauttawar and the resumption of the emoluments attached to the
performance of the duties of that office.
At the period, however, of conferring such
extensive benefit on the body of people as they will receive from the
establishment of a system of permanent revenue and of judicature, the Board are
disposed favourably to consider the claims of the present incumbents in the
office of Nauttawar. They concur with the Commission it will be just, under the
stated circumstances, to continue to the Nauttawars their Sbrotriem lands;
because they have been considered to be honourable stations and length of
possession has annexed to them idea of property" It will be seen from the
said extracts that the Commission appointed to go into the question of the
abolition of the office of Nattavaras recommended that the office should be
abolished but the Government should confer on the incumbents the posses923 sion
of their shrotriem lands under a purvana. The Revenue Board accepted the
recommendation of the Commission; it agreed to allow the Nattuvars to continue
to have possession of their shrotriem lands. It is, therefore, clear that the
shrotriem lands were given permanently to Nattuvars by the State, that at the
time of permanent settlement the tenure was continued and that their inclusion
in the estate only effected a transfer of the reversionary interest from the
State to the Proprietor.
With this back-round let us look at the
documents filed in the case. The earliest document on record is Ex. 7, the
certified copy of cowle -ranted by Mr. Lionel Place, Collector of Honorable
Company's Jageer to Rangasami Mudali dated December 10, 1796. As it is an
important document, we shall-read it "Cowle granted by Lionel Place Esq.,
Collector of the Honorable Company's Jagheer to Rangaswamy Moodaly.
Whereas the villages of Moderambedu and Madavapoondy
in the district of Poonamalle from neglect and want of mirasdars being in a
desolate and uncultivated state producing, nothing to the circar. Rangaswamy
Mudaly Nautawar of the said district having agreed, provided the meerassee of
the said villages be conferred on him, to clear and tender them productive.
I do therefore hereby confer on Rangaswamy
Mudaly and his heirs the meerassee of the said villages, to continue in the
enjoyment of the same, so long as they carry on t proper cultivation, pay all
just dues, and are obedient to the circar.
Dated this 10th day of December in the year
one thousand seven hundred and ninetysix.
(signed) Lional Place Collector." The
genuineness of this document is not in question. It was filed by consent. This
document discloses that Rangaswamy Mudali was a Nattuvar in the district of
Poonamalle. As the village of Mothirambedu, with which we are now concerned,
was in a "desolate and uncultivated state" for want of mirasdar, the
mirasi of the said village was granted permanently to Rangaswami Mudali and his
heirs. In Wilson's Glossary, the following meaning to the Tamil expression
"mirasi" is given 924 "Inheritance, inherited property or right;
the term is used, especially in the south of
India, to signify lands held by absolute hereditary proprietorship under one of
three contingencies." According to Wilson, mirasdar means the holder of
hereditary lands or office in a village. It is, therefore, Clear that under
this document the said village of Mothirambedu was given to Rangaswami Mudali,
who was a village officer, in absolute hereditary proprietorship. The village
was given tinder a permanent hereditary grant, subject to, inter alia, the
grantee paying all just dues to the Government. This document is couched in
clear and unambiguous terms and under it the permanent inam was granted to
Rangaswamy Mudali subject to his payment of dues.
Exhibit B. 2 is described as "Trimishy
Zamindari Statement" in regard to waste and unproductive lands. It is not
It relates to Mothirambedu village and
Under the heading "remarks", the
following statements are found "Watered by Trimishy tank, New Strotriem to
Nautyavalappa Mooduly proposed to be resumed as per Order of the Board, dated
2nd October 1800. Another village Alatoor is included with these two and the
rent is paid on the whole and the villages are watered by the Trinilshy lank.
Rented for 10 years to Naut Rangaswamy Moodaly 5 of which are expired.
The rent raised from 10 pagodas the present
Fasli to 25 Pagodas the last year by t he lease.
Watered by the Trimashe tank." Learned
counsel or the, State contends that this document shows that Ex. A-7 was not
given effect to and that Rangaswamy Mudali was only a lessee for 10 years. As
we have stated earlier, this statement does not bear any (late, though the
internal evidence discloses that it came into existence after October 2, 1800.
This is not signed by any officer. We do not know on what material the said
observations were made and on what occasion this document was prepared and by
whom and whether this was acted upon at the time of permanent settlement. We cannot
draw any presumption on an unsigned statement which does not even bear a date.
This must, therefore, be ignored.
Exhibit B-1 is thee copy of the Kabuliat
executed by Venkiah the proprietor of tile zamindari of Tirumishi it the time
of permanent settlement of the estate in his favour. The sannad is 925 not
produced. It shows that the zamindari consisted of 57 purchased villages and 8
Shrotriem villages but the names of the Shrotriem villages are not given. This
document ex facie does not show that Mothirambedu was one of the villages that
were the subject-matter of permanent settlement. The learned counsel for the
State relied upon the Chingleput Manual wherein a statement showing the
particulars of several tenures other than ryotwari in the District of Chingleput
is given. Dealing with Saidapet Taluk under the heading
"Zamindaries", Mothirambedu village is mentioned; and under the
heading "inam villages", enfranchised or unenfranchised, the said
village is not shown.
From his it is contended that this village
was a part of the zamindari and that it must have been one of the strotriem
villages shown as included in the zamindari of Tirumishi in the Kabuliat
executed by Venkiah. Be that as it may, the fact that Shrotriem villages have
been shown as villages of the zamindari is not decisive in the context of the
Act, as Permanent under-tenure villages, as expained earlier, have been
specifically excluded from the definition of zamin estate.
Exhibit B-3 does not bear any date. It
contains the names of the zamindars in the Madras Presidency. We do not know
for what purpose this document was prepared. Under the heading "names of
estates", Mothirambedu is given. The name of P. Ananthapadmanabhan is
shown under the heading "Name of the present holder". Apart from the
heading, the expression "estate" is appropriate in the context of a
zamindari as well as a village held under a permanent undertenure. The
honorific title "zamindar" adopted by a particular inamdar does not
make him a zamindar and his land does not cease to be an inam. It is either an
inam or not under the provisions of the Act.
Exhibits B-4 and B-5 are the extracts from
the Inam Fair Register of the year 1862 in respect of Mothirambedu village.
They deal with some minor inams of small extents.
It may be mentioned at this stage that these
registers were prepared in connection with the inam settlement. They deal with
pre-settlement inams only, which were not included in the assets of the
zamindari. Presumably these minor inams in Mothirambedu village were
pre-settlement inams not so included and, therefore, they were the
subject-matter of the enquiry and were eventually confirmed. But it is said
that the fact that the minor inams were the subject-matter of the settlement
but the village itself was not settled there under indicates that the village
was a part of the zamindari.
But, as we have pointed out earlier, the
village, 926 subject to the subsisting tenure, was included in the zamindari
and. therefore, there was no scope nor occasion for its being the
subject-matter of inam settlement.
Exhibit A-2 is the title-deed granted to
Narasimhachariar and 7 others by the Inam Commissioner, Madras, dated November
24, 1869. The title deed was issued to Narasimhachariar in respect of 2 acres
and 39 cents of wet land pursuant to orders made in the Inam Register. But the
said 2 acres and 39 cents of wet land is described as situated in the Jari inam
village of Mothirambedu taluk of Saidapet District. According to Wilson's
Glossary, "Jari inam" means "A grant of land or other endowment
still in force, not resumed". This recital, therefore, support the
conclusion that the inam of the village of Mothirambedu taluk was still
subsisting, though the right of ultimate reversion vested in the zamindar.
Exhibit B-6 is "B" Register of
Sriperumbudur Taluk of Chingleput District. It contains a list of the inam
villages. Mothirambedu minor inam is shown in the list as it should be.
Mothirambedu village has no place in that list as it was included in the
The respondent placed before the Court
various sale deeds to support his title to the said village. Under Ex. A-6, a
saledeed dated September 2, 1919, Haji Usman Sahib sold the exclusive miras of
Mothirambedu to Rangachariar. In the sale deed Mothirambedu is described in
different places as Miras Mitta, zamin village, Mothirambedu zamin village and
Mothirambedu Ega Bhoga Miras zamin. "Ega Bhogam" means in Tamil
possession or tenure of village land by one person or family without any
co-sharer. No doubt the word "zamin" is ordinarily used to denote the
estate of a zamindar, that is the proprietor under the permanent settlement.
But the expression " zamindar" is also adopted by some of the
inamdars as an honorific term. A mere popular description of an undertenure
village as a zamin does not make it a zamin estate under the Act, if it is not
one in fact.
Indeed, the document shows that in some
parts, for instance in Schedule A, Mothirambedu has been described as Ega Bhoga
Miras Mothirambedu zamin village and in Schedule B, Melmanambedu village is
described as Shrotriem Melmanambedu village, whereas in the preamble to the
document Mothirambedu is described as Miras of Mothirambedu, and Melmanambedu,
as Zamin Melmanambedu. This shows that the character of the village has not
been described 927 with any legal precision. What is more, the character of
this village was in dispute in a suit between the zamindar and the tenants in
the year 1921. That suit ultimately went up to the High Court and a Division
Bench of the Madras High Court disposed of the appeal on November 23, 1927. The
judgment is marked as Ex. A-4. Therein the High Court pointed out that the
zamindar, who was the appellant, did not produce the sannad nor did he file any
old records relating to the zamindari on the ground that they were not
available in the Collector's office. The only evidence adduced to support his
contention was the fact that in regard to the village fixed assessment was paid
from the year 1856 onwards, and that it was referred to in certain Government
registers as zamin village. The High Court accepted the finding of the
Subordinate Judge that it was not a part of the zamindari. Except the certified
copy of the Kabuliat executed by Venkiah, the then zamindar, which does not
include this village and the unsigned statement alleged to have been filed in
the permanent settlement proceedings, which is not proved no further material
evidence has been placed in the present proceedings. We do not see any
justification to take a different view from that accepted by the High Court in
the year 1927.
From the discussion of the aforesaid
evidence, the following facts emerge In 1796 Mr. Lionel Place, the then
Collector of the Honorable Company's Jagheer, -ranted a cowle to Rangaswamy
Mudali, who was occupying the office of a Nattuvar, conferring on him the
mirasi of Mothirambedu village and another village permanently, subject to his
paying all just dues. At the time of the making of the permanent settlement in
Chingleput District, which was then described as a Jagir, it was decided by the
Company to maintain Shrotriem, i.e., grants made to Nattuvars, including those
granted by Mr. Lionel Place, and realise their dues through the instrumentality
of the zamindar. This policy ",as implemented by including the shrotriems
in the zamindari by transferring, the Company's ultimate reversionary lights to
the zamindar. The result was that the shrotriem tenure in the hands of the
Nattuvars continued after the permanent settlement as it existed prior to it.
That is the reason why some times the village was described as zamin village
and sometimes as Jari Inam Village. That is also why it was not the
subjectmatter of permanent inam settlement. But the fact remains that Shrotriem
tenure continued in the hands of the Nattuvar and his successors-in-interest,
after the permanent settlement as it was before the said settlement.
The tenure under the Government became in
under-tenure under the zamindar, as the zamindar 928 intervened between the
Government and the Nattuvar. As the village is held under a permanent
under-tenure, it falls squarely under the definition of s. 3(2)(e) of the
Madras Estates Land Act and is, therefore, an estate there under and hence it
is an under-tenure estate. As the under-tenure estate is excluded from the
definition of "zamin estate", the notification issued by the
Government on the basis that t is a zamin estate is void and the High Court
rightly declared it as void.
In the result, the appeal fails and is
dismissed with costs.