Pillai Vs. District Revenue Officer & Ors  INSC 136 (17 March 1993)
Singh (J) Kuldip Singh (J) Kasliwal, N.M. (J)
1993 SCR (2) 397 1993 SCC (2) 402 JT 1993 (4) 113 1993 SCALE (2)75
Minority & Guardianship Act, 1956:
8(2) and (3) Lease--deed executed by the guardian which was voidable--"en
validly avoided--Makes transaction void abinitio.
father of Purshothanan (then minor) respondent No. 5, executed a registered
lease-deed of the land owned by Purshothanan (minor) for a period of five years
to the appellant/G. Annamalia Pillai.
appellant riled an application before the Tehsildar under the provisions of the
Tamil Nadu Agricultural Lands Record of Tenancy Rights Act, 1969 praying to be
registered as a tenant in the tenancy records, on the basis of the said
No.5/Janarthanan contested the said proceeding on the ground that the land was
his property, his father had no right or title to deal with the same and the
lease deed executed by his father was contrary to the provisions of Section 8
of the Hindu Minority & Guardianship Act. Further he contended that he had
no knowledge of the execution of the lease-deed by his father and on attaining
majority he avoided the same.
dismissed the application of the appellant holding that there was no valid
Revenue Divisional Officer, no appeal, reversed the findings of the Tehsildar
and held that the appellant is entitled to be registered as a cultivating
revision, the District Revenue Officer set aside the order of the Appellate
Authority and restored the order of the Tehsildar.
High Court of Madras dismissed the writ petition and the writ appeal filed by
This appeal by way of Special Leave is against the judgment of the Madras High
present case, the High Court has rightly held that the, lease was to go more
than one year beyond the date on which the minor was to attain majority. The
provisions of Section 8(2) (b) were attracted. [400D] Clause (3) of Section 8
of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, specifically makes the
transaction voidable. The lease executed by the guardian in this case is
prohibited and in that sense it was without any authority. It was further held
that the respondent No.5 avoided the lease executed by his father, the lease
became void from its inception and no statutory rights could, therefore, accrue
in favour of the appellant.
401G] Solmond on Jurisprudence, Twelfth Edition at page 341;
Prasad v. Hamaraili Das, AIR 1932 Supreme Court 89;
Sundara Rao & Sons, Madurai v. Commissioner of Income Tax, Madras, AIR 1957 Madras 451, referred to. [401D] G. Ponniah
Thewar v. Nellavam Perumal Pillai and others, AIR 1977 S.C. 244, distinguished.
the present case the father of respondent No.5 had no authority to lease the
property without complying with the provisions of Section 8(2)(b) of the Act.
Because of the inherent illegality in the execution of the lease-deed it was
liable to be cancelled at the option of the minor on attaining majority. On the
exercise of the option the lease became void abinition. [402D]
APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal No.4792 of 1984.
the Judgment and Order dated 14.9.1984 of the Madras High Court in Writ Appeal
No.96 of 1981.
Madan for Ms. Asha Jain Madan for the Appellant.
Sampath for the Respondents.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by KULDIP SINGH, J. The short question
for consideration in this appeal is whether lease-deed in dispute, which was voidable
in terms of Section 8(3) of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 (the
Act) when validly avoided, was affective from the date of the lease-deed so as
to make the transaction void and unenforceable from the very inception.
not disputed before us that the land in dispute was owned by Janarthanan
respondent-5 before us. His father Purushothaman by a registered deed dated December 12, 1971 leased the land in dispute for a
period of five years to G. Annamalai Pillai. On the date when the lease deed
was executed Janarthanan was a minor, his date of birth being September 27, 1957. Claiming to be a cultivating
tenant, on the basis of the lease deed, Annamalai Pillai filed an application
before the Tehsildar under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Lands
Record of Tenancy Rights Act, 1969 praying that he be registered as a tenant in
the tenancy records. Janarthanan contested the said proceeding on the ground
that the land was his property, his father had no right or title to deal with
.the same and the lease deed executed by his father was contrary to the
provisions of Section 8 of the Act. He further contended that he had no knowledge
of the execution of the lease deed by his father and on attaining majority he
avoided the same on September
15, 1978. The Tehsildar
held that there was no valid lease and as such he dismissed the application of Annamalai
Pillai. On appeal the Revenue Divisional Officer reversed the findings of the Tehasildar
and came to the conclusion that Annamalai Pillai was a contractual tenant and
as such was entitled to be registered as a cultivating tenant.
preferred a revision before the District Revenue Officer who set aside the
order of the Appellate Authority and restored the order of the Tehsildar
holding that the Annamalai Pillai was not a cultivating tenant. The writ
petition and the writ appeal filed by Annamalai Pillai were dismissed by the Madras
High Court. This appeal by way of special leave is against the judgment of the
Division Bench of the High Court dated September 14, 1984 rendered in writ appeal.
(2) and (3) of Section 8 of the Act which are relevant are reproduced hereunder:
The natural guardian shall not, without the previous permission of the court,
400 (a) mortage or charge, or transfer by sale, gift, exchange or otherwise,
any part of the immovable property of the minor, or (b) lease any part of such
property for a term exceeding five years or for a term extending more than one
year beyond the date on which the minor will attain majority.
Any disposal of immovable property by a natural guardian, in contravention of
sub- section (1) or sub-section (2), is voidable at the instance of the minor
or any person claiming under him." Respondent-5 was to attain majority on September 27, 1975 and the lease was to subsist upto December 11, 1976. Since the tenure of the lease in
this case was to go more than one year beyond the date on which the minor was
to attain majority the provisions of section 8(2)(b) were attracted.
have heard learned counsel for the parties. We have been taken through the
orders of the Revenue Authorities, judgment of the learned single Judge and of
the Division Bench of the High Court in writ appeal. The Division Bench of the
High Court, in a lucid judgment, answered the question posed by us in the
beginning in the affirmative and against the appellant-Annamalai Pillai on the
have already seen that clause (3) of section 8 of the Hindu Minority and
Guardianship Act, 1956, specifically makes the transaction voidable. The lease
executed by the guardian in this case is prohibited and in that sense it was
without any authority. On the legal efficacy and the distinction between valid,
void and voidable agreements, we find the following passage in Salmond on
Jurisprudence, Twelth Edition at page 341:- "A valid agreement is one
which is fully operative in accordance with the intent of the parties. A void
agreement is one which entirely fails to receive legal recognition or sanction,
the declared will of the parties being 401 wholly destitute of legal efficacy.
A voidable agreement stands midway between these two cases. It is not a
nullity, but its operation is conditional and not absolute. By reason of some
defect in its origin it. is liable to be destroyed or cancelled at the option
of one of the parties to it. On the exercise of this power the agreement not
only ceases to have any efficacy, but is deemed to have been void ad initio.
The avoidance of it relates back to the making of it. The hypothetical or
contingent efficacy which has hitherto been attributed to it wholly disappears,
as if it had never existed. In other words, a voidable agreement is one which
is void or valid at the election of one of the parties to it.
distinction has also been judicially noticed in the Privy Council judgment
reported in Satgur Prasad v. Harnarain Das, A.I.R. 1932 P.C. 89 and in the Division
Bench judgment in S.N.R. Sundara Rao and Sons, Madurai v. Commissioner of
Income Tax, Madras, A.I.R. 1957 Madras 451. The Division Bench held,
following the Privy Council Judgment as follows:- "When a person, who is
entitled to dissent from the alienation, does so, his dissent is in relation to
the transaction as such and not merely to the possession of the alienee on the
date of such dissent.
effect of the evidence is, therefore, to get rid of the transaction with result
that in law it is as if the transaction had never taken place." We have,
therefore, no doubt that when the fifth respondent avoided the lease executed
by his father, the fourth respondent, the lease became void from its inception
and no statutory rights, could, therefore, accrue in favour of the appellant
herein." We agree with the reasoning and the conclusions reached by the
Division Bench of the High Court and as such this appeal has to be dismissed.
The judgment of this Court in G. Ponniah Thevar v. Nellavam Perumal Pillai and
others, A.I.R. 1977 S.C. 244 relied upon by the learned counsel for the
appellant is not relevant in the facts and circumstances of this case. In G. Ponniah
Thevar's case a lease deed was executed by a life estate- holder. On the
cessation of the life estate the successor claimed that the lease executed was
not binding on him and as such the tenant could not claim the benefit of the
Tenants Protection Act. This Court held that the life estate-holder was
entitled to create a valid tenancy and the tenant was entiled to take the
benefit of the Tenants Protection Act. It was further held that the right
accrued to the tenant could legally extend beyond the life time to the life
estate-holder and would bind the successor. The reason is obvious. The life
estate-holder has a right to lease the property. He does not deal with the
property on behalf of the successor. Though the lease itself may be valid only
during the life time of the life estate-holder, the authority to lease could
not be questioned. If once initially there was a valid tenancy then the
successor is bound by the tenancy rights acquired by the tenant during that
period. In the present case unlike life estate-holder the father of respondents
had no authority to lease the property without complying with the provisions of
Section 8(2)(b) of the Act. Because of the inherent illegality in the execution
of the lease-deed it was liable to be cancelled at the option of the minor on
exercise of option the lease became void ab initio.
therefore, dismiss the appeal. No costs.