Vs. Smt. Chikkaboramma & Ors  INSC 477 (16 September 1998)
Ahmad, S.Rajendra Babu Rajendra Babu, J.
appeal arises out of certain proceedings initiated by two rival claimants,
namely, the appellant on the one hand and respondents 2 to 4 on the other
before the Tehsildar under the Karnataka Village Offices Abolition Act, 1961 (hereinaften
referred to as "the Act"). The Act was brought into effect from 1st February, 1963. The Tehsildan made an order on 22nd July, 1981 re-granting the 'Neeraganti' Inam
Lands comprised in survey Nos. 33, 38, 41 and 130 of yeliyun village and Survey
No. 49 of Yerehalli Village in favour of the appellant. Aggrieved by that order, the
respondents 2 to 4 preferred an appeal to the District Judge in respect of Neeraganti
Inam lands. On appeal the learned District Judge allowed the appeal and set
aside the grant made in favour of the appellant. At the same time, the learned
District Judge also held that respondents 2 to 4 are not descendants of the
original barawardar and thus are not holders of village office. He also held
that they did not perform the duties of village office of Neeraganti at any
time much less did they held the lands attached by way of inam to that office.
Once Rawala Ninga was the owner of original barawardar of the Neeraganti of the
two villages yeliyur and yerehalli as per Ex.D1 and D2, the Barabaluthi
registers of the respective villages.
2 to 4 claim that they are the descendants of original Barawardar. Various
documents put forth in the proceedings were critically examined by the learned
District Judge and he held that these documents would show that Jatta Boyi son
of Rawala Ninga, Thammaiah son of Rawala Ningana Rawala and Linga son of Mudda Boyiwere
were enjoying the Neeraganti Inam lands and rendering Neeraganti services.
was shown as son of Rawala Ningana Rawala, i.e. grand son of Rawala Ninga. The
documents disproved the case of respondents 2 to 4 that Thammaiah was great
grand son of Rawala Ninga. The District Judge also held that there was no
document to show tha relationship of respondents 2 to 4 or to show that they
actually performed the 'Neeraganti' work or that they were in possession of Neeraganti
Inam lands at any time. He also examined the oral evidence put forth before the
Court in the absence of any document in support of the claim. He held
ultimately that respondents 2 to 4 having placed no reliable evidence to show
that they are the descendants of the barawardar or that they were at any time
performing Neeraganti services or that they were in possession of Inam lands.
As such they cannot be held to be either authorised holders holding the lands orholders
of village office on the appointed date. On that basis he held that the claim
of respondents 2 to 4 was nightly rejected by the Tehsildar.
claim made by the appellant he concluded on a careful examination of the
documents produced before him that the kirdi extracts which show that the
appellant had been paying land revenue for the Neeraganti Inam lands from
1950-51 and therefore it would appear that he has been in possession of the Inam
lands from about 10 to 12 years prior to the appointed date. However, he
noticed that the appellant is not an authorized holder inasmuch as the
appellant had not been appointed as Neeraganti by any order.
if he had been performing the duties of Neeraganti on the appointed date, there
was no evidence to show that he was holder of a village office and therefore,
he had no right to the office in terms of Section 2 (g) of the Act.
that basis the District Judge rejected the claim made by the appellant.
appellant as well as respondents 2 to 4 preferred Revision Petitions arising
under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The High Court upheld that
part of the order by which the learned District Judge rejected the claim of the
appellant. However, on the claim by respondents 2 to 4 the High Court allowed the Revision Petition and set aside
the order made by the learned District Judge and allowed the claim of
respondents 2 to 4 for re-grant of the lands in question. It is against this order,
this appeal has been preferred by special leave.
as the claim of the appellant is concerned the finding of the learned District
Judge as affirmed by the High Court is unexceptionable. The object of Karnataka Village offices Abolition Act, 1961 is to abolish village offices
which were held hereditarily before the commencement of the Constitution and
the emoluments appertaining thereto and to provide for incidental maters.
'Village office' has been defined under the Act as to mean a village office to
which emoluments have been attached and which is held hereditarily before the
commencement of the Constitution under an existing law relating to such office
for the performance of duties mentioned therein; "holder of a village
office" or "holder" would mean a person having an interest in a
village office under an existing law relating to such office. By no stretch of
imagination appellant can lay claim to any such office. No material was placed
by him to show that he held the office hereditarily before the commencement of
the Constitution much less did he trace his title to any such person to held
that office in that capacity. Therefore, the appellant's claim was nightly
rejected by the learned District Judge and the High Court.
as the direction to re grant to respondents 2 to 4 the lands in question is
concerned, we are constrained to state that the High Court in its order
virtually re-appreciated the evidence placed before the authorities as if it
was a first appeal not noticing that it was only a proceeding arising under
section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The learned District Judge had
referred to every piece of material placed before the Court in the shape of
oral or documentary evidence and came to the conclusion as we have noticed
earlier in the course of this order.
it was not open to the High Court at all to re-appreciate the matter unless it
could find that the District Judge had committed any error of jurisdiction or
acted with material irregularity affecting his jurisdiction.
such contention has been recorded. On this ground alone the order made by the
High Court on this aspect of the matter will have to be set aside.
will examine the matter on merits as well. The High Court came to the
conclusion that respondents 2 to 4 have proved that they are the descendants of
original barawardar Rawala Ninga through Thammaich. Without examining the
correctness of this finding even if we assume it to be correct, there is no
finding to the effect that respondents 2 to 4 performed the Neeraganti services
or that they held village offices before the appointed date or were in
possession of the inam lands. The mere fact that an unauthorised holder of
lands resumed under Section 4 of the Act is liable to be evicted will not
confer any night on respondents 2 to 5 as provided under Section 6 of the Act.
it can be shown that a claimant was holder of a village office and immediately
prior to the appointed date held the resumed lands, the question of re-grant of
lands under Section 5 of the Act would not arise. When this requirement under
Section 6 of the Act was not available as no material had been put forth before
the Court on this aspect much less any finding recorded, the High Court could
not have given a direction for re-grant of the lands. In that view of the
matter we cannot sustain the order made by the High Court. Therefore, we set
aside the order made by the High Court directing re-grant of lands in favour of
respondents 2 to 4.
result, the appeal is allowed, the order made by the High Court is set aside to
the extent indicated above restoring that of the learned Distinct Judge.
However, in the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.