Vs. Narayanappa & Ors  Insc 241 (25 April 2001)
Shah Mohammed Quadri & S.N. Variava S. N. Variava, J.
Appeal is against an Order dated 7th August, 1996.
stated the facts are as follows:
to 1971 one Smt. Muniyamma was the owner of the concerned land. She sold the
said land to one Shri G. M. Munivenkate Gowda in 1971. The Appellant signed the
Sale Deed as an Attestor.
On 1st March, 1974 the Karnataka Land Reforms Act of
1961 was amended. Original Sections 44 and 45 were substituted. Section 44 and
the relevant portions of the substituted Section 45 read as follows:
Vesting of land in the State Government.-
All lands held by or in the possession of tenants (including tenants against
whom a decree or order for eviction or a certificate for resumption is made or
issued) immediately prior to the date of commencement of the Amendment Act,
other than lands held by them under leases permitted under Section 5, shall,
with effect on and from the said date, stand transferred to and vest in the
Notwithstanding anything in any decree or order of or certificate issued by any
court or authority directing or specifying the lands which may be resumed or in
any contract, grant or other instrument or in any other law for the time being
in force, with effect on and from the date of vesting and save as otherwise
expressly provided in the Act, the following consequences shall ensue, namely:-
all rights, title and interest vesting in the owners of such lands and other
persons interested in such lands shall cease and be vested absolutely in the
State Government free from all encumbrances;
x x x x] amounts in respect of such lands which become due on or after the date
of vesting shall be payable to the State Government and not to the land owner,
landlord, or any other person and any payment made in contravention of this
clause shall not be valid;
all arrears of land revenue, cesses, water rate or other dues remaining
lawfully due on the date of vesting in respect of such lands shall after such
date continue to be recoverable from the land-owner, landlord or other person
by whom they were payable and may, without prejudice to any other mode of
recovery, be realised by the deduction of the amount of such arrears from the
amount payable to any person under this Chapter;
such lands shall be liable to attachment in execution of any decree or other
process of any court and any attachment existing on the date of vesting and any
order for attachment passed before such date in respect of such lands shall
cease to be in force;
State Government may, after removing any obstruction which may be offered,
forthwith take possession of such lands:
that the State Government shall not dispossess any person of any land in
respect of which it considers, after such enquiry as may be prescribed, that he
is prima facie entitled to be registered as an occupant under this Chapter.
the land-owner, landlord and every person interested in the land whose rights
have vested in the State Government under clause (a), shall be entitled only to
receive the amount from the State Government as provided in this Chapter;
permanent tenants, protected tenants and other tenants holding such lands
shall, as against the State Government, be entitled only to such rights or
privileges and shall be subject to such conditions as are provided by or under
this Act; and any other rights and privileges which may have accrued to them in
such lands before the date of vesting against the landlord or other person
shall cease and determine and shall not be enforceable against the State
Tenants to be registered as occupants of land on certain conditions.- (I)
Subject to the provisions of the succeeding sections of this Chapter, every
person who was a permanent tenant, protected tenant or other tenant or where a
tenant has lawfully sub-let, such sub-tenant shall with effect on and from the
date of vesting be entitled to be registered as an occupant in respect of the
lands of which he was a permanent tenant, protected tenant or other tenant or
sub-tenant before the date of vesting and which he has been cultivating
xxx xxx (3) xxx xxx xxx "
On 7th January, 1976 Sri Munivenkate Gowda sold the land
to Respondents 1 and 2. This Sale Deed is also signed by the Appellant as an Attestor.
On 29th August, 1976 the Appellant made an Application
in Form No. 7 claiming occupancy rights under the provisions of amended
Sections 44 and 45. The Respondents filed their objections. On 10th December, 1981 the Land Tribunal rejected the
application of the Appellant. The Appellant then filed a Writ Petition in the
High Court. By an Order dated 11th March, 1983
the High Court set aside the Order of the Land Tribunal and remitted the matter
back for fresh enquiry.
remand the Land Tribunal took additional oral and documentary evidence and, by
an Order dated 27th
March, 1987, held that
the Appellant was the tenant of the land on the appointed day i.e. 1st March, 1974 and prior to that.
Land Tribunal thus granted occupancy rights to the Appellant.
1 and 2 filed an Appeal before the Land Reforms Appellate Authority, Kolar. The
Appellate Authority also took further evidence and documents on record and held
that the Appellant was a tenant of the land on the appointed day, i.e. 1st
March, 1974 and prior to that and confirmed the Order granted occupancy rights
to the Appellant. The Appellate Authority thus dismissed the Appeal on 4th April, 1990.
1 and 2 then filed a Writ Petition in the High Court which has been allowed by
the High Court by the impugned Order dated 7th August, 1996.
the question involved is taken up for consideratin certain other provisions of
the Karnataka Land Reforms Act need to be noted. Section 2(34) defines a tenant
"Tenant" means an agriculturist [who cultivates personally the land
he holds on lease] from a landlord and includes-
person who is deemed to be a tenant under Section 4;
person who was protected from eviction from any land by the Karnataka Tenants
(Temporary Protection from Eviction) Act, 1961;
a person who cultivates personally any land on lease under a lease created
contrary to the provisions of Section 5 and before the date of commencement of
the Amendment Act;
person who is a permanent tenant; and
person who is a protected tenant." Section 4 provides that a person
lawfully cultivating any land belonging to another person shall be deemed to be
a deemed tenant, provided
land is not cultivated personally by the owner
such person was not a member of the owner's family, or
servant or a hired labourer or wages.
2(11) and 2(12) are also relevant. They read as follows:
"To cultivate personally" means to cultivate land on one's own
one's own labour; or
by the labour of any member of one's family or;
hired labour or by servants on wages payable in cash or kind, but not in crop
share, under the personal supervision of oneself or by member of one's family;
the case of an individual who has a spouse or spouses, such individual, the
spouse or spouses and their minor sons and unmarried daughters, if any;
the case of an individual who has no spouse, such individual and his or her
minor sons and unmarried daughters;
the case of an individual who is a divorced person and who has not remarried,
such individual and his minor sons and unmarried daughters, whether in his
custody or not; and
an individual and his or her spouse are both dead, their minor sons and
support of his claim Appellant had relied upon R.T.C. record of rights and
tenancy and Pahani for the concerned area. This showed that from 1965 to 1970
the Appellant was cultivating the land as "Wara" i.e. a tenant. This
record also showed Muniyamma as self cultivator for the years 1970-71. It could
not be disputed that no enquiry, as contemplated under the Act, had taken place
before such a change was made in the records. The record again shows in 1973-74
and 1974-75 the name of the Appellant but as a "Swantha", i.e. a
cultivator. Apart from these the Appellant gave oral evidence of his own
tenancy firstly under one Sri Narayanappa, who was the owner before Muniyamma,
then under Muniyamma and thereafter under Munivenkate Gowda. Munivenkate Gowda
also gave evidence.
confirmed that the Appellant was a tenant under him and had been paying him
rent by giving a share in the crop. The Appellant and Munivenkate Gowda proved
certain rent receipts for the period 1972 to 1975. Munivenkate Gowda accepted
the fact that he had received the rent and that he had issued those rent
receipts. Thus the Revenue Records showed that the Appellant as a tenant from
1965 to 1970. Thereafter, the Revenue Records showed during the years 1972 to
1974 the name of the Appellant as a self cultivator. Admitted that entry would
be wrong because during this period Munivenkate Gowda was the owner of the
land. The entries show the presence of the Appellant on the land as a tenant upto
evidence of Munivenkate Gowda establishes that the Appellant was a tenant till
above evidence, oral and documentary both the Land Tribunal as well as the
Appellate Authority had, on the material before them, held that the Appellant
was a tenant of the land on the appointed day i.e. 1st March, 1974.
High Court, however, upset the concurrent findings of fact, in its revisional
jurisdiction, only on the basis that the Sale Agreements of 1971 i.e. from Muniyamma
to Munivenkate Gowda and in the Sale Agreement of 1976 i.e. from Munivenkate
Gowda to Respondents 1 and 2, it was mentioned that vacant possession had been
given to the purchasers and that the Appellant had attested both the
Agreements. The High Court also relied, without further proof, on the statement
in both the Sale Agreements that Appellant was the
grandson of Muniyamma. Only on the basis of the averments in the Sale Deeds the
High Court disbelieved the Revenue Records, even though they raised a
presumption that what was stated thereon was correct. The High Court
disbelieved the oral testimony and the Revenue Records only on basis of statements
in the sale Agreements.
view the reasoning of the High Court cannot be sustained at all. Sale
Agreements between private parties may contain any averments. Those averments
have no presumptive value. The facts stated therein have to be proved.
Respondents 1 and 2 had tendered no further or other evidence of the relevant
period. They tendered no evidence which rebutted the presumption which arose
from the Revenue Records. The testimony of the Appellant and Munivenkate Gowda
was believed by the Trial Court which had the advantage of seeing the demeanor
of the witnesses.
testimony was supported by Revenue Records and rent receipts. The first Appellant Court had also accepted that evidence.
Without any justification, the High Court chose to disbelieve that evidence.
From the statements in the two Agreements the High Court presumed that
Appellant could not be a tenant as he was grandson of Muniyamma. This was
entirely erroneous. Even if Appellant was a grandson, he could still be a
tenant as he is not a member of the family of Muniyamma within the meaning of
the term in Section 2(12). Also cultivation by Appellant would not amount to Muniyamma
having cultivated personally within the definition under Section 2(11). The two
Agreements do not mention that there is no tenant on the land.
view, the impugned Judgment cannot be sustained and is accordingly set aside.
The Orders of the Land Tribunal and the first Appellate Court are restored. The
Appeal stands disposed of accordingly. There will be no Order as to costs.