15 July 2024


Supreme Court

Aftaruddin (dead) rep. thr. L.Rs. Vs. Ramkrishna Datta and Ors.




An under-raiyat is prohibited from transferring his interest as under-raiyat in any land though this interest is a heritable interest

Ramkrishna Datta, Dhirendra Chandra Ghosh and Lalit Mohan Ghosh, filed a suit in the trial court for declaration of their title on the suit land with consequential relief of permanent injunction for restraining Aftaruddin (contesting Defendant & Appellant before this Court), who has since expired and is represented by legal heirs, from interfering in the suit land. The trial Court held that, though the sale deed had been executed, Aftaruddin could not have transferred his rights in the suit land and, therefore, dismissed the suit. The First Appeal filed was also dismissed. In the Second Appeal, this concurrent finding of fact was set aside on the ground that, it was a perverse finding. It was held by the High Court that, in the sale deed Aftaruddin has represented himself to be a raiyat and not an under-raiyat and, therefore, Section 108 of Tripura Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 (TLR&LR Act) had no application. The High Court also found that in terms of Section 43 of the Transfer of Property Act, the subsequent vendee could not be denied their rights.

A "raiyat" has been defined in Section 2(s) of the TLR&LR Act, to mean a person who owns land for purposes of agriculture, paying land revenue to the Government; and "under-raiyat" under Section 2(v) of the TLR&LR Act means a person who cultivates or holds the land of raiyat under an agreement, express or implied, on condition of paying therefore rent in cash or in kind or delivering a share of the produce and includes a bargadar, i.e. a person who cultivates the land of any person on a condition of delivering a share of the produce to the land owner or raiyat. As per Section 108 of TLR&LR Act, an under-raiyat is prohibited from transferring his interest as under-raiyat in any land though this interest is a heritable interest. Sub-section (2) provides that no under-raiyat can be evicted except in accordance with the provisions of the TLR&LR Act. The TLR&LR Act was enacted as an agrarian reform legislation and the purpose of Section 108 of the TLR&LR Act is to prevent the under-raiyats or tenants from being evicted or being forcefully or dishonestly compelled to transfer their rights as under-raiyats.

The learned Single Judge laid great emphasis on the fact that in the sale deed Aftaruddin is described to be a raiyat. This cannot in any manner validate the sale deed which is otherwise totally against law. A Sub-Registrar could not have registered a sale deed where the seller has described himself as an under-raiyat. Vendee Mamataj Begam was none other than the daughter of Sayed Jama Kazi, the raiyat. A few months after Aftaruddin executing the sale deed on 11th January, 1971, Mamataj Begam and her father Sayed Jama Kazi sold the entire land in favour of the Plaintiffs/Respondents on 27th November, 1971. Sale deed dated 11th January, 1971 was got executed showing Aftaruddin as a raiyat to get over the bar of Section 108 of the TLR&LR Act. This is what Section 108 of the TLR&LR Act prohibits. The Plaintiffs who were subsequent purchasers cannot take benefit of the subterfuge and fraud committed by Sayed Jama Kazi and Mohd. Aftaruddin. Their remedy, lay in taking action against Sayed Jama Kazi and Mamataj Begam, who were not even impleaded as parties in the suit. The High Court totally mis-interpreted the provisions of Section 108 of the TLR&LR Act.

In 1987 Aftaruddin was conferred the rights of the raiyat. No sale deed was executed by Aftaruddin in favour of the Plaintiffs. The fraud was not committed by Aftaruddin but by Sayed Jama Kazi and Mamataj Begam. The protection under Section 108 of the TLR&LR Act which is a statutory protection could not have been taken away by the subterfuge committed by the then raiyat. The High Court exceeded its jurisdiction in setting aside the concurrent finding of fact without any question of law much less a substantial question of law arising in the second appeal. Accordingly, the judgment of the High Court is set aside and the judgment of the trial court is restored. The appeal is, accordingly, allowed.

Tags : Sale deed Execution Raiyat Rights

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