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KERALA LAND REFORMS ACT, 1963 : s.51, proviso – Surrender by tenant of his interests in the leasehold land to landlord – HELD: Being in contravention of s.51, was void. ss. 13-A and 125 – Restoration of possession of tenants dispossessed after 1.4.1964 – Jurisdiction of civil court – Held: Suit for recovery of possession by a tenant is neither barred expressly nor impliedly by s. 13-A – Further, s.125 makes it clear that in any suit regarding rights of a tenant the issues of rights of tenant and whether a person is tenant will have to be referred to the civil court. `MS’, the owner of the suit property (agricultural lands) leased out the same to `K’ in the year 1945-46. `MS’ died on 24.7.1968. His legal heirs, namely, his wife, son and daughter, executed sale deeds, Ext. A-1 and Ext. A-2 in respect of a part of the suit land. On 29.7.1968, `K’ executed a leasehold assignment deed, Ext. A-3, in favour of the son of `MS’. The purchasers of the suit property under Ext. A-1 and A-2 obtained loans from State Bank of Travancore and in turn mortgaged to the Bank the properties under Exts. A-1 and A-2. After the death of `K’, his legal heirs filed a civil suit in the year 1980 against the landlords, the purchasers and the Bank. The trial court decreed the suit declaring that the plaintiffs had leasehold rights over the suit property and were entitled to recover possession thereof. The appeals filed by the Bank and the purchasers were dismissed and so also their second appeals. In the instant petitions for special leave to appeal, the questions for consideration before the Court were: (1) whether the High Court was right in holding that Ext.A3, though styled as assignment of leasehold right, was in fact a surrender of the leasehold right by the lessee in favour of landlord and, therefore, hit by s. 51 of the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 which prohibited surrender of interest of a tenant except in favour of the Government; and (2) whether the suit filed by the tenants for declaration of their tenancy rights in respect of the suit land and for recovery of possession thereof was expressly or impliedly barred by s.13A of the Act. =Dismissing the SLPs, the Court HELD: 1. In view of the proviso to s.51 of the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963, any surrender by the tenant of his interest to any person other than the Government is prohibited. Ext.A3, being a surrender by the tenant of his interest in favour of a person other than the Government, was in contravention of s.51 and was void. This Court is, therefore, not inclined to disturb the finding of the High Court that Ext.A3 though styled as a leasehold assignment deed was in fact a surrender of the interest of the tenant and was prohibited by s.51 of the Act. [para 6] [1091-G-H; 1092-A] 2.1 Section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 provides that civil courts have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature excepting suits which are either expressly or impliedly barred. A plain reading of sub-s. (1) of s.13A of the Act would show that a person who has been dispossessed of his land in his occupation on or after 1st April, 1964 and such person would have been a tenant under the Act as amended by the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1969, at the time of such dispossession, would be entitled subject to the provisions of the Section to restoration of the possession of the land. None of the sub-sections of s.13A expressly state that a suit by a tenant for recovery of possession of the land which was under his occupation was barred. Therefore, a suit for recovery of possession by a tenant is not “expressly” barred. It cannot also be held that such a suit was “impliedly” barred by s.13A of the Act because of what is provided in s.125 of the Act. [para 7, 9 and 10] [1092-C; 1095-C-D; 1095-F] 2.2 The provisions of s.125 make it amply clear that in any suit regarding rights of a tenant, the rights of the tenant including a question whether a person is a tenant will have to be referred by the Civil Court to the Land Tribunal and after the Land Tribunal decides the question, the Civil Court will decide the suit in accordance with the decision of the Land Tribunal. Considering these clear provisions of s.125 of the Act, this Court is of the considered opinion that the suit of the plaintiffs-respondents for declaration that they were tenants in respect of the suit property and for recovery of possession of the suit property from the defendants and for mesne profit was not barred either expressly or impliedly by s.13A of the Act. [para 10] [1096-C-E] Koyappathodi Puthiyedath Ahammedkutty v. State of Kerala and Others 1987 (Supp) SCC 158 – held inapplicable. 3.1 It cannot be said that the Land Tribunal, to which the claim of tenancy of the plaintiffs-respondents was referred, has not considered the claim properly. A perusal of the order dated 13.11.1984 of the Land Tribunal shows that it has dealt with the oral evidence of several witnesses and a large number of documents filed on behalf of the parties and, in the light of the available evidence, has come to the conclusion that the father of the plaintiffs-respondents and after him the plaintiffs-respondents had leasehold rights. The trial court has accepted this finding of the Land Tribunal. The finding of the Land Tribunal and the trial court on this point is a finding of fact based on oral and documentary evidence and this Court is not inclined to disturb this finding in this Special Leave Petition. [para 11] [1096-G-H; 1097-A-B] 3.2 Further, the issue whether the purchasers under Exts. A-1 and A-2 were bona fide purchasers of the suit property, having not been raised before the trial court, it has not recorded a finding in this regard. Therefore, it is not necessary to decide, in the instant case, whether a tenant could or could not recover the land which was under his occupation from a bona fide purchaser by virtue of proviso (a) to sub-s. (1) of s.13A of the Act. [para 12] [1097-C-D] Case Law Reference: 1987 (Supp) SCC 158 held inapplicable para 3 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : SLP (Civil) No. 15221 of 2007. From the Judgment & Order dated 28.03.2007 of the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam in S.A. No. 517 of 1988. With SLP (Civil) No. 19320 of 2007. Parag P. Tripathi, ASG, C.S. Rajan, K.N. Madhusoodanan, T.G. Narayanan Nair, A.V. rangam, Shadan Farasat, Amey Nargolkar, Buddy A. Rangadhan for the Petitioner. C.S. Vaidyanathan, Haris Beeran, S. Sreekumar, Siraj Karoly, Radha Shyam Jena for the Respondents.

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 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
 SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 15221 OF 2007

Amina Beevi ...... Petitioner

 Versus

Thachi & Ors. ...... Respondents

 WITH

 SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 19320 of 2007

The State Bank of Travancore,
Alwaye Branch, Represented
by its Branch Manager ...... Petitioner

 Versus

Tachil & Ors. ...... Respondents

 ORDER

A. K. PATNAIK, J.

1. These Special Leave Petitions have been filed against the

common judgment and decree dated 28.03.2007 passed by the

Kerala High Court in Second Appeal Nos. 517 of 1988 and 311

of 1988.
 2

2. The facts very briefly are that Makkar Sahib was the

owner of the suit property and in the year 1945-46 he made

an oral lease of the suit property in favour of Kunjali on an

annual rent. Pursuant to the oral lease, Kunjali obtained

possession of the suit property and remained in possession of

the suit property. Makkar Sahib died and on 24.07.1968, the

legal heirs of late Makkar Sahib, namely, his wife Mariyumma,

his daughter Kochu Pathu and his son Abdul Kadar executed

a sale deed (Ext. A1) in respect of three acres of land out of the

suit property in favour of Aisu and another sale deed (Ext. A2)

in respect of two acres and one acre out of the suit property in

favour of Fathima Beevi and Amina Beevi. On 29.07.1968,

Kunjali executed a leasehold assignment deed (Ext. A3) in

favour of Abdul Kadar. On 29.07.1968 Mariyumma, Kochu

Pathu and Abdul Kadar executed a sale deed (Ext. A4) in

favour of Kunjali in respect of 75 cents of land. The

purchasers of the suit property under Exhibits A1 and A2,

namely, Aisu, Fathima Beevi and Amina Beevi obtained loans

from the State Bank of Travancore and mortgaged the

properties purchased by them under Exhibits A1 and A2 in
 3

favour of the Bank as security for the loan. When the loan

was not repaid, the State Bank of Travancore filed a mortgage

suit, O.S. No.131 of 1974, and obtained a decree for sale of the

mortgaged property. In the year 1974, Mariyumma, Kochu

Pathu and Abdul Kadar also sold some portions of the suit

property to V.K. Kesavan and Janaky. Kunjali died leaving

behind his wife Thachi, sons C.A. Sulaiman and M.A. Karim

and daughters Aisha, Pathu and Howa. Thachi, Sulaiman,

Aisha, Pathu and Howa (Plaintiffs) filed a suit, O.S. No.129 of

1980, against Mariyumma, Kochu Pathu, Abdul Kadar,

Fathima Beevi, Amina Beevi, Aisu, V.K. Kesavan, Janaky and

the State Bank of Travancore (defendant nos. 1 to 9) and the

Trial Court decreed the suit declaring that the plaintiffs have

leasehold right over the suit property and are entitled to

recover possession of the suit property from defendants no. 1

to 9 and are also entitled to mesne profit from the date of suit

till recovery of the possession or till expiry of period of 3 years

whichever was earlier. Aggrieved, the State Bank of

Travancore, Amina Beevi, V.K. Kesavan and Janaky filed three

appeals, A.S. Nos. 111, 117 and 121 of 1986. By a judgment
 4

and decree dated 30.10.1987, the Additional District Judge,

Parur, dismissed the appeals. Against the judgment and

decree of the Additional District Judge, Parur, Amina Beevi

and the State Bank of Travancore filed Second Appeal Nos.

517 of 1988 and 311 of 1988 under Section 100 of the Code of

Civil Procedure, 1908 and by the impugned common judgment

and decree dated 28.03.2007, the High Court dismissed the

second appeals.

3. Mr. C. S. Rajan, learned senior counsel appearing for the

petitioner in S.L.P. (C) 15221 of 2007 Amina Beevi, submitted

that the High Court has taken a view that Ext.A3 was a

surrender of the interest of the tenant Kunjali in the suit

property in favour of the landlord Abdul Kadar and such

surrender of the interest of the tenant in favour of any party

other than the Government was prohibited under Section 51 of

the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 (for short `the Act'). He

submitted that a plain reading of Ext.A3 would show that it is

not a surrender but an assignment by Kunjali in favour of

Abdul Kadar and, therefore, the High Court was not right in

coming to the conclusion that Ext.A3 was a surrender hit by
 5

the statutory prohibition in Section 51 of the Act. He next

submitted that in any case the fact remains that the plaintiffs

in the suit, who are the legal heirs of the tenant Kunjali, had

been dispossessed of the suit land and their remedy was not a

suit in the civil court but an application to the Land Tribunal

under Section 13A of the Act for restoration of possession. He

cited the decision of this Court in Koyappathodi Puthiyedath

Ahammedkutty v. State of Kerala and Others [1987 (Supp) SCC

158] in which it has been held that when a surrender is shown

to have been made contrary to the provision contained in

Section 51 of the Act, the tenant concerned would be entitled

to restoration of possession under Section 13A of the Act.

4. Mr. Parag Tripathi, learned senior counsel appearing for

the petitioner in SLP(C) 19320 of 2007, the State Bank of

Travancore, submitted that proviso (a) to sub-Section (1) of

Section 13A of the Act makes it clear that land sold to a bona

fide purchaser is saved from the provisions of Section 13A of

the Act. He submitted that Aisu, Fathima Beevi and Amina

Beevi were bona fide purchasers of the suit property under

Exhibits A1 and A2 and hence the purchases of land made by
 6

them were protected under Proviso (a) of sub-Section (1) of

Section 13A of the Act. He further submitted that in

accordance with the provisions of sub-Section (3) of Section

125 of the Act, the Trial Court in the present case referred the

question whether the plaintiffs were tenants in respect of the

suit property to the Land Tribunal and a reading of the order

passed by the Land Tribunal would show that the Land

Tribunal has not properly decided the question whether the

plaintiffs were tenants in respect of the suit property.

5. In reply, Mr. C.S. Vaidyanathan, learned senior counsel

appearing for the plaintiffs-respondents, submitted that a

plain reading of Ext.A3 would show that under Ext.A3 Kunjali

has surrendered his leasehold right in favour of Abdul Kadar

and therefore the High Court was right in coming to the

conclusion that Ext.A3 though styled as leasehold assignment

deed was actually a surrender of tenancy rights which was

prohibited by Section 51 of the Act. In reply to the contention

of Mr. Rajan that the only remedy of the plaintiffs-respondents

was to apply to the Land Tribunal under Section 13A of the

Act and not a suit in a civil court, he submitted that Section
 7

13A of the Act was an additional remedy given to the tenant

who is dispossessed of his land and did not bar a civil suit for

declaration of right of tenancy and for recovery of the

possession of land covered by the tenancy. He submitted that

Aisu, Fathima Beevi and Amina Beevi who were impleaded as

defendants No.4, 5 and 6 in the suit have not taken any plea

in their written statement that they were bona fide purchasers

of the suit property and hence the contention of Mr. Parag

Tripathi that the Act protected bona fide purchasers of land

does not arise for decision in this case. He relied on the order

passed by the Land Tribunal to show that the Land Tribunal

has gone into the evidence at length and decided that the

plaintiffs-respondents were tenants in respect of the suit

property.

6. The first question that we have to decide is whether the

High Court was right in coming to the conclusion that Ext.A3

though styled as assignment of leasehold right was in fact a

surrender of the leasehold right by lessee in favour of landlord

and therefore hit by Section 51 of the Act which prohibits

surrender of interest of a tenant except in favour of the
 8

Government. We have perused Ext.A3, copy of which has

been annexed to SLP (C) 15221 of 2007 as Annexure P3, and

we find that under Ext.A3 Kunjali, who was the tenant of the

suit land, has assigned his "leasehold right and possession"

and "relinquished" all his rights over the property in favour of

Abdul Kadar. In substance, therefore, Ext.A3 is a surrender of

leasehold or tenancy right by the lessee or the tenant in favour

of landlord. Sub-Section (1) of Section 51 of the Act provides

that notwithstanding anything contained in the Act, a tenant

may terminate the tenancy in respect of any land held by him

at any time by surrender of his interest therein but makes it

clear in the proviso that no such surrender shall be made in

favour of any person other than the Government. Hence,

under Section 51 of the Act any surrender of his interest by

the tenant to any person other than the Government is

prohibited. Ext.A3, being a surrender by the tenant of his

interest in favour of a person other than the Government, was

in contravention of Section 51 and was void. We are,

therefore, not inclined to disturb the finding of the High Court

that Ext.A3 though styled as a leasehold assignment deed was
 9

in fact a surrender of the interest of the tenant and was

prohibited by Section 51 of the Act.

7. The second question which we are called upon to decide

in this case is whether the only remedy of the plaintiffs-

respondents was to apply to the Land Tribunal under Section

13A of the Act and consequently the suit filed by the plaintiffs-

respondents was barred under the Act. Section 9 of the Code

of Civil Procedure, 1908 provides that Civil Courts have

jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature excepting suits

which are either expressly or impliedly barred. Hence, we

have to consider whether the suit filed by the plaintiffs-

respondents for declaration of their tenancy rights in respect

of suit land and for recovery of possession of the suit land was

expressly or impliedly barred by Section 13A of the Act.

8. Sections 13A and 125 of the Act, which are relevant for

deciding this question are quoted herein below:

 "13A. Restoration of possession of persons
 dispossessed on or after 1st April, 1964 - (1)
 Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained
 in any law, or in any contract, custom or usage, or in
 any judgment, decree or order of Court, where any
 10

person has been dispossessed of the land in his
occupation on or after the 1st day of April, 1964, such
person shall, if he would have been a tenant under
this Act as amended by the Kerala Land Reforms
(Amendment) Act, 1969, at the time of such
dispossession, be entitled subject to the provisions of
this section to restoration of possession of the land:

 Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall-

 (a) apply in any case where the said land has
 been sold to a bona fide purchaser for
 consideration before the date of publication of
 the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill,
 1968, in the Gazette; or

 (b) entitle any person to restoration of
 possession of any land which has been
 resumed under the provisions of this Act.

 (2) Any person entitled to restoration of possession
 under sub-section (1) may, within a period of six
 months from the commencement of the Kerala Land
 Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1969, apply to the Land
 Tribunal for the restoration of possession of the
 land.

 (3) The Land Tribunal may, after such inquiry as it
 deems fit, pass an order allowing the application for
 restoration and directing the applicant to deposit
 the compensation, if any, received by the applicant
 under any decree or order of Court towards value of
 improvements or otherwise and the value of
 improvements, if any effected on the land after the
 dispossession as may be determined by the Land
 Tribunal, within such period as may be specified in
 the order.
 11

(4) On the deposit of the compensation and value of
improvements as required in the order under sub-
section (3), the Land Tribunal shall restore the
applicant to possession of the land, if need be by
removing any person who refuses to vacate the
same.

125. Bar of jurisdiction of Civil Courts - (1) No
Civil Court shall have jurisdiction to settle, decide
or deal with any question or to determine any
matter which is by or under this Act required to be
settled, decided or dealt with or to be determined by
the Land Tribunal or the appellate authority or the
Land Board [or the Taluk Land Board] or the
Government or an officer of the Government;

 Provided that nothing contained in this sub-
 section shall apply to proceedings pending in
 any Court at the commencement of the Kerala
 Land Reforms Amendment Act, 1969.

(2) No order of the Land Tribunal or the appellate
authority or the Land Board [or the Taluk Land
Board] or the Government or an officer of the
Government made under this Act shall be
questioned in any Civil Court, except as provided in
this Act.

(3) If in any suit or other proceedings any question
regarding rights of a tenant or of a
kudikidappukaran (including a question as to
whether a person is a tenant or a
kudikidappukaran) arises, the Civil Court shall stay
the suit or other proceedings and refer such
question to the Land Tribunal having jurisdiction
over the area in which the land or part thereof is
situate together with the relevant records for the
decision of that question only.
 12

 (4) The Land Tribunal shall decide the question
 referred to it under sub-section (3) and return the
 records together with its decision to the Civil Court.

 (5) The Civil Court shall then proceed to decide the
 suit or other proceedings accepting the decision of
 the Land Tribunal on the question referred to it.

 (6) The decision of the Land Tribunal on the
 question referred to it shall, for the purposes of
 appeal, be deemed to be part of the finding of the
 Civil Court.

 (7) No Civil Court have power to grant injunction in
 any suit or other proceeding referred to in sub-
 section (3) restraining any person from entering into
 or occupying or cultivating any land or kudikidappu
 or to appoint a receiver for any property in respect
 of which a question referred to in that sub-section
 has arisen, till such question is decided by the Land
 Tribunal, and any such injunction granted or
 appointment made before the commencement of the
 Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1969, or
 before such question has arisen, shall stand
 cancelled.

 (8) In this Section, "Civil Court" shall include a Rent
 Control Court as defined in the Kerala Buildings
 (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965."

9. A plain reading of Sub-Section (1) of Section 13A of the

Act quoted above would show that a person who has been

dispossessed of his land in his occupation on or after 1st April,

1964 and such person would have been a tenant under the
 13

Act as amended by the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act,

1969, at the time of such dispossession, would be entitled

subject to the provisions of the Section to restoration of the

possession of the land. It, thus, appears that any person who

has been dispossessed of land under his occupation on or

after 1st April, 1964 and such person would have been a

tenant under the Act as amended by the Kerala Land Reforms

(Amendment) Act, 1969 has been provided with a special

remedy of restoration of possession of land under Section 13A

of the Act. None of the sub-sections of Section 13A expressly

state that a suit by a tenant for recovery of possession of land

which was under his occupation was barred. Hence a suit for

recovery of possession by a tenant is not "expressly" barred.

10. We cannot also hold that such a suit was "impliedly"

barred by Section 13A of the Act because of what is provided

in Section 125 of the Act. Sub-Section (1) of Section 125 of

the Act quoted above states that no Civil Court shall have

jurisdiction to settle, decide or deal with any question or to

determine any matter which is by or under this Act required to

be settled, decided or dealt with or to be determined by the
 14

Land Tribunal and sub-Section (3) of Section 125 states that if

in any suit or other proceedings any question regarding rights

of a tenant including a question as to whether a person is a

tenant arises, the Civil Court shall stay the suit or other

proceeding and refer such question to the Land Tribunal

having jurisdiction over the area in which the land or part

thereof is situate together with the relevant records for the

decision of that question only. Sub-Section (4) of Section 125

further states that the Land Tribunal shall decide the question

referred to it under sub-Section (3) and return the records

together with its decision to the Civil Court and under sub-

section (5) of Section 125 the Civil Court shall then proceed to

decide the suit or other proceedings accepting the decision of

the Land Tribunal on the question referred to it. These

provisions make it amply clear that in any suit regarding

rights of a tenant, the rights of the tenant including a question

whether a person is a tenant will have to be referred by the

Civil Court to the Land Tribunal and after the Land Tribunal

decides the question, the Civil Court will decide the suit in

accordance with the decision of the Land Tribunal.
 15

Considering these clear provisions of Section 125 of the Act,

we are of the considered opinion that the suit of the plaintiffs-

respondents for declaration that they were tenants in respect

of the suit property and for recovery of possession of the suit

property from the defendants and for mesne profit was not

barred either expressly or impliedly by Section 13A of the Act.

This Court has also not held in Koyappathodi Puthiyedath

Ahammedkutty v. State of Kerala and Others (supra) cited by

Mr. Rajan that the tenant cannot institute a suit in a Civil

Court for declaration of his tenancy in respect of a land and

for recovery of possession of the land covered by the tenancy.

11. We may now take up the contention of Mr. Tripathi that

the Land Tribunal, to which the claim of tenancy of the

plaintiffs-respondents was referred, has not considered the

claim properly. We have perused the order dated 13.11.1984

of the Land Tribunal, Perumbavoor, a copy of which has been

annexed as Annexure R-2 in I.A. No.2 of 2010 in SLP (C)

No.19320 of 2007, and we find that the Land Tribunal has

dealt with the oral evidence of several witnesses and a large

number of documents filed on behalf of the parties and has
 16

come to the conclusion that the father of the plaintiffs-

respondents and after him the plaintiffs-respondents had

leasehold rights in the light of the available evidence. We also

find that the Trial Court has accepted this finding of the Land

Tribunal upholding the leasehold right of the plaintiffs-

respondents and has decided Issue No.1 in the suit

accordingly. The finding of the Land Tribunal and the Trial

Court on this point is a finding of fact based on oral and

documentary evidence and we are not inclined to disturb this

finding in this Special Leave Petition.

12. We also find that no issue was raised before the Trial

Court whether Aisu, Fathima Beevi and Amina Beevi were

bona fide purchasers of the suit property and therefore the

Trial Court has not recorded a finding on this issue. In the

absence of any finding on this issue of fact, we do not think it

necessary to decide in this case whether a tenant could or

could not recover land which was under his occupation from a

bona fide purchaser by virtue of what is provided in Proviso (a)

to Sub-Section (1) of Section 13A of the Act.
 17

13. In the result, we hold that there is no merit in these

Special Leave Petitions and we accordingly dismiss the same.

No costs.

 ..........................J.
 (D. K. Jain) ..........................J.
 (A. K. Patnaik)
New Delhi,
October 27, 2010.

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