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Madras HC sets aside order passed by DRO contradicting civil court’s order

January 23, 2023 08:43 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:09 am IST - MADURAI

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court set aside an order passed by the District Revenue Officer, Thanjavur, that was contrary to the finding of a civil court.

The court was hearing the petition filed by M. Vasudevan of Thanjavur district, who said he had purchased an agricultural property at Agarathur village near Kumbakonam from one K. Kumaresan through a registered sale deed in 2000.

As the land was under cultivation at that time, Kumaresan requested the petitioner to permit him to harvest the crop, to which he agreed. However, after the harvest, Kumaresan delayed handing over of the possession of the land to the petitioner. Kumaresan’s brother Raman was instrumental in causing the delay, the petitioner said.

Mr. Vasudevan further said he was constrained to file a suit for recovery of the possession. In the suit, Kumaresan remained ex parte. However, Raman contested it by claiming that he had been a cultivating tenant of the property for 11 years.

The trial court rejected Raman’s claim that he was a cultivating tenant and decreed the suit as prayed for. Raman then preferred an appeal before the Kumbakonam Sub-Court, which was also dismissed. His second appeal was also dismissed by the High Court.

After the filing of the suit, in order to thwart the attempts to recover the possession, Raman initiated proceedings before the Tahsildar, who was also the Tenancy Rights Registering Officer, to record his tenancy. The Tahsildar gave a finding that Raman was a cultivating tenant. The appellate authorities, the Revenue Divisional Officer and the District Revenue Officer, upheld the order. The petitioner challenged the order passed by the DRO, Thanjavur.

Justice K. Kumaresh Babu observed that in view of the specific finding of a competent civil court that the person was not a cultivating tenant, the Tahsildar without any new materials placed before him could not unsettle such factual finding which was binding on the parties.

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