Janmam means a form of hereditary proprietary right previously prevalent in the State of Kerala. Janmam lands were originally held by a few zamindari families.
These zamindars, members of a princely family, were called ‘janmies’ in Malayalam and their lands, Janmam Estate. These zamindari families were also collectively called the Nilambur Kovilagam.
The Nilambur Kovilagam owned 80,088 acres of land in the Gudalur taluk. The janmies were mostly absentee landlords. The lands were mostly possessed and cultivated by the lessees and encroachers under the Malabar Tenancy Act.
From the time the Gudalur Janmam Estates Abolition Act was enacted in 1969, it has been challenged by those affected in different courts. The Act was challenged both by small encroachers as well as big plantation lessees.
In 1974, the Government of India by its 34th constitutional Amendment included the Gudalur Janmam Estates Abolition Act in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution. The Government of Tamil Nadu notified the Act on the 27th November, 1974.