Scope of Mamlatdar Court Act,1906
The word Mamlatdar is derived from the Arabic word ‘Muamala’ with suffix ‘dar’. Mu ‘amala’ means business, a serious, difficult or complicated matter.
The state government has power to appoint a Tahsildar (Mamlatdar) for taluka who shall be the chief officer entrusted with the local revenue administration of a taluka. The Mamlatdar has to function and perform various duties under section 70 of the Bombay Tenancy and agriculture Land Act. Tahsildar is assisted by Naib- TYahsildar- sec.1 of M.L.R.C.
Originally it was restricted to rural areas to give immediate possession of lands, premises, trees etc., as distinguished from urban matters. Jurisdiction was limited to agricultural lands or premises. But due to defective language in the act it was extended to towns and cities. Heavy work was given to the Mamlatdar and it was under consideration that the burden should be reduced and so section 5 provides that the jurisdiction of the Mamlatdar should be reduced to agricultural lands or premises used for agriculture or grazing.
Section 5(1) deprived the Mamlatdar to eject former owners and tenants who were formerly occupants of the lands before their interest were sold up by the civil courts. Therefore, provision made to leave to the civil courts, question arising as to the ejectment suits between purchasers and former owners but present tenants of lands Act, 1948, according to the explanation to that section the Mamlatdar’s court constituted under this Act is a civil court.
The Mamlatdar’s (Tahsildar) has discretion not to exercise his powers under section 5(1) of this act.
Mamlatdar’s court is a civil court
The word civil court is not defined in Civil Procedure Code or Criminal Procedure Code or General Clauses Act, though the courts which are governed by the Bombay Civil Courts Act and the Civil Procedure Code are ordinarily taken to be civil courts. It has been held in 38 Cal. 188 that the phrase civil court is comprehensive enough to include the Revenue Court deciding rent suits and executing rent decrees.
Though the civil procedure code is held not to be applicable to Mamlatdar’s court, by a uniform current of decisions. It is laid down that the Mamlatdar’s Courts are ‘Civil Courts’.
The jurisdiction of Mamlatdar is purely of statutory creation and for his guidance and he must look solely to the terms of the statute under which he exercises them.
In Aloo Nathu v. Gagubha, 19 Bom. 608, the high court held that, the subordinate Judge had concurrent jurisdiction, in the case where a collector as administrator of the estate of the minor plaintiff instituted a possessory suit before a Mamlatdar, and where a transfer of the suit was applied for, it begin urged that the suit must have been brought in the Mamlatdar’s court as there was no other court to entertain it.
Meaning of Mamlatdar Court
(1)This act may be called the Mamlatdar’s court act,1906.
(2)it shall extend to the whole of the [State of Maharashtra] except the city of Bombay.
(3)Commencement is reset of state:- in that part of the state of Bombay to which it is extended by the Mamlatdar’s Court (extension) Act,1957, it shall come into force on such date as the state Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
Repeal of Bom. Act III 1876:-
The Mamlatdar’s Courts Act,1876. is hereby repealed.
In this act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,
a) The word ‘Mamlatdar’ shall include any Revenue- Officer exercising for the time being the powers and any other person who may be specially authorized by the state government to exercise the powers of a Mamlatdar under this act; and
b) The words ‘plaintiff’ and ‘defendant’ shall include-
i. A pleader duly appointed to act on behalf of such plaintiff or defendant; and
ii. The recognized agent of a plaintiff or defendant as defined in section 37 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Any other person specially authorized-
During the continuance of the consolidation proceedings the Consolidation Officer authorized to exercise and discharge the functions of a Revenue Officer under the Mamlatdar’s Court Act, 1906- sec. 26(1) of the Bombay Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1947.
‘Plaintiff’ and ‘’
Defendant shall include a ‘pleader’ duly appointed.
Recognized agent as defined in the Code of Civil Procedure:-
Under sec.- 122 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, Attorney, Pleader and one with power of attorney are the recognized agents. Manager of estate is not a recognized agent.
Functions and power of Mamlatdar’s Court
1) Carrying out all the duties of administration under Maharashtra Land Revenue Code,1966.
2) Collection of Revenue at Taluka level to supervise.
3) Supervision of crop experiments and paisewari of crops.
4) Recovery of arrears of land revenue.
5) Supervision and direction on the work of record of rights and village accounts.
6) Issuing of certain types of licenses 7 certificates.
7) Drafter inspection of clerks and karkuns, circle inspectors,talathis.
8) Deciding disputes under mamlatdar’s court act.
Tahsildar has to performe functions of Executive Magistrate under certain provisions of Cr. P.C., 1973. these powers are administrative or quasi judicial.
In Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1981, specific Tahsildars of Taluka have been powers to record complaint and make enquiry about disputes between traditional fishermen and certain types of mechanized trawlers which are fishing in the sea- coast of Maharashtra state.
Powers of Mamlatdar’s courts-
1) Every Mamlatdar shall preside over a court, which shall be called a mamlatdar’s court, and which shall, subject to the provisions of section 6 and 26, have power within such territorial limits as may from time to time be fixed by the State Government.-
a) To remove or cause to be removed any impediment, erected otherwise that under authority of law, to the natural flow in a defined channel or otherwise of any surface water naturally rising in or falling on any land used for agriculture, grazing,trees or crops, on to any adjacent land, where such impediment causes or is likely to use damage to the land used for such purpose or to any such grazing, trees or crops thereon.
b) To give immediate possession of any lands or premises used for agriculture or grazing, or trees, or crops or fisheries, or to restore the use of water from any well, tank, canal or water-course, whether natural or artificial used for agricultural purpose to any person who has been disposed or deprived thereof otherwise than by due course of law, or who has become entitled to the possession or restoration thereof by reason of the determination of nay tenancy or other right of any other person, not being a person who has been a former owner or part-owner, within a period of twelve years before the institution of the suit of the property or use claimed, or who is the legal representative of such former owner or part-owner:
The legal representative of such former owner or part-owner:
Provided that, if in any case the Mamlatdar consider it inequitable or unduly harsh to give possession of any such property or to restore any such use to a person who has become entitled thereto merely by reason of the determination of any such tenancy or other right, or if it appears to him that such case can be more suitably dealt with by a civil court, he may in his discretion refuse to exercise the power aforesaid, but shall record in writing his reason for such refusal.
2. powers to issue injunction:
the said court shall also subject to the same provision, have power within the said limits[where any impediment referred to in sub-section (1) is erected, or an attempt has been made disturbed or obstructed, or when an attempt has been made so to disturb or obstruct any person, in the possession of any lands or premises used for agriculture or grazing, or trees, or crops, or fisheries, or in the use of water from any well, tank, canal or water-course, whether natural or artificial, used for agricultural purpose, or in the use of roads or customary ways thereto, to issue an injunction to the person causing, or who has attempted to cause, such disturbance or obstruction, requiring him to refrain from causing or attempting to cause any further such disturbance or obstruction, requiring him to refrain from causing or attempting to cause any further such disturbance or obstruction.
3. suits to be filed within six months:-
no suit shall be entertained by a Mamlatdar’s Court unless it is brought within six months from the date on which the cause of action arose.
4. cause of action:
5. the cause of action shall be deemed to have arisen on the date on which to the natural flow of surface water or the dispossession, deprivation or determination, or tenancy or other right occurred, or on which the disturbance or obstruction, or the attempred disturbance or obstruction, first commenced.
Section 5(2) empowers the Mamlatdar to issue orders of injunction and not declarations regarding the customary rights. Proviso to section 5(1) make a reference that Mamlatdar, instead of issuing injunction or directing removal of impediment and obstruction, has power, for the reason to be recorded by him, to refuse to interfere in the matter and leave the parties to approach the civil court. Mamlatdar cannot certify and thereby declare the rights of parties of customary routes/ways.
Injunction: it means an order or judgment of a court restraining some person from doing certain things whaic are determined to the interest of another or others.- Judicial Dictionary by Iyer.
Under law of tort, injunction means an order of a court of justice directing the defendant to abstain from the commission, continuance, or repetition of an unlawful act or to do some act which he is legally bound to do.
There are four types of injunctions, (1) Preventive (2) manadatory (3) provisional or interlocutory or interim (4) Prepetual.
Mamlatdar cannot grant ‘interim injunction’. He can grant injunction in matters connected with agriculture.
The plaintiff is not entitled to get relief by way of injunction when he is not in possession at the time of filing the suit. Jurisdiction of civil Court- the suit is filed by the plaintiff for removal of enforcement over suit field and thereafter for possession in favour of the plaintiff. The suit property is an agricultural land described in the plaint. The Mamlatdar’s Court Act, 1906 being special enactment, the right to adjudicate dispute under common law is barred. The present suit is admittedly filed under common law. The issue involved in the suit is within exclusive jurisdiction of Mamlatdar’s Court Act.
In this suit the High Court had perused entire mamlatdar’s Court Act., 1906. the mamlatdar’s courts Act presupposes and recognizes existence and continuation of powers and jurisdiction of Civil Court. The scheme provides for a summary jurisdiction and powers and a bar of suit to make orders of Mamlatdar or collector etc. to be immune from scrutiny in a civil suit. The High court held that exclusion and bar of jurisdiction cannot be read or inferred just for the sake of asking in the manner in which the present petitioner wants. Existence of jurisdiction has to be presumed and not the bar.
The court is competent to entertain the suit provided other conditions are satisfied. This court is primarily a court a court for the agriculturists. It decides for the time being disputes connected with lands, premises etc., used for agriculture.
Discretion to refuse to exercise powers:
The provision to Cl. (1)(b) confers a discretion upon the Mamlatdar to refuse to exercise his power in certain cases, but he is required to record his reason for refusal.
Powers of state government to decide jurisdiction:
The state government has power to fix the jurisdiction of the Mamlatdar for the purpose of this Act from time to time evidently to enable it to exclude such cities, towns or certain other areas from the jurisdiction of the Mamlatdar.
Trees:- Mamlatdar jurisdiction- a Mamlatdar can give possession or can issue an injunction in the case of trees situated even in a city or town, provided he has territorial jurisdiction over them.
The owner has right to cut branches of trees belonging to his negihuobour, overhanging his land.
Fruit trees:- right to go to gather fruits falling on neighbours land is not easement. It is a creation of an express agreement or contract.
A crop is considered growing from the time the seed is planted in the ground.
A Mamlatdar (Tahsildar) can give possession of recently cut crops i.e. grain, straw etc.
Mamlatdar has no jurisdiction in the matter of easement:-
The provision of the Mamlatdar’s court act do not include an easement to a flow of water over the land of another.
Sec 26 of Bombay Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Act,1947:-
Under sec.259 of M.L.R. Code, after the sale of any occupancy or alienated holding has been confirmed, the collector puts the purchaser in possession of the property.
Dispossession of third parties:- the Mamlatdra’s court act does not contemplate the case of a third party being ousted, for such an order is only made on a finding that the defendant is in actual physical possession.
Disputes already considered:-
The Mamlatdar should not try disputes which have come before some court of law, such questions should be decided by the civil court. The Mamlatdar may refuse to exercise his power under the act.
Mamlatdar’s findings can be relied upon in support of one’s title of ownership.
Jurisdiction of Mamlatdar over roads or customary ways:-
Under sec. 5(2) Mamlatdar has jurisdiction to issue an injunction to the defendant for obstruction. But the deputy Collector (now Dy. Divisional Officer) has revisional powers against the orders given by the Mamlatdar under sec 5.
Mamlatdar perform a lot of functions. Its jurisdiction is that of the civil court. Although today Mamlatdar doest hold an important place in the judicial system of India.
The Mamlatdars' revenue duties are to prepare the ground-work for the Sub-Divisional Officer and the Collector to pass their orders upon. When these orders are passed he has to execute them.
His scope is quasi judicial in nature. In his capacity of Mamlatdar as a taluka officer, he has to perform multifarious quasi-judicial duties which include: (i) inquiries and orders under the Mamlatdar's Courts Act (II of 1906); (ii) the execution of civil court's decrees; (iii) the disposal of applications from superior holders for assistance in recovering land revenue from inferior holders; and (iv) enquiry in respect of disputed eases in connection with the record of rights in each village. The last two are summary enquiries under the Land Revenue Code.
Though the Mamlatdar is not expected to work directly for local self-government bodies, he is usually the principal source of the Collector's information about them. He is responsible for the administration of his taluka just as the Collector is responsible for that of the district.
In relation to the public well-being, the Mamlatdar is the local representative of Government and performs generally the same functions as the Collector, but on a lower plane.
Ø Gujarat Local Acts,(Jodhpur: India Publishing House), 3rd Edition.
# (Gulabbhai v. Kasanji. 1897 P.J. 246).
# Available at, www.bombayhighcourt.nic.in , visited on 24/7/2011.
# Gujarat Local Acts,(Jodhpur: India Publishing House), 3rd Edition, p. 618
# Union of India v. Maruti Mahadev Kerulkar,2002 (4) mah. L.J. 73 (A.B.).
# Gulabhai v. jenabhai, (1888) 13 Bom. 213.
# Available at, www. articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com, visited on 24/4/2011.
# Rajendra Shendge v, Smt. Shobhatai S. Ravate and another, AIR 2007 Bom. 90
# (Hare Krishna Joshi v. Shankar Vithal, 19 Bom. 420)
# Sarangpani v. S.Naidu, AIR 1922 mad. 398
# Jaga Valabh v. Dahyabhai, 1896 P.J. 340
# Fatambibi v. Bhandari Prema, 1986, P.J. 592
# Manikchand v. Daji, 1896 P.J. 655, Balu v. Balu, (1899) 1 Bom. L.R. 384.
# Anji masjid Public Trust v. Ismail, 1964 Mah. L.J.110.
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