The Karnataka High Court in the case of Admar Mutt v/s Smt. Yashoda and Ors. ruled that cook working for Mutt cannot claim occupancy over appurtenant land granted to him by the mutt for residential use.
One late G.Anantha Bhatta, who is the husband of respondent had filed an application in Form No.7 of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961 in respect of a land situated in Shivalli Village of Udupi Taluk. The Land Tribunal inquired into the matter after issuing notice to both sides and passed an order granting occupancy right in respect of certain acres of land, in favour of respondent. The appellant filed a petition challenging the said order of the Tribunal, which came to be dismissed by the Single Judge.
Advocate Vinay N. and Advocate Manmohan P.N. appearing for the appellant contended that the appellant is a Mutt and the applicant in Form No.7 the late husband of respondent was working as a cook in the Mutt and the residential premises with appurtenant land in question was given to him only for his occupation and therefore, the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the application filed in Form No.7 in respect of the said land.
The respondent, on the other hand contended that the Form No.7 applicant and subsequently, respondent, who is his widow, had been cultivating the land in question as a tenant’ under the appellant, since prior to the appointed date and therefore after due enquiry the Tribunal has passed an order granting occupancy rights in favour of the respondent.
The division bench of Justice P.S.Dinesh Kumar and Justice P. Krishna Bhat noted that the Land Reforms Act, 1961 is undoubtedly a beneficial legislation. It is important to remember that this piece of legislation is meant to preserve, protect and also confer benefits on persons who are able to clearly establish the factum of agrarian relationship as tenant in respect of the land, for which Form No.7 is filed by the respondents to register them as occupants. Such legislation should not be allowed to be used as a tool for aggrandizing undeserving persons by showing them as tenants in respect of the lands.
The court while setting aside the single Judge order and quashing the order of the tribunal held that property which is the subject matter of the order by the Land Tribunal is not a “land” and Form No.7 applicant, G. Anantha Bhatta was not a ‘tenant’ in respect of the same.