IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS DATED : 15/11/2007 CORAM THE HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE M.JAICHANDREN Writ Petition No.8408 of 1999 Sri-la-Sri Sivaprakasa Pandara Sannadhi Avargal Adheenakarthar Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam Thiruvaduthurai and Hereditary Trustee of: 1. Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam Thiruvaduthurai 2. Sri Gomuktheeswaraswamy Temple Thiruvaduthurai 3. Sri Vadavaranyaeswaraswamy Temple Thiruvalangadu. 4. Sri Suyambunathaswamy Temple Narasinganpettai. 5. Sri Akshayanathaswamy Temple Narasinganpettai. 6. Viswanatha Swamy Temple Karaikantam 7. Veezhinathaswamy Temple Thiruveezhimazhalai 8. Sri Mahalingaswamy Temple Thiruvuvidaimarudur. 9. Sri Mayuranathaswamy Temple Mayiladuthurai. 10. Prananathaswamy Temple Thirumangalakudi. 11. Athmanathaswamy Temple Thirupperundurai. 12. Akshyanathaswamy Temple Thirumandurai. 13. Kalyanasundareswaraswamy Temple Nallur. 14. Neelakanteswaraswamy Temple Illuppapattu. 15. Banapureeswaraswamy Temple Vanapuram. 16. Subramaniaswamy Temple Karukkuthurai. 17. Somanathaswamy Temple Arumuganeri. 18. Vilappojai Kattalai attached to Manenthiappar Temple Kallidaikurichi. 19. Pitchai Kattalai attached to Papanaswamy Temple Papanasam. 20. Udhayamarthandam Kattalai attached to Subramaniaswamy Temple Valliyur. 21. Senthil Thiruppani Kattalai attached to Subramaniaswamy Temple Thiruchendur. 22. Senthil Annathana kattalai attached to Subramaniaswamy Temple Tiruchendur. 23. Senthil Visaka Kattalai attached to Subramaniaswamy temple thiruchendur. 24. Senthil Arutpani Kattalai attached to Subramaniaswamy Temple Thiruchendur. 25. Senthil Pradosha Kattalai attached to Subramaniaswamy Temple Tiruchendur. 26. Avudayappa Pillai Kattalai attached to Meenakshisundareswarar Temple Madurai. ..Petitioners. Versus 1. State of Tamilnadu Rep. by Secretary to Govt. Dept. of Revenue Fort St.George Chennai 9. 2. The District Collector Nagapattinam. 3. The District Collector Tiruvarur. 4. The District Collector Thanjavur 5. The District Collector Tiruchirapalli 6. The District Collector Madurai. 7. The District Collector Karur. 8. The District Collector Erode. 9. The District Collector Tirunelveli. 10. The District Collector Pudukkottai 11. The District Collector Kanyakumari at Nagercoil. 12. The District Collector Ramanathapuram. 13. The District Collector Virudhunagar. ..Respondents. Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus, forbearing the respondents from in any manner collecting the arrears land revenue upto fasli 1406 for the lands owned by the petitioner. For petitioner : Mr.T.Sudhan Raj for Mr.K.Chandrasekaran For respondents : Mr.M.R.Jothimanian, Government Advocate O R D E R
Heard Mr.T.Sudhan Raj, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and Mr.M.R.Jothimanian, the learned Government Advocate appearing for the respondents.
2. It is submitted that the petitioner/Adheenam is holding vast extent of lands and the income derived from the lands is utilised for the purpose of perpetuation and preservation of its saintly order, maintenance of agamas in temples, chanting of scriptures, daily poojas and conducting festivals etc., and for philanthropic purposes. Though no ceiling had been fixed with regard to the extent of agricultural lands that could be owned by the petitioner/Adheenam, several enactments have been made imposing certain restrictions on the use of such lands. Thus, it was mandated that agricultural lands in excess of 20 standard acres were to be leased out to tenants on yearly basis. The laws had also been enacted providing for the protection of the tenants of such lands and for the constitution of revenue Courts to deal with the disputes arising from such tenancy. However, in course of time, the tenants in the petitioner/Adheenam lands had stopped paying the rent and therefore, the activities of the petitioner/Adheenam were adversely affected. In such circumstances, the petitioner/Adheenam has not been in a position to pay the land revenue as claimed by the authorities of the State of Tamil Nadu. Therefore, the petitioner/Adheenam filed the present writ petition to forbear the respondents from in any manner collecting the arrears of the land revenue upto fasli 1406 for the lands owned by the petitioner/Adheenam.
4. In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents, it has been stated that the petitioner/Adheenam has not pursued the remedy of approaching the State Government for the reliefs sought for by the Adheenam, as provided by this Court in W.P.No.1271 of 1985. However, the petitioner/Adheenam had preferred a suit in O.S.No.39 of 1998 on the file of the District Munsif Court, Valangaiman at Kumbakonam, for a direction to restrain the revenue authorities from collecting land revenue from their tenants.
5. A direction had been issued in the said suit by the District Munsif, directing the revenue authorities not to collect the land revenue from their tenants and to collect the land revenue only as per the existing rules. It has also been stated that the petitioner/Adheenam had not allowed the tenants to pay the kist directly to the revenue authorities, even though the tenants were ready to pay the kist amount to the revenue authorities and to adjust it with the rent payable to the petitioner/Adheenam. However, many of the petitioner/Adheenam's tenants have been paying the rents due from them regularly. Therefore, the relief sought for by the petitioner/Adheenam in the present writ petition cannot be countenanced.
6. On considering the submissions made by the learned counsels appearing for the petitioner/Adheenam, as well as for the respondents, this Court is of the considered view that the relief sought for by the petitioner/Adheenam cannot be granted as the petitioner/Adheenam has not shown sufficient cause or reason to prevent the revenue authorities from initiating the proceedings as provided under law to recover the land revenue due from the petitioner/Adheenam. The allegation of the petitioner/Adheenam that the tenants, who are in occupation of the lands belonging to the petitioner/Adheenam, are not paying the rents has not been substantiated by sufficient proof. Even otherwise, non payment of the rent by the tenant cannot be a sustainable reason for the petitioner/Adheenam to avoid payment of land revenue due from them to the State Government.
7. At this stage, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the writ petitioner had relied on a decision of this Court made in Dharmapuram Adheenam, Dharmapuram, by its Adheenakarthar Sri la Sri Shanmuga Desika Gnanasambanda Paramacharya Swamigal Avargal, Dharmapuram, reported in 1973 Writ L.R 875 (W.P.Nos.7330 and 7336 of 1984), to pray that the petitioner may be permitted to make a representation to the State Government for necessary exemption or abatement from payment of the land revenue.
8. In such circumstances, this Court is of the view that it is open to the petitioner/Adheenam to submit a representation to the Tamil Nadu State Government, seeking for exemption or abatement relating to levy of land revenue on the petitioner/Adheenam. On such representation being made by the petitioner/Adheenam, it is expected that the authorities concerned would consider and dispose of the same, on merits and in accordance with law, expeditiously.
Accordingly, the writ petition is disposed of with the above observations. No costs.
1. The Secretary State of Tamilnadu Dept. of Revenue Fort St.George Chennai 9.
2. The District Collector Nagapattinam.
3. The District Collector Tiruvarur.
4. The District Collector Thanjavur.
5. The District Collector Tiruchirapalli.
6. The District Collector Madurai.
7. The District Collector Karur.
8. The District Collector Erode.
9. The District Collector Tirunelveli.
10. The District Collector Pudukkottai.
11. The District Collector Kanyakumari at Nagercoil.
12. The District Collector Ramanathapuram.
13. The District Collector Virudhunagar.