Hendrick A]>puhamy v. John Appuhamy
1966 Present: Sansoni, C.J., and Siva Supramaniam, J.
HENDRICK APPUHAMY, Appellant, and JOHN APPUHAMY,
S. C. 261165—D. C. Negombo, 643/L
Faddy Lands Act, No. 1 of 195S—Remedies provided thereunder—Machinery forimplementing them—Ouster of jurisdiction of the Courts—Sections 3 (2),4 (1) (3) (4) (.5) (9) (10), 4 (1A), 0 to 10, 14, IS to 21.
Tho Paddy Lands Act provides the sole machinery to which a landlord mustresort if he wonts to have his tenant cultivator evicted or his paddy field properlycultivated. No othor remedy is available to him since this Act was passed,for the Act takes away the jurisdiction of the Courts by necessary implication,
The plaintiff, who was the owner of a paddy field in an are3 where tho PaddyLands Act was in forco, instituted action in a District Court claiming ejectmentof the defendant, his tenant cultivator, from the paddy field on the groundthat tho defendant failed to maintain it diligently. The plaintiff had complainedagainst the defendant to the Cultivation Committee under section 14 of thePaddy Lands Act, but he had not obtained any decision. Tho trial Judgeheld that, as there was no section in the Paddy Lands Act to oust tho jurisdictionof the District Court, he had jurisdiction to h( or tho case.
Held, that the action was not maintainable. The plaintiff should havesought his remedy under tho Paddy Lands Act and should not have filedaction in the District Court.
2*—BR 18959 (11/64)
SANSON I, C.J .—Hendrick Appuhamy v. John Appuhamy
PPEAL from a judgment of the District Court, Negombo.
J.W. Subasinghe, with R. L. N. de Zoysa, for the Defendant-Appellant.
N. E. Weerasooria, Q.C., with W. D. Guna-sehera, for the Plaintiff.Respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
October 10, 1966. Sansoni, C.J.—
In this action the owner of a paddy field seeks to have his tenantcultivator ejected from it. He also claims damages for wrongful posses-sion. In his plaint, which was filed in 1903, he has stated that fromabout 1959 the defendant failed to maintain the paddy field diligently,with the result that the yield began to deteriorate progressively. Thedefendant in his answer denied the allegation that he had not maintained■ he field in a proper state. He has also raised the important questionof law, that the action could not be maintained in view of the Paddybands Act No. l 'of 1958.
It was admitted at the trial that this Act was in force in this areaat th<Trelevant time. The long title of the Act recites that it is “ an Actto provide security of tenure to tenant cultivators of paddy lands”, andvarious other matters.
Certain provisions of the Act may be considered in this connection.Section 4(1) states :—“A tenant cultivator of any extent of paddy landshall have the right to occupy and use such extent in accordance with theprovisions of this Act, and shall not be evicted from such extent not-withstanding anything to the contrary in any oral or written agreementby which such extent has been let to su h tenant cultivator and noperson shall interfere in the occupation and use of such extent by thetenant cultivator, and the landlord shall not demand or receive from thetenant cultivator any rent in excess of the rent required by this Act tohe paid in respect of such extent to the landlord.”
The word “evict” has been defined in section 63 to mean, in relationto a tenant cultivator, “to deprive, by using direct or indirect methods,that tenant cultivator of his right to use, occupy and cultivate the wholeor any part of the extent of paddy land let to him
Section 3 (2) enables a tenant cultivator who has been evicted “other-wise than by an order of a court ” to complain to the Commissioner ofAgrarian Services, where such eviction has taken place before the Actcame into operation in that particular area. I only draw attention to
SANSONI, C-T.—Hendrick Appuhamy v. John Appuhamy
this because it is important to decide whether the word “ evict ” in section4(1) includes eviction by an order of a court. In the absence of a specificexception such as is to be found in section 3(2), I think the word as usedin section 4(1) includes eviction by an order of a court. Section 4(1 A)enables a tenant cultivator to notify the Commissioner that he has beenevicted, and after the landlord has been heard, the Commissioner maydecide that the tenant cultivator shall be entitled to have the use andoccupation of the land restored to him, and order every other personin occupation to vacate it.
There arc further provisions in section 4 which protect the rights of atenant cultivator. For example, his rights shall not be .affected in anymanner by a voluntary or forced sale, or by a transfer by gift or lastwill or otherwise, or by the devolution by the law of inheritance of theright title and interest of the landlord of the field : section 4 (3). Thetenant cultivator’s right cannot be sequestered, seized or sold in executionof any decree of any court : section 4 (4).
Under section 4 (5) no landlord may, except with the written sanctionof the Commissioner, evict from a paddy land any person who wouldbe the tenant cultivator if the Act were- to be brought into operationin that area. Under section 4(9) any person who contravenes sub-sections (1) and (5) would be guilty of an offence punishable with afine. Section 4 (10) prohibits the use of threats or forco or violenceagainst a tenant cultivator to prevent him exercising any right or privilegeconferred upon him by this Act.
A tenant cultivator may nominate a successor in respect of his rightto cultivate the extent he is entitled to. (Section 6). When he dieswithout nominating a successor, his rights devolve on his survivingspouse, and failing her on one of the relatives. (Section 7). He cantransfer his rights by sale, gift or otherwise and his transferee thenbecomes the tenant cultivator. (Sections 8 and 9). If he dies withoutleaving a surviving spouse or relative or nominated successor, his rightsvest in the Cultivation Committee. (Section 10).
Section 14 enables a landlord to become an owner cultivator of an areaof paddy land, in respect of which there is a tenant cultivator, by applyingto the Cultivation Committee. The Commissioner can permit thelandlord to cultivate an approved area not exceeding 5 acres ; and theCultivation Committee can order the tenant cultivator to vacate thatarea, in default of which he shall be evicted. If the owner cultivatorthereafter fails to cultivate the land he may be ordered to vacate it, andthe Cultivation Committee can restore possession to the former tenantcultivator or some other suitable person. This section is important,since it provides the remedy by which'a landlord can recover the extent,or a part of it, which was in the tenant cultivator’s possession.
SANSONX, C.J.—Hendrick Appuhamy v. John Appuhamy
Under sections 18, 19 and 20 cultivators and landlords must cultivatetheir paddy lands in accordance with the principles of good paddy culti-vation. If they fail to do so, the Cultivation Committee may recommendto the Commissioner to make a Supervision Order ; and if the standardof cultivation does not improve, the Commissioner can issue an order ofdispossession under which the cultivator or the landlord, as the casemay be, must leave the land in question. Section 21 makes provisionfor the eviction of a person who fails to vacate in obedience to an orderof dispossession.
I do not think it necessary to refer to any other sections of the Act.It seems clear that special rights have been conferred by the Act upontenant cultivators and special liabilities have also been imposed on land-lords, quite distinct from their common law rights and liabilities. TheAct makes specific provision for what is to happen in case of any breachof its provisions. Most significant, for the purpose of this appeal, arethe special rights conferred upon tenant cultivators with regard to thequiet and undisturbed possession of their extents of paddy land, andtheir restoration to possession if evicted. It is clear that since thisAct was passed, the landowner of a paddy land no longer has the freedomhe previously enjoyed in regard to the use and occupation of that landor the manner of dealing with it. His common law rights have beenconsiderably curtailed, no doubt in the interests of good paddy cultivationand the country’s food supply.
In Wilkinson v. Barking Corporation1 Asquith L.J. said—“ It isundoubtedly good law that where a statute creates a right and, in plainlanguage, gives a specific remedy or appoints a specific tribunal for itsenforcement, a party seeking to enforce the right must resort to thatremedy or that tribunal, and not to others. As the House of Lords ruledin Pasmore v. Osivaldtivistle U.D.C. (1898) A.C. 387 (per Lord Halsbury) :‘ The principle that where a specific remedy is given by a statute, itthereby deprives the person who insists upon a remedy of any otherform of remedy than that given by the statute, is one which isvery familiar and which runs through the law’. ” Lord Watson inBarraclough v. Broicn2 said : “ The right and the remedy are given uno
flatu, and the one cannot be dissociated from-the other
It cannot be the duty of any Court to pronounce an order when itplainly appears that, in so doing, the Court would be using a jurisdictionwhich the Legislature has forbidden it to exercise. ”
It was argued for the plaintiff that the normal right of access to theQueen’s Courts should not be held to be barred unless the statute in ques-tion expressly or by necessary implication so provided. This is a soundargument. The only question is whether this Act does or does not takeaway the jurisdiction of the Courts by necessary implication. If thelandlord of every paddy field were to continue to enjoy the rights he had *
* (1948) 1 K. B. 121.
(1897) A. C. 615.
SANSONI, C.J.—Hendrick Appuhamy p.John Appuhamy
prior to this Act, and that includes the right to ask for a decree ofejectment against every tenant, this Act may as well be tom up. Therewould be no rights of tenant cultivators left to be protected by CultivationCommittees or the Commissioner. The statutory protection againsteviction, except under certain conditions, would be swept away, and thestatutory provision for restoration to possession would be valueless.
The Act provides the machinery to which a landlord must resort ifhe wants to have his tenant cultivator evicted or his paddy field properlycultivated, and I think this is the only machinery available to him sincethis Act was passed. A specific rcmed- has been provided where a land-lord finds that a tenant has infringed the rights given to him by the Actand for breach of that statutory right the remedy provided by the Actmust be sought. In Doe v. Bridges1 Lord Tenterden said: “Wherean Act creates an obligation and enforces the performance in a specificmanner, we take it to be a general rule that performance cannot beenforced in any other manner. ” A similar rule was enunciated byWilles J. in Wolverhampton New Waterworks Co. v. Ilawkasford2, wherelie said : “ Where the statute creates a liability not existing at common
law, and gives also a particular remedy for enforcing itthe
party must adopt the form of remedy given by the statute. ” Anotherprinciple applicable here is that where a statutory right cannot, withoutvery great inconvenience, co-exist with the ordinary common law right,the former must have been intended as a substitutional, not as anadditional, remedy.
The District Judge when dealing with this question of law in hisjudgment said that the plaintiff had complained against the defendant tothe Cultivation Committee under section 14 of the Act, but he had notobtained any decision. The Judge also said that there was no sectionin the Act to oust the jurisdiction of the District Court, and thereforeheld that he had jurisdiction to hear the case. I regret that I am unableto agree with him, for the reasons I have given. The plaintiff shouldhave sought his remedy under the Act and he should not have filed thisaction.
I would therefore allow this appeal and dismiss the plaintiff’s actionwith costs in both courts.
SrvA Sutbamaniam, J.—I agree.
1 (1831) 1 B. and Ad. 847.
(1859) 6 C. B. TV. S. 330-
HENDRICK APPUHAMY, Appellant, and JOHN APPUHAMY, Respondent