Wijeyadoru v. Siriaena
1961Present : Tambiah, J.
P. M. WIJEYADORU (Assistant Commissioner of AgrarianServices), Appellant, and M. SPRISENA, Respondent
S. G. 594—M. G. Gampola 9320
Paddy Lands Act, No. 2 of 195S—Ande cultivator—Forcible eviction by landlord—
“ Tenant cultivator ”—Remedy against landlord—Sections 3 (2), 4 (2), 4 (5),
K was axi ande cultivator of a paddy field which had been let to him underan oral agreement between him and the accused, who was the owner. Thefield was situated in an Administrative District where the provisions of section4 (5) of the Paddy Lands Act No. 1 of 1958, which came into operation inSeptember 1958, were applicable. It was worked only in the Maha seasonand lay fallow from March to August every year.
It was found by the trial Judge that K was an ande cultivator under theaccused for the Maha season in 1958, which commenced in August, 1958 andended in February, 1959. It was also found that K was forcibly evicted bythe accused in April, 1959.
Held, that K. was a tenant cultivator within the meaning of section 3 (1)of the Paddy Lands Act. Accordingly, the accused was liable to be punishedunder section 4 (9) for evicting the cultivator in contravention of section 4 (5).The fact that the eviction took place in April, 1959, outside the Maha season,was not material.
jAlPPEAL from a judgment of the Magistrate’s Court, Gampola.
J.G. T. Weeraratne, Crown Counsel, with V. C. Gunalilaka, CrownCounsel, for the Complainant-Appellant.
P. J. Kurukulasuriya, for the Accused-Respondent.
Our. adv. vult.
TAMBIAH, J.—Wijeyadorn v. Strisena
March 14, 1961. Tambiah, J.—
In this case the accused-respondent was charged as follows : “ You,being the landlord of an extent of paddy land called Aswedduma Kumbura,situated at Tumpelawaka in the Administrative District of Kandy, inwhich said Administrative District the provisions of section 4 (1) of thePaddy Lands Act No. 1 of 1968 came into operation on the 20th day ofSeptember, 1958, in terms of an order made under section 2 (1) of thesaid Act by the Minister of Agriculture and Food and published in theGazette Extraordinary No. 11,528 of 19th September, 1958, did in April,1959, at Tampelawaka, within the jurisdiction of. this Court, evict one
G. Kirihamy a tenant cultivator of the said extent of paddy landin breach of section 4 (1) of the Paddy Lands Act No. 1 of 1958 and thatyou did thereby commit an offence punishable under section 4 (9) ofthe said Act.”
It is not disputed that the Paddy Lands Act became applicable tothe area where this land is situated in September, 1958 and it is commonground that the accused is the owner of the land referred to in the charge.Kirihamy stated in the course of his evidence that his father-in-lawwas working this field originally as an ande cultivator under the accusedand after his father-in-law died in 1957, he succeeded as the andecultivator and he continued to work the field on this basis. When heworked this field from 1957-59 on this basis he gave the accused halfshare of the produce, but when he stopped working this field, in March1959, he gave the accused J share according to the Paddy Lands Act,and he himself took § share. Kirihamy stated that because he gave theaccused the share according to the Paddy Lands Act, the accusedasked him to stop working the field and thereafter came with somelabourers and irrigated the field in April, 1959. He also stated that thisfield is worked only in the Maha season and lies fallow from March toAugust every year.
After the close of the case for the prosecution, the learned trial Judgeheld that since Kirihamy was only an ande cultivator under the accusedfor the Maha season, no offence was committed, even if the accusedhas evicted Kirihamy in April, 1959. The Magistrate was of the viewthat in the light of this finding the accused should be acquitted. Thelearned judge also held that Kirihamy was an ande cultivator underthe accused for the Maha season in 1958 and that this season commencedin August and ended in February, 1959. The question for determinationis whether Kirihamy was a tenant cultivator within the meaning ofs. 3 (1) of the Paddy Lands Act No. 1 of 1958. The sub-section is asfollows :—
“ Where any person is the cultivator of any extent of paddy landlet to him under any oral or written agreement made before or afterthe coming into operation of this Act in the Administrative Districtin which that extent wholly or mainly lies, then, if he is a citizen ofCeylon, he shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be the tenantcultivator of that extent.”
TAMBIAH, J.—Wijoy adorn v. Sirieena
It is not denied that Kirihamy is a citizen of Ceylon and that he wasthe cultivator of the extent of paddy land referred to in the charge,which had been let to him under an oral agreement between him andthe accused. This relationship subsisted at the time the Act came intooperation, namely, September, 1958, which is the point of time relevantto determine whether the relationship of tenant cultivator and landlordunder 8. 4 of the Act existed. It follows that Kirihamy was a tenantcultivator within the meaning of s. 3 (1) of the Act. JBy s. 4 (1) of theAct, a tenant cultivator of any extent of paddy land is given the rightto occupy and use such extent in accordance with the provisions of theAct and cannot be evicted from such extent by or at the instance ofthe landlord, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any oralor written agreement by which such extent has been let to the tenantcultivator. The landlord is also forbidden from interfering with theoccupation and use of such extent by the tenant cultivator, and isprohibited to receive from him any rent in excess of that required by theAct to be paid in respect of such extent of the land. He is furtherrestrained from evicting a tenant cultivator in respect of any land towhich this Act applies, except with the written sanction of the Com-missioner granted on his being satisfied that the eviction is to be madebona fide for any such cause as may be prescribed by the Act. Thelandlord who evicts the cultivator in contravention of s. 4 (6), commitsan offence punishable under s. 4 (9) of the Act.
Mr. Kurukulasuriya who appeared for the accused-respondent submittedthat this provision, being one that took away the rights of owners ofland, should be strictly construed. He contended that this Act didnot apply since in April, 1959, the month in which, according to thecharge, the accused is said to have evicted Kirihamy, the latter hadno possession and was only an ande cultivator for the Maha seasonwhich commenced in August, 1959. I regret that I am unable toaccept this contention.
The learned Judge has therefore erred in law in holding that therelationship of tenant cultivator and landlord did not exist in April, 1959.
I set aside the order of the learned Magistrate acquitting theaccused-respondent and remit the case in order that the learned Judgemay proceed with the trial on the footing that Kirihamy was a tenantcultivator under the accused-respondent in respect. of the land whichhas been set out in the charge.
Order of acquittal set aside.
D. P. M. WJEYADORU (Assitant Commissioner of Agrarian Services), Appellant, and