07 May 1982
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (civil) 256 of 1971








CITATION:  1982 AIR 1201            1982 SCR  (3) 729  1982 SCC  (2) 414

ACT:      Central Provinces  & Berar  Revocation of  Land Revenue Exemptions Act  1948-Section 5(3)  (ii)-Grant  of  money  or pension-Persons entitled to-Burden of proving that they were descendants of a Ruling Chief-Rests upon claimants.      International   law-Cession-Under    treaty-Rights   of inhabitants-How acquired.      Words and phrases:-Ruling Chief-Sovereignty-Meaning of

HEADNOTE:      In consideration  of the  loyal  services  rendered  by them, two  remote ancestors  of the  appellants received  in 1751 a  sanad from  the Peshwa Balaji Rao by which they were conferred the  title of "Bhuskute" and were made sur mandloi and sur  kanungo.  They  were  created  watandars  with  the reservation of sur deshmukhi in respect of certain mahals in Sarkar  Handia   and  in   Sarkar  Bijagarh,   rent-free  in perpetuity with  right to  retain 4%  of the  revenue.  They remained the Amils or Governors of the Peshwa at Handia till 1768 A.D.  In the  mean-time  they  were  granted  inams  of certain villages.      After the  defeat of  the Maharatta  army in  the third battle of Panipat in 1761 A.D. the appellants ancestors lost their position  and power  as sur mandloi and sur kanungo in Sarkar Handia.  By the sanad of 1777 the Peshwa created them the Jagirdar of Timarni comprising of Timarni and four other villages together  with  the  fort  with  sur  deshmukhi  in perpetuity. The  sanad of  1798 permitted  them to  maintain irregular soldiery  for recovery  of taxes  and cesses.  The grant of  jagir was later confirmed by the Scindias and this was continued by the British.      After the  Scindias ceded  the territory in question to the British  in 1860,  the British  Government undertook  to recognise and  respect the existing rights and titles of its new subjects to their lands.      After a  full investigation  into  the  nature  of  the estates transferred  and the  nature of tenures of their new subjects, the  British  Government  declared  in  1865  that except "the  chief, the  Chief of  Makrai, all the zamindars are  to   be  regarded   and  treated  as  ordinary  British subjects". The estates in question, which



730 were located in the districts of Hoshangabad and Nimar, were held by  the appellants  on favourable  terms as  Jagirdars, Muafidars and Ubaridara in which they enjoyed exemption from payment of land revenue amounting to Rs. 27,895 per annum.      Having  found  that  there  was  no  justification  for continuing the  exemption from liability to pay land revenue hitherto enjoyed  by certain families in the former province of Central Provinces and Berar, and also because it resulted in loss  to the public exchequer, the provincial legislature passed the  Central Provinces  and Berar  Revocation of Land Revenue  Exemptions   Act,  1948   by  which  all  prevalent exemptions from liability to pay land revenue were revoked.      In their application under section 5(3) (ii) of the Act the  appellants   claimed  that  the  "Bhuskute"  family  of Timarni, to  which they  belonged, were the descendants of a former ruling  chief and in that capacity they were entitled to a  substantial grant  of money or pension for maintenance in terms of section 5 (3) (ii).      Rejecting their  application the  State Government held that the  ancestors of  the appellants were no more than the watandars of  a small  territory under the Peshwas and later under the  Scindias and  with the transfer of sovereignty to the  British   they  lost  their  administrative  power  and retained only  their muafi.  It accordingly,  held that  the appellants were  not the decendants of a former Ruling Chief and so  were not  entitled to  the grant  of any  amount  or pension in terms of section 5(3) (ii) of the Act.      The High  Court declined to intervene with the order of the State Government on the ground that the appellants never enjoyed any status higher than that of a Jagirdar.      Dismissing the appeal, ^      HELD: Not  being the  descendants of  a  former  Ruling Chief, the  appellants were  not entitled  to any  money  or pension in  terms of section 5 (3) (ii) of Central Provinces and Land Revocation of Land Revenue Act, 1948. [754 D]      It does not appear from the impugned order of the State Government that  there was  any  error  of  jurisdiction  in refusing to  grant money  or pension to the appellants under section 5 (3) (ii) of the Act or any incorrect determination of the  basic facts on their part in reaching the conclusion that their  ancestors never  exercised sovereign powers of a Ruling Chief in relation to the jagirs of Timarni granted by the  Peshwas   and  later  confirmed  by  the  Scindias  and continued by  the British  at the  request of  the Scindias. [738 H; 739 A-C]      The expression  "Ruling Chief"  has not been defined in the Act  and must be understood as the term is understood in common parlance.  Normally it  connotes  "a  person  who  is endowed with  the content  of sovereignty  and also  has the attributes of  a sovereign".  Sovereignty, according  to its normal legal conno- 731 tation, is the supreme power which governs the body politic, or society  which constitutes  the State,  and this power is independent of  the particular  form of  Government, whether monarchial autocratic or democratic. [736 E; 737 A-C]      After a  sovereign State has acquired territory, either by conquest  or by cession under treaty or by the occupation of territory  theretofore unoccupied by the recognised Ruler or otherwise,  an inhabitant  of a  territory can enforce in the municipal  courts only  such proprietary  rights as  the sovereign has  conferred or  recognised. Even if a treaty of cession stipulates  that  certain  inhabitants  shall  enjoy



certain rights,  that gives  them no right which they can so enforce.  The   meaning  of   a  general   statement  in   a proclamation or  a treaty  that  existing  rights  would  be recognised is that the Government will recognise such rights as upon  investigation it finds existed. The Government does not thereby renounce its right to recognise only such titles as it  considers should  be recognised  nor confer  upon the municipal courts  any powers  to adjudicate  in the  matter. [747 H; 748 A-C]      Vajesingji Joravarsingji  & Ors.  v. Secretary of State for India  in Council  L.R. [1923-24]  51 IA  357;  and  Bir Bikram Deo  v. Secretary of State for India in Council, L.R. [1911-12]39 IA  31; and  Martand Rao  v.  Malhar  Rao,  L.R. [1927-28] 55 IA 45, relied on.      Kunwarlal  Singh   v.  Provincial  Government,  Central Provinces and Berar. I.L.R. [1944] Nagpur 181, referred to.      The  burden  of  proving  that  after  cession  of  the territory by  the Scindias  to the  British by the treaty of 1860, the  British Government acknowledged or recognised the existence of  any sovereign rights with the ancestors of the appellants, was  upon them  and that burden they have failed to  discharge.  On  the  contrary,  the  British  Government decided on  the basis  of the  enquiry that the Zamindars in the Central  Provinces including  those of  the  appellants’ ancestors, had  to  be  regarded  and  treated  as  ordinary British subjects. [749 B, C]      Viewed in  the historical  perspective  the  appellants pretensions that  their  ancestors  acquired  attributes  of sovereignty in  relation to  the jagir of Timarni can hardly stand scrutiny.  The tenor  of all the sanads granted to the ancestors of  the appellants  shows that  they were  nothing more than  Jagirdars of  Timarni and  that  they  had  never attained the status of a feudatory or tributary Ruling Chief under the  sovereignty of  the Peshwas  or the Scindias. The British  Government   never   recognised   the   appellants’ ancestors who  like all other Zamindars and Jagirdars in the Central Provinces,  were laying  claim to be recognised as a chieftain to  be a  Ruling Chief. After the establishment of the  British   rule,  the   Governor  General  came  to  the conclusion that  the ancestors  of the  appellants had to be regarded and  treated as  ordinary British subjects. [744 C; 745 F; 747 G]

JUDGMENT:      CIVIL APPELLATE  JURISDICTION; Civil  Appeal No. 256 of 1971. 732      From the  Judgment and  order dated the 9th March, 1970 of  the  Madhya  Pradesh  High  Court  (Jabalpur)  in  Misc. Petition No. 61 of 1967.      V.M. Tarkunde and A. G. Ratnaparkhi for the Appellants.      Gopal Subramaniam, S.A. Shroff and D.P. Mohanty for the Respondent.      The Judgment of the Court was delivered by      SEN, J.  This appeal by certificate is directed against the judgment  and order  of the  Madhya Pradesh  High  Court dated March  10, 1970,  by which  the High Court declined to interfere with  an order  of the  State Government of Madhya Pradesh dated  September 9, 1966 disallowing the appellant’s claim to  the grant  of money  or pension  under cl. (ii) of sub-s. (3)  of s.  5 of  the  Central  Provinces  and  Berar Revocation of  Land Revenue  Exemptions Act, 1948 (for short ’the Act’)  on the  ground that they are not entitled to the



grant of such money or pension not being ’the descendants of a former Ruling Chief’ in terms thereof.      After the  Central Provinces  and Berar  Revocation  of Land Revenue  Exemptions Act,  1948 was  brought into force, the  appellants   who  held  estates  in  the  districts  of Hoshangabad and  Nimar on  favourable  terms  as  Jagirdar’s Muafidars and  Ubaridars enjoyed  exemption from  payment of land revenue  amounting to  an aggregate  of Rs. 27,895.05p. per annum,  made applications to the Deputy Commissioners of Hoshangabad and  Nimar claiming  that  the  members  of  the Bhuskute family  of Timarni  to which they belonged were the descendants of  a former  Ruling Chief  and  therefore  were entitled to  a substantial  grant of  money or  pension  for their suitable  maintenance in  terms of  cl. (ii) of sub-s. (3) of  s. 5  of the Act. It was alleged that although their ancestors had  acquired the  rights of  a  Ruling  Chief  by virtue of  the sanads  granted by the Peshwas and recognized by the  Scindias and  were all along treated as such even by the British,  they were  wrongly recorded  as  Jagirdars  of Timarni in  the record  of rights  which was  no evidence of their real  status. The  applications were  forwarded by the respective Deputy  Commissioners to  the State Government of Madhya Pradesh. The State Government, by its order dated May 13, 1955, rejected their prayer holding that they were not 733 entitled to  the grant  of such  amount or pension not being the descendants  of a former Ruling Chief within the meaning of cl.  (ii) of  sub-s. (3) of s. 5 of the Act. A Full Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court by its judgment dated April 20, 1959  declined to  interfere  on  the  ground  that  the proceedings under sub-s. (3) of s. 5 of the Act could not be said to  be judicial  or quasi-judicial in nature as the use of the  word "may" in sub-s. (3) of s. 5 of the Act made the grant of  money or  pension in  the discretion  of the State Government. Disagreeing  with the  High Court, this Court in Sardar Govindrao  & Ors.  v. The  State of Madhya Pradesh(1) held that the word "may" used in sub-s. (3) of s. 5 must, in the context,  be construed  to have  a compulsive  force and therefore on  the existence  of the condition precedent, the grant  of   money  or   pension  became  obligatory  on  the Government notwithstanding that in sub-s. (2) the Government had power to pass such orders as it thought fit. It observed that in  passing orders  on the  applications  made  by  the appellants the  State Government  had to  act  in  a  quasi- judicial manner. The appellants therefore had to be given an opportunity to  state their  case and  were also entitled to know why their claim had been rejected.      In compliance  with the directions issued by this Court in Govindrao’s  case, supra,  the State  Government afforded the appellants  an opportunity  of hearing on August 6, 1966 to substantiate  their claim  for grant  of money or pension under cl.  (ii) of  sub-s. (3)  of s.  5 of  the Act  on the ground that  they were  the descendants  of a  former Ruling Chief in  terms of  the section. The State Government in the impugned order  specifically mentions  that ’the  appellants mainly based their claim only on the sanad issued during the regime of  Chhatrapati Shahu in 1777 A.D.", that is, granted by the  Peshwa Madhavrao  by which their ancestor Ramchandra Bullal was  granted the  jagir of Timarni. On a construction of the  document, the  State Government  held that the sanad did not  confer on the grantee the powers of a Ruling Chief. It observed that the later grants by the Peshwas referred to the ancestors  of the  appellants as  sur-mandloi  and  sur- kanungo and not as a Ruling Chief and the grants were in the nature  of  inams  being  emoluments  appurtenant  to  their



office. It  further held  that even after the suzerainty had passed from  the Peshwas  to  the  Scindias,  the  grant  of village Piplia and Bhaili to their ancestors by Daulatrao 734 Scindia by  the two sanads of 1802 and 1804 referred to them as sur-mandloi  and sur-kanungo  and not  as a Ruling Chief, and they  were conferred  no rights  except that  of a  mere inamdar. During the period of management of the tract by the British on  behalf of  the Scindias  from the  years 1844 to 1860, the  jagir was  continued as  a muafi in perpetuity at the desire  of the Scindias. As regards the period after the transfer of  suzerainty the  British  never  recognized  the ancestors of  the appellants to be a Ruling Chief. In coming to that  conclusion, it  relied upon  the  decision  of  the Governor General  in Council  conveyed by  the letter of the Secretary to  the Chief  Commissioner of  Central  Provinces dated March  3,  1865.  The  State  Government  taking  into consideration  all   these  circumstances   held  that   the ancestors of  the appellants were no more than the watandars of small  territory under  the Peshwas  and later  under the Scindias  and  with  the  transfer  of  sovereignty  to  the British, they  lost their administrative powers and retained only their muafi. The State Government accordingly held that the appellants  were not  the descendants of a former Ruling Chief and  therefore were  not entitled  to the grant of any amount or  pension under  cl. (ii)  of sub-s. (3) of s. 5 of the Act.      On a  consideration of the material on record, the High Court came  to  the  conclusion  that  there  was  no  error apparent on the record to warrant interference with impugned order of  the State Government. According to the High Court, cl. (ii)  of sub-s.  (3) of  s. 5  of the Act authorized the State Government to grant money or pension to those families alone whose  ancestors had  been granted  remissions in land revenue, not on account of any services rendered by them but in consideration  of the  fact that  they were  deprived  of their sovereign  powers. It  referred to  the existence of a feudal system  known as  the jagirdari  system, prevalent in the erst-while  State of  Gwalior, which was a legacy of the past, under  which the  land  revenue  of  a  territory  was assigned to  a chief  or a  noble, known as the jagirdar, to support troops,  police and  for specified  services.(1)  It observed that  the Legislature  has kept  the distinction in view while  enacting cl.  (ii) of  sub-s. (3) of s. 5 of the Act. After  referring to  the material on record, it came to the same  conclusion as  the State  Government and held that the ancestors  of the appellants never enjoyed the powers of a tributary or feudatory chief 735 under the  Peshwas or  the Scindias that they held status of sur-mandloi and sur-kanungo and were holding the lands muafi in perpetuity,  being in  the nature  of service  grant. The conferral of  rights in  them by  the Peshwas in favour of a loyal servant  and instead  of making  a cash  grant for the services rendered,  they were  permitted  to  collect  their remuneration  from  a  part  of  the  revenue  and  maintain themselves  from   the  profits   derived  from   the  lands appurtenant to  their office. It would thus appear that both the High  Court as  well as the State Government were of the view that  the appellants  never enjoyed  any status  higher than that of a jagirdar.      The whole  object and  purpose of  the legislation,  as reflected in  the  Preamble,  is  to  revoke  all  prevalent exemptions  from   liability  to   pay  land   revenue.  The Legislature  felt   that  there  was  no  justification  for



continuing the  exemption from liability to pay land revenue hitherto enjoyed  causing  loss  to  the  public  exchequer. Except grants  for specific  purposes, the  exemptions  were mostly in  consideration of loyalty and help rendered in the past and  there was  no reason why they should be allowed to be continued  at present  and cause  unavoidable loss to the Revenue. Where such exemptions were granted for services and it was  considered that  the services  should  continue,  or where it  was considered necessary to continue in individual cases, certain  grants made  in the past, provision has been made to  do so  by the  award of  money grants and pensions. Sub-s. (1) of s. 3 provides:           "3. (1)  Every estate,  mahal, village  or land to      whatever purpose  applied and  wherever situate,  which      was heretofore  exempted from  payment of  the whole or      part of  land revenue  by special grant of, or contract      with the  Crown, or  under the  provision of any law or      rule for the time being in force or in pursuance of any      other  instrument,   shall,  notwithstanding   anything      contained in  any such  grant, contract,  law, rule  or      instrument, be  liable from the agricultural year 1948-      49.      (i)   In the  Central Provinces  to the payment of land           revenue equal  to  the  amount  of  Kamil-Jama  as           revised by  the Central  Provinces Revision of the           Land Revenue  of Estates  Act,  1947,  or  by  the           Central Provinces  Revision of the Land Revenue of           Mahals Act, 1947, as the case may be." 736      The Legislature  however thought it fit to mitigate the rigour in  certain specific  cases by  making a provision in sub-s. (1) of s. 5 that any person adversely affected by the provisions of  s. 3  may apply to the Deputy Commissioner of the district  for the  award of a grant of money or pension, and sub-s. (2) thereof provides that the Deputy Commissioner shall forward the application to the State Government, which may pass  such orders as it deems fit. Sub-s. (3) of s. 5 of the Act provides:           "5 (3)  The State  Government may  make a grant of      money or pension:-      (i)   for the  maintenance or  upkeep of any religious,           charitable or  public institution  or service of a           like nature, or,      (ii) for  a suitable  maintenance of  any family  of  a           descendant from a former Ruling Chief."      In sub-s. (4) of s. 5 of the Act, any amount sanctioned by way of grant of money or pension under this section shall be a charge on the revenue of the State.      The expression  "Ruling Chief"  has not been defined in the Act  and must  therefore  be  understood  as  in  common parlance. The  meaning of  the  word  "Ruler"  as  given  in Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edn., vol. 2, p. 1867 is: "one  who, or  that which, exercises rule, especially of supreme or  sovereign kind". Normally the expression "Ruling Chief" connotes "a person who is endowed with the content of sovereignty and  also has  the attributes  of a  sovereign". According to Blacks’ Legal Dictionary, 5th edn., p. 1252 the legal conception of "sovereignty" is stated thus:           "The supreme,  absolute, and  uncontrollable power      by which  any independent  state is  governed;  supreme      political   authority,   paramount   control   of   the      constitution  and   frame   of   government   and   its      administration; the self-sufficient source of political      power from  which all  specific  political  powers  are      derived; the  international independence  of  a  state,



    combined with  the right  and power  of regulating  its      internal affairs  without  foreign  dictation;  also  a      political society,  or state,  which is  sovereign  and      independent." 737      "Sovereignty" means  "supremacy in  respect  of  power, dominion or  rank;  supreme  dominion  authority  or  rule". "Sovereignty" is the right to govern. The term "sovereignty" as   applied   to   states   implies   "supreme,   absolute, uncontrollable power  by which  any state  is governed,  and which resides  within itself,  whether residing  in a single individual or  a number of individuals, or in the whole body of the  people." Thus,  sovereignty, according to its normal legal connotation,  is the  supreme power  which governs the body politic,  or society  which constitutes  the state, and this  power   is  independent  of  the  particular  form  of government, whether monarchial, autocratic or democratic.      According to  Laski in  "A Grammar  of Politics",  1957 Reprint Chap. II, p. 50           "The legal  aspect of sovereignty is best examined      by a  statement of the form given to it by John Austin.      In every  legal analysis of the State, he argued, it is      first of all necessary to discover in the given society      that definite  superior to  which habitual obedience is      rendered by  the mass  of men.  That superior  must not      itself obey  any higher authority. When we discover the      authority  which   gives  commands  habitually  obeyed,      itself not  receiving them, we have the sovereign power      in the  State. In  an independent  political  community      that sovereign is determinate and absolute. Its will is      illimitable because,  if it could not be constrained to      act, it  would cease to be supreme, since it would then      be subject  to the  constraining  power.  Its  will  is      indivisible because, if power over certain functions or      persons is  absolutely and  irrevocably entrusted  to a      given  body,   the  sovereign   then  ceases  to  enjoy      universal supremacy  and therefore ceases by definition      to be sovereign."      It is  not necessary  to  enter  into  the  concept  of sovereignty,  one   of  the   most  controversial  ideas  in political science  and international  law, which  is closely related to  the difficult  concepts of State and Government, of independence  and democracy,  except to  touch  upon  the juristic character  of  the  Indian  State  to  discern  the necessary attributes  of sovereignty. The Indian States were neither  independent   nor  sovereign  but  subject  to  the paramountcy of  the British  Crown. Sir  William Lee Warner, the acknowledged  authority on  Indian States,  in his  work "The Native States of India; 1910" 738 characterizes them as "semi-sovereign". There is no question that there  was a  paramount power in the British Crown, but perhaps it  is better  understood  and  not  explained.  The indivisibility of  the sovereignty  on which Austin insists, did not belong to the Indian system of sovereign states.      The degree  of sovereignty  exercised by  the different rulers varied greatly as the areas under their dominion. The greater princes  administered the  internal affairs of their states with  almost complete  independence, having  revenues and armies  of their  own, and  the power  of life and death over their  subjects. At  the other  end of  the scale  were petty chiefs  with a jurisdiction hardly higher than that of an ordinary  magistrate and  between these extremes lay much gradation. The  authority of  each ruler  was determined  by treaties or  engagements with  the British  Government or by



practice that  had grown up in the course of their relations with British India. The paramount power was with the British Crown and  it had never parted with any of its prerogatives. As Sir Henry Maine said:           "There may  be found  in  India  every  shade  and      variety  of   sovereignty,  but   there  is   only  one      independent sovereign,  the British  Government. ...The      mode or  degree in  which  sovereignty  is  distributed      between the  British Government and any Native State is      always a  question of  fact which  has to be separately      decided in  each case,  and to  which no  general rules      apply."      After the constitution of the Central Provinces in 1861 A.D., fifteen  of the  Zamindaris were  considered to  be of sufficient importance  to warrant  their  being  constituted Feudatory  States.   They  were:  Nandgaon,  Korea,  Bastar, Raigarh, Sarguja,  Khairagarh,  Kanker,  Jashpur,  Kawardha, Sarangarh,   Udaipur,    Sakti,   Chhuikadan,   Makrai   and Changbhakar. These fifteen Feudatory States are specified in the First  Schedule to  the Government  of India  Act, 1935. Timarni was  not so listed in the First Schedule as it was a Jagir and not a Feudatory State.      The cardinal  question on  which the  decision  of  the appeal  must   turn  is   whether  the  appellants  are  the descendants of  a former  Ruling Chief within the meaning of cl. (ii)  of sub-s. (3) of s. 5 of the Act and are therefore entitled to the grant of money or pension in 739 terms of  the section. That depends on whether the ancestors of the appellants had acquired the attributes of sovereignty in relation  to the  jagir of  Timarni granted by the Peshwa Madhavrao to  two of  their ancestors  Naroo Bullal  and his brother Ramchandra Bullal’s grandson Madhav Rao in 1717 A.D. As hereinbefore adumbrated, the appellants rested their case before the  State Government  on the  sanad of the Peshwa in 1777 A.D.  in respect  of the  jagir of Timarni. It does not appear from  the impugned order of the State Government that there is  any error  of jurisdiction  in refusing  to  grant money or  pension to the appellants under cl. (ii) of sub-s. (3) of s. 5 of the Act or any incorrect determination of the basic facts  on their  part in  reaching the conclusion that the appellants’  ancestors never  exercised sovereign powers of a  Ruling Chief  in relation  to  the  jagir  of  Timarni granted by  the Peshwas  and later confirmed by the Scindias and continued by the British at the request of the Scindias.      There can  be  no  doubt  that  the  ancestors  of  the appellants exercised considerable power and authority in the Narbada Valley  at a certain period of time. The description of the  family as  extracted from the Hoshangabad Gazetteer, 1908, at pp. 97-98, reads:           "The most  important Brahman family is that of the      Bhuskute, who  hold  the  Timarni  Estate  as  well  as      considerable property  in the  Nimar  District  and  in      Holkar’s territory.  The family  is about 150 years old      and originally  came from the Ratnagiri District in the      Bombay Presidency.  Its founders were the two brothers,      Ramchandra Ballal and Naro Ballal, who five generations      ago, took  service  under  the  Peshwas.  The  brothers      subjugated the  country west  of the  Ganjal, which was      then called  the Handia  Sarkar, and  forced the Makrai      Raja to  surrender half  his territory.  The  sternness      with which  they repressed  the wasting  raids  of  the      aboriginal tribes, earned them the name of Bhuskute, or      "Chopper". Kurhade  or axemen, is another name by which      the family  is sometimes  known, and the axes which are



    said to  have been  the instruments  of  execution  are      still preserved  at Khargaon and duly worshipped at the      Dasahra festival  by the  Bhuskute and their retainers.      In reward  for these  services the brothers received in      1751 the  hereditary offices  of Sir  Mandloi  and  Sir      Kanungo in  the Sarkars  of Bijagarh  and Handia,  with      villages and tracts of 740      land rent-free,  percentages on the revenue, and rights      of taxation. The Bhuskute proved as successful in peace      as they  had been in war, keeping the country in order,      and  settling   cultivators  from   Khandesh   in   the      uninhabited parts.  In 1777,  the Peshwa Madho Rao gave      them the  fort of  Timarni as  a permanent jagir. Dault      Rao  Sindhia   subsequently  added   two   neighbouring      villages and  two more were acquired either by force or      gift from the Raja or Makrai, the five villages forming      a  semi-independent  jagir.  Until  the  thirty  years’      settlement, the  kiledar or  "holder of  the  fort"  at      Timarni  exercised  jurisdiction  in  civil,  criminal,      revenue  and  other  petty  cases.  These  powers  were      withdrawn at settlement, but the estate continued to be      held in jagir until the settlement of 1891-96, when the      villages were  registered  as  muafi  or  revenue-free,      though the honorary title of jagirdar was still allowed      to be retained."      The history  of the  matter goes  to the  middle of the 18th century.  In  1742  A.D.,  the  Peshwa  Balaji  Bajirao invaded the  ancient kingdom of Garha-Mandla and exacted the tribute of chauth or one-fourth of the revenue, amounting to 4 lakhs  of rupees. He took the fort and killed the Ruler of Garha-Mandla. From  this time  the Mandla kingdom lay at the mercy of  the Marahtas.  The Peshwa marched up the valley on his way  from Burhanpur  to attack Mandla and subdued Handia Paragana.  The predatory Maratha troops plundered, burnt and looted the  entire Narbada  valley. Col.  Sir  W.H.  Sleeman remarks that:           "By this  dreadful invasion of the Peshwa with his      host of  followers, the whole country east of Jubbulpur      was made waste and de-populate." The Mughal  power was  effectively driven out and we hear no more of a Muhammadan Governor of Harda Handia; but his place was taken  by the  two brothers  Naroo Bullal and Ramchandra Bullal, who  were left by the Peshwa in charge of the Handia Sarkar, which  had been  rendered desolate in consequence of the inroads  of marauders  and dacoits and were abounding in dense thick  jungles. They  were the Amils of the Peshwa and held the Harda 741 Handia tract  on Amanat system remitting to the headquarters the whole  collection, minus expenditure. It seems that they picked up  a quarrel  with the Ruler of Makrai and as he was unable to  make any  resistance they  forced him  to sign  a treaty in  1750 A.D.  giving up  half his  dominion.(1) They appeared to  have done loyal and good services to the Peshwa by their  administrative abilities  in keeping the territory in good  order and  in settling cultivators from Khandesh in the uninhabited parts by clearing the jungles.      In reward  for their  loyal services, the two brothers, Naroo Bullal  and Ramchandra Bullal, received in 1751 A.D. a sanad from  the Peshwa  Balaji Bajirao  by which  they  were conferred the  title of "Bhuskute" and were made sur-mandloi and  sur-kanungo.  They  were  created  watandars  with  the reservation of  sur-deshmukhi in  respect of  22  mahals  in Sarkar Handia  rent-free in  perpetuity with right to retain



4% of  the revenue:  2.5% on account of sur-mandloi-ship and 1.5% on  account of  sur-kanungoship, and rights of taxation etc. By  a separate  sanad of 1751 A.D. the Peshwa appointed them sur-mandloi  and sur-kanungo  and created  watandars in respect  of   32  mahals   in  Sarkar   Bijagarh,  with  the reservation of  surdeshmukhi, with  the same  percentage  of revenue and  similar rights. They appeared to have done good service to  the Peshwas not only in shearing Ruler of Makrai but in  keeping the  country in  good order  and in settling cultivators from  Khandesh in  the uninhabited  parts.  Both these sanads  show  that  the  Peshwa  made  the  grants  in recognition of their loyal services. The documents contain a recital more or less to the effect that:           "The two  brothers  presented  themselves  at  the      court of  the Peshwa and petitioned for grant of watans      as a  reward as  they had  by their  military skill and      courage and  also  by  their  administrative  abilities      cleared these  tracts which  had been rendered desolate      in consequence of in roads of marauders and dacoits and      were abounding  in dense  thick jungles,  and made them      safe for habitation."      It appears  that Naroo  Bullal  and  Ramchandra  Bullal remained 742 the Amils  or Governors  of the  Peswha at  Handia till 1768 A.D. and  in the  meanwhile they  were granted by the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao  inams of  villages Pokharni and Masangaon by two sanads  in 1754  A.D., and  similar  inams  of  villages Dhupkaran, Underkuch  and Samarda  by three  sanads of  1759 A.D. from  out of  the 431  villages surrendered by Ruler of Makrai.      There was  a twilight  zone after  1750 A.D.  and  very little is  known about  the  Harda  Handia  tract.  It  will presently be  seen that  the sanad  of 1777  A.D. granted by Peshwa Madhavrao  and the subsequent sanads of 1798 and 1800 A.D. granted  by Peshwa  Bajirao II  on which the appellants strongly rely  are of little or no assistance as by then the supremacy of  the Peshwa  over the Narbada valley was on the decline.      It appears  that the Narbada valley had gone out of the control of  the Peshwas  by 1797  A.D. With  the fluctuating fortunes of the Peshwas the ancestors of the appellants were virtually denuded  of all  their powers. The annihilation of the Maratha  army at  the hands of Ahmed Shah Durrani in the third battle  of Panipat  in 1761, followed by the premature death of  the Peshwa  Balaji Bajirao in the same year seemed to foreshadow  the  immediate  dissolution  of  the  Maratha empire. There  followed a  sudden revolt against the Maratha domination everywhere  in  Hindustan.  The  eclipse  of  the Maratha power  naturally cast its shadow on the Harda Handia tract; and  the Ruler  of  Makrai  thought  to  improve  the occasion by  driving out  the Amils  of the  Peshwa  out  of Handia, but he was himself repulsed and killed by a force of Goshains.      In or about 1750 A.D. Raghuji Bhonsle of Nagpur overran the whole  range of  hills from  Gawilgarh to  Mahadeo,  and reduced the  country east of Handia and south of the Narbada except the  portion held  by Bhopal. Hostilities between the Bhopal and  Nagpur rulers  commenced in 1795 and lasted with little intermission  for twenty  years. Hoshangabad  was  in that year  taken by  the Nagpur  troops, but  was retaken in 1802 by Wazir Muhamad, 743 the celebrated  minister of  Bhopal.  The  Bhopal  dominions north of  the Narbada  were finally  lost to the Marathas in



1808. During  these wars  the Pindaris,  first  summoned  by Wazir Muhammad  to his  assistance, but afterwards deserting to his  enemies, plundered  the country  impartially in  all directions. It  is  estimated  that  not  a  single  village escaped being  burnt once  or twice during the fifteen years for which their depredations lasted, and the greater part of Sarkar Handia  was entirely  depopulated. The  Pindaris were extirpated in 1817; and in 1818 the portions of the district belonging  to  the  Nagpur  kingdom  were  ceded,  under  an agreement subsequently  confirmed by  the treaty of 1826. In 1844 the  Harda Hadia  tract was made over by the Scindia in part payment  for the Gwalior Contingent, and in 1860 it was permanently transferred and became British territory:      After the  crushing defeat of the Maratha army by Ahmed Shah Durrani  in the  third battle  of Panipat in 1761 A. D. the Peshwas  never crossed  the Narbada valley. There was an intense struggle  between  Mahadji  Scindia  and  Jaswantrao Holkar to  gain control  over the  valley. In Central India, these  two   military  leaders  alternately  held  the  pre- eminency.  Mahadji  Scindia  utilised  the  fiction  of  his sovereignty created  by the Treaty of Salbai in 1781 A.D. to gain his  supremacy. By  1792 A.D.  he had  established  his ascendancy and  his power  in  Northern  India  reached  its meridian splendour.      During this  turbulant period,  the Harda  Handia tract passed through  several hands.  There is  not  much  history attaching to it. It appears that between 1769 and 1782 A.D., Rudraji Khunderao  was the  Amil or  Governor of  the  Harda Handia tract. Between 1782 and 1789 A.D. he was succeeded in that office  by Unna Sahib. From 1790 to 1796 A.D. Daulatrao Scindia made  his servant  Jaswantrao Sewajee  the  Amil  or Kamavisdar of  the Harda  Handia tract.  It appears that the Peshwas  were   successful  in  installing  the  appellants’ ancestor Krishna Rao Ramchandra 744 as his Amil from 1797 to 1799 A.D., but there was a break in 1800 A.D.  In 1800  A.D., Balaji Chimanjee was the Governor. Between 1801  A.D. and  1802  A.D.,  the  Scindia’s  servant Jaswant rao  Sewajee again  became his  Governor. The reason for the  change is  apparent. In 1801 A.D. Jaswantrao Holkar appears to  have burnt  and plundered Harda but in 1803 A.D. Daulatrao Scindia  halted at  Handia  for  the  whole  rainy season. In the same year i.e. in 1803 A.D. the territory was ceded by  the Peshwa to the Scindia and called by him as the Panch Mahal.      Viewed in  this historical perspective, the appellants’ pretensions that  their ancestors acquired the attributes of sovereignty in  relation to the Jagir of Timarni, can hardly be accepted. It appears that the two of the ancestors of the appellants Naroo  Bullal and his brother Ramchandra Bullal’s grandson Madhavrao  presented themselves at the court of the Peshwa Madhavrao  after having lost their position and power as sur-mandloi  and sur-kanungo  in Sarkar  Handia  and  the Peshwa by  the sanad  of 1777 A.D. created them the Jagirdar of Timarni  with permission  to keep their gadhi at Timarni. It recites  that the  Peshwas being pleased with their loyal services had  granted to  them watans  in Handia  Sarkar and that they had renovated the gadhi i.e. fort at Timarni which was lying in a dilapidated state, and it was felt that there should be  strong fortress  for their use as a residence and therefore they  were  given  the  inam  of  village  Timarni together with the gadhi with sur-deshmukhi in perpetuity. As already  stated,   the   appellants’   ancestor   Krishnarao Ramachandra became  the  Amil  or  Governor  of  the  Peshwa between 1797 and 1799 but he was again replaced by Daulatrao



Scindia’s servant  Jaswantrao Sewajee  from  1801  to  1802. Thereafter, the Harda Handia passed under the control of the Scindias.      Much stress  is however  laid on the two sanads of 1798 1800 A.D. issued by the Peshwa Bajirao II for the submission that the ancestors of the appellants as Jagirdars of Timarni had acquired  the status  of a  feudatory chief  in relation thereto. We are afraid the contention cannot be accepted. By 1797 A.D. the 745 Scindias had  made an inroad into the Harda Handia tract and evidently the  appellants" ancestors  found it  difficult to administer the  territory. The  sanad of 1798 A.D. issued by the Peshwa  Bajirao II  permitted them  to maintain Shibandi irregular  soldiery,   and  sipahis  equipped  with  chapdas (breast plates)  armed with  weapons for  making recovery of taxes and  cesses, but the grant was with the condition that in both the mahals the irregular soldiery in any case should not exceed  100 in  number  without  permission.  This  only showed the  grant of  permission to  keep a chowkidari force for collection of revenue. The subsequent sanad of 1800 A.D. contains a  recital that  the ancestors  of  the  appellants presented themselves  at the  court of the Peshwa Bajirao II and  complained  that  the  Scindia  had  deployed  his  own officers in  Sarkar Handia  and created  several  muafidars, inamdars and  saranjamis who  were creating  obstructions to the enjoyment  of their rights and on their protest they had been ordered to get a confirmatory letter from the Peshwa.      After the  sovereignty  had  passed  to  the  Scindias, Daulatrao Scindia  by the  two sanads  of 1802 and 1804 A.D. described the  appellants’ ancestors as sur-mandloi and sur- kanungo and  granted them  an inam  of villages  Piplia  and Bhaili as  Nankar by  way of  maintenance, in recognition of their loyal services.      The tenor  of all  these sanads  clearly shows that the ancestors of  the appellants  were  nothing  more  than  the Jagirdars of  Timarni comprising  of Timarni  and four other villages viz  Piplia, Bhaili,  Samarda, and  Underkuch,  and that they  had never attained the status of a feudatory or a tributary Ruling  Chief under the sovereignty of the Peshwas or the Scindias.      After  the   power  of   the  Scindias  was  completely destroyed by  the  British,  Daulatrao  Scindia  signed  the treaty of  Sarje Anjengaon  on December 30, 1803 by which he was obliged  to give  up his  possessions between the Jamuna and the  Ganges etc.  i.e. including  the Harda Handia tract known as the Panch Mahals, and soon thereafter by the treaty of Burhanpur  signed on  February, 27,  1804  he  agreed  to maintain a  subsidiary force  of the  British to be paid for out of  the revenues  of the territory ceded by him. In 1844 the Harda  Handia tract was made over by the Scindia in part payment for  the Gwalior  contingent  and  in  1860  it  was permanently transferred and became British territory. 746      During the period of management of the territory by the British, the  jagir of  Timarni held by the ancestors of the appellants was  continued at  the request  of the Scindia as would be  clear from  the following letter from Secretary to the Government  of North-Western  Provinces to the Secretary to the  Southern Board  of Revenue,  North-Western Provinces dated July 24, 1860, which is in these terms:           "I am  directed to acknowledge the receipt of your      letter No.  564,  dated  the  4th  instant,  submitting      copies of  a correspondence,  relative to  the Temurnee      Jageer,  situated   in  the   Pergunah  of   Harda   in



    Hoshangabad and  held by  the  Bhooskutta,  Kishen  Row      Madho, with  the Boards recommendation, that the Jageer      may be  continued rent free in perpetuity to the family      of the  present incumbent, in compliance with a request      to that  effect made  by the Gwalior Durbar, by whom it      was originally granted.      2.   In  reply  I  am  desired  to  intimate  that  the           Lieutenant Governor  is  of  opinion  that,  in  a           matter of  this  kind  this  Government  is  to  a           certain extent  bound to  confirm to the wishes of           Maharaja Scindia,  the country  in which  the rent           free holding  is situated  being not  assigned and           not ceded to the British.      3.   As Maharaja Scindia, had expressed a wish that the           Jageer of  Timurnee should  be continued rent free           in   perpetuity   to   the   Bhooskutta   and   as           perpetuation seems  to be  in accordance  with the           2nd of  the revised  rules for Harda Handia, dated           30th May  1834. His  Honour has  been  pleased  to           confirm the  exemption of  the Jageer  in question           from demand of revenue in perpetuity."      On December  12, 1860, the Scindia ceded this territory to the  British Government by a treaty of which Art. 3 is as follows: "The  Maharaja transfers  to the British Government in full  sovereignty the whole of His Highness possession in the Panch  Mahals and to the south of the river Narbada also Pargana  Kumghar   on  the  Betwa  river  on  the  following conditions: (1)  That  for  the  lands  transferred  by  His Highness, the  British Government  shall  give  in  exchange lands of equal value calculated on both sides on the present gross 747 revenue.....(3)  That  each  Government  shall  respect  the conditions of  existing leases  until their expiry, and that in order  that this may be made clear to all concerned, each Government shall  give to  its new  subjects leases  for the same terms  of years  and on  the same  conditions as  those which they  at present enjoy. (4) That each Government shall give to  its new subjects sanads in perpetuity for the rent- free lands-the  jagirs the  perquisites and  the  hereditary claims i.e.  haqs and  watans) which  they enjoy  at present under the other Government."      After the  cession of  the territory  by the Scindia in 1860, the  Government set  itself to  inquire what  were the estates transferred  and what  were the tenures of their new subjects. This  was necessary, first of all, because as land of equal  value elsewhere was to be ceded to the Scindia, it was necessary to note the exact value of what had been taken over, and  also because undoubtedly the Government wished to give effect  to the  terms of the treaty above quoted and in particular to  the fourth  head of cl. 3. There was long and detailed  inquiry  by  the  Government  as  to  the  precise position of  the Jagirdar of Timarni. The inquiry dragged on for some years, but after a full investigation the Secretary to the  Chief Commissioner  of the  Central Provinces by his letter dated  March 4,  1865 conveyed  the decision  of  the Governor General-in-Council to the effect:           "The Governor-General  in-Council has been pleased      to rule  on the  Chief  Commissioner’s  recommendations      that with  the exception  of the  Chief, the  Chief  of      Makrai, all  the  Zamindars  are  to  be  regarded  and      treated as ordinary British subject.           So far as the Chief Commissioner is aware there is      nothing in the past history or present circumstances of      any of  the Pargunna  Officials or  Jamindars of  Nemar



    which would  in any  way be  entitled to exercise their      estates any degree of sovereign power."      It would  thus appear that the British Government never recognised the  appellants’ ancestor  Krishnarao Madho,  who like all  other  Zamindars  and  Jagirdars  in  the  Central Provinces,  were   laying  claim   to  be  recognised  as  a chieftain, to be a Ruling Chief.      After a  sovereign state has acquired territory, either by conquest  or by cession under treaty or by the occupation of territory 748 theretofore unoccupied by the recognized Ruler or otherwise, an inhabitant  of a  territory can  enforce in the municipal Courts only  such proprietary  rights as  the sovereign  has conferred  or  recognized.  Even  if  a  treaty  of  cession stipulates that  certain  inhabitants  shall  enjoy  certain rights, that  gives them no right which they can so enforce. The meaning  of a  general statement  in a proclamation or a treaty that  existing rights would be recognised is that the Government will  recognize such rights as upon investigation it finds  existed. The  Government does not thereby renounce its right  to recognize  only such  titles as  it  considers should be  recognized nor  confer upon  the municipal courts any powers  to adjudicate in the matter. The principle is so well-settled that it is not necessary to burden the judgment with many citations.      In Vajesingji  Joravarsingji &  Ors.  v.  Secretary  of State for  India in  Council  Lord  Dunedin  in  a  somewhat similar claim of a taluqdar of the Panch Mahals which was in the dominion  of the Scindia ceded to the British Government by the  treaty dated  December 12, 1860, negatived the claim of the taluqdar to proprietary rights observing:           "When a territory is acquired by a sovereign state      for the  first time that is an act of state. It matters      not how  the acquisition has been brought about. It may      be by  conquest, it  may be  by  cession  following  on      treaty, it  may be  by occupation of territory hitherto      unoccupied by  a recognized  ruler. In  all  cases  the      result is the same. Any inhabitant of the territory can      make good  in the  municipal courts  established by the      new sovereign  only such  rights as that sovereign has,      through his officers, recognized. Such rights as he had      under the  rule of  predecessors avail him nothing. Nay      more, even  if in  a treaty of cession it is stipulated      that certain  inhabitants should  enjoy certain rights,      that does  not give  a title  to those  inhabitants  to      enforce these stipulations in the municipal courts. The      right to enforce remains only with the high contracting      parties. This  is made  quite clear  by  Lord  Atkinson      when, citing  the Pongoland case of Cook v. Sprigg L.R.      42  IA  229,  268  he  says:  "It  was  held  that  the      annexation of  territory made  an act of state and that      any obligation assured under the 749      treaty with the ceding state either to the sovereign or      the individuals  is not  one which municipal Courts are      authorized to enforce."      The burden  of proving  that  after  cessation  of  the territory by  the Scindias  to the  British by the treaty of December 12,  1860 the  British Government  acknowledged  or recognized the  existence of  any sovereign  rights with the ancestors of  the appellants  was upon  them and that burden they have failed to discharge.      The historical  material on which reliance is placed is not of  much legal  significance. In  the Central Provinces,



the Zamindari  or Jagirdari  estates had  nothing to do with Revenue-farming. They  were simply  the estates of chiefs or barons of  the old  Gond kingdoms.  When these kingdoms were conquered by  the Marathas,  the main  portions  became  the Khalsa, or  directly managed  lands, of  the conquerors. The old  ’baronial’  territories  being  in  the  hills  on  the outskirts of the Maratha domain, were not productive of much revenue; they  were therefore  let alone,  the chiefs  being made to pay a moderate tribute. This position was maintained under the  British Government. The estates were subjected to a general  kind of  Revenue Settlement, which varied in form (and in  degree  of  detail)  in  different  districts,  and according to  the rank  and circumstances  of the  chief  or landlord.      The Settlement  of 1863  by Sir  Richard Temple,  Chief Commissioner of  Central Provinces  recognised the Malguzars as  virtually  landlords.  The  recognition  of  proprietary rights was  absolute and unreserved. It was not the creation of a  new right,  but the recognition, by the Government, of the state  of things  which had  existed  in  practice.  The principle so  clearly established  in the Settlement of 1863 was subsequently  departed from  and although  the Malguzars were  treated   to  be  proprietors  and  they  became  mere intermediaries to  whom the Government looked for collection of land revenue.      The historical  material pertaining  to the period from 1844 to  1860 A.D.  when the Scindia had ceded the territory to the  British and  the period  thereafter i.e.  the period from 1860 till the settlement of the Hoshangabad District in 1865 is of no 750 legal consequence. They are undoubtedly historical documents of great  importance but  are not sufficient to form a basis for the conclusion that the ancestors of the appellants were the Ruling  Chiefs of Timarni. First of these was the letter of Lt. Col. Sir W.H. Sleeman, Agent to the Governor General, dated June  3, 1847  treating the Jagirdar of Timarni at par with the  Chief of Makrai and by which he ordered that there should not  be any  interference with the revenue management of the Makrai and Timarni estates and all questions relating to transfer  of leases,  suits for  rents,  ejectments  etc. should be  left to  the Chiefs  as hithertofore.  This was a letter written  when the  territory  was  placed  under  the Deputy Commissioner of Hoshangabad subject to the control of Agent to  the Governor  General. Next  is a  letter from the Deputy Commissioner,  Hoshangabad dated  July 16,  1860 on a complaint by  the kiledar  of the  Bhuskutes  directing  the Settlement Officer  that he  would cause  the survey, and if any commenced,  to be discontinued, "as we cannot in any way interfere with the Bhuskute Jagir". We have already referred to the  important  letter  dated  July  24,  1860  from  the Secretary to  the Government, North-western Provinces to the Secretary to  the Southern  Board of  Revenue, North-Western Provinces, which brings out the real status of the ancestors of the appellants as a Jagirdar.      In Sir  Richard Temple’s  "Report on the Zamindaris and other petty  Chieftains in  the Central Provinces" submitted by him to the Government of India in 1863, there is a letter by Hector  Mackenzie, Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of the Central  Provinces addressed  to the Government of India dated October  31,  1863.  He  traced  the  history  of  the ancestors of  the appellants  and then  went on  to say that they ruled  over the  territory. We  think it  necessary  to extract the relevant portion thereof which runs as follows:           "The title  of Bhooscutta  was given by the Peshwa



    to officers  sent to  clear jungles and cultivate waste      lands, and one of these the founder of the family under      notice was  sent to  Hurda where  he brought  much land      under cultivation, and was high officer           It appears  that in  Peshwa’s time  the Bhooscutta      ’ruled’ in Hurdah, and when Scindia obtained possession      he gave 751      a grant of five villages, Timurni, Bhaili, Oondrakutch,      Samurdha, and  Tupcurn to the family in perpetuity; and      until the  cession of Hurdah to the British Government,      the  Bhooscutta   was  under  the  supervision  of  the      Political  Agent   at   Bhopal   (Sehore)   and   quite      independent.           When Hurdah  was ceded,  Timurni was  placed under      the Deputy  Commissioner of Hoshangabad, subject to the      Commissioner  of   these  territories,   and  the  late      Commissioner and  Agent to  the Governor General Sir W.      Sleeman, ordered  that the  Bhooscutta  should  not  be      interfered with  in any  way except  in heavy  criminal      cases and such is still the practice." His subsequent  letter to  the Commissioner  Saugar Division dated December 2, 1863 reads:      "I am directed by the officiating Chief Commissioner to      inform you,  that the  Timurnee Estate  being  held  in      Zamindaree tenure,  i.e. it  is a petty chieftaincy the      villages comprised  in it  need not  be measured by the      settlement officer,  nor should  any cesses  be levied.      This Estate  forms  one  of  three  Muckrai,  Timurnee,      Pitera, in your Divisions which are petty Chieftaincies      and in  respect of  which the  orders of the Government      have been  solicited in  detail, when they are received      they will be communicated."      Then  there   is  the   letter  from   the   Settlement Commissioner, Central  Provinces to  the Settlement officer, Hoshangabad dated  August 4,  1865 directing him to take the necessary measures  for completing the regular settlement of the Timarni  jagir  with  all  practical  despatch.  It  was mentioned that  although the  jagir  had  been  released  in perpetuity, the chief object of making the assessment was to fix the  Jamas on  which the  percentage due  on account  of cesses and  other taxes  were to be fixed. This was followed by a  letter from  the officiating settlement officer to the appellants’ ancestor  Krishnarao Madho dated August 19, 1865 informing him that there should be no apprehension about the settlement operation  in progress,  that the  object of  the Government was  only to  ascertain the  area and capacity of the villages.      Sir  Charles   Elliot’s  Settlement   Report   of   the Hoshangabad District  of 1865  records that Naroo Bullal and Ramchandra Bullal 752 made sur-mandloi  and sur-kanungo by the Peshwa of the whole 22 paraganas  of the  Handia Sarkar  i.e. they were paragana officials. He  went  on  to  observe  that  the  appellants’ ancestor Krishenarao  Madho was  a "semi-dependent" jagirdar of Timarni  comprising of five villages, but-as regards rest of his  holdings a  service muafidar.  He states that all of these villages were given to the appellants’ ancestors rent- free in  perpetuity to meet expenses incurred for the office of sur-mandloi and sur-kanungo which the Peshwa had bestowed on him.      After a  full investigation  into title,  the  Governor General in  Council came to a decision that all Zamindars in the  Central  Provinces,  including  the  ancestors  of  the



appellants, had  to be  regarded  and  treated  as  ordinary British subjects.      It is  abundantly clear  from what  has been  set forth above that  although the  Government  officials  took  great pains to  determine what was the position of the jagirdar of Timarni, the  Government ultimately  came to  the conclusion that he  held the  status of an ordinary British subject and was not a Feudatory Chief exercising any sovereign powers.      In Kunwarlal  Singh v.  Provincial Government,  Central Provinces &  Berar, similar contentions were raised. In that case, the plaintiffs who were the Zamindars of Kamtha, Wadad and Deori  Kishori known  as Wainganga Zamindars and that of Palasgarh governed  by what  was known as the Chanda Patent, challenged the  validity of  the Central Provinces and Berar Revision of  the Land  Revenue of  Estates Act,  1939  which provided for an increase in the levy of tokoli as beyond the legislative competence  of the  then Provincial  Legislature since it  amounted to acquisition of land without payment of compensation. They  claimed that  they enjoyed  sovereign or quasi-sovereign status  and takoli  was in  the nature  of a tribute. Both  the contentions were rejected. It was held by Vivian Bose,  J. that  takoli was  land revenue and that the Zamindars were  nothing more  than ordinary British subjects and therefore  liable to  pay land  revenue like  any  other subject. 753      The Zamindars  of Central Provinces like the appellants here had  twice carried  the matter  right  upto  the  Privy Council in assertion of their claim that they were Feudatory Chiefs, but  the Judicial Committee classed them as ordinary British subjects.  In Bir  Bikram Deo  v. Secretary of State for India  in Council the Privy Council was dealing with the Zamindars in  the Raipur  District of the Central Provinces. Their status was the same as that of the Wainganga Zamindars and they  were governed  by what  was known  as  the  Chanda Patent, which  gave them  a status higher than that of other Zamindars. In  Martand  Rao  v.  Malhar  Rao,  the  Judicial Committee was  dealing with Kampta zamindari in Waingana and the claim was that the estate was in the nature of a Raj. In both the  cases, reliance  was placed  on certain historical material, including  Sir Richard  Temple’s  "Report  on  the Zamindaris  and   other  Petty  Chieftains  in  the  Central Provinces" where  he described  Wainganga Zamindars governed by the  Chanda Patent,  generally as "Dependent Chiefs". The Judicial Committee  while rejecting  the contention that the zamindars  were   petty  Chieftain   having  attributes   of sovereignty, observed:           "It   appears,   moreover,   from   Sir   Reginald      Craddock’s  note,   that   after   a   good   deal   of      correspondence  between   Sir  R.   Temple,  as   Chief      Commissioner  of   the  Central   Provinces,  and   the      Government of  India, it was finally decided  that only      holders of  certain estates  should  be  recognized  as      feudatories,  and  all  others  as  ordinary  subjects.      Sanads were  granted the  former, expressly  mentioning      that the  succession was  in their  case to be a single      heir. That  provision was omitted in the case of sanads      to most  Zamindars of  the second  class, including the      Amgaon zamindar, though with regard to some others like      Chanda that provision was expressly attached." While coming  to that  conclusion,  the  Judicial  Committee observed that:           "There are  passages here  and there  both in  Sir      Richard Jenkins report and Sir R. Temple’s report which      speaks of  all  these  zamindaris  indiscriminately  as



    chiefs or chieftains, 754      but that..  they could  possibly be classed category of      sovereign or  semi-sovereign chiefs  whose  possessions      were necessarily impartible".      In Vajesingji  Joravarsingji &  ors.  v.  Secretary  of State for  Indian in  Council (supra),  Lord  Dunedin  while dealing with the historical material had said:           "The view of the officials of the Government as to      that would  influence them to make up their minds as to      what title  should be  given or  recognized,  but  even      then, as  far as  their Lordships  are concerned, it is      what  they  did  after  investigation,  not  what  they      thought at investigation, that is matter of moment."      In conclusion, it must be held that the appellants were not entitled  to any money or pension under cl. (ii) of sub- s. (3) of s. 5 of the Central Provinces and Berar Revocation of  Land  Revenue  Exemptions  Act,  1948,  not  being  "the descendants of  a former  Ruling Chief"  in  terms  of  that section.      The result  therefore is  that appeal  must fail and is dismissed with costs. P.B.R.                                     Appeal dismissed. 755