IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
1. The circumstances leading up to the presentation of the above noted three petitions under Art. 32, which have been heard together, may be shortly, stated :
In pre-British times the Kavalappara Moopil Nair, who was the senior-most male member of Kavalappara Swaroopam of dynastic family, was the ruler of the Kavalappara territory situate in Walluvanad Taluk in the district of South Malabar. He was an independent prince or chieftain having sovereign rights over his territory and as such was the holder of the Kavalappara sthanam, that is to say, "the status and the attendant property of the senior Raja". Apart from the Kavalappara sthanam, which was a Rajasthanam, the Kavalappara Moopil Nair held five other sthanams in the same district granted to his ancestors by the superior overlord, the Raja of Palghat, as reward for military services rendered to the latter. He also held two other sthanams in Cochin, granted to his ancestors by another overlord, the Raja of Cochin, for military services. Each of these sthanams has also properties attached to it and such properties belong to the Kavalappara Moopil Nair who is the sthanee thereof. On the death in 1925 of his immediate predecessor the petitioner in Petition No. 443 of 1955 became the Moopil Nair of Kavalappara and as such the holder of the Kavalappara sthanam to which is attached the Kavalappara estate and also the holder of the various other sthanams in Malabar and Cochin held by the Kavalappara Moopil Nair. The Petitioner in Petition No. 443 of 1955 will hereafter be referred to as "the sthanee petitioner". According to him all the properties attached to all the sthanams belong to him and respondents 2 to 17, who are the junior members of the Kavalappara family or tarwad, have no interest in them.
2. The Madras Marumakkattayam Act (Mad. XXII of 1932) passed by the Madras Legislature came into force o
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