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Society & Social Issues > Lifestyle

Nadars Struggle for Rights of Public Water Tanks I

Mariappa Nadan And Ors. vs Vaithilinga Mudaliar And Ors. on 15/1/1913

A suit in 1913 was brought by seven Shanar residents of Kalloorani village in the Ramnad zenindari as representing all the Shanar community against all other Hindu caste people for the following reliefs:

(a1) A declaration that the Shanars (or Nadars,) are entitled to the use of a tank (Niravi) about 150 feet by 150 feet called Alagiri Naiker's tank in the said village;

(a2) that the Shanars are entitled to use the well situated within the tank; and

(a3) that they are entitled to use a second well situated close to and to the south-east of the said tank; and

(b) a permanent injunction against other caste people obstructing the Nadar caste people in using the tank and the two wells.

District Judge had to decide, as follows: "Whether the Nadars are entitled to the use of the plaint niravi and well for drawing water for drinking purposes and for the use of their cattle and also for their use in connection with religious ceremonies."

He decided the question in the negative and dismissed the plaintiffs' suit.

The final conclusion that the general public (including the Shanars, Muhammadans and Christians) have a right to use the plaint tank water and the water of the well therein for the usual purposes to which such tanks are used in villages and that the defendants have failed to prove that the tank has been dedicated (either by express dedication or by long practice, acquiesced in by the other cast's and communities) to the exclusive use of the higher castes among the Hindu community. I would, therefore, give a judgment for the plaintiffs declaring the right of the Shanars to the use of the plaint tank and the well in its bed while dismissing their claim to draw water from the outside well or to use it directly for any other purpose

Bsram B

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