Skip to content


Tarabai Madhaorao Vs. Bombay Revenue Tribunal at Nagpur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. Nos. 59 and 60 of 1950
Judge
Reported inAIR1959Bom72; (1959)61BOMLR41; ILR1959Bom560
ActsBerar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act, 1951 - Sections 8, 8(1)(G) , 9, 9(1), 9(3) to 9(9) and 19(2)
AppellantTarabai Madhaorao
RespondentBombay Revenue Tribunal at Nagpur and ors.
Appellant AdvocateR.K. Thakur, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateR.N. Deshpande, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....-- possession delivered by lessee -- application by lessee under section 9(6) stating that land leased out by landlord to another person -- maintainability of such application -- whether operation of section 8 excluded when lease terminated on ground that landlord requiring land for personal cultivation.;the operation of section 8 of the berar regulation of agricultural leases act, 1951, is altogether excluded in the one case contemplated by section 9(1) of the act, viz. where the lease was terminable on the ground that the landholder required the land for cultivating the land personally.;the words in section 8(1)(g) of the act 'as provided in section 9' only qualify the word 'notice' occurring in that clause of section 8(1). therefore section 8(1)(g) merely refers to the notice..........the lease of any land held by a protected lessee shall not be terminated except under orders of a revenue officer made on any of the following grounds, namely: x x x x x (g) he has been served with a notice by the landholder as provided in section 9'.section 9(1) runs as follows:'notwithstanding anything contained in section 8 the landholder may terminate the lease of a protected lessee by giving him notice in writing delivered not less than three months before the commencement of the next agricultural year stating therein the reasons for such termination and the description of the area in respect of which it is proposed to terminate the lease, if the landholder requires the land for cultivating the land personally.' the other provisions of section 9 give the protected lessee a right to.....
Judgment:

S.P. Kotval, J.

1. The order in this Special Civil Application shall also govern the disposal of Special Civil Application No. 60 of 1958. The facts as also the points arising in both these Special Civil Applications are common and a common argument was addressed by consent of counsel concerned. It will be sufficient to state the facts in Special Civil Application No. 59 of 1958.

2. The fourth respondent Ganesh was a protected lessee of the petitioner. On 23.12.52, the land-holder gave him notice terminating his lease under the provisions of Section 9(1) of the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act on the ground that the former required the land for cultivating it personally. In pursuance of this notice, the fourth respondent consented to the delivery of possession an possession was delivered to the landholder on 1-4-1953. A few months later, on 23-8-1954, the former protected lessee Ganesh put in an application under Section 9(6) of the Act against the petitioner and three other persons who were impleaded because there was some dispute as to who was the landholder. By that application the fourth respondent prayed that field No. 111 of which he was the former protected lessee should be placed in his possession because the landholder had instead of cultivating the field at home as stated in his notice under Section 9(1) leased it out to another person Kashirao, the seventh respondent. The application was heard by the Sub-Divisional Officer, Achalpur, who dismissed it, and in appeal the Additional Deputy Commissioner maintained the dismissal of the application. In second appeal a division Bench of the Bombay Revenue Tribunal set aside the decision of the Sub-Divisional Officer and the Additional Deputy Commissioner and allowed the application. The short question which arises for decision upon this petition may now be stated.

3. Section 8(1)(g) of the Act runs as follows:

'Notwithstanding any agreement, usage, decree or order of a court of law, the lease of any land held by a protected lessee shall not be terminated except under orders of a Revenue Officer made on any of the following grounds, namely:

x x x x x (g) he has been served with a notice by the landholder as provided in Section 9'.

Section 9(1) runs as follows:

'Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 8 the landholder may terminate the lease of a protected lessee by giving him notice in writing delivered not less than three months before the commencement of the next agricultural year stating therein the reasons for such termination and the description of the area in respect of which it is proposed to terminate the lease, if the landholder requires the land for cultivating the land personally.' The other provisions of Section 9 give the protected lessee a right to question the notice served under Section 9(1) if it is not bona fide and also give the lessee an option to give up some other land than the land regarding which notice has been given. With these provisions we are not immediately concerned. But Section 9(6) provides as follows:

'If on re-entering upon any land after termination of the lease of a protected lessee in accordance with this section, a landholder fails at any time during such period as may be prescribed to utilise the land for the purpose for which the lease was terminated, the dispossessed lessee may apply to the Revenue Officer to put him in possession of the land from the commencement of the agricultural year next following; and the Revenue Officer shall, after hearing the landholder and making such enquiry as he deems fit, put the lessee in possession of the land if he deems fit, put the lessee in possession for the land if he is satisfied of the failure and also award him such sum by way of compensation as the Revenue Officer may consider sufficient.'

4. The application which was preferred was expressly made under Section 9(6) of the Act. The view which prevailed with the Sub-Divisional Officer as also the Additional Deputy Commissioner was that the landholder had taken possession in contravention of the provisions of the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act and therefore since the protected lessee had been dispossessed he could make an application under Section 19(2). This was one of the questions raised by Mr. R.K. Thakur appearing on behalf of the petitioner. The other question raised by Mr. Thakur was that in the present case the landholder had not terminated the lease under the provisions of Section 9(1) and therefore Section 9(6) would be inapplicable. He urged that the termination was with the consent of the protect lessee and not under the orders of a revenue officer as require by Section 8(1)(g) read with Section 9(1) and therefore an application under Section 9(6) would not lie. He has derived support for his contention from a decision of the Bombay Revenue Tribunal reported in Uttamrao v. Sahurao, 1958 Nag LJ 182 . The view which the Bombay Revenue Tribunal has taken in the present case is however directly contrary to the view taken in that case.

5. An examination of the provisions of Section 8(1)(g) and 9(1) independently of each other no doubt reveals an apparent conflict between the two provisions. Section 8(1)(g) enjoins that a lease of a protected lessee shall not be terminated except under orders of a Revenue Officer, while Section 9(1) lays down no such condition but, on the other hand, permits termination of a lease by giving the protected lease a notice in writing delivered under certain conditions. Mr. Thakur urged that since Section 9 is referred to in Section 8(1)(g) the provisions of Section 8(1)(g) would govern Section 9(1) and therefore in the present case since the lease was not terminated under orders of a Revenue Officer but only by private treaty the provisions of Section 9(6) would not be attracted. That was also the construction placed on these provisions of law by the Bombay Revenue Tribunal in Uttamrao v. Sahurao, (A) (sup. cit).

6. It is no doubt true that Section 8(1)(g), lays down as one of the conditions for the termination of a lease, that a notice shall have been served by the landholder as provided in Section 9; but Section 9 makes no reference to the obtaining of orders of a Revenue Officer for the termination of a lease as such except in the case provided in Section 9(3) where the tenant has to initiate certain proceedings.

7. In this apparent conflict it seems to us that the decisive provision is contained in the opening clause of Section 9(1). The provisions of Section 9(1) are preceded by the non-obstante clause 'Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 8' and having regard to the normal purpose of such a clause we must give it due effect. It seems to us that it was clearly the intention of the Legislature to exclude the operation of Section 8 altogether in the one case contemplated by Section 9(1), viz. where the lease was terminable on the ground that the landholder required the land for cultivating the land personally. The reason for such an exclusion is not far to seek because that particular ground of termination of the lease is specifically and in great detail dealt with exclusively in Section 9. Therefore, os far as that particular ground of terminating a lease of a protected lessee is concerned the Legislature obviously intended that the provisions of Section 9 should operate untrammelled by the provisions of Section 8. This does not mean as was held in Uttamarao's case (A) that upon this interpretation the lessee would be left to the mercy of the landholder. The lessee has a valuable protection still conferred on him. The protection is that he can apply under Section 9(3) that the notice is not bona fide or that he should be permitted to give up some other land in lieu of the land mentioned in the notice.

8. It was then argued that if this be the interpretation of Section 9(1) then Section 8(1)(g) would be deprived of all meaning because Section 8(1)(g) states as one of the grounds for terminating a lease under orders of a Revenue Officer, that the lessee 'has been served with a notice by the landholder as provided in Section 9.' The argument is that the words 'as provided in Section 9' show that the whole of Section 9 would apply and therefore Section 9 is subject to Section 8.

9. We cannot accept this contention. The words in Section 8(1)(g) 'as provided in Section 9' only qualify the word 'notice occurring in that clause of Section 8(1). Therefore Section 8(1)(g) merely refers to the notice and its various requirements mentioned in Section 9(1) and to nothing further. It has no reference to the remaining Sub-sections of Section 9.

10. We are unable to accept the interpretation of the non-obstante clause in Section 9 as given in Uttamrao v. Sahurao (A).

11. The cumulative effect of the provisions of Section 8(1)(g) and Section 9 indicate that so far as termination of any lease of land held by a protected lessee is concerned the landholder has two options (a) to terminate by notice on the ground that he requires the land for cultivating it personally (Section 9(1)) and (b) to terminate by notice in other cases, (Section 8(1)(g)). In the former case, he need not have recourse to any authority or obtain orders of a Revenue Officer, but the right is given in such a case to the tenant to challenge the notice on the two grounds mentioned in Section 9(3) and in that event the Revenue Officer comes into the picture and he has to adjudicate in accordance with Sub-sections 3 to 9 of Section 9. The notice in this case must fulfil the requirements of Section 9(1) i.e. (i) it must be in writing, (ii) must be delivered not less than three months before the commencement of the next agricultural year (iii) state therein the reasons for termination (iv) the description of the land in respect of which it is proposed to terminate the lease and (v) the fact that the landholder requires the land for cultivating the land personally.

12. In the latter case, the notice also must fulfil all the above requirements excepting obviously the 5th requirement mentioned above. That, in our opinion is the only meaning of Section 8(1)(g). In that case it is the landholder who must obtain the orders of the Revenue Officer.

13. The reasons for thus distinguishing between the two categories of termination by notice are not far to seek. Under general law, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, a landlord can always terminate a lease by notice. The rule is recognised by this Act, but is qualified. Where the landlord needs the land for his own cultivation, the Act does not go so far as to say that his needs shall be subordinated to the needs of the tenant. In such a case the landlord may take back the land by his own volition by giving a notice subject only to the safeguards in favour of this lessee in Section 9(3). But where the landlord desires to eject the lessee when he does not need the land for himself but on other grounds (and it is to be noted that Clauses (a) to (g) all contemplate some case or the other where the tenant is at default or blamable) then the procedure is more stringent and the landlord cannot evict without an order from a Revenue Officer.

14. The Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act was only passed to provide for long term leases of agricultural land to ensure fixity of tenure in the interest of efficient agriculture in Berar. It gave lessees certain additional rights, protected them against rack-renting and indiscriminate ejectment but certainly contained nothing to abrogate the law relating to landlord and tenant as it stood prior to its enactment. We cannot conceive that it was the intention of the Legislature to make it impossible for a landholder to terminate voluntarily a tenant's lease under any circumstances. That is also inconsistent with the object of the legislation.

15. We hold therefore that in the present case the application made by Ganesh, the protected lessee under Section 9(6) was correctly made under that provision of law even though the lease was not terminated by the orders of a Revenue Officer.

16. Another contention urged on behalf of the petitioner by Mr. Thakur related to limitation. That question no longer remains for decision in the view we have taken.

17. In the result, therefore, we affirm the decision of the Bombay Revenue Tribunal in both the cases dismiss both the Special Civil Applications with costs.

18. Applications dismissed.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //