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Karkal Balakrishna Rao and ors. Vs. State of Mysore Represented by Chief Secretary, Bangalore and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. Nos. 1083, 2528 and 2666 of 1967 and 158, 159, 1118 and 3945 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Kant125; AIR1971Mys125; (1971)1MysLJ28
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 31A, 226, 245 and 372(2); Tenancy Law; Mysore Land Reforms Act, 1961- Sections 107; Mysore Land Revenue Act, 1965; Transfer of Property Act; Mysore Revenue Act, 1964; Mysore Land Reforms Rules - Rule 4
AppellantKarkal Balakrishna Rao and ors.
RespondentState of Mysore Represented by Chief Secretary, Bangalore and anr.
Appellant AdvocateU.L. Narayana Rao, ;K. Shivshankar Bhat and ;M. Santhosh Hege, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateS.C. Sunderaswamy, Adv. General and ;D.S. Hulgur, H.C. Govt. Pleader
DispositionPetitions dismissed
Excerpt:
- indian succession act, 1925. section 2(h): [n. kumar,j] proof of will legal requirements duty of the court held, under the act, the will to be valid, should be reduced into writing, signed by the testator and shall be attested by two or more witnesses and at least one attesting witnesses shall be examined. if these legal requirements are not found, in the eye of law there is no will at all. therefore, the first step is that if the documents produced before the court prima facie do not satisfy these legal requirements, the court need not make any further enquiry, in so far as its due execution is concerned and can negative a claim based on the said document. further, the second step is that when the legal heirs are disinherited, the court has to scrutinise the evidence with greater.....gopivallabha iyengar, j.1. these seven petitions, in which the validity of the mysore land reforms act, 1961 (mysore act 10 of 1962 as amended by the mysore act 14 of 1965), and the rules framed thereunder is challenged, are heard together. in addition to the declaration that the aforesaid act and rules are ultra vires, void and of no effect, they have also sought for an alternative relief for a declaration that the petitioners' holdings which are ryotwari are governed by section 107 of the mysore land reforms act, 1961 (hereinafter called the land reforms act), and thus the provisions of land reforms act do not apply to them. 2. in the first six petitions above-mentioned, the facts are identical. in writ petition nos. 1180 and 3945 of 1968, in addition to the questions raised in the.....
Judgment:

Gopivallabha Iyengar, J.

1. These seven petitions, in which the validity of the Mysore Land Reforms Act, 1961 (Mysore Act 10 of 1962 as amended by the Mysore Act 14 of 1965), and the Rules framed thereunder is challenged, are heard together. In addition to the declaration that the aforesaid Act and Rules are ultra vires, void and of no effect, they have also sought for an alternative relief for a declaration that the petitioners' holdings which are ryotwari are governed by Section 107 of the Mysore Land Reforms Act, 1961 (hereinafter called the Land Reforms Act), and thus the provisions of Land Reforms Act do not apply to them.

2. In the first six petitions above-mentioned, the facts are identical. In Writ Petition Nos. 1180 and 3945 of 1968, in addition to the questions raised in the other petitions, a declaration is sought that the petitioners therein are entitled to the exemption provided under Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act as they are tenants of a Religious and Charitable Institution which is under the control of the State Government, the effect of which is that the provisions of the Land Reforms Act and the Rules framed thereunder do not apply to them. The petitioners have also sought for reliefs by way of a writ of mandamus restraining the respondent -- the State of Mysore -- from enforcing the provisions of the Land Reforms Act.

3. The averments made in the affidavit accompanying the petitions are mostly identical, excepting that the land concerned in W. P. No. 159 of 1968 are situated in Shimoga District, while the lands concerned in the other petitions are all situate in South Kanara and they all are said to be ryotwari lands. The object of the Land Reforms Act, 1961, as gathered from its preamble is to confer ownership on tenants, impose ceilings on land holdings and for some other matters more specifically referred to in the body of the Land Reforms Act. The Land Reforms Act amongst other reforms provides for resumption of lands and also for fixation of rent and ceilings. After referring to several provisions of the Land Reforms Act, it is stated that several basic provisions of the Land Reforms Act are so vague and ambiguous that it is impossible for the citizen to comply with them. Such a statute which forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague as this Land Reforms Act that men of common intelligence are to guess their meaning and differ in regard to their application, violates the essentials of law. In view of the fact that the terms of the enactment are vague and ambiguous, it amounts to abdication of the legislative functions of the legislature and amounts to excessive delegation in regard to such functions to the executive or statutory authorities, and, therefore, the Act is void for excessive delegation.

4. It is averred that the holdings of the petitioners situated in South Kanara District are ryotwari patta lands; it has been held that the holders of ryotwari pattas hold lands on lease from the Government. Regarding the nature of the tenure of the ryotwari holdings, it was submitted that the holdings belong to the Government and that the petitioners held them as lessees of the Government, and therefore, they come within the provisions of Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act and hence they are exempted from the provisions of the Land Reforms Act, excepting Section 8 of the said Act. In addition to the above averments, it is submitted in W. P. Nos. 1118 and 3943 of 1968, that the petitioners are trustees of some temples situated in South Kanara; the temples being under the control of the Government, they are entitled to the exemption provided under Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act, and therefore, they are entitled to declaration as prayed for by the other petitioners, in addition to a writ of mandamus directing the respondent to forbear from applying any provisions of the Land Reforms Act to them except Section 107 read with Section 8 of the Land Reforms Act, as the lands belong to the temples. Though certain sections of the Land Reforms Act are especially referred to in the affidavits as being vague and ambiguous, Sri M. K. Nambiar, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners in the first five petitions, referred to a few provisions of the Land Reforms Act, which he referred to as the basic provisions of the Land Reforms Act and argued that if they are struck down as being invalid on the ground of their being vague and ambiguous resulting in excessive delegation, then the other provisions of the Land Reforms Act would also become ineffective and void.

5. The contentions raised in these petitions are four in Number: (1) The definition of the term 'standard acre' and the classification of lands in Schedule I attached to the Land Reforms Act, is so indefinite, vague and ambiguous, that it is open to the statutory authorities under Land Reforms Act to arrive at any arbitrary decision relating to classification of the lands; thus the function that the statutory authorities discharge in regard to these provisions would be what is to be done by the Legislature. The Legislature has not laid down any guidelines to the subordinate authorities who are expected to work out the provisions of the Land Reforms Act and give effect to them. The basic provisions of the Land Reforms Act are such that in giving effect to the enactment, the executive authorities would take varying decisions and the Land Reforms Act which allows such a result suffers from excessive delegation of legislative authority, and therefore, invalid.

(2) The lands held by the petitioners are all Ryotwari lands; such lands are held by the petitioners on lease from the Government, and therefore, excepting the provisions of Sections 107 and 8 of the enactment, the rest of the provisions do not apply to them.

(3) The third contention applies to W. P. Nos. 1118 of 1968 and 3945 of 1968. The petitioners therein are lessees of lands belonging to certain temples. As these temples are under the control of the Government they are entitled to exemption under Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act.

(4) The fourth contention was urged by the petitioners in W. P. No. 1083 of 1967. It was that the law in force at the time the statute came into force was that his holdings were held on ryotwari tenure. It was a lease from the Government, both by virtue of Madras Revenue Board Standing Order 28 and the decisions of the Supreme Court. That law continues to be in force as it has not been amended or modified or repealed by any enactment. The petitioner in W. P. No. 1083 of 1967 was permitted to raise this contention as the learned Advocate General has no objection for his doing so though there is an order that the petitioner's challenge to the Land Reforms Act is based on excessive delegation only.

6. Before dealing with the contentions of the petitioners' learned counsel, we may refer to a preliminary objection raised by the learned Advocate General. The learned Advocate General contended that the petitioners in these petitions are not aggrieved parties as no action has been taken against any of them for failure on their part to comply with the provisions of the Land Reforms Act. It is only if any action is taken against the petitioners that they could have a cause of action to file the petitions. The reliefs now sought by them are purely academic and the apprehension on the part of the petitioners are imaginary and therefore they cannot seek a declaration in the nature of mere opinion on hypothetical questions and such a declaration without a present grievance on the part of the petitioners would be futile and unnecessary. It is essential that the petitioners should make out a present injury. Reliance was placed on a decision of the Bombay High Court reported in : AIR1968Bom75 (Wholesale Grain and Seed Merchants' Association, Nagpur v. State of Maharashtra), wherein it was observed at page 86 as follows:--

'..... It is well settled that extraordinary powers of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot be invoked by a citizen merely to secure a declaratory judgment. The learned counsel was given further time to enable him to address us on this aspect of the case inasmuch as in our opinion the petitioners were not entitled to any relief as no action had been taken against them under the impugned orders. Whether a particular provision of the order or condition of the licence was or was not invalid cannot be determined in the absence of actual enforcement of the power by the authority to the prejudice or injury of a citizen ....'

It may be noted that in the same decision, the following observation occurs at page 83:

'The party who invokes the power must be able to show not only that the statute is invalid, but that he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as the result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers in some indefinite way in common with people generally . . . . '

Our attention was invited to the decision reported in : AIR1962All187 (FB) (Sri Durga Gita Vidyalaya Association v. State of U. P.), wherein it was observed as follows:--

'..... that the relief by way of writ is a proceeding of an exceptional type. The Court should not allow it to be utilised by a party for the purpose of obtaining its opinion on hypothetical and abstract questions not directly arising in the case before it, nor for the purpose of seeking declarations that are futile and irrelevant so far as the matter in the issue is concerned. While exercising writ jurisdiction under Article 226, the High Courts in India do not act in an advisory capacity and however fascinating might appear to be the form in which a party is able to present a legal question before the Court the latter should resist the temptation of entering Into this alluring region unless the legal question posed before it can be shown to be directly related to the specific right sought to be asserted or enforced in the writ petition itself. The primary purpose of Article 226 seems to be the enforcement of legal rights and obligations and not their declaration in vacuo.'

The learned Advocate General also drew our attention to the following observation reported in : [1960]1SCR200 (The Central Bank of India v. Their Workmen etc.):

'.... It is, therefore, not necessary for us to decide hypothetical questions which may arise in any future reference that may be made under the amended section. In the exercise of its appellate powers this Court does not give speculative opinions on hypothetical questions. It would be contrary to principle, inconvenient and inexpedient that opinion should be given on such questions. If and when they arise, they must arise in concrete cases and to use the words of the Earl of Halsbury L. C. in Attorney General of Ontario v. Hamilton Street, Rly. 1903 AC 524 at page 529;

'It would be extremely unwise for any Judicial Tribunal to attempt before hand to exhaust all possible cases and facts which might occur to qualify, cut down, and override the operation of the particular words when the concrete case is not before it' .....'

7. In answer to these submissions, Sri M. K. Nambiar, the learned counsel for the petitioners, pointed out even in the decision cited by the learned Advocate General, i.e., : AIR1968Bom75 , it was observed that the party who invoked the power must be able to show not only that the statute is invalid, but that he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as the result of its enforcement. He invited our attention to the fact that the impugned enactment came into force on 2-10-1965 and that provisions of Sections 8, 14, 2 (29), 63, 66 (1) and 125 (2) are sections which have come into force immediately and that the rights of the petitioners are affected thereby. The complaints made by the petitioners are not hypothetical with regard to something that would come into existence in future or merely depend upon what the authorities entrusted with power under the Land Reforms Act may do. Therefore, the petitioners have a present grievance. In any event, they are threatened with injuries, and therefore, they are entitled to file these petitions, and the preliminary objection raised by the learned Advocate General is not acceptable. He also invited our attention to the decisions of the Supreme Court reported in : AIR1959SC725 (Kavalappa Kottarathi Kochunni v. State of Madras) and : AIR1962SC1044 (Calcutta Gas Co. v. State of West Bengal). In the first case, : AIR1959SC725 the Supreme Court while referring to the decision in : [1954]1SCR1122 , observed as hereunder:--

'The High Court declined to issue a writ and dismissed the petition on the ground that a mandamus could be issued only to compel an authority to do or to abstain from doing some act and that it was seldom anticipatory and was certainly never issued where the action of the authority was dependent on some action of the appellant and that in that case the appellant had not even made his return and no demand for the tax could be made from him. Being aggrieved by that decision of the High Court, the petitioner in that case came up to this Court on appeal and this Court held that a threat by the State to realise the tax from the assessee without the authority of law by using the coercive machinery of the impugned Act was a sufficient infringement of his fundamental right which gave him a right to seek relief under Article 226 of the Constitution. It will be noticed that the Act impugned in that case had by its terms made it incumbent on all dealers to submit returns etc., and thereby imposed restrictions on their fundamental right to carry on their business under Article 19(1)(g)....'

These observations apply to the present case. In the second case : AIR1962SC1044 it has been held that the principles governing the exercise of power under Article 226 of the Constitution (sic). As indicated above the petitioners in the present case have not merely a threat of injury but actually the impugned Act has become applicable to them and they have a present grievance. Therefore, it appears to us that we cannot accept the preliminary objection raised by the learned Advocate General. The decision of the Supreme Court reported in : [1953]4SCR1069 (State of Bombay v. United Motors (India) Ltd.) is also against the contention of the learned Advocate General.

8. With reference to the first contention, the petitioners' learned counsel drew our attention to the definition of the words 'standard acre' and other relevant terms in the Land Reforms Act. 'Standard acre' is defined under Section 2 (32) as follows:--

'2 (32) 'Standard acre' means one acre of the first class of land or an extent equivalent thereto consisting of any one or more classes of land specified in Part A of Schedule I determined in accordance with the formula in Part B of the said Schedule;'

This makes it necessary to look into Schedule I of the Land Reforms Act. Schedule I deals with classification of lands. It was submitted that the other provisions of the Land Reforms Act which affect the petitioners depend upon these definitions, which as stated by the petitioners' counsel provide the key for the entire Act. The learned counsel made a close analysis of several sections and Schedule I relating to the classification of lands. Section 2 (A) (7) defines a 'ceiling area' as under:

'2 (A) (7) 'ceiling area' means land which is equal to eighteen standard acres.'

The term 'basic holding' is defined under Section 2 (A) (6) as land which is equal to two standard acres. Reading Sections 14 and 16 together these are provisions relating to resumption of land by holders, which again depends upon the definition of the word 'standard acre'. Similarly the other sections, in particular Sections 63 and 66, also depend upon the definition of the word 'standard acre'. It is unnecessary to set out all the sections which depend upon the definition of the term 'standard acre' except to state that many of the important provisions in the enactment depend upon this definition. Schedule I, Part A which relates to classification of lands is as follows:--

'SCHEDULE I

Part A Classification of lands.

First Class:-- Wet land or garden land possessing facilities for assured irrigation where two crops of paddy can be raised in a year.

Second Class:-- Wet land or garden land other than First Class land possessing facilities for assured irrigation, that is, land in channel area (Nala Pradesha), where one crop of paddy can be raised in a year.

Third Class:-- Wet land or garden land, other than First or Second Class land possessing facilities for irrigation from tanks.

Fourth Class:-- Wet land or garden land, other than First, Second or Third Class land, irrigated--

(i) by rain water; or

(ii) by seepage water from tanks, canals or other sources of water; or

(iii) by water lifted from a river or channel by electrical or mechanical power.

Fifth Class:-- Dry land or garden land, not falling under the First, Second, Third or Fourth Class, in areas in which the average annual rainfall is more than thirty-five inches, or

Dry-cum wet land or Dry-cum-gar-den land, that is, light Irrigated dry land, or garden land.

Sixth Class:-- Dry land or garden land not falling under the First, Second, Third, Fourth or Fifth Class, in areas in which the average annual rainfall is not more than thirty-five inches and is not less than twenty five inches.

Seventh Class:-- Dry land or garden land, not falling under the First, Second, Third, Fourth or Fifth Class, in areas in which the average annual rainfall is less than twenty-five inches, or uncultivable dry land in areas in which the average annual rainfall is not less than seventy-five inches.

(Explanation:-- For purposes of this part, the average annual rainfall of any area means the average annual rainfall in each taluk within which such area is situated, during the period of twenty-five years prior to the first day of October, 1965 as notified by the prescribed officer).'

In the first Class, there is a reference to wet land or garden land possessing facilities for assured irrigation where two crops of paddy can be raised in a year. It was contended that this provision is extremely vague and ununderstandable Wet land or garden land is not defined in the Act. The terms 'assured irrigation' are indefinite and no guidelines or criteria are incorporated in the enactment and on the basis of which the determination whether a land possesses facilities for assured irrigation can be made by the authorities. In this connection, our attention was invited to Section 2 (c) of the Land Reforms Act, which is as hereunder:--

'2 (C) In this Act, 'land possessing facilities for assured irrigation means land in such areas as the prescribed officers may in the prescribed manner determine; and such determination shall subject to revision by the State Government either suo motu or otherwise be final.'

This provision will be referred to later.

9. The provision relating to two crops of paddy being raised in a year it is stated is also ununderstandable as it is impossible that it could refer to garden lands: it could only refer to wet lands. The Second Class of lands again contained the same terms as in the First Class with the same ambiguity as in the first. It was submitted that the other classes of land are exclusive of the earlier classes of land and therefore if there is ambiguity or vagueness in the First Class of land that ambiguity will run throughout in the classification of lands. If this classification of lands is uncertain, vague and indefinite and this classification depends upon the executive or statutory authority who is to determine which land comes within what category it would lead to capriciousness and consequent variation in the classification depending upon the officer concerned. Therefore, the Legislature ought to have laid down definite guidelines to determine the several ingredients comprised in the classification. In the absence of it. it is contended that the classification of lands is invalid.

10. Sri M. K. Nambiar while stating that there is no definition of wet lands or garden lands in the Reforms Act invited our attention to Section 2 (B) of the Land Reforms Act. Section 2 (B) reads as hereunder:--

'2 (B) Words and expressions used in this Act but not defined shall have the meaning assigned to them in (The Mysore Land Reforms Act, 1964) and the Transfer of Property Act. 1882. as the case may be.'

In the Mysore Land Revenue Act, 1964 (hereinafter called the Revenue Act) wets land and garden land are included in an explanation in Section 2 (B) of the said Revenue Act which relates to 'class of land'. 'Class of land' is defined as follows:--

'2 (B) 'Class of land' means any of the following classes of land, namely, dry land, wet land, garden land or plantation land.'

It was pointed out that at the time when the Land Reforms Act was passed, i. e., on 15-3-1962, the Revenue Act that was in force was the Mysore Land Revenue Code of 1888 (Mysore Act No. IV of 1888). In that there was no definition of the terms 'wet land' or 'garden land'. It is subsequent to the passing of the Land Reforms Act that Revenue Act was passed and the provisions relating to the meaning of these terms in the Revenue Act came to be substituted by Act 14 of 1965. The above substitution was made without anticipating the possibility of a contention that the definition of the terms 'wet land' or 'garden land' as in the Revenue Act could have to be engrafted to those terms as used in the Land Reforms Act. The submission of the petitioners' counsel was that wet land and garden land are defined under Section 2 (8) (b) of the Revenue Act as follows:--

'2 (8) (b) 'wet land' means land in which wet crops can be grown by use of rain water or water obtained from any source of water which is not the property of the State Government;'

'2 (8) (c) 'garden land' means land in which the garden crops other than plantation crops can be grown, and shall consist of dry land and wet garden land; and

(i) 'dry garden land' means land classified as such under any law repealed by Section 202 or any law in force at any time before the commencement of this Act, or garden land in which wet garden crops cannot be grown except when irrigated by water obtained from any source of water which is the property of the State Government;

(ii) 'wet garden land' means land in which wet garden crops can be grown by use of rain water or water obtained from any source of water which is not the property of the State Government.' If these definitions are engrafted to Schedule I of the Land Reforms Act, this classification would make no meaning. In the first place it is pointed out that the source of water for the wet land either should be rain water or water obtained from any source which is not the property of the State Government. Garden land consists of two categories. Referring to source of water it is the property of the State Government in respect of one class; and in another class the source of water is not the property of the State Government. It is submitted that the terms of 'possession facilities for assured irrigation' in the First Class of lands in the Reforms Act implies that assured source of irrigation is from Government source. Therefore, the definition in the Land Revenue Act would be inconsistent with what is referred to as 'the facilities for assured irrigation' in the Reforms Act. It was therefore submitted that meaning of words 'wet land' and 'garden land' in the first Class is vague, indefinite and ununderstandable. Once this is so, it was contended that the other sections depending upon the classification of lands would fail. It was pointed out that Section 2 (c) indicates as to what exactly is the meaning of the term 'land possessing facilities for assured irrigation.' Referring to these provisions, it was contended that the determination of this factor depends upon the decision of the prescribed officer, who is to determine it in the manner prescribed. It is the case of the petitioners that this provision also is vague and indefinite as no definite significance or meaning to these terms are given by the Legislature, nor any guidelines laid down for the determination of this factor by the prescribed officer. Therefore, it was contended that the determination of this question depends upon the particular authority before whom the question arises for determination. There is every likelihood of determination varying from officer to officer and hence the provision is vague and liable to be struck down.

In support of the contention that if the terms used in the enactment are vague and the Legislature has not laid down the criteria to be applied for the determination of the question the enactment containing such provision is liable to be struck down, reliance was placed on the decisions of the Supreme Court reported in : 1954CriLJ1322 , Harishankar Bagla v. State of Madhya Pradesh and : 1960CriLJ671 . Hamdard Dawakhana v. Union of India. In : 1954CriLJ1322 , the relevant observation is as follows:-- '.....In other words, the Legislature cannot delegate its function of laying down legislative policy in respect of a measure and its formulation as a rule of conduct. The Legislature must declare the policy of the law and the legal principles which are to control any given cases and must provide a standard to guide the officials or the body in power to execute the law. The essential legislative function consists in the determination or choice of the legislative policy and of formally enacting that policy into a binding rule of conduct.'

Similarly, in the decision reported in : 1960CriLJ671 , it is observed that:

'.....This means that the legislature having laid down the broad principles of its policy in the legislation can then leave the details to be supplied by the administrative authority. In other words by delegated legislation the delegate completes the legislation by supplying details within the limits prescribed by the statute .....'

The tests that follow from the two Supreme Court decisions cited above, it is contended, are not satisfied in this case. It was complained that in the words 'possessing secured facilities for irrigation', the Legislature has not laid down the criteria as to what exactly is meant by assured irrigation, how long it should be, in what quantity or by what method it ought to be. Under the Act, the land-holder is to retain only a particular quantum of land and surrender the rest. There being no sufficient clarity in the aforesaid provisions relating to the ceilings and they being uncertain, ambiguous and impracticable, the enactment is vitiated in that respect also. Bearing in mind that the Act is exproprietary in nature the legislature ought to have made classification of the lands definite and certain without leaving it for determination to any executive authority. Similar is the complaint with reference to the terms 'channel area' in the Second Class of Schedule I-A in the Land Reforms Act.

Our attention was also invited to the decision reported in : [1970]1SCR479 , Harakchand Ratanchand Banthia v. Union of India. It appears to us that the provisions which received the attention of the Supreme Court in the said case were on the face of it conferring wide and vague power upon the Administrator and it was difficult to limit their scope. The provisions struck down were unguided restrictions on carrying on business. That decision does not seem to apply to the facts of the present case. However, it is necessary to further examine the validity of the contention advanced by the petitioners' learned counsel.

11. The learned Advocate General in reply to this argument states that the definition of the word 'standard acre' depends upon the nature of the land, its productivity and other factors. It is only on the basis of these factors that the 'standard acre' can be determined. Schedule I of the Land Reforms Act provides for the classification of lands. It is clear enough to a reasonable person to know what is meant by the said provision, keeping in view the object of the enactment. In reply to the contention that the definition of the terms 'wet land' and 'garden land' as given in the Revenue Act is applicable to the terms used in Schedule I of the Land Reforms Act by virtue of the provisions of Section 2 (B) of the Land Reforms Act, the learned Advocate General submits that the definition of the words 'garden land' and 'wet land' in the Revenue Act cannot be engrafted to those terms in Schedule I of the Land Reforms Act. While appreciating that engrafting of the definition in the Revenue Act to the terms used in the classification of lands would lead to confusion, he points out that the definition in the Revenue Act is always subject to the condition 'unless the context otherwise requires.' Even in Section 2 of the Land Reforms Act it is mentioned in the opening of Section 2 that the definitions given therein are applicable 'unless the context otherwise requires'. It is pointed out by the petitioners' counsel that the words 'unless the context otherwise requires' in Section 2 of the Land Reforms Act applies only to the definitions contained in Sub-clause (2) (A) and not to (B) and (C); Section 2 (B) of the Land Reforms Act is unqualified and therefore the definition given in the Revenue Act must fully apply. First, the words and expressions used in the Land Reforms Act but not defined in it, no doubt, have the meaning as in the Revenue Act, but we must bear in mind that the definitions in the Revenue Act as per Section 2 of the Act, do not apply if the context otherwise requires. Reading the terms 'wet land' and 'garden land' in the classification of lands in Schedule I of the Land Reforms Act engrafting the meaning of those terms as defined in the Revenue Act would lead to an absurd result which would render the Schedule I of the Reforms Act meaningless. We cannot, therefore, adopt the definitions given in the Revenue Act to understand the meaning of the word 'wet land' and 'garden land' in the Land Reforms Act. As argued by the Advocate General those terms should be taken in the way in which they are understood in common parlance. 'Wet land' no doubt differs from 'garden land'. But both wet land and garden land must have the facilities for Irrigation. The term 'assured irrigation' is not so vague, indefinite or uncertain as contended by the petitioners' counsel. It is prescribed in R. 4 of the Rules as to who is to determine the areas where land possessing faculties for assured Irrigation lie and the manner in which they may determine such areas. The question relating to the validity of this Rule came up for determination in a decision of this Court reported in 1969 (2) Mys LJ 116, Susheela v. State of Mysore. This Court has taken the view that 'Rule 4 is not invalid; it is neither in excess of the rule making power nor does it vest arbitrary power in the Assistant Commissioner.' Further it is observed that 'The Act itself gives sufficient indication as to what is meant by land possessing facilities for assured irrigation.' Reference was made to Section 2 (C) of the Land Reforms Act. Schedule I of the Land Reforms Act was also referred to and it is observed that Schedule I, Part A wherein classification of lands is given, also throws light on what is meant by 'facilities for assured irrigation.' There is much force in the contention of the learned Advocate General that the determination of the existence of facilities for assured irrigation depends upon several factors varying from place to place. It depends upon the source of irrigation, capacity of the said source, quality of the soil, etc. We may mention that there are so many factors that they cannot be embodied in a Legislative Enactment. It must necessarily be left for determination by the local authorities. It is pertinent to refer to the observation made in the case reported in : 1960CriLJ671 , to which a reference has already been made. The relevant observation reads as hereunder:--

'The Legislature cannot delegate its power to make a law, but it can make a law to delegate a power to determine some fact or state of things upon which the law makes or intends to make its own action depend. There are many things upon which wise and useful legislation must depend which cannot be known to the law making power, and must therefore be the subject of enquiry and determination outside the hall of legislature. In Locke's Appeal 72 p. 491; Field and Co. v. Clark, (1892) 143 US 649. But the discretion should not be so wide that it is impossible to discern its limits. There must instead be definite boundaries within which the powers of the administrative authority are exercisable. Delegation should not be so indefinite as to amount to an abdication of the legislative function. Schwarts American Administrative Law, page 21. In an Australian case relied upon by the learned Solicitor General the prohibition by proclamation of goods under Section 52 of the Customs Act, 1901 was held to be conditional legislation; Baxter v. Ah Way, (1909) 8 CLR 626 at pp. 634, 637, 638. According to that case the legislature has to project its mind into the future and provide as far as possible for all contingencies likely to arise in the application of the law, but as it is not possible to provide for all contingencies especially for all cases, the legislature resorts to conditional legislation leaving it to some specified authority to determine in what circumstances the law should become operative or to what its operation should be extended or the particular class of persons or goods to which it should be applied; Baxter's case, (1909) 8 CLR 626 at pp. 637 and 638.'

Now, in this case, what has been delegated to the prescribed authority is to make enquiries on the basis of which the availability of facilities for assured irrigation can be determined. This depends upon numerous factors. Rule 4 (2) of the Land Reforms Rules is as follows:

'4. (2) The Assistant Commissioner shall prepare a provisional list of acres where land possessing facilities for assured irrigation lie; and shall cause such list along with a notice, to be published by affixture on the notice board of his office, and on the notice boards of the Taluk Offices concerned, and by affixture of the relevant extract thereof in the village chavadis concerned.'

Further Section 2 (C) prescribes that the determination by the Assistant Commissioner under Rule 4 is always subject to revision by the State Government either suo motu or otherwise and it is to be final. Thus it appears to us that there is sufficient safeguard against capricious or arbitrary action on the part of the executive or statutory authority who is required to determine the availability of facilities for assured irrigation. It must also be noticed that the provisions for assured irrigation need not necessarily be from Government source; it can either be by private source or Government source. It cannot be understood that what is assured irrigation is only from the Government source. In view of the decision reported in (1969) 2 Mys LJ 116 and the several reasons that we have set out above we cannot accept the contention that there is any vagueness in understanding the terms 'wet land' or 'garden land' or in the terms 'facilities for assured irrigation', and therefore, the complaint of the petitioners' counsel loses its force.

12. We may further refer to the decision of the Supreme Court reported in : 1978CriLJ1281 , Vasanlal Maganbhai Sanjanwala v. State of Bombay (now Maharashtra), wherein the Supreme Court observes that 'it is now well established that the power of delegation is a constituent element of the legislative power as a whole, and in modern times when the legislatures enact laws to meet the challenge of the complex socio-economic problems, they often find it convenient and necessary to delegate subsidiary and ancillary powers to delegates of their choice for carrying out the policy laid down by their Acts.....The extent to which such delegation is permissible is also now well-settled. The legislature cannot delegate its essential legislative function in any case. It may lay down the legislative policy and principle, and must afford guidance for carrying out the said policy before it delegates its subsidiary powers in that behalf.....In dealing with the challenge to the vires of any statute on the ground of excessive delegation it is, therefore, necessary to enquire whether the impugned delegation involves the delegation of an essential legislative function or power and whether the Legislature has enunciated its policy and principle and given guidance to the delegate or not. As the decision in Bagla's case, : 1954CriLJ1322 , shows, in applying this test this court has taken into account the statements in the preamble to the Act, and if the said statements afford a satisfactory basis for holding that the legislative policy and principle has been enunciated with sufficient accuracy and clarity the preamble itself has been held to satisfy the requirements of the relevant tests. In every case it would be necessary to consider the relevant provisions of the Act in relation to the delegation made and the question as to whether the delegation is intra vires or not will have to be decided by the application of the relevant tests.' The class of land which would satisfy the test or requirements prescribed in the classification can be ascertained from time to time only after enquiry and investigation. All the factors which govern the determination of the classification cannot obviously be specified in the statute. This requires the knowledge of local conditions, calling for investigation and enquiry and the decision of the executive authority should be arrived at as provided under Rule 4 of the Rules.

13. Our attention was also invited to a decision of this Court reported in 1964 Mys LJ Supp 205 at page 210 (Modern Hindu Hotel v. State of Mysore.) The relevant observations are to the following effect:--

'It is by the application of these principles that we must examine the challenge made to the validity of Section 32 (1) of the Act. Now what this section authorises is the determination of fair tariffs for lodging, boarding and other services, Sub-section (1) of that section makes it clear that that determination cannot be a whimsical or capricious determination but should be a fair determination. The further requirement is that that determination should be made on a consideration of all relevant circumstances although what those circumstances are, is not set out by the Legislature. What it next says is that the determination should be a just determination. It is thus clear that the policy of the Legislature when it enacted Section 32 was to substitute for the existing tariffs, fair tariffs which are in the opinion of the competent authority just tariffs as revealed from the investigation made by it into all the relevant 'circumstances' which have to be taken into consideration for that purpose.'

These observations support the view that we have expressed earlier. In another part of the said decision, it is observed as follows:--

'But what is however clear is that no one can lay down any rigid or inflexible rule of universal application which will settle all cases arising before the competent authority. That this is so is in my opinion, what can be urged in defence of the impugned legislation. If a Court deciding a case is not able to and cannot make an exhaustive determination of the relevant factors which should be taken into consideration for the determination of the fair rates by the competent authority, to expect such enumeration by the Legislature in the law made by it, would be to ask for what is impossible.'

The ratio of this decision is that 'it is not always necessary when power is delegated to an executive agency to make a determination for the implementation of the policy incorporated in the law made by the Legislature, that the legislature itself should enumerate exhaustively and fully the criteria on the basis of which that determination has to be made. So long as the relevant factors to be taken into consideration for the purpose of making that determination are well known or are fairly clear or are implicit in the law made by the Legislature, it is not necessary for the Legislature to make any enumeration of all those standards which in a given case may be quite impossible and impracticable.' This decision has been followed in AIR 1968 Mys 61, Gyan Prakash Gupta v. State of Mysore. It is observed as follows:--

'It is after a consideration of the relevant materials emerging from the enquiry, that the competent authority determines the fair rates. There are provisions in the Act and in the Rules which ensure that the order of the competent authority should be in writing and that the reasons in support of that order should also have been briefly stated. An appeal is also provided against the order of the competent authority.'

In this case, as we have already noted, the determination of the Assistant Commissioner is always subject to revision by the State Government either suo motu or otherwise. Therefore, there are sufficient safeguards provided In the Land Reforms Act with respect to the determination of the assured source of irrigation and therefore, there can be no room for arbitrariness, or capricious-ness in the determination of the above question. Therefore, it appears to us that the contention that the Land Reforms Act is liable to be struck down on the ground of excessive delegation has no force.

14. Sri M. K. Nambiar does not contest the validity of the enactment of the Land Reforms Act either on the ground of its being opposed to fundamental rights nor does he contend that the legislation is bad on the ground of incompetence of the legislature. In view of the decision of the Supreme Court reported in : [1967]2SCR762 , L. C. Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, the constitutionality of the enactment cannot be questioned on the ground that its provisions offend Articles 14, 19 and 31. It may also be mentioned that in the Supreme Court the validity of the Land Reforms Act was disputed on other grounds also apart from the question that it is opposed to Chapter III of the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court stated that 'We have noticed the other arguments of Mr. Nambiar, which are peculiar to writ petition No. 202 or 205 of 1966 as those questions do not arise for decision, in the view we are taking on the common questions.' Therefore, it is open for the petitioners to question the validity of the enactment of the Land Reforms Act on grounds other than those dealt with in the above Supreme Court decision.

15. The next contention of Sri M. K. Nambiar was that the petitioners are entitled to the exemption provided under Section 107 of the Mysore Land Reforms Act, Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act reads as follows:--

'107. Act not to apply to (certain lands)..... Subject to the provisions of Section 110, nothing in the provisions of this Act except Section 8 shall apply to lands belonging to or held on lease from the Government or lands belonging to or held on lease from religious or charitable institutions managed by or under the control of the State Government, or lands belonging to or held on lease from, a public trust or a society for public educational purpose created or formed before the 18th November, 1961 and in existence on the date of commencement of the Mysore Land Reforms (Amendment Act, 1965).' (Underlining is ours). In the first five petitions, the petitioners are ryotwari pattedars and their contention is that they hold lands on lease under the Government. Great reliance was placed on the enunciation of law in this regard in : AIR1962SC723 (Karimbil Kunhikoman v. State of Kerala.) In paragraph 13 of the said decision, while dealing with the status of ryotwari pattedars governed by the Board's Standing Orders of Madras State, there being no Act of the Legislature with respect to them, the Supreme Court observed as follows:--

'.....The holders of ryotwari pattas used to hold lands on lease from Government. The basic idea of ryotwari settlement is that every bit of land is assessed to a certain revenue and assigned a survey number for a period of years which is usually thirty and such occupant of such land holds it subject to his paying the land revenue fixed on that land. But it is open to the occupant to relinquish his land or to take new land which has been relinquished by some other occupant or become otherwise available on payment of assessment (see Land Systems of British India by Baden-Powell, Vol. III Chap. IV Section II, p. 128). Though theoretically, according to some authorities, the occupant of ryotwari land held it under an annual lease (see Mecleane. Vol. I Revenue Settlement, p. 104) it appears that in fact the Collector had no power to terminate the tenant's holding for any cause whatever except failure to pay the revenue or the ryot's own relinquishment or abandonment. The ryot is generally called a tenant of Government but he is not a tenant from year to year and cannot be ousted as long as he pays the land revenue assessed. He had also the right to sell or mortgage or gift the land or lease it and the transferee becomes liable in his place for the revenue. Further, the lessee of a ryotwari pattedar has no rights except those conferred under the lease and is generally a sub-tenant at will liable to ejectment at the end of each year. In the Manual of Administration as quoted by Baden-Powell, in Vol. III of Land Systems of British India at page 129 the ryotwari tenure is summarised as that

'of a tenant of the State enjoying a tenant-right which can be inherited, sold or burdened for debt in precisely the same manner as a proprietary right, subject always to payment of the revenue due to the State.' Though therefore the ryotwari pattedar is virtually like a proprietor and has many of the advantages of such a proprietor, he could still relinquish or abandon his land in favour of the Government. It is because of this position that the ryotwari pattedar was never considered a proprietor of the land under his patta, though he had many of the advantages of a proprietor. Considering, however, that the Act of 1908 was in force all over the State of Madras but did not apply to lands held on ryotwari settlement and contained a definition of the word 'estate' which was also applicable throughout the State of Madras except the areas indicated above, it is clear that in the existing law relating to land-tenures the word 'estate' did not include the lands of ryotwari pattedars, however valuable might be their rights in lands as they eventually came to be recognised.'

It was further pointed out that while amending Section 7 of the Mysore Tenants (Temporary Protection from Eviction) Act. 1961 (Mysore Act 37 of 1961) by Mysore Act 15 of 1964, explanation was added in the following terms:--

'Explanation:-- For purposes of clause (a) land in the possession of any person as--

(i) ryotwari pattadar in the Madras Area and Bellary District;

(ii) pattadar or shikmidar in the Hyderabad Area;

(iii) occupant in the Bombay Area and the Mysore Area, except Bellary District or

(iv) holder of land-holder in the Coorg District.

shall not be deemed to be land belonging to or held on lease from the Government'

Section 7 of Act 37 of 1961 provided that the Act shall not apply to lands belonging to or held on lease from the Government. Protection was extended by Act 15 of 1964. It was submitted by the petitioners' counsel that as the explanation above mentioned provides that the land in the possession of ryotwari pattadar in Madras was not to be deemed to be land as belonging to or held on lease from Government, it should be inferred from the deeming provisions that in actuality the land was held by the ryotwari pattadars as lessees from Government. Ordinarily when the deeming provision is made in a statute, the reality would be otherwise than what it is deemed to be. But, the context in which the provision occurs is to secure the protection that is available to an ordinary lessee to the ryotwari pattadar in the Madras area. It was merely an explanatory provision and cannot be used for the purpose suggested by the petitioners' counsel. Our attention was also invited to the decision of the Kerala High Court reported in : AIR1963Ker101 (FB), S. Sabhayogam v. State of Kerala, wherein it is observed as follows:--

'.....Quite naturally, the learned counsel referred us to the incidents of Ryotwari tenure as noted by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in : AIR1962SC723 . Mr. Justice Wanchoo, speaking for the Court in that decision, has adverted to the fact that holders of Ryotwari Pattas hold lands on lease from Government and the basic idea of Ryotwari settlement is that every bit of land is assessed to a certain revenue and assigned a survey number for a period of years, which is usually 30, and each occupant holds it subject to his paying the land revenue fixed on that land. The learned Judge has also, after referring to the land system of British India by Baden Powell Nanelan's Revenue Settlement and the Manual of Administration, ultimately observed that the Ryotwari Pattadar is virtually like a proprietor and has many of the advantages of such a proprietor, but nevertheless he could still relinquish or abandon his land in favour of the Government. The learned Judge has also observed that in view of the fact that a Ryotwari Pattadar can still relinquish or abandon his land he is never considered a proprietor of the land under his Patta though he has many of the advantages of a proprietor.'

The Kerala High Court have adopted the view of the Supreme Court in : AIR1962SC723 . It was next pointed out that the Act 15 of 1964 came into force on 24-3-1964, while the amendment to Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act, viz., Act 4 of 1964 came into force on 2-10-1965. The Legislature was aware that the land in the possession of ryotwari pattadar of Madras area was not to be deemed as land belonging to or held on lease from Government. Same terms are used in Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act, and therefore relationship between ryotwari pattadar and the Government Is in actuality as one between lessee and landlord, and therefore, it was contended that a ryotwari pattadar is entitled to protection under Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act. This must be considered to be the view of the Legislature.

16. With reference to this contention also the learned Advocate General raised a preliminary objection that the relief sought is premature and the petitioners have not a present grievance. For the reasons that we have already mentioned with regard to the preliminary objection dealt with earlier, we do not think that there is any force in this preliminary objection.

17. With reference to principles bearing on the construction of statutes, the learned Advocate General invites our attention to a passage at page 45 of Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes. It is as follows:--

'If the choice is between two interpretations, the narrower of which would fail to achieve the manifest purpose of the legislation, we should avoid a construction which would reduce the legislation to futility and should rather accept the bolder construction based on the view that Parliament would legislate only for the purpose of bringing about an effective result. Where alternative constructions are equally open, that alternative is to be chosen which will be consistent with the smooth working of the system which the statute purports to be regulating; and that alternative is to be rejected which will introduce uncertainty, friction or confusion into the working of the system'.

At page 47 of the same book it Is observed that 'that the good expositor of an Act of Parliament should make construction of all the parts together, and not of one part only by itself'. Every clause of a statute is to 'be construed with reference to the context and other clauses of the Act, so as far as possible, to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute..... Statutory language is not read in isolation, but in its context. In this section, we consider the extent to which external circumstances may be taken into account in construing an Act of Parliament; in the following section, the effect of other legislative provisions (whether contained in the same enactment as that which contains the words to be interpreted, or in the other enactments) on construction will be considered.' On the basis of these principles, the learned Advocate General submitted that the meaning of the word 'lease' under Section 107 should not be understood in the way in which the petitioners want it to be understood, but that it is used in the sense in which the term is used in the T. P. Act. He submits that otherwise it would be a nullification of the other provisions of the Land Reforms Act. He invites our attention to the definition of the term 'tenant' under Section 2 (34) of the Land Reforms Act. The learned Advocate General proceeds on the basis that a lease implies the existence of a tenant and a landlord. Tenant in the Land Reforms Act is defined as hereunder:

'2 (34) 'tenant' means an agriculturist who holds land on lease from a landlord and includes,--

(i) a person who is deemed to be a tenant under Section 4;

(ii) a person who was protected from eviction from any land by the Mysore Tenants (Temporary Protection from Eviction) Act, 1961;

(iii) a person who is a permanent tenant; and

(iv) a person who is a protected tenant.

Explanation.-- A person who takes up a contract to cut grass, or to gather the fruits or other produce of any land, shall not on that account only be deemed to be tenant.'

The proposition underlying the meaning of the word 'tenant' in this enactment is that he must be an 'agriculturist'. The term 'agriculturist' is also defined in item (3) of Section 2 as a person who cultivates land personally. The term 'to cultivate personally' is also defined in item (11) of Section 2 of the Land Reforms Act. It means to cultivate land on one's own account-- (i) by one's own labour, or (ii) by the labour of any member of one's family, or (iii) by hired labourers or by servants on wages payable in cash or kind, but not in crop-share, under the personal supervision of oneself or by member of one's family. The petitioners do not come within the definition of the word 'tenant'. These definitions are inconsistent with the term 'lease' if it should be understood as applicable to the petitioners who are ryotwari pattadars not in possession of the land. Section 3 (2) of the Land Reforms Act, provides that the provisions of Chapter 5 of the Transfer of Property Act 1882, shall in so far as they are not Inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, apply to the tenancies and leases of lands to which this Act applies. The learned Advocate General submits that what is contemplated in Section 107 is a lease to which the provisions of Section 3 (2) apply. Again the word 'landlord' which is defined in item 20 of Section 2 means a person who has leased land to a tenant and includes a person entitled to receive rent from a tenant. Applying this definition, the petitioners are landlords and not tenants. Examining the provisions of Sections 5, 8, 2 (28) and 107, it is seen that Section 8 applies to the petitioners. If Section 8 applies to the petitioners, the meaning of the word 'rent' becomes relevant. It is defined in Item (28) of Section 2. It means consideration in money or kind paid or payable by a tenant. We have again to see meaning of the word 'tenant' which does not apply to the petitioners in these petitions. Therefore, to avoid inconsistency between one provision and another, the contention of the learned Advocate General that the term 'lease' in Section 107 should be understood as defined in the T. P. Act gains force. Our attention was invited to the provisions of Section 10 (b) of the Land Reforms Act, which prescribes that the landlord shall be responsible for the payment of the land revenue, water-rate, and all other taxes, cesses or fees payable to the Government in respect of the land. If as contended by the petitioners, they are tenants, then this provision becomes meaningless, as it is impossible that the Government, which according to them is the landlord would become responsible for the payment of land revenue, water-rate, etc. Similarly, Sections 13 and 20 become impracticable. Similarly, Section 45 to which our attention was drawn and which provides for the registration of tenants as occupants of lands on certain conditions would become unenforceable, and therefore, futile and otiose. The word 'occupant' is not defined in the Land Reforms Act but it is defined in the Revenue Act. Occupants as per Clause (20) of Section 2 of the Revenue Act means the holder in actual possession of unalienated land other than the tenant; provided that where the holder in actual possession is a tenant, the landlord or superior landlord, as the case may be, shall be deemed to be the occupant. The explanation is that ryotwari pattadar In the Madras Area shall be deemed to be an occupant of such land for purposes of 'this' Act. So that according to these definitions ryotwari pattadars, as the petitioners in these petitions, would be occupants of such land for the purpose of the Revenue Act. Similar would be the position with regard to Reforms Act. Therefore, if the relationship between the State and the petitioners is that of occupant and State, such relationship is governed by the relevant provisions of the Land Reforms Act. If this is the legal position, then whatever might have been the status of the Ryotwari Pattadar prior to the enactment of the Revenue Act, 1964, which consolidates and amends the law relating to land and land revenue in the State of Mysore, the status of the ryotwari pattadar In the Madras area with reference to the Government should be that of an occupant. It must also be noted that the word 'occupant' excludes a tenant. The term 'tenant' is also defined in item (34) of the Revenue Act. It is slightly different from the definition of the word 'tenant' in the Land Reforms Act. In either case it is reasonable to understand the relationship between ryotwari pattadar and the Government as one of occupant and the State rather than a lessee and a landlord. Under Section 85 of the Land Reforms Act, it is provided that Assistant Commissioner may lease out the whole or part of uncultivated land to a suitable lessee.

The use of the word 'lessee' under Section 85 provides the clue for understanding the term 'lease' under Section 107 also. It should be understood in the same way. The learned Advocate-General invited our attention to the definition of the word 'intermediary' used In the Land Reforms Act under Section 2 (16) of the Land Reforms Act. 'Intermediary' means any person who not being a land-owner has an interest in the land and is entitled by reason of such interest, to possession thereof, but has lawfully transferred such possession to other. This definition applies to the petitioners in these petitions. Reading this definition with the definition of the word landlord intermediary is a landlord. It was pointed out that in the definition of the word 'landlord' in item (2) of Section 2 of the Land Reforms Act, the ryotwari pattadar is not mentioned but the inclusion of the term 'an intermediary' in it is merely illustrative and therefore it cannot be said that the petitioners are lessees though they may be intermediaries. The learned Advocate General referred to another result that flows from the contention of the petitioners. The tenant of a ryotwari pattadar in Madras area is denied the benefit of the Act, while the tenant of a ryotwari pattadar in other parts of the State has the benefit of the Act. This certainly could not be the intention of the Legislature, the object of which is to enact a uniform law in the State of Mysore relating to agrarian relationship. Further our attention was invited to Section 80 of the Revenue Act, which alone according to the learned Advocate General, governs the relationship between the petitioners and the State in relation to the holding of the lands. Section 80 of the Revenue Act prescribes that all land, whether applied to agricultural or other purposes and wherever situate is liable to the payment of land revenue to the State Government according to the provisions of the Act, except such as may be wholly exempted under the provisions of any special contract with the Government or any provisions of this Act or any other law for the time being in force. Therefore, it was submitted that the obligation to pay land revenue which is what the ryotwari pattadar does to the Government is a statutory obligation imposed by the Revenue Act and it does not bear the character of a contractual liability. Similarly, Section 84 of the Revenue Act provides that the assessment is fixed by the State. It is unilateral. If the relationship of the ryotwari pattadar and the Government was that of landlord and lessee, then the variation in the payment of rent could not have been unilateral. Section 157 of the same Act relates to primary liability for payment of land revenue. Section 158 prescribes a precedence in respect of the claim of the State Government in respect of land revenue. These provisions are inconsistent with the status that the petitioners claim for themselves as lessees of Government.

The learned Advocate General submitted that in view of Section 202 (4) of the Revenue Act even if the relationship of the petitioners and the State was as alleged by the petitioners, that relationship has come to an end by the aforesaid overriding provisions of the Revenue Act. At present, as submitted by the learned Advocate General, it is the Land Revenue Act which regulates the relation of the petitioners and the Government. The question whether he is an occupant or a lessee, is to be determined by reading the several relevant provisions of the allied enactments, viz., the Land Reforms Act and the Land Revenue Act as a whole. It appears to us that the meaning that should be attached to the term 'lease' should be as understood in the T. P. Act. We may in this connection refer to the decision of the Supreme Court reported in : [1957]1SCR930 (R. M. D. Chamarbaugwala v. Union of India) bearing on the question of interpretation of statute. This is what the Supreme Court observed :

'Now when a question arises as to the interpretation to be put on an enactment, what the Court has to do is to ascertain 'the intent of them that make it', and that must of course be gathered from the words actually used in the statute. That, however, does not mean that the decision should rest on a literal interpretation of the 'words used in disregard of all other materials. 'The literal construction then', says Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, 10th Edn., p. 19, 'has, in general, but prima facie preference.' To arrive at the real meaning, it is always necessary to get an exact conception of the aim, scope and object of the whole Act; to consider, according to Lord Coke: (1) What was the law before the Act was passed; (2) What was the mischief or defect for which the law had not provided; (3) What remedy Parliament has appointed; and (4) The reason of the remedy'. The reference here is to Heydon's case, (1854) 3 Co Rep 7a = 76 ER 637 (A-1). These are principles well settled, and were applied by this Court in Bengal Immunity Co. Ltd. v. State of Bihar, : [1955]2SCR603 . To decide the true scope of the present Act, therefore we must have regard to all such factors as can legitimately be taken into account in ascertaining the intention of the legislature, such as the history of the legislation and the purposes thereof, the mischief which it intended to suppress and the other provisions of the statute, and construe the language of Section 2 (d) in the light of the indication furnished by them.'

Bearing these principles in mind and the fact that the enactment in question is a beneficent piece of legislation intended to bring about agrarian reforms, the contention of the petitioners relating to ambiguity or vagueness or indeterminateness of the provisions of the Land Reforms Act referred to in the earlier part of this order, resulting in excessive delegation, and the claim for exemption under Section 107 of the Land Reforms Act cannot be accepted and it appears to us that the view propounded by the learned Advocate General is the one that has to be accepted.

18. The above discussion answers the contentions raised by the petitioner In W. P. 1083 also relating to the provisions of Article 372 of the Constitution. Article 372 permits the making of adaptation and modification of law by way of repeal or amendment as may be necessary and expedient. In this case, the provisions of the Revenue Act read with the Land Reforms Act make modifications in the law which existed on the date of the Constitution, according to the contention of the petitioners with reference to the ryotwari pattadars of Madras area. Hence at present the status of the petitioners is to be determined with reference to the Revenue Act and the Land Reforms Act.

19. In W. Ps. Nos. 1118 and 3945 of 1968, the petitioners claim to be tenants of temples which are under the control of the State. It appears to us that this contention involves a question of fact whether the temples are under the control of the Government. It is not the case of the petitioners that their claims are disputed by the Government in any proceeding and therefore they are aggrieved. If they are holding lands under Religious and Charitable Institutions which are under the control of the Government, it is open to them to claim exemption from the provisions of the Land Reforms Act when the occasion arises. It is unnecessary for us to go to these debatable questions in these petitions. It is open to the petitioners to make out their case before the appropriate authority.

20. Another contention was raised by the petitioner in W. P. 1083 of 1968 staling that he is a member of the joint family and he has a right in the joint family properties i. e. to claim a share; his rights are adversely affected by the provisions of the Land Reforms Act, particularly Section 14. It appears to us that this contention is not sound, inasmuch as, the Act provides a definition of the term 'joint family' and also provides for ceiling in respect of such joint families. Further this again is a question which relates to violation of fundamental rights, i. e., right to hold property. This contention cannot be raised now in view of the Supreme Court decision reported in : [1967]2SCR762 .

21. The petitioner in W. P. No. 1083 of 1967 submitted that in view of the fact that the State has not filed any counter-affidavit denying that the petitioners are tenants of temples under the control of Government, the Court must proceed on the footing that lands belonging to the temples are under the control and management of the Government. Because of this want of denial, we cannot assume the aforesaid averment in favour of the petitioners in view of the fact that as mentioned already the contention is premature and does not require to be met with at present. Hence we cannot accept this contention also.

22. For the reasons stated above, we dismiss these writ petitions. But, in the circumstances, we direct each party to bear his own costs.


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