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Kollur Lakshmi Koteswararao Vs. Govt. of Andhra Pradesh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 2032 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1979AP262
ActsAndhra Pradesh Land Reforms (Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings) Act, 1973 - Sections 7; Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956; Constitution of India - Article 254
AppellantKollur Lakshmi Koteswararao
RespondentGovt. of Andhra Pradesh and ors.
Appellant AdvocateRamachandra Rao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateGovt. Pleader
Excerpt:
.....inconsistent with union law for adoptions and maintenance and union law must prevail - where state law is valid and also in its pith and substance pertains to state subject it continues to be valid notwithstanding fact of some factual inconsistency with parliamentary enactment - only under article 254 where two valid laws both on concurrent list meet on path of collision technical doctrine of repugnancy apply - preconditions for application of constitutional doctrine of repugnancy not attracted - held, section 7 valid as present state act is made on state subject. - - in the domain of constitution law, common sense alone is not a safe guide. there can be cases like tumati rangayya v......state act. the petitioner, therefore, argues that section 7 of the state act, should be treated as invalid . for the purposes of this judgment, we assume that there is inconsistency in the popular sense between the provisions of the state act and the union act. but even so, we hold no situation repugnancy known to constitution law is created rendering the state invalid .our reasons are as follows:4. the state act is one enacted on item 18 of the state list of the 7th schedule to the constitution item 18 reads as follows:--'land, that is to say, rights in or over land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant and the collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agriculture land; land improvement and agricultural loans, colonization.'that the aforesaid state act falls under.....
Judgment:

P.A. Chowdary, J.

1. The Andhra Pradesh Act No. 1 of 1975 (Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings Act) (hereinafter called as the State Act) is once again under attack

2. The petitioner claims to be the adopted son of one late Venkatappaiah who died on 20-7-78. The petitioner's claim which was accepted by the Primary Tribunal of Land Reforms. Gurazala in CC No. 868/PLD/75 dated 3-5-1977 was that his adoption to late Venkatappaih took place on 12-8-1956 and that he was entitled to be treated as a major son for the purposes of the aforesaid Act. On the basis of those allegations as accepted by the Primary Tribunal. the petitioner was allowed to keep one unit as a major son in a total extent or Ac. 64-46 cents belonging to late Venkatappaiah But the Appellate Tribunal reversed this view of the Primary Tribunal and held that the petitioner's alleged adoption should he ignored for the purposes of the Land Reforms Act. This the Tribunal has power to do under Section 7 of the aforesaid State Act Again that order Of the Appellate Tribunal, the petitioner preferred a statutory revision to this court and last it. Now, the petitioner started this round of litigation alleging that Section 7 of the aforesaid State Act relating to adoptions is repugnant to the provisions of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956 (Union Act No. 78 of 1856).

3. What the petitioner says is that the Union Law at Adoptions and Maintenance which is a Parliamentary enactment Ls inconsistent with and therefore it should prevail over the State Act. The legal effects of a valid adoption and the presumptions and the proof there of as provided for under the provisions of the Union Law are all rendered ineffective according to the petitioner, by reason of Section 7 of the State Act. The petitioner, therefore, argues that Section 7 of the State Act, should be treated as invalid . For the purposes of this judgment, we assume that there is inconsistency in the popular sense between the provisions of the State Act and the Union Act. But even so, we hold no situation

repugnancy known to Constitution Law is created rendering the State Invalid .Our reasons are as follows:

4. The state Act is one enacted on item 18 of the State list of the 7th Schedule to the Constitution Item 18 reads as follows:--

'Land, that is to say, rights in or over land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant and the Collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agriculture land; land improvement and agricultural loans, colonization.'

That the aforesaid State Act falls under item 18 of the State List is a fact which has crucial significance for this case. Maddukuri Venkatarao v. State of Andh Pra : AIR1975AP315 (FB) and Tumati Rangayya v. State of Andh Pra : AIR1978AP106 (FB) authoritatively ruled that the State Act falls under Item 18 of the State List. The State Act is, therefore, a piece of legislation on a State subject and valid when enacted. On the other hand, it is equally undeniable that the aforesaid Union Law falls under Item 15 the concurrent list of the 7th Schedule to the constitution. The Union Law is also equally a valid piece of legislation but being enacted on an in the concurrent list. The Fact that needs to be emphasized in this case is that these are two validly enacted pieces of legislation, one on the State List and the other on the concurrent List. The question then is simple. When under our Federal Constitution, two competent legislatures validly enact two different laws, both within the crated fields of their respective jurisdiction but one on concurrent list and the other on the State List can question of a repugnancy arise at all rendering one of those Acts invalid and inoperative?

5. Dicey, once said federalism is legalism. In the domain of Constitution Law, common sense alone is not a safe guide. We have to wrestle, a lot with abstract concepts. It is necessary to keep the distinction between a law which is void ab initio and a law which is valid when enacted and becomes invalid subsequently. To appreciate this distinction, it is appropriate to borrow and adopt the philosophical categories of 'being' and 'becoming'.

6. A Legislative enactment can be a void law under our Federal Constitution if it transgresses the constitutional limitations enacted either in the form of fundamental rights or other constitutional legislation's such as Articles 301 and 309 of the Constitution or because, the particular legislature altogether lacks in legislative competence to en act a law under the Federal distribution of powers as envisaged by Part XI of the Constitution These are cases of 'void' laws in the State of their 'being'. But a State Law may be valid when enacted on one of the matters in the Concurrent list. But, it may yet become invalid for reasons of its inconsistency with an existing law or a fresh Parliamentary enactment on the concurrent list. This is a case of a valid law becoming' invalid It is to this category of situation and to it alone the technical doctrine of repugnancy has any application. In other situations if the State Law in its bate of 'being' is valid because the law in its pith and substance is a State subject, it continues to be so valid notwithstanding the fact of some factual inconsistency with a Parliamentary enactment. Therefore, only under Article 254 of the Constitution where two valid laws both on concurrent list meet on a path of collision, the technical doctrine of repugnancy would apply. It follows, therefore, that except m a case falling under Article 254 of the Constitution, the question whether the State Law has 'become' invalid is neither raised nor asked in constitutional law. The language of the Article 254 as to-day interpreted by our Courts permits the question of pungency to be raised only in relation to legislative disputes touching the material included in the Concurrent list and on no other Tn a Full Bench judgment of this Court reported in Tumati Rangayya v. State of Andh Pra : AIR1978AP106 it was authoritatively laid down after thorough and exhaustive reading of the judgment of the Federal Court and the Supreme Court that the question of repugnancy can arise only with reference to a legislation failing under the concurrent list. Incidentally we may mention that that was case where the validity of the present State Act was challenged but no one appears to have thought it arguable that the present State Act could be attacked on the ground of its being inconsistent with the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.

7. However, we may mention that we are aware of the Legal possibility of the State Law being over-ridden by a Parliamentary enactment outside Article 254 of the Constitution. There can be cases like Tumati Rangayya v. State of Andh Pra (supra) a classic example where there is a collision between the State enactment and an enactment of the Parliament. But the question of superior efficacy of the Parliamentary Law arose because, both the State law and the Parliamentary law are on the same line of the same List.

8. In view of the fact that the present State Act is on a State subject viz., Item 18 of the State List and the Union Law is on a concurrent subject, we hold that the preconditions for the application of the constitutional doctrine of repugnancy are not attracted. The only argument of the petitioner that the Andhra Pradesh Act No, l of 1975 (Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings Act ) is invalid as being repugnant to the Union Law of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, has therefore to be rejected as totally misconceived.

9. Before closing this case, we may refer to the observations made by the Privy Council in Megh Raj v. Allah Rakhia (AIR 1917 PC 72) and the observations of our Federal Court in Lakhi Narayan v. Province of Bihar (AIR 1950 FC 59) and of the Supreme Court made in Tika Ramji v. State of U. P. (1956 SCR 393). In the Privy Council case, the validity of the Punjab Restitution of Mortgaged Lands Act (Act IX of 1938) passed by the Punjab Legislature was challenged. The Privy Council held that:

'Section 107 of 1935 Government of India Act (More or less corresponding to the present Article 254 of our Constitution) has no application where the province could show that it was acting wholly within its powers under the Provincial List and was not relying on any power conferred on it by concurrent list and accordingly questions of repugnancy do not arise in such a case.'

This is also the view taken by our Federal Court in Lakhi Narayan v. Province of Bihar (supra). In Tikka Ramji v. State of UP (supra) the Supreme Court made a similar observation by holding that:

'no question of repugnancy could arise where Parliamentary Legislation and State legislation occupied different fields and dealt with separate and distinct matters even though of a cognate and allied character.'

10. In view of the above settled position of law, we dismiss this Writ Petition.

11. Petition dismissed.


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