Skip to content


Municipal Board, Ghaziabad Vs. Seth Jai Prakash and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Appeal Nos. 99 and 339 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1974All61
ActsUttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 - Sections 1(3), 2(1) and 3(8); Land Acquistion Act, 1894; Uttar Pradesh Land Revenue Act, 1901 - Sections 32
AppellantMunicipal Board, Ghaziabad
RespondentSeth Jai Prakash and ors.
Appellant AdvocateAshok Gupta, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateShanti Bhushan and ;Sudhir Chandra, Standing Counsel
DispositionAppeals dismissed
Excerpt:
(i) property - estate - section 3 (8) of u. p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act, 1951 - entry in the ' khewat ' of village - entry in ' khewat ' be taken as correct until contrary is shown - held, land in dispute being shown in the ' khewat ' of the village and not included in entry in the registers mentioned under section 32 of u.p. land revenue act, 1901 is 'estate' under section 3(8) of u. p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act, 1951. (ii) interpretation of statute - sections 2 (1) (c) and 1(3) of u.p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act, 1951 - land acquired for purposes of railway - surplus land sold - held, word 'areas held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility and declared as such by the state government' would.....hari swarup, j.1. these appeals have been tiled by the municipal board ghaziabad, and by the state of u. p. against the judgment of a learned single judge allowing the writ petition tiled by respondent no, 1. by his judgment the learned single judge has held that the land in dispute had not vested in the state government under the u. p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act and that consequently the slate government could not have by a notification issued under section 117-a of the act vested it in the municipal board, ghaziabad.2. it appears that some land including plot no. 582 of village bhojna, pergana loni, ghaziabad, district meerut, was acquired for the north western railway. some of the land acquired was found to be surplus to the requirements of the railway and was sold by.....
Judgment:

Hari Swarup, J.

1. These appeals have been tiled by the Municipal Board Ghaziabad, and by the State of U. P. against the judgment of a learned Single Judge allowing the writ petition tiled by respondent No, 1. By his judgment the learned Single Judge has held that the land in dispute had not vested in the State Government under the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act and that consequently the Slate Government could not have by a notification issued under Section 117-A of the Act vested it in the Municipal Board, Ghaziabad.

2. It appears that some land including plot No. 582 of village Bhojna, Pergana Loni, Ghaziabad, district Meerut, was acquired for the North Western Railway. Some of the land acquired was found to be surplus to the requirements of the Railway and was sold by auction on March 15, 1943, through the Land Acquisition Officer, Ghaziabad. Sri Mukand Lal, father of Seth Jai Prakash who had riled the writ petition, purchased an area of 48.13 acres including plot No. 582. Since the purchase of plot No. 582 it was used by Sri Mukand Lal and after him by his son for running a brick kiln. Shri Mukand Lal died on October 14, 1952. In November, 1954, Seth Jai Prakash leased out plot No. 582 to Sri Nand Kishore on a rental of Rs. 800/- per annum. Sri Nand Kishore also used the land for running the brick kiln. After the death of Sri Nand Kishore in or about 1958, his son Sri Shanti Swarup succeeded him and became the lessee.

3. On October 11, 1952, the State Government issued a notification under Section 117 of the Act vesting certain kinds of land situate in village Bhojna in the Gaon Samaj Bhojna. Plot No. 582 was, however, not included by the Gaon Samaj in the list of land vested in it. By a subsequent notification dated October 11, 1954, issued under Section 117-A of Act, the State Government declared, inter alia, that certain land in village Bhojna shall vest in the Municipal Board, Ghaziabad. Under the notifiestion the Municipal Board treated the plot No. 582 of village Bhojna to have been vested in it. Sometime in 1958 the Municipal Board made an application under Rule 115-C of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Rules for the eviction of Sri Nand Kishore from plot No. 582 on the ground that the plot had vested in the Municipal Board and that Sri Nand Kishore had made unauthorised encroachment thereon. Sri Nand Kishore having died his son Sri Shanti Swarup contested the application. By an order dated September 29, 1958, the Assistant Collector held that Sri Shanti Swarup was a licensee and could not be evicted. He, however, ordered Sri Shanti Swarup to pay Rs. 800/-per annum to the Municipal Board from November, 1954 till he continued to run the brick kiln. Seth Jai Prakash, who was owner of the plot, was not impleaded in these proceedings. After this order Sri Shanti Swarup wrote to Seth Jai Prakash informing him that he will not be paying any amount towards the rent of the plot to him and requested him to return the amounts already paid by him. Thereupon Seth Jai Prakash filed this writ petition. In this writ petition he challenged the validity of the notification dated August 11, 1954, under Section 117-A of the Act and of the order dated September 29, 1958, under Rule 115-C on the ground that the Act did not apply to the land in dispute.

4. The learned single Judge held:--

(i) that the plot in dispute was not an estate or part of an estate, that Seth Jai Prakash was not an intermediary and that the Zamindari Abolition Act was, therefore, not applicable;

(ii) that the plot in dispute formed part of land acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and that to such land the Zamindari Abolition Act did not apply, as no notification had been issued under Subsection (3) of Section 1 of the Act; and

(iii) that the order under Rule 115-C was illegal and without jurisdiction. On these findings the learned Single Judge allowed the writ petition, quashed the order under Rule 115-C and directed the Municipal Board and the State Government not to act in respect of the plot in dispute under the notification under Section 117-A of the Zamindari Abolition Act. Against the Judgment of the learned Single Judge the State Government and the Municipal Board have filed these two appeals. The judgment and the findings of the learned Single Judge, referred to above, have been challenged by both the appellants.

5. The first point urged by the learned counsel for the appellants is that the learned Single Judge erred in holding that the plot in dispute was not an 'estate' or part of an 'estate'. There is no averment in the writ petition that the plot in dispute was not an 'estate' or part of an 'estate'. No facts relevant to the decision of this question were pleaded in the writ petition. The only fact mentioned in the writ petition is that some decades back some land had been acquired for the North Western Railway and that a portion of that land was subsequently sold to Sri Mukand Lal in 1943. By means of a supplementary affidavit filed in the appeal two further facts have been asserted, namely, that no land revenue was paid in respect of the land purchased by the purchaser or his successors and that no compensation was either stressed or paid in respect of this land under the Zamindari Abolition Act. The State Government has also filed a supplementary affidavit in the appeal and annexed a copy of the extract of the Chausala Khewat for the period of 1359 to 1362-F. This Khewat shows that the land in dispute was in Mahal Muddailam and was owned by the Crown (Nazul) and was subsequently transferred to Sri Mukand Lal. It was urged by the learned Counsel for the contesting respondents that the plot was not a 'Mahal' or part of a 'Mahal' and therefore, was not an 'estate' or part of an 'estate'. It may again be stated that it has not bean asserted in the writ petition that the land in dispute was not a 'Mahal' or part of a 'Mahal'. Since there was no pleading in the writ petition that the land in dispute was not a 'Mahal' or part of a 'Mahal' or that it was not an 'estate' or part of an 'estate' and since no material was placed on the record by the writ petitioner, there has been no corresponding denial or assertion of facts in the counter-affidavits and no material was provided in the counter affidavits for meeting this point. In view of the pleadings of the parties and of the dearth of material on the question whether the land in dispute was or was not an 'estate' or part of an 'estate' it is not possible to uphold the finding of the learned Single Judge that the land in dispute was not an 'estate' or part of an 'estate'.

6. 'Estate' is defined in Section 3 (8) of the Zamindari Abolition Act thus:--

' 'Estate' means, and shall be deemed to have always meant, the area included under one entry in any of the registers described in Clauses (a), (b), (c) or (d) of Section 32 of the U. P. Land Revenue Act 1901 as it stood immediately prior to the coming into force of this Act..........,.'

From the copy of the Khewat Chausala filed on behalf of the State Government it is apparent that the land in dispute is included in the entry therein. This would prima facie bring the land in dispute within the meaning of 'estate'. There is neither any pleading, nor any evidence that the land in dispute is not included in any entry in theregisters mentioned in Section 32 of the Land Revenue Act.

7. Learned counsel for the petitioner in his effort to get out of this situation, contended that 'estate' has a particular meaning in revenue law and it means only that land which is settled by the State Government with an individual for purposes of land revenue and as there has been no settlement of land revenue in respect of this land with the petitioner and no land revenue was payable earlier by the Central Government, the land cannot be deemed to be 'estate'. Learned counsel relied on the case of Gulabbhai v. Union of India, AIR 1967 SC 1110, for the purpose of showing that the word 'estate' has a particular meaning. The Supreme Court was interpreting Article 31-A(2) and found that there was no definition of the word in the district of Daman from where the case had arisen and, therefore, resorted to the general meaning of the term in Article 31-A(2)(a). In this Article the expression 'estate' has been defined as under:--

'the expression 'estate' shall, in relation to any local area, have the same meaning as that expression or its focal equivalent has in the existing law relating to land tenures in force in that area, and shall also include any Jagir, inam, or muafi or other similar grant and in the States of Madras and Kerala any Janmam right.' The Supreme Court's decision, therefore, has no relevance in the present case where the word 'estate' has been defined in the Act. Learned counsel also referred to State of U. P. v. Anand Brahma, AIR 1967 SC 661. That case too was on the interpretation of Article 31-A(2) of the Constitution. The case before us is different on facts in which a definite record of rights exists. Learned counsel relied also on certain observations in Ajab Singh v. State of U. P., AIR 1957 AH 153 and Jagdatt Singh v. State of U. P., AIR 1962 All 606, in which Section 14 fee) of the U. P. Consolidation of Holdings Act was declared ultra vires. These cases stand virtually overruled by the decision of the Supreme Court in Attar Singh v. State of U. P., AIR 1959 SC 564 in which the validity of Section 14 fee) was upheld.

S. Reliance further is placed in this connection on the definition of the word 'Mahal' in the Land Revenue Act (Act No. 3 of 1901). The contention is that under Section 32 a record of rights for each Mahal has to be prepared and as this is not a part of a Mahal, the Khewat prepared in respect of this area is not a Khewat prepared in accordance with law and cannot be deemed to be a Khewat for the purposes of Section 3 (8) of the Act. Section 32 of the Land Revenue Act of 1901 runs as under:--

'Record of rights...... There shall be a record of rights for each village subject to such exceptions as may be prescribed, by rules made under the provisions of Section 234. The record of rights shall consist of a register of all persons cultivating or otherwise occupying land specifying the particulars required by Section 55.'

'There shall be a record-or-rights for each or if a mahal consists of two or more villages, or portions of villages, the record may be prepared for each such village or portion separately.'

'The record-of-rights shall include the following registers:--

(a) a register of all the proprietors in the mahal, including the proprietors of specific areas specifying the nature and extent of the interest of each;

(b) a register of all persons holding land revenue free, specifying the nature and extent of the interest of each;

9. The word 'Mahal' has been defined in Section 4 (a) of the Land Revenue Act as under:--

'(4) 'Mahal' means:--

(a) any local area held under a separate engagement for the payment of the land revenue : Provided that

(i) if such area consists of a single village or portion of a village, a separate record-of-rights has been framed for such village or portion;

(ii) if such are a consists of two or more villages or portions of villages, a separate record-of-rights has been framed either for the entire area, or for such of the villages or portions of villages included therein......'

10. There is no averment in the writ petition that the area is not a Mahal. Secondly, there was no allegation that Land Revenue was not settled on this land prior to its acquisition for purposes of the Central Government. Section 58 of the Land Revenue Act provides for the settlement of revenue and runs as under:--

'58 (1) All land, to whatever purpose applied and wherever situate is liable to the payment of revenue to Government, except such land as has been wholly exempted from such liability by special grant of or contract with, the Government, or by the provisions of any law for the time being in force.

(2) Revenue may be assessed on land notwithstanding that that revenue, by reason of its having been assigned, released, compounded for, or redeemed, is not payable to the Government.

(3) No length of occupancy of any land, nor any grant of land made by the proprietor, shall release such land from the liability to pay revenue.'

The charging section is Sub-section (1) of Section 58 and it imposes liability to pay land revenue on all land. The Central Government will be exempted from the liability by virtue of Section 154 of the Government of India Act, 1935, and subsequently by virtue of corresponding provision in the Constitution, but that will not mean that the land is free from imposition. Once the Central Government ceases to be the owner andthere is no special grant or contract or law making revenue not payable to the Government, the land will become liable to revenue and it will become payable. The land thus became liable to land revenue from the date it came in the ownership of the petitioner. Mere non-assessment or non-payment of land revenue will not mean that the land is not liable to land revenue. Further, there is no evidence to show that this area was not under a separate engagement for payment of land revenue even before the land acquisition proceedings were taken. Learned counsel for the petitioner, relying on the provisions of the Revenue Manual, contended that when the land was taken for the purpose of the Central Government, the capitalised value of land revenue must have been ended in the price, and if the same had been paid it need not have been refunded after the Central Government released part of the land and sold it to the petitioner, and therefore the land must be deemed to be free from the imposition of land revenue. There is, however, no allegation in the petition and there is no evidence on record to show as to whether the capitalised value of land revenue had been paid to the State Government by the Central Government. No inference can, therefore, be drawn one way or the other from these rules in the Revenue Manual.

11. When the entries in the Khewat have not been challenged through any specific pleading or evidence they have to be taken as correct. The area, therefore, has to be taken to lie in a Mahal, and that it was owned previously by the Nazul and later on by the petitioner. As such, the area must be held to be included in the term 'estate' within the meaning of the Act. The area being an 'estate' Seth Jai Prakash, the proprietor of this area, was an intermediary. The Zamindari Abolition Act was, thus applicable to the plot in dispute.

12. The next question which arises for consideration is whether the area in dispute was such to which the U. P. Zamindari Abolition Act and Land Reforms Act did not extend by reason of the fact that no notification under Section 1 (3) had been, issued by the State Government in respect of the area in dispute. The contention of the contesting respondents is that the land in dispute is included in Clause (c) of Subsection (1) of Section 2 and, therefore, since no notification under Sub-section (3) of Section 1 has been published the Act has not come into force in this area. The Zamindari Abolition Act came into force on January 26, 1951. Sub-section (3) of Section 1 provides for the commencement of the Act. It reads:

'It shall come into force at once except in the areas mentioned in Clauses (a) to (f) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 where it shall, subject to any exception or modification under Sub-section (1) of Section 2, comeinto force on such date as the State Government may by notification published in the Gazette appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different areas and different provisions of this Act.'

The relevant part of Section 2 reads as follows:

'2 (1) The State Government may by notification in the Gazette apply the whole or any provision of this Act to any of the following areas or estates subject to such exceptions or modifications, not affecting the substance, as the circumstances of the case may require:

(a) .....................

(b) any estates or parts thereof owned by the Central Government, State Government or any local authority;

(c) areas held and occupied for a public purpose or work of public utility and declared as such by the State Government or acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the United Provinces Land Acquisition (Rehabilitation of Refugees) Act, 1948, the United Provinces Acquisition of Property (Flood Relief) Temporary Powers Act, 1948, or any other enactment other than this Act, relating to acquisition of land for a public purpose.

(2) The declaration of the State Government under Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) shall be conclusive evidence that the land is held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility.

Explanation-- Any area held on the seventh day of July, 1949, for the purpose of a housing scheme by a co-operative society registered under the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912, or society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, or a limited liability company under the Indian Companies Act, 1913, shall be deemed to be held for a work of public utility.'

13. Learned counsel for the petitioner-respondent has contended before us that Clause (c) of Section 2 (1) should be read in two parts. The first part being 'areas held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility and declared as such by the State Government', and the second part being 'areas acquired under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 or other Acts.' In my opinion, it is not possible to dissect the section in the manner suggested. Such an interpretation will not only militate against the legislative intent but also against normal grammatical construction. When the word 'or' is used after the independent clause commencing after the word 'and', the clause 'or...........' must replace the clause following the word 'and'. The earlier portion of the sentence which occurs before 'and' must be read alternatively with both the clauses. Hence, the correct construction will be to read the alternative sentences as : 'areas held and occupied for a public purpose or work of public utility and acquired under the Land Acquisition Act ...............' The absence of comma after'State Government' also supports this interpretation.

14. Also because the main or opening part of Clause (c) seeks to postpone the applicability of the Act only to areas which were on the relevant date held or occupied for a public purpose or work of public utility, Clause (c) must be read as 'areas held or occupied for a public purpose or work of public utility and (either) declared as such by the State Government or acquired under the Land Acquisition Act............'

15. The U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act has been made applicable generally to all areas with effect from January 26, 1951. Certain special estates and areas only were exempted. Clause (b) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 exempts an 'estate' or part thereof owned by the Central or State Government or any local authority. Under Clause (c) 'estates' are not exempted, but only some particular areas have been exempted. The purpose of the exemption appears to be to leave out of the immediate applicability of the Act, only such areas which though not owned by the Central Government, State Government or local authority, were being held or occupied for public purpose or work of public utility. It did not purport to save lands which were not held or occupied for such a purpose.

16. The provisions of Section 2 (1) (c) exempts only such areas which were on the date of the enforcement of the Act, held or occupied for a public purpose and not those which are not so held or occupied, even though in the remote past they might have been subjected to land acquisition proceedings. Lands which had at one time been subjected to land acquisition proceedings, but had ceased to bs so held for the purpose for which the acquisition was made, will not be covered by this provision. Clause (c), in the form it is framed, must mean that the land was still the subject-matter of acquisition proceedings, i.e., it was still under acquisition on the date of the general enforcement of the Act to all areas in the State. It does not refer to 'acquisitions' which have ceased to be operative qua a particular area of land. Otherwise, it will defeat the very purpose of the enactment of Clause (c) which was to maintain the status quo ante in respect of land held for special purposes of public utility. The legislative intent apparent from Clause (c) is to keep apart only such areas which are still the subject-matter of a live acquisition and are no longer in the ownership or possession of the body for whom the acquisition Was made. Once an area is sold away by the acquiring authority or the Government for whose benefit the land was acquired, it ceases to be an 'acquired land', and to such a land Clause (c) will have no applicability.

17. Admittedly, in the present case the acquisition of land had been made for the purpose of the Central Government (railways). The land is admittedly not being heldor occupied for that purpose. It was found of no utility to the Government and hence was sold out to a private person for being held for any purpose he liked. It had ceased to be acquired land. It must, in the circumstances of the case, be deemed to be not an acquired land. It cannot, therefore, come within the exception mentioned in Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Act

18. Learned counsel made an attempt to show that as the land is held for the business of brick kiln, it should be deemed to be held and occupied on the date the Act came into force, for a work of public utility and deemed to be covered by Clause (c). It is, however, not open to this Court to determine it as a fact whether the land on the relevant date was or was not held or occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility. Such a declaration could be given only by the State Government under Section 2 (1) of the Act.

19. As the petitioner had no interest in the land in dispute, his petition will not be maintainable even to challenge the order under Rule 115-C.

20. In the result, I would allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the learned single Judge and dismiss the writ petition, but in the circumstances of the case would direct the parties to bear their own costs.

G.C. Mathur, J.

21. I have, read the judgment prepared by brother Hari Swarup, J. I agree with him that the respondent No. 1 has failed to establish that the land in dispute was not an 'estate' as defined in the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. But I regret my inability to agree with him on the question whether the land in dispute is covered by Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Act. The facts of the case and the relevant provisions of the law have been set out in the judgment of Hari Swarup, J. and it is not necessary for me to repeat them.

22. Section 2 provides for the modification of the Act in its application to certain estates and areas. Sub-section (3) of Section 1 postpones the enforcement of the Act in estates and areas covered by Section 2 till a notification is issued under this provision. It has not been asserted on behalf of the appellants that any notification under Section 1 (3) has been published by the State Government in respect of the area in dispute. The question which arises for consideration is whether the area in dispute is included in Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 or not. The contention of the contesting respondents is that since the area in dispute was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 it is covered by the provisions of Clause (c). According to them Clause (c) contemplates two types of areas, namely :--

(1) areas held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility and declared as such by the State Government; and(2) area acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and the other Acts mentioned in Clause (c).

The land in dispute is included in the second category of areas mentioned above. According to the appellants Clause (c) contemplates only the areas held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility. According to them Clause (c) applies to the following two types of areas:--

(i) areas held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility and declared as such by the State Government;

(ii) areas held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility and acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, or any of the other Acts mentioned in Clause (c).

Thus, according to the appellants even if the area was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, it will not fall under Clause (c) unless it was also held and occupied for a public purpose or for a work of public utility. It was contended that the area in dispute was not held and occupied for any public purpose or for any work of public utility.

23. Section 2 deals with areas and estates to which, the legislature thought that, the provisions of the Act should not be applied immediately the Act came into force and to which the Act may be applied later with such exceptions and modifications as may be required. Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 contemplated areas which could not immediately be used to subserve the objects of the Act. Application of the Act to such areas was postponed till the Government decided to apply it to them in a suitable modified form and to issue the necessary notifications. Such areas were not exempted from the operation of the Act for all times to come.

24. The opening words of Clause (c) show that the clause applies only to areas held or occupied for a public purpose or for a work of public utility. What are to be deemed to be areas held or occupied for a public purpose or for a work of public utility are set down in the later part of the clause. These are :--

(i) Areas declared by the State Government to be held for a public purpose or for a work of public utility, and

(ii) The areas acquired under the enactments mentioned in Clause (c).

24-A. It will be noticed that areas which are in fact held for a public purpose or for a work of public utility, but which have neither been declared by the State Government to be so held and occupied nor hove been acquired under the relevant enactments, will not be covered by Clause (c). Likewise. areas which are apparently not occupied or held for a public purpose or for a work of public utility, will still be deemed to be occupied or held for a public purpose or for a work of public utility, if a declaration is made by the State Government or if they have been acquired under the relevant enactments. Under all enactments enumerated inthis clause acquisition is for a public purpose. The words 'or any other enactment ............ relating to acquisition of land for a public purpose' occurring in this clause indicate that the legislature thought that the enactments specifically mentioned in this clause also provided for acquisition of land for public purposes. Where land was acquired under the U. P. Land Acquisition (Rehabilitation of Refugees) Act, or under the U. P. Acquisition of Property (Food Relief) Temporary Powers Act, will it necessary to be proved that the land is still held and occupied for a public purpose before Clause (c) can be held to be applicable to it? Surely not. Then why in the case of land acquired under the Land Acquisition Act for a public purpose should this be required to be established? Acquisition under all the enactments mentioned in this clause stand on the same footing. In the present case the land was acquired for the Central Government and was acquired for a public purpose. It is not necessary to establish further that the land is still being used for a public purpose or for a work of public utility. The question whether the area is so held or occupied, has not been left for the determination of the Court. The fact that a declaration has been made in this behalf by the State Government is conclusive of the matter. Similarly, the fact that the area has been acquired under one of the relevant enactments is also conclusive of the matter. In neither case it is required to be established that in fact also the area is held or occupied for a public purpose or for a work of public utility. The explanation to Sub-section (ii) adds to Clause (c) a third category of areas which are to be deemed to be held or occupied for a public purpose or for a work of public utility. Therefore, an area will be deemed to be held or occupied for a public purpose or for a work of public utility and will be covered by Clause (c) if it falls in one of the following three categories :--

(1) Areas declared by the State Government to be held for a public purpose or for a work of public utility.

(A notification was published by the State Government on July 1, 1952, declaring certain types of areas to be held or occupied for a public purpose or for a work of public utility).

(2) Areas acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 or under any of the other enactments mentioned at the end of Clause (c), and

(3) Areas held on 7-7-1949 for purposes of a housing scheme by Co-operative Societies or incorporated companies.

25. In the present case the land in dispute is an area which falls in the second category. There is no dispute that the area was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 for purposes of the North Western Railway. It is immaterial that the North Western Railway sold the land to Sri Mukand Lal. Clause (c) does not lay down a further condition that the original person for whom the land was acquired should have continued to hold it and should not have transferred it to any one. Clause (c) contemplates, not the person who holds the land, but the nature of the land. The land did not cease to be land acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 simply because after the acquisition it was sold to Sri Mukand Lal. Suppose some land is acquired by the State Government under the U. P. Land Acquisition (Rehabilitation of Refugees) Act and is then transferred to the refugees, will the land cease to be land acquired under this Act and cease to be covered by Clause (c)? The answer can only be in the negative. Likewise the land in dispute, which was acquired for the Central Government for a public purpose, would be covered by Clause (c) and the mere fact that it was transferred to Sri Mukand Lal will not alter the nature of the land so as to make Clause (c) inapplicable to it. That being so, the land in dispute was covered by Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 and, therefore, a notification was necessary under Section 1 (3) of the Act for bringing the Act into force in this area. No such notification having been issued, the Zamindari Abolition Act did not come into force in the disputed area. The State Government could not, since the Zamindari Abolition Act did not apply to the area, vest the area in the Gaon Samaj under Section 117 of the Act or in the Municipal Board under Section 117-A of the Act. Nor could any proceedings be legally taken in respect of this area under Rule 115-C of the Zamindari Abolition Rules. The view taken by the learned Single Judge that the notification dated August 11, 1954, under Section 117-A and the order of the Tahsildar dated September 29, 1958, under Rule 115-C, are invalid, is correct.

26. I would accordingly dismiss the appeals with costs.

D.S. Mathur, J.

27. (On difference of opinion between Hari Swarup and G. S. Mathur, JJ.) (16-10-1973). In view of the difference of opinion between brother G. C. Mathur, J. and brother Hari Swarup, J. the following question has been referred to me for opinion.

'Whether the land in dispute is an area covered by the provisions of Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act?'

28. The facts of the case are not in dispute. The land in question formed part of land acquired for the purposes of the Railway under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

It was in 1943 that the land being surplus was sold by the Railway to Mukand Lal, father of Jai Prakash, petitioner. The U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) came into force on January 26. 1951, though estates vested in the State Government on July 1, 1952. The material question for consideration is whether the disputed land is covered byClause (c) of Section 2 (1) of the Act. If so, in the absence of a notification under Section 1 (3) of the Act the land would still belong to the intermediary and shall not be one which could or had vested in the State Government; but if the land is not covered by the above clause, it falls in the category of an estate and shall vest in the State Government from July 1, 1952, and later shall stand transferred to the Municipal Board.

29. The material portion of Sec. 2 of the Act runs as follows :--

'2 (1) The State Government may by notification in the Gazette apply the whole or any provision of this Act to any of the following areas or estates subject to such exceptions or modifications, not affecting the substance, as the circumstances of the case may require--

xx xx xx(c) areas held and occupied for a publicpurpose or a work of public utility and declared as such by the State Government oracquired under the Land Acquisition Act,1894, the United Provinces Land Acquisition(Rehabilitation of Refugees) Act, 1948 theUnited Provinces Acquisition of Property(Flood Relief) Temporary Powers Act, 1948,or any other enactment other than this Act,relating to acquisition of land for a publicpurpose;

xx xx xx(2) The declaration of the State Government under Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) shallbe conclusive evidence that the land is heldand occupied for a public purpose or a workof public utility.

Explanation. Any area held on the seventh day of July, 1949, for the purposes of a housing scheme by a Co-operative Society registered under the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912, or a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, or a limited liability company under the Indian Companies Act, 1913, shall be deemed to be held for a work of public utility.'

30. Brother Hari Swarup, J. has expressed the opinion that the words 'or acquired under the Land Acquisition Act' are an alternative for the earlier expression 'declaration as such by the State Government' and therefore, the land acquired under the Land Acquisition Act as contemplated by this clause, must be one which is held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility. Brother G. C. Mathur, J. has expressed a contrary opinion.

31. Punctuation marks are not a good guide for the interpretation of a statute, though in case of any doubt or where the enactment is capable of two interpretations the punctuation marks, whether added or already existing, can be utilised for giving a proper meaning. The underlying object always is to determine and to give effect to the intention of the Legislature.

32. Ordinarily, the courts of law do not have the power to add, substitute or delete words in the enactment but can adoptsuch a course in exceptional circumstances only when otherwise it is not possible to give effect to the intention of the Legislature.

33. A perusal of Section 1 of the Act shall make it clear that the provisions of the Act were not made applicable to all kinds of land in the State. Lands of various kinds had, one may say, been classified and the Act was made applicable to some kinds of land and not all, though the State Government was given the power under Section 1 (3) of the Act to extend the provisions of the Act subject to such exceptions or modifications as may be necessary to the areas detailed in Clauses (a) to (f) of Section 2 (1) of the Act. In case the State Government was not given the power to extend the provisions of the Act to the areas covered by Section 2 (1) of the Act, it could be urged with some force that we must not only determine the intention of the Legislature, but forthwith give effect to such intention by including all the areas meant to be governed by the provisions of the Act, However, because the State Government can at a later stage extend the provisions of the Act to some or all the areas included in Section 2 (1) of the Act we need not unnecessarily restrict the scope of Section 2 (1) as it shall always be open to the State Government to issue a notification and to extend the provisions of the Act to such areas from a specified date.

34. Another principle which must be kept in mind is that the Legislature has no intention to use superfluous words in the enactment. Each word or expression must be given its proper meaning. In case the Legislature was giving stress to the words 'held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility' it was not necessary to include in Clause (c) of Section 2 (1) the second part thereof, namely, 'or acquired under the Land Acquisition Act' The earlier part, namely, 'areas held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility and declared is such by the State Government' would cover land not only of an intermediary obtained by transfer, gift or devolution but also and purchased from the State or from the Railway which was in the past acquired under one enactment or the other. The stress would have been on the purpose for which the land was held and occupied and not how he ownership had passed to the intermediary. Similarly, it would not have been necessary for the Legislature to repeat at a later stage the words 'for a public purpose'. It is true that the expression 'acquisition of land for a public purpose' has reference to enactments other than those detailed in Clause (c), but if this expression had not been used and the words 'areas held and occupied for a public purpose' covered even land acquired under one enactment or the other it was not necessary to specify the various enactments and also to provide that the acquisition must be for a public purpose.

35. Considered in this light the second part beginning from 'or acquired underthe Land Acquisition Act etc.' cannot be covered by the main portion of the earlier part. Sub-section (2) of Section 2 of the Act cannot be of any help. It simply provides that the declaration of the State Government under Clause (c) shall be conclusive evidence that the land was held and occupied for a public purpose or a work of public utility.

36. It can be contended on behalf of the appellant that each clause of Section 2 (1) of the Act covers a distinct category of land and, therefore, all the areas included in Clause (c) must be correlated to a public purpose or a work of public utility. It was evidently for this reason that the expression relating to acquisition of land for a public purpose had been incorporated at the end of the clause to make it clear that the acquisition of land must have been for a public purpose. In this view of the matter there can be no difficulty in dividing Clause (c) into two parts both being correlated to public purpose.'

37. My answer to the question referred for opinion is that the land in dispute is an area covered by the provisions of Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Act.

37-A. The case shall now be laid before the Bench concerned for further orders.

(Final Judgment of G. C. Mathur and Hari Swarup, JJ. after opinion of third Judge D S Mathur was received, D/- 31-10-1973).

By The Court

38. These appeals were heard by us. We were agreed that the land in dispute was included in the term 'estate' within the meaning of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. But there was a difference of opinion between us on the question whether the land in dispute is an area covered by the provisions of Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. On account of this difference this question was referred for opinion to a third Judge. The third Judge has given his opinion that the land in dispute is covered by the provisions of Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Act. That being so, since, admittedly, no notification under Section 1 (3) of Act has been issued is respect of the land in suit, the Act will not apply to the land in dispute. The land, therefore, did not vest in the State Government and the State Government had no power to vest it in the municipal Board under Section 117-A of the Act. For the same reason, Rule 115-C of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition Rules also did not apply to the land in dispute. Accordingly, the notification dated August 11, 1954, under Section 117-A of the Act and the order of the Tahsildar dated September 29, 1958, under Rule 115-C of the rules are invalid.

39. The learned Single Judge rightly allowed the writ petition. The appeals are accordingly dismissed with costs.


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