Skip to content


Ratna Sugar Mills Co. Ltd. Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petn. Nos. 2247 of 1964 connected with 2672, 2673 and 2676 of 1964
Judge
Reported inAIR1966All34
ActsUttar Pradesh Large Land Holdings Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 2(15) and 7(2); Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 - Sections 3(14), 134, 143, 144 and 146
AppellantRatna Sugar Mills Co. Ltd.
RespondentState of Uttar Pradesh and ors.
Appellant AdvocateG.N. Kunzru and ;A.N. Kaul, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateS.C.
DispositionPetitions dismissed
Excerpt:
.....sections 3(14), 134, 143, 144 and 146 of u. p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act, 1951 - 'land' - land not used for agricultural purpose - land not brought under cultivation - right to use a land to bhumidhar - right of 'sirdar' - entitled to exclusive possession of all land in his holding and has right to use it for agricultural purpose - acquisition of right - held, petitioner liable to assessment. - cantonments act[c.a. no. 41/2006]. section 346 & cantonment fund (servants rules, 1937, rules 13, 14 & 15: [h.l. gokhale, ag. cj, p.v. hardas, naresh h. patil, r.m. borde & r.m. savant, jj] jurisdiction of school tribunal constituted under maharashtra employees of private schools (conditions of service) regulations act, (3 of 1978) held, school run by the cantonment board is a..........in the mills from before zamindari abolition and mill authorities continue to pay the recorded land revenue to government. the whole area is lying banjar and is on both sides of the railway station. it has not at all been brought under cultivation nor the mill has derived any benefit from it. it is really meant for industrial purposes but due to financial difficulties they (mill authorities) could not use it as such.' this report, as already observed, was submitted in connection with the application of the petitioner under section 143 of the u. p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act praying that the laud situated in village argupur kalan may be treated as industrial land. this application under section 143 of the u. p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act, 1951 was rejected.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S.C. Manchanda, J.

1. These are four writ petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, directed against the consolidated order of the Board of Revenue, dated the 18th of December, 1963 and the prayer is for the quashing of the latter order. As these writ petitions raise a common question, they are disposed of by a single order for the sake of convenience.

2. The facts leading up to these petitions are these. M/s. Ratna Sugar Mills Company, the petitioner, acquired 44.94 acres of land in village Takha West, Tahsil Shahganj, district Jaunpur. Out of the aforesaid area 31.34 acres were purchased in 1933, 8.52 acres in 1936 and 5.8 acres in 1953 under the Land Acquisition Act and on this land the petitioner's Sugar Factory stands. In the year 1951 the petitioner acquired the land measuring 277.08 acres situate in village Argupur Kalan also in Tahsil Shahganj, district Jaunpur. According to the petitioner, the land acquired which is the subject-matter of the dispute in this petition was for setting up a factory for the production of paper, pulp, etc. and for the said purpose the licence was granted by the Government of India. The letter from the Under Secretary to Government of India, dated the 31st July, 1961 was filed at the time of hearing in supersession of Annexure 'I' which was said to be the incorrect copy of that letter. According to the annexure now filed, the Under Secretary after referring the letter of the petitioner, dated the 10th July, 1961 stated that it had been decided to give the petitioner some more time for placing the order on indigenous paper plant machinery manufacturer in support of Industrial Licence No. L/24/1/46 CR(1)/61, dated 7-4-1946. The Department in its counter affidavit denies that the licence issued on the 19th January, 1961 was not for paper and pulp machinery but for power alcohol, etc. The licence, however, has not been filed.

3. For the assessment years 1365, 1366, 1367 and 1368 Fasli the Assessing Authority issued notices under Section 7 (2) of the Large Land Holdings Tax Act, 1957, hereinafter referred to as the L. L. H. T. Act in respect of both the areas of land in village Takha West and village Argupur. The petitioner filed objections thatboth the lands were acquired for industrial purposes and they did not fall within the definition of 'land' in Section 2 (15) of the L. L. H. T. Act. The assessing Authority called for a report from the Tahsildar who reported on 27th February, 1961 that out of the total area of 42 acres of bhmnidhari and 38.47 acres of sirdari, no portion was used for agriculture, horticulture or animal husbandry. According to the Department this report only related to the land in village Takha West. For the village Argupur Kalan the relevant report is that of the Tehsildar, dated 24th May, 1959. This report was based on spot enquiry. This stated that the village was under a consolidation scheme and, therefore, no regular partal had been done after 1362 Fasli. The area of 298 acres of land in village Argupur Kalan was said to have been taken on lease for growing sugarcane crop for the said purpose and the petitioner is recorded as sirdar-tenure-holder. Only a few acres of land have been brought under cultivation by trespassers.

4. By the assessment orders, dated 14th March, 1959 and 27th June, 1959, the Assessing Authority for the assessment years 1365 and 1366 Fasli, respectively, held that the land in village Takha West was not chargeable to L. L. H. Tax but only the land in village Argupur Kalau was assessable. Aggrieved by the said orders, the petitioner filed appeals before the Commissioner. On the 24th August, 1959 the Tehsildar submitted a report in Case No. 1 of 1959 under Section 143 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 stating that 'as regards Argupur Kalan the whole area is recorded as sirdari of Ratna Sugar Mills and they pay Rs. 1,495 as annual laud revenue. It is recorded in the Mills from before Zamindari Abolition and Mill Authorities continue to pay the recorded land revenue to Government. The whole area is lying banjar and is on both sides of the Railway Station. It has not at all been brought under cultivation nor the Mill has derived any benefit from it. It is really meant for Industrial purposes but due to financial difficulties they (Mill Authorities) could not use it as such.'

This report, as already observed, was submitted in connection with the application of the petitioner under Section 143 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act praying that the laud situated in village Argupur Kalan may be treated as industrial land. This application under Section 143 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 was rejected by the Sub-Divisional Officer who held that this land was not recorded as bhumidhari of the petitioner and, therefore, it could not be declared to be for industrial purposes under Section 143 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. Aggrieved by that order an appeal was filed to the Collector, who by his order, dated 15-9-1960 dismissed the appeal in respect of the land situated in village Argupur Kalan. The contention of the petitioner before the Collector was that the right of transfer was also given by the lessor and, therefore, it became a hereditary tenancy of the petitioner with the right to transfer by sale and so it fell under Section 18 (d) (ii) of the U. P. Zamindari Abolitionand Land Reforms Act and thus became bhumidhari land of the petitioner. This contention was refected and it was held that the impugned land not being bhurmdhari land, could not be declared to be for industrial purposes under Section 143 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act.

5. Before the aforesaid order by the Collector was passed, the Commissioner against the assessment of 1365 and 1366 Fasli in respect of the land in Argupur Kalan had held on appeal by his order, dated the 25th November, 1959 that 'obviously this whole area (Argupur Kalan) is meant to remain uncultivated and to be used for Industrial purposes for which it was taken,' and 'the land could not have remained uncultivated but for the fact that it was taken for industrial purposes.' The Commissioner, therefore, allowed the appeals of the petitioner. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, the State of Uttar Pradesh filed two revisions before the Board of Revenue in respect of the assessment years 1365 and 1366 Fasli.

6. The assessments for the two assessment years 1367 and 1368 Fasli were upheld on appeal by Sri J. B. Tandon, Commissioner who had succeeded Mr. J.N. Ugra who had decided the appeals for the earlier two assessment years in favour of the petitioner. Against the latter order of the Commissioner, the petitioner filed two revisions to the Board of Revenue. That is how four revision applications came before the Board of Revenue, two filed by the State for the assessment years 1365 and 1366 Fasli and two by the petitioner in respect of the assessment years 1367 and 1368 Fasli. It was these four revisions which were disposed of by a consolidated order of the Board of Revenue, dated the 18th December, 1963 allowing the revisions filed by the State and dismissing those of the petitioners. The main ground on which the decision of the Board of Revenue went in favour of the State for the relevant four years of assessment was one that so long as the land was sirdari and not bhumidhari, it cannot be declared for use of industrial purposes and as long as the declaration has not been obtained, the petitioner will remain liable to pay large land holding tax whether the land has been cultivated or not. The present petition challenges this order of the Board of Revenue.

7. Mr. Kunzru, learned counsel for the petitioner, placed strong reliance on a decision of Mr. Justice Oak, dated the 2nd of December, 1963, in Civil Misc. Writ Petn. No. 1361 of 1963 (All), under the U. P. Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as the Ceiling Act) wherein relying, inter alia, on the said order of the Commissioner Mr. Ugra, dated the 25th November, 1959 that the land had been taken for the industrial purposes and the letter of the Under Secretary extending the period of licence in July, 1961, it was held that 'there is overwhelming evidence to prove that the petitioner has all along been holding this land for industrial purposes. The finding by respondent No. 3 that the plots are being held for agricultural purposes is perverse. The decisions of respondents Nos. 2 and 3 are,therefore, liable to be quashed. As discussed above, this extensive land is not being used by the petitioner for purposes connected with agriculture, horticulture or animal husbandry. It is not, therefore, 'land' within the meaning of Act No. 1 of 1951 or the Ceiling Act. Although the petitioner has not been able to set up factories here so far, the land is being used for industrial purposes. The petitioner is, therefore, entitled to exemption under Clause (2) of Section 6 of the Ceiling Act.'

8. It is argued by the learned counsel for the petitioner that as the definition of the 'land' in the Ceiling Act is the same as that under the L. L. H. T. Act and if the necessary condition that land should be land within the moaning of Section 2 (15) of the L. L. H. T. Act is not satisfied, there can be no question of imposition of any large land holding tax thereon. On the other hand, the learned Junior Standing Counsel for the State contends that the definition of 'land' in the two sections is the same and in any event under the Ceiling Act there is a specific exemption provided in Section 6 (2) in respect of the land used for industrial purposes which does not find place in L. L. H. T. Act, It was also pointed out that the Board of Revenue had reversed the aforesaid order of the Commissioner, dated the 25th November, 1959 in respect of the assessment years 1365 and 1366 Fasli. That decision was not brought to the notice of Oak, J. at the time of the hearing of the aforesaid Writ Petn. No. 1361 of 1963 (All.). Furthermore, that decision in the writ petition under the Ceiling Act cannot: operate as res judicata or estoppel in respect of an assessment made under the L. L. H. T. Act. The attention of Oak, J. to the order of the Collector, Jaimpur, dated the 15th September, 1960 wherein the appeal of the petitioner against the order refusing declaration under Section 143 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act which was dismissed was also not invited.

9. The position, therefore, that emerges is that the declaration sought under Section 143 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act by the petitioner for a declaration that, the impugned land was land used for industrial purposes, was not acceded to by the State. It also cannot be denied that the petitioner in fact was entered as sirdar in this land. There cannot be much doubt that the land remained uncultivated, and was never in fact used for industrial purposes. The question, therefore, that arises is whether a sirdar can escape the clutches of the L. L. H. T. Act by merely saying that the land was never used or intended to be used for agriculture or purposes connected with agriculture ?

10. For this purpose the definition of 'land' in the L. L. H. T. Act and the relevant provisions of the U. P, Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act bearing upon this question may be read. Section 2 (15) of the L. L. H. T. Act defines 'land' as under:

''(15) ''land' means land, whether assessed to land revenue or not which is held or occupied for a purpose connected with agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, pisciculture orpoultry farming and includes uncultivated land held by a land-holder as such.'

As already observed there is no exemption as in Section 6 (2) of the Ceiling Act in respect of land held for industrial purposes within the meaning of Section 143 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and 'Land Reforms Act. Therefore, to ascertain whether the land is such which satisfies the definition under the L. L. H. T. Act, reference inevitably has to be made to the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Lund Reforms Act. Under that Act the definition of land in Section 3 (14) of Act No. 1 of 1951 is as follows:--

' 'land', except in Sections 143 and 144, means laud held or occupied for purposes connected with agriculture, horticulture or animal husbandry which, includes pisciculture and poultry farming'.

Therefore, the only exception is that contained in Sections 143 and 144 of the U. P. Act 1 of 1.951. Otherwise all land, if it is held or occupied for purposes connected with agriculture whether in fad brought under cultivation or not would constitute land within the meaning of the L. L. H. T. Act and the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. Sections 143 and 144 of the latter Act give a right only to a bhumidhar and not to a sirdar to use the land for purposes not connected with agriculture and to obtain a declaration from the Assistant Collector of the Sub-Division and upon such declaration being granted the provisions of Chapter VII could cease to apply and succession would henceforth be regulated by the personal law to which such applicant may be subjected. That is the only provision in the U. P. Act No. 1 of 1951, for taking land out of the purview of the said Act. Section 146 of the U. P. Act No. 1 of 1951 deals with the right of a sirdar or asami for exclusive possession of land in his holding and gives no right to such person to obtain a declaration under Section 148 of the Z. A. and L. R. Act. Thus there is no escape from the rigour of the definition of 'land' within the meaning of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act or the L. L. H. T. Act for a sirdar. Section 146 reads:

''A sirdar or asami shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, have the right to the exclusive possession of all laud comprised in his holding and to use such land for any purpose connected with agriculture, horticulture or animal husbandry which includes pisciculture and poultry farming.'

A comparison of this section with Sections 143 and 144 leads to the inevitable result, though not expressed in so many words, that a sirdar is entitled to exclusive possession of all land in his holding and his right to use it for any purpose connected with agriculture but that he cannot use such land for industrial or residential building purposes. It is contended by Mr. Kunzru, the learned counsel for the petitioner, that in the absence of any specific prohibition in the Act itself against the use of land by sirdar for residential or industrial purposes, the worst that can befall the petitioner is a suit for his ejectment under Section 206 of U. P. Act No. 1 of 1951 at the hands of the Gaon Samaj, but the sirdar cannot be prevented from using the land forindustrial or residential purpose. I cannot agree. If the use of the land other than for purposes connected with agriculture is a good ground for the ejectment of a sirdar or an asami, there is every reason to think that the Legislature did not intend such land to lose the character of 'laud' within the meaning of the U. P. Act No. 1 of 1951 merely by such person putting the land to use other than that connected with agriculture. In these days of rapid industrialisation it may be that the obstruction placed upon A sirdar from using the land for any purposes other than agriculture may seem a hit hard but that is a matter for the Legislature and not for the Courts. It may be observed in this connection that a sirdar is not entirely without a remedy if he wants to use the land for an industrial purpose. The provisions of Section 134 of the U. P. Z. A. and L.R. Act are available to him for the acquisition of bhumidhari rights and after these rights are acquired, the provisions of Sections 143 and 144 of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act would be available to him for obtaining the necessary declaration and exemption. The declaration prayed for by the petitioner under Sections 143 and 144 of the U. P. Act No. 1 of 1951 having been specifically rejected by the Department and that order having become final, it; is difficult, if not impossible, to hold that the petitioner would not be liable to assessment under the L. L. H. T. Act. It may be hard that the petitioner is being called upon to pay tax when the land has not at all been brought under cultivation and is lying banjar but that is something again which is in the domain of the Legislature to remedy. Be that as it: may, I am not satisfied that the interpretation placed upon Sections 143, 144 and 206 of the U. P. Act No. 1 of 1951, by the Board of Revenue was erroneous and much less manifestly erroneous. I, therefore, decline to interfere.

11. For the reasons given above, the petitions are dismissed. But in the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.


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