W. Broome, J.
1. This writ petition, filed by the State of U. P., challenges an order passed by the Additional Civil Judge of Jhansi on 27-2-1955 as Appellate Authority in proceedings under the Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, holding that the land held by Raja Keshevendra Singh, erstwhile Ruler of the former princely State or Dhurwai, was exempt from the provisions of the Act.
2. Exemption has been granted under Section 6 (xiv) of the Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, which runs as follows:--
6. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, land falling in any of the categories mentioned below shall not be taken into consideration for the purposes of determining the ceiling area applicable to, and the surplus land of, a tenure holder-
(xiv) Land held by the Ruler of an erstwhile merged State which because of the conditions of the merger agreement between him and the Government of India or the collateral letters appended thereto cannot be acquired by the State Government without his concurrence. The question therefore arises whether the Merger Agreement whereby the State of Dhurwai acceded to India contained any provision stipulating that the land held by the Ruler could not be acquired by the State Government without his concurrence. In the Instrument of Accession in question, which has been filed as Annexure A to the counter-affidavit, we find the following clause:-- '6. Nothing in this Instrument shall empower the Dominion Legislature to make compulsory acquisition of land for any purpose but I hereby undertake that should the Dominion for the purposes of a Dominion law which applies to this State deem it necessary to acquire any land, I will at their request acquire the land at their expense or if the land belongs to me transfer it to them on such terms as may be agreed, or in default of agreement, determined by an arbitrator to be appointed by the Chief Justice of India.'
Learned counsel appearing for the State has attempted to argue that this Clause 6 of the Instrument of Accession does not satisfy the requirements of Section 6 (xiv) of the Act, because it only grants immunity against compulsory acquisition by the Dominion Legislature, not against acquisition by the State Government The contention is that the Dominion Legislature referred to in this clause means only the Central Legislature and does not include the Legislature of a constituent State. It seems to me, however, that this is not the correct interpretation of the word 'Dominion Legislature', as used in this context. The Instrument of Accession declares that the Dhurwai State has acceded to the Dominion of India, and consequently Clause 6 of the Instrument, which confers immunity against legislative action, must necessarily refer to the Legislature of the Dominion; but it is obvious that the Legislature referred to here must be construed as comprising all the legislative organs of the Dominion, including both the Central Legislature and the Legislatures of the Provinces or States, operating in their respective fields. I am satisfied that Clause 6 of the Agreement was intended to preclude all legislation for the acquisition of the Rulers' land without their concurrence, whether by the Union Government or by the State Governments.
3. It has further been argued on behalf of the State that the Instrument of Accession relied upon by the Raja of Dhurwai has been superseded by a subsequent Agreement of 26-12-1949 (Annexure A to the rejoinder affidavit), whereby the Agreement entered into in March 1948 by the Rulers of various States for the formation of the United States of Vindhya Pradesh was abrogated. Article 7 (1) of that Agreement stipulated that-
'7 (1). The Ruler of each covenanting State shall be entitled to the full ownership, use and enjoyment of all private properties (as distinct from State properties) belonging to him on the date of his making over the administration of that State to the Raj Pramukh in pursuance of the covenant.'
Stress is laid by learned counsel for the State on the fact that this Article 7 of the Agreement of December 1949 merely mentions 'ownership, use and enjoyment' without introducing any specific stipulation that would debar the Government from compulsorily acquiring land or other property of the Rulers. There is nothing, however, in the material before me that might go to suggest that this subsequent Agreement was meant to supersede or countermand the terms of the basic Instrument of Accession of 5-11-1947. The Agreement merely supplements the Instrument of Accession; and it seems to me that the guarantees given in the Instrument of Accession still stand and cannot be said to have been withdrawn or abolished.
4. My conclusion therefore is that Clause 6 of the Instrument of Accession (which was the Merger Agreement between the Ruler and the Government of India) laid down that the land held by the Ruler could not be acquired by Government without his concurrence; and the result is that the land held by the Ruler is exempt from the imposition of ceiling by virtue of Section 6 (xiv) of the Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act. In my opinion the view taken by the Additional Civil Judge in this case was correct and calls for no interference by way of writ. This writ petition accordingly fails and is dismissed with costs.