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State of U.P. Vs. Prem Singh Vahi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petn. No. 13941 of 1982
Judge
Reported inAIR1986All332
ActsUrban Land (Ceiling and Regulations) Act, 1976 - Sections 2 and 4(9)
AppellantState of U.P.
RespondentPrem Singh Vahi and anr.
Appellant AdvocateHaji Iqbal Ahmad, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
property - interpretation - sections 4(9), 2(q)(i), (ii) and (iii) of urban land (ceiling and regulations) act, 1976 - rule of harmonious construction should be applied to interpret the provisions of statute - there is no contradiction between provisions of sections 4(9) and 2(q)(i) and (i). - - 7. it appears that the district judge did not care to apply the correct and well-known principles of interpretation of statutes. mtrs, for the beneficial use of the building so that he may enjoy the use of a little compound also for various purposes......the land appurtenant thereto shall also be taken into account in calculating the extent of vacant land held by such person.'16. a bare reading of the aforesaid provisions make it clear that according to section 2(q), vacant land means land not being land mainly used for the purposes of agriculture in an urban agglomeration. therefore a land in an urban agglomeration will be vacant land if it is not being mainly used for the purpose of agriculture. but section 2(q)(i) and (ii) creates an exception to the meaning of vacant land, where it has been stated that it means land not being land mainly used for the purpose of agriculture and it simply means a vacant land including the land on which construction of a building is not permissible under the building regulations or in an area where.....
Judgment:
ORDER

B.L. Yadav, J.

1. The present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is directed against the order dt. 1-9-82 passed in an appeal under Section 33 of the Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulations) Act, 1976, (hereinafter referred to as the Act), by the District Judge, Gorekhpur.

2. The facts of the case lie in a very narrow campass. The provisions of the Act were enforced in the area and respondent 1 filed his statement under Section 6(1) of the Act stating that he holds an area of 167 sq. mtrs. in Mohalla Mohaddipur, District Gorakhpur and another area of 363.87 sq. mtrs. He further alleged that he has an area of 1497 sq. mtrs. in Khasra No. 389. In short respondent 1 has got two houses owned by him and both are residential houses and no area was liable to be declared surplus.

3. The State of U. P. contested the case of respondent 1 and it was alleged that the land of respondent 1 was correctly shown to be surplus in the draft statement prepared under Section 8 of the Act and the final statement was correctly prepared as contemplated by Section 9 of the Act:

4. The Competent Authority by his order dt. 12-10-81 declared an area of 27.60 sq. mtrs. as surplus land. Thereafter the appeal of respondent 1 was allowed by the impugned order dated 1-9-82.

5. Sri Ram Prasad Singh, learned. Additional Chief Standing Counsel appearing for the State urged that the District Judge erred in holding that the provisions of Section 2(q)(i) and (ii) of the Act were contradictory to the provisions of Section 4(9) of the Act. It is a fact that the District Judge has held in para 3 of the judgment, a certified copy of which has been filed as Annexure II, that both the provisions are contradictory to each other.

6. No one has appeared on behalf of the respondents in spite of notices being issuedand served on them. I have no option but to decide the case on the basis of the submissions advanced on behalf of the petitioner.

7. It appears that the District Judge did not care to apply the correct and well-known principles of interpretation of statutes. In such a situation the basic principle was that the statute must have been read as a whole and not in peacemeal in other words all the provisions contained in the Act must have been read together and thereafter efforts must have been made to reconcile the same by ascertaining the intention of the legislature. I think it necessary to refer to some of the decided cases relevant to the present controversy.

8. In Att. General v. H. R. H. Prince Augusts, (1957) 1 All England Report 49 (HL), it was observed as follows :--

'I conceive it to be my right and duty to examine every word of the statute in its context and I use 'context' in its widest sense, which I have already indicated as including not only other enacting provisions of the same statute but its preamble, the existing state of the law, other statutes in pari materia and the mischief, which I can, by those and other legitimate means, discern the statute was intended to remedy.'

It was further held in this very case as follows :

'It was an elementary rule of interpretation that the intention of the legislature must be ascertained by reading the statute as a whole.'

9. In Leader v. Duffery, (1888) 13 AC 294 at p. 301, it was held by Lord Halsbury as follows :

'I agree that you must look at the whole instrument, unless there may be inaccurracy and inconsistency, you must, if you can, ascertain what is the meaning of the instrument taken as a whole in order to give effect, if it be possible to do so, to the intention of the framer of it.'

10. In Canada Sugar Refining Co. v. R., (1898) AC 735 at p. 741, it was observed by Lord Davey as follows :

'Every clause of a statute should be construed with reference to the context and other clauses in the Act, so as, as far as possible, to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute or series of statutes relating to the subject-matter.'

11. In Newspapers Ltd v. State Industrial Tribunal : (1957)IILLJ1SC it was held by Kapoor, J. as follows :

'But in order to get its true import it is necessary to view the enactment in retrospect, the reasons for enacting it, the evils it was to end and the objects it was to subserve. The Act is, therefore, to be viewed as a whole and its intention determined by construing all the constituent parts of the Act together and not by taking detached sections or to take one word here and another there. Exposition 'ex visceribus actus' is applicable. See Lincoln College's case, (1595) 3 Co Rep 58B : 76 ER 764.'

12. In State of West Bengal v. Union of India : [1964]1SCR371 it was held by Sinha, C. J. as follows :

'The court must ascertain the intention of the leBgislature by directing its attention not merely to the clauses to be construed, but to the entire statute; it must compare the clause with other parts of the law and the statute in which the clause to be interpreted occurs.'

13. In Administrator General of Bengal v. Premlal Mullick, (1895) ILR 22 Cal 788 (PC), it was held as follows :

'It is conceivable that the legislature while enacting one clause in plain terms might introduce into the same statute other enactment which to some extent clarify or neutralise its effect.'

14. In view of the aforesaid discussions of the relevant case-laws and the interpretation of statutes, it is clear that in order to ascertain the meaning of a clause or a statute, it is a settled rule or in other words a compelling rule that the entire statute must be read as a whole and thereby the intention of legislature and the meaning of different provisions can be ascertained and all efforts must be made to make a harmonious interpretation of the different parts of the statute and thereby to reconcile the different parts of the statute even though they apparently appear to be conflicting or contradictory. In order to appreciate the controversy, the relevant statutory provisions of Section 2(q)(i) and (ii) of the Act are set out below :

'(i) land on which construction of a building is not permissible under the buildingregulations in force in the areas in which such land is situated;

(ii) in an area where there are building regulations, the land occupied by any building which has been constructed before, or is being constructed on, the appointed day with the approval of the appropriate authority and the land appurtenant to such building.'

15. The relevant provisions of Section 4(9) of the Act are quoted below :

'4(9) Where a person holds vacant land and also holds any other land on which there is a building with a dwelling unit therein, the extent of such other land occupied by the building and the land appurtenant thereto shall also be taken into account in calculating the extent of vacant land held by such person.'

16. A bare reading of the aforesaid provisions make it clear that according to Section 2(q), vacant land means land not being land mainly used for the purposes of agriculture in an urban agglomeration. Therefore a land in an urban agglomeration will be vacant land if it is not being mainly used for the purpose of agriculture. But Section 2(q)(i) and (ii) creates an exception to the meaning of vacant land, where it has been stated that it means land not being land mainly used for the purpose of agriculture and it simply means a vacant land including the land on which construction of a building is not permissible under the building regulations or in an area where there are building regulations, the land occupied by any building which has been constructed before, or is being constructed on, the appointed day with the approval of the appropriate authority and the land appurtenant to such building. In other words if on a particular piece of land the construction of a building is not permissible under the building regulations, ultimately over any other piece of land where there are building regulations, the land occupied by the building which has been constructed either before the appointed day or was being constructed, in that event such land would not be treated to be a land. Whereas Section 4(9) applies to a case where a person (a) holds vacant land and (b) also holds any other land on which there is a building with a dwelling unit therein. In such a situation, the extent of such other land occupied by the building and the land appurtenant thereto will also be included in computing the vacant land held by such person.

17. These provisions came up for consideration before a single Judge of this Court in State of U. P. v. L. J. Johnson, 1978 All WC 156, who held that in such a situation Section 4(9) would not be attracted and the land occupied by the building and land appurtenant thereto will riot be included for computing the vacant land held by the person concerned. It was further held that Section 4(9) applies to cases where there are two different pieces of land, one vacant land and the other having a building with a dwelling unit therein. In other words it was held that Section 4(9) con templates the cases where a person holds vacant land and also holds some other land on which there is a building with a dwelling unit therein. But it does not contemplate a case where on a piece of land there is a building with a dwelling unit therein and some open piece of land. There should be two different pieces of land, one vacant land and the other having a building with a dwelling unit therein. The distinction becomes very clear after a reference is made to Sub-sections (5), (6) and (7) of the Section, besides the other provisions including Sections 6 and 8 of the Act.

18. Against the aforesaid decision of the single Judge of this Court, a Special Appeal was filed before a Division Bench of this Court and the Division Bench set aside the aforesaid single Judge decision. The Division Bench of this Court held that Section 4(9) apply only to cases where there are two different pieces of land; one vacant land and the other having a building with a dwelling unit therein, of course, the two pieces of land need not be at a distance. Two pieces of land may be continguous, but the two must be different or separate.

19. Against the aforesaid decision of this Court the matter was taken to the Supreme Court and it was held by the Supreme Court in State of U. P. V. L. J. Johnson : [1983]3SCR897 as follows :

' In the ultimate analysis the position is quite clear that Section 4(9) contemplates that if a person holds vacant land as also other portion of land on which there is a building with a dwelling unit, the extent of land occupied by the building and the land appurtenant thereto shall be taken into account in calculating the extent of the vacant land. This sub-section has to be read in conjunction with Section 2(q)(ii) and (iii). A combined reading of these twostatutory provisions would lead to the irresistible inference that in cases which fall within the third category mentioned above, the -

(1) total area of the land of a land-holder is first to be determined and if the total area built or unbuilt, falls below 200 sq. mtrs. in category D. areas, there would be no question of any excess land.

(2) Where, however, there is a building and a dwelling unit then the area beneath the building and the dwelling unit would have to be excluded while computing the ceiling. Further, if there are any bye-laws requiring a portion of the land to be kept vacant, the land holder would be allowed to set apart the said land to the maximum extent of 500 sq. mtrs. He would also be allowed to retain an additional area of 500 sq. mtrs, for the beneficial use of the building so that he may enjoy the use of a little compound also for various purposes.'

20. At page 1309 (para 26), Fazal Ali, J. held as follows :

'The High Court was right in interpreting these provisions in so far as it held that the built area plus up to 500 sq. mtrs. allowed under the municipal bye-laws and another 500 sq. mtrs. as additional area for beneficial enjoyment had to be excluded but it seems to have committed grave error of law in applying this principle to concrete cases which had come up before it. Further the High Court was absolutely wrong in importing the concept of contiguity on the assumption that Section 4(9) was attracted only if the person concerned held a distinct parcel of land which was vacant land As discussed above, these words do not envisage that there should be land other than the one which contains a building which is to be taken into consideration while computing the excess land but the section really refers to the very land which is a part of the plot which contains the building. The argument that once a plot contains a building, the whole of the plot would be exempt from the ceiling area cannot be countenanced on a plain and simple interpretation of Section 2(q)(ii) read with Section 4(9). In fact Section 4(9) itself puts the matter beyond controversy by qualifying the words 'other land occupied by the building and the land appurtenant' thereto. The expression 'thereto' manifestly shows that the intention of the legislature was to refer to the land on which the building or the dwelling unit stands. In otherwords, the vacant land which contains a building would include appurtenant land or any other land situated in that particular plot.'

21. I am accordingly of the view that for applying Section 4(9) it is not necessary at all that there should be two distinct pieces of land. Section 4(9) will apply even in case of one plot on a portion of which there is a building with dwelling unit and its land appurtenant while remaining portion is vacant. If there is one plot on which there is a building with dwelling unit therein, in that case the built up area would be 1000 sq. mtrs as the land appurtenant under Section 2(g) will first be excluded. If some surplus land remains then Section 4(9) will be attracted and the built up area and the land appurtenant will be taken into account to determine whether the person holds vacant land beyond the ceiling limit or not. In this way the provisions of Section 2(q)(i),(ii), (iii) and Section 4(9) of the Act have to be interpreted.

22. I am of the opinion that there is error) apparent on the face of record in the impugned order passed by the District Judge. Further the view taken by the District Judge that Section 4(9) and Section 2(q)(i) and (ii) were contradictory to each other, was manifestly erroneous. The decision rendered by the District Judge cannot be sustained.

23. In view of the discussions made hereinabove, the writ petition succeeds and is allowed The impugned order dt. 1-9-1982 is hereby quashed. The learned District Judge is directed to decide the case afresh in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made above. As the respondent is absent, there shall be no order as to costs.


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