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Raghavan Nair Vs. Narayana Panicker - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 2010 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1977Ker11
ActsKerala Land Reforms Act, 1964 - Sections 17, 18 and 18(1)
AppellantRaghavan Nair
RespondentNarayana Panicker
Appellant Advocate Panicker and; Poti, Advs.
Respondent Advocate P.K. Kesavan Nair and; K.N. Narayana Pillai, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....appears consequently to have been unintentional'.in cases like the present one it is possible that in view of the indefiniteness in respect of the time when the parties would join issue as to their relationship, the legislature might have decided that no time limit need be fixed for an application by the landlord for obtaining resumption. the defence of lapse of time against a just demand is not to be extended to cases which are not clearly within the enactment, while provisions which give exception to the operation of such enactment are to be construed liberally......there is no doubt that section 17 is wide enough to include small holders in respect of whose lands tenancies are created or declared by virtue of act 35 of 1969. they are not to be deprived of such right by giving an interpretation to section 18 (i) which is against its plain language. to quote maxwell again :'...... statutes of limitation are to be construed strictly. the defence of lapse of time against a just demand is not to be extended to cases which are not clearly within the enactment, while provisions which give exception to the operation of such enactment are to be construed liberally.'(see interpretation of statutes, tenth edition. page 287).it follows that the conclusion arrived at by the appellate authority does not warrant interference. the revision petition is.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Kumari P. Janaki Amma, J.

1. A suit O. S. 100 of 1966 filed by the respondent was pending on 1-1-1970, for recovery of possession of a' property outstanding with the revision petitioner under a document of 1956. After the amendment of Kerala Land Reforms Act, Act I of 1964 by Act 35 of 1969 the petitioner claimed tenancy right under Section 7-B of, the amended Act. The claim was allowed as per decree dated 24-7-1970. The respondents thereafter filed an application for resumption of the land under Sections 17 and 22 of the Act as O. A. 13 of 1973 claiming that they were small holders. The petitioner raised the plea of limitation and contended that the petition should have been filed under Section 18 of the Act within a period of one year from the commencement of Act I of 1964. The Land Tribunal before whom the petition was filed upheld the plea of limitation and dismissed the petition for resumption. In appeal, the appellate authority reversed the finding and held that there was no bar of limitation. The finding of the appellate authority is being challenged in this revision petition.

2. Section 17 of the Land Reforms Act confers on the small holder the right to resume a portion of the holding outstanding with a tenant not exceeding one-half provided that by such resumption the total extent of the land in the possession of the small holder is not raised above 2 1/2 standard acres or 5 acres. Section 18 lays down the general conditions and restrictions applicable to resumption. The relevant portion reads:

'18. General conditions and restrictions applicable to resumption under Sections 14, 15. 16 and 17:-- Resumption of land under Sections 14, 15, 16 and 17 shall also be subject to the following conditions and restrictions, namely:--

(1) in respect of tenancies subsisting at the commencement of this Act, no application for resumption shall be made after a period of one year from such commencement:

Provided that where the landlord is--

(i) a minor; or

(ii) a person of unsound mind; or

(iii) a member of the Armed Forces or a seaman and the tenant is entitled to fixity of tenure; or

(iv) a legal representative of such member or seaman, and such member or seaman was the landlord of the land in respect of which resumption is claimed, the application for resumption may be made within six months from the commencement of the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1969 :

Provided further that in the case of a landlord referred to in Clause (iii) or Clause (iv) of the foregoing proviso, the application for resumption may be made alter the expiry of the said period of six months and before the date notified under Section 72, if such landlord was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application within the said period of six months;

(2) the right of resumption in respect of a holding shall be exercised only once, and the order of the Land Tribunal allowing resumption shall be given effect to only et the end of an agricultural year;

(3) no kudiyiruppu shall be resumed;

(4) no land in the possession of a tenant who is a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe shall be resumed.'

3. In the instant case there was no admitted tenancy on the date of coming into force of Act I of 1964. The suit for recovery of possession was filed only in the year 1966. A tenancy right in favour of the petitioner was recognised only by virtue of Section 7-B the Act which came into force on 1-1-1970 The decree in O. S. 100 of 1966 declaring the petitioner a tenant was passed on 24-7-1970. Subsequent to the decree Section 7-B was struck down as ultra vires of the Legislature and the provision became law only after Act 35 of 1969 was in-eluded in the IXth schedule to the Constitution. There is no doubt the contention that inclusion in the IXth Schedule takes effect from the date of commencement of the Act, namely 1-1-1970. But this is of no consequence because the period of one year prescribed for filing application for resumption expired one year after the commencement of Act I of 1964; it was only where the landlord came under the category of persons mentioned in the proviso to Section 18 that the period stood extended to six months from the commencement of the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1969.

4. It is thus clear that if Section 18 (I) is to be held as applicable to the case of the petitioner the period for filing application for resumption expired before the petitioner was declared a tenant under Section 7-B. The respondents could not have applied within one year of the commencement of Act I of 1964 anticipating an amendment of the Act by Act 35 of 1969 conferring tenancy right on the petitioner. Therefore the point for consideration is whether Section 18 (I) is applicable to cases like that of the petitioner where the right of resumption conferred under Section 17 became available only after the expiry of the period prescribed for filing the application: The language of Section 18 (I) itself provides the answer, because the section begins with the words 'in respect of tenancies subsisting at the commencement of this Act.. This means that the limitation of one year mentioned in Section 18 (I) holds good only in the case of transactions which were tenancies before the passing of Act 35 of 1969 and not transactions which are declared as tenancies under that Act. This interpretation no doubt leads to the position that in the case of tenancies declared as such under Act 35 of 1969, there is no time limit fixed for filing application for resumption; but the words used in the Act do not permit a different interpretation. It is an accepted proposition that no rule of interpretation can be invoked for the purpose of including cases plainly omitted from the natural meaning of the words. To quote Maxwell a case not provided for in a statute is not to be dealt with merely because there seems to be no good reason why it should have been omitted and the omission appears consequently to have been unintentional'. In cases like the present one it is possible that in view of the indefiniteness in respect of the time when the parties would join issue as to their relationship, the Legislature might have decided that no time limit need be fixed for an application by the landlord for obtaining resumption. In any case it is not for the court to supply the omission. It can only point out the, omission. It is for the Legislature to consider end decide whether the omission should be supplied.

5. There is no doubt that Section 17 is wide enough to include small holders in respect of whose lands tenancies are created or declared by virtue of Act 35 of 1969. They are not to be deprived of such right by giving an interpretation to Section 18 (I) which is against its plain language. To quote Maxwell again :

'...... statutes of limitation are to be construed strictly. The defence of lapse of time against a just demand is not to be extended to cases which are not clearly within the enactment, while provisions which give exception to the operation of such enactment are to be construed liberally.'

(See Interpretation of Statutes, Tenth Edition. Page 287).

It follows that the conclusion arrived at by the appellate authority does not warrant interference. The revision petition is dismissed. The parties will bear their respective costs.


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