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Shantilal Ratanji Desai and anr. Vs. Mangubhai Chhotubhai Desai and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1969)10GLR500
AppellantShantilal Ratanji Desai and anr.
RespondentMangubhai Chhotubhai Desai and anr.
Cases ReferredMst. Subhadra v. Narsaji
Excerpt:
- - bhatt, however, argued that the tribunal had in terms observed that if they were not satisfied of the fact that the land was not fruit growing land they would have remanded the matter to give an opportunity to the opponent no......from sections 32 to 32r was not attracted in the case of lands in question as the lands were not fruit growing lands. the tribunal, therefore, reversed the finding of the two lower authorities which was based on an agreement, dated 15th april 1956 at annexure 'a' as to the purpose of letting and held that the opponent no. 1 was entitled to purchase these lands under section 32 the tribunal, therefore, reminded the matter to the agricultural lands tribunal for determining the purchase price under section 32g. it is this order which is challenged in this petition2. section 43a(1)(b) in terms provides that the provisions of 32 to 32r were not applicable to leases of lands granted to any bodies or persons other than those mentioned in clause (a) for growing of fruits. therefore, this.....
Judgment:

J.B. Mehta, J.

1. The petitioners-landlords challenge in this petition the order of the Revenue Tribunal, dated 19th November 1963 holding that Section 43A(1)(b) of the Tenancy Act exempting the lands from Sections 32 to 32R was not attracted in the case of lands in question as the lands were not fruit growing lands. The Tribunal, therefore, reversed the finding of the two lower authorities which was based on an agreement, dated 15th April 1956 at Annexure 'A' as to the purpose of letting and held that the opponent No. 1 was entitled to purchase these lands under Section 32 The Tribunal, therefore, reminded the matter to the Agricultural Lands Tribunal for determining the purchase price under Section 32G. It is this order which is challenged in this petition

2. Section 43A(1)(b) in terms provides that the provisions of 32 to 32R were not applicable to leases of lands granted to any bodies or persons other than those mentioned in Clause (a) for growing of fruits. Therefore, this exemption section would be attracted if the lease of land granted to any such person is shown to be for the growing of fruits. Thus, the purpose of grant of lease is the material factor for determining whether this exemption is attracted or not. The Revenue Tribunal was, therefore, wrong in construing this Section 43A(1) and in holding that for deciding this question there must be evidence to show that only fruit trees were standing on the land and that no other cultivation is possible Further proceeding, the Revenue Tribunal has observed that they must consider the question whether the lands in suit were only growing fruit trees and if not, whether there is any cultivation done and to what extent. Thus, the Revenue Tribunal has concentrated its attention on the use of the land made and not to the purpose for which the lease was granted. This is a perverse construction of Section 43A(1) which cannot be accepted. If we keep in mind the object of the Legislature in enacting Section 43A, it is clear that the Legislature contemplates a fixed factor being taken into account viz. the purpose for which the lease of the land was granted The subsequent use, if any, for any other purposes would be wholly immaterial. The revenue authorities were, therefore, right in holding that they must consider the evidence only as to the purpose of the grant of this land in deciding the question as to whether it was for growing of fruits or not. The Revenue Tribunal has wrongly been influenced by the fact as to the use which was shown in one particular year 1961-62 by considering the crop shown to have been grown in this field. The Revenue Tribunal considered that in S. No. 239/2 of net cultivable area of 4 Acres and 33 Gunthas, there were fruit trees in 2 Acres and 25 Gunthas of Mangoes and Chiku, while there were rice and fodder in 2 Acres and 4 Gunthas, Similarly, in the other S. No. 240 of the net cultivable area 1 Acre and 6 Gunthas, the land under the fruit trees was 0 Acre and 6 Gunthas while the area under rice was only 0 Acre 37 Gunthas The remaining area was used for farm houses. Thus, the Revenue Tribunal has been wrongly influenced by considering the use of the land, made in any one particular year. The Legislature could never have intended that such an important exemption would have to be determined by such uncertain factors as to the use made in any particular year by the tenant. The Legislature had, therefore, permitted this exemption only if the grant of the land was shown to be for the purposes of growing fruits, which can be found by construing the original grant. The lower authorities based their conclusion on the agreement in question at Annexure 'H' which was produced by the landlords. Under the said agreement, dated 15th April 1956, Wadi of these two lands was given to opponent No. 1 tenant with the right to all the fruit trees for 10 years. Clause (2) was specific to the effect that the tenant was entitled to make all improvements to get more output of the fruits of the trees of the Wadi. This right was obtained by the tenant on consideration of an annual rental of Rs. 1401/-. In view of the specific Clause (2) and the other details the lower authorities would have been right in coming to the conclusion that the land was given for fruit orchard, as the whole intention of the parties was to have greater output of the fruit trees. Mr. Shelat in this connection pointed out the decision of the Supreme Court in Mst. Subhadra v. Narsaji : [1962]3SCR98 . The Supreme Court interpreted the expression 'premises' in Section 5(8)(a) of the Rent Act defining it as land not being used for agricultural purposes. At page 808 the Supreme Court pointed out that the material date for ascertaining whether the plot was 'premises' within the meaning of Section 5(8)(a) was the date of letting and not the date on which the application for fixation of the standard rent was made. If on the date of letting the plot in dispute was used for agricultural purposes, it could not be regarded as 'premises'. In the present case also, what is material is the purpose at the time of granting the lease and so the date of letting would be material to find out what was the purpose when the grant was made. Therefore, the Revenue Tribunal was entirely wrong in being influenced by the record of rights for 1961-62. Even if the tenant changed the original user by cultivating some part, the purpose of letting would not change and, therefore, the exemption would still be attracted if the land was found to have been let for the purpose of fruit growing.

3. Mr. Bhatt, however, argued that the Tribunal had in terms observed that if they were not satisfied of the fact that the land was not fruit growing land they would have remanded the matter to give an opportunity to the opponent No. 1 to explain the aforesaid agreement at Annexture 'H'. The Tribunal had come to the finding that this document was produced at a late stage, in the evidence of the landlord Shantilal on 4th April 1962 when opponent No. 1 tenant was already examined on 10th January 1962 and no question was suggested to him as regards this document. Mr. Bhatt is justified in his grievance which was rightly accepted by the Revenue Tribunal for the opponent No. 1 would have no opportunity to meet this document when it was produced at late stage after his evidence was over. The Revenue Tribunal has also observed that the said document was admitted practically without any proof.

4. In the circumstances, it is necessary that the matter ought to be remanded to the Agricultural Lands Tribunal for a fresh disposal in accordance with law. The entire proceeding under Section 32C shall go back to him to go into the question whether the exemption under Section 43A(1)(B) was attracted to this land and if not, to determine the price thereof.

5. In the result this petition is allowed and the rule is made absolute. There shall be however no order as to the costs in the circumstances of the case. The matter shall be expeditiously disposed of as it had been sufficiently delayed all this time.


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