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Balwant Singh and Etc. Etc. Vs. State of Rajasthan and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. Nos. 385 and etc. of 1982
Judge
Reported inAIR1983Raj39
ActsRajasthan Land Revenue (Allotment, Conversion and Regularisation of Agricultural Land for Residential and Commercial Purposes in Urban Areas) Rules, 1981 - Rules 1, 11, 11(1) and 11(4); Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956 - Sections 90A, 102, 260 and 261; Constitution of India - Articles 14 and 226; Evidence Act, 1872 - Sections 115
AppellantBalwant Singh and Etc. Etc.
RespondentState of Rajasthan and anr.
Appellant Advocate L.R. Mehta,; B.L. Purohit,; R. Mehta,;
Respondent Advocate Ashok Mathur, Addl. Adv. General
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredManzoor Ahmed v. Rule T. A.
Excerpt:
- - 16. according to shri mehta, it is well established that either the classification should appear on the face of the impugned law in this case or the return of the state should be able to demonstrate the reasonableness of the classifications. 1. 17. challenging the formation of zone for sri ganganagar, sri mehta submitted that, there are no principles or guidelines in the rules under challenge for guiding the state government dividing the municipal towns into zones and, therefore, sub-rules (2) and (3) of rule 11 of 1981 rules are bad, and the government notification specifying the different zones of shri ganganagar, or for that matter, udaipur is invalid, as it did not on its face show that the zones have been framed, in accordance with some principles or criteria. according to the.....guman mal lodha, j. 1. 'speculative', 'avoidable' categorisation of this litigation, would be most apt and fair, though interestingly enough 'categorisation'' is under challenge.2. the categorisations of the cities of sri ganganagar, bikaner and udaipur, have come into 'fumes' and 'fire' in this bunch of writ petitions, which are in all 310, in number. the affluent city of sri ganganagar has got the largest number of writs, there being 288, whereas there is only one writ of udai-pur city, and 21 writs of bikaner.3. on a joint request of the learned counsel for the petitioners and the learned additional advocate general, shri ashok mathur, i have heard the cases altogether and, their prayer for deciding all the writs by a common judgment being fair and reasonable, is accepted.4. the pivot.....
Judgment:

Guman Mal Lodha, J.

1. 'Speculative', 'avoidable' categorisation of this litigation, would be most apt and fair, though interestingly enough 'Categorisation'' is under challenge.

2. The categorisations of the cities of Sri Ganganagar, Bikaner and Udaipur, have come into 'fumes' and 'fire' in this bunch of writ petitions, which are in all 310, in number. The affluent city of Sri Ganganagar has got the largest number of writs, there being 288, whereas there is only one writ of Udai-pur City, and 21 writs of Bikaner.

3. On a joint request of the learned counsel for the petitioners and the learned Additional Advocate General, Shri Ashok Mathur, I have heard the cases altogether and, their prayer for deciding all the writs by a common judgment being fair and reasonable, is accepted.

4. The pivot of debate is the rate of conversion charges for agricultural land under the provisions of Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956 and the Rajasthan Land Revenue (Allotment, Conversion and Regularisation of Agricultural Land for Residential and Commercial Purposes in Urban Areas) Rules, 1981, hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules of 1981'.

5. Respondent No. 1, the State of Rajasthan, in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (xi-A) of Sub-section (2) of Section 261', read with Sections 90-A, 102 and Clauses (a) and (b) of sub-section (1) of S. 260 of the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956 (Rajasthan Act 15 of 1956), hereinafter called it to be 'the Land Revenue Act', framed and made the Rules of 1981 for Allotment, Conversion and Regularisation of Agricultural Land for Residential and Commercial Purposes in Urban Areas.

6. Rule 11 (1) and (2) of the Rules of 1981 provides for categorisation of thetown and rales for conversion charges and, further division of towns in zones. Schedule I of the Rules of 1981 provides that Sri Ganganagar along with Jaipur and Kota would be in Category I and, Udaipur, Bikaner along with Ajmer, Jodhpur, Bhilwara and Alwar towns would be in Category No. 2. Schedule II provides rates for Category No. 1 and its various zoneg and, also similarly, for Category No. 2 and its zones, as also for various categories Nos. 3, 4 and 5.

7. The conversion charges per square yard for Category No. 1 and its Zone I is Rs. 24.00 (normal rates) but, the concessional rate of it is Rs. 16,00/-. The conversion charges for Category No. 2 and its Zone I is Rs. 18.00/- (normal rates) but, concessional rate for it is Rupees 11,20/- per ,sq. yd. only.

8. The main challenge, in all 'these bunch of writ petitions, is that these towns should not have been put in Categories Nos. 1 and 2. In order to understand the implications of this challenge, Rule 11 of 1981 Rules may be read, which runs as under:--

11. Categorisation of towns and rales of conversion charges.--

(1) Municipal towns of the State shall be divided into five categories according to their population and overall importance as specified in Schedule I,

(1) a.** A mandi shall be deemed to be in category No. 5 as specified in Schedule I.

Proviso--Provided that in the case of a mandi, the period shall be 180 days which shall be computed from the date of coming into force of the Rajasthan Land Rev. (Allotment, Conversion, and Regularisation of Urban Areas), 5th Amendment Rules, 1982.

(2) Each town shall further be divided into zones. Towns in Categories Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 shall have 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 zones respectively.

(3) The area of each zone in a Municipal town shall be such as may be notified by the State Government in the official Gazette, except that in the case of towns of category 5, the entire Muni-cipal area will constitute one zone;

Provided that the zones already notified under the Rajasthan Land Revenue (Allotment, Conversion and Regularisation of Agricultural Land for Residentialor Commercial purposes in Urban Areas) Roles, 1978 shall continue to be the zones for purposes of these roles till they are reconstituted or modified.

(4) The rate of conversion charges for residential purposes for each zone in a Municipal town shall be as shown in column No. 4 of Schedule II:

Provided, however, that in cases in which agricultural land has been converted and used by the applicant for residential purposes prior to 20-8-1981, a concessional rate as shown in column No. 3 of the game schedule shall be chargeable if the following further conditions are fulfilled, namely--

(i) The applicant was in physical possession of the land from prior to 20-8-1981.

(ii) The application is filed before the Authorised Officer within a period of 110 days** from the coming into force of these Rules.

(iii) The application is accompanied by a Treasury challan in proof of the fact that the applicant has deposited the amount of conversion charges and penalty according to these rules on the basis of his self-assessment; and the amount deposited as a result of self-assessment is not less than eighty per cent of the amount assessed by the Authorised Officer under these Rules.

(5) The rates of conversion charges for use of land for commercial purposes shall be three times the rates of conversion charges as given in Schedule II. In all other respects, the provisions of Sub-rule (4) of Rule 11 shall mutatis mutandis apply, substituting the word, 'commercial for residential'.

(6) The rates of conversion charges recoverable from persons belonging to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes shall be half of those given in Schedule II.

(7) In the case of a society, the eon-version charges and penalty recoverable under these rules shall be based on the actual area of a land held by the society for allotment to its members and lands used for common purposes shall be excluded.

(8) Where an individual member of a Society to whom a plot is allotted by the said Society applies for conversion of his own plot, the conversion chargesat the rate prescribed in Schedule II shall be chargeable for the actual area of land allotted to him by the society. The categorisation is, therefore, according to their population and overall importance',

9. From the point of view of population as per the 1981 Census, the population of Sri Ganganagar is 1,21,516; Udai-pur -- 2,29,762; Bikaner -- 2,48,716; Jodhpur -- 4,93,609; Kota -- 3,46,928; Ajmer -- 3,74,350; Alwar -- 1,39,973; Jaipur -- 10,04,669.

10. Obviously, therefore, the population in itself is not the sole consideration. The second factor to be considered is, 'overall importance'.

11. However, before I proceed further to discuss the questions involved which are common in all these writs, let me first summarise the submissions made by the learned counsel for the petitioners, Shri L. Rule Mehta, who mainly argued the case on behalf of the petitioners, with his characteristic, fairness, brevity and precision, and whose arguments were adopted by Shri M. L. Garg and other learned counsels.

12. Shri Mehta, as Proposition No. I, argued that the Government of Raja-sihan was not entitled to make the conversion Rules of 1981 in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by the provisions of the Land Revenue Act, (particularly, Sections 90A, 260 (1) (a) (b) and 261 (1) (xiA).) The above referred rules are therefore, invalid because they are not in conformity with the provisions of the Land Revenue Act and because they are in excess of the powers conferred on the State Government by the said Act, argued Shri Mehta.

13. The second limb of submissions of Shri Mehta was that Section 90A, at the first instance prohibits the use of agricultural land by its holder or the transferee for the construction of the buildings without the prior written permission of the State Government. Then, the above section lays down that the State Government may grant permission subject to the prescribed terms and conditions and, that the person to whom the permission is granted shall be liable to pay the State Government an urban assessment levied at such rate and in accordance with such manner, as may be laid down in the rules made in this behalf by the State Government or such amount by way of premium as may beprescribed by the State Government or both. The above section further provides that the State Government, in case a person uses the agricultural land for construction of buildings without the prior permission, instead of ejecting the land holder from the land in question may allow him to retain such land on payment of such fine by way of penally as may be prescribed in addition to tha urban assessment and premium payable under Sub-section (4) of the said section.

14. Proposition No. 2 of Shri Mehta's submission was that no principles or guidelines have been laid down in the 1981 Rules for the guidance of the State Government in the matter of dividing the municipal towns of the State into five categories. Shri Mehta further submitted that the mention of two factors namely; (i) 'population', and (ii) 'overall importance' as specified in Schedule I in Sub-rule (l) of Rule 11 did not contain the required principles and guidelines necessary for dividing the towns into five categories. If the above factors were really intended to constitute principles and guidelines for the State, it could not place Sri Ganganagar in Category No. 1' along with Jaipur and Kota and, place -- Ajmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Alwar and Bhilwara in Category No. 2. A bare look at Schedule I appended to the said rules will show that the State Government had not kept the above two factors in its mind. On the other hand, the State Government had in total disregard of the said two factors placed Sri Ganganagar in Category No. 1 along with Jaipur and Kota. Likewise, in placing Udaipur in Category No. 2 along side of Ajmer and Jodhpur the State Government had ignored tha said factors.

15. The next proposition canvassed as Proposition No. 3 by Shri Mehta was that neither from the point of view of population, nor from the point of view 'overall importance', can the town of Sri Ganganagar be placed in Category No. I. It cannot find place either in Category No, I or, in Category No. 2 on any view of the matter, and that the Government cannot insulate the categories from challenge on the ground that Schedule I containing the five categories of the towns forms parts of the rules, themselves. The Government was bound to consider the above mentioned two facts before dividing the various municipal towns into five categories, asrequired by Sub-rule (1) of Rule 11 of 1981 Rules. The fact, that the above provision, itself, lays down that 'Municipal towns shall be divided into five categories according to their population and 'overall importance' as specified in Schedule I', cannot absolve the State from the obligation of dividing the towns into five categories according to their 'population' and 'overall importance'. In this view of the matter, Schedule I, which has been made in utter disregard of the aforesaid two factors, cannot be saved by a reference either to these two factors or, to the object for which these rules are said to have been made.

16. According to Shri Mehta, it is well established that either the classification should appear on the face of the impugned law in this case or the return of the State should be able to demonstrate the reasonableness of the classifications. The return of the State, to say the least, did not disclose any basis for placing Sri Ganganagar in Category No. 1.

17. Challenging the formation of zone for Sri Ganganagar, Sri Mehta submitted that, there are no principles or guidelines in the rules under challenge for guiding the State Government dividing the municipal towns into zones and, therefore, Sub-rules (2) and (3) of Rule 11 of 1981 Rules are bad, and the Government notification specifying the different zones of Shri Ganganagar, or for that matter, Udaipur is invalid, as it did not on its face show that the zones have been framed, in accordance with some principles or criteria.

18. The learned counsel for the petitioners further averred that, the petitioners on the basis of the plan filed with the writ petitions tried to show that the formation of zones of Sri Ganganagar and Udaipur is equally arbitrary and without any basis as their categorisation. The State had not in its return disclosed any basis for zones in question.

19. It was then submitted that, though under Section 90A (5) of the Land Revenue Act, the person, who has used the agricultural land for construction of buildings without obtaining prior permission of the State Government is liable to pay penalty in addition to urban assessment and premium, according to the proviso to Sub- rule (4) of Rule 11 of the 1981Rules under challenge, the person who has put the agricultural land to residential purpose prior to 20th Aug. 1981, is entitled to get his land converted ai a concessional rate while the person who had not so used his agricultural land has to pay higher rate of conversion charges. Apart from the fact, that this discrimination is wholly unreasonable, this is impermissible under the provisions of the Land Revenue Act, as shown above.

20. Anticipating the submission of Shri Ashok Mathur, the learned Additional Advocate General, Shri Mehta submitted that the contention of the State Government that, the rules are in the nature of welfare legislation and they should be given benefit of doubt, is not correct. The rules under challenge do not seem to have any purpose of welfare. They are intended either to regularise the acts of trespass or prohibited construction or they are intended to enable the holder of agricultural land to get conversion by making payment of the charges at the rates mentioned therein. Thus, the rules have no other purpose except to collect money. The fact, that such money may be used or can be used by the State Government for its welfare plans cannot make the rules a piece of welfare legislation. If the reasonings of the State are accepted for the sake of the argument, the provision for imposing fine by way of punishment in various criminal statutes should be considered to be pieces of welfare legislation, because the money received from the convicts by way of fine is ultimately likely to be spent on some welfare activity of the State.

21. Similarly, controverting the submission of Shri Mathur regarding the estoppel, Shri Mehta submitted that the contention of the State that the applicants should be estopped from challenging the rules, as they are seeking conversion of their agricultural land by making applications, is not correct. The petitioners are challenging inter alia the rules which enable the Government to divide municipal towns of the State into five categories and, further enable it to arbitrarily specify zones of such towns and, prescribe rates on the basis as arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. According to the Land Revenue Act urban assessment and premium payable should be determined in each case in accordance with the well settled principles of urban assessment and determination of premium.

22. Shri Mehta further contended that the petitioners have not challenged the competence of State Government to grant permission or to regularise the use of the agricultural land in accordance with the provisions of the Land Revenue Act and, they cannot therefore, be estopped from challenging that the Rules of 1981 are arbitrary and void.

23. The decisions in Pathumma v. Kerala State, AIR 1978 SC 771 and Indra Singh & Sons Pvt. Ltd. v. Sales Tax Officer, Raigarh, AIR 1962 Madh Pra 128 as relied upon by Shri Mathur on behalf of the State, have no application to this present case and they should be ignored, argued Shri Mehta.

24. Shri Mathur, the learned Addl. Advocate General, controverting the above submissions made by Shri Mehta, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, contended that Sub-rule (4) of Rule 11 of 1981 rules lays down sufficient criteria, i.e., the population and 'overall importance'; The legislature had laid down two grading factors for categorisation of various Municipal Towns of the State. Keeping in view these two factors the various Towns have been categorised accordingly. The value of the land in Ganganagar is the highest and it is the greenery of India. Therefore, looking to the importance of the land, Sri Ganganagar has been placed in category No. 1 The detailed facts have already been given in reply filed by the State. Shri Mathur argued that while interpreting the provisions of this enactment, it will have to be kept in view the preamble of this rule and the main idea behind enactment of this legislation and that, as a matter of fact, the land in question is being used for agricultural purpose by the khatedars, and they are tenants of the State Government and they can utilise this land for the purpose of cultivation only. But now when they want to convert this land from agriculture to non-agriculture purposes therefore, they will have to pay the charges for the same.

25. It was then argued by Shri Mathur that, the presumption will always be in favour of the Constitutionality of the enactment, since it must be assumed that the legislature understands and correctly appreciates theneeds of its own people, that its laws are directed to problems made manifest by experience and its discrimination is based on adequate ground. In this connection, Shri Mathur placed reliance on the decisions of the Supreme Court in Probhudas v. Union of India, AIR 1966 SC 1044. According to Shri Mathur, it has also been laid down that a legislation is not to be struck down as discriminatory, if any state of facts may reasonably be conceived to justify it; and, in order to sustain the presumption of constitutionality, therefore, the court may take into consideration the matters of common knowledge, matters of common reports, of the times and may assume every state of facts which can be conceived as existing at the time of the legislation. In support of his above submission, Shri Mathur referred to the decisions of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Ram Krishna Dalmia v. Justice Tendolkar, AIR 1958 SC 538 and Pathumma v. State (AIR 1978 SC 771) (supra).

26. Shri Mathur submitted that the Supreme Court held that merely because the Government is not compellable to allot all cases of offences set out jn the schedule with the acts to a special judge but is vested with the discretion in the matter, it cannot be said that the provisions offend Article 14 of the Constitution. If the impugned legislation indicates the policy which inspired it and the object which it seeks to attain, the mere fact that legislation does not itself make a complete and precise classification of persons or things to which it is to be applied but leaves a selective application of the law to be made by the executive authorities in accordance with the standard enacted or the underlying policy if disclosed, is not a sufficient ground for condemning it as arbitrary and therefore, is obnoxious to Article 14. In this connection, Shri Mathur placed reliance upon the decisions of the Supreme Court in Kedar Nath v. State of West Bengal AIR 1953 SC 404.

27. On the bed-rock of the above principles, Sri Mathur submitted that the object and policy which are contained in Sub-rule (4) of Rule 11 of 1981 Rules, the town Sri Ganganagar was categorised, in Category No.l, because of the 'overall importance' of the land in this area. Thus, this policy decision lays down sufficient guidelines and accordingly categorisation has been rightly made,argued Shri Mathur. And as per version of Shri Mathur, it is not violative of Arlicle 14 of the Constitution of India,

28. However. Shri Mathur, in sup-port of his above contention, invited my attention to the observations made by their Lordships of the Supreme Court (Seven Judges Bench) in Pathumma v. Kerala Stale (AIR 1978 SC 77l at p. 774), (supra) which read as under:--

'The Court should interpret the constitutional provision against the social set up of the country so as to show the complete consciousness and deep awareness of the growing requirements of the society, the increasing needs of the nation, the burning problem of the day and the complex issues facing the people which the legislature in its wisdom through beneficial legislation seeks to solve. The Judicial approach should be dynamic rather than static, pragmatic and not pedantic or elastic rather than rigid.'

29. It was further argued that, in this background, we should examine the Rules (to see?) what persuaded the legislature to proceed with the enactment of this kind. The idea behind this enactment is that in order to accommodate the growing population, more and more of land has to be converted for the urbanisation and this has already been done by large number of people illegally. Therefore, looking to this social and human problem the government has come forward with this legislation to permit the use of land from agriculture to non-agriculture purposes. Thus, this reality should be kept in view and we have to judge the enactment in this light. Thus, the land value of the area has to be kept in view and it cannot be disputed that the land value in Ganga-nagar, Kota and Jaipur is highest in the State. In this background, the categorisation has been correctly made,

30. Shri Mathur then controverted the argument of Shri Mehta that, the expression, 'over-all importance' is vague. But it has been submitted that the 'over-all importance' of the land provides a sufficient guideline and by no stretch of imagination, it can be said to be vague. Shri Mathur further averred that 'over-all importance' is in view of the land because the ultimate purpose is the conversion of land from agriculture to non-agriculture purpose and, therefore, it will have to be seen, howimportant is the land and accordingly it has to be categorised and, hence the expression is not a vague one.

31. Shri Mathur then argued that it has been contended that the division of the zones is also not proper, becaus a there is no guiding factor for the same He pointed out that in details, in tha reply to the writ petition, it has been pointed out that while dividing the Municipal Towns in the various zones, the 'over-all importance' of the area has been kept in view. According to Shri Mathur's contention, as the guideline provided by the legislature in the enactment is the 'over-all importance' therefore, keeping in view the 'over-all importance' of the localities in the Municipal Towns, the various rates have been fixed, and there cannot be one uniform value of the land in the whole of tha Municipal Town, as also the price of thea land varies from place to place.

32. Shri Mathur also pointed out that an area which is more posh and, has tha potentiality of development and at tha same time, it is nearer to the main city, is bound to fetch a higher price for the land as against the land which has no potentiality of development and is in the remote corner. Therefore, keeping in view the 'over-all importance' of the area all the zones have been divided in the descending order.

33. Shri Mathur further argued that an area which has a higher potentiality for its development and is near to main township is bound to be the best area and accordingly in the town of Sri Ganganagar, the best locality has been ear-marked as zone I and likewise, the area of the less importance has been categorised as zone II, III, IV and V. Thus, the main factor for even divisions of zones is the 'over-all importance' of the area in terms of the land value of that area. Thus, distribution of zones is a reasonable one, Moreover, it is essentially a question of fact which can only be left to the discretion of the subordinate authorities who will divide the town in zones looking to the physical conditions obtaining in that Municipal Town. According to Shri Mathur, the reasonable classification made by the authorities while dividing the zones in the Municipal Towns, is just and fair, and the expression, 'Reasonable' has been defined in the Administrative Law by Garner at page 159,

34. Shri Mathur then referred to an ancillary argument of Shri Mehta and Shri Garg that date 20th August, 1981 has got no nexus. He averred that it has been submitted in the reply that on 20th August, 1981 a decision was taken by the Cabinet for this division. Therefore, 20th August, 1981 has been taken to be the dividing line. In fact, this decision of far reaching nature has been taken on this date and the Government has decided to take it as a cut-off date.

35. Shri Mathur then dealt with another ancillary argument that the two rates have been prescribed i. e, concessional rate and normal rate. The persons, who have already constructed the houses before 20th August, 1981, were to be treated on concessional basis. Shri Mathur contended that looking to the human problem of urbanisation and ever expanding need of the people to have shelter, roof, the Government wanted to approach this problem with the human angle. Therefore, a concessional rate has been provided to the persons who have already constructed their building on the agriculture land in the past with the lesser levy. The value of the land has now only gone up in the recent past and the people who have wrongfully constructed the building over the agricultural land long before, cannot be subjected to the same rate which are prevalent now. That the persons who want their agriculture land now to be converted into the residential commercial purposes will certainly get higher price than the persons who have already constructed the buildings over the land. Therefore, looking to the price of the land which has gone up in the recent past, two classes have been made. Thus the classification is rational and with a social purpose. Thus it cannot be said to be irrational or unreasonable.

36. The learned Additional Advocate General then dealt with yet another submission raised by the petitioners that under Section 90A of the Land Revenue Act the expression which has been used is 'Rate' and therefore, there should be one uniform rate for the whole of Rajasthan. Shri Mathur submitted that the above contention is devoid of any force for the simple reason that it is irrational to say that the land value of Ganganagar and Jaisalmer is the same, and on the contrary, it will be discriminatory because to treat unequal withthe equal is also violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Shri Mathur further averred that if one uniform rate is kept for all the Municipal Towns of Rajasthan, it will amount to a serious discrimination because the land value of Ganganagar, Kota and Jaipur cannot be equated with the land value of Jaisalmer, Bhilwara or Banswara.

37. Lastly, Shri Mathur challenged the very right of the petitioners to challenge the Rules of 1981. He submitted that in fact, all these petitioners want their illegal action to be regularised and thereby they want to derive a benefit out of this legislation. According to Shri Mathur, a person who wants to derive a benefit of a particular legislation cannot challenge the constitutionality or validity of the same enactment. He cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. He cannot ask the courts that they should allow him to take the beneficial part of the law and that the rest of the part which is nor beneficial should be struck down. He cannot be permitted to blow hot and cold at the same time. It is open to the petitioners that if they want their land to be converted from agriculture to non-agriculture purposes, they can apply for the same and if they are not desirous to do so then it is open to them to ignore (the) enactment. It is seriously objected that they cannot have both the ways by taking the advantage of this legislation and at the same time challenge its constitutionality. The reference has been made in this connection to the decisions in Swaran Lata v. Union of India (1979) 1 Serv LR 710: (1980 Lab 1C NOC 8) (SC), Venkata Subba Rao v. Ramakrishna Rao, AIR 1958 Andh Pra 322 and Indra Singh & Sons Pvt. Ltd. v. Sales-tax Officer (AIR 1962 Madh Pra 128) (supra).

38. The submissions of Shri Mehfa were adopted by Shri L. M. Lodha, the learned Advocate, who appeared for the petitioners of Bikaner. Shri S. N. Sharma and Shri M. L Garg, the learned Advocates supported Shri Mehta for Ganganagar writs.

39: It would thus be seen that the challenge to the Rules is based on varied set of contentions though the principal contention is that Sri Ganganagar should not be placed in Category No. 1 and Bikaner and Udaipur should not be placed in Category No. 2. These contentions have been further supported by a wide net of challenge to the Rules,themselves. It may be pointed out at the very outset that all the petitioners want to take the benefit of these Rules as they are anxious to get the agricultural land owned by them to be converted into urban land and, they have, in their prayer clause as well as stay application, prayed that they should not be charged conversion charges higher than rates which have been charged from lower categories. In the stay applications, they have prayed that the application of the petitioners should be accepted for conversion along with conversion charges which are payable by Khate-dars of land specified in zone V of the Sri Ganganagar municipal town. In Balwant Singh's writ (S. B. Civil Writ Petition No. 385/1982) this stay application has been , rejected by the Single Bench and the Division Bench of this Court further confirmed the rejection of the stay order. Strangely and curiously, this fact of rejection of stay application filed by Balwant Singh of Sri Ganganagar, on 1st April, 1982 was not brought to the notice of the Court and in other cases, the stay orders were obtained after this date, on 14th/15th April, 1982 and various dates in various writs. The stay orders were obtained directing that the conversion charges at the rate of Rs. 4.80 per square yard as for the Zone IV of that city may be accepted.

40. Since in almost all the cases, stay order has been obtained except Balwant Singh's case, where it was refused, it can safely be inferred that the real object of challenge by this writ petition is to pay the lowest rate and take the benefit of facility allowed by the Government to convert the agricultural land into urban land.

41. If the petitioners would not have been interested in conversion there was no occasion to file the writ petitions, because then these rules would not have affected them, at all.

42. Therefore, the first question, which comes up for consideration is, whether on account of this, writ petitions can be dismissed as per the objection of Shri Mathur? It is true that a person who wants to take benefit of the legislation, cannot, at the same, time, challenge it as argued by Shri Mathur. But it is equally true that there cannot be estoppel against the statutes and, ifthe provisions of law are ultra vires, a citizen can, by challenging a particular provision, insist for striking down that part of it, which infringes his legal rights and retaining other part of it which gives benefit to him; then a law can be considered for validity and even part of it can be struck down if doctrine of severability can be applied. I am therefore, not inclined to adopt short cut method of rejecting the writ petitions only on the ground that the petitioners are trying to take the benefit of this legislation and are still challenging it.

43. The preliminary objection of Shri Mathur, therefore, cannot succeed and deserves to be rejected.

44. The next question, which comes up for consideration is, whether the Government of Rajasthan was not entitled to make conversion rules of 1981 in the exercise of the powers conferred upon it by the various provisions of the Land Revenue Act. Here, it may be mentioned that the notification takes its origin from all relevant provisions of the Land Revenue Act and specially Sections. 90A, 260 (1) (a) (b) and Section 261 (1) (xiA) have been referred to. Section 90A, itself, provides that the State Government can grant permission for the use of the land for non-agriculture purpose by construction of the building on the prescribed terms and conditions and, while doing so, a person to whom permission is granted, shall be liable to pay to the State Government an urban assessment levied at such rate and in accordance with such manner, as may be laid down in the Rules or such amount by way of premium as may be prescribed by the State Government or both.

45. tt would thus be seen that tha State Government has ample authority to lay down the conditions, manner and the rates of premium and urban assessment for such conversion.

46. Section 260 (1) (a) (b) reads as under :

'Delegation -- (1) the State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette --

(a) delegate all or any of its powers under this Act, except the power to make rules, to the Board or the Settlement Commissioner or the Director of Land Records or a Collector, or(b) direct that any duties imposed and powers conferred by this Act or the rules made thereunder or by any other law for the time being in force or the rules made under such other law on any officer or authority appointed or constituted under this Act or the rules made thereunder shall be performed and exercised by any other lawfully appointed, or constituted officer or authority specified in the notification, whether such other officer or authority shall have been appointed or constituted under this Act or the rules made thereunder or under any other law for the time being in force or the rules made under such other law, or.'

47. Specific reference may be made to S. 261 (2) (xiA) which expressly provides --

'261. Power to make rules.-- (2) The State Government may make rules consistent with the provisions of this Act,

(xiA) prescribing the manner in which permission under Section 90-A for conversion of agricultural land into non-agricultural land shall be applied for; the officer or authority to whom such application shall be given; the particulars to be given in such application; the manner in which enquiry is to be made; the terms and conditions on which the permission may be given; the rate and manner of levy of urban assessment; the rate and manner of levy of the premium to be charged by the State Government on such conversion, and the fine to be imposed under Sub-section (5) of Section 90A.'

It may be mentioned that Sub-section (2) of Section 90A of the Land Revenue Act expressly authorises that the State Government may permit any such person desiring to use such land or any part thereof for any purpose other than that of agriculture, if a person applies for the requisite permission in the prescribed manner and to the prescribed officer or authority with prescribed particulars. Section 90A read with Section 102 of the Land Revenue Act which also authorises the State Government to allot land for purposes other than agricultural and for the purpose of an industry or for any purpose of public utility on such conditions as it deems fit, makes it clear that the power of the State Government to permit conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose is beyond doubt. The manner, method and details of procedure and authorities who can permit the same, can be mentioned by Rules under Section 261 and, the delegation can be made of the powers of the State Government to authorise various officers under Section 260. Thus, it would be clear that apart from other provisions of the Land Revenue Act, the State Government is authorised under the above provisions of Sections 90A, 102, 260 and 261 of the Land Revenue Act to frame the impugned rules for the conversion of the agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose. The objection of the petitioners, therefore, is devoid of any force and is rejected.

48. Moreover, as already stated, the principal interest of the petitioners lies in getting conversion at the lowest rates. The present one is not the case, where any person is asserting that the agricultural land should not be converted for non-agricultural purposes, as it would result in loss of production of agricultural produces and reducing the area of agricultural land which would be detrimental to the people at large. Contrary to it, the petitioners are very much interested in getting the conversion but all they want is that they must be required to pay the lowest rate.

49. It would be enlightening to note in this connection that, almost all the petitioners obtained an ad interim stay order from this Court and therein instead of praying for the stay of operation of the Rules of 81, they prayed that they may be allowed to pay the conversion charges at the lowest rate, i.e., Rs. 4,80/- per sq. yds. which is lowest in the category and zones and, then again, which is concessional rate as against Rs. 24 per sq. yds.

50. A perusal of the stay order obtained and the stay applications moved, makes it clear, patent which is otherwise latent that, the petitioners are not against the conversion, but they are beneficiary of these conversion rules and by the process of this litigation, their real intention is to get the conversion at the concessional rates in the lowest zone and in the lowest category. In substance, they want to take the benefit by paying the minimum price for it and, therefore, the challenge to the authority of the Government to frame these conversion rules is, in substance, 9 camouflage on the real intention of the petitioners which is, otherwise That being so, I am of the view that even by their conduct, they cannot be allowed to challenge the validity of the impugned Rules on the ground of alleged lack of any authority in the Government, although I am deciding that the challenge to the validity is devoid of any force on merits, also.

51. The second limb of the challenge, which is more important is that, no principles or guidelines have been laid down in the 1981 Rules for the guidance of the State Government, in the matter of dividing municipal towns into five categories.

52. Before I proceed to dissect this theme of attack, it would be necessary to mention the, historical background of the impugned Rules. The present rules of 1981 were in supersession of the 1978 Rules which again were in supersession of the Rules of 1971. I would not travel to 1971 but rest content by reference to the Rules of 1978. In the Rules of 1978, Schedule I contains category No. 1 exactly the same having Jaipur, Kota and Sriganganagar and so also the Category No. 2 having towns of Aimer, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bhilwara, Alwar and Bikaner. There were similar zones in Category No. 1 and Category No. 2. Rule 11 of the Rules of 1978 was also identical except, that, instead of the word, 'importance' now it has been clarified by 'overall importance'. There are some alterations in other sub-clauses of this rule of 1978 but the main clause, sub-clauses (1) and (2) are almost same.

53. During the course of the arguments, it was not pointed out to me that any challenge was made to the Rules of 1978. 1t is significant to note that whereas in Schedule II of the 1978 conversion Rules there were no concessional rates provided, now in (Rules of) 1981, concessional rates have been provided in addition to the normal rates and, therefore, in spite of price rise and substantial increase in land cost, the Government has given benefit ol concessional rates and made provision for the same in Rule 11 which was not in existence earlier. In this view of the matter. Rules of 1981 are more beneficial to the citizens.

54, As already mentioned above, conversion- Rules of 1981 have repealedRules of 1078. All this shows that the conversion of agricultural land into urban area on account of the pressure of population in urban areas and the legal sanction for it in the form of these Rules is a continuing process.

55. The main challenge on the above count is that, no guidelines have been provided and naked discretion has been given. I am inclined to accept the contention of the learned Additional Advocate General, that apart from broad guidelines in the scheme of these Rules, Rule II' (1) of 1981 Rules expressly mentioned the two factors to be considered and they are, (i) population; (ii) 'overall importance'.

56. Apart from the above, categorisation has not been left to any executive officer, but the State Government, itself, has categorised them in these rules in the form of Schedule I.

57. The learned counsel from the petitioner side who appeared for writs of Sriganganagar, pointed out that Sri Ganganagar is having less population than many of the towns of Category No. 2, namely, Jodhpur, Kota, Bikaner, Udaipur and Aimer. It was also pointed out that the industrialisation in most of the towns in Category No. 2 is more than (in) Sri Ganganagar.

58. Some of the important features of Jodhpur having a University, a seat of High Court, many other offices of Head of Department which are common to Udaipur, Bikaner and Ajmer were referred in the arguments. Shri Sharma in particular tried to paint a pathetic picture of Sri Ganganagar when with a voice chocked with emotion he said that whenever people of Sri Ganganagar claim any important institutions or industry or office of any Head of Department, they are told that Sri Ganganagar is not a proper place for it and the citizens are treated as Class II or class III citizens in comparison to other citizens of Rajasthan residing in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, AJmer and Udaipur, etc. But when the question comes of augmenting revenue, Sri Ganganagar is picked up as the main target and made a victim of State's object of augmenting revenue.

59. Shri Mathur, the learned Additional Advocate General, confronted with the above submissions, became equally vocal and pointed out that the price of the agricultural land in SriGanganagar is the highest as the agricultural yield and income from each Mu-raba is highest. Shri Mathur pointed out that only Sri Ganganagar had the privilege of having two irrigational canals of national importance namely, Ganga Canal and Rajasthan Canal and, there is a net work of irrigation, on account of which the people of that area are fortunate to have two crops in a year and some times three crops from this irrigated land, which produces golden crops in the form of cash crops. Shri Mathur emphasised that per capita income of Sri Ganganagar is high and the affluence and prosperity is the highest in the State which is manifested by the fact that, next to Jaipur having population of more than 2 lacs, Sri Ganganagar having population of only 1,21,516 according to census of 1981 gives the maximum revenue of excise.

60. It was submitted on behalf of the State that while considering 'overall importance' in the context of categorisation for conversion charges of agricultural land, price of land is the most important factor and cannot be lost sight of.

61. In reply to the writ petition, filed by the State, extracted above, it was poinfed out that the price of land on lease basis in the town of Sri Ganganagar i.s RS. 93/- per sq. metre, as fixed recently by the Urban Improvement Trust.

62. As already submitted above, the various submissions of Shri Mathur appear to be substantial and, not only they are valid and relevant for deciding the issue involved in this limb of controversy but, they clinched the issue so far as the validity of Rule ll (1) of 1981 Rules is concerned. In my considered opinion, when the State Government, itself, has categorised the towns in the schedule, apart from there being a presumption of validity of this law, the basic tact that, the Rules are meant for permitting the citizens to take benefit of the land by converting it into urban from agricultural land and, that being the bedrock, the general scheme of the Rules and the intention of enactment of these Rules clearly shows that there was no arbitrariness or discrimination warranting invoking Article 14 of the Constitution. In my opinion, the factors enumerated by Shri Mathur, mentioned above and substantiated by the replysupported by an Affidavit which is un-controverted on the relevant facts clearly prove that the people of Sri Ganganagar should pay conversion charges in Category No. 1 in view of 'overall importance' which they have obtained on account of economic affluency due to canal irrigation making them privileged in comparison to other place of Raja-than. It is also to be taken note of thatthe price of urban land at Sri Ganga-| nagar when converted would be much| more than price of urban land in the other cities of Rajasthan which are in, Category No. 2 or Category No. 3 and, therefore, the petitioners should not shirk in paying a very small, insignificant portion of the profit, which they are going to have by the conversion, to the State exchequer as after all this money of the consolidated funds of the State would be utilised for the welfare of the people in general.

63. I am in agreement with the submission of Shri Mathur that the land value in Sri Ganganagar is very phenomenal and approximate to the tune of more than 10 lacs per Muraba according to the present market value. Even for the lease of the land. Urban Improvement Trust has fixed minimum lease price as Rs. 93/- per sq. metre and that being so, the petitioners should have no hesitation in paying Rs. 24/-per sq. yard, out of it which is maximum rate, if the petitioners' case is covered by Zone I and they are required to pay normal rate.

64. The land and soil of Sri Ganganagar is most fertile and is granary and greenary of India. It attracts voluminous commercial activities on account of the bumper production which requires sale in different mandies. The categorisation of Jaipur, Sri Ganganagar and Kota in Category No. 1, therefore, is perfectly justified. In view of the above extraordinary and special importance of Sri Ganganagar which includes the importance of the land situated therein, the action of the State Government in putting out it in high category and equivalent to Jaipur which is capital of Rajasthan State having high population pressure and, Kota which is industrial capital of Rajasthan having fast developing industrialisation along with agriculture on account of Chambal irrigational project, appears to be fair and justified.

65. On the bedrock of the above factual aspect which knocks down the case of the petitioners, the important decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court may now be examined. In Prabhudas v. Union of India (AIR 1966 SC 1044) (supra) doctrine of presumption of constitutionality of an enactment has been upheld and it has been laid down that the petitioner must assume that the legislature understands and correctly appreciates the needs of its own people and the laws are directed to problems made manifest by experience and the categorisation is based on adequate grounds. It was further observed as under :

'To make out a case of denial of the equal protection of the laws under Article 14 of the Constitution, a plea of differential treatment is by itself not sufficient. An applicant pleading that Article 14 has been violated must make out that not only he had been treated differently from others but he has been so treated from persons similarly circumstanced without any reasonable basis, and such differential treatment is unjustifiably made.' (Head Note A)

66. The submission of Shri Mathur based on the decisions of Pathumma's case (AIR 1978 SC 771) (supra), the relevant observations of which have been extracted above while summarising the arguments deserve to be accepted. It is to be appreciated that a legislation is not to be struck down as discriminatory, if any state of facts can reasonably be conceived to justify it. The court is therefore, entitled to take notice of matters of common knowledge, common reports, of the times and may assume every state of facts which can be conceived as existing at the time of the legislation in order to sustain the presumption (of) constitutional validity. The above view is further supported by the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Dalmia v. Justice Tendolkar (AIR 1958 SC 538) (supra).

67. The third proposition which now requires attention, relates to the categorisation of the areas in the form of zones. Sri Ganganagar in category No. I is also having five zones. The submission of the petitioners was that the categorisation in zones is arbitrary and is without any basis. I am inclined to accept the contention of Shri Mathur that; the zones have also been formed on thebasis of 'over-all importance'. The area which is more important in the city on account of its location or, being more posh or, having potentiality of development and nearer to the main important locations, is bound to fetch a higher price for the land as against the land which has no potentiality of development in near future, and which is far off.

68. The physical, topographical urban industrialisation, commercial, educational and governmental location of offices and centres play important role in providing 'overall importance' to an area. The respondents have submitted a notification dated the 21st April, 1982 (Ex. R 1), by which the zones have been altered in Sri Ganganagar and along with it a map (Ex. Rule 2) has been produced, showing the zones.

69. A perusal of the map shows that zone I has got the Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti Market yard, bus stand, Girla College, Dhan (Grain) Mandi, Collec-torate, Hospital, Railway Station, Water Works, M. D. College. Vinoba Basti. (colony) and other important attraction of Sri Ganganagar city. Zone II has got Sugar factory, police lines, S. D. College, Jawaharnagar Scheme, Guru-nanak Basti. Zone III is old Abadi Basti and the only important place in it is Jagjeet Textile Cotton Mill and Cooperative Ginning factory.

70. It would thus be seen that 'overall importance of these zones is evident from the location of the important offices or other places, mentioned above. Zone V is Military area and is far distant from the Collectorate and Railway Station without any other civil amenities and population. So also Zone IV is situated in non-development area and except Khalsa College and Government College, it is underdeveloped and there is no potentiality of development in near future. Thus viewed, there is no arbitrariness or high-handedness or nepotism or favouritism in the formation of the zones and it is clear that 'overall importance' has been kept in view.

71. I am, therefore, convinced that the reply filed by the respondents mentioning, in details, the reasons for the formation of the zones extracted above and the submission of Shri Mathur showing that not only power conferred is not arbitrary but regulated by the scheme of Rule 11 and other relevant rules, but its implementation also hasbeen very fair and reasonable, deserve to be accepted. I have got no hesitation, therefore to reject third proposition of the petitioners, also.

72. The next proposition of the petitioners relates to challenge to concessional rate of the lands to persons, who have converted the land earlier without permission. It was argued that those persons, who have taken, the law in their own hands and, converted the land from agricultural land to urban by using it for non-agricultural purposes are being allowed concession and premium is being put on their activity, it would be relevant to mention here that Rule 11 of 1981 Rules postulates a proviso to Clause (4) which has been extracted above. The pre-re-quisite condition for concessional charges is that, the conversion by use of the agricultural land for the residential purposes should have been done prior to the date, the 20th August, 1981. This would be permissible, if the applicant was in physical possession of the land prior to 20th August, 1981. Prima facie, the submission of the petitioners appears to be attractive and plausible because a law breaker has been preferred to a law abiding citizen. However, on a deep probe into this approach of submission of the learned counsel shows that the State Government was faced with a situation where innumerable constructions have been made without authority of law. Being social welfare State and having democratic set up, it was realised that it would neither be in the public interest, nor feasible to bulldoze the lacs of the constructions made and, demolish them and uproot the lacs of families which are living in those houses after investing multi-millions or even more, if the cost is taken as a whole. The State was faced with a dilemma either to observe the law by direct action of demolition of lacs of houses or, to regularise them by charging penalty or premium. Being a democratic social welfare State and set-up, the State probably realised that the regularisation would be more beneficial to the people and discretion is better part of valour. The State appreciated human problem of urbanisation and ever expanding need of the people to have 'roof over their head'. Coupled with it, it was also, realised that the price of the land earlier, when the constructions were made, was less in comparison to the price which is now prevailing in the market and the persons, who have constructed on the land and are residing therein required to be protected and deserved concession in comparison to persons who now wanted to convert the land for the first time from agricultural land into urban land and then to make the profit out of it by selling it or by making new constructions. In my view, classification of the concessional rates in the facts and circumstances of the case, mentioned above, was fair and reasonable and had a valid relevant object having nexus to the object of framing of the rules for conversion.

73. I do not find any contravention of Article 14 of the Constitution in this respect also. The persons, who have already constructed their houses earlier to 1981 and who will construct now after coming into force of these rules of 1981 are the person falling in two categories. The growing requirement of the society, the increasing needs of the nation, burning problems of the day emphasised in Pathumma's decision, are to be taken note of while deciding, whether the categorisation of the concessional rates is to be struck down being vio-lative of Article 14 of the Constitution. If the realistic approach is made and it is realised that the problem of providing a 'roof over the head' of every citizen having not been solved by the State, directly, indirect solution in the form of framing of conversion rules, and permitting conversion of the agricultural land into urban land and thus, increasing building activity is a welcome approach in this aspect, as it would provide 'shelter' and 'roof to the lacs of people who are otherwise shelterless and roofless.

74. The paradox and outrageous inconsistency in the conduct of the petitioner is that, whereas they are the first persons to obtain benefit of concessional rates by obtaining indiscriminate stay orders for permitting them to pay concessional charges of Rs. 4.80, only in comparison to Rs. 24, and having taken benefit of concessional rates, they are challenging the same for the sake of challenge in a most unrealistic and paradoxical manner. It is true that there cannot be estoppel against any statute but the conduct of the petitioners in blowing hot and cold together and in trying to approbate and reprobale certainly deserves to be taken note of. The equitable jurisdiction of this Couri providing extraordinary remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution was never intended to encourage such litigations. Though. I have not been persuaded to reject the writ petitions only on his ground of questionable conduct because on merits, I have already held that the petitioners have got no case but Shri Mathur's contention that, such conduct of the petitioners also disentitles them from invoking Article 226 of the Constitution, cannot be brushed aside as frivolous or vexatious.

75. It was rightly pointed ou| by Shri Mathur that all these petitioners wanted their illegal action of earlier conversion as alleged, to be regularised and thus, wanted to take utmost benefit of this legislation and, yet they wanted to challenge the constitutionality.

76. Tf the petitioners feel that the concessional rates should not be given, nobody can compel them to take benefit of it as they can very well pay the normal rates. In case, the petitioners feel that, they would not like to get their land converted, then also this legislation never compels them to do so. If they make the constructions or use the land for non-agricultural purpose, they should face the music of eviction or penalty under the normal revenue laws.

77. It is, therefore, strange and most surprising that whereas on the one hand, the petitioners want to take advantage of this legislation by getting their land converted into urban land and on the other hand, they wanted to challenge the very legislation of permitting concessional rates; this cannot be described better than a fallacious act of a person who cuts roots of the tree without knowing that he is sitting over it, and his life is based on that very tree. The challenge to concessional rates, therefore, cannot be appreciated either under law or on the facts and deserves to be rejected, outright.

78. An ancillary argument was made by the petitioners that the date, the 20th August, 1981 fixed in the Rules of 1981 has got no nexus. Reply of the State is that it was on 20th August, 1961 that, decision was taken by the Cabinet. This reply has not been controverted. That being so, I am of the opinion that the State was bound to fix the same date as a 'cut off date' and, if the date of takingdecision has been treated as a relevant factor for fixing that date, there appears to be fairness and reasonableness in it instead of any arbitrariness. In my opinion, this objection of the petitioners is also devoid of any force.

79. Whatever, I have stated above, broadly equally applies to the cases of Udaipur and Bikaner writ petitions also.

80. It is to be noticed that Udaipur and Bikaner cities are in category No. 2 of Schedule I of 1981 conversion Rules and they are grouped with Ajmer, Jodh-pur, Bhitwara, Alwar, etc., The population of Udaipur is 2,29,762, Bikaner--2,48,716. The population of Jodhpur which is in Category No. 2 is 4,93,609; Ajmer--3,74,350 and Alwar--1,39,973,

81. It would thus be seen that from the point of view of population, the categorisation of Udaipur and Bikaner, in category No. 2 was justified, though the more important consideration or equally important consideration was its 'overall importance'. Both, Bikaner and Udaipur, were capitals of princely States of Bikaner and Mewar. Udaipur is an important internationally famous tourist centre of India having a University and various heads of departments.

82. The respondents are justified in pointing out that in Udaipur. in addition to its old historical importance through out India from Rana Pratap times and, the present importance of this city of lakes being internationally famous tourist attraction, has got the only agriculture University in Rajasthan located there. The important undertaking, like Zinc Smelting Plant is also located there. The educational activities are not confined to the Agriculture University only because Udaipur has Rot a Medical College and many other institutions like Vidya Bhawan. It has got number of mineral and chemical industries. Offices of Director of Mines, Devasthan and Excises, the three important departments, are located at Udaipur.

83. Thus, looking to the population and 'overall importance' of Udaipur. its categorisation in Category No. 2 is wholly justified and I have got no hesitation in rejecting the contentions raised by the petitioners against it.

84. Similarly, for categorisation in various zones, the respondents have produced a detailed map (Ex. Rule 8 of Udaipur in Jahoor Mohammed v. Stats (S. B. Civil Writ Petition No. 522/1982)),which shows that zones have been made keeping in view the 'overall importance' of the areas. These zones have been divided in consultation with the Urban Improvement Trust and keeping in view the development, potentiality and importance of those areas; the best zone has been ear-marked and has been divided likewise in descending order. The petitioner-Zahoor Mohammed's land falls in Zone III which is nearest to thr University of Udaipur.

85. Whereas the respondents have shown valid justification of division of the zones, which is reasonable and fair, the petitioners have not been able to show any specific act of omission or commission to prove any variances, arbitrariness or unreasonableness either of categorisation or of zones of Udaipur City and, therefore, the objections raised by the petitioners deserve to be rejected,

86. Bikaner, an old historical capital of Bikaner State is having many Head of the Departments' Offices, educational colleges and irrigational activities of Sri Ganganagar District are spreading near it by the construction of the Raiasthan Canal.

87. If is to be noticed further that, apart from the population, city being nearer to Rajasthan Canal having Medical College and having Head Quarters of Rajasthan Canal Project, and Director of Secondary and Primary Education and, Colonization Departments is maintaining its 'overall importance' which it had earlier as Capital of Bikaner State. In my opinion, its categorisation in Category No. 2 is justified, fair and reasonable and proper and there has been no violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

88. The respondents have filed a map as Ex. Rule 2 in the case of Lal Singh (S. B. Civil Writ Petition No. 784/82) which shows that division of Bikaner Municipal area into various zones is is accordance with the 'overall importance' of the area. In Zone I which is the best area of (he whole township and value of land is higher than other zone areas Zone II is next best to it and it is nearer to Transport Nagar scheme of the Urban Improvement Trust, Lalgarh Railway Station and colony and is near to Rajasthan Canal Project Offices. Since Zone no. 4 is remote from the main Abadi and is not a developed, areatherefore, it has been categorised as of less importance.

89. It would thus be seen that theclassification of zone is based on rational data and material and, is neither arbitrary, nor discriminatory.

90. So far as other premises of conduct are concerned, they are common to Sri Ganganagar, Bikaner and Udaipur cases and, whatever 1 have stated about the validity of the Rules of 1981 in connection with Sri Gajiganagar cases, applies to Udaipur and Bikaner writs also and. need not be repeated here also.

91. Before parting with this case, I must mention that 'shocking searcity' of land and the problems for 'stretching bones' in the urban area on account of want of 'roof and 'shelter', resuming in pathetic conditions of foot pathwalas, pavement dwellers and slum area are burning problems and no welfare State can afford to ignore them or lose sigh of them.

92. I have precisely referred to the social injustice to roofless, homeless people in Siya Saran v. Sagar Mal Modi, 1982 Rajasthan LR304 wherein it was observed as under:--

'Shocking scarcity of a chhappar. roof to rest', results in stretching oi the bones on pavements of Chopatj, Kalba Devi, Bada Bajar, Dharam Tala, Chandni Chowk, Panch Batti and Sojati Gate, the prestigious shopping centres, exposing the hyprocatie (hypocritical) flooded lights over dark dry skeletons of poor, downtrodden, pavement dwellers of India, have compelled the protagonists of 'social justice' to adopt beneficial interpretation for protecting tenants from evictions under the Rent Control Laws of the land. But the ingenuity of the resourceful segment of landlord lawyers want to overstep intention of the legislators and crusaders of 'social justice', by enacting 'Merchant of Venice and Portia' to make tenants defenceless and deprive them from the valuable right of defence against the ejectments, by hypertechnical interpretation of Sub-sections (2): (3), (4) & (51 of Section 13 of the Rajasthan premises (Control of Rent & Eviction) Act, 1950.

'The pivot of debate in the instant case, therefore, is between the interpretation of rent laws in consonance with 'social justice' against the hair splitting interpretation based on blind law by accepting 'Pound of flesh and not a drop ofblood', Shakespeare's Portia's obsolete and outdated classics'. (Paras 1 & 2)

93. Thr impugned conversion Rules of 1981 are, therefore, a welcome legislation for improving the socio-economic conditions of the teeming millions by providing them an opportunity of having a 'roof, or 'shelter' on account of the offer of the concessional rates and nominal rates of conversion of agricultural land into urban land. Viewed from this angle, it is socio-economic legislation being welfare legislation for the emancipation of the people realising 'felt necessities of times' and have provided 'homes to homeless', 'roof to roofless', and, 'shelter to shelterless' by this indirect progressive measure. I am not prepared to accept for a moment the submission of the petitioners that sole object of this legislation is to augment, revenue and I feel that this criticism is not only untenable, but is uncharitable too. The offer for getting land converted or regularising irregular and illegal constructions cannot be termed as 'exaction of the money' in the form of 'tax' or 'cess' or 'fees' or 'levy'. It is not. at all, necessary and compulsory exaction but, a golden opportunity to the people for their own benefit and, for the general benefit of the State. In view of this, the challenge to a 'socio-economic progressive legislation' meant for emancipation of people cannot be lightly entertained and, unless there are compelling constitutional grounds for striking down such progressive beneficial legislation, this Court would be slow and observe restraint in striking down the same and permitting the petitioners to commit suicide as after all it is petitioners who would gain and benefit by this progressive legislation.

94. The result of the above discussion is that, I am convinced that none of the contentions raised by the petitioners have got any force and consequently, all writ petitions deserve to be dismissed. Hence, all these writ petitions as per Schedule A (omitted here--Ed.) are dismissed with costs.

95. I have saddled the petitioners with costs as in my opinion, the present litigation falls in the category of avoidable luxurious litigation. The petitioners, who would be making huge profits by taking advantage of these conversion Rules had no genuine or bona fide cause for filing these writ petitions. They have got golden opportunity of getting conversion done and no loss would be caused to them, nor they would be put (to) any injury much less serious injury. The present one is a litigation which can safely be termed as 'speculative litigation'. In existing conditions when about 40,000 cases are pending in this court and several of them are more than ten years old, we carmot afford to entertain avoidable luxurious speculative litigations by those citizens, who are only motivated for earning more and more profits. I have already observed so in my decision of Bharati Chaturvedi v. State of Rajasthan, Civil Writ Petn. No. 770 of 1978, decided on 2-1-1979, Jaipur, extracted in Manzoor Ahmed v. Rule T. A., Kota, AIR 1979 Raj 98 (at p. 100): (1979 WLN 310), as under:--

'Are we to convert the sacred and pious temples of justice into 'legal gymnastic clubs', 'legal debating societies', or even 'luxurious research centres of law'? Are we to wait and watch helplessly the gimmics of talented logic and 'brilliant feats of oratory' of those fortunate few, who can afford to have luxury of academic litigation at the cost of those thousands of litigants who are either waiting in jail cells for last 5 or 6 years to get their guilt or innocence decided or those thousands of civil servants or industrial workmen petty shop-keepers or farmers whose fundamental rights have been invaded by unscrupulous employer or State functionaries and who want to have 'Justice according to law' at least, if not real justice, or social justice but who are not getting their turn of hearing due to heavy cause-list and arrears of cases. A lakh of such disappointed, helpless, impatient gloomy, sad faces of litigants, involved in about 10,000 pending cases are staring before me, and remind me of the great importance of giving effect to the 'riders' of substantial injury, substantial failure of justice' to make room for deciding their awaiting fates and to liberate them from 'coma' caused due to suspense of pending cases for more than a decade.

'Again can we shut our eyes and become blind to the hard reality that lakhs of poor, down-trodden, less privileged citizens are those who are still outcaste from the realm of courts. Justice and Law, as they cannot afford to reach and stand in competition of the privileged, resourceful, educated and enlightenedlitigants; nor can they afford to await in long queue. That being so, even though they deserve consideration and relief from the courts but we are helpless to act as 'watch dogs and sentinel' of Constitution and give justice to them.

'While I am sitting in the court room my eyes are observing the unending stream of tears rolling from the eyes of 'Saharias of Shahbad' and others (Tillers of Shahbad, sub-division, Kota District) who with their empty bellies and naked skeleton of bones and starving body are helplessly watching their farms being encroached, trespassed and cultivated and crops being harvested by rich, resourceful invaders; but they can never afford to even weep and cry in protest and cannot imagine of either going to a court of law or to obtain relief of getting back possession in spite of 'tall talk of legal aid to poor' and its inclusion in Constitution. It may be that, if I describe the above tragic functioning of our law, courts of justice, enumerating the hard realities, I may for a while takp a role of poet, philosopher or reformer, rather than a Judge but it is this restraint which is responsible for the widespread feeling that 'Judges live in ivory towers', a feeling, which even if untrue or partially true, should be repelled by imparting speedy, cheap, social, ready and real justice to the lowest on the ladder, i.e., a tiller. a workman, a cobbler etc., and not by using handy sword of 'contempt' only.'

96. The problem of mounting arrears of the cases, extraordinary delay in their disposal requires that litigants must be choosy and should come to the court only when they are threatened with' serious injury, or failure of justice or important legal rights are invaded causing serious suffering.

97. We are in an age, where succes-cessive Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, Hon'ble Shri M. Hidayatullah, Shri Sikri, and Shri Shah and Shri Chandrachud have warned that the judicial system would crack under its own weight if immediate steps are not taken to avoid delay and clear arrears. The present type of avoidable litigation only adds to that weight and therefore, this Court should avoid entertaining writ petitions of avoidable litigations.

98. The petitioners should therefore pay the costs of the petitions to the respondents for having this luxurious litigation which in turn has deprived many real needy citizens who are suffering injustice and waiting in queue for last more than ten years for decision of their cases. It is expected that, in future, the petitioners who file the writ petitions in this court should first apply their mind seriously to the question, whether the litigation is avoidable, or unavoidable and then only file writ petitions, if they feel and are advised that it is unavoidable. If the litigants do not avoid avoidable litigation and continue to flood the gates of the courts with avoidable litigation, then this Court will have to consider at some stage, the imposition of exemplary costs and not only nominal costs which has been imposed in. the present bunch of writ petitions. I hope, the litigants and all the concerned important limbs of our judiciary would realise the gravity of situation. Shri Sikri, the former Chief Justice has pleaded for rationing of time in cases and coming in the spirit of restraint and constraints, we all should avoid, avoidable, luxurious, fanciful, academic and speculative litigation in order to dedicate our whole-hearted energy and all valuable time and resources to impart ready, cheap, speedy 'social justice' to those unfortunate and unprivileged persons who are struggling hard to have their turn for last more than a decade

99. All the writ petitions are dismissed as indicated above.


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