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Maharaja Shri Gaj Singh Vs. the State of Rajasthan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 875 of 1975
Judge
Reported in1981WLN(UC)73
AppellantMaharaja Shri Gaj Singh
RespondentThe State of Rajasthan and ors.
Excerpt:
rajasthan land reforms and acquisition of land owners estates act, 1963 and amendment act, 1975 - section 9a and rajasthan tenancy act, 1955--section 6--sardarsamand estate in personal cultivation of petitioner at commencement of act--petitioner khatedar tenant--held, collector's notice requiring him to deliver possession is liable to he quashed.;the land under sardarsamand estate was under the personal cultivation of the petitioner at the commencement of this act and in that land there were no tenants. the petitioner, therefore, became the khatedar tenant thereof as from the date of vesting, i.e. september 1, 1964 and was not bound to deliver the possession of the land to the collector, immediately after the publication of the rajasthan land reforms and acquisition of land owners estates..........section 7a(i) and (ii) and section 33 of the rajasthan land reforms and acquisition of land owners estate (amendment) act, 1975, hereinafter referred to as act no. 15 of 1975, are invalid and ultra-vires the constitution; (2) for quashing the impugned notice dated april 5, 1975 and (3) for restraining the non-petitioners from taking possession of any part of the petitioner's land in exercise of the powers under section 9a without giving an adequate notice to him to show cause against such action2. the relevant facts giving rise to writ petition may be briefly stated as follows : the petitioner's father maharaja shri hanwant singh ruled the former state of jodhpur. after the formation of the union of india on august 15, 1947, maharaja hanwant singh, father of the petitioner, entered into.....
Judgment:

K.D. Sharma, C.J.

1. This is a writ petition filed by Maharaja Shri Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuance of an appropriate writ, direction or order to the non-petitioners declaring (1) that Section 7A(i) and (ii) and Section 33 of the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Acquisition of Land Owners Estate (Amendment) Act, 1975, hereinafter referred to as Act No. 15 of 1975, are invalid and ultra-vires the Constitution; (2) for quashing the impugned notice dated April 5, 1975 and (3) for restraining the non-petitioners from taking possession of any part of the petitioner's land in exercise of the powers Under Section 9A without giving an adequate notice to him to show cause against such action

2. The relevant facts giving rise to writ petition may be briefly stated as follows : The petitioner's father Maharaja Shri Hanwant Singh Ruled the former State of Jodhpur. After the formation of the Union of India on August 15, 1947, Maharaja Hanwant Singh, father of the petitioner, entered into a covenant for integration of his Jodhpur State with other States forming the present State of Rajasthan. Under Article 12 of the Covenant it was provided that the Ruler of each covenanting State shall be entitled to the full ownership, use and enjoyment of all private properties belonging to him on the date of handing over the administration of the State to the Pramukh of the former Rajasthan State or, as the case may be. to the Raj Pramukh of the United States of Rajasthan under this covenant. Accordingly, a list of the private properties was prepared by the father of the petitioner and the list was approved by the Rajasthan Government and the Central Government and was sent to petitioner's father under letter of Shri V.P. Menon, Secretary, Ministry of States, Government of India, No. F 4(5) --R/49 dated 24th March, 1949. Thereafter, the petitioner's father died on January 25, 1952. As the petitioner was a minor, aged about 5 years, the Government of India appointed Thakur Jaikrit Singh as Administrator of the properties of the petitioner during his minority. Thakur Jaikrit Singh sold agricultural properties as well as urban plots of land in the course of his management to meet the financial needs of the family of the petitioner which were caused on account of liabilities left by the petitioner's father. The details of the transfers made by Thakur Jaikrit Singh are mentioned in Annexures 3 and 4 to 12. The petitioner after attaining majority, began to look after his properties. On April 6, 1964, the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Acquisition of Land Owners Estates Act, 1963, hereinafter referred to as the Act, received the assent of the President of India and was published in the Rajasthan Raj Patra on April 13, 1964. After coming into force of this Act, the Rajasthan Government in exercise of its powers under Section 7 of the Act issued a notification dated August 11, 1964, published in Rajasthan Gazette Part IV(c) ordinary dated August 13, 1964, appointing the 1st day September, 1964, as the date for the acquisition and vesting in the State Government all the estates of the land owners situated anywhere in Rajasthan. In pursuance of the aforesaid notification proceedings were started by the Government of Rajasthan to acquire the assets of the various Ex-Rulers of Rajasthan. The provisions of the Aci were, however, challenged on behalf of the petitioner by way of a writ petition in the High Court by Thakur Jaikrit Singh, attorney of the petitioner's mother on the ground that they were violative of Article 19(1)(f) and Articles 31 and 14 of the Constitution of India. The other Fx-Rulers of the covenanting States also filed writ petitions challenging the vires of the said Act. The writ petitions were decided by Hon'ble Mr. Justice V.P. Tyagi (as he then was) by his judgment dated December 15, 1969. Under the said judgment, Chapters IV and V of the Act regarding acquisition and vesting of land and payment of compensation to the Ex-Rulers were declared ultra-vires the Constitution under Articles 14, 19(1)(f) and 31 thereof, but Chapters II and III of the Act regarding liability of estates to pay land revenue and acquisition of Khatedari rights in the lands cultivated by tenants were held to be valid. The State Govornment as well as the petitioners, who filed the writ petitions, felt aggrieved by the judgment and filed Special Appeals under Section 18 of the Rajasthan High Court Ordinance against the judgment of the learned Single Judge dated December 16, 1969. The Special Appeals filed by both the parties were admitted by a Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court and stay orders were passed finally after hearing both the parties. In the petitioner's Special Appeal, the Division Bench of the High Court, passed a stay order on March 9, 1970, restraining the State Government from recovering any land revenue of the lands which were in possession of the petitioner. These special appeals are still pending and, therefore, no vesting of the estates has taken place in the eye of law, because the vesting order was declared ultra-vires. Meantime, the Rajasthan Government amended the Act by promulgating on Ordinance on January 26, 1975. The Ordinance was, late, on, replaced by Act No. 15 of 1975. By way of this amendment certain defects pointed out Hon'ble Tyagi, J. were sought to be removed with retrospective effect by inserting a provision to the effect that the Amendment Act shall be deemed to have come into force on April 13, 1964.

3. The petitioner, therefore, was called upon by the Collector, Jodhpur, vide his notice dated April 5, 1975, to hand over the possession of the land, described in Annexure 18, to the Government. This notice was in respect of the petitioner's lands which have been illegally transferred before the Amendment Act of 1975. Now the petitioner reasonably apprehends that the Sardar Samand farm situated in Pali District, which is personally being cultivated by the petitioner and which he is entitled to retain in his possession by virtue of Section 6(2) of the Act will be taken away from him under the provisions of Section 9A without any prior notice, because Section 9A does not say in express terms that before recovering possession of lands any show cause notice is required to be given to the land owner or any other person in possession. Hence, the petitioner, having no efficacious alternative remedy except to invoke extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, has filed the writ petition on the grounds mentioned therein.

4. In support of his writ petition, Maharaja Gaj Singh put in his affidavit and produced several documents. The writ petition was admitted by, this Court on May 7, 1975 and notices of admission were issued to the non-petitioners. On behalf of the non-petitioners a written reply was filed to the writ petitioner's where in it was alleged that the Act, as amended by Act No. 15 of 1975, is an Act relating to aggrarian reforms and so no provisions of the Act or an action taken thereunder can be challenged in view of the provisions of Articles 31A and 31C of the Constitution. It was further stated in the written reply that the alleged transfers of of land made by the petitioner are collusive and effected to circumvent the provisions of the Act, because most of the sale-deeds are in favour of the, close relations. It was further urged that the impugned notice issued by the Collector does not contravene any fundamental right of the petitioner and no question of violation of the principles of natural justice does arise in view of the fact that the Legislature excluded giving of show cause, notice under Section 9A of the Act No. 15 of 1975. In short, all the contentions made in the writ petition were denied in the written reply on behalf of the State Government and it was further prayed that the writ petition may be dismissed with costs. In support of the written reply, Mata Dean Sharma Deputy Secretary, Revenue (Land Reforms) Department, but in his affidavit.

5. I have carefully perused the record and heard Mr, J.P. Joshi, learned Counsel for the petitioner and Mr. M.D. Purohit, Additional Government Advocate, appearing on behalf of the non-petitioners. At the outset. I may observe that in the course of arguments Mr. J P. Joshi, learned Counsel for the petitioner has not challenged the vires of Section 7A(i) and (11) and Section 33 of the Act, which have been inserted therein by Act No. 15 of 1975, because, according to his submissions the persons to whom...lands: were transferred by the petitioner have filed separate writ petitions wherein validity of these provisions have already been challenged and which are pending decision in this Court. Consequently, in view of the above submission made by Mr. J.P. Joshi, learned Counsel for the petitioner in the course of arguments, I refrain from expressing any opinion regarding the validity or vires of Section 7A(i) and (ii) and Section 33 of the Act.

6. Mr. J.P. Joshi, however, contended before me that Sardarsamand estate including the house, farm, live-stock, the stud, garden, landing ground and the area at present included in the estate, Dholerao willage and the tank and Jor near the village including the forest around the Estate was regarded as the family property of the petitioner which may be disposable by him, if he and his heirs agree to do so, by Annexure 2, after discussion between the State Ministry, the petitioner, Mr. K.S. Rao & Mr. Jai Narain Vyas, the then Chief Minister of Rajasthan, & a note was appended in Annexure 2 that the relations between His Highness and the tenants of the village Dholerao will be governed by the land revenue and tenancy laws of the State. The water, surplus to the requirement of the estate, will be made available on a scale not smaller than hithertofore for irrigation purposes to those in need of it on payment of irrigation purposes to those in need of it on payment of irrigation dues to be assessed and collected by the State Irrigation Department and credited to His Highness' account after deducting collection charges and the tank will be maintained in a state of efficiency by His Highness and the status quo with regard to the water supply to the city will be maintained. It was furthar urged by Mr. J.P. Joshi that at the commencement of the Act the land comprised in Sardarsamand estate was under the personal cultivation of the petitioner and, therefore, he became the Khatedar tenant thereof as form the date of vesting i.e. 1st September, 1964, by virtue of Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act and, therefore, the petitioner was not bound to deliver possession of the agricultural land comprised in Sardarsamand estate to the Collector immediately after the publication of the Rajasthan Land Reforms & Acquisition of Land Owners Estates (Amendment) Ordinance, 1975, in the Official Gazette and the Collector is not authorised to recover its possession from the petitioner under Section 9B of the Act. Likewise, it was urged by Mr. J.P. Joshi that inspite of anything contained in Section 8 of the Act, private lands, buildings, wells, house sites and enclosures shall continue to belong to or be held by the petitioner subject in the case of tanks to the term and conditions, if any, mentioned in the convenant. The above contention put forward on behalf of the petitioner by Mr. J.P. Joshi is not devoid of force. Mr. M.D. Purohit, Additional Government Advocate, appearing on behalf of the non-petitioners, could not succeed in controverting the legal position asserted above by Mr. J.P Joshi. From a bare reading of Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act, it is obvious that the land owner shall become Khatedar tenant of the land under his personal cultivation from the date of vesting, i.e. September 1, 1964, if there are no tenants therein, but there is a proviso added to Sub-section (2) of Section 6 which lays down that nothing in this Sub-section shall affect the provisions contained in Chapter III-B of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955 (Rajasthan Act No. 3 of 1955). It is not disputed before me by Mr. M.D. Purohit, Additional Government Advocate for the non-petitioners that the agricultural land under Sardarsamand estats was under the personal cultivation of the petitioner at the commencement of the Act. This fact is also borne out from the record, i.e. copies of Jama Bandi Khewat Khatauni from Samvat years 2026 to 2029 (Annexure 14) and from years 2030 to 2033 (Annexure 15). Hence, there is no difficulty in holding that the land under Sardarsamand estate was under the personal cultivation of the petitioner at the commencement of this Act and in that land there were no tenants. The petitioner, therefore, became the Khatedar tenant thereof as from the date of vesting, i.e. September 1, 1964 and was not bound to deliver the possession of the land to the Collector, immediately after the publication of the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Acquisition of Land Owners Estates (Amendment) Ordinance, 1975 (Ordinance No. 6 of 1975) in the official gazette, and the Collector is not authorised to recover its possession from the petitioner under Section 9A of the Act, which was inserted into Principal into Principal Act by Act No. 15 of 975. The notice marked Annexure 18 given to the petitioner by the Collector, Jodhpur, on April 5, 1975, is therefore, liable to be quashed so far as it relates to agricultural land under his personal cultivation of which the petitioner has become a Khatedar tenant as from the date of vesting i.e September 1, 1964, on account of the land having been in his personal cultivation at the date of commencement of the Act. However, the State Government shall not be debarred from initiating proceedings against the petitioner for determination of the ceiling area under Chapter III-B of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955 (Rajasthan Act No. 3 of 1955), because proviso to Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act clearly lays down that nothing in Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act shall effect the provisions contained in Chapter III-B of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955.

7. Another contention put forward by Mr. J.P. Joshi is that before taking possession of the land from the land owner in exercise of his powers under Section 9A, the Collector ought to have given a notice to the land owner, i.e. the petitioner to show cause why possession of the land be not recovered from him. It was further urged that if any objection to the recovery of the possession is made, it must be determined by the Collector before ousting the land owner from the possession of his land. The above contention has no force in view of Section 8 of the Act, which lays down consequences of acquisition of the estate. The consequences are that as from the date of vesting of the estate, right, title and interest of the land owner and of every person claiming through him shall stand vested in the Government free from all encumbrances and that all rights, titles and interests created in or over the estate by the landowner or his predecessor-in-interest shall, as against the Government cease and determine. In view of the consequences of the acquisition laid down in Section 8 of the Act, the Collector in exercise of his powers under Section 9A of the Act is not required to issue a show cause notice to the land owner calling upon him to appear and make any objection to the recovery of possession of the estate from him, because right, title and interest of the land owner and of every other person claiming through him in his estate stand acquired by and vested in the Government free from all encumbrances as from the date of vesting of the estate and all rights, titles and interests created in or over the estate by him or his predecessor in interest stand ceased and determined as against the Government. When the land owner is deprived of his every right, title and interest in his estate by virtue of Section 8 of the Act, no useful purpose will be served by issuing a notice to him to show cause why possession of the estate be not recovered from him under Section 9A of the Act. The land owner is required by law i.e. by Section 9A to deliver possession of the estate acquired under Section 7 of the Act to the Collector immediately after the publication of the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Acquisition of Land Owners Estates (Amendment) Ordinance, 1975, in the Official Gazette. Hence, it is not open for him to contend that he is being deprived of his property without any authority of law. However, in the instant case the Collector, Jodhpur, has called upon the petitioner to deliver possession of his estate within 10 days of the receipt of the notice before proceeding to recover possession from him. Consequently, I do not subscribe to the view of the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the Collector, Jodhpur, should issue a show cause notice to the land owner before recovering possession of the estate from him in exercise of his powers under Section 9A of the Act.

8. The result of the above discussion is that the the writ petition filed by the petitioner is partly allowed so far as it relates to the land under the Sardarsamand estate, which was under the personal cultivation of the petitioner and of which the petitioner has become a Khatedar tenant as from the date of vesting, i.e. September 1, 1964, and the non-petitioners are restrained from taking possession there of in exercise of their powers under Section 9A of the Act. Likewise, the impugned notice marked Annexure 18 dated April 5, 1975, issued by the Collector, Jodhpur, to the petitioner shall be ineffective so far as it relates to the lands under the personal cultivation of the petitioner and of which the petitioner has become Khatedar tenant from the date of vesting i.e. September 1, 1964. However, my this order shall not debar the State Government from initiating proceedings against the petitioner for determining the ceiling area under Chapter III-B of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955 (Act No. 3 of 1955), or under any other law for the time being in force because proviso to Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act clearly lays down that nothing in Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act shall affect the provisions contained in Chapter III-B of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955. In the circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs of this writ petition.


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