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Deivasigamani Gounder Vs. Authorised Officer, (Land Reforms), Erode - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 850 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1979Mad71
ActsTamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling of Land) Act, 1961; Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) (Amendment) Act, 1971
AppellantDeivasigamani Gounder
RespondentAuthorised Officer, (Land Reforms), Erode
Excerpt:
tamil nadu land reforms (fixation of ceiling on land) amendment act (xli of 1971), section 23 alienation by land owner would come within its mischief and extents of lands covered by the alienation would be part and parcel of the holding of the land owner effect of deletion of section 74 land owner cannot be deemed to be holding the extent of lands exceeding the ceiling area).;in the proceedings initiated by the authorised officer (land revenue) against the landowner under section 10(5) of the tamil nadu land reforms (fixation of ceiling on land) act (lviii of 1961) it was held that there was a surplus of land. on appeal by the landowner the land tribunal confirmed the order of the authorised officer. the aggrieved land owner preferred a revision before the high court.;the following.....1. the land owner under the tamil nadu land reforms (fixation of ceiling of land) act (act 58 of 1961), (hereinafter referred to as the act) is the petitioner in this revision. the respondent, authorised officer (land reforms), erode, initiated proceedings against the land-owner under the provisions of the act and by his order dated 7-5-1974, under s. 10 (5) of the act, held that there was a surplus of 5.079 standard acres. as against this order, the land-owner filed an appeal, l. t. a. no. 266 of 1974, before the land tribunal at coimbatore, and it was disposed of by judgment and decree dated 31-1-1975 of the land tribunal, confirming the order of the authorised officer. this revision is directed against the judgment and decree of the land tribunal coimbatore.2. two contentions were put.....
Judgment:
1. The land owner under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling of Land) Act (Act 58 of 1961), (hereinafter referred to as the Act) is the petitioner in this revision. The respondent, Authorised Officer (Land Reforms), Erode, initiated proceedings against the land-owner under the provisions of the Act and by his order dated 7-5-1974, under S. 10 (5) of the Act, held that there was a surplus of 5.079 standard acres. As against this order, the land-owner filed an appeal, L. T. A. No. 266 of 1974, before the Land Tribunal at Coimbatore, and it was disposed of by judgment and decree dated 31-1-1975 of the Land Tribunal, confirming the order of the Authorised Officer. This revision is directed against the judgment and decree of the Land Tribunal Coimbatore.

2. Two contentions were put forth before the Land Tribunal by the land owner viz. That the alienations of extents of land covered by sale deeds dated 25-8-1971 and 30-3-1971, should be excluded and that certain extents of land are grazing lands and they have also got to be excluded. The Land Tribunal repelled these contentions.

3. In this revision, Mr. S. Ramalingam, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, confines his arguments only to the first contention, viz., that the area covered by the sale deeds dated 25-8-1971 and 30-3-1971 should be excluded.

4. It must be pointed out that the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Amendment Act (Act 41 of 1971) came to be enacted subsequently and S. 3-A was introduced in the main Act. S. 3-A reads as follows :-

"Certain special definitions.-Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, if, by virtue of the operation of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Amendment Act, 1971, the total extent of land held by any person exceeds the ceiling area, the, in relation to such person and in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

(I) 'date of commencement of this Act', means the date specified by the Government under sub-sec. (2) of Section 1 of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Amendment Act, 1971;

(ii) 'Notified date' means the date specified by the Government in a Notification which shall be a date subsequent to the date specified under sub-sec. (2) of S. 1 of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Amendment Act, 1971;

It is stated that the 'date of commencement of this Act' within the meaning of S. 3-A (i) is 15-1-1972, and the 'notified date' within the meaning of S. 3-A (ii) is 16-1-1972, Ss. 22 and 23 of the Act read as follows-

"22. Transfer or partition made on or after the date of the commencement of this Act. But, before the notified date.-Where on or after the date of the commencement of this Act, but before the notified date, any person has transferred any land held by him by sale, gift, (other than gift made in contemplation of death), exchange, surrender, settlement or in any other manner whatsoever except by bequest or has effected a partition of his holding or part thereof, the authorised Officer within whose jurisdiction such land, holding or the major part thereof is situated, may, after notice to such person and other persons affected by such transfer or partition and after such enquiry as he thinks fit to make, declare the transfer or partition to be void if he finds that the transfer or the partition as the case may be, defeats any of the provisions of this Act.

23. Authorised Officer not to take into consideration certain transfers of sub-divisions before publication of final statement.-Subject to the provisions of S. 20, for the purpose of fixing, for the first time, after the date of commencement of this Act, the ceiling area of any person holding land on the date the commencement of this Act, in excess of 15 standard acres, the authorised officer shall not take into consideration-(a) any transfer, whether by sale (including sale in execution of a decree or order of a civil court or an award or order of any other lawful authority) or by gift (other than gift made in contemplation of death), exchange, surrender, settlement or otherwise; or (b) any sub-division (including sub-division by a decree or order of a civil court or any other lawful authority) whether by partition or otherwise, effected on or after the notified date and before the date of the publication of the final statement under S. 12 or 14."

5. To come within the mischief of the provisions of Ss. 22 and 23 of the Act, the dates would be 'the date of commencement of this Act' and 'the notified date'. Mr. S. Ramalingam, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, submits that 'the notified date' by virtue of S. 3-A must be taken to be 16-1-1972, and even before that relevant date, the petitioner has already parted with the extents covered by the two sale deeds referred to above and hence, the provisions of S. 23 cannot be brought in to affect the said sale deeds and the said extents of land covered by the two sale deeds, have got to be excluded and if they are excluded from the holding of the petitioner, he will not come within the ambit of the provisions of the Act.

6. Mr. Venkataswami, learned Additional Government Pleader, submits that the above argument is fallacious. He lays stress on the following expressions used in S. 3-A of the Act: 'If by virtue of the operation of the Tamil Nadu Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling of land) Amendment Act, 1971, the total extent of land held by any person exceeds the ceiling area'. He submits that then only in relation to such person, ' the date of commencement of this Act' will be 15-1-1972 and " the notified date" will be 16-1-1972. According to him, the petitioner held at all relevant times, the total extent of lands exceeding the ceiling area even before the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Amendment Act 41 of 1971 came into force. He further submits that proceedings under the Tamil Nadu Act 58 of 1961 as amended by the Tamil Nadu Act 17 of 1970, have been already initiated against the petitioner and notice under S. 9 of the Act is found to have been issued even on 27-5-1971, i.e., prior to the coming into force of the Tamil Nadu Act 41 of 1971. Hence according to the learned counsel, the expression 'date of commencement of this Act', and 'the notified date' occurring in S. 23 of the Act, must be only the dates as mentioned in the Tamil Nadu Act 58 of 1961 as it stands amended by the Tamil Nadu Act 17 of 1970.

7. In my opinion, this submission of Mr. K. Venkataswami, learned Additional Government Pleader, is well founded. Once it is found that proceedings the purpose of fixing the ceiling area, for the first time, has been commenced, under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Act 58 of 1961, as it stands amended by the Tamil Nadu Act 17 of 1970 "the date of commencement of this Act" and "notified date" must have reference only to those dates, as introduced by the Tamil Nadu Act 17 of 1970. As per the amendments introduced by the said Act, "the date of commencement of this Act" means the 15th day of Feb. 1970 and "the notified date" means the date specified by the Government in a notification which shall be a date after the date of publication of this Act and such a notified date is stated to be 2-10-1970. The alienations in the present case have been effected on 25-8-1971 and 30-3-1971, and they will obviously, come within the mischief of S. 23 of the Act. Hence, the Authorised Officer and the Land Tribunal, were right in ignoring these alienations and treating the extents of lands covered by these alienations as forming part and parcel of the holding of the petitioner for the purpose of the Act.

8. One other contention that was put forth by Mr. S. Ramalingam, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, is that by virtue of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Amendment Act 41 of 1971, S. 74 of the Act in respect of certain concessions relating to grazing lands, has been deleted and by such deletion, the petitioner comes within the mischief of the Act and hence, it must be stated that by virtue of the Tamil Nadu Act 41 of 1971, the total extent of land held by the petitioner exceeds the ceiling area. This contention presupposes the basis (which, however, is not tenable) that the lands dealt with under S. 74 of the Act before the said section was deleted, excluded from the holding grazing lands for the purpose of computing the ceiling area. A reading of S. 74 of the Act does not support his contention of the learned counsel. What all S.74 contemplated, was that in addition to the ceiling area, a person will be entitled to hold lands used exclusively for grazing, up to a particular extent. The said section never provided for exclusion of grazing lands from the holding of a person for the purpose of arriving at the ceiling area. The ceiling area should be arrived at, taking into consideration "all the holdings of land" within the meaning of the Act, and after arriving at the ceiling area, the person is allowed the additional extents up to the prescribed limit on the ground that they are grazing lands. Hence, the argument of the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, that by deletion of Sec. 74 of the Tamil Nadu Act 41 of 1971, the petitioner must be deemed to be holding the extent of lands exceeding the ceiling area, is not sound in law and cannot be accepted, from the law or on facts to interfere with the order of the Land Tribunal confirming the order of the Authorised Officer. This civil revision petition lacks merit and substance in law and accordingly it is dismissed, but, there will be no order as to costs.

9. Revision dismissed.


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