Maharana Shri Jayavantsinhji,
Ranmalsinhji Vs. The State of Bombay & Ors  INSC 134 (16 December
DAS, SUDHI RANJAN (CJ) BHAGWATI, NATWARLAL H.
SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.
CITATION: 1959 AIR 547 1959 SCR Supl. (1) 911
Taluqdari Tenure, Abolition of-Liability of
erstwhile Taluqdar to Pay land revenue assessment-Jama, if distinct from such
assessment-Bombay Taluqdari Tenure Abolition Act, 1949 (Bom. LXI of 1949), S.
5(2)-Gujrat Taluqdars Act, 1888 (Bom. VI of 1888), SS. 22, 23-Bombay Land
Revenue Code, 1879 (Bom. V of 1879), S. 117R.
The appellants were Taluqdars owning
taluqdari villages in District Ahmedabad, State of Bombay. In 1922-23 there was
a revision settlement of land revenue and the aggregate sum of land revenue
payable by each taluqdari estate was fixed. In 1925-26, in exercise of the
powers conferred by s. 22 of the Gujrat Taluqdars Act, 1888 (Bom. VI of 1888),
the Government of Bombay ascertained and declared the jama payable by each
taluq which was much less than the amount of land revenue and the said
declaration was to remain in force for thirty years. With the passing in 1949
of the Bombay Taluqdari Abolition Act, 1949, the taluqdari estates of the
appellants were abolished and they became occupants of the lands and, after the
expiry of the thirty years, were called upon to pay the full land revenue
assessment in respect of the lands. It was contended on behalf of the
appellants that by reason of s. II7R of the Bombay Land Revenue Code, i879, the
declaration made by the Governor in council fixing the amount of jama for a
period of thirty years would continue to be in force even after the expiry of
that period till a revision settlement was made and the Government was precluded
from demanding the higher amount of revenue till then.
Held, that the contention must fail.
The jama payable by the Taluqdars under S. 22
Of the Gujrat Taluqdars Act, 1888, was distinct from the revenue assessment of
land comprised in the taluqdari estate and they could not be equated. The
declaration under s. 22 or the fixation of the jama under S. 23(1) of the Act
was in the nature of a settlement entered into between the Government on the
one hand and the Taluqdar on the other but that was no settlement of land
revenue within the meaning of s. II7R of the Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879.
As s. 5(2) (b) of the Bombay Taluqdari Tenure
Abolition Act, 1949, expressly saved the settlement made under S. 23 and the
912 declaration under s. 22 of the Gujrat Taluqdars Act, the appellants were
liable to pay the entire land revenue after the expiry Of 30 years, i.e., from
the year 1955-56.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeals
Nos. 254 to 256 of 1958.
Appeals by special leave from the judgment
and orders dated May 14, 1956, and June 15, 1956, of the Bombay High Court in
Special Civil Applications Nos. 1270, 1373 and 1374 of 1956.
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Petitions No& IS
and 66 of 1957.
Petitions under Article 32 of the
Constitution of India for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
A. V. Viswanatha Sastri and S. S. Shukla, for
the appellants and the petitioners.
C. K. Daphtary, Solicitor-General of India,
H. J. Umrigar and B. H. Dhebar, for the respondents.
1958. December 16. The Judgment of the Court
was delivered by SUBBA RAO, J.-These are three appeals by Special Leave from
the judgment of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay dismissing the petitions
filed by the appellants for Writs in the nature of Prohibition restraining the
respondents from realising from the appellants land revenue in respect of their
estates at an enhanced rate for the year 1955-56.
The petitioners in the two petitions also
asked for similar relief against the respondents. The appeals as well as the
Writ Petitions were heard together, as they raised a common question of law.
The material facts in Civil Appeal No. 254 of
1958 may be briefly stated: The appellant was a taluqdar owning several
taluqdari villages situate in the Dholka Taluka of Ahmedabad District. In the year
1922-23 there was a revision settlement of land revenue of the lands situate in
the said taluka including the said taluqdari villages. Under that settlement
the aggregate of the land revenue payable in respect of the lands comprised in
the said taluqdari villages was fixed in a sum of Rs. 62,627-2-6. In the year
1925-26, in exercise of the powers conferred under 913 s.22 of the Gujarat
Taluqdars Act, 1888 (Bom. VI of 1888) (hereinafter referred to as the
Taluqdars' Act), the Government of Bombay ascertained and declared that a jama
of Rs. 32,643-3-0 was payable in respect of the said taluqdari villages and the
said declaration was to remain in force for a period of thirty years from the
year 1925-26. In the year 1949, the Bombay Legislature passed the Bombay
Taluqdari Abolition Act, 1949, hereinafter referred to as the Abolition Act,
and it came into force on or about August 15, 1950. By s. 3 of the Abolition
Act, taluqdari tenure was abolished and all the incidents of the said tenure
attaching to any land comprised in the taluqdari estate were extinguished.
Under the Abolition Act, the appellant became an occupant of the lands. After
the expiry of the thirty year period, the talatis of the respective villages
called upon the appellant to pay the full land revenue assessment in respect of
the lands comprised in the said villages. The appellant contending that he was
only liable to pay jama declared to be payable by him by the Government in
1925-26 filed a Writ Petition in the High Court of Bombay for the aforesaid
The appellant in Civil Appeal No. 255 of 1958
taluqdar owning several taluqdari villages
situate in Dholka and Dhandhulka Talukas of Ahmedabad District. The facts in
this case are similar to those given in Civil Appeal No. 254 of 1958 except in
regard to the fact that the jama ascertained and declared to be payable by the
appellant in this appeal by the Government in 1925-26 was about Rs. 5,734 as
against the settlement amount of Rs. 14,452-11-0.
The appellant in Civil Appeal No. 256 of 1958
was a taluqdar owning several taluqdari villages situate in Dholka Taluka in
Ahmedabad District. The facts in this appeal also are similar to those in the
other two except in regard to the fact that in this case the Government
ascertained and declared the jama payable by the appellant to be Rs. 21,877 as
against the settlement amount of Rs. 44,551.
115 914 Writ Petition No. 66 of 1957 filed by
the appellant in C. A. No. 254 of 1958 relates to the demand of enhanced
revenue in respect of his Sanad estate. The facts in this petition are similar
to those in the appeals except that the Government ascertained and declared the
jama payable by him at Rs.
20,886 as against the settlement amount of
The Writ Petition relates to the demand made
for the year 1956-57.
Writ Petition No. 18 of 1957 was filed by
Thakur Vikramsinhji Manharsinhji of Gumph Estate, Ahmedabad District, Bombay
State, who was a taluqdar of Gumph Estate in Ahmedabad District comprising of
seven taluqdari villages. The facts in this petition also are similar to those
in the appeals. In, this case the jama ascertained and declared was Rs.
16,499-4-0 whereas the assessment was fixed at Rs. 30,223-12-0. This Writ
Petition also relates to the demand made for the year 1955-56.
The appellants in the appeals and the
petitioners in the Writ Petitions aforesaid will be, for the sake of
convenience, described hereafter as the appellants.
Mr. A. V. Viswanatha Sastri, the learned
Counsel for the appellants, contends that the jama ascertained and declared to
be due from the appellants for a period of thirty years was fixed at the
revenue settlement, that by reason of s.
117R of the Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879
(hereinafter referred to as the Code), they were liable to pay only the said
assessment till there was re-settlement and that therefore the respondents have
no right to make a demand for an amount higher than that declared to be due
from them in 1925-26. The learned Solicitor General counters this argument by
contending that under the Taluqdars' Act, there was an essential distinction
between revenue settlement and the ascertainment and declaration of the jama;
that after the Abolition Act, the amount of jama was payable only till the
expiry of the thirty year period and that thereafter the appellants who bad
become mere occupants would be liable to pay the entire land revenue assessment
already fixed in respect of those lands. The question 915 is which of the two
contentions should prevail having regard to the relevant provisions of the
Taluqdars' Act, the Abolition Act and the Code.
It will be convenient to read the relevant
provisions from the two Acts.
GUJARAT TALUQDARS ACT, 1888:
" 2. (1) In this Act, unless there be
something repugnant in the subject or context,(a) ........................................................
(c) " jama " means land revenue
payable by a taluqdar to the Provincial Government.
4. It shall be lawful for the Provincial
Government whenever it may seem expedient, to direct a revenue survey or a
revised revenue survey of any taluqdari estate, under the provisions of the
Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879, applicable to such survey.
5. The settlement register prepared by the
Survey Officer under section 108 of the said Code on the occasion of making any
such survey shall, unless the Provincial Government otherwise direct contain,
in lieu of the particulars specified in the said section, the following
particulars (namely) :(a) the area and the assessment of each survey number.
22.(1) If a taluqdar's estate, or any portion
thereof, is not wholly or partially exempt from land revenue and its liability
to payment of land-revenue is not subject to special conditions or
restrictions, the jama payable to Government in respect of such estate or
person thereof shall, if a survey-settlement has been extended thereto, be the
aggregate of the survey assessments of the lands composing such estate or such
portion thereof, minus such deduction, if any, as Government shall in each case
(2) The Governor in Council may declare the
amount of jama so ascertained fixed for any term not exceeding thirty
BOMBAY TALUQDARI TENURE ABOLITION ACT, LXII
916 "3.With effect from the date on which
this Act comes into force,(i)the tuluqdari tenure shall wherever it prevails be
deemed to have been abolished; and (ii)save as expressly provided by or under
the provisions of this Act, all the incidents of the said tenure attaching to
any land comprised in a taluqdari estate shall be deemed to have been
(4)All revenue surveys or revised revenue
surveys of taluqdari estates directed by the State Government under section 4
of the Taluqdars Act and all settlements made shall be deemed to have been made
under Chapters VIII and VIII-A of the Code and the settlement registers and
other records prepared of such surveys shall be deemed to have been prepared
under the corresponding provisions of the Code.
(5)(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section
(2),(a)all taluqdari lands are and shall be liable to the payment of land
revenue in accordance with the provisions.
of the Code and the rules made thereunder,
and (b) a taluqdar holding any taluqdari land or a cadet of a taluqdar's family
holding any taluqdari land hereditarily for the purpose of maintenance,
immediately before the coming into force of this Act, shall be deemed to be an
occupant within the meaning of the Code or any other law for the time being in
(2)Nothing in sub-section (1) shall be deemed
to affect(b)the right of any person to pay jama only under any agreement or
settlement recognised under section 23 or under a declaration under section 22
of the Taluqdars' Act so long as such agreement, settlement or declaration remains
in force under the provisions of this Act.
(17) The enactments specified in Schedule II
are hereby repealed: Provided that the repeal of the said enactment shall not
in any way be deemed to affect,(a)
(c) any declaration made or any agreement or
settlement recognised, any partition confirmed and any management of the
taluqdari estate assumed under the provisions of any of the enactments hereby
repealed, and any proceedings connected with such partition or management
instituted before the aforesaid date shall be continued and disposed of as if
this Act had not been passed." The position emerging from the aforesaid
provisions may be summarized thus: The Taluqdars' Act was enacted to make
special provision for the revenue administration of the estates held by certain
superior land-holders in the districts of Ahmedabad, Kaira, Broach and the
Section 4 enabled the Governor in Council to
direct a revenue survey or revised revenue survey of any taluqdari estate under
the provisions of the Bombay Land Revenue Code.
In regard to such an estate, survey would be
made under s. 108 of the Code and the Settlement Officer would I prepare a
Register to be called the " Settlement Register which would contain the
particulars mentioned in s. 5 of the Taluqdars' Act in lieu of the particulars
specified in s. 108 of the Code. Under s. 22 of the Taluqdars' Act, the jama
payable by a taluqdar would be the aggregate of the survey assessments of the
lands compoSING sucH an estate or such portion thereof minus such deduction, if
any, that the Government in each case should direct. Under sub-s. 2, the
Governor in Council was empowered to declare the jama so ascertained fixed for
any term not exceeding thirty years. In 1949, the taluqdari tenure was
abolished by the Bombay Taluqdari Tenure Abolition Act. By s. 5 of the
Abolition Act, the taluqdars became occupants within the meaning of the Code,
i.e., they were deemed to be holders in actual possession of unalienated lands
other than the tenants; with the result that all the taluqdari lands became
liable to, the payment of land revenue in accordance with the provisions of the
Code and the rules made there under.
918 Sub-section 2 of s. 5 saved the right of
any person to pay jama only under an agreement or settlement recognized under
s. 23 or a declaration made under s. 22 of the Taluqdars' Act so long as such
agreement, settlement or declaration remained in force. Shortly stated, the
combined effect of the provisions was that the taluqdari tenure was abolished
and that the taluqdar became the occupant with liability to pay land revenue in
accordance with the provisions of the Code.
If there was no other relevant provision
indicating a contrary intention, it is manifest from the aforesaid summary that
the appellants would be liable to pay land revenue in accordance with the
provisions of the Code after the period fixed in the declaration expired, i.e.,
from the year 1955-1956.
The learned Counsel for the appellants
contends that by reason of s. 117R of the Code, the declaration made by the
Governor in Council fixing the amount of jama, for a period of thirty years
would continue to be in force even after the expiry of the said period till a
revision settlement was made and therefore the saving clause would preclude the
Government from demanding higher amount of revenue than the jama ascertained
and fixed in the declaration till the date of the revised settlement. Section
117R of the Code reads:
" All settlements of land revenue
heretofore made and introduced and in force at the date of the commencement of
the Bombay Land Revenue Code (Amendment) Act, 1939, shall be deemed to have
been made and introduced in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter and
shall, notwithstanding anything contained in section 117E, be deemed to
continue to remain in force until the introduction of a revision
settlement." If the declaration of the Governor in Council is a settlement
of land revenue within the meaning of this section, it would continue to be in
force till the introduction of the revision settlement. It is, therefore,
necessary to ascertain the meaning of the words " settlement of land
revenue " in the section. Settlement is defined by s. 117C(1) to mean the
result. of the 919 operations conducted in a zone in order to determine the
land revenue assessment. What is the scope of the operations conducted to
arrive at the said result ? The provisions of Ch. VIII-A lay down the
successive steps to be followed by the authorities concerned to fix the land
revenue. -Under s. 117D, the Government may at any time direct a settlement of
the land revenue of any land of which revenue survey has been made under s. 95
or not. It may also direct at any time a revised settlement of the land revenue
of such lands. A settlement once made remains in force for a period of thirty
years unless the State Government directs that it should remain in force for
any period less than thirty years. In a case where a revised settlement of land
revenue has not been made for one reason or other, the Government may extend
the term of the settlement for such period as it may think fit. The land
revenue assessment shall be determined by dividing the lands to be settled into
different groups and fixing a standard rate for each group. Groups are
ordinarily formed on a consideration of various factors such as physical
configuration, climate, rainfall, price and yield of principal crop and other
relevant considerations. Land revenue of individual survey numbers and
sub-divisions shall be based on their classification and value in the manner
prescribed. The Settlement Officer, who is entrusted with the duty of making
the settlement, shall follow the prescribed procedure and fix a standard rate
for each class of land in each group on a consideration of the relevant
factors. A hierarchy of Tribunals are created for the persons aggrieved to take
the matter in appeal. Finally the State Government passes orders approving the
standard rates or varying them. After the State Government has passed orders
and the notice of the same has been given in the prescribed manner, settlement
will be deemed to have been introduced and land revenue according to such settlement
will be levied from such date as the State Government may direct. It will be
seen from the aforesaid summary of the scheme of land revenue settlement that
land revenue is fixed for each land, having regard to the group 920 within
which it falls. All such settlements of land revenue made before the Bombay
Land Revenue (Amendment) Code, 1939, will be deemed to remain in force until
the introduction of a revised settlement.
Part II of the Taluqdars' Act provided for
survey and settlement. Under s. 4 of the Taluqdars' Act, the Governor in
Council might direct a revenue survey of the taluqdari estate under the
provisions of the Code. The settlement register prepared under that Code was
directed contain particulars mentioned in s. 5 such as area and assessment of
such survey-number, etc. Presumably, under that Act a settlement was made in
regard to the taluqdari estates and settlement registers were prepared fixing
the assessment of each survey-number. That settlement would certainly be a
settlement of land revenue within the meaning of s. 117R of the Code and that
would continue to be in force till a resettlement was made.
Part IV of the Taluqdars' Act dealt with
Revenue Administration. Section 22 laid down that in a case where
survey-settlement had been extended to a taluqdari estate, the jama payable by
the taluqdar to Government in respect of such an estate shall be the aggregate
of the surveyassessments of the lands composing such estate or such portion
thereof minus such deduction, if any, as Government shall direct in each case.
Under sub-s. (2) of s. 22, the Governor in Council could declare the amount of
jama so ascertained fixed for any term not exceeding thirty years.
Under s. 23, nothing in the Act was deemed to
affect the validity of any agreement thereto-before entered into by or with a
taluqdar and still in force as to the amount of his jama, nor of any settlement
of the amount of jama made by or under the orders of Government for a term of
years and still in force. Sections 22 and 23 provided for the arrangements
entered into or to be entered into with the Governor in Council in respect of
the jama payable by the taluqdars.
Section 23 saved the previous agreements or
settlements in respect of the jama. Section 22 authorised the Government to fix
the jama, having regard to the aggregate of the survey assessments of the lands
and to declare 921 the same fixed for a period of years not exceeding thirty.
The declarationunder a. 22 or the agreement
or settlement of jama mentioned in s. 23(1) might be described broadly as a
settlement entered into between the Government and a taluqdar but it was not a
settlement of land-revenue within the meaning of S. 117R of the Code, for
settlement of revenue was the result of operations carried on in respect of
different classes of lands in the manner prescribed by Ch. VIII. A of the Code
or the settlement in respect of such lands in accordance with the pre-existing
laws it was beyond the scope of Ch. VIII-A to ascertain' the jama, though the
rates fixed under such a settlement were taken as the basis by the Government
in ascertaining the jama payable by the taluqdar. The jama payable by the
taluqdar was distinct from the revenue assessment of the land comprised in the
taluqdari estate and they could not be equated.
Section 17 of the Abolition Act repealed the
Taluqdars' Act and expressly provided that the repeal of the said enactment
shall not affect any declaration made or any agreement or settlement recognized
in respect of the taluqdari estates.
Section 5(2) (b) of the Abolition Act
expressly saved the agreement or settlement recognized under s. 23 or a
declaration made under s. 22 from the operation of the Act till such agreement,
settlement or declaration remained in force. It is, therefore, manifest that
the declaration made under the Taluqdars' Act enured to the advantage of the
taluqdars, notwithstanding the repeal of the Taluqdars' Act, till such time it
was in force. When the Abolition Act came into force, the time mentioned in the
declaration in the cases before us, i.e., thirty years, had not run out and
therefore the declaration made by the Government under the Taluqdars' Act
continued to be in force till 1955-56. After the expiry of the time, the
appellants would be liableto pay the entire land-revenue according to the
The entire scheme of the Abolition Act was
that after the passing of that Act, the taluqdars became 116 922 occupants with
the result that they would be liable to payland revenue in accordance with the
provisions of the Land Revenue Code. If sub-s. (2) was not inserted in s. 5,
they would be liable to pay land-revenue under the Code, notwithstanding the
declaration made or the agreement entered into by the Government with them in
regard to the jama payable by them. Sub-section (2) was only enacted to
preserve to them the concession till the period fixed had expired. We,
therefore, hold that the declaration made by the Governor in Council in 1925-26
expired in 1955-56 and the appellants became liable to pay the entire
land-revenue according to the settlement registers from the year 1955-56.
In the result, all the appeals and the Writ
Petitions are dismissed with costs., the State of Bombay and the Collector of
Ahmedabad, who are the respondents herein, getting one set of hearing costs in