Khajamian Wakf Estates Vs. State of
Madras & ANR  INSC 237 (18 November 1970)
18/11/1970 HEGDE, K.S.
CITATION: 1971 AIR 161 1971 SCR (2) 790 1970
SCC (3) 864
CITATOR INFO :
F 1971 SC 989 (8) RF 1972 SC2097 (7) RF 1973
SC1461 (1182) RF 1973 SC2734 (37) E 1974 SC2098 (22,27,28) RF 1986 SC1117 (10)
RF 1988 SC 782 (52,66) F 1988 SC1353 (5)
Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 31A-Madras
Inam Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act (26 of 1963);
Madras Leaseholds (Abolition and Conversion
into Ryotwari) Act (27 of 1963) and Madras, Minor Inaras (Abolition and
Conversion into Ryotwari) Act (30 of 1963) --Legislative competiency-If
violative of Arts. 14, 19, 26 and 31.
In the State of Madras there were :three
types of inams namely: (1)those which constituted of the grant of melwaram
alone; (2) thosewhichconsisted of the grant of both melwaram and kudivaram; and
(3) minor inams.
By Madras Inams (Assessment) Act, 1956, full
assessment was levied on all inam lands except melwaram inams granted on
service tenure, without affecting in any way the rights between the inamdars
and the persons in possession or enjoyment of the land. To complete the
agrarian reform initiated by the Madras Estates (Abolition and Conversion into
Ryotwari) Act, 1948, the he Madras Inam Estates (Abolition and Conversion into
Ryotwari) Act, 1963 the Madras Leaseholds (Abolition and Conversion, into
Ryotwari) Act, 1963, and the Madras Minor Inams (Abolition and Conversion into
Ryotwari) Act, 1963, were enacted. Under the first, acquisition of all rights
of landholders in inam estates and the introduction of ryotwari settlement in
such estates was provided for. Section 18 of the Act provides that compensation
shall be determind for each inam as a whole. The second Act provides for the
termination of the leases of certain leaseholds granted by the Government, the
acquisition of the rights of the lessees in such leaseholds and the
introduction of ryotwari settlement; and the third Act provides for the
acquisition of the rights of inamdars in minor inams and the introduction of
the ryotwari settlement. The Acts contain provisions reducing the liability of
the tenants in the matter of payment of arrears of rent.
On the question of the validity of the Acts,
HELD : (1) The impugned Acts could not be
challenged as violative of Arts 14, 19 and 3 1. They deal with 'estates' as
defined in Art. 31A of the Constitution, and provide for their acquisition by
the State' They seek to abolish all intermediate holders and to establish
direct relationship between the Government and the occupants of the concerned
lands. They were undertaken as a part of agrarian reform and hence, the
provisions relating to acquisition or extinguishment of the rights of the
intermediate holders fall within the protective wings of Art. 3 IA. [795 D-E]
B. Shankara Rao Badami & Ors. v. State of Mysore & Anr.,  3
S.C.R. 1, followed.
(2) Assuming that as a result of the levy of
full assessment under the 1956-Act, the lands cease to be inams and the
intermediaries ceased to be inamdars, the lands are still 'estate' within the
meaning of Art. 31A, because, they fall under one of the sub-cls. 1, II or III
79 1 3 IA(2) (a). If the impugned legislation
can be traced to a valid legislative power the fact that the Legislature
wrongly described some of the intermediaries sought to be removed does not make
the law invalid. [795 E-H] (3) In the Absence of any material to the contrary,
the court must proceed on the basis that the President had given his assent to
the bills after duly considering the implication of the provisions contained
therein. [796 E-G], (4) If the arrears of rent are treated as rent then the
State Legislature has power to legislate with respect to the liability of
tenants to pay the arrears, under Entry 18 of List 11, VII Schedule. If they
are considered as debts due from agriculturists then the State Legislature has
competence to legislate under Entry 30 of the same list.
[796 G-H; 797 A] (5) In the case of the first
of the impugned Acts, assuming that for some of the properties included in the
inam no compensation was provided, Art., 31A bars the plet that there was
contravention of Art. 31(2).[796 C-D] (6)In regard to the inams belonging to
the religious and charitable institutions, the impugned Acts do not provide for
payment of compensation in a lumpsum but provision is made to pay a portion of
the compensation every year as tasdik. The method adopted is not violative of
Art 31(2) and is at any rate protected by Art, 31A.  A-C] (7) Article
26(c) and (d) of the Constitution provide that religious denominations shall
have the right to own and acquire properties and administer them according to
But that does not mean that the properties
owned by them cannot be acquired by the State. [797 C-E] (8)It is open to the
inamdars to agitate before then.
Tribunal constituted under the last Act that
a particular property is not an inam at all and that the Acts do not apply to
them. [798 D-E]
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeals
Nos. 2480 to 2509 2543 to 2546, 2547 to 2553, 2559, 2575, 2576 and 2602 of
1966, 214 to 217, 672 to 674, 1053, 1054, 1055, 1062, 1063,. 1457 and 1458 of
1967, and 162, 672' 673 and 1000 of 1968.
Appeals from the judgments and orders dated
June 24, 1966 and July 20, 1966 of the Madras High Court in Writ Petitions Nos.
1542 of 1965 etc. etc.
V. Vedantachari, K. C. Rajappa, S. Bala
krishnanand N. M. Ghatate, for the appellants (in C.As. Nos. 2480-2482, 24842509,
2575 and 2576, of 1966).
V. Vendantachari and S. Balakrishnan, for the
appellants (in C.As. Nos. 2543, 2544 and 2546 of 1966).
S. Balakrishnan and N. M. Ghatate, for the
appellant (in C.A. No. 2545 of 1966).
S. V. Gupte and K. Jaram, for the appellants
(in C.A. Nos. 2547 to 2553 and 2559 of 1966).
792 K. Parasaran, K. R. Chaudhuri and K.
Rajendra Chaudhuri, for the appellants (in C.As. Nos. 2602 of 1966, 214 to 217
and 1055 of 1967).
M. S. K. Sastri S. Gopalan and M. S. Narasimhan,
for the appellants (in C.As. Nos. 672 to 674 of 1967).
M. S. Narasimhan, for the appellants (in
C.As. Nos. 1053 and 1054 of 1967).
A. V. V. Nair, for the appellants (in C.As.
Nos. 1062 and 1063 of 1967).
V. Vedantachart, A. T. M. Sampath and E. C. Agarwala,
for the appellants (in C.As. Nos. 14517 and 1458 of 1967).
P. C. Bhartari, for the appellant (in C.A.
No. 162 of 1968).
K. Jayaram, for R. Thiagarajan for the
appellants (in C.As. Nos. 672, 673 and 1000 of 1968 and 2483 of 1966).
S. Mahan Kumaramangalam and A., V. Rangarm,
for the respondent-State of Madras in, all the appeals).
R. Kunchitapadam, Vineet Kumar and K.
Jayaram, for respondent No. 2 (in C.A. No. 2484 of 1966).
M. K. Ramamurthy, J. Ramamurthy and Vineet
Kumar, for respondent No. 2 (in C.As. Nos. 2488 to 2490 of 1966).
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Hegde, J. In this batch of appeals, the validity of the Madras Inam Estates
(Abolition and Conversion Into Ryotwari) Act, 1963 (Madras Act 26 of 1963); the
Madras Lease-Holds (Abolition and. Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1963 (Madras
Act 27 of 19-63) and the Madras Minor Inams (Abolition and Conversion Into
Ryotwari) Act, 1963 (Madras Act 30 of 1963) is challenged on the ground that
the material provisions in those Acts are violative of Arts. 14, 19(1)(f) and
31 of the Constitution. The provisions in these Acts reducing the tenants"
liability to pay the arrears of rent are also challenged on the ground that the
legislature had no competence to enact 'those provisions. A few other minor
contentions are also raised in these appeals to which reference will be made in
the course of the judgment. All these contentions had been unsuccessfully urged
before the High Court. Dealing with the allegation of infringement of Arts. 14,
19 and 31, the High Court in addition to holding that there has been no
infringement of those Articles has further held that the challenge to the
validity of these Acts on the basis of those 793 Arts. is precluded in view of
Art. 31 (A). Dealing with the contention relating to the reduction of rent the
High Court came to the conclusion that the legislature had power to enact the
impugned provisions. The High Court also has given reasons for rejecting the
other contentions advanced before it. Aggrieved by the decision of the High
Court these appeals have been brought by special leave.
The impugned statues deal with agrarian
reforms. They purport to deal with Inam lands. It is profitless to go to the
origin of Inams or about their early history. Suffice it to say that the Urdu
word "Inam" means a gift. The Inams, rants were made by the Rulers
for various purposes.
Some of them were granted to institutions and
some to individuals. Broadly speaking there were three types of Inams The first
type consisted of the grant of the melwaram right alone. The second category
consisted of the grant of both the melwaram as well as the kudivaram right. In
addition to these two Inams, there were what are known "as Minor Inams.
Sometime prior to 1862, the Government took up the question of enfranchising
the Inams. The Inams Commissioner went into the rights of various persons
claiming to be Inamdars. Thereafter the Madras Enfranchised Inams Act'. 1862
(Madras Act 47 of 1862)was passed for declaring and confirming the title of the
Inamdars. Section 2 of that Act provided that the title deeds issued by the
Inams Commissioner or an authenticated extracted from the register of the
Commissioner or Collector shall be deemed sufficient proof of the
enfranchisement of land previously hold on Inam tenure. By Madras Inams
(Assessment) Act, 1956 (Madras Act 40 of 1 95 6), full assessment was levied on
'all Inam lands except Warm inams granted on service tenure, without affecting
in any way the rights as between the Inamdar and other, persons, if any, in
possession or enjoyment of the Inam land.
Where the Inam comprised the entire villa e,
the same was treated as an "estate" in the Madras Proprietary
Estates' Village Service Act, 1894 (Madras Act 2 of 1894) and the Madras
Hereditary Village Offices Act, 1895 (Madras Act 3 of 1895) as well as in
Madras Estate Land Act, 1908 (Madras Act 1 of 1908). Mdras Estates Land Act,
1908 recognised the ryots' permanent tenure. That Act secured a permanent right
of occupancy to every ryot who at the commencement, was in possession of
"ryoti" I-and or who was subsequently admitted to the possession of
such land. Then came the Madras Estate Land (Third Amendment Act, 1936 (Madras
Act 18 of 1936).
That Act amplified the definition of the
"estate" in the Madras Estate Land Act, 1908, so as to bring within
its scope A, Inam villages, of 794 which the grant was made, confirmed or
recognised by the Government. It also provided that when a question arises
whether any land was the land-holder's private land or not, the land should be
presumed not to be Inamdar's private land until the contrary was proved. In
1937, the Madras Government appointed the, Prakasam Committee to enquire into
and report the conditions which prevailed in the Zamindari and other
proprietary areas in the State. That committee submitted its report together
with a draft bill on the lines of its recommendations, but no action was taken
on that report as the Congress Ministry which appointed it resigned.
Then we come to the Madras Estates (Abolition
and Conversion Into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 (Madras Act 26 of 1948). This Act
applies to all estates i.e. Zamindari and under-tenure estates and all-Inam
villages in which the grant consisted of melwaram alone. That Act as its
preamble says is an Act to provide for the repeal of the permanent settlement,
the acquisition of the rights of landholders in permanently settled and certain
other estates in the Province of Madras and the introduction of the ryotwari
settlement in such estates. To complete the agrarian reform initiated by this
Act, the impugned Acts appears to have been enacted. The Preamble to Madras Act
26 of 1963 says that it is an Act to provide for the acquisition of all rights
of landholders in Inam estates in the State of Madras and the introduction of
the ryotwari settlement in such estates. That Act follows by and large the
provisions in Act 26 of 1948. In Act 26 of 1963 Inams estates are divided into
two categories namely (1) existing Inam estate and (2) a new Inam estate. The
existing Inam estate refers to the estate consisting of the whole village and
the new Inam estate means a part village Inam estate of Pudukkottai Inam
estate. The "New Inam estate" was not an estate known to law earlier.
It is merely a name given to part village Inam estate a Pudukkottai Inam estate
for drafting convenience.Act 27 of 1963 is an Act to provide for the
termination of the leases of certain lease-holds granted by the Government, the
acquisition of the rights of the lessees in such leaseholds, and the introduction
of the ryotwari settlement in such leaseholds. Act 30 of 1963 is an Act to
provide for the acquisition of the rights of the Inamdars in minor Inams and
the introduction of the ryotwari settlement in such Inams.
We do not think it necessary to go into the
contention that one or more provisions of the impugned Acts are violative of
Arts. 14, 19 and 31 as in our. opinion these Acts are completely protected by
Art. 31'(A) of the Constitution which says that "Notwithstanding anything
contained in article 13, no law providing for7 95 (a) the acquisition by the
State of any estate or of any rights therein or the extinguishment or
modification of any such rights........
shall be deemed to be void on the ground that
it is inconsistent with, or takes away or abridges any of the rights conferred
by article 14, article 1-9 or article 3 1." The expression
"estate" is defined in sub-Art. (2) of Art31 (A). That definition
includes not merely Inams but also land held under ryotwari settlement as well
as land held or let for the purpose of agriculture or for purposes ancillary
thereto, including(, waste land, forest land, land for pastures or site or
buildings, and other structures occupied by the cultivators of land,
agricultures and village artisans.
The impugned Acts are laws providing for the
acquisition by the State of an "estate" as contemplated' by Art. 31
They seek to abolish all intermediate holders
and 'to establish direct relationship between the Government and the occupants
of the concerned lands. These legislations were undertaken as a part of
agrarian reforms. Hence the provisions relating to acquisition or the
extinguishment of the rights of the intermediate holders fall within the
protective wings of Art. 31 (A)-see B. Sankara Roo, Badami and ors. v. State of
Mysore and anr. (1).
It is next contended on behalf of the
appellants that the lands, on which full assessment was levied under Act 40 of
1956 ceased to be inams and therefore provisions of the Madras Act 26 of 1963
cannot be applied to the same. We have not thought it necessary to go into the
question whether as a result of Madras Act 40 of 1956, certain Inams have
ceased to be Inams, as in our opinion, whether they continued to be Inams or
not they are still "estate" within the meaning of Art. 31 (A) because
they fall either under sub-clauses (1) or (II) or (111) of Clause (a) of Art.
31 (A) (2) and that being so the provisions of the impugned Acts cannot be
challenged on the ground that they infringe Arts. 14, 19 and 31. The contention
that as the State purported to abolish Inams and not other intermediaries the
law cannot be held to be valid if the intermediaries sought to be removed are
not Inamdars is an untenable one. If the impugned legislation can be traced to
a valid legislative power, the fact that the legislature wrongly described some
of the intermediaries sought to be removed does not make the law invalid. From
the above observations, it should not be understood that we have come to the
conclusion that the intermediaries concerned were not Inamdars. We have not
gone into that question. From the provisions of (1)  3 S.C.R. 1.
796 The impugned Acts, it is quite clear that
the intention of the legislature was to abolish all intermediaries including
the owners of those "estates" that were subjected to full assessment
by Act 40 ,of 1956.
It was next urged that Art. 31(A) does not
protect a legislation where no compensation whatsoever has been provided for
taking the "estates". We do not think we need go into that question.
This contention bears only on the provisions of the Madras Act 26 of 1963.
Section 18 of that Act provides that compensation shall be determined for each
Inam as a whole and not separately for each of the interests in the Inams. The
validity of this section was not challenged before us. All that was urged was
that for some of the pro reties included in the Inam, no compensation was
provided. Even if we assume this contention to be correct, it cannot be as that
no compensation was provided for the acquisition of the lnam as a whole. Hence
Art. 31(A) bars the plea that there was contravention of Art. 31(2) in making
the acquisition in question. One of the contentions taken on behalf of the
appellants that the impugned Acts to the extent they purport to acquire mining
lands are outside the purview of Art. 31 (A). It is not known whether the lands
in which mining operations are going on were let or held as
"estates". There is also no evidence to show that the owners of those
lands were entitled to the mines.
Hence, it is not possible to uphold the
contention that lands concerned in some of the appeals have been acquired
without paying compensation.
In order to avoid the bar of Art. 3 1 (A), a
curious plea was put forward. It was urged that when the concerned bills were
submitted to the President for his assent as required by the first proviso to
Art. 31 (A), the President was not made aware of the implications of the bills.
This contention is a wholly untenable one. There is no material before us from
which we could conclude that the President or his advisers were unaware of the
implications of those 'bills. We must proceed on the basis that the President
had given his assent to those bills after duly considering the implication of
the provisions contained therein.
it was next urged that the provisions in the
impugned Acts reducing the liability of the tenants in the matter of payment of
the arrears of rent, whether decreed or not was beyond the legislative
competence of the State legislature.
This contention is agairt untenable. Those
attears are either affairs of rent or debts due from agriculturists. It they
are treated as affears of rent then the State legislature had legislative power
to legislate in respect of the same under Entry 18 of List II of the VIIth Schedule.
If they are considered as debts due from
agriculturists then the 797 State legislature had competence to legislate in
respect of the same under Entry 30 of the same list.
In regard to the Inams belonging to the
religious and charitable institutions, the impugned Acts do not provide for
payment of compensation in a lumpsum but on the other hand provision is made to
pay them a portion of the compensation every year as Tasdik. This is only a
mode of payment of the compensation. That mode was evidently adopted in the
interest of the concerned institutions. We are unable to agree that the method
is violative of Art. 31(2). At any rate that provision is protected by Art.
It was next urged that by acquiring the
properties belonging to religious denominations the legislature violated Art.
26 (c) and (d) which provide that religious denominations shall have the right
to own and acquire movable and immovable property and administer such property
in accordance with law. These provisions do not take away the right of the
State to acquire property belonging to religious deuomintions. Those
denominations can own acquire properties and administer them in accordance with
law. That does not mean that the property owned by them cannot be acquired. As
a result of acquisition they cease to own that property. Thereafter their right
to administer that property ceases because it is no longer their property.
Art. 26 does not interfere with the' rightof
the State to acquire property.
Mr. S. V. Gupte appearing for some of the
appellants urged that the Impugned Act contravenes the second proviso to Art.
31(A). From the material before us it is not possible to hold that any property
under the personal cultivation of any of the appellants had been acquired.
Further there is no material to show what the ceiling is. Hence it is not
possible for us to examine the correctness of that contention. If in any
particular case, the second proviso to Art. 31 (A) has been breached, then to
that extent, the acquisition will become invalid.
It was urged by Mr. Sastri appearing for some
of the appellants that the impugned Acts do not acquire the lands concerned in
some of the appeals. This contention was not 'gone into by the High Court.
Dealing with that contention, the High Court in its judgment observed :
"But the applicability of the impugned
Acts to the Inams in question cannot be conveniently investigated in the
present writ proceedings.
The question will have to be determined with
reference to the terms of the 798 grant, the extent of the grant has to be
ascertained by reference to the relevant materials. Section 5 of Madras Act,
XXXI of 1963 (XXX of 1963 ?) makes special provision for determination of the
question whether any non-ryotwari area is or is (not an 'existing Inam Estate
'or' part village Inam Estate' or a minor Inam or whole Inam village in
Pudukkottai. It is stated at the bar that in most of the cases now 'before us
the parties have applied under the provisions of the said Act for determination
of the character of the Inams respectively held 'by them. It, is needless to
point out that the Tribunal constituted under the Act will be entitled to
decide that a particular property is neither an existing Inam estate' nor a
part village Inam estate nor a whole inam village in Puddukkottai and
completely out of the coverage of Acts XXVI and XXX of 1963. We a1so make it
clear that the disposal of these writ petitions now does not preclude the
Inamdars from agitating The question that a particular property is not an Inam
at all and does not under any of the aforesaid four categories or falls under
one or other of the categories as may be urged for the inamdars." We agree
with the High Court that the contention in question can be more appropriately
gone into in the manner suggested by the High Court.
In the result these appeals fail and they are
But ,under the circumstances; we make no
order as to costs in these appeals.