178. Power to exempt, etc.-
(1) The Administrator may, on an application made to him in this behalf within three months from the commencement of this Act, exempt from the operation of section 164-
(a) any land which is being used for growing tea, coffee or rubber including lands used or required for use for purposes ancillary to, or for the extension of, the cultivation of tea, coffee or rubber to be determined in the prescribed manner;
(b) any sugarcane farm operated by a sugar factory;
(c) any specialised farm which is being used for cattle breeding, dairy or wool raising;
(d) any person who holds a compact block of land exceeding the ceiling limit which-
(i) is being used as an orchard from before the 1st January, 1958; or
(ii) is being used as a farm in which heavy investment or permanent structural improvements have been made and which, in the opinion of the Administrator, is being so efficiently managed that its break up is likely to bring a fall in production:
Provided that where such person holds the compact block of land together with any other land, he shall be permitted to elect to retain either the compact block of land, notwithstanding that it exceeds the ceiling limit or the other land not exceeding the ceiling limit;
(e) any land which is being held by a co-operative society, provided that where a member of any such society holds a share in such land, his share shall be taken into account in determining his ceiling limit:
Provided that the Administrator may entertain the application after the expiry of the said period of three months, if he is satisfied that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application in time.
(2) Where any land in respect of which exemption has been granted to a person under clause (d) of sub-section (1) is transferred to another person, the Administrator may, on an application made to him within three months from the date of the transfer, exempt the transferee from the operation of section 164 and section 173 and the provisions of the said clause shall, as far as may be, apply to the grant of such exemption.
(3) Where the Administrator is of opinion that the use of land for any specified purpose is expedient or necessary in the public interest, he may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make a declaration to that effect and on the issue of such notification, any person may, notwithstanding anything contained in section 173, acquire land in excess of the ceiling limit for being used for such specified purpose and such person shall, within one month from the date of such acquisition, send intimation thereof to the competent authority.
(4) Where any land, in respect of which exemption has been granted under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) or sub-section (3), ceases to be used, or is not within the prescribed time used, for the purpose for which exemption had been granted, the Administrator may, after giving the persons affected an opportunity of being heard, withdraw such exemption.