Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company
Ltd. Vs. The State of Kerala & ANR  INSC 125 (27 April 1972)
SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) SHELAT,
KHANNA, HANS RAJ
CITATION: 1972 AIR 2301 1973 SCR (1) 356 1972
SCC (2) 218
R 1973 SC2734 (19,33,36) F 1974 SC1373 (16) F
1974 SC1522 (3) R 1975 SC1193 (25) RF 1977 SC1825 (58) R 1980 SC 286 (38,39) RF
1980 SC1762 (5) R 1980 SC1955 (20)
Kannan Devan Hills (Resumption of Lands) Act,
1971 (Kerala Act 5 of 1971)-Competency of State legislature to enactSections 4
& 5 of Act do not fall under entry 52 List I but under entries 18 of List
II and 52 of List III in Seventh Schedule of Constitution-Act whether has
protection of Act 31A of Constitution-Land in question whether 'estate'.
The petitioner was in possession of an area
of approximately 1,27,904 acres, commonly known as the 'Concession Area' lying
contiguously in the Kannan Devan Hills village. The concession was first given
to the predecessor-in-interest of the appellant company in 1877 by the poonjar
Chief for a consideration of Rs. 5,000/. After some years a yearly sum of Rs.
3,000 was to be paid to the rent collector of the Chief. In 1878 the Maharaja
of Travancore ratified the Concession on certain conditions. In 1886 the
agreement called the Second Pooniat Concession was entered into modifying the
previous deed of ratification. A Royal Proclamation was made on September 24,
1899 whereby the Poonjar Chief surrendered the propriety rights which he had
exercised over the tract known as Anjanad and Kannan Devan Hills. According to
the petitioner it had all times been holding, cultivating, enjoying and dealing
with the Concession land as the absolute owner thereof. The petitioner further
alleged that it had established 23 tea estates, with factories in each estate
for the manufacture of tea, hospitals, quarters, township and shopping centers.
The Kannan Devan Hills (Resumption of Lands) Act 1971 (Kerala Act 5 of 1971)
the lands agricultural & non-agricultural situated in the Kannan Devan,
Hills Village vested in the Government of Kerala.. The petitioner company filed
a writ petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution challenging certain
provisions of the Act. The questions that fell for consideration were : (i) whether
the impugned Act was within the legislative competence of the State of Kerala;
(ii) whether the impugned Act was protected from challenge under Art 31A of the
HELD : (i) The State has legislative
competence to legislate on entry 18 List It and entry 42 List III. This power
cannot be denied on the ground that it has some effect on an industry
controlled under entry 52 List 1. Effect is not the same thing as
subject-matter. If a State Act, otherwise valid, has effect on a matter in List
I it does not cease to be legislation with respect to an entry in List II or
List Ill. The object of ss. 4 and 5 seems to be enable the State to acquire all
the lands which do not fall within the categories (a), (b) and (e) of s. 4(i).
These provisions are really incidental to the exercise of the power of
acquisition. The State cannot be denied a power to ascertain what land should
be acquired by it in the public interest. [369 C-D] The fact that the
plantation was run as an integrated unit cannot impinge upon and take away the
legislative power of the State in respect of List II entry 18. 370 [F-G] Chika
Ramji v. State of Uttar Pradesh,  S.C.R. 393, 420 and Canadian Pacific
Railway Company v. Attorney General,  A.C. 122, 123, 140, applied.
357 Baijnath Kedai v. State of Bihar, 
2 S.C.R. 100, Harakchand Ratanchand Banthia v. Union of India,  1 S.C.R.
712 and State of Maharashtra v. Madhavrao Damodar Patilchand,  3 S.C.R.
712, referred to, There was no repugnance between the provisions of the
impugned Act and the Tea Act. It was said that there is conflict because it is
the Tea Board and not the Land Board, which should determine what land is
necessary for the efficient working of the plantation-, but Parliament has not
chosen even if it could, to say so. [373G-H] Paresh Chandra Chatterjee v. The
State of Assam and Another,  3 S.C.R. 88, applied.
(ii)On the material placed before the Court
it was difficult to resist the conclusion that the lands in dispute fell within
the expression 'Janmam right'. It is stated in Travancore Land Revenue Manual
Volume IV there are no lands that do not belong to a Janmam and the Sircar
becomes a Janmi by escheat, confiscation or otherwise. The effect of the Royal
Proclamation of 1899 must be that the Sircar became the Janmi. [376F]
Kavalappara Kottarathil Kochuni v. State of Madras,  3 S.C.R. 887 and
Sakanuram Sabbayogam v. State of Karala, A.I.R. 1963 Kerala 101, referred to,
(iii)From the Travancore Land Revenue Manual it would appear that the State
grants like Kanan Devan Hills Concession and Ten square Miles Concession and
Munro Lands, were treated under the heading 'Pandaravaka Lands', i.e., land
belonging to the Sircar. It was held by this Court in Pushothaman Nambudri's
case that Pandaravaka Verumpattam lands could be regarded as local equivalent
of an estate under cl. (2) of Art. 31A. If it is held that the land in question
does not fall within the expression 'janmam right, it may possibly be covered
by the decision of this Court in Purushottam Namboodri's case but as no
arguments were addressed on this point it was not necessary for the Court to
express its final opinion. [379C-D] Purushothaman Nambudri V.. State of Kerala,
 Supp. 1 S.C.R. 753, referred to.
(iii)The three purposes mentioned in s. 9
namely (1) reservation of land for promotion of agriculture; (2) reservation of
land for the welfare of agricultural population and (3) assignment of remaining
lands to agriculturists and agricultural labourers, were covered by the expression
" agrarian reform" and the legislation was protected from challenge
under Art. 31-A.  Deputy Commissioner and Collector, Kamrup v. Durga Nath
Sarma,  1 S.C.R. 561, P. Vajravalu Mudaliar v. Special Deputy Collector,
Madras,  1 S.C.R. 614 and Ranjit Singh v. State of Punjab,  1
The wide wording of the first two purposes
did not carry them beyond the concept of 'agrarian reform'. The definition of
'common purpose' which was sustained by this Court in Ranjit Singh's case shows
that the purposes sustained thereby would come under either the express
"promotion of agriculture" or "welfare of agricultural
population" in s. 9 Indeed some would fall under both. For instance,
reservation of lands for manure pits water-works or wells, village water
courses or water 358 channels and grazing grounds would promote agriculture;
schools and playgrounds, dispensaries, public
would be for the welfare of he
agriculturists. [381C] If the State were to use lands for purposes which have
no direct connection with the promotion of agriculture or welfare of
agricultural population the State could be restrained from using the lands for
these purposes. Any fanciful connection with these purposes would not be
[381D] If the two purposes were understood to
mean that these include only common purposes', which were sustained by this
Court and purposes similar thereto it would be difficult to say that they are
not for agrarian reform. In a sense agrarian reform is wider than land reform.
It includes besides land reform something more and something more is
illustrated by the definition of "common purpose" which was sustained
by this Court in Ranjit Singh's case. [381E-F] The third object-settlement of
agriculturists and agricultural labour is clearly covered by the expression
"agrarian reform". The main object of agrarian reforms has been to
acquire excess land and settle landless labourers and agriculturists.[382B-C]
Ranjit Singh v. State of Punjab,  1 S.C.R. 82 and State of Uttar Pradesh
V. Raja Anand,  1 S.C.R. 362, applied.
Deputy Commissioner and Collector, Kamrup v.
Durga Nath Sarnia  1 S.C.R. 561 and P. Vajravalu Mudaliar v.
Special Deputy Collector, Madras,  1
S.C.R. 82, referred to.
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ Petition No. 44
Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India
for enforcement of the Fundamental Rights.
M.C. Chagla, A. J. Rana, Joy Joseph, B.
Datta, J. B. Dadachanji, O. C. Mathur and Ravinder Narain, for the petitioner.
M. M. Abdul Khader, Advocate-General for the
State of Kerala, V. A. Seyid Muhammad, Verghese Kaliath and K. M. K. Nair, for
J. D. Dadachanji, for the interveners.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Sikri, C.J. Two main points arise in this petition under art. 32 of the
Constitution, brought by the Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company Ltd.,
hereinafter referred to as the petitioners (1) Whether the Kannan Devan Hills
(Resumption of Lands) Act, 1971 (Kerala Act 5 of 1971)-hereinafter referred to as
the impugned Act-is within the legislative competence of the State of Kerala;
and (2) whether the impugned Act is protected from challenge under art. 31A of
the Constitution, and if so, to what extent.
The petitioner is in possession of an area of
approximately 1,27,904 acres, commonly known as the 'Concession Area' lying
contiguously in the Kannan Devan Hills village. The petitioner 359 grows and
manufactures tea in the plantation set up and developed by it. The petitioner's
predecessor-in-title was one Mr. John Danial Munro, who obtained, what is
called, the first Pooniat Concession from Punhatil Kayikal Kela Varma Valuja
Raja, on July 11, 1877 (Mithunam 20, 1052). This Concession recited that an,
application was made for the grant of the above property to the Raja for coffee
cultivation. The Concession conveyed the properties in consideration of Rs.
5,000/-. It was further stipulated in the Concession that "you shall clear
and remove the jungles, and reclaim the waste lands within the said boundaries,
and cultivate them with coffee up to the year 1058 and from the year 1059, pay
our rent collector a yearly rent at the rate of 3,000 British Rupees."
Various other conditions were mentioned but it is not necessary to refer to
them because this Concession was superseded by another agreement called the
Second Pooniat Consession.
Before we refer to the terms of the Second
Pooniat Concession, we may mention that H.H. the Maharaja executed a deed of
ratification, dated November 28, 1878, by which the Government ratified the
First Pooniat Concession dated July 11, 1877. This deed of ratification laid
down the terms and conditions in regard to Government assessment and other
matters under which the Government permitted the grantee to hold the land.
These terms and conditions were declared in the Deed to be independent of any
rents or payments due to the Poonjar Chief under the Grantee's Agreement with
Clause 5 of the Deed of Ratification, is
important. It provides, inter alia, that "the grantee can appropriate to
his own use within the limits of the grant all timber except the following and
such as may hereafter be reserved namely, Teak, Cole Teak, Blackwood, Bhony,
should he carry any timber without the limits
of the grant it will be subject to the payment of Kooteekanom, or Customs
The eleventh clause reads :
"The land granted shall be held in
perpetuity as heritable or transferable property, but every case of transfer of
the grant by the grantee shall be immediately made known to the Sircar, who
shall have the right of apportioning the tax, if a portion of the holding is
transferred." The twelfth clause stipulates "The discovery of useful
mines and treasures within the limits of the grant shall be communicated to the
Sircar, and the grantee shall in respect to such mines and treasures, abide by
the decision of the Sircar." 360 The sixteenth clause provides :
"The grantee shall be bound to preserve
the forest trees growing on the banks of the principal streams running through
the tract to the extent of fifty yards in breadth on each side of the stream,
the Underwood only being permitted to be cleared and coffee planted instead.
Similarly he shall also be bound to preserve the, trees about the crest of the
hill to the extent of a quarter of a mile on each side." On August 2,
1886, the agreement called the Second Pooniat Concession was entered into
modifying the previous deed of ratification. It appears that by this time a
company called the North Travancore Land Planting and Agricultural Society,
Ltd. had acquired the rights in the said land from John Danial Munro. The Land
Revenue Manual (Vol. 3, Part 1 Revised Edition 1936, p 7) summarises the main
For our purposes we may only mention the
following provisions of the deed :
(1) Assesment of one-half of a British Rupee
per annum on every acre of land, other than grass land, which is opened up for
the purpose of cultivation or otherwise.
(2) Assessment of two annas and eight pies
per annum on every acre, of grass land brought under cultivation or taken up
for homesteads and farmsteads, or reserved as shooting reserves or for the
grazing of cattle or for any other purposes.
(6) The Society may use and appropriate to
its own use within the limits of the Concession all timber except teak,
cole-teak, blackwood, ebony (Karunthaly) and sandalwood, but should not fell
any timber beyond what is necessary for clearing the ground for cultivation or
for building, furniture and machinery, within the limits of the grant. No unvalued
timber or articles manufactured therefrom should be carried outside, the limits
of the grant except in conformity with the rules of the Forest and Customs
Departments for the time being in force.
( 10)The land is to be held in perpetuity as
heritable or transferable property but every case of transfer of the grant by
the Society should be immediately made known by the Society to the Government.
361 (11) On the discovery by the Society of
any useful or valuable mines, minerals or treasures within the limits of the
grant, the same should at once be communicated to the Government and the
Society should, in respect to such mines, minerals and treasures, abide by the
decision of the Government.
A Royal Proclamation was made on September
24, 1899 (Kanni 9, 1075). It recites :
"Whereas we deem it expedient to clearly
declare the position of this State in respect of the tract known as Anjanad and
Kannan Devan Hills, we are pleased to declare as follows :
(1) The tract known as Anjanad and Kannan
Devan Hills is an integral portion of our territory and all rights over it
belong to and vest in us.
(2) The inhabitants of the said tract and all
others whom it may concern are hereby informed and warned that they are not to
pay any taxes, rents or dues, or make any other payment to the Poonjar Chief or
his representatives or to any person other than an officer of our Government
authorised in this behalf, in respect of anything in, upon or connected with
the said tract, with the exception, however, of a payment of rupee three
thousand per annum from the successors in interests of the late Mr. J. D. Munro
of London and Peermade now being paid to the said Chief in virtue of a Lease
deed executed by the said Chief in favour of the said late Mr. J. D. Munro on
the 11th July, 1877, and which we are pleased to permit the said Chief to
continue to receive.
(3) The lands within the said tract will be
dealt with by our Government in the same manner as lands in other parts of our
territory with such modifications as the circumstances and conditions of the
said tract may require and all taxes, rents and dues hitherto paid, and that
may hereafter be imposed by our Government shall, with the exception of the sum
of rupees three thousand aforesaid, be paid by the, occupants of lands within
the said tract whose occupation has been or may be recognized or confirmed by
our Government, and of such portions of the said tract as may from time to time
hereafter, with the per362 mission of our Government, be occupied, to the
officers of our Government who may be authorised in this behalf."
According to the Land Revenue Manual (Vol. III Pt. 1 page 9) "this
Proclamation was the outcome of an arrangement made by-the Government, with the
Poonjar Chief for the surrender of certain proprietary rights which he had been
exercising over the tract known as Anjanad and Kannan Devan Hills." We
have set out these facts in detail because it will be necessary to appreciate
the significance of the documents in order to decide the question whether these
lands fall within expression 'Janmam right' in art. 31A of the Constitution.
According to the petitioner it has at all
times been holding, cultivating, enjoying and dealing with the Concession Land
as the absolute, owner thereof. The petitioner further alleges that it has
established 23 tea estates, with factories on each estate for the manufacture
of tea, hospitals, quarters and township, and shopping centres and is employing
approximately 18,500 persons for the running of the said estates. The breakup
of the area of 1,27,904 acres was given as follows Tea Estates
1. Tea Planted area 23,570,95 acres
2. Fuel area 17,851 .55
3. Building sites, roads, Workers gardens,
Manner Township 2,605.35
4. Grazing land 1,453.75
5. Swamps and Streams 2,407.36
6. uncultivable lands, rocks, slips, barren
lands, ridges etc-. 6,789.51 31,107 -52 31,107 .52 acres
7. Lands interspersed within the boundaries
of the tea plantation considered necessary for the protection and efficient
management of the tea plantation 23,404 .00 acres Total: 78,082.47
8. Forest Area 22,311.00
9. Set apart for Wild Life Preservation
10. Other grass lands 6,157.49 1,27,904.56 We
may now notice the provisions of the impugned Act. The preamble reads as
"Whereas the lands comprising the entire
revenue village of Kannan Devan Hills in the Devicolam taluk of 3 63 the
Kottayam district had been given on lease by the then Poonjar Chief to late Mr.
John Daniel Munro of London and Peermade on the 11th day of July, 1877, for
And Whereas the right, title and interest of
the lessor had been assumed by the former Government of Travancore;
And Whereas by such assumption the lands have
become the property of the former Government of Travancore;
And Whereas the Government of Kerala have become
the successor to the former Government of Travancore;
And Whereas large extent of agricultural,
lands in that village has not been converted into plantations or utilised for
purposes of plantation and such lands are not required for the purposes of the
I And Whereas the Government consider that
such agricultural lands should be resumed for the distribution thereof for
cultivation and purposes ancillary thereto." It would be noticed that in
the preamble the State claims that the right, title and interest of the Poonjar
Chief had been assumed by the former Government of Travancore and the lands had
become the property of the former Government of Travancore and now the
Government of Kerala. It will also be noticed that the object is to resume
agricultural lands for their distribution for cultivation and purposes
"Plantation" is defined in s. 2 (f
) of the impugned Act " "Plantation" means any land used by a
person principally for the cultivation of tea, coffee, cocoa, rubber, cardamom
or cinnamon (hereinafter referred to as "Plantation crops" ".
Section 3 may be set out in full "3.
Vesting of Possession of certain lands :
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any
other law for the time being in force, or in any contract or other document,
but subject to the provisions of sub-sections (2) and (3), with effect on and
from the appointed day, the possession of all lands situate in the Kaanan Devan
Hills village in the Devicolam taluk of the Kottayam district shall stand
transferred to and vest in the Government free from all encumbrances, and the
right, title and -L128SupCI/72 364 interest of the lessees add all other
persons, including rights of mortgagees and holders of encumbrances) in respect
of such lands, shall stand extinguished.
(2) Nothing contained in sub-section (1)
shall apply in respect of(a) plantations, other than plantations belonging to
(b) buildings, other than buildings belonging
to trespassers, and lands appurtenant to, and necessary for the convenient
enjoyment or use of, such buildings;
(c) play-grounds and burial and burning
grounds; and (d) lands in the possession of the Central Government of any State
Government or the Kerala State 'Electricity Board.
(3) Nothing contained in tub-section (1)
shall apply in respect of so much extent of land held by a lessee under his
personal cultivation as is within the ceiling limit applicable to him under any
law for the time being in force or any building or structure standing thereon or
appurtenant thereto." It will be noticed that what the section vests in
the Government is not only agricultural lands but all lands situated in the
kannan Devan Hills village in the Devicolam taluk of the Kottayam district. It
extinguishes the rights of the lessees and other persons and vests the lands in
the State subject to some exceptions which are contained in subss. (2) and (3)
of s. 3. Sub-section (2) exempts plantations. Sub-section (3) does not have any
bearing on the problem before us.
Section 4 is a peculiar provision which has
led the counsel for the petitioner to argue vehemently about the legislative
competence of the State. It reads thus :
"4. Restoration of possession of lands
in certain cases.-(1) Where the person in possession of a plantation considers
that any lands, the possession of which has vested in the Government under
sub-section (1) of section 3,(a) is necessary for any purpose ancillary to the
cultivation of plantation crops in such plantation or for the preparation of
the same for the market; or 365 (b) being agricultural land interspersed within
the boundaries of the area cultivated with plantation crops, is necessary for
the protection and efficient management of such cultivation; or (c) is
necessary for the preservation of an existing plantation, he may, within sixty
days from the date of publication of this Act in the Gazette, apply to the Land
Board for the restoration of possession of such land.
(2) An application under sub-section (1)
shall be in such form as may be prescribed.
(3) 'On receipt of an application under subsection
(1), the Land Board shall, after giving the applicant an opportunity of being
heard and after such inquiry as it deems necessary by, order determine, the
extent of land necessary for the purpose or purposes specified in the
application, and such order shall be final.
(4) As soon as maybe after determining the
extent of land necessary for the purpose or purposes specified in the
application under sub-section (1), 'the Land Board shall cause such land to 'be
demarcated and put the applicant in possession of such land.
(5) Any person Put in possession of any land
under sub-section (4) shall be entitled to,possess that land on the same terms
and subject to the same conditions on or subject to wh ich he was holding such
land immediately before the appointed day." It will be seen that s. 4
proceeds on the basis that certain lands, which have vested in the State under
s. 3, may be necessary for the efficient carrying on of the plantation. A
procedure is laid down by which the Land Board shall determine, the extent of
land necessary for purposes mentioned in s. 4 (a), (b) and (c) to be specified
in the application of the landholder, and direct restoration of possession.
Section 5 alleviates the rigour of s. 4 by
giving the Collector power to remove the hardship, if any, on the management of
the plantation on, the vesting of any land under sub-s. (1) of S. 3. Section 8
provides that no compensation shall be payable for the extinguishment under
sub-s. (1) of s. 3 of the right, title and interest of the lessees or other
persons or of the rights of mortgagees or holders of encumbrances.
Section 9 may be set out in full. It reads
thus 3 66 "9. Assignment of lands.-(1) The Government,.
shall, after reserving such extent of the
land, the possession of which has vested in the Government under subsection (1)
of section 3 (other than lands, the possession of which has been restored under
section (4), as may be necessary for purposes directed towards the promotion of
agriculture or the welfare of the agricultural population to be settled on such
lands, assign on registry the remaining lands to agriculturists and
agricultural labourers in such manner, on such terms, and subject to such
conditions and restrictions, as may be prescribed.
(2) The Government may be notification in the
Gazette, delegate their power of assignment under subsection (1) to the
Collector, subject to such restrictions and control as may be specified in the
notification." The position taken by the State in its reply is as follows
The petitioner is not an absolute owner, but
only a lessee under the Government, especially since the Proclamation issued by
H.H. the Mahaxaja. The lands to which the provisions of the Act apply, fall
within the definition of 'estate' under art. 31A(2) of the Constitution. If the
petitioner is the absolute owner of the lands subject to levy of basic tax, as
contended, the lands held by the petitioner are 'estate' because they are held
in Janmam rights or at any rate as the local equivalent of 'estate' in its
basic concept as understood in the decisions of this Court falling under art. 3
1 A (2) (a) (i) of the Constitution.
In the alternative it is alleged that
treating the lands as a lease-hold under the State, these are undoubtedly lands
held or let for the purposes of agriculture or purposes ancillary thereto
coming within the inclusive definition of 'estate' under art. 3 1 A (2) (a)
(iii) of the Constitution.
It is denied that the lands were held
primarily for development of the petitioner's tea industry. It is alleged that
the petitioner had used large tracts of land for diverse agricultural purposes
as was clear from the averments in the petition. It is further asserted that
the impugned legislation is a law relation to the agrarian reform.
During the course of the hearing, the
petitioner's counsel said that he was willing to argue on the basis that the
petitioner was a lessee and not a full proprietor. After we had heard the
arguments for some time and it became necessary to adjourn the case, the State
obtained permission to amend its reply and raised the point that the lands of
the petitioner were gestate' within the purview of art. 3 1 A (2) (a) (i) being
janmam right. We may reproduce the relevant paras. "The Raja of Poonjar
was admittedly the Janmi of the said lands at the time of letting as per
Annexures B & C to the Writ Petition. By the Royal Proclamation of 1899
(Annexure R-1) the Janmam right of the lessor, the Poonjar Chief, 367 got
vested in the Government of Travancore." [Para 4(1)].
"After the said vesting the writ
petitioner is a lessee under a Janmi the Sircar, the State." [Para 4(2)].
Para 4(4) refers to pages 314 and 315 of Travancore State ManualVol. III where
it is recorded that the lands of Poonjar Chief are Janmam lands. Further
reference is made to Travancore Land Revenue Manual, Vol. IV, which we will
discuss a little later.
In the sur-rejoinder affidavit the petitioner
denies that Poonjar Chief or Raja was the Janmi of the land covered by the
impugned legislation. It is further alleged that "even asuming without
admitting that the Poonjar Chief was a Janmi, the Janinam rights of the Chief
became vested in the Sircar by the Royal Proclamation of 1899 (Annexure R-1),
the lands became part of and merged with the Sircar land. The Sircar as the
overlord and the Ruler of the State became the sole owner of the land and the
petitioner became a permanent and perpetual lessee of Sircar with heritable and
alienable rights. The impugned legislation in no way deals with the Janmam
rights, if any, vested in the Sircar." It is further stated that "in
any event, without prejudice to the other contentions, it is submitted that
Article 3 1 A (2) (a) (i) speaks only of "Janmam right" and not
"Janmam" land as such." We may first deal with the question of
legislative competence. We have set out the relevant provisions of the impugned
legislation. It seems to us clear that in pith and substance it is a law
dealing with entry 1 8 of List II and entry 42 of List 111. Entry 1 8 reads :
"Land, that is to say, rights in or over
land, land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the
collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agricultural land; land
improvement and agricultural loans;
colonization." Entry 42 List III reads
"Acquisition and requisitioning of property." This Court has upheld
the legislative competence of States to deal with land reforms under entry 18
of List 11 and entry 42 of List III in various cases.
The learned counsel for the petitioner, however,
contends that ss. 4 and 5 of the impugned Act are a law with respect to entry
52 List I. These provisions, according to him, regulate the carrying on of tea
industry, within the competence of Parliament, by controlling the land
available for tea plantation. He says that it is impossible to run an efficient
plantation except by having sufficient land (1) for purposes ancillary to
cultivation and plantation of the 368 crop and (2) for the preparation of the
same for the market.
He says that it is also necessary. to have
land interspersed within the boundaries of the area cultivated with plantation
for the preservation of the existing plantation. He urges that if the effect of
the legislation is. to control, the working of the tea plantation the legislation
must be regarded, as legislation with respect to entry 52 List I.
The learned counsel has drawn our attention
to various reports to show, that the plantation is a self-contained unit of
Organisation. In para 1. 1 1 of the Report of the Study Group for Plantation
(Tea) it is stated :
"1.11. The cultivation and manufacture
of tea do not exhaust the activities associated with tea plantations. A typical
plantation covers a wide area, having a large resident population in a number
Management of plantations involves
construction and maintenance of roads and buildings, running of hospitals,
schools, creches, and canteens, etc. and in a miniature form, transport and,,
public health activities. In short, a plantation is a self contained unit of Organisation."
In the report of P. C. Borooah Committee on Tea Industry following measures
were recommended :
"1. 18. Taking into consideration the
difficulties faced by the industry because of Government enactments and in view
of our recommendation in regard to the necessity for undertaking extensions of
plantings to achieve the plan targets laid down by Government and the need for
replacement to increase foreign exchange earnings of the country' the Committee
recommends that the following measures should be taken by Government :(i) The
Central Government should take steps to convene a conference of all
representatives of tea producing State Governments to frame a well-considered
policy in regard to land required for expanding tea production. Where land is
proposed to be resumed by the State Governments concerned, the Tea Board should
be taken into consultation.
(ii) The principles underlying all resumption
of land should be such as to ensure that tea estates should have enough land
available for extensions and for other ancillary purpose for their viability
and protection. Land within an estate should in no case be taken over as the
integrity of estates must at all costs be maintained." 369 In the, Second
five, Year Plan, While considering the question of exemption from ceilings one
of the factors taken into account was the "integrated nature of
operations, especially where industrial and agricultural work are undertaken as
a composite enterprise." It was recommended that "if these considerations
are kept in view there would appear to be an advantage in exempting the
following categories of farms from the, operations of ceilings which may he
(1) tea, coffee and rubber plantation It
seems to us clear that the State has legislative competence to legislate on
entry 18 List 11 and entry 42 List 111. This power cannot be denied on the
ground that it has some effect on an industry controlled under entry 52 List 1.
Effect is not the same thing as subject-matter. If a State Act, otherwise
valid, has effect on a matter in List I it does not cease to be a legislation
with respect to an entry in List II or List 111. The object of ss. 4 and 5
seems to be, to enable the State to acquire all the lands which do not fall
within the categories (a), (b) and (c) of s. 4(1). These provisions are really
incidental to the exercise of the power of acquisition. The State cannot he
denied a power to ascertain what land should be acquired by it in the public
The case of Baijnath Kedai v. State of
Bihar(1) relied on has no relevance. It was held in that case that entry 23
List 11 was subject to entry 54 of the Union List and once a declaration was
made and the extent laid down, the subject of legislation to the extent laid
became an exclusive subject for legislation by Parliament. The scope of entry
52 of the Union List is slightly different. Once it is declared by Parliament
by law to, be expedient in the public interest to control the industry,
Parliament can legislate on that particular industry and the States would lose
their power to legislate on that industry. But this would not prevent the
States from legislating on subjects other than that particular industry.
In Ch. Tika Ramji v. State of Uttar
Pradesh(2) Bhagwati, J., observed :
"Industry in the wide sense of the term
would be capable of comprising three different aspects : (1) raw materials
which are an integral part of the industrial process, (2) the process of
manufacture or production, and (3) the distribution of the products of the
industry. The raw materials would be goods which would be comprised in Entry 27
of List II. The process of manufac(1)  2 S.C.R. 100.
(2)  S.C.R. 393,420.
370 ture or production would be comprised in
Entry 24 of List 11 except where the industry was a controlled industry when it
would fall within Entry 52 of List I and the products of the industry would
also be comprised in Entry 27 of List 11 except where they were the products of
the controlled industries when they would fall within entry 33 of List 111.
This being the position, it cannot be said that the legislation which was
enacted by the Centre in regard to sugar and sugarcane could fall within Entry
52 of List 1. Before sugar industry became a controlled industry, both sugar
and sugarcane fell within Entry 27 of List 11 but, after a declaration was made
by Parliament in 1951 by Act LXV of 1951, sugar industry became a controlled
industry and the product of that industry viz., sugar was comprised in Entry 33
of List III taking it out of Entry 27 of List II." In Harakchand
Ratanchand Banthia v. Union of India(1), Tikka Ram's case (supra) was referred
to but the Court held that it was not necessary for the purposes of that case
to attempt to define the expression "industry" precisely or to state
exhaustively all its different aspects. The Court observed :
"But we are satisfied in the present
case that the manufacture of gold ornaments by goldsmiths in India is a
"process of systematic production" for trade or manufacture and so
falls within the connotation of the word "industry" in the
appropriate legislative entries." In State of Maharashtra v. Madhavrao
Damodar Patilchand (2 the point was left open whether the, State legislature
had or had not the authority to legislate adversely on matters falling within
entry 52 List I.
None of these cases assist the petitioners.
The fact that the plantation is run as an
integrated unit was strongly relied on but this cannot impinge upon and take
away the legislative power of the State in respect of List II entry 18.
The Privy Council in Canadian Pacific Railway
Company v. v.Attorney General(3) dealing with a similar matter observed
"But their Lordships can find neither principle nor authority to support
the competence of the Parliament of canada to legislate on a matter which clearly
falls within the enumerated heads in s. 92 and cannot be brought (1)  1
(3)  A.C. 122, 123, 140.
(2)  3 S.C.R. 712.
371 within any of the enumerated heads in s.
91 merely because the activities of one of the parties concerned in the matter
have created a unified system which is widespread and important in the
Dominion." The facts in that case are set out briefly in the head note
,,The appellant, the Canadian Pacific Rly.,
Co., which owned and managed the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia,
while not denying that the regulation of hours of work was ordinarily a matter
of "property and civil rights in the province" under head 13 of s. 92
of the British North America Act, 1867, and accordingly within the legislative
competence of the provincial legislature, contended, inter-alia, that the
company's activities had become such an extensive and important element in the
national economy of Canada that the Dominion Parliament was entitled under the
general powers conferred by the first part of s. 91 of the Act of 1867 to
regulate all the affairs of the company, even where that involved legislating
in relation to matters exclusively reserved to the provincial legislatures by
s. 92." It is not necessary to consider the situation where State
legislation on a topic in List 11 makes the control of industry by the Union
virtually impossible. No such question arises now.
Coming now to the question of repugnancy :
The object of the Tea Act, 1953, is to-provide for the control by the Union of
the tea industry, including the control, in pursuance of the international
agreement now in force, of the cultivation of tea in and the export of tea from
India. Chapter 11 sets up a Tea Board. Section 10 sets out the functions of the
Board. Broadly the duty of the Board is to promote by such measures as it
thinks fit the development under the control of the Central Government of tea
industry. Measures contemplated are listed in sub-s. (2) as follows :
" (2) Without prejudice to the
generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), the measures referred to
therein may provide for(a) regulating the production and extent of cultivation
(b) improving the quality of tea;
(c) promoting co-operative efforts among
growers and manufacturers of tea;
as 372 (d) undertaking, assisting or
encouraging scientific, technological and economic research and maintaining or
assisting in the maintenance of demonstration farms and manufacturing stations;
(e) assisting in the control of insects and
other pests and diseases affecting tea;
(f) regulating the sale and export of tea;
(g) training in tea tasting and fixing grade
standards of tea;
(h) increasing the consumption in India and
elsewhere of tea and carrying on propaganda for that purpose;
(i) registering and licensing of
manufacturers, brokers, tea waste dealers and persons engaged in the business
of blending tea;
(j) improving the marketing of tea in India
(k) collecting statistics from growers,
manufacturers, dealers and such other persons as may be prescribed on any
matter relating to the tea industry; the publication of statistics so collected
or portions thereof or extracts there from;
(1) securing better working conditions and
the provisions and improvement of amenities and incentives for workers;
(m) such other matters as may be
prescribed." Chapter III contains provisions to enable control to be
exercised over the extension of tea cultivation. Section 15(1)(a) proceeds on
the basis that land which is planted with tea can be compulsorily acquired for
in that eventuality the owner of the tea estate in which such land is situated
is permitted to apply to the Board for permission to plant tea on land not
planted with tea. Tea Act does not prohibit voluntary sale or compulsory
We may mention that no body has challenged
the validity of the Tea Act and we are proceeding on the basis that the Act is
valid. In this connection entry 14 of List I (......
implementing of treaties...... ) may be kept
in mind. If the Act is within the competence of Parliament and the impugned Act
is within the competence of the State the petitioners must show that the
impugned Act is repugnant to the Tea Act but we can see no conflict between the
provisions of the impugned Act and the Tea Act.
373 in Paresh Chandra Chatterjee v. The State
of Assam and Another(1) the validity of Assam Land (Requisition and
Acquisition) Act, 1948 was challenged partly on the ground that it was ultra
vires the State Legislature insofar as it provided for the requisitioning and
acquisition of tea estate. As it was a pre Constitution Act and there was no
Federal Law then declaring that the development of tea industry was expedient
in the public interest, the Act was held to be constitutionally valid. The
Court then examined the question whether the impugned Act would continue in
force, under art. 372 of the Constitution in face of the Tea Act of 1953. This
Court held that the impugned Act provided only for requisition or acquisition
of lands in public interest and' it had nothing to do with tea industry. After
examining the scheme of the Act, Subba Rao, J., observed :
"It is, therefore, manifest that the Tea
Act mainly concerned with the development of the tea industry, and it has
nothing to do with the requisition or acquisition of lands, though the said
lands may form part of a tea estate or used for purposes incidental to the tea
industry. Indeed, s. 1 5 (1) (b) of the Tea Act provides for the contingency of
a part of a land on which tea is planted being compulsorily acquired under the
provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (Act 1 of 1894) or by any other
law for the time being in force and no longer carries tea. In such an event,
the said section authorises the owner of the tea estate in which such land is
situate to apply to the Board for permission to plant tea on land not planted
The Tea Act, therefore, not only does not
expressly prohibit the acquisition of any land, but also in express terms
provided for the replacement of the area acquired by other land for the purpose
of tea plantation." "A comparative study of both the Acts makes it
clear that the two Acts deal with different matters and were passed for
different purposes." It was said that there is conflict because it is the
Tea Board and not the Land Board, which should determine what land is necessary
for the efficient working of the plantation but Parliament has not chosen, even
if it could, to say so.
For the reasons mentioned above we have come
to the conclusion that the State Legislature was competent to enact the
impugned Act and that it is not repugnant to the Tea Act.
(1)  3 S.C.R. 88.
374 Coming to the second point, namely
whether the impugned Act is protected from challenge under art. 3 1 A of the
Constitution, three points arise out of the contentions of the parties : (1) Do
the lands acquired fall within the expression "janmam right" in art.
31 A (2) (a) (i) ? (2) If not, do they fall within the expression
"testate" as defined in art. 31A(2) ? and (3) If not, do any of the
'lands fall within the lands described in art. 31 A (2) (a) (iii) ? Art.
31A(2) may be set out for the sake of
"31A(2) In this article,(a) the
expression "estate" shall, in relation to any local area, have the
same meaning as that expression or its local equivalent has in the existing law
relating to land tenures in force in that area and shall also include(i) any
jagir, janam or muafi or other similar grant and in the States of Madras and
Kerala, any Janmam right; any land held under ryotwari settlement;
(iii) any land held or let for purposes of
agriculture or for purposes ancillary thereto, including waste land, forest
land, land for pasture or sites of buildings and other structures occupied by
cultivators of land, agricultural labourers and village artisans;
(b) the expression "rights", in
relation to an estate, ,shall include any rights vesting in a proprietor, sub
proprietor, under proprietor, tenure-holder, (raiyat, under raiyat) or other
intermediary and any rights or privileges in respect of land revenue."
Dealing with the first point there is no doubt that the Poonjar Raja was a
janmi when the First Concession was granted to the predecessor-in-interest of
the petitioner, and if nothing had transpired after that the whole lands would
have fallen within the expression 'janmam right'. But the Royal Proclamation
dated September 24, 1899, changed the situation. The Poonjar Chief surrendered
certain rights which he had been exercising over the tract known as Anjanad and
Kannan Devan Mills. What is the effect of this surrender ? According to the
learned Advocate-General, the janmam rights still subsisted and instead of the
Poonjar Chief H.H. the Maharaja became the janmi.
The nature of 'janmam right' has been
examined by this Court previously in Kavalappara Kottarathil Kochuni v. State
of Madras(1). Subba Rao, J., as he then was, speaking for the Court, observed :
(1)  3 S.C.R. 887.
375 "Under the definition, any janmam
right in Kerala is an "estate". A janmam right is the freehold
interest. in a property situated in Kerala. Moor in his "Malabar Law and
Custom" describes it as a hereditary proprietorship.
A janmam interest may, therefore, be
described as "proprietary interest of a landlord in lands", and such
a janmam right is described as "estate" in the Constitution.
Substituting "janmam right" in place of "estate" in cl. 2
(b), the "rights" in art. 3 1 A ( 1 ) (a) will include the rights of
a proprietor and subordinate tenure holders in respect of a janmam right. It
follows that the extinguishment or modification of a right refers to the rights
of a proprietor or a subordinate tenure-holder in respect of a janmam right. A
proprietor called the janmi or his subordinate tenure-holder has certain
defined rights in a "janmam right". Landtenures in Malabar are
established by precendents or immemorial usage. Janmam right is a freehold
interest in property and the landlord is called "janmi". He can
create many subordinate interests or tenures therein." In the Travancore
Land Revenue Manual Volume 4 it is, stated "9. A Jamni differs from such
landlords in that he does not derive his title to lands from the Sircar &
Co. His title to the Janmam lands is inherent. ..............
12. Janmam lands are precisely what are in
Europe called allodial properties as contradistinguished from feudal.
13. It must be clear from what has been
stated that all the lands in the Travancore belonged to a body of janmis. There
are no lands that do not belong to some janmi or other.
14. Be it remembered that the Sircar itself
is one of these janmis, it having come to possess janmam lands by gift,
purchase, escheat, confiscation and other ways. It is only a great janmi, great
in the sense that its janmam property is extensive.
15. If any person wants land in Travancore,
he must obtain it from, and hold it of, some one of the body of Janmis, i.e.
from the Sircar, which is the Chief Janmi, or from some other Janmi." (Sir
T. Madava Row's Memo.) 376 In Mr. Kunhiramam Nair's Memo on Land 'Tenures it is
"At present the Sircar is the largest
Janmi in the State. The janmam lands of all the petty Rajas subdued in the last
few centuries and of several Madampies, have lapsed to the State, and other
causes such as escheat & c, have tended ,to increase the extent of the
Janmam possession of the Sircar. About threefourths of the whole land in the
State belong on Janmam to the Sircar, the remaining onefourth being distributed
among the classes mentioned in para 32 It is interesting to note that in
certain parts of Madras Janmam rights existed 'and the 'Government lands were
called government janman lands. (See Government Order No. 1902 Revenue dated
November 1, 1926) Para 3 of that order deals with the janmam estates and reads
as under :
"3. JANMABHOGAM.-Paragraph 11 of 'the
Board's Proceedings-"Lands have neither to been described as(a) Government
Janmam, i.e. lands which are held directly from the Government and on which
taram assessment and janmabhogam are paid to the Government and (b) private
janmam, i.e. lands which are held directly from the Government and on which
taram assessment but not janmabhogam is paid to the Government." It seems
to us that on the material placed before us it is difficult to resist the
conclusion that the lands in dispute fall within the expression "Janmam
right". If, as stated in Travancore Land Revenue Manual Volume IV, there
are no lands that do not belong to a Janmi and the Sircar becomes a janmi by
gift, escheat confiscation or otherwise, the effect of the Royal Proclamation
of 1899 must be that the Sircar became the Janmi. We are not concerned here
with lands which were held by the Full Bench of the Kerala High Court in
Sukapurain Sabhayogain v. State of Kerala(1) to be held under Ryotwari tenure
after the introduction of the Ryotwari Settlement in the Malabar area of Kerala
Assuming that the lands do not fall with
Janmam Right', we may now deal with the second point: In the Travancore Land
Revenue Manual, Vol. III, Revised Edition, 1936, Registered Lands are described
as follows (1) A.I.R.  Kerala 101.
377 "Registered lands are lands
registered in the revenue accounts as held by or granted to individuals`
families, corporations or institutions, and comprise all the different kinds of
tenures bearing either the full assessment or wholly or partially free of
assessment. These lands comprise not only the areas brought under cadastral
survey but include also coffee, tea, rubber and other estates, cardamom gardens
and other special grants outside the limits of cadastral survey." The
Registered Lands include inter alia, (a) Pandaravaka lands and (b) Janmam
lands. Regarding Pandaravaka lands it is stated :
"Pandaravaka or Sircar lands are, lands
of which the State is the landlord or the Jenmi and whatever rights which vest
in the ryots are derived from the Sircar." Kenan Devan Hills Concession is
dealt with under this heading, i.e. Pandaravaka Lands.
The janmam lands ate dealt with as follows:
"19. Definition.-Jenmom land is defined
in the Jenmi and Kudiyan Regulation, V of 1071 as "land (other than
Pandaravaka, Sripandaravaka, Kandukrishi or Sircar Devaswom land, recognised as
such in the Sircar accounts) which is either entirely exempt from Government
tax or if assessed to public revenue, is subject to Rajabhogam only, and the
occupancy right in ;which is created for a money consideration (Kanom) and is
also subject to the payment of Michavaram or customary dues and the payment of
the renewal fees.
"This definition is intended for the
purposes of the Regulation, which regulates the relations between janmis and
their Kanapattom tenants. A Janmi has not only Kanapattom tenanats but has
other tenants as well holding on Adima, Anubhogam, Thiruvulam and similar
other. tenures and the Regulation is not concerned with the latter class of
tenants in whose case the ordinary law of landlord and tenant is applicable.
Revenue law, on the other hand, makes no distinction between a Kanapattom tenant
and a non-Kanapattom tenant if he holds under a Janmi recogonised in the
revenue accounts. Hence for revenue purposes, Jenmom lands are lands that are
entered in the revenue accounts under the heads of Devaswomvaka, Brahmaswomvaka
and Madampimarvaka i.e. to say a land to be classed as Jenmom land should have
been recognised as such in the revenue accounts. The mere circumstance that a
378 to a Jenmi does not bring it under Jenmom
tenure and conversely the mere fact that Janmom land is absolutely transferred
to a non-Jenmi does not any the less detract from its original character.
Jenmom lands are allodial properties and the proprietary right in them is
considered as inherent in the individual and not derived from the State."
It thus appears that the State grants like Kanan Devan Hills Concession and Ten
Square Miles Concession, and Munro Lands, were treated under the heading
'Pandaravaka Lands, i.e.
lands belonging to the Sircar.
The case of Pandaravaka lands from the
erstwhile State of Cochin was considered by this Court in Purushothaman
Nambudiri v. State of Kerala(1). Some of the lands in dispute there were
classified by the land records maintained by the state as Pandaravaka holdings
while the remaining lands were classified as Puravaka holdings. The petitioner
there claimed that the lands did not constitute an 'estate' under art. 3 1 A
(2) (a). His case was that as regards Pandaravaka lands he was liable to pay
rent to the State calculated as a proportion of the gross yield of the properties
and the lands held by him as tenant under the State could not be an estate. It
was further contended that he was not an intermediary between the State and the
tiller of the soil and therefore the lands did not come within the purview of
art. 31 A (2) (a). Under clause 13 of the proclamation dated March 10, 1905,
the holders of Pandaravaka Verumpattom tenure acquired full rights to the soil
of the lands and held them subject to the liability to pay State assessments.
This Court, by majority, held that the holders of land held as Pandaravaka
Verumpattom were proprietors of the lands and held the, lands subject to the
liability to pay the assessment to the State, and therefore Pandaravaka
Verumpattom would be regarded as local equivalent of an estate under cl. (2) of
Gajendragadkar, J., as he then was, speaking
Court, observed :
"It seems to us that the basic concept
of the word "estate" is that the person holding the estate should be
proprietor of the soil and should be in direct relationship with the State
paying land revenue to it except where it is remitted in whole or in part. If
therefore a term is used or defined in any existing law in a local area which
corresponds to this basic concept of "estate" that would be the local
equivalent of word "estate" in that area. It is not necessary that
there must be an intermediary in an estate before it can be called an estate
within (1)  Supp. 1 S.C.R .753.
379 the meaning of Art. 3 1 A (2) (a); It is
true that in many cases of estate such intermediaries exist, but there are many
holders of small estates who cultivate their lands without any intermediary
whatever. It is not the presence of the intermediary that determines whether a
particular landed property is an estate or not; what determines the character
of such property to be an estate is whether it comes within the definition of
the word " estate" in the existing law in a particular area or is for
the purpose of that area the local equivalent of the word " estate"
irrespective of whether there are intermediaries in existence or not." It
seems that if it is held that theland does not fall within the expression
'janmam right' it may possibly be covered by the decision of this Court in
Purushothaman Nambudiri's case (Supra) but as arguments were not addressed to
us on this point we do not express our final opinion.
The next question which arises is : If the
lands acquired by the impugned Act are an estate, is the impugned Act a law for
effecting agrarian reforms ? Section 9 of the impugned Act envisages three
(1) reservation of lands for promotion of
(2) reservation of land for the welfare of
(3) assignment of remaining lands to
agriculturists and agricultural labourers.
Do the first two purposes fall within the
concept of agrarian reforms ? Flood control and prevention of erosion are
undoubtedly of great importance for promoting agriculture and yet it was held
by this Court in Deputy Commissioner and Collector, Kamrup v. Durga Nath Sarma(1)
that the Assam Acquisition of Land for Flood Control and Prevention of Erosion
Act had no relation to agrarian reforms, land tenure or the elimination of
intermediaries. Acquisition for housing scheme and slum clearance in the city
of Madras, though of great social and economic importance, was not included in
the concept of agrarian reform by this Court in P. Vajravalu Mudaliar v.
Special Deputy Collector, Madras (2 ) But a
wide meaning was given to the concept in Ranjit Singh v. State of Punjab(3).
The transfer of Shamlat deh owned by the
proprietors to the village panchayat for the purpose of management in the
manner stated in the Consolidation of Holdings Act and (1)  1 S.C.R. 561.
(2) , 1 S.C.R. 614.
(3)  1 S.C.R. 82,94.
LI286 Sup CI/72 380 conferment of proprietary
rights in respect of lands in the Abadi deh was treated as effecting agrarian
Hidayatillah, J., as he then was, observed :
"The scheme of rural development today
envisages not only equitable distribution of land so that there is no undue
imbalance in society resulting in a landless class on the one hand and a
concentration of land in the hands of a few on the other, but envisages also
the raising of economic standards and bettering rural health and social conditions.
Provisions for the assignment of lands to
village Panchayat for the use of the general community, or for hospitals,
schools, manure pits, tanning grounds etc. enure for the benefit of rural
population must be considered to be an essential part of the redistribution of
holdings and open lands to which no objection is apparently taken. If agrarian
reforms are to, succeed, mere distribution of land to the landless is not
enough. There must be a proper planning of rural economy and conditions and a
body like the village Panchayat is best designed to promote rural welfare than
individual owners of small portions of lands." The definition of
"common purpose" is reproduced below for convenience :
"Common purpose" means any purpose
in relation to any common need, convenience or benefit of the village and
include the following purposes (i) extension of the village Abadi;
(ii) providing income for the Panchayat of
the, village concerned for the benefit of the village community.
(iii) village roads and paths; village
village wells, ponds or tanks; village water
courses or water channels; village bus stands and waiting places; manure pits;
public latrines; cremation and burial
panchayat ghar; Janj Ghar, grazing grounds;
tanning places; meta grounds; public places
of religious or charitable nature; and (iv) schools and play-grounds,
dispensaries, hospitals and institutions of like nature, water works or
tube-wells whether such schools, play-grounds, 381 dispensaries, hospitals,
institutions, waterworks or tube-wells may be managed and controlled by the
State Government or not." We are bound by the judgment. What are the,
implications of this judgment ? All the purposes mentioned above were held to
be comprised within the concept of agrarian reform.
It is urged that the wording of the first two
purposes in, S. 9 is too wide. But if we look at the definition of "common
purpose", which was sustained by this Court in Ranjit Singh's case, it
shows that the purposes sustained thereby would come tinder either the
expression "promotion of agriculture" or "welfare of
agricultural population" in s. 9. Indeed some would fall under both. For
instance, reservation of lands for manure pits, water works or wells, village
water courses or water channels and grazing grounds would promote agriculture;
schools and playgrounds, dispensaries, public latrines etc. would be for the
welfare of agriculturists.
If the State were to use lands for purposes
which have no direct connection with the promotion of agriculture or welfare of
agricultural population the State could be restrained from using the lands for
those purposes. Any fanciful connection with these purposes would not be
It seems to us that if we read these two
purposes to mean that these include only "common purposes", which
were sustained by this Court and purposes similar thereto it would be difficult
to say that they are not for agrarian reform. In a sense agrarian reform is
wider than land reform. It includes besides land reform something more and that
something more is illustrated by the definition of "common purpose",
which was sustained by this Court in Ranjit Singh's case (supra).
In the State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raja
Anand(1), the acquisition of a grant in the nature of Jagir was upheld. It was
"Mr. A. K. Sen further urges that the,
acquisition of the estate was not for the purposes of agrarian reforms because
hundreds of square miles of forest are sought to be acquired. But as we have
held that the area in dispute is a rant in the nature of Jagir or inam, its
acquisition like the acquisition of all Jagirs, inams, or similar grants, was a
necessary step in the implementation of the agrarian reforms and was clearly
contemplated in art. 31A." (1)  1 S.C.R. 362, 372.
382 These observations must be understood in
the light of the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land
Reforms Act, 1950, for the impugned Act in that case (U.P. Act No. 1 of 1964)
had amended S. 3 (8) of that Act of 1950.
This grant in the nature of the jagir stood
in the same position as all the big zamindaris and jagirs in Uttar Pradesh. It
has never been urged that the Act of 1950 was not a measure of agrarian reform.
The third object-settlement of agriculturists
and agricultural labour it seems to us, is clearly covered by the expression
"agrarian reforms". The main object of agrarian reforms has been to
acquire excess land and settle landless labourers and agriculturists.
We are accordingly of the opinion that the
three purposes the. first two reads as we have indicated-are covered by the
expression "agrarian reform" and the legislation is protected from
challenge by art. 31-A.
In the result the petition fails and is
dismissed, but there will be no order as to costs.
S.C. Petition dismissed.