Shakuntla Vs. State of Haryana 
INSC 41 (16 February 1979)
CITATION: 1979 AIR 843 1979 SCR (3) 232 1979
SCC (3) 226
PEPSU Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act,
1955, S. 32 FF, whether applicable to gift of land by non-related donor.
The appellants were persons to whom gifts of
agricultural lands were made before July 30, 1958, for love and affection, by non-related donors. The Revenue authorities decided that these gifts were not
protected by s. 32FF of the PEPSU Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1955, as
there had been no valuable "consideration", within the meaning of
that section. A Division Bench of the Haryana High Court upheld the dismissal
of the appellants' writ petition, by a single Judge of that court.
Dismissing the appeals the Court,
HELD : It is the essence of a gift as defined
in the Transfer of Property Act, that it should be without
"consideration" of the nature defined in s. 2(d) of the Contract Act,
and as section 32FF of the Act saves only the transfer or disposition of land
for "consideration" up to the limit specified in it, the gifts under
dispute, will not fall within the purview of that section. Any other view of
the section would defeat the purpose of Chapter IV-A of the Act, which provides
for ceiling on land and acquisition and disposal of surplus area. [234 E, G,
H-235 A] James Newton v. Robert Hargreaves, 135 ER 905;
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 1829- 1831 of 1969.
Appeals by Special Leave from the Judgment
and Order dated 14-1-69 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in L.P.A. Nos.
256-258 of 1966.
Y. C. Mahajan and Mrs. Urmila Kapur for the
B. Dutta and R. N. Sachthey for the
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
SHINGHAL, J.-The appellants in these three appeals are aggrieved against a
common judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dated January 14, 1969, by
which the judgment of a learned Single Judge of that Court dismissing their
writ petitions was upheld on the ground that the gifts to them did not fall
within the purview of the saving clause of section 32FF of the PEPSU Tenancy
and Agricultural Lands Act, 1955, hereinafter referred to as the Act.
233 It is not in dispute that a gift was made
in each of these cases before July 30, 1958, and in one case after August 21,
1956 but before July 30, 1958. The donees were not persons who were not related
to the donors, and were persons to whom gifts were made of agricultural lands
for love and affection. The revenue authorities took the view that the gifts
were not transfers of lands of the nature protected by section 32FF of the Act
as there was no valuable consideration, and mere love and affection was not
"consideration" within the meaning of that section. As the High Court
has upheld that view, the appellants feel aggrieved and have come up in appeal
to this Court by special leave.
Section 32FF of the Act which deals with
certain transfers which are not to affect the surplus area of a landowner
provides as follows,- "32FF. Save in the case of land acquired by the
State Government under any law for the time being in force or by an heir by
inheritance or up to 30th July, 1958 by a landless person, or a small
landowner, not being a relation as prescribed of the person making the transfer
or disposition of land, for consideration up to an area which with or without
the area owned or held by him does not in the aggregate exceed the permissible
limit no transfer or other disposition of land effected after 21st August,
1956, shall affect the right of the State Government under this Act to the
surplus area to which it would be entitled but for such transfer or disposition
Provided that any person who has received any
advantage under such transfer or disposition of land shall be bound to restore
it, or to make compensation for it, to the person from whom he received
it." The section therefore provides that no transfer or other disposition
of land effected after August 21, 1956, shall affect the rights of the State
Government under the Act to the surplus area to which it would be entitled but
for such transfer or disposition "save" in the case of land acquired
by the State Government under any law for the time being in force, or by an
heir by inheritance or up to July 30, 1958 by a landless person, or small
landowner, not being a relation as prescribed of the person making the transfer
or disposition of land, provided that it is for "consideration", up
to an area which with or without the area owned or held by him does not in the
aggregate exceed the permissible limit. The only point in controversy before us
is whether the gifts of land which were made in the three cases 234 under
appeal on account of natural love and affection, could be said to be transfers
of the lands for consideration ? It has been argued on behalf of the appellants
that the aforesaid gifts were in the nature of transfer of property as defined
in section 5 of the Transfer of Property Act and it did not matter if they were
by way of gift and did not amount to sale or exchange.
Section 5 of the Transfer of Property Act
defines "transfer of property" to mean an act by which a living
person conveys property, in present or in future, inter alia, to one or more
other living persons Such transfer of property may be made by one of the
several modes known to law e.g. by sale, exchange or gift etc. It is not the
case of the appellants that the transfers under consideration were by way of
sale or exchange or that they were made otherwise than by way of gift to them.
Section 122 of the Transfer of Property Act
defines "gift" as follows,- "122. "Gift" is the
transfer of certain existing moveable or immoveable property made voluntarily
and without consideration, by one person, called the donor, to another called
the donee, and accepted by or on behalf of the donee." It is therefore one
of the essential requirements of a gift that it should be made by the donor
The word "consideration" has not
been defined in the Transfer of Property Act, but we have no doubt that it has
been used in that Act in the same sense as in the Indian Contract Act and
excludes natural love and affection. If it were to be otherwise, a transfer
would really amount to a sale within the meaning of section 54 of the Transfer
of Property Act, or to an exchange within the meaning of section 118 for each
party will have the rights and be subject to the liabilities of a seller as to
what he gives and have the rights and be subject to the liabilities of a buyer as
to that which he takes. It is not necessary for us to examine the other modes
of transfer, for they have no bearing on the nature of the controversy before
us. It would thus appear that it is of the essence of a gift as defined in the
Transfer of Property Act that it should be without "consideration" of
the nature defined in section 2 (d) of the Contract Act, Now what section 32FF
of the Act saves is transfer or disposition of land for
"consideration" up to the limit specified in it, and as a gift is always
without consideration, the gifts which are the subject matter of controversy
before us will not fall within the purview of that section, and have rightly
been excluded while calculating the surplus area in the three cases before us.
Any other view of the section would defeat
the purpose of Chapter IV-A of the Act which provides for ceiling on land and
acquisition and disposal of surplus area.
Mr. Mahajan for the appellants tried to argue
that "good consideration" has been defined in Black's Law Dictionary
(fourth edition) to mean "such as is founded on natural duty and
affection", and would amount to consideration within the meaning of
section 32FF of the Act.
But even there it has been clarified that
"good" is generally used "in antithesis to valuable
consideration", which has necessarily to be excluded in the case of a gift
by virtue of its definition in section 122 of the Transfer of Property Act. The
argument of learned counsel becomes untenable on a reference to 17 C.J.S.
Contract 91-92 on which he has placed considerable reliance. We have also gone
through James Newton v. Robert Hargreaves,(1) but it cannot avail the
appellants for there the conveyance was by the father to his two sons in
consideration of natural love and affection and the law acknowledged that to be
a "good" consideration, which is not so in the cases before us.
There is thus no force in these appeals and
they are dismissed with costs.
M.R. Appeals dismissed.