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Report No. 138

7.4. Supreme Court case on land.-

In order to overcome a possible argument that the subject matter of the proposed legislation will not fall under the legislative competence of the Centre in the context of entry 18 of the State List pertaining to land,1 It is enough to refer to a Supreme Court case of 1969. In that case,2 the question at issue was a narrow one namely, whether the Centre can legislate to provide for eviction and rent control, etc., in respect of house accommodation in cantonments.

The Supreme Court answered the question in the affirmative, relying on Union List, entry 3-"Delimitation of cantonment areas, local-self government in such areas regulation of house accommodation (including the control of rents) in such areas." The control of rent, the court held, would include protection against eviction also. The Supreme Court rejected the contention that State List, entry 18 "land" would apply. In this context, the Supreme Court did take note of the various High Court decisions as to the interpretation of the entry relating to land. It was in this context that the court referred to the Bombay case of A.C. Patel v. Vishwanath, AIR 1954 Bom 204 and then expressed itself as under:-

"The Nagpur High Court in Kewalchand v. Dashrathlal ILR 1956 Nag 618: AIR 1956 Nag 268, proceeded on the assumption that the decision in the case of A.C. Patel v. Vishwanath, AIR 1954 Bom 204., (supra) correctly defined the scope of entry 2 in List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Government of India Act, and considered the narrow question whether the relationship of landlord and tenant specifically mentioned in entry 21 in List H of that Act, which covered the requirement of permission to serve a notice for eviction in regulating the relation of landlord and tenant, and fell within the scope of entry 21, List II or in entry 2 in List I of that Act. The court held that it substantially fell in entry 21 in List H or in not in entry 2 in List I.

The court did not consider it necessary to express any opinion on the question whether the expression "regulating of house accommodation" included something besides what Chagla, C.J., had said was its ambit in the case of A.C. Patel v. Vishwanath Chada, AIR 1954 Bom 204 (supra), but expressed the opinion that the expression could not be stretched to include the aspect of the relation of landlord and tenant involved in that particular case. It is clear that, in that case also, a narrower interpretation of the expression "regulation of house accommodation" was accepted, because it appears that there was no detailed discussion of the full scope of that expression. "Similar is the decision of the Patna High Court in Babu Jagtanand v. Sri Satyanarayanji Lakshmiji ILR 40 Pat 625, through the Shabait and Manager Jamund Das.

In fact, this last case merely followed the decision of the Bombay High Court in the case of F.E. Darukhanawala v. Nawal Mal, ILR 1954 Bom 544 (supra). On the other hand, the Rajasthan High Court in Nawal Mal v. Nathu Lal, ILR 11 Raj 421, held that the power of the State Legislature to legislate in respect of landlord and tenant of buildings is to be found in Entries 6, 7 and 13 or List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, and not in Entry 18 of List II, and that that power was circumscribed by the exclusive power of parliament to legislate on the same subject under Entry 3 of List I. That is also the view which the Calcutta High Court has taken in the Judgment in appeal before us. We think that the decision given by the Calcutta High Court is correct and must be upheld."

We are mentioning this Judgment to show the limited scope of the entry relating to "land", not covering various measures which do not directly touch land.

1. "18. Land, that is to say, rights in and 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; colonisation."

2. Indu Bhushan v. Rama Sundari, (1969) 2 SCC 289 (298, 299), para. 14, followed in Saiyada v. Hindustan Steel, (1989) 1 SCC 272: AIR 1989 SC 406.

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