JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THIS petition challenges the validity of the jenmikaram Payment (Abolition) Act, 1960, on the ground that it violates Art. 14 & 19 (1) (f) of the Constitution. The questions for determination are whether such an attack is permissible in view of Art. 31a of the Constitution; and if permissible, whether the Act is as a matter of fact violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed by those two provisions of the Constitution.
(2.)CLAUSE (2) of Art. 13 of the Constitution provides that the State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the fundamental rights conferred by the Constitution and that any law made in contravention of that clause shall, to the extent of the contravention be void. CLAUSE (1) of art. 31a of the Constitution says that notwithstanding anything contained in art. 13, no law providing for 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 Art. 14, 19 and 31 of the constitution.
Clause (2) of Art. 31a defines the expressions 'estate' and 'rights' in relation to an estate. It says: " (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 any jagir, inam or muafi or other similar grants and in the States of Madras and Kerala, any janmam right; (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. ".

The definition of the expression 'estate' makes it quite clear that a jenmom right is covered by that expression. And if the jenmikaram Payment (Abolition) Act, 1960, relates to the extinguishment or modification of a jenmom right, as contended by the State, then the immunity from attack provided by clause (1) of Art. 31a will be available and the Act will not be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with, or takes away or abridges any of the rights conferred by Art. 14 and 19 (1) (f) of the constitution.

(3.)IN Kavalappara Kottarathil Kochunni and others v. The states of Madras and Kerala and others AIR. 1960 SC. 1080 -1960 KLT SC 31 the supreme Court said: "under the definition, any jenmom right in Kerala is an 'estate'. A jenmom 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 jenmom interest may, therefore be described as 'proprietary interest of a landlord in lands'. "
That the jenmies of Travancore - this case arises from the Travancore portion of the Kerala State - were proprietors of the soil is beyond dispute. They continued to be the proprietors even after the introduction of the Travancore Jenmi and Kudiyan Act of 1071. S. 5 of that Act, as originally enacted, did not destroy the proprietorship of the jenmi; it only conferred on the Kudiyan aright of permanent occupancy. All that Para. 1 of S. 5 said was: "subject to the provisions of this Act, every Kudiyan shall have a right of permanent occupancy in his holding and shall be exempt from liability to eviction save as laid down in S. 7"

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