LEKSHMI Vs. NARAYANA IYER
LAWS(KER)-1963-2-2
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Decided on February 21,1963

LEKSHMI Appellant
VERSUS
NARAYANA IYER Respondents


Cited Judgements :-

PODDAR PLANTATIONS LIMITED VS. THEKKEMARIVEETTIL MADHAVI AMMA [LAWS(KER)-2013-9-56] [REFERRED TO]
AHAMMAD HAJI VS. STATE OF KERALA [LAWS(KER)-1963-11-26] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THE short but interesting question that arises for consideration in this writ petition is as to the effect of the striking down, as unconstitutional by this Court of the Kerala Agrarian Relations Act, 1960, Kerala Act 4 of 1961, on the repeal, effected by this Statute, of the Malabar Tenancy . Act, 1929, Madras Act 14 of 1930, as amended from time to time. That depends upon the construction to be placed on Art. 13(2) of the Constitution.
(2.)THE question arises this way. THE Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929, enacted no doubt by the Madras Legislature, was in force, in what I may compendiously call the Malabar area, and also portions of the South Kanara District which became part of the Kerala State after the States Reorganisation. In fact, the preamble to the Malabar Tenancy Act itself states that it is enacted for the purpose of defining, declaring, etc., the law relating to landlord and tenant in the District of Malabar and certain neighbouring areas in the State of Madras. Under sub-section (2) of S. 1, the Act extends to the whole of the District of Malabar, to the Gudalur Taluk of the Nilgiris District and to the villages in the South Kanara District specified in the schedule. In fact, the schedule gives a list of about 33 villages. Only some of those villages, which formed part of the original South Kanara District and referred to in the schedule came into the Kerala State. We are not also concerned with the application of the Act to the Gudalur Taluk of the Nilgiris District because that area does not form part of the Kerala State.
This Act was admittedly in force in the areas forming part of the Kerala State to which it was applicable, till the passing by the State Legislature, of the Kerala Agrarian Relations Act, 1960, Kerala Act 4 of 1961. This Act received the assent of the President on 21st January 1961 and was published in the State Gazette, dated 3rd February 1961. The preamble to this statute was to the effect that it was expedient to enact a comprehensive legislation relating to agrarian reforms in the State of Kerala. Under S. 1 (2), the Act extends to the whole of the State of Kerala. Under sub-s. (3) of S.1 it was provided that the Act shall come into force on such date as the Government, by notification in the Gazette appoint; and it also provided that different dates may be appointed for different provisions of the Act. There is no controversy that Ss.1 to 40, 57, 58, 60, 74 to 79 and 81 to 95 came into force with effect from 15th February 1961 by virtue of a notification issued by the State Government under S. 1(3) of the Act.S. 95 of Kerala Act 4 of 1961 related to repeals. In particular, sub-s. (1) of S. 95 stated: "The enactments mentioned in Schedule HI are hereby repealed." Among the four statutes mentioned in Sch. III, item 3 was the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929, and all the statutes mentioned in Sob. III were repealed "as in force in any part of the State of Kerala." When S. 95 of Kerala Act 4 of 1961 came into force from 15th February 1961, the Malabar Tenancy Act of 1929, stood repealed as and from that date. Sub-section (2) (a) of S. 95 related to the repeal of certain other Proclamations and Acts referred to therein and provided that all suits, appeals, revisions, reviews and proceedings in execution of decrees stayed by the said enactments are to be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of Act 4 of 1961. Sub-section (4) of S. 95 again provided that any suit for restoration, filed under S. 24 or S. 26 of the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929 and pending disposal at the commencement of the Kerala Act 4 of 1961, are to be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Malabar Tenancy Act as if that Act had not been repealed.

Kerala Act 4 of 1961 was challenged before the Supreme Court as unconstitutional by two sets of landlords, namely, one from the erstwhile State of Cochin which now forms part of the Kerala State and another from that part of the State of Kerala which was formerly in the South Kanara District of the State of Madras and has come into the State of Kerala, namely, Hosdrug and Kasargode Taluks in the State of Kerala. The Act was challenged on several grounds.

(3.)SO far as the challenge made by the landlord from the Cochin area was concerned, the Supreme Court did not accept the challenge. The decision of the Supreme Court on this matter is reported in Purushothaman Nambudiri v. State of Kerala 1962 KLT. SC. 1. In this decision, Their Lordships held that the lands held by the petitioner before them from the Cochin area are an 'estate' under clause (2)(a) of Art. 31-A of the Constitution and, therefore, the Act is protected under Art. 31-A(2) (a) and, therefore, not open to be challenged on the ground that the material provisions of the statute offend Arts. 14 19 and 31.
But so far as the challenge made against Kerala Act 4 of 1961 by the landlord from the Hosdrug and Kasargode Taluks was concerned, the Supreme Court accepted the challenge and ultimately held that the Act infringes the fundamental rights of the petitioner therein and struck down the entire Act in relation to its application to ryotwari lands which have come to the State of Kerala, from the State of Madras. This decision of the Supreme Court is reported in Kunhikoman v. State of Kerala 1962 KLT. SC. 42. The decision of the Supreme Court in both these matters was rendered on 5th December 1961.

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