(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-s.(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.
(3.)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. l 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 S.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 3 are hereby repealed."
Among the four statutes mentioned in Schedule 3, item 3 was the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929, and all the statutes mentioned in Sch. 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-s.(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-s.(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.