Decided on March 02,1962

Munda Chapla Banjari Appellant

Referred Judgements :-



KOTVAL,J. - (1.)These three petitions raise a question of some importance as to whether a lease granted by a receiver in insolvency would make the lessee a protected lessee under the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act, 1951, and for that reason whether he would continue to have the protection of tenancy laws.
(2.)ONE Laxman Balwant Deshmukh was on his own petition declared insolvent on August 13, 1953, in Insolvency Case No. 11 of 1952 in the Court of the Civil Judge, Class I, Yeotmal. Prior to the adjudication order, on January 23, 3953, there was appointed a receiver in insolvency. He was Mr. Joglekar, a pleader. In the normal course of management of the property, Mr. Joglekar granted yearly leases to various individuals of certain fields belonging to the insolvent which were admittedly 'alienated' lands. Three such persons to whom or to whose ancestors the fields of the insolvent were leased are the three petitioners in these petitions. In Special Civil Applications Nos. 251 and 253 of .1961 the petitioners or their predecessors in interest had taken leases in the agricultural year 1950 -51 from the insolvent prior to insolvency and later on the receiver continued those leases as yearly leases from 1953 -54. The first leases which the receiver granted to the two petitioners in those two cases were granted on April 6, 1953. In Special Civil Application No. 252 of 1961 the initial lease granted by the receiver was for the year 1954 -55.
Now, it appears that subsequently in the course of insolvency proceedings (hose fields were ordered by the insolvency Court to be sold and the receiver .sold them by public auction in each case to respondent No. 3, Godawaribai. He executed a sale deed in each case in favour of the respondent Godawaribai on Applications Nos. 252 of 1961 and 253 of December 19, 1955. Godawaribai then filed suits for possession against the lessees and in those suits the lessees took the stand that they had become 'protected lessees' within the meaning of the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act and Godawaribai could not get possession. When that plea was raised, the Civil Court made a reference -as it was bound to do -under Section 16 -A of the Act to the revenue authorities and it is upon a decision of that reference by the revenue authorities that these petitions arise. The contest in the present proceedings was thus between the petitioners on the one hand who claim to be protected lessees under the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act and, therefore, entitled to the protection of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Vidarbha Region and Kutch Area) Act, 1958 No XCIX of 1958) and respondent No. 3 Godawaribai who claims to be the landholder, on the other.

(3.)THOUGH the arguments have covered a wide field, in our opinion, the principal question that falls to be decided in these petitions is whether the petitioners under the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act consequent upon the grant of leases by the receiver in insolvency became protected lessees. The learned Commissioner as also the Deputy Collector, contrary to the view of the Sub -Divisional Officer, have held that the receiver in insolvency was an officer of the State and since he was authorised to grant annual leases, the leases granted by him would fall within the provisions of Section 20 of the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act as leases from Government and, therefore, they would be exempt. The argument was thus put by the learned Commissioner : Section 20 of the B.R.A.L. Act has exempted leases from Government. The lease from the receiver in all its practical sense is, therefore, a lease from Government. In the result, therefore, those authorities have held that the petitioners cannot claim protected status, and the stand was reiterated before us.

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