Decided on July 06,1954


Cited Judgements :-



Chagla, C.J. - (1.)These are several petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Bombay Personal inams Abolition Act, 1952, being Act 42 of 1953. The 30 petitioners are inamdars of various inams and the exemption from land revenue in their case is below Rs. 5,000. In petition No. 404 of 1954 the exemption from land revenue in his case exceeds Rs. 5,000. Then there is one inferior holder who holds from the inamdar; that is petition No. 399; and in seven petitions NOS. 632, 846, 847, 921, 023 and 933 the petitioners are alienees from Inamdars and they have purchased the right to receive land revenue from inferior holders. There is one petition No. 1166 where the inamdar is the inamdar of wanta lands.
(2.)Turning first to the Act which is challenged, it applies to inamdars, inam villages and personal inams, and we have the definition of an "inamdar" in Section 2(1)(c) which defines an inamdar as a holder of a personal inam and includes any person lawfully holding under or through him. Inam village and inam land is defined as a village or a portion of a village or land, as the case may be, held by a person under a personal Inam; and "personal inam" is defined as a grant of a village, portion of a village, land or total or partial exemption from the payment of land revenue entered as personal inam in the alienation register kept under Section 53 of the Code, and also a grant of money or land revenue including anything payable as a cash allowance on the part of the state Government in respect of any right, privilege, perquisite or office and entered as class I, II, III, IV or V in the records kept under the rules made under the Pensions Act, 1871. Section 4 extinguishes all personal inams, and the proviso to that section lays down that if the amount of exemption from payment of land revenue exceeds Rs. 5,000, the exemption from payment of land revenue shall be extinguished from 18- 1953, and in all other cases from 1-8-1955. Section 5 provides that all inam villages or Inam lands shall be liable to the payment of land revenue in accordance with the provisions of the Land Revenue Code, and Sub-section (2) provides that an Inamdar in respect of the inam land in his actual possession or in possession of a person holding from him other than' an inferior holder, referred to in Clause (b) below, or an inferior holder holding Inam land on payment of annual assessment only, shall primarily be liable to the State Govt. for the payment of land revenue due in respect of such land held by him and shall be entitled to all the rights and shall be liable to all obligations in respect of such land as an occupant under the Code or the rules made thereunder or any other law for the time being in force. The effect of this provision briefly is that where an inamdar or a person holding from him other than an inferior holder is in possession of the land, the inamdar becomes the occupant and becomes liable to pay land revenue direct to the State, Where there is an inferior holder in possession, then he becomes an occupant and he becomes liable to pay the amount of land revenue direct to the State. Therefore, the position as between the Inamdar and the inferior holder is that the inferior holder does not pay the land revenue to the superior holder but pays it to the State and his possession is protected and made permanent by his being looked upon as an occupant within the meaning of the Land Revenue Code. Section 6 provides for compensation for abolition of cash allowance. Section 1 deals with public roads situated in inam villages, and the section provides that these public roads, etc. shall vest in Government. What is made to vest in Government is also waste lands and all uncultivated lands; and the explanation to that section provides: "For the purposes of this section, land shall be deemed to be uncultivated If it has not been cultivated for a continuous period of three years immediately before the appointed date." Section 10 provides compensation to be paid to inamdars in respect of any right or interest in any property referred to in Section 7 and it lays down the mode of assessing the compensation. Section 17 gives the right to any person aggrieved by the provisions of the Act as abolishing, extinguishing or modifying any of his rights to or interest in property and if compensation for such abolition, extinguishment or modification has not been provided for in the provisions of the Act, to apply to the Collector for compensation. There is an important sub-section in this section which is Subsection (5) which provides: "Nothing in this section shall entitle any person to compensation on the ground that any Inam village or inam land which was wholly or partially exempt from the payment of land revenue has been under the provisions of this Act made subject to the payment of full assessment in accordance with the provisions of the Code."
(3.)Now, there are three important aspects of this legislation on which emphasis has been placed by Mr. Jahagirdar. In the first place Mr. Jahagirdar says that no compensation whatever has been provided to the inamdar who loses his right to exemption from payment of land revenue. He-points out that although compensation is provided: for loss of cash allowance, the Legislature in its wisdom has not thought fit to give any compen-sation to an inamdar who loses his valuable right of being exempted from payment of land revenue. The second aspect of the legislation to which attention is drawn is the position of the inamdar 'qua' the inferior holder. Mr. Jahagirdar says that today the inamdar has reversionary rights in the land which is being held by the Inferior holder, and apart from the inamdar losing his right to receive land revenue from the inferior holder, he even loses his proprietary right in that land. The third aspect of the legislation to which reference is made is that with regard to uncultivated lands the only compensation that is provided is under Section 10 which is not to exceed three times the assessment of the land. Having regard to these aspects of the legislation. Mr. Jahagirdar's submission is that this legislation is clearly confiscatory in character. Mr. Jahagirdar says that either it confiscates without giving any compensation at all, as in the case of exemption from land revenue, or, where it does pay compensation, as in the case of uncultivated lands, the compensation is purely illusory.

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