SETH RISHABH KUMAR Vs. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
LAWS(MPH)-1967-7-9
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
Decided on July 21,1967

SETH RISHABH KUMAR Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH Respondents

JUDGEMENT

BHAVE J - (1.) THE petitioner was proprietor of village Manpura in Tahsil Damoh, District Damoh. In the said village there is a tank bearing Khasra No. 187, area 7.28 acres. After the abolition of proprietary rights, it appears that the said tank was treated as having vested in the State and the petitioner was excluded from its possession. THE petitioner claimed that the tank was settled with him under section 5 (f) of the Madhya Pradesh Abolition of Proprietary Rights (Estates, Mahals, Alienated Lands) Act, 1950 (No. 1 of 1951) hereinafter referred to as the 'Abolition Act'. He, therefore, filed Civil Suit No. 57-A of 1958 in the Court of Civil Judge, Class II, Damoh, for declaration of his title to the tank and its possession. THE civil Court upheld the claim of the petitioner on the ground that as provided under section 5 of the Abolition Act the tank could not vest in the State and was saved for the use of the petitioner. Accordingly, the civil Court granted a decree for delivery of possession of the tank to the petitioner. THE petitioner took possession of the same on 22nd February 1959.
(2.) IN the year 1961, however, proceedings were initiated by the respondent No. 5 against the petitioner under section 251 of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, 1959. The petitioner contended before the respondent No. 5 that the tank had already vested in the State under the Abolition Act and that it could not again vest in the State under section 251 of the M.P. Land Revenue Code. That claim of the petitioner was negatived by the respondent No. 5 and the petitioner's appeals and revision before the respondents Nos. 2 to 4 were unsuccessful. The petitioner has now filed this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution seeking a writ of certiorari for quashing the said order (Annexures 3 to 6) and also a writ of mandamus restraining the respondents from interfering with the rights and possession of the petitioner over the tank. Section 251 of the M.P. Land Revenue Code, 1959, reads: "251. Vesting of tanks in State Government.- (1) All tanks situated on unoccupied land on or before the date of coming into force of the Act, providing for the abolition of the rights of intermediaries in the areas concerned and over which members of the village community were, immediately before such date, exercising rights of irrigation or Nistar, shall, if sot already vested in the State Government, vest absolutely in the State Government, with effect from the 6th April, 1959: Provided that nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect any right of a lessee in the tank under a lease subsisting on the date of vesting of the tank which shall be exercisable to the extent and subject to the terms and conditions specified in the lease: Provided further that no tank shall vest in the State Government, unless- (a) after making such enquiry as he deems fit, the Collector is satisfied that the tank fulfils the conditions laid down in this sub-section; and (b) notice has been served on the parties interested and opportunity given to them for being heard. (2) Any person claiming in any such tank any interest other than the right of irrigation or Nistar may, within a period of four years from the date of vesting under sub-section (1), make an application in the prescribed form to the Collector for compensation in respect of his interest. (2-a) The provisions of section 239 shall apply to trees standing on the embankments of tank vested in the State Government under sub-section (1) as they apply to trees planted in an unoccupied land. (3) Such compensation shall be fifteen times the land revenue assessable on the land covered by the tank and for purposes of assessment such land shall be treated as irrigated land of the same quality as the adjoining land. (4) The compensation as determined under sub-section (3) shall be paid by the Collector to the person or persons proved to his satisfaction to be owning interest in the tank concerned. (5) The payment of compensation under sub-section (4) shall be a full discharge of the State Government from all liability for compensation in respect of the tank concerned but shall not prejudice any rights in respect of such tank to which any other person may be entitled by due process of law to enforce against the person or persons to whom compensation has been paid as aforesaid. (6) The State Government may make rules providing for the regulation of the use of water from such tanks. (7) The vesting of any tank under sub-section (1) shall not affect the rights of irrigation and Nistar in such tank to which any person is entitled immediately before the date of vesting. Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, tank includes the trees standing on the embankments of the tank but does not include buildings, temples or other constructions standing on the embankments thereof." The contention of the petitioner is that only those tanks, which had not vested in the State, could vest under section 251 of the M. P. Land Revenue Code. He urged that the effect of section 3 of the Abolition Act was that all the proprietary interests, including tanks, of a Malguzar vested in the State and the same property could not revest in the State under section 251 of the M.P. Land Revenue Code. In support of his contention, the petitioner relied on the decisions of the Supreme Court in State of M.P. v. Yakinuddin (1963 MPLJ 65= AIR 1962 SC 1916) and State of M. P. v. Balkishan (1963 MPLJ 641 SC). In Yakinuddin's case no doubt the Supreme Court had observed that the effect of the notification issued under section 3 of the Abolition Act is that all the proprietary rights in an estate vest in the State. But in the same judgment it was observed as under: "The scheme of the Act is that it provides for the acquisition by the State of all interests in the estate of the proprietor himself or of an intermediary, except the tiller of the soil. This it does by vesting all proprietary rights in the State, of whatever grade, by issuing the notification under section 3, vesting it in the State for the purposes of the State free from all encumbrances. Section 4 lays down in great detail the rights which become extinguished on the vesting of the estate as aforesaid. What is saved to the proprietor or any other person claiming through him is set out in section 5, clauses (a) to (h), on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the State. Hence any person claiming some interest as a proprietor or as holding through a proprietor in respect of any proprietary interest in an estate has got to bring his interest within section 5, because on the date of vesting of the estate, the Deputy Commissioner takes charge of all lands other than occupied lands and homestead, and all interests vesting in the State under section 3. Upon such taking over of possession, the State becomes liable to pay the compensation provided for in section 8 and the succeeding sections. The respondents have not been able to show that their interests come under any of the clauses aforesaid of section 5." [pp. 1919-20] These observations clearly indicate that all the interests of the proprietor vested in the State except the home-farm lands and the lands saved for him under section 5 of the Abolition Act. This is made further clear from the provisions of section 4 wherein it has been specifically stated that all the proprietary interests shall vest in the State save as otherwise provided. Sub-section (2) of section 4, section 5 and section 6 are the otherwise provisions. This is the reason why the civil Court upheld the petitioner's claim for possession over the tank. It is thus clear that the tank had not vested in the State and that it could vest under the provisions of section 251 of the M. P. Land Revenue Code. It may be observed that the words used in a statute must be interpreted in the context in which they are used and in furtherance of the objective to be achieved by the statute. It is also an accepted principle of interpretation that the interpretation of a particular expression in one statute cannot be relied on for interpreting that expression in another statute. After the abolition of proprietary rights, certain tanks remained with the ex-proprietors over which the village community had rights of irrigation or Nistar which created certain difficulties. It was with a view to take over such tanks from the ex-proprietors that section 251 of the M. P. Land Revenue Code was enacted. In The Fruit & Vegetable Merchants' Union v. The Delhi Improvement Trust (AIR 1957 SC 344 at p. 353) their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed as under: "It would thus appear that the word 'vest' has not got a fixed connotation, meaning in all cases that the property is owned by the person or the authority in whom it vests. it may vest in title, or it may vest in possession, or it may vest in a limited sense, as indicated in the context in which it may have been used in a particular piece of legislation." In enacting the Abolition Act the intention of the Legislature was to remove the intermediary between the tiller of the soil and the State and vest the proprietary title of the intermediary in the State. At the same time, possession of certain property was saved for the intermediary. In other words, though the proprietary title vested in the State, the possessory title over certain property remained in the intermediary or the ex-proprietor. It is this possessory title that is aimed at in section 251 of the M. P. Land Revenue Code. For the abovesaid reasons, we are of the view that the petitioner is not correct in saying that the tank in question had vested in the State and that it could not come within the purview of section 251 of the M. P. Land Revenue Code. Once the petitioner admits that the tank was saved for him under section 5 (f) of the Abolition Act, he cannot avoid the vesting of the tank in the State under the provisions of section 251 of the M. P. Land Revenue Code.
(3.) SHRI Jain, learned counsel for the petitioner, drew our attention to the award prepared by the Compensation Officer wherein it is shown that the proprietary title in the tank vested in the State while the possession of the tank remained with the petitioner for which he was given a patta. He urged that the records had become final under section 15 (4) of the Abolition Act and that it was not open to the State to urge that the tank had not vested in the State notwithstanding the decision of the civil Court. We have already pointed out that the expression "vested" used in section 4 of the Abolition Act and the one used in the M. P. Land Revenue Code has not the same connotation. This contention must, therefore, fail. No other ground was urged before us.;


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