MISS SITIMON SAWIAN Vs. DISTRICT COUNCIL
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Miss Sitimon Sawian
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S.K. Dutta, C.J. -
(1.)CIVIL Rules Nos. 384 and 408 of 1965 are analogous and they are heard together and disposed of by a single judgment. If state the facts in Civil Rule 384 of 1965 in some details. The Petitioner in this rule belongs to the Khasi Scheduled Tribe, a recognised Scheduled Tribe in the autonomous District of United Khasi -Jaintia Hills and is a permanent resident of Umsohsun, Shillong, having vast immovable properties in the town of Shillong as also in other parts of the district outside the Shillong Town. The lands under her absolute ownership and possession, commonly known as R -Kynti land situated within the municipal limits of Shillong Town, are partly in occupation of tenants and the rest are lying vacant. The lands in occupation of tenants were given on lease by the Petitioner to different tenants, both tribals and non -tribals, on condition of payment of annual rents fixed and on other conditions expressly mentioned in the leases executed. Under the terms and conditions of the said leases the Petitioner is entitled to the payment of a premium at 5 per cent of the sale price, in the event of transfer of the right of occupancy in the lands leased or any part thereof by the lessees to other persons. Apart from the immovable properties, the Petitioner also owned the oldest and the largest printing press at Shillong by the name of 'R. Khasi Press' Unfortunately, the said printing press was gutted by fire in December, 1964 and as a result, the Petitioner sustained a huge loss amounting to about five lakhs of rupees. For rebuilding the printing press, the Petitioner was faced with the problem of finance and accordingly she decided to raise capital by selling some of her R -Kynti lands within Shillong Town, there being no other available means to raise the capital needed for that purpose.
(2.)THERE being a great demand of lands situated within Shillong Town, many intending purchasers approached her for purchase of the leasehold rights in her Ri -Kynti lands situated at Lower Mawprem in the Town of Shillong. Accordingly, she entered into agreement with the different purchasers for sale of the aforesaid lands at the prices agreed to by the parties and the lands agreed to be sold were divided into different plots. The District Council of the United Khasi -Jaintia Hills, in the purported exercise of powers under paragraph 3 of the Sixth -Schedule to the Constitution of India, enacted an Act by the name of the United Khasi Janitia Hills District (Transfer of Land) Act, 1953 herein after referred to as the impugned Act....The said impugned Act was enacted with the intended object of making provisions in the autonomous district with respect to the transfer, allotment, occupation or use of land for any purpose likely to promote the interests of the inhabitants thereof.
Shillong being the capital of Assam, people from all parts of the State, as also people from other parts of India, came to settle in Shillong Town permanently in connection with services under the Government, businesses and other avocations of life and with the settlement of all such people in the town of Shillong, the importance of the town increased greatly and the town is fast growing into a big city. Since before the constitution of the District Council of United Khasi -Jaintia Hills, the vast majority of the inhabitants of Shillong Town were non -tribals, who settled in Shillong Town permanently and even at present, the percentage of non -tribal inhabitants in Shillong Town is much greater than the percentage of tribal inhabitants.
(3.)THE Petitioner submits that from the provisions of the impugned Act, it would appear that the impugned Act was enacted only with a view to impose prohibitions on transfer of land by way of sale, mortgage or otherwise, by a tribal to a non -tribal and by a non -tribal to another non -tribal, and that in enacting the impugned Act, the interests of the inhabitants of the town or village as a whole were not taken into consideration at all.
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