Decided on January 03,1952

STATE OF BIHAR Respondents


Ramaswami, J. - (1.) In this case the petitioners Sri Ram Prasad. Narayan Sahi and Sri Ramrekha Prasad Narayan Sahi have obtained a rule (falling-upon the State of Bihar and other respondents to show cause why a writ in the nature of mandamus should not be issued commanding them not to take any action under the Sathi Lands (Restoration) Act, 1950 (Bihar Act XXXIV of 1950) and: not to interfere with the possession of the petitioners over 200 bighas of land of which they claim to have obtained an agricultural lease. Cause was shown against the rule by the Advocate General on behalf of the State of Bihar, Maharani Janki Kuar and the Collector of Champaran to whom notice of the rule was directed to be given.
(2.) The petitioners allege that on 19th July 1946 they made a representation to the Government of the State through the manager of the Bettiah Raj asking for settlement of 200 bighas of land preferably in Sathi farm or Materia farm and in addition 110 bighas of waste land known as Marhia Chaturbhujwar Rakhat. On the' next date Sri Rameshwar Singh, Manager of the Bettiah Estate wrote to the Collector of Champaran recommending that the settlement should be made without payment of any salami. The Board of Revenue recommended that settlement should be made on the condition that the petitioners paid half he current rate of salami. On 14th October 1946 the Government of the State wrote to the Board of Revenue approving of the proposal for settlement of 200 bighas of land on the usual rental and on payment of half the current rate of salami. On 20th of October 1946 the petitioners sent a cheque of Rs. 5,000/- to the manager of the Bettiah Estate on account of payment towards salami and rent for 1354 Pasli. The petitioners state that on 2nd November 1946 they obtained possession of the land though the 'bandobasti hisab farm was actually signed by Circle Officer and Sri Bamrekha Prasad Sahi on a subsequent date. The petitioners allege that under the Bihar Tenancy Act as amended they have acquired the status of occupancy raiyats and cannot be ejected except in execution of a decree obtained through the Court. The petitioners maintain that the Act is constitutionally invalid and pray that the rule nisi should be made absolute against the respondents.
(3.) In the counter-affidavit the respondents state that the Court of Wards recommended settlement of the land in favour 6f the petitioners though the Collector of Champaran and the Commissioner had opposed settlement on the ground that the assets of the estate should not be wasted by distributing them to the petitioners who merely claim distant relationship with Maharani Janki Kuev. The respondents assert that the settlement was illegal and void since the Court of Wards did not apply its mind to the question whether the settlement was for the benefit of the property or for the advantage of the Ward. On the contrary, the settlement was contrary to the interests of the Ward since the Sathi Lands were of high quality and had been in khas possession of the estate and were not lands upon which raiyats were to be inducted in the normal course of management. The respondents state that after settlement was made there was great agitation among the tenants of the area and there was opposition on their part to the petitioners taking possession of the land, and in consequence there was a breach of peace and criminal cases were instituted. In paragraph 10 of the counter-affidavit the respondents state that the matter was brought to the notice of the Congress Working Committee who were of opinion that settlement of the land with the petitioners was against public interest. Thereafter the State Government made a request to the petitioners to restore the lands; but the petitioners refused. The respondents assert that the petitioners were not lawfully inducted as raiyats since settlement was void and illegal and they could not acquire the status of occupancy raiyat under the new amendment to the Bihar Tenancy Act.;

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