Decided on December 22,1952

STATE OF BIHAR Respondents


Ramaswami, J. - (1.) In these two applications, which have been heard together an important question of law arises, viz., whether the Bihar Land Reforms Act is upon its true construction intended to apply to the Zamindari estate of companies incorporated under the Indian Companies Act of 1913.
(2.) In Miscellaneous Judicial case No. 242 the petitioner is an incorporated company called Raja Janakinath Roy and Narendranath Roy & Co. Ltd. The Company was registered in the year 1933 and its head-office is located at Calcutta. One of the objects of the company was to own and deal in Zamindari land and house properties in the State of Bengal and Bihar. It is alleged on petitioner's behalf that on 6-11-1951, the State of Bihar acting under its authority under Section 3(1), Bihar Land Reforms Act, issued a notification declaring that the proprietary estates of the petitioner have passed to and become vested in the State of Bihar. On 8-6-1952, the State Government issued notice to the petitioner under Section 4 (g) of the Act requiring that the possession of the properties should be given to the Collector on the date specified in the notice. The petitioner was also ordered under Section 40 of the Act to produce documents, papers, and registers relating to the Zamindari estate. It is contended on behalf of the petitioner that on its proper construction the Bihar Land Reforms Act did not operate on the Zamindari properties of the incorporated companies. The petitioner submits that the notification issued by the State Government under Section 3 (1) and the notices issued under Sections 4 (g) and 40 of the Act were illegal, void and without jurisdiction. The petitioner, therefore, prays that a writ in the nature of mandamus should be issued to the State of Bihar commanding it not to take possession of the Zamindari estates owned by the petitioner.
(3.) In Miscellaneous Judicial Case No. 238 the material facts are similar. In this case the petitioner is Motipur Zamindari Company Ltd., which has its registered office at Motipur within the State of Bihar, The notification under Section 3 (1) was issued by the State Government on 25-9-1950, declaring that the properties of the petitioner had vested in the State of Bihar. There is an additional ground mentioned in the petitioner's affidavit, viz., that the petitioner is a subsidiary of the Motipur Sugar Factory, Ltd., to which the petitioner supplies sugar-cane; that if the State acquires the Zamindari estate of the petitioner, the production of sugar in the Motipur Sugar Factory will be seriously affected. It is said that the control of Sugar industry has been declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest. It is alleged that Sugar industry falls under item 52 of the Union List and the Zamindari properties of the petitioner cannot be acquired under the Bihar Land Reforms Act.;

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