REBATI RANJAN Vs. STATE OF BIHAR
LAWS(PAT)-1952-12-3
HIGH COURT OF PATNA
Decided on December 16,1952

REBATI RANJAN Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF BIHAR Respondents

JUDGEMENT

Ramaswami, J. - (1.) In this case a rule has been granted calling upon the State of Bihar and the other respondents to show cause why a writ in the nature of mandamus should not be issued restraining them from taking possession of certain estates notified under the Bihar Land Reforms Act.
(2.) The petitioners are Trustees of an estate called the Brojabala Trust Estate created by Maharani Padma Sundari Debi of Hetampur in the district of Birbhum, The trust deed was executed on the 14th Falgoon 1301 Bengal Sambat, corresponding to 27-2-1895. The petitioners along with pro forma respondents Sur-anjan Chakravarty, Pinaik Bhusan Deb Ray & Sachindra Mohan Roy are also Trustees of the Ramranjan Trust Estate created by the late Maharajah Ramranjan Chakravarty of Hetampur. The deed of trust was executed on 27th Sraban 1294 Bengal Sambat, corresponding to 11-8-1887. By the trust deed of the Brojabala Trust Estate, properties were vested in the Trustees for certain charitable and religious purposes. There was provision for the maintenance of a college at Hetampur, for the worship of the deity Sri Sri Gouranga Mahaprabhu installed in a public temple at Hetampur and for establishing a Sanskrit tole. The Ilamran-jan Trust deed similarly provided for the maintenance of a English High School at Hetampur, for the sebapuja of a deity Sri Sri Radha Ballav Jeo in a public temple at Hetampur, and for maintenance of a Charitable dispensary at Hetampur. On 30-5-1952, the Government of Bihar notified that the estates described in the schedule attached to the petition which form the subject-matter of the two trusts were vested in the State under the provisions of the Bihar Land Reforms Act of 1950. It was alleged on behalf of the petitioners that the notification was defective since the proper trustees were not mentioned with respect to touzi Nos. 554, 556, 609, 31/BBI, 175/12 and the tenures appertaining to touzi No. 551, On the contrary, the trustees actually mentioned-- Kumar Niranjan Chakravarty, Kumar Biswaranjan Chakravarty, Raja Satya Niranjan Chakravarty, Maharaj Kumar Mahimaranjan Chakravarty and Maharaj Kumar Kamala Niranjan Chakravarty --were all dead long past. As regards touzi No. 551 R appertaining to 9 annas 2 gandas 3 krants notified in Notification No. 77 LR/ZAN the names of all the trustees were not specified. With respect to touzi Nos. 175/12, 175/3, 177/6 and 177/7 it was alleged on behalf of the petitioners that they were touziz of Birbhum Collectorate in West Bengal and were not in the jurisdiction of the State of Bihar. It was also alleged that the Collector proclaimed by beat of drum that the residences belonging to the Trustees of Brojabala Trust in Jamtara and Dumka would be taken over by the State. The petitioners assert that the residences are not included within the touzi notified but they are properties held by the trustees as tenants under other touziz belonging to other proprietors.
(3.) In support of this rule Dr. Sengupta contended in the first place that the notifications issued by the Government of the State did not correctly mention the names of the trustees and the title to the estates notified could not, therefore, pass to or vest in the State under the provisions of Section 3 (1), Bihar Land Reforms Act. Learned counsel pointed out that with respect to touziz 554, 556, 609, 31/BBI, 175/12 and tenures appertaining to touzi No. 551 the notification was made in the names of the trustees who were dead long ago. As regards touzi No. 551 R appertaining to 9 annas 2 gandas 3 krants share the names of the proprietors mentioned in the relevant column did not specify all the trustees. Learned counsel mentioned in particular that the name of Suranjan Chakravarty was not included. It was contended that the State Government had no jurisdiction to acquire the estates unless they correctly mentioned the names of the proprietors in the notification The argument is that it is a condition precedent to the vesting of title that the State Government should correctly specify the names of the proprietors or tenure-holders in the notification. In my opinion the argument of the learned counsel is not valid. The question turns on the true interpretation of Section 3 (1) of the Act. Section 3 (1) states that the State Government "may from time to time, by notification, declare that the estates or tenures of a proprietor or tenure-holder, specified in the notification, have passed to and become vested in the State." The section does not require that the Government should give notice to the proprietors before the Government issue notification. The section does not stipulate that Government should conduct a judicial enquiry into the question as to who is the proprietor of the estate which is to be notified. The section nowhere expressly states that the correct specification of the proprietor's name is a condition precedent to the jurisdiction of the State. If the correct mention of the proprietor's name is a condition of vesting there is no reason why the legislature should rot have expressly said so. In my opinion the identity of the estate is the only relevant matter to be investigated on the question whether the title of the estate has passed to and become vested in the Government. It is not a relevant consideration whether the name of the proprietor or tenure-holder has been correctly specified in the notification. In other words, the mention of the proprietor's name in the notification is merely descriptive. It is not a condition of jurisdiction. Even if the name of a wrong proprietor is mentioned in the notification tha title to the estate will pass and become vested in the . Government so long as the identity of the estate is clear enough. There is no warrant for reading into Section 3 (1) an implied condition precedent that that Government should correctly specify the name of the proprietors in the notification. There are other considerations which support the construction of Section 3(1) which I have taken. Section 32 (4) states that where there is a dispute about the interest of the proprietor or tenure-holder in an estate pending on 21-3-1918, in a Court, whether in any suit, appeal or other proceeding, and "was undisposed of 'at the date of vesting'," the Court shall, on the application of any party to such a suit, appeal or proceeding filed within sixty days of the 'date of vesting', stay all further proceedings in respect thereof and refer all matters in dispute to a Tribunal appointed by the State Government in this behalf. This section is important and throws light on the manner in which Section 3 (1) ought to be construed. Section 32 (4) contemplates that at the time when the State Government issues notification there might be a dispute about the interest of proprietor or tenure-holder in the estate. Even so, the section states that title to the estate or tenure would vest in the State Government but the dispute would be referred to a Tribunal and the amount of compensation would be determined in accordance with the award of the Tribunal. The legislature has, therefore, manifested its intention that irrespective of the dispute as to the proprietary title a notification under Section 3(1) may be issued with respect to the estate and upon the making of such notification the title to the estate will pass to and become vested in the Government. On behalf of the petitioners Dr. Sengupta referred to Section 3 (2) which states that the notification shall be published in the official gazette and in at least two newspapers having circulation in the State of Bihar. The sub-section further requires that a copy of the notification shall be sent by registered post to the proprietor of the estate recorded in the general register of revenue paying or revenue-free lands maintained under the Land Registration Act. It was maintained by the learned counsel that unless the notification is published in the manner specified in the section and unless a copy of the notification is sent by registered post to the proprietor concerned the title to the estate will not vest in the State Government as enacted in Section 3 (1). It was argued that in the present case the living trustees were not correctly named in the notification and notice to the actual trustees has not been given. I do not think that the argument of the learned counsel is correct. In my opinion the publication in the two newspapers referred to in Section 3 (2) and the despatch of the copy of the notification by registered post to the proprietor of the estate are not mandatory provisions in the sense that failure to comply with those provisions would invalidate the notification made under Section 3 (1). The provision as to the publication and posting of the notification to the proprietor is merely directory. It cannot have been the intention of the legislature that the validity of the notification issued under Section 3 (1) should deoend upon the subsequent action of the authorities in publication and posting of the notification. The provision enacted in Section 3 (2) is merely intended for the purpose of giving information to the proprietors concerned. This view is supported by the phrasing of Section 3 (1) which states that the State Government may, from time to time, by notification declare that "the estates or tenures of a proprietor or tenure-holder, specified in the notification, 'have passed to and become vested' in the State." The phrase "have passed to and become vested," grammatically construed must mean that on the date the notification is issued the title to the estate becomes vested in the State Government irrespective of any question as to the publication and posting contemplated in Section 3 (2). It is also important to notice that Section 2 (h) defines "date of vesting" to mean in relation to an estate or tenure vested in the State, the date of publication in the Official Gazette of the notification under Sub-section (1) of Section 3 in respect of such estate or tenure. Section 3 (3) is also important. It enacts that the publication and posting of such notification wiiere such notification is sent by post, in the manner provided in Sub-section (2) shall be conclusive evidence of the notice of the declaration to such proprietors whose interests are affected. The provision of Section 3 (3) that mere constructive notice is sufficient is an additional reason for holding that the provision of Section 3 (2) with respect to the publication in two newspapers and the posting of the notification is merely directory. In the light of these considerations I am of opinion that it is not incumbent upon the State Government to mention in the notification under Section 3 (1) the correct name of the proprietor or, the tenure-holder. The failure of the State Government to mention the correct name of the proprietors or tenure-holders will not invalidate the notification under Section 3 (1) nor will it prevent the title to the estate or tenure passing to or becoming vested in the State Government under the provision of Section 3 (1).;


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