JAI MAHA LAXMI COTTON GINNING AND PRESSING FACTORY PVT LTD Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
JAI MAHA LAXMI COTTON GINNING AND PRESSING FACTORY PVT LTD
STATE OF RAJASTHAN
Click here to view full judgement.
(1.) THIS is an appeal against the order dated 19. 3. 1964 of the Revenue Appellate Authority, Bikaner.
(2.) THE facts in brief are that the Keshoram, respondent here, applied on 19. 6. 1962 to the Collector, Ganganagar that Jai Maha Laxmi Cotton Ginning and Pressing Factory and Dharam Veer Jagdish Chandra, proprietors, Burmah Shell Petrol Pump, appellants here, had illegally converted agricultural lands in Murabbas Nos. 57 and 47 (situated in Chak 13 Tehsil Karanpur) to non-agricultural uses. This, it was stated, was in contravention of sec. 90-A of Rajasthan Land Revenue Act and so the factory and houses and petrol pump built on these Murabbas should be removed. A show cause notice was issued against the firms but after hearing the parties the Collector rejected the application on 20. 7. 1963.
Keshoram went in appeal to the Revenue Appellate Authority, Bikaner and succeeded. It was ordered by the Appellate Court that the firms were trespassers within the meaning of sec. 90 (A) Rajasthan Land Revenue Act and are liable to be ejected in accordance with sec. 91. It was also directed that the land shall be treated as if it were in danger of being wasted, damaged or alienated as provided under see. 212 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act.
The firm have come in appeal against this order. We have heard the advocates for the parties as also the Government advocate and have perused the record.
The first plea of the appellants advocate was that Keshoram had no locus standi to appeal to the Revenue Appellate Authority against the order of the Collector, Ganganagar as he was only an informer. This point, however was not pressed. The second ground was that sec. 90 (A) Rajasthan Land Revenue Act had come into force from 27. 12. 1958 while the land in question had been converted to non-agricultural uses in 1957. The operation of sec. 90 (A) Rajasthan Land Revenue Act was not retrospective but prospective and so it could not govern the instant case. Rulings were cited. The advocate for the respondent replied that sec. 90 (A) was really meant to be retrospective. Agricultural lands should not have been converted to non-agricultural uses without permission, so to convert them is a detrimental act. The judgment of the Revenue Appellate Authority should be upheld. Certain rulings were given. Sec. 90 (A) of Rajasthan Land Revenue Act reads as below: - (1) "no person holding any land for the purpose of agriculture and no transferee of such land or any part thereof shall use the same or any part thereof, by the construction of buildings thereon or otherwise, for any other purpose except with the written permission of the State Government obtained in the manner hereinafter laid down and otherwise than in accordance with the terms and conditions of such permission. (2) Any such person desiring to use such land or any part thereof for any purpose other than that of agricultural shall apply for the requisite permission in the prescribed manner and to the prescribed officer or authority and every such application shall contain the prescribed particulars. (3) The State Government shall, after making or causing to be made due inquiry in the prescribed manner, either refuse the permission applied for or grant the same subject to the prescribed terms and conditions. (4) When any such land or part thereof is permitted to be used for any purpose other than that of agriculture, the person to whom such permission is granted shall be liable to pay to the State Government in respect thereof. (a) an urban assessment levied at such rate and in accordance with such manner as may be laid down in rules to be made in this behalf by the State Government; or (b) such amount by way of premium as may be prescribed by the State Government, or (c) both, (5) If any such land is so used - (a) without the written permission of the State Govt. being first obtained, or (b) otherwise than in accordance with the terms and conditions of such permission, or (c) after such permission having been refused under sub-sec. (3), or (d) without making any of the payments referred to in sub-sec. (4 ). the person originally holding the land as aforesaid for the purpose of agriculture as well as all subsequent transferees, if any, shall be deemed to be a trespasser of trespassers, as the case may be, and shall be liable to ejectment from such land in accordance with sec. 91 as if he or they had occupied or continued to occupy such land without lawful authority and to every such proceeding the provisions of sec. 212 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1956, (Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1956, (Rajasthan Act of 1955) shall apply as if such land were in danger of being wasted, damaged or alienated.
Provided that the State Government may, in lieu of having such person and the subsequent transferees so ejected from the land in question, allow him or them, as the case may be, to retain such land and use the same for any purpose other than that of agriculture on payment to the State Government, in addition to the urban assessment, premium payable under sub-sec. (4) or such fine by way of penalty as may be prescribed. "
There is nothing in the language of this amendment to show that retrospective operation was intended. AIR 1931 Nagpur 138 (Harlal vs. Lala Prashad) holds that unless an intention to the contrary is clear and Act is to be construed as operating only on cases or facts which come into existence after the Act and not retrospectively on cases or facts which had come into existence before the Act AIR (37) 1950 Patna 50 (Para 96) Kishori Lal Poddar vs. Devi Prashad Kejariwal is to the same effect on this point. AIR 1966 Madhya Pradesh 11 (Shanti Bai vs. Bihari Lal) lays down that retrospective operation must be clearly provided in the language itself of the statute. Even if it is regarded as desirable to give a provision of law retrospective operation and reform or improvement of society may be fostered thereby, it cannot be done unless there is something in the language of the statute to show that the amendment or Act has a retrospective operation. AIR 1960 S. C. 12 (Central Bank vs. Their Workmen) rules that declaratory Acts are usually retrospective but this does not apply to remedial Acts unless it is given out in express terras or follows by necessary intendment. 1956 RRD 55 (Mukandi vs. Ghanshyam) lays down that a statute has a prospective operation unless there is something in the context itself to give it a retrospective operation. Sec. 90 (A) is not procedural but substantive neither is it declaratory and the rulings of the appellant apply in full.
The rulings of the respondent do not help him materially. AIR 1959 S. C. 422 (Thevar vs. Nainar) holds that it is a sound rule of construction that procedural enactments should be construed liberally and in such a manner as to render forcement of substantive rights effective AIR 1958 SC468 (Sunder Anier&co. v. State of Andhra Pradesh) holds that in order to understand the nature and scope of an Act, it is necessary to ascertain what the evils were which were intended to be redressed by it and the nature of the law has to be gathered from its substance and not the label. ILR 1960 Rajasthan 95 (Hulsi vs. Motilal) holds that procedural laws can have retrospective effect. (Lachman Singh vs. Ghasi Bai) RLW 1953 p. 291 refer to a law which was substituted in place of another and held that it applies to pending cases. Also that the legislature's intention was to give the benefit to all tenants. In the instant case the law is not a substitution and the rulings of the respondent have little relevance. The advocate for the appellant argued that the land is regarded as agricultural land and stated that it would continue to be so. He argued that sec. 177 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act which according to the Revenue Appellate Authority had been echoed in sec. 90 (A) was not at all applicable. The present case had not been instituted under it. The procedure applicable to a suit under sec. 177 Rajasthan Tenancy Act was entirely different. There would have to be an application from the land holder. It was entirely illegal to import ideas from sec. 177 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act in a case proceeding under sec. 90 (A) Rajasthan Land Revenue Act. To us these arguments appear to be valid.
The Advocate for the appellant contended that in 1957 sec. 90 (A) was not in existence at all and his client was not required to apply for conversion but supposing that his action was wrong because agricultural land should not be converted into non-agricultural land there was no penalty available under the law before sec. 90-A was enacted.
Rd 100 (Vishwanath & Co. vs. State) was relied on by both the parties. The advocate for the appellant argued that by necessary implication, decision in that case supported him. Vishwanath and Co. had done the conversion and made the construction in 1962 viz. after the amendment had come into force. M/s Vishwanath and Co. had applied for conversion, while the proprietor in this case had not applied.
It was argued that the notice was discharged in the case of his clients which was not so with Vishwanath & Co. It was pointed out in the case of Vishwanath and Co. the land was under cultivation but the land of the appellant had been converted as far back as 1957. The sale-deeds were held to be different and it was also pointed out when M/s Vishwanath and Co. had started construction they were stopped by the Collector but the appellant had completed the buildings be-fore notice was received by them.
The advocate for the respondent stated that even if there was no penalty before the amendment came into force, penalty had been provided after that. The conversion, it was argued was a continuing offence. To this it was rightly replied that the conversion was done when it was no offence or irregularity and it could not be subsequently created an offence by change in law. The nature of the action must be what it was on the date it was done. An offence which is not such on the day of its supposed perpetration cannot be made such retrospectively by law unless specifically so provided.
The retrospective operation of Sec. 90 (A) Rajasthan Land Revenue Act has not been established at all. The whole case hinges on this point.
(3.) WE therefore, accept the appeal, quash the order of the Revenue Appellate Authority and restore that of the Collector, Ganganagar. .;
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.