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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Challenging the validity of sec.43 of Bombay Tenancy & Agricultural Lands Act and consequential resolutions issued by Govt. - single judge dismissed the writ petitions, D.B. bench also dismissed the LPA and Apex court also dismissed the civil appeals = Gohil Jesangbhai Raysangbhai & Ors. … Appellant (s) Versus State of Gujarat & Anr. … Respondent (s)= 2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41247

Challenging the validity of sec.43 of Bombay Tenancy & Agricultural Lands Act and consequential resolutions issued by Govt. - single judge dismissed the writ petitions, D.B. bench also dismissed the LPA and Apex court also dismissed the civil appeals =

validity of Section 43 of Bombay Tenancy  and  Agricultural  Lands  Act,
1948 as applicable to the State of  Gujarat,  now  known  in  the  State  of
Gujarat as Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948  (“Tenancy  Act”
for short).  This section places certain restrictions  on  the  transfer  of
land purchased or  sold  under  the  said  Act.
 validity  of  resolution  dated  4.7.2008
passed by the Government of Gujarat to give  effect  to  this  section,  and
which resolution fixes the  rates  of  premium  to  be  paid  to  the  State
Government for converting, transferring, and for changing the  use  of  land
from agricultural to  non-agricultural  purposes.

 challenge the minimum valuation of land as per the  rates  contained
in the list called as “Jantri” prevalent since 20.12.2006.=

 Section  43  of  the  Tenancy  Act  reads  as follows:-
            “43. Restriction on transfers of land purchased  or  sold  under
      this Act.- (1) No land or any interest therein purchased by  a  tenant
      under section 17B, 32, 32F, 32-I, 32-O, 32U, 43-ID or 88E or  sold  to
      any person under section 32P or 64 shall be transferred  or  shall  be
      agreed by an instrument in writing to be transferred, by  sale,  gift,
      exchange, mortgage, lease or assignment, without the previous sanction
      of the Collector and except in consideration of payment of such amount
      as the State Government may by general or special order determine; and
      no such land or any interest, there shall be partitioned  without  the
      previous sanction of the Collector.

       Provided  that  no  previous  sanction  of  the  Collector  shall  be
      required, if the partition of the land is among  the  members  of  the
      family who have direct blood relation or among the legal heirs of  the
      tenant:

      Provided further that the partition of the  land  as  aforesaid  shall
      not be valid if it is made in contravention of the provisions  of  any
      other law for the time being in force;

      Provided also that such members of  the  family  or  the  legal  heirs
      shall  hold  the  land,  after  the  partition,  on  the  same  terms,
      conditions, restrictions as were applicable to such land  or  interest
      thereat therein purchased by the tenant or the person.

      (1A)       The sanction under sub-section (1) shall be  given  by  the
      Collector in such circumstances and subject to such conditions, as may
      be prescribed by the State Government.

      (1AA)      Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section  (1),  it
      shall be lawful for such tenant or a person to mortgage  or  create  a
      charge on his interests in the land in favour of the State  Government
      in consideration of a loan advanced to him  by  the  State  Government
      under the Land Improvement Loans Act, 1884, the  Agriculturists’  Loan
      Act, 1884, or the Bombay Non-Agriculturists’ Loans Act,  1928,  as  in
      force in the State of Gujarat, or in favour of a bank or  co-operative
      society, and without prejudice to any other remedy open to  the  State
      Government, bank or co-operative society, as the case may be,  in  the
      event of his making default in payment of such loan in accordance with
      the terms on which such loan was granted, it shall be lawful  for  the
      State Government, bank or co-operative society, as the case may be, to
      cause his interest in the  land  to  be  attached  and  sold  and  the
      proceeds to be applied in payment of such loan.

      Explanation, - For the purposes of this sub-section,     “bank”  means


      (a)   the State Bank of India constituted  under  the  State  Bank  of
      India Act, 1955;

      (b)   any subsidiary bank as defined in clause (k)  of  section  2  of
      the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959;

      (c)   any corresponding new bank as defined in clause (d)  of  section
      2 of the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of  Undertakings)
      Act, 1970;

       (d)    the  Agricultural  Refinance  and   Development   Corporation,
      established  under  the   Agricultural   Refinance   and   Development
      Corporation Act, 1963.

      (1B)  Nothing  in  sub-section  (1)  or  (1AA)  shall  apply  to  land
      purchased under section 32, 32F or 64 by a permanent  tenant  thereof,
      if prior to the purchase, the  permanent  tenant,  by  usage,  custom,
      agreement or decree or order of a court, held a transferable right  in
      the tenancy of the land.

      (2)   Any transfer or partition, or any agreement of transfer, or  any
      land or any interest therein in contravention of sub-section (1) shall
      be invalid.”

APEX COURT CONCLUSION

As held in  Shashikant  Mohanlal  (supra),
the tenant is supposed to cultivate the land personally.  It is not  to  be
used for non agricultural purpose.  A benefit is  acquired  by  the  tenant
under the scheme  of  the  statute,  and  therefore,  he  must  suffer  the
restrictions which are also imposed under the same  statute.  The  idea  in
insisting upon  the  premium  is  also  to  make  such  transfers  to  non-
agricultural  purpose  unattractive.   The  intention  of  the  statute  is
reflected in Section 43, and if that is the intention  of  the  Legislature
there  is  no  reason  why  the  Courts  should  depart   therefrom   while
interpreting the provision.

The fact  however,  remains  that
the Section speaks of previous sanction. As noted earlier, Section 4(2)  of
the Bombay Paragana and Kulkarni Watans (Abolition) Act, 1950  also  speaks
about the previous sanction.  Thus, this is the theme  which  runs  through
all such welfare agricultural enactments, and a similar  provision  in  the
said Act has been left undisturbed by the bench of  three  Judges  of  this
Court.  Therefore, the Jantri rate to be applied will be on the date of the
sanction by the Collector, and not on the date of the application  made  by
the party.
As far as the levy  of  the  80  per  cent  of  the  amount  is
concerned, it was submitted that it was unconscionable, and it  would  mean
expropriation, and will be hit by Article 300A of the  Constitution.   Once
we see the scheme of these provisions, in our view, no such submission  can
be entertained.  In any case Mr. Nariman has pointed  out  that  after  the
impugned judgment, the State Government has reduced the levy to 40 per cent
which is obviously quite reasonable.

The last point which requires consideration is with respect  to
the period for considering the  application,  and  granting  the  sanction.
There is some merit in the submission of the  appellants  in  this  behalf.
Such application cannot be kept  pending  indefinitely,  and  therefore  we
would expect the Collector to decide such applications as far  as  possible
within 90 days from the receipt of the application, on  the  lines  of  the
judgment of this Court in Patel Raghav Natha (supra).   In  the  event  the
application is not being decided within 90 days, we expect the Collector to
record the reasons why the decision is getting belated.
25.         For the reasons stated above we  do  not  find  any  reason  to
interfere  in  the  impugned  judgment  rendered  by  the  Division  Bench,
approving  the  decisions  rendered  by  the  Single  Judges  in  the  Writ
Petitions.  All appeals are, therefore,  dismissed  with  no  order  as  to
costs.

       2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41247
                   SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR, H.L. GOKHALE

                                      REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4123 OF 2012

Gohil Jesangbhai Raysangbhai & Ors.                …   Appellant (s)

                                    Versus

State of Gujarat & Anr.                                  …   Respondent (s)

                                    WITH

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4124 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4125 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4126 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4127 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4129 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4130 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4131 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4132 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4133 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4134 OF 2012

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4135 OF 2012





                          J  U  D  G  E  M  E  N  T


H.L. Gokhale J.

             All these Civil Appeals raise the  questions  with  respect  to
the validity of Section 43 of Bombay Tenancy  and  Agricultural  Lands  Act,
1948 as applicable to the State of  Gujarat,  now  known  in  the  State  of
Gujarat as Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948  (“Tenancy  Act”
for short).  This section places certain restrictions  on  the  transfer  of
land purchased or  sold  under  the  said  Act.   These  appeals  raise  the
questions also with respect to the validity  of  resolution  dated  4.7.2008
passed by the Government of Gujarat to give  effect  to  this  section,  and
which resolution fixes the  rates  of  premium  to  be  paid  to  the  State
Government for converting, transferring, and for changing the  use  of  land
from agricultural to  non-agricultural  purposes.   Thirdly,  these  appeals
seek to challenge the minimum valuation of land as per the  rates  contained
in the list called as “Jantri” prevalent since 20.12.2006.

2.           The Tenancy Act was passed way-back in  the  year  1948,  as  a
beneficial legislation and as a part of agrarian reform.  This  section  has
been amended twice  thereafter,  first  in  1960  and  then  in  1977.   The
aforesaid challenge was first taken in the High Court of Gujarat  by  filing
various Special Civil Applications (i.e. Writ Petitions) bearing  Spl.  C.A.
No.12661 of 1994 and others which came  to  be  dismissed.   Thereafter  the
Letter Patent Appeals  bearing  Nos.1127  of  2008  and  others  were  filed
against the judgments rendered by Single Judges in these  different  Special
Civil Applications.   The  judgment  rendered  by  a  Division  Bench  dated
3.5.2011 in a group  of  these  Letter  Patent  Appeals  and  Special  Civil
Applications once again repelled the challenge.  This  common  judgment  has
led to this group of 12 Civil Appeals.  The issues  raised  in  these  Civil
Appeals are by and large similar, though there are  some  additional  points
in some of these Civil Appeals depending upon the facts  of  each  of  those
cases.
3.          Mr. Huzefa Ahmadi and Mr. P.H. Parekh, both senior counsel,  and
Mr. Bharat Patel, learned counsel, have  amongst  others  appeared  for  the
appellants.  Mr. Rohinton Nariman, senior counsel  and  Ms.  Hemantika  Wahi
have appeared for the State of  Gujarat  and  its  officers  to  defend  the
impugned judgment.
4.          The above referred Section  43  of  the  Tenancy  Act  reads  as
follows:-
            “43. Restriction on transfers of land purchased  or  sold  under
      this Act.- (1) No land or any interest therein purchased by  a  tenant
      under section 17B, 32, 32F, 32-I, 32-O, 32U, 43-ID or 88E or  sold  to
      any person under section 32P or 64 shall be transferred  or  shall  be
      agreed by an instrument in writing to be transferred, by  sale,  gift,
      exchange, mortgage, lease or assignment, without the previous sanction
      of the Collector and except in consideration of payment of such amount
      as the State Government may by general or special order determine; and
      no such land or any interest, there shall be partitioned  without  the
      previous sanction of the Collector.

       Provided  that  no  previous  sanction  of  the  Collector  shall  be
      required, if the partition of the land is among  the  members  of  the
      family who have direct blood relation or among the legal heirs of  the
      tenant:

      Provided further that the partition of the  land  as  aforesaid  shall
      not be valid if it is made in contravention of the provisions  of  any
      other law for the time being in force;

      Provided also that such members of  the  family  or  the  legal  heirs
      shall  hold  the  land,  after  the  partition,  on  the  same  terms,
      conditions, restrictions as were applicable to such land  or  interest
      thereat therein purchased by the tenant or the person.

      (1A)       The sanction under sub-section (1) shall be  given  by  the
      Collector in such circumstances and subject to such conditions, as may
      be prescribed by the State Government.

      (1AA)      Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section  (1),  it
      shall be lawful for such tenant or a person to mortgage  or  create  a
      charge on his interests in the land in favour of the State  Government
      in consideration of a loan advanced to him  by  the  State  Government
      under the Land Improvement Loans Act, 1884, the  Agriculturists’  Loan
      Act, 1884, or the Bombay Non-Agriculturists’ Loans Act,  1928,  as  in
      force in the State of Gujarat, or in favour of a bank or  co-operative
      society, and without prejudice to any other remedy open to  the  State
      Government, bank or co-operative society, as the case may be,  in  the
      event of his making default in payment of such loan in accordance with
      the terms on which such loan was granted, it shall be lawful  for  the
      State Government, bank or co-operative society, as the case may be, to
      cause his interest in the  land  to  be  attached  and  sold  and  the
      proceeds to be applied in payment of such loan.

      Explanation, - For the purposes of this sub-section,     “bank”  means


      (a)   the State Bank of India constituted  under  the  State  Bank  of
      India Act, 1955;

      (b)   any subsidiary bank as defined in clause (k)  of  section  2  of
      the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959;

      (c)   any corresponding new bank as defined in clause (d)  of  section
      2 of the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of  Undertakings)
      Act, 1970;

       (d)    the  Agricultural  Refinance  and   Development   Corporation,
      established  under  the   Agricultural   Refinance   and   Development
      Corporation Act, 1963.

      (1B)  Nothing  in  sub-section  (1)  or  (1AA)  shall  apply  to  land
      purchased under section 32, 32F or 64 by a permanent  tenant  thereof,
      if prior to the purchase, the  permanent  tenant,  by  usage,  custom,
      agreement or decree or order of a court, held a transferable right  in
      the tenancy of the land.

      (2)   Any transfer or partition, or any agreement of transfer, or  any
      land or any interest therein in contravention of sub-section (1) shall
      be invalid.”

5.          The English version (as incorporated in the impugned  judgment)
of Gujarat Government Resolution dated 4.7.2008  to  give  effect  to  this
section, and which resolution lays down  the  rates  of  premium  reads  as
follows:-
           “Regarding brining simplification in the procedure of converting
           the land of new tenure under new and impartible tenure and under
           the restricted tenure of Tenancy Act into  old  tenure  for  the
           agricultural or Non-agricultural purpose.




                            Government of Gujarat
                             Revenue Department
                   Resolution No.NSJ-102006-571-J (Part-2)
                          Sachivalaya Gandhinagar.
                              Dated 04/07/2008


           Preamble:-
           The prior permission of the Collector shall be  required  to  be
           obtained after making payment of the consideration prescribed by
           the State Government, by issuing special or  general  order  for
           transferring any land purchased by the tenants, under  Sections-
           17-kh, 32, 32-chh, 32-t, 32-d, 32-bh & 43-1-gh or Section  88-ch
           or any land sold to any person under Sections 32-g or 64, as per
           section-43 (1) of Bombay Tenancy & Agricultural Lands  Act  1948
           or its  interest,  sale,  gift,  transfer,  mortgage,  lease  or
           transfer of name or executing written present  for  transfer  or
           any  interest.   Without  obtaining  prior  permission  of   the
           Collector, partition of any such land or  any  interest  therein
           can not be made.  According to Section 43(1-A), the Collector is
           required to grant permission as per the circumstances prescribed
           by the Government and  as  per  Section  73-kh  of  Bombay  Land
           Revenue Code, 1879, by virtue of this Act or by  virtue  of  any
           condition  connected  with  type  of   tenure,   without   prior
           permission of State Government, the  Collector  or  any  officer
           authorized by the State Government, any land holding can not  be
           transferred in the name of another person or its  partition  can
           not be made.  On making payment of the amount prescribed by  the
           State Government by a special or general order, such  permission
           can be granted.


           The prior permission of the Collector/Government is required  to
           be obtained for transfer, change of purpose or partition of  the
           rented land (including the land allotted to the Ex-armymen), and
           the land granted or re-granted under different tenure and  under
           Inami Abolition Act allotted for the agricultural  purpose  vide
           different resolutions of the Government and  land  reserved  for
           cattle.  The State Government  has  implemented  the  policy  in
           respect of converting such land in old tenure so that there  may
           be simplification in transfer of land known as new tenure and in
           other transaction.


           According to the resolution No.JMN/3997/83/A dated  15/01/98  of
           the department, at the time of granting such  land  wherein  the
           interest of Government is included for non-agricultural purpose,
           the procedure of the assessment of the  value  of  the  land  is
           being conducted through the Committee at District Level and Sate
           Level.  Much time is consumed in this procedure of assessment of
           value at the various stages and the time limit is not prescribed
           for assessment of value.  Considering all these facts, the State
           Government had decided to adopt the approach valuation based  on
           Jantri vide Resolution  dated  20/12/2006  No.NSHJ/102006/571/J.
           The time  of  public  shall  be  saved  by  its  acceptance  and
           uniformity in respect of valuation in the entire State shall  be
           maintained.  Thus, it was under consideration of the  Government
           to bring simplification by applying the procedure  of  valuation
           based on jantri by making change in existing valuation procedure
           and by putting into force one resolution in this regard  instead
           of different resolutions.






                         -:: R E S O L U T I O N ::-
           On  the  basis  of  the   letter   No.STP/102008/174/H.1   dated
           31/03/2008 of the Revenue Department, for the purpose  of  Stamp
           duty, a new Jantri has  been  put  into  force  by  issuing  the
           Circular No. Stamp/ Technical/07/08/1512 dated  31/03/2008  with
           effect  from  01/04/2008  by  the  Superintendent   of   Stamps,
           Gandhinagar.  After  studying  and  careful  consideration,  the
           Government has held that the valuation of the land  of  new  and
           impartible tenure and of restricted tenure type of  Tenancy  Act
           is to be  done  as  per  the  rate  of  Jantri  (as  per  Annual
           Statements of rates-2006 and as per  the  amendments  made  from
           time to time).


           By consolidating all resolutions/circulars existing instructions
           in respect of valuation, it  has  been  decided  to  follow  the
           following procedure.


           1.    The new policy of the rates of premium for converting  and
           transfer/ for change of purpose of land of  new  and  impartible
           and restricted tenure land  from  agricultural  to  agricultural
           purpose or non-agricultural purpose, shall be as under.


           |Sr. |Purpose       |Area             |Tenure |Rate of |Transfer at   |
|No. |              |                 |       |premium |which type of |
|    |              |                 |       |        |tenure        |
|1   |2             |3                |4      |5       |6             |
|1   |From          |The entire rural |After  |Zero    |It shall be   |
|    |Agricultural  |area of the State|15     |        |transferred   |
|    |to the purpose|except following |years  |        |for the       |
|    |of            |Urban Areas,     |       |        |purpose of    |
|    |agricultural  |East, area under |       |        |agricultural  |
|    |old tenure    |ULC, Mahanagar   |       |        |at old tenure,|
|    |              |Palika area,     |       |        |but premium   |
|    |              |Urban Development|       |        |shall be      |
|    |              |Authority area,  |       |        |liable to be  |
|    |              |Municipality     |       |        |paid for      |
|    |              |area, Notified   |       |        |non-agricultur|
|    |              |area, cantonment |       |        |al purpose.   |
|    |              |area             |       |        |              |
|2   |From          |The entire rural |After  |50%     |It shall be   |
|    |Agricultural  |area of the State|15     |        |transferred   |
|    |to the purpose|except following |years  |        |for the       |
|    |of            |Urban Areas,     |       |        |purpose of    |
|    |agricultural  |East, area under |       |        |agricultural  |
|    |old tenure    |ULC, Mahanagar   |       |        |at old tenure,|
|    |              |Palika area,     |       |        |but premium is|
|    |              |Urban Development|       |        |liable to be  |
|    |              |Authority area,  |       |        |paid for      |
|    |              |Municipality     |       |        |non-agricultur|
|    |              |area, Notified   |       |        |al purpose    |
|    |              |area, cantonment |       |        |              |
|    |              |area             |       |        |              |
|3   |For           |The area of the  |After  |80%     |The land shall|
|    |Non-agricultur|entire State     |15     |        |be considered |
|    |al purpose    |                 |years  |        |of old tenure |
|    |              |                 |       |        |after         |
|    |              |                 |       |        |sale/transfer |
|    |              |                 |       |        |or change of  |
|    |              |                 |       |        |purpose       |


           The aforesaid policy shall be  equally  applied  in  the  entire
           State except the exception of the following (A) and (B).


           (A)   At the time of transfer, when the land of  rural  area  of
           new and impartible  tenure  or  restricted  type  of  tenure  is
           allotted as a gift or present to the Educational  or  Charitable
           institutes for non-agricultural purpose,  50%  amount  shall  be
           recovered as premium.


           (B)   The following  rates  shall  be  applicable  to  the  land
           holding under Kutch Inami Abolition Act and new  and  impartible
           tenure.


           |Sr. |Purpose       |Area     |Tenure |Rate of     |Transfer at which  |
|No. |              |         |       |premium     |type of tenure     |
|1   |2             |3        |4      |5           |6                  |
|1   |From          |Rural    |After  |Zero        |It shall be        |
|    |Agricultural  |Area     |15     |            |transferred for the|
|    |to the purpose|         |years  |            |purpose of         |
|    |of            |         |       |            |agricultural at old|
|    |agricultural  |         |       |            |tenure, but premium|
|    |old tenure    |         |       |            |is liable to be    |
|    |              |         |       |            |paid for           |
|    |              |         |       |            |non-agricultural   |
|    |              |         |       |            |purpose            |
|2   |From          |Urban    |After  |20 (twenty) |It shall be        |
|    |Agricultural  |Area     |15     |times amount|transferred for the|
|    |to the purpose|         |years  |of          |purpose of         |
|    |of            |         |       |assessment  |agricultural at old|
|    |agricultural  |         |       |            |tenure, but premium|
|    |old tenure    |         |       |            |is liable to be    |
|    |              |         |       |            |paid for           |
|    |              |         |       |            |non-agricultural   |
|    |              |         |       |            |purpose            |
|3   |For           |The urban|After  |50%         |The land shall be  |
|    |Non-agricultur|and rural|15     |            |considered under   |
|    |al purpose    |areas    |years  |            |old tenure after   |
|    |              |         |       |            |sale/transfer or   |
|    |              |         |       |            |change of purpose. |


              2. The procedure of converting the land of new tenure into old
                 tenure for the purpose of agricultural to agricultural (for
                 the purpose of Sr.No. 1 & B(1) of the aforesaid para No.1).
           (A)   If such lands of New Tenure and  Restricted  tenure  under
           Tenancy Act have been in continuous possession for  15  year  or
           more than it since its grant to the last date  of  every  month,
           are liable to be converted  into  old  tenure  for  agricultural
           purpose, after eliminating the entry “New &  Impartible  Tenure”
           and  noting  “liable  for  premium  only  for   non-agricultural
           purpose” on its place, the Mamalatdar of concerned Taluka on his
           own motion shall issue such orders within 15 days and shall have
           to inform the concerned holder in writing.  At the same time, it
           shall be  the  responsibility  of  the  Mamalatdar  to  get  the
           mutation entry of the said  order  entered  into  the  Right  of
           Record and to get it certified as per rules.


           (B)   In the cases also wherein, the  land  is  required  to  be
           converted from agricultural to  agricultural  purpose  into  old
           tenure  by  recovering  50%  premium  or  20  times  amount   of
           assessment, the Mamalatdar shall have to issue orders as  stated
           above in 2(A) after recovering the premium.  In the case wherein
           50% premium is required  to  be  recovered  in  Urban  Area  for
           agricultural to agricultural purpose, the procedure as mentioned
           in paragraph No.3 shall have to be adopted.


           (C)   It shall be the responsibility of the Prant Officer to see
           that the entry of such orders and its mutation entry are made in
           record without fail.  The Prant Officer shall  have  to  forward
           the certificate to  the  effect  that  any  such  entry  is  not
           remained to be entered in the record to the Collector  till  the
           date 25th of every month.
           (D)   On finalization of the certified mutation entry as per the
           aforesaid Sr.No.2 (A), the details to the  effect  that  “liable
           for premium only for non-agricultural purpose” shall have to  be
           mentioned certainly in bold letters  in  column  of  tenure  and
           other rights of Village Form No.7/12.


           (E)   If  breach  of  tenure  is  committed  in  the  land,  the
           procedure for breach of tenure shall be initiated  towards  such
           land instead of converting them into old tenure.


           (F)   Moreover at the time of granting such permission if  there
           is any  encumbrance  upon  the  land,  then  the  abovementioned
           concerned officer shall have  to  issue  orders  accordingly  by
           granting  permission  of  transfer  in  old   tenure   including
           encumbrance.


           (G)   In the context of lacuna in respect of  the  order  issued
           for converting the land of new tenure including Tenancy Act into
           old tenure for agricultural purpose  or  the  mutation  in  that
           regard, the competent authorities  shall  have  to  conduct  the
           revision proceedings as per the standing instructions issued  by
           the Government.


           (H)   The above mentioned procedure shall have to be reviewed in
           the meeting of Revenue officers  held  by  the  Collector  every
           month.


           (I)   In the case of breach of  tenure,  for  this  purpose,  15
           (fifteen) years shall have to be reckoned from the date of order
           of regnant issued lastly.


           3.    Procedure of converting from New Tenure to Old Tenure  for
           Non-agricultural purpose.


           (A)   On receipt  of  application  in  prescribed  form  as  per
           Appendix –I by Collector, application shall have to be forwarded
           to Mamlatdar office within 7 days (Seven) for  scrutiny  as  per
           check list.  On receipt  of  such  application  after  scrutiny,
           Mamlatdar shall have to  submit  the  report  to  Prant  officer
           within 20 (twenty) days after making all types of  scrutiny  and
           site inspection and the Prant officer shall have to forward  the
           report to Collector after verification within 10 days.


           (B)   After receiving report of Mamlatdar through Prant Officer,
           after  verifying  all  record,  Collector  shall  have  to  take
           decision within 30 (thirty) days and  the  said  decision  shall
           have to be informed to concerned person.  The calculation of the
           amount of premium shall have to be  made  as  per  the  rate  of
           Jantri prevailing on the date of decision.


           (C)   If premium is to be paid as per decision of the Collector,
           then on getting such information the concerned person shall have
           to pay the amount of premium within 21 (twenty one) days.


           (D)   After depositing amount of  such  premium,  the  Collector
           shall have to pass order in this regards within 3 (three) days.


           (E)   If amount of premium is not paid within twenty  one  days,
           then assuming that concerned person is not interested in getting
           permission and chapter should be filed.  However, in some cases,
           if concerned person submits an application then and if Collector
           considers the reasons just, then as per the merits of the  case,
           by the reasons to be recorded in writing, instead of 21  (twenty
           one) days, the Collector can extend till one year from  date  of
           intimation of decision.  But if  during  this  period  there  is
           change in  price  of  Jantri  then  premium  shall  have  to  be
           recovered accordingly.  After one year applicant shall  have  to
           submit an application afresh.


              F) When the permission  is  required  to  be  granted  to  the
                 charitable institutes for  non-agricultural  purpose  after
                 recovery,  such  institution  is  required  to  have   been
                 registered  under  Public  Trust  Act.   In   this   regard
                 Certificate    of     registration     before     Competent
                 Authority/Charity Commissioner shall have  to  be  produced
                 with file and audited accounts of last three years.  If the
                 purpose of applicant’s institution is only for  “No  profit
                 No loss” basis, for charitable activities  like  Charitable
                 hospital, dispensary, cattle house, Library,  Elder  house,
                 Orphan House etc. then such institution shall  have  to  be
                 considered as Charitable Institution.


              G) The check list regarding chapters to  be  given  for  prior
                 permission at the Collector level  and  departmental  level
                 shall have to be prepared as per  Schedule-2  of  herewith.
                 The  Collector  can  call  for  check  list  and  necessary
                 information if he deems fit.


           4.    Delegation of Powers:-


           (A)   Now premium is required to be recovered on  the  basis  of
           Jantri, all powers of all area of district shall be vested  with
           Collector.


           (B)   Instead of forwarding of the present the chapter regarding
           valuation of more than Rs.50/- lacs to Government, the  chapters
           regarding valuation of more than Rs.1 crore  shall  have  to  be
           forwarded to Government for prior permission.


           (C)   As per above 4(B), the permission shall have to be granted
           by making verification of record at department level entirely in
           respect of  the  chapter  received  by  the  department  and  by
           obtaining the consent of the government.


           5.    Regarding considering rates of Jantri:


           (A)   When sale is required  to  be  made  from  agriculture  to
           agriculture purpose, the valuation shall be made by  considering
           rate of agriculture Jantri prevailing in Urban and Rural area.


           (B)   In rural area, when the land is used  for  non-agriculture
           purpose, valuation shall be made by considering rates of  Jantri
           for that purpose.


           (C)   In urban  area,  for  non-agriculture  purpose,  valuation
           shall be made after considering  rates  of  Janri  of  developed
           land.


           (D)   When non-agriculture use is made for educational,  social,
           charity or other purpose, then valuation shall be made in  rural
           area, by considering rate of Jantri for residential purpose  and
           in Urban area, by considering rate of Jantri of the  development
           land.


           (E)   The Collector shall have to consider rate of Jantri  which
           are applicable  to  zone,  ward  or  block  where  the  land  is
           situated.  The rate of Jantri of other zone, ward or block shall
           not be considered.
           (F)   When “rate of developed land” is not mentioned  in  Jantri
           of the area, valuation shall be made by considering the  purpose
           and rate of prevailing Jantri of the said area.


              6. Procedure for disposal of pending chapters:-


           (a)   In the pending chapters in respect of  fixing  premium  at
           district level and state level,  in  all  chapters  wherein  the
           decision is required to be taken after 1/4/2008, the calculation
           of the premium shall be made on the basis of  the  rate  as  per
           Jantri.


           (b)   The chapters which have not been placed  in  the  District
           Valuation Committee, such chapters pending  at  District  level,
           shall not be placed in the  District  Valuation  Committee,  but
           their valuation shall be made as per Jantri.  The chapters which
           have been sent to the Deputy Town Planner for  valuation,  shall
           be called back and calculation of the premium shall be  made  on
           the basis of rate as per Jantri.


           (c)   The chapters decided by the District Valuation  Committee,
           shall also be disposed again at the Collector level by  deciding
           the premium on the basis of the rate of Jantri.


           (d)   The chapters pending at the state level, shall not be sent
           back to the district or shall not be produced in  the  Valuation
           Committee of State level,  but  permission  shall  be  given  by
           taking consent of the Government and  considering  the  rate  of
           Jantri.


           (e)   The pending chapters  which  have  been  valuated  in  the
           office of the  Chief  Town  Planner  and  which  have  not  been
           valuated, shall be received back and permission shall  be  given
           after taking consent of the Government and applying the price of
           Jantri.


           (f)   The chapters  sent  back  from  the  state  level  to  the
           district level for compliance, shall not be  sent  back  in  the
           department, but as per above instruction,  the  Collector  shall
           have to dispose the chapters by deciding the price on the  basis
           of Jantri.


           (g)   In the cases where the chapters have been received at  the
           State level and necessity arises for compliance on the basis  of
           the record, the chapters of the amount upto Rs.1/- (one)  crore,
           shall be disposed in accordance  with  rules  by  returning  the
           chapter and by making complete  verification  at  the  Collector
           level as per the check list and by  returning  the  chapters  be
           returned.


           (h)   In the chapters remained pending at the district  and  the
           state level also, in all cases wherein the permission  order  is
           required to be issued after 1-04-2008  also,  the  orders  shall
           have to be issued by deciding the premium as per Jantri.


           7.    In the cases of land allotted under gifting of land (bhoo-
           dan) and under The Gujarat Agriculture Land Ceiling  Act,  1960,
           any provision of this resolution shall not be applied.


           8.     On  implementation  of  the  aforesaid   procedure,   the
           resolutions/circulars mentioned in appendix-3 in  toto  and  the
           resolutions/circulars  mentioned  in   appendix-4   partly   are
           superseded only for the part in mentioned  in  column-4  of  the
           Appendix-4.


           In  this  manner,  on  account  of  superseding  the  resolution
           entirely or partly, the orders issued  before  01/04/2008  shall
           not be  affected  under  the  provisions/instructions  of  these
           resolutions/circulars.


           9.    On the basis of the policy  framed  vide  resolution  dtd.
           20/12/2006 of the department for bringing in force the procedure
           of  valuation  based  on  new  Jantri  with  effect  from   dtd.
           01/04/2008,  this  issue  with  the   concurrence   of   finance
           department vide their note dtd.  15/05/2008  and  27/06/2008  on
           this department file of even number.


                            By order and in the name of Governor of Gujarat,


                                                              [Anish Mankad]
                                        Joint Secretary, Revenue Department,
                                                          State of Gujarat.”

The consequent requirements under Section 43 read with aforesaid resolution
dated 4.7.2008

6.          As we have noted earlier the Tenancy Act was passed as  a  part
of the agrarian reform.  The Act  as  such  does  not  permit  transfer  of
agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose,  and  the  same  is  barred
under Section 63 of the Act.  That section permits such a transfer only  in
certain contingencies as provided under  that  Section.   Section  43  with
which we are concerned in the present matter and which appears in Part  III
of Chapter III of the Act.  Chapter III provides  for  Special  rights  and
privileges of tenants, and contains provisions for distribution of land for
personal cultivation.  Part III, thereof, provides  for  restrictions  upon
holding of land in excess of ceiling area.  Section 43 has to  be  seen  in
this context.
7.          The principal part of Section 43 lays down that the land  which
is purchased by a tenant under the various Sections referred to in  Section
43 shall not be transferred in any manner except as  permitted  in  Section
43.  The original Section 43 did  not  contain  any  such  exception.   The
Gujarat (Amendment) Act No. XVI of 1960 introduced the words “on payment of
such amount as the  State  Government  may  by  general  or  special  order
determine” in  Section  43.   The  constitutionality  of  the  section  was
examined by a Division Bench  of  the  Gujarat  High  Court  in  Shashikant
Mohanlal Vs. State of Gujarat reported in AIR 1970 Gujarat 204.  The  Court
held that the State is  theoretically  the  owner  of  all  the  land,  and
occupants hold these lands under the State.  It was argued before the  said
Division Bench  that  this  section  does  not  lay  down  any  guidelines.
However, the High Court held  that  the  amount  as  introduced  under  the
Amendment was the charge which the State was seeking,  for  permitting  the
transfer since the occupancy right as  such  was  not  transferable  as  of
right.
8.          The validity of  the  above  amendment  of  1960  came  up  for
consideration before the  Supreme  Court  in  the  case  of  Patel  Ambalal
Gokalbhai Vs. State of Gujarat reported in 1982 (3)  SCC  316.  This  Court
held that the Amendment  was  protected  under  the  9th  Schedule  to  the
Constitution, and therefore immune from any  challenge.   Subsequently,  by
Amendment Act No. XXX of 1977, the words “in consideration  of  payment  of
such amount…” came to be substituted in place of the words “on  payment  of
such amount…” Thus, the section now permits such a transfer by  the  tenant
after the appropriate amount as determined by the  State  Government  by  a
general or special order is paid by way of consideration, and only after  a
previous  sanction  is  obtained  from  the  Collector  for  effecting  the
transfer.  Thus, the State Government has to lay down by general or special
order the payment which is required to be made for such a transfer.  If the
agriculturist is seeking such a transfer, he  has  to  make  the  necessary
payment, and the transfer will be permitted only after a prior sanction  is
obtained from the Collector.  The transfer is  however  not  by  way  of  a
right.
9.          As far as the determination of this amount  is  concerned,  the
same was earlier entrusted to the District Level  Committee  or  the  State
Level Committee as per the Government Resolution dated 15.1.1998.  However,
the Government found that much time used to be consumed  for  determination
of this price at different stages.  Besides, uniformity had to  be  brought
in  with  respect  to  determination  of  valuation  in  particular  areas.
Therefore, the State Government decided to adopt the approach of  valuation
based on Jantri, i.e. the list of rates containing the minimum valuation of
land as per the Government Resolution dated 20.12.2006.   It  is  for  this
purpose that the aforesaid resolution dated 4.7.2008 was passed.  As can be
seen from paragraph 4 of this Resolution, now the premium is required to be
recovered on the basis of the Jantri, and all  the  powers  concerning  the
transfers in the entire District are vested in the Collector.   The  Jantri
contains the rates which are fixed for the purpose of valuation of the land
for levying the stamp duty under the Bombay Stamp Act.  Those rates in  the
Jantri are incorporated by virtue of this Resolution  for  the  purpose  of
permitting these transfers.
Submissions of the appellants
10.         The Resolution provides that the transfer shall be  permissible
only after 15 years of possession of the land  by  the  tenant.   The  main
grievance of the appellants is that for  transfer  of  such  lands  in  the
entire State (except Kutch) from agricultural to non-agricultural purposes,
the premium payable shall be 80 per cent  of  the  price  received  by  the
agriculturists as determined as per the Jantri rates.  Thus,  whatever  may
be the price mentioned in the document of transfer, the  valuation  of  the
land will be done as per the rates in the Jantri, and 80 per cent  of  such
amount will be payable to the State for permitting such  a  transfer.   The
contention of the appellants is that the  requirement  of  the  payment  of
consideration at such a high rate amounts practically to expropriation, and
is violative of Article 300A of the Constitution of India, which lays  down
that no person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of  law.
Such high premium is arbitrary, unreasonable  and  unconscionable.   It  is
also pointed out that the applications for transfer are not decided quickly
enough.  They are kept pending for a long time, whereby, the agriculturists
seeking to transfer the land suffers.
11.         If we take two of the twelve cases which are before us, we  can
see the submissions advanced on behalf  of  the  appellants  in  a  factual
matrix.  In Civil Appeal No.4129/2012 the appellant  Savitaben  represented
by Mr. Ahmedi is an agriculturist in Surat.  She made  an  application  for
conversion for non-agricultural purpose on 16.4.2003.  She is having a land
admeasuring about 4,875 sq. mts. at plot No. 65 in revenue survey  no.  90.
Another application in the same survey no. was decided on 4.7.2005  at  the
rate of premium of Rs. 700 per sq. mts.  The above referred Resolution came
to be passed on 4.7.2008.  Her application though  made  earlier,  was  not
decided until then.  It was decided thereafter, and she was  asked  to  pay
the premium at the rate of Rs.12000 sq. mts by order dated 7.8.2008  passed
by the Collector on the basis of circle rates.  The case of  one  Kashiben,
represented by Mr. Bharat Patel, is similar.  She is the appellant in Civil
Appeal No.4130/2012, and is having her property at  Vadodara.   It  is  her
submission that because of the application of this  Resolution,  exorbitant
amount is being sought.  The application is not being decided in reasonable
time.  The land is being wasted and is  being  used  by  other  people  for
dumping garbage.
12.         It was submitted on behalf of most of the appellants  that  the
land was in the possession and  cultivation  of  their  family  from  their
forefather’s time, and they had a stake in the land.  It was  submitted  by
them that they had paid the price to purchase the land under Section 32G of
the Tenancy Act.  The land having been purchased for a price, it is  not  a
largess given by the State.  Reliance was placed on paragraph 43 and 44  of
the judgment in Nagesh Bisto Desai Vs. Khando Tirmal Desai reported in  AIR
1982 SC 887 to submit that the purpose of  prior  permission  was  only  to
protect the tenant from selling the land at a throw away price, and not for
the State to profiteer. It was then submitted that the amount to be charged
under Section 43 was at the highest in the nature of a fee and  not  a  tax
and, therefore, it has to be proportionate.  The Jantri  rates  were  being
applied in an arbitrary  manner,  and  the  premium  at  80  per  cent  was
unconscionable.  (It must however be noted  that  it  was  pointed  out  on
behalf of the Government that after the judgment of  the  High  Court,  the
premium has been reduced to 40 per cent.)  It was also submitted that  Rule
25C of the rules framed under the Act gives guidelines, and when read  with
that Rule, Government cannot  charge  any  dis-proportionate  amount  under
Section 43 of the Act.
13.         It was submitted that it is the date of the  application  which
should be considered as the material date for deciding the valuation of the
property, and not the date of  the  decision  on  the  application  by  the
Collector. Besides, the decision on the application cannot be  indefinitely
delayed.   Reliance was placed on paragraph 8, 11 and 12 of the judgment of
this Court in Union of India Vs. Mahajan Industries Ltd. reported  in  2005
(10) SCC 203  to submit that date of  application  is  the  material  date.
Reliance was also placed on the judgment of this Court in State of  Gujarat
Vs. Patel Raghav Natha reported in 1969 (2) SCC 187 (para  11  and  12)  to
submit  that  the  decisions  in  revenue  matters  must  be  taken  within
reasonable time.  In the facts of that case it was held  that  it  must  be
arrived at within 90 days.
14.         On the  concept  of  reasonableness,  reliance  was  placed  on
paragraph 38 of the judgment in K.B. Nagur, M.D. (Ayurvedic) Vs.  Union  of
India reported in 2012 (4) SCC 483.  It  was  held  therein  that  when  no
specific time limit is provided for taking the  decision,  the  concept  of
reasonable time comes in.  It was submitted that good governance required a
timely decision and for that judgment  of  this  Court  reported  in  Delhi
Airtech Services Pvt. Ltd. Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh reported in 2011  (9)
SCC 354 relied upon.  (It was also submitted that Section 43 should be read
alongwith Section 69 of the Act.)  The period for decision making should at
the highest be 90 days from the date of application.
Reply on behalf of the respondents
15.          Mr.  Nariman,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing   for   the
respondents submitted that essentially the amount which was  being  charged
under Section 43 (as it stands now) was by way  of  consideration  for  the
permission to transfer the agricultural land for non agricultural  purpose.
This amount which was being charged was a premium to be paid to the  State,
and this is because the land theoretically belongs to the  State,  and  all
the cultivators are  holding  the  land  under  the  State.   The  kind  of
authority which the tenant acquired after making the necessary payment  for
purchase of the land under the statute was to cultivate the  land  himself.
The land was not to be put to non agricultural  use,  or  else  the  tenant
would lose the land under the provision of the statute,  and  it  would  be
given to those who needed it for personal cultivation.  In his  submission,
the premium was  therefore  justified.   He  informed  us  that  after  the
impugned judgment of the High Court, the premium has been brought  down  to
40%.  In his submission, the Jantri rate had to be applied on the  date  of
sanction as the Section  provided  for  a  prior  sanction.   He,  however,
accepted that the decision  on  the  application  for  conversion  to  non-
agricultural purpose has to be in reasonable time.
Consideration of the submissions
16.         We may at this stage refer to  the  judgment  of  the  Division
Bench  of  the  Gujarat  High  Court  in  Shashikant  Mohanlal  (Supra)  by
P.N.Bhagwati, CJ as he then was in the High Court.  With respect to this co-
relation between Sections 32 to 32R of this statute  and  Section  43,  the
Division Bench observed as follows:-
                 “7. The Act as originally enacted in 1948 was  intended  to
    regulate the relationship of landlord and tenant with a view to  giving
    protection to the tenant against exploitation by the  landlord  but  in
    1956 a major amendment was  made  in  the  Act  introducing  a  radical
    measure of agrarian reform. The Legislature decided that the tiller  of
    the soil should be brought into direct contact with the State  and  the
    intermediary landlord should be eliminated and with that end  in  view,
    the Legislature introduced a fasciculus of sections from Section 32  to
    S. 32-R and S. 43. These sections came into force on 13th December 1956
    and they provided for the tenant becoming deemed purchaser of the  land
    held by him as tenant. Section 32 said that on  1st  April  1957  every
    tenant shall, subject to certain exceptions which are not material  for
    the purpose of the present petitions, be deemed to have purchased  from
    him landlord, free from all encumbrances subsisting thereon on the said
    day, land held by him as tenant provided he was  cultivating  the  same
    personally. If the landlord bona fide  required  the  land  either  for
    cultivating personality or for any non-agricultural purpose,  he  could
    after giving  notice  and  making  an  application  for  possession  as
    provided in Section 31, sub-section (2), terminate the tenancy  of  the
    tenant subject to the conditions set out in Sections 31-A to  31-D  but
    if he did not take steps for terminating  the  tenancy  of  the  tenant
    within the time prescribed in Section 31, the tenant became the  deemed
    purchaser of the land on 1st April 1957. If the  landlord  gave  notice
    and made an application for possession within the  time  prescribed  in
    Section 31, the tenant would not become the  deemed  purchaser  of  the
    land on 1st April 1957 but he would have to await the decision  of  the
    application for possession and if the application  for  possession  was
    finally rejected, he would be the deemed purchaser of the land  on  the
    date on which, the final order of rejection  was  passed.  Now  if  the
    tenant becomes  deemed  purchaser  of  the  land,  there  would  be  no
    difficulty, for the intermediary landlord would then be eliminated  and
    direct relationship would be established  between  the  State  and  the
    tiller of the soil. But what is to happen if the tenant  expresses  his
    unwillingness to become deemed purchaser of the land?  The  Legislature
    said that in such a case the tenant cannot be permitted to continue  as
    a tenant he would have to  go  out  of  the  land.  If  the  tenant  is
    permitted to continue as a  tenant,  the  object  and  purpose  of  the
    enactment of the legislation, namely, to eliminate the middleman, would
    be defeated. The Legislature therefore, provided in Section32-P that if
    the tenant expresses his unwillingness to become  deemed  purchaser  of
    the  land  and  the  purchase  consequently  becomes  ineffective,  the
    Collector shall give a direction providing that the tenancy in  respect
    of the land shall be terminated and the tenant summarily  evicted.  The
    land  would  then  be  surrendered  to  the  landlord  subject  to  the
    provisions of Section 15 and if the entire land or any portion  thereof
    cannot be surrendered in accordance with the provisions of  Section 15,
    the entire land or such portion thereof, as the case may be,  shall  be
    disposed of by sale according to the priority list. The  priority  list
    consists of persons who would personally cultivate  the  land  and  the
    sale of the land to them would ensure  that  the  tiller  of  the  soil
    becomes the owner of it and there is no intermediary  or  middleman  to
    share the profits of his cultivation. Since  the  tenant  is  made  the
    deemed purchaser of the land in  order  to  effectuate  the  policy  of
    agrarian reform to eliminate the intermediary landlord and to establish
    direct relationship between the State and the tiller  of  the  soil  so
    that soils of his cultivation are not  shared  by  an  intermediary  or
    middleman who does not put in any labour, the Legislature insisted that
    the tenant must personally cultivate the land of which he is  made  the
    deemed purchaser. The tenant, said the Legislature, would  continue  to
    remain owner of the land only so long as he personally  cultivated  it;
    he must make use of the land for the purpose of which it was  given  to
    him as owner. If the tenant failed to  cultivate  the  land  personally
    either by keeping it fallow or by putting it to  non-agricultural  use,
    he would lose the land under Section 32B and the land  would  be  given
    away  to  others  for  personal  cultivation  in  accordance  with  the
    provisions of Section 84-C.”

17.         As far as the right of the  State  to  charge  the  premium  is
concerned the Division Bench observed as follows in paragraph 11  thereof:-

                  “11. As the section stands there can be no doubt  that  it
      is implicit in the language used  in  the  section  that  the  payment
      contemplated is payment to the State Government. It must be remembered
      that the State is theoretically the owner of all land;  all  occupants
      hold under the State. If an occupant is not entitled to  trnasfer  his
      land without the permisson of the State, the state can very  well  say
      that the permission to transfer the land would be granted only  if  he
      pays a premium to the State as the sovereign owner of the land.  As  a
      matter of fact, such a provision is to be found in Section 73-B of the
      Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879. That section which was  introduced  in
      the Code with retrospective effect by Gujarat Act 35 of 1965  provides
      that where any occupancy, by virtue of any conditions annexed  to  the
      tenure by or under the Code is not transferable  or  partible  without
      the previous sanction of the State Government, the  Collector  or  any
      other officer authorised by the State Government, such sanction  shall
      not be given except on payment to the State Government of such sum  as
      the State Government may by general or special  order  determine.  The
      Legislature has also similarly  provided  in  Section 43 that  if  the
      tenant who is otherwise under an  inhibition  to  transfer,  wnats  to
      transfer the land, he shall do so only on payment of  such  amount  as
      the State Government may by general or special order  determine.  That
      is the charge which the State makes for permitting transfer where  the
      occupancy is not transferable as of right. It is no  doubt  true  that
      the words "to the State Government" are not to be found after the word
      "payment" in Section 43 but that does not make any  difference.  These
      words were perhaps not  explicity  used  by  the  Legislature  as  the
      Legislature might have felt that even without these words the  meaning
      of the section was reasonably clear……”


18.         The above decision has not been interfered with by  this  Court
in any manner.  A similar provision has been made in  Bombay  Paragana  and
Kulkarni Watans (Abolition) Act, 1950.  Section 4  of  this  Act  reads  as
follows:-
            4.    (1) A watan land resumed under the provisions of this Act
   shall [subject to the provisions of Section  4A]  be  regranted  to  the
   holder of the watan to which it appertained, on payment of the occupancy
   price equal to twelve times of the amount of the full assessment of such
   land within [five years] from the date of the coming into force of  this
   Act and the holder shall be deemed to be an occupant within the  meaning
   of the Code in respect of such land and shall primarily be liable to pay
   land revenue to the State Government in accordance with  the  provisions
   of the Code and the rules made thereunder; all  the  provisions  of  the
   Code and rules relating  to  unalienated  land  shall,  subject  to  the
   provisions of this Act, apply to the said land:
      Provided that in respect  of  the  watan  land  which  has  not  been
   assigned towards the emoluments of the officiator, occupancy price equal
   to six times of the amount of the full assessment of such land shall  be
   paid by the older of the land for its regrant:
      Provided further that if the holder fails to pay the occupancy  price
   within the period of [five years] as provided in this section, he  shall
   be deemed to be unauthorisedly occupying the land and shall be liable to
   be summarily ejected in accordance with the provisions of the Code.
   (2)      The occupancy of the land regranted under sub-section (1) shall
   not be transferable or partible by metes and bounds without the previous
   sanction of the Collector and except on payment of such  amount  as  the
   State Government may by general or special order determine.
   (3) Nothing in [sub-sections (1) and (2)] shall apply to any land-
      (a) the commutation settlement in respect of which provides expressly
   that the land appertaining to the watan shall be alienable  without  the
   sanction of the State Government; or
      (b) which has been validly alienated with the sanction of  the  State
   Government under section 5 of the Watan Act.
   Explanation-For the purpose of  this  section  the  expression  “holder”
   shall include-
        i) all persons who on the appointed day are the  watandars  of  the
           same watan to which the land appertained, and
       ii) in the case of a watan the commutation settlement in respect  of
           which permits the transfer of the land appertaining  thereto,  a
           person in whom the ownership of such land  for  the  time  being
           vests.
                                               (emphasis supplied)

19.         This Section 4 came up for  consideration  before  a  bench  of
three Judges of this Court in Nagesh Bisto Desai (supra), and in  paragraph
43 this Court approved the scheme of the Section under which  the  transfer
is subject to the sanction of the Collector, and on  payment  of  requisite
amount.  This paragraph reads as follows:-
                 43. It still  remains  to  ascertain  the  impact  of  Sub-
    section (2) of Section 4 of Act No. 60 of 1950 and Sub-section  (3)  of
    Section 7 of Act No. 22 of  1955,  and  the  question  is  whether  the
    occupancy of the land regranted under Sub-section (1) of Section  4  of
    the former Act and Sub-section (2) of Section 7 of the  latter  Act  is
    still impressed with the character of being  impartible  property.  All
    that these provisions lay down  is  that  the  occupancy  of  the  land
    regranted under Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the  former  Act  shall
    not be transferable  or  partible  by  metes  and  bounds  without  the
    previous sanction of the Collector and except on payment of such amount
    as the State Government may, by general or special order, determine. It
    is quite plain upon the terms of  these  provisions  that  they  impose
    restrictions in the matter of making alienations.  On  regrant  of  the
    land, the holder is deemed to be an occupant and therefore the  holding
    changes its intrinsic character and becomes Ryotwari and  is  like  any
    other property which is capable of being transferred or partitioned  by
    metes and bounds subject, of course, to the sanction of  the  Collector
    and on payment of the requisite amount.

20.         These two judgments answer the  submission  of  the  appellants
that the amount which is being charged is not a  tax  but  a  fee.   It  is
neither.  It is a premium for granting the sanction.  This is because under
this welfare statute these lands have been permitted to be purchased by the
tenants at a much lesser price.  As held in  Shashikant  Mohanlal  (supra),
the tenant is supposed to cultivate the land personally.  It is not  to  be
used for non agricultural purpose.  A benefit is  acquired  by  the  tenant
under the scheme  of  the  statute,  and  therefore,  he  must  suffer  the
restrictions which are also imposed under the same  statute.  The  idea  in
insisting upon  the  premium  is  also  to  make  such  transfers  to  non-
agricultural  purpose  unattractive.   The  intention  of  the  statute  is
reflected in Section 43, and if that is the intention  of  the  Legislature
there  is  no  reason  why  the  Courts  should  depart   therefrom   while
interpreting the provision.
21.         It was submitted by  the  appellants  that  assuming  that  the
valuation of the land is permitted to be done as per the Jantri  rates,  it
must be so done on the basis of the rates as prevalent on the date  of  the
application.  The resultant  injustice  was  highlighted  in  the  case  of
Savitaben in Civil Appeal No. 4129/2012.  The fact  however,  remains  that
the Section speaks of previous sanction. As noted earlier, Section 4(2)  of
the Bombay Paragana and Kulkarni Watans (Abolition) Act, 1950  also  speaks
about the previous sanction.  Thus, this is the theme  which  runs  through
all such welfare agricultural enactments, and a similar  provision  in  the
said Act has been left undisturbed by the bench of  three  Judges  of  this
Court.  Therefore, the Jantri rate to be applied will be on the date of the
sanction by the Collector, and not on the date of the application  made  by
the party.
22.         Rule 25C of the Rules  framed  under  the  Bombay  Tenancy  and
Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, was relied upon by the appellants.  It speaks
about the circumstances in which, and conditions subject to which  sanction
shall be given by the Collector under Section 43 for transfer. The rule was
relied upon by the appellants to submit that Government cannot  charge  any
disproportionate amount under Section 43. The rule however, does not create
any such restrictions on the provisions under Section 43. In fact, the rule
makes it clear that transfer of an agricultural land  for  non-agricultural
purpose is not easy.  It is only sub-clause (e) thereof under which such  a
transferor will have to make his case which is when a  transfer  is  sought
for a bonafide purpose.  Even so, this does not absolve one from taking any
prior sanction.  It will only mean that if  the  application  is  bonafide,
normally the transfer will be sanctioned, because as such there is no right
to insist on a transfer for non-agricultural purpose.
23.         As far as the levy  of  the  80  per  cent  of  the  amount  is
concerned, it was submitted that it was unconscionable, and it  would  mean
expropriation, and will be hit by Article 300A of the  Constitution.   Once
we see the scheme of these provisions, in our view, no such submission  can
be entertained.  In any case Mr. Nariman has pointed  out  that  after  the
impugned judgment, the State Government has reduced the levy to 40 per cent
which is obviously quite reasonable.
24.         The last point which requires consideration is with respect  to
the period for considering the  application,  and  granting  the  sanction.
There is some merit in the submission of the  appellants  in  this  behalf.
Such application cannot be kept  pending  indefinitely,  and  therefore  we
would expect the Collector to decide such applications as far  as  possible
within 90 days from the receipt of the application, on  the  lines  of  the
judgment of this Court in Patel Raghav Natha (supra).   In  the  event  the
application is not being decided within 90 days, we expect the Collector to
record the reasons why the decision is getting belated.
25.         For the reasons stated above we  do  not  find  any  reason  to
interfere  in  the  impugned  judgment  rendered  by  the  Division  Bench,
approving  the  decisions  rendered  by  the  Single  Judges  in  the  Writ
Petitions.  All appeals are, therefore,  dismissed  with  no  order  as  to
costs.

                                       …………………………..J.
                                       [ Surinder Singh Nijjar ]


                                       ……..……………………..J.
                                       [  H.L. Gokhale  ]
New Delhi
Dated : February 25, 2014
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