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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The appellant, one of the plaintiffs in the suit instituted before Munsif Court (II), Kozhikode along with others against the respondent No. 1 herein, seeking eviction of the latter from the land involved and damages for the use and occupation thereof, in his relentless pursuit for redress is before this penultimate institutional forum, having successively failed at all the intermediate tiers. The procrastinated tussle spanning over three decades eventually seeks a quietus at this end. As neither Section 3 (1) (vii) nor 3 (1) (viii) is applicable to the plantation involved, the respondent-company is entitled to fixity of tenure under Section 13 thereof. To reiterate, Section 116 of the Transfer of Property Act ,1882 even if applicable, the lease originally entered into would not get transformed with time into one of tenancy in respect of plantation as defined in Section 2 (44) of Act 1963, in absence of any overt act of the parties, intending the same on agreed upon terms. 34. The consequences of the applicability of the Act, vis-a-vis the plantation need not detain us, as the same would be regulated by the provisions of the statute and as rightly asserted on behalf of the respondent-company, the course to follow would witness the State and the tenant as the parties thereto. With the enforcement of the Act 1963, the appellant would be left with no role in that regard. 35. On a totality of the consideration of all aspects, factual and legal as detailed hereinabove, we are of the unhesitant opinion that no interference with the findings recorded by the forums below is called for. The appeal lacks in merit and is thus dismissed.


                                {REPORTABLE}



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

               CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                         CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5163/2012

N K RAJENDRA MOHAN                             ...….APPELLANT

                                   Vs.

THIRVAMADI     RUBBER     CO.     LTD      &      ORS         …..RESPONDENTS




J U D G M E N T

Amitava Roy,J.

The appellant, one of the plaintiffs in the suit  instituted  before  Munsif
Court (II), Kozhikode  along  with  others  against  the  respondent  No.  1
herein, seeking eviction of the latter from the land  involved  and  damages
for the use and occupation thereof, in his relentless  pursuit  for  redress
is before this penultimate institutional forum, having  successively  failed
at all the intermediate  tiers.  The  procrastinated  tussle  spanning  over
three decades eventually seeks a quietus at this end.

2.    We have heard Mr. A. S. Nambiar, Senior  Advocate  for  the  appellant
and  Mr.  A.  M.  Singhvi,  Senior  Advocate  for   the   respondent   No.1.
Incidentally, the co-plaintiffs have been arrayed as  other  respondents  in
the instant appeal.

3.    The salient  facts,  which  make  up  the  edifice  of  the  lingering
contentious dissent, however  lie  in  a  short  compass.   As  adverted  to
hereinabove, the appellant alongwith others did institute a suit,  being  OS
569/1982 before Munsif Court (II), Kozhikode against the  Respondent  No.  1
praying for its eviction from the suit land and realization of arrear  rent,
damages etc, the pleaded case being that  the  suit  land  had  belonged  to
their Tarwad and was a private forest.  On  21.6.1918,  an  area  of  963.75
acres was leased out to one Mr. Campbell Hunt for a  period  of  thirty  six
years vide Exh. A 1 whereunder, the lessee was liable to pay a  sum  of  Rs.
693.75 per annum  towards  annual  rent.   Eventually,  through  intervening
transactions, the respondent-company stood inducted to the  suit  land  with
the same status.  According to the plaintiffs, they were  the  joint  owners
of the property and asserted that neither the original lessee  Mr.  Campbell
Hunt nor his successors did derive fixity of tenure or  right  of  ownership
either under the lease deed or the provisions of  the  Kerala  Land  Reforms
Act 1964 (hereinafter referred to as Act 1963), brought into  force  on  and
from 01.04.1964 or any other tenancy laws  prior  thereto.   The  plaintiffs
averred, that at the time of handing over the property to Mr. Campbell  Hunt
in the year 1948, the same was a private  forest  under  the  ownership  and
possession of their Tarwad. The lease which was for a  period  of  36  years
with effect from 01.04.1918 lapsed with efflux of time and  the  respondent-
company had no right to  retain  the  possession  thereof.   The  Plaintiffs
admitted that it (respondent-company) had raised  a  rubber  estate  on  the
suit land. It was alleged that the respondent-company also did not  pay  the
lease rent as fixed i.e. Rs. 693.75 per annum for the year  1979,  1980  and
thereafter.  That in inspite of several requests,  it  did  not  vacate  the
land by removing its  buildings  etc.  therefrom  for  which  a  notice  was
addressed on 10.11.1980 to the  respondent-company  to  vacate  and  deliver
possession of the suit land was stated.  According  to  the  plaintiffs,  in
terms of the notice, the tenancy stood extinguished from 21.6.1981.  However
in response to the notice, the  respondent-company  claimed  in  its  reply,
that it had acquired the right of fixity of tenure  on  the  suit  land.  In
this factual premise, the plaintiffs instituted  the  suit,  for  the  above
reliefs claiming inter alia arrear lease rent at the rate of Rs. 693.75  per
annum from 01.04.1979 to 20.06.1981 and damages at the  same  rate  for  the
period subsequent thereto for use and occupation thereof.

4.    The respondent-company in its written statement,  resisted  the  suit.
While admitting, the lease deed Exh. A 1, in favour of Mr. Campbell Hunt  in
the year 1918, it elaborated that out of total land leased,  the  cultivable
area was 925 acres and  that  the  lease  was  granted  with  the  right  to
cultivate coffee, tea, pepper, cinchona, rubber etc. and any  other  produce
as the lessee would consider proper, by cleaning the area.  The  respondent-
company claimed fixity of tenure under the Malabar  Tenancy  Act  1929  (for
short hereinafter referred to as Act 1929) as well  as  the  Act  1963,  and
pleaded for the dismissal of the suit.

5.    The learned Trial Court in the face of the respondent-company’s  claim
of fixity of tenure, referred the  issue  to  the  Land  Tribunal,  Kasargod
which sustained this plea and  consequently  the  suit  was  dismissed.  The
appeal  preferred  by  the  plaintiffs  met  the  same  fate.  Being   still
aggrieved, they (appellants) did take the challenge before  the  High  Court
of Kerala. By the judgment  impugned,  the  High  Court  has  sustained  the
adjudication of the Courts below.

6.    As the decisions impugned would reveal, the  High  Court  negated  the
plaintiffs’ assertion that the suit land at the time of  the  initiation  of
the lease in the year 1918 was a private  forest  and  thus  stood  excluded
from the applicability of Act 1963 in terms of Section 3 (1) (vii)  thereof,
as it was granted to Mr. Campbell Hunt as per Exh. A 1 to cultivate  rubber,
cinchona, coffee and any such crop as the lessee construed it to be  proper.
It was inter alia observed that the lease deed clearly  disclosed  that  the
land was Puramboke and not assessed to any revenue and that the  lessee  was
permitted to cut and remove trees, shrubs etc. to prepare the same  for  the
purpose of cultivating rubber, tea, coffee etc.  The High Court was also  of
the view that if the conveyed land was a forest, there would have been  some
stipulation in the lease deed to the effect. That the lease rent  was  fixed
at the rate of the cultivable area  was  also  noted.  The  High  Court  did
record as well, that the land was assessed  to  Government  revenue  on  the
basis of cultivations done which too belied the  appellants’  claim  of  the
same being a private forest. Reference was also made to the relevant  survey
plan (Exh. A 2), appended to the  lease  deed,  to  endorse  the  conclusion
against the existence of private forest on the  land  at  the  time  of  its
demise on lease. It ruled further, that even  if  the  land  was  a  private
forest at the time of the initial lease, cultivation of various other  crops
thereon, after the execution of the lease deed took it out of the  ambit  of
Section 3 (1) (vii) of Act 1963.

7.    Vis-a-vis the next contention, namely, that the suit land contained  a
plantation on the date of enforcement of Act 1963 and  thus  stood  exempted
from the  ambit  thereof,  the  High  Court  entered  a  finding,  that  the
statutory provision i.e. Section 3 (1) (viii),  applied  to  cases  where  a
plantation did exist at the time of the grant of lease and not on  the  date
of commencement of the statute. Relying on the decision of a Full  Bench  of
the Kerala High Court in Rt., Rev. Dr. Jerome  Fernandes  Vs  B.  B.  Rubber
Estate Ltd, 1972 KLT 613 dilating on the same issue,  the  High  Court  thus
concluded that the respondent-company was entitled to fixity of tenure.   In
these premise, the aspect of its entitlement to the  value  of  improvements
made by it on the land was left undecided.  As a corollary, the  appeal  was
dismissed.

8.    Mr.  Nambiar,  the  learned  Senior  Counsel  for  the  appellant  has
assiduously argued, that having regard to the covenants of  the  lease  deed
and the attendant facts and circumstances, the transaction was  well  within
the purview of Section 3 (1) (vii) and/or 3 (1) (viii) of the Act  1963  and
was thus exempted  from  the  applicability  thereof  and  consequently  the
respondent-company was not entitled to any  fixity  of  tenure  as  per  the
statute.  Referring to  the  objects  and  reasons  of  the  enactment,  the
learned senior counsel insisted that the  applicability  of  Section  3  (1)
(vii) and 3  (1)  (viii)  thereof  has  to  be  essentially  tested  on  the
touchstone  of  the  date  of  the  enforcement  of  the   legislation.   As
admittedly, there was a standing rubber plantation on the suit land on  that
date  i.e.  01.04.1964,   the   respondent-company   unmistakably   had   no
sustainable right of fixity  of  tenure  and  thus  the  deductions  to  the
contrary as recorded in the impugned decisions are patently non est in  law.
 Mr. Nambiar urged that this issue having been authoritatively settled by  a
Constitution Bench of this Court in Karimbil Kunhikoman vs State  of  Kerala
(1962) Suppl. 1 SCR 829, the decision to the contrary  as  recorded  by  the
Full Bench of the Kerala High Court in Rt., Rev.  Jerome  Fernandes  (supra)
is on the face of it per incuriam  and  consequently  the  impugned  verdict
founded thereon is unsustainable in law and on  facts.  The  learned  senior
counsel pleaded, that as the Act 1963, enacted  after  the  Kerala  Agrarian
Relations Act 1961, is one for implementing land reforms in  the  State,  no
interpretation  with  regard  to  the  applicability  thereof  ought  to  be
assigned that would ensue in fragmentation of plantations  existing  on  the
date of the enforceability thereof and thus,  the  plantations  standing  on
the suit land, did come within the exemption contemplated  under  Section  3
(1) (viii).  No exposition of Section 3 of Act 1963, incompatible  with  the
objects and reasons thereof being permissible in law,  the  finding  of  the
non-applicability thereof to the suit land is patently erroneous, he  urged.
The learned senior counsel, to  endorse  this  contention,  amongst  others,
placed reliance also on a subsequent decision  of  the  Full  Bench  of  the
Kerala High Court in Jacob Philip vs State  Bank  of  Travancore,  1972  KLT
914. Contending that the Act 1963 is  prospective  in  nature,  Mr.  Nambiar
emphasised that the text of Section 3 (1) (viii) thereof, clearly  expressed
the legislative intent of  including  tenancies  in  respect  of  plantation
exceeding  30  acres  existing  on  the  date  of  enforcement  thereof.  In
addition, the learned senior counsel asserted, that with the expiry  of  the
initial period of lease in the  year  1954,  there  was  no  formal  renewal
thereof and in terms of Section 116 of the Transfer of  Property  Act  1882,
the respondent  continued  in  possession  of  the  land  by  holding  over,
signifying at the best a lease, on year to year basis and in  that  view  of
the matter, in the face  of  admitted  plantation  on  the  suit  land,  the
respondent-company was drawn within the coils of Section  3  (1)  (viii)  of
the Act 1963 and thus was disentitled to claim  fixity  of  tenure.  In  the
alternative, Mr. Nambiar insisted  that  the  respondent-company  is  not  a
tenant in respect of the land after 1954  and  thus  in  any  case,  is  not
entitled to the protection of fixity of tenure under Section 13 (1)  of  the
Act 1963.  The learned senior counsel placed on  reliance  as  well  on  the
decision of this Court in Malankara Rubber and Produce  Co.  &  Ors  vs  The
State of Kerala & Ors. (1972) 2 SCC 492.

9.    A contrario sensu, Mr. Singhvi, the learned  senior  counsel  for  the
respondent-company, maintained that as neither Section 3 (1) (vii)  nor  the
Section 3 (1) (viii) is  attracted  in  the  present  factual  setting,  the
concurrent findings to this effect are assuredly unassailable and  thus  the
instant challenge deserves to be dismissed in  limine.  The  learned  senior
counsel insistently urged that as the pleaded case of the appellant  in  the
plaint was limited to the existence of private forest at the time  of  lease
and that there was no whisper whatsoever  of  any  plantation  thereon,  the
plea based on Section  3  (1)  (viii)  of  Act  1963  ought  not  have  been
entertained by High Court and by no means should be taken cognizance  of  by
this Court.  Mr. Singhvi contended that in the face  of  the  concession  on
behalf of the appellant that neither at the initiation of the lease  nor  at
the enforcement of Act 1963 there did exist a reserve forest  or  the  land,
Section 3 (1)  (vii)  was  decisively  inapplicable.  The  plea  founded  of
Section 3 (1) (viii) relatable to plantation, in absence of any pleading  to
the effect ought to have been summarily  rejected,  he  asserted.   This  is
more so as this plea was not raised either before the  Trial  Court  or  the
Land Tribunal, or the First Appellate Court.  The  decision  of  the  Kerala
High Court  in  Jerome  Fernandes  (supra)  being  a  determination  clearly
answering the issue vis-a-vis Section 3 (1) (viii) of the Act  1963  and  as
the ruling of this Court  in  Karimbil  Kunhikoman  (supra)  pertains  to  a
distinctively different sphere of scrutiny, the contention that  the  former
is per incuriam the latter is wholly misplaced,  he  maintained.   According
to Mr. Singhvi, the decision in Karimbil Kunhikoman (supra) dwelt  upon  the
aspect of discrimination stemming from classification of  plantations  under
the Kerala Agrarian Relations Act  1961  and  is  wholly  unrelated  to  the
challenge in Jerome Fernandes (supra).  The learned senior counsel urged  as
well, that the decision of this court in Malankara Rubber  and  Produce  Co.
and Ors supra being on a different issue does not  render  the  adjudication
in Jerome Fernandes (supra) per incuriam. Mr. Singhvi  pleaded  that  having
regard to the doctrine of stare decisis, the  verdict  in  Jerome  Fernandes
(supra) having held the field, over the years, the same was rightly  applied
by the courts below. He urged that not only  the  materials  on  record,  do
unequivocally demonstrate that neither the land was  a  private  forest  nor
did contain any plantation on the date of the lease and  thus  the  same  is
beyond the scope of Section 3 (vii) and 3 (viii) of Act  1963  as  has  been
consistently held by the Trial Court and the higher forums,  and  thus  this
Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 136 of  Constitution
of India would not, even otherwise, lightly dislodge the same.  Mr.  Singhvi
maintained,  that  the  factum  of  existence  of  private  forest  and   of
plantation for the applicability of Section 3 (1) (vii) and 3 (1) (viii)  of
the Act 1963 would be assuredly relevant as on the date  of  the  lease  and
not on  one  of  the  enforcement  of  the  enactment  and  judged  by  that
benchmark, the suit land is beyond the  said  exemption  clauses,  entitling
the  respondent-company  to  the  right  of  fixity  of  tenure  under   the
legislation.

10.   In responding to the plea raised on behalf of the appellant  in  reply
that in any view of the matter, the provisions of the  Act  1963  pertaining
to ceiling on the area of land that can be held  by  the  respondent-company
would apply, Mr. Singhvi maintained that the same at the first place  having
been raised for the first time  in  this  Court,  it  ought  to  be  readily
dismissed. Further, as there is a plantation on the suit land  on  the  date
of enforcement of the Act, it is exempted from ceiling as  per  the  Section
81 (1) (e) thereof. In any case, it being an issue between State  Government
and the respondent-company, the appellant has no locus standi to even  refer
thereto, the learned senior counsel urged. Mr. Singhvi did  argue  as  well,
that in the face of Section 72 of the enactment,  there  was  no  equity  in
favour of the appellant, he having been  reduced  to  a  non-entity  by  the
statutory investiture  of  the  landlord’s  right  in  the  Government.  The
following decisions amongst others too were referred to.

 N. V. Srinivasa Murthy (2005) 10 SCC 566, K.  V.  Pathumma  vs  Taluk  Land
Board and Ors (1997) 4 SCC 114, State of Kerala vs K Sarojini Amma  and  Ors
(2003) 8 SCC 526.

11.    We  have  extended  our  thoughtful  consideration  to  the  recorded
materials and the competing  arguments.  Whereas  the  appellant  seeks  the
ouster of the respondent-company from the land involved contending  that  it
is not entitled to the protection of fixity of tenure under  the  Act  1963,
the latter pleads to  the  contrary  by  taking  refuge  of  the  enactment,
asserting that the exemption clauses contained in Section 3 (1)  (viii)  and
3 (1) (viii) are inapplicable to it. A correct exposition of Section  3  (1)
(vii) and 3 (1) (viii) of Act 1963 would, as a corollary, be  of  definitive
significance. Necessarily thus, the instant adjudicative exercise, ought  to
be preceded by an adequate reference to the relevant legal provisions.

12.   As the flow of events attest, the enactment earliest in point of  time
qua the present lis, is the Malabar Tenancy Act 1929.  As  the  preamble  of
this statute would reveal, it was one to define, declare, alter  and  amend,
the law relating to  landlord  and  tenant  in  the  Gudalur  Taluk  of  the
Nilgiris District.   Section  2  thereof,  which  exempted  lands  from  its
application being of relevance is quoted hereunder.

“ 2. Exception:

Nothing in this Act shall apply to-

Lands transferred by a landlord for filling  timber  or  for  planting  tea,
coffee, rubber, cinchona or any other special  crop  prescribed  by  a  rule
made by the State Government  or  the  erection  of  any  building  for  the
purpose  of  or,  ancillary  to  the  cultivation  of  such  crop,  or   the
preparation of the same for  the  market  or  land  let  only  for  fugitive
cultivation:

Provided that no rule under this clause shall affect any land in respect  of
which any tenant has a right of fixity of tenure under this Act, so long  as
such right subsists.

any transaction relating only to the usufruct of trees.

any building owned by a landlord including a house, shop or  warehouse,  and
the site thereof, together with the garden or land appurtenant  thereto  but
not including a hut belonging to a landlord, in any ulkudi.

Apart from defining inter alia the expressions “landlord” and “tenant”,  the
legislation did confer right of fixity  of  tenure  on  certain  classes  of
tenants as set out under Section 21.

13.   A plain reading of Section  2  would  authenticate  exclusion  of  the
applicability of the Act 1929 to  lands  transferred  by  the  landlord  for
felling timber or for planting tea, coffee, rubber, cinchona  or  any  other
special crop prescribed by a rule  made  by  the  State  Government  or  the
erection of a building for the purpose of or ancillary  to  the  cultivation
of such crop, or the preparation of the same for  the  market  or  land  let
only for fugitive cultivation. The proviso of Section 2 (1)  clarifies  that
no rule thereunder would affect any land, in respect  of  which  any  tenant
did have right of fixity of tenure so long as such right did subsist.   Sub-
Sections (2) and (3) being not of relevance are not being adverted to.

14.   The legislative backdrop  of  the  Act  1963  portrays,  that  it  was
amongst  others  preceded  by  the  Kerala  Agrarian  Relations   Act   1960
(hereinafter  referred  to  as  Act  1960)   which   sought   to   introduce
comprehensive land reforms in the  State  of  Kerala  and  did  receive  the
assent of the President on 21.1.1961.  The statement of objects and  reasons
of the enactment i.e.  Act  1963  disclose  that  this  Court  had  declared
unconstitutional the Act 1960  in  its  application  to  ryotwari  lands  of
Hosdurg and Kasargod Taluks, whereafter eventually the Act 1963 was  enacted
to provide an uniform legislation in the  State,  by  keeping  in  view  the
broad objectives of land reforms as laid down  by  the  Planning  Commission
and the basic objectives of the Act 1960. As the scheme of  Act  1963  would
dominantly demonstrate, the statutory endeavour has been to  strike  a  fair
and equitable balance of various interests to be impacted thereby so  as  to
facilitate smooth implementation thereof, without  casting  undue  financial
burden on the State.  Conferment of fixity of tenure on the tenants as  well
as the limited right of resumption to the landlords are also the  noticeable
features of the enactment with the emphasis that  the  right  of  resumption
would not be available against tenants,  who  were  entitled  to  fixity  of
tenure immediately prior to 21.1.1961 under the law then  in  force,  unless
such tenants had in their possession land in excess  of  the  ceiling  area.
The statement of objects and reasons do refer to  as  well,  the  provisions
pertaining to determination of fair rent at uniform rates  and  purchase  of
the rights of  the  landowners  and  intermediaries  of  a  holding  by  the
cultivating  tenant.  The  Act  1963  as  contemplated,  did   provide   for
imposition of a ceiling on holdings and constitution of  Land  Tribunal  and
Land Board for the administration of the  provisions,  with  the  remedy  of
appeal/revision from the decisions of this fora.  The  legislation  received
the assent of the  President  on  31.12.1963  and  some  of  the  provisions
thereof which concern the present pursuit were  enforced  with  effect  from
1.4.1964.

Sections 2 (44) and 2(47) which define  “plantation”  and  “private  forest”
are extracted hereunder:

“     “Plantation” means any land used  by  a  person  principally  for  the
cultivation  of  tea,  coffee,   cocoa,   rubber,   cardamom   or   cinnamon
(hereinafter in this clause referred to as ‘plantation crops’) and  includes


land used by the said person for any purpose ancillary  to  the  cultivation
of plantation crops or for the preparation of the same for the market;
land contiguous to, or in the vicinity of, or within the boundaries of,  the
area cultivated with plantation crops, not exceeding twenty per cent of  the
area so cultivated  and  reserved  by  the  said  person  and  fit  for  the
expansion of such cultivation;
agricultural  lands  interspersed  within  the  boundaries   of   the   area
cultivated by the said person with  plantation  crops,  not  exceeding  such
extent as may be determined by the Land Board [or the Taluk Land  Board,  as
the case may be] as necessary for the protection  and  efficient  management
of such cultivation.

Explanation- Lands used for the construction of office  buildings,  godowns,
factories, quarters for workmen, hospitals, schools and play  grounds  shall
be deemed to be lands used for the purposes of sub-clauses (a);

 “private forest” means a forest which is not owned by the  Government,  but
does not include-



areas which are waste and are not enclaves within wooded areas;
areas which are gardens or nilams;
areas which are  planted  with  tea,  coffee,  cocoa,  rubber,  cardamom  or
cinnamon; and
other areas which are cultivated with pepper, arecanut, coconut,  cashew  or
other fruit-bearing trees or are  cultivated  with  any  other  agricultural
crop;”

15.    Chapter  II  of  the  enactment  deals  with   provisions   regarding
tenancies. Section 3  exempts  the  transactions,  as  referred  to  therein
subject  to  the  stipulations  enjoined,  from  the  application   thereof.
Section 3 (1) (vii) and 3 (1) (viii)  being  the  focal  point  of  scrutiny
demand extraction as well;

3 (vii)   leases of private forests:

[Provided that nothing in clauses (i) to (vii) shall apply in the  cases  of
persons who were entitled to fixity of tenure immediately  before  the  21st
January, 1961, under any law then in force or persons  claiming  under  such
persons; or]

3(viii)     tenancies in respect of plantations exceeding  thirty  acres  in
extent;

Provided that the provisions of this Chapter,  other  than  Sections  53  to
shall apply to tenancies in respect of agricultural lands which are  treated
as plantations under sub-clause © of clause (44) of Section 2;

15.1  Section 13 of the enactment  mandates  that  notwithstanding  anything
contrary to the law, custom, usage or contract or any  decree  or  order  of
Court, every tenant shall have fixity of tenure in respect  of  his  holding
and no land from  the  holding  shall  be  resumed  except  as  provided  in
Sections 14 to 22.  Section 72 proclaims that on a date to  be  notified  by
the Government in the official gazette, all right,  title  and  interest  of
the  landowners  and  intermediaries  in  respect  of   holdings   held   by
cultivating tenants  (including  holders  of  Kudiyiruppus  and  holders  of
Karaimas) entitled to fixity of tenure under Section 13 and  in  respect  of
which certificates of purchase under sub-Section (2)  Section  59  have  not
been issued, shall, subject to the provisions of that Section, be vested  in
the Government free from all encumbrances  created  by  the  landowners  and
intermediaries and subsisting thereon on the said date.  Whereas Section  72
B confers cultivating tenants’ right to assignments, Section 81 as  well  do
cull  out  exemptions  from  the  applicability  of  Chapter  III  captioned
“Restriction on ownership and possession of land in excess of  ceiling  area
and disposal of excess lands.”

16.   Bar of jurisdiction of Civil Courts to settle,  decide  or  deal  with
any question or to determine any matter which is required by  or  under  the
enactment to be decided, dealt with or determined by the  Land  Tribunal  or
Board Authority or the Land Board or Taluk Land Board or the  Government  or
an Officer of the Government as contained under Section 125 and  the  repeal
amongst  others  of  the  Malabar  Tenancy  Act  1929  and  Kerala  Agrarian
Relations Act 1960 vide Section 132 deserve a passing reference to  complete
the fringe survey of the legislative scheme of Act 1963.

17.   The lease deed Exh. A 1, the fundamental instrument having a  decisive
bearing on the course of the present determination next commands  attention.
It was executed on 21.6.1918 between the Tarwad of the  plaintiffs  and  Mr.
Campbell Hunt, featuring an area of land measuring 963-1/2  acres  of  which
925 acres was  fit  for  cultivation  and  not  subject  to  any  Government
revenue. Thereby, the lessor accorded a lease of the said 963-1/2  acres  of
land to the lessee i.e. Mr. Campbell Hunt for a period of 36  years  on  and
from 01.4.1918 on payment of premium of Rs. 693.12 anna  calculated  at  the
rate of 12 annas per acre of the cultivable  portion,  that  is  925  acres.
The lease deed evidenced, that pursuant to the payment  of  premium  of  Rs.
693.12 annas, the lessor, his heirs, successors, legal  representatives  and
assigns  did  lease  unto  the  lessee,   his   heirs,   successors,   legal
representatives and assigns, the property for a period  of  36  years.   The
land involved was delineated in the  appended  plan  along  with  25  hills,
water channels, poyils lands etc. totaling 963– ½ acres of which  925  acres
were  alone  fit  for  cultivation  for  the  purpose  of   plantation   and
cultivation with a right to cultivate coffee, tea, pepper, cinchona,  rubber
and any other produce which  the  lessee  would  think  fit  and  proper  to
cultivate, with full right  of  access  to  the  premises,  with  all  ways,
watercourse,  privileges,  easements,  advantages  and  other  appurtenances
therewith and to cut, till and remove all forests,  jungles  and  trees  for
the purpose of planting and cultivating  without  any  let  or  interruption
from the lessor.

18.    The  lease  deed,  reading  between  the  lines,  would   demonstrate
irrefutably, that at the  time  of  execution  thereof,  neither  a  private
forest nor a plantation as defined in Section 2 (44)/2 (47) of the Act  1963
did exist on the demised land.  The lease which  was  for  a  period  of  36
years w.e.f. 01.4.1918, encompassed land  admeasuring  963-1/2  acres  which
included hills, water channels, poyils lands etc so much so  that  only  925
acres were comprehended to be fit for cultivation and the  lessee  was  left
at liberty to raise coffee, tea,  pepper,  cinchona,  rubber  or  any  other
produce at the latter’s discretion. It is apparent as well on  the  face  of
the lease deed, that there were forests,  jungles  and  trees  on  the  land
which the lessee was authorized to clear for the purpose of  plantation  and
cultivation, to be  decided  by  him.  There  was  thus  no  restriction  or
regulation on the nature of cultivation/plantation to be resorted to by  the
lessee on the cultivable portion of the land leased out.  To  reiterate,  on
the date of creation of the lease there was neither  any  plantation  nor  a
private forest on the leasehold land within the meaning of  Section  2  (44)
and 2 (47) of Act 1963 respectively.

19.    Significantly,  the  above  notwithstanding,  in  the   plaint,   the
plaintiffs while acknowledging  the  rubber  plantation  on  the  suit  land
raised by the respondent-company, the assignee/transferee, in possession  in
place of the original lessee, did assert that from prior to  the  initiation
of the lease in the year 1918, there was a private forest on the suit  land.
They contended, to reiterate, that as the lease period had expired after  36
years, the company had no right to retain the possession of  the  suit  land
and claim fixity of tenure. Noticeably however,  the  plaintiffs  complained
of non-payment of lease rent at the rate of 693.75 paisa per  annum  by  the
respondent-company from the year 1979 for which a  decree  for  arrear  rent
was also prayed for.  Axiomatically thus, the  plaintiffs  acknowledged  and
approved the possession of the  leasehold  land  by  the  respondent-company
even after the expiry of the period of lease in 1954  and  did  receive  the
annual rent at the same rate, even on their admission up to the  year  1978.
In course of the arguments before this Court, however,  the  learned  senior
counsel for the appellant has not pursued the plea based on  private  forest
and has confined the assailment qua “plantation” as per clause 3 (1)  (viii)
of Act 1963. The parties are also not at issue  that  on  the  date  of  the
lease, no plantation as defined in Section 2 (44) did exist on  the  demised
land. The plaint, to reiterate does not refer  to  such  plantation  on  the
date of the lease, as well. In that view  of  the  matter,  the  appellant’s
plea based on Section 3 (1) (viii) lacks foundation in  the  plaint  and  in
the strict sense of the term as the debate  has  its   genesis  in  a  suit,
ought not to have been entertained by the High Court. This is  more  so,  as
the records substantiate that  the  contention  based  on  “plantation”  was
raised for the first time before that forum.

20.   The remonstrance based on cessation of the lease on the expiry  of  36
years also does not  commend  for  acceptance  in  the  face  of  unreserved
acceptance of lease rent at the earlier rate of Rs. 693.75 paisa  admittedly
till the year 1978. The assertion that in any view of  the  matter,  as  the
respondent-company in terms of Section 116 of the Transfer of  Property  Act
1882, ought to be construed to be the lessee, holding over the demised  land
on payment of rent and that the lease stood renewed from year  to  year  and
that accordingly on the date of the institution of  the  suit  there  was  a
subsisting tenancy in respect of plantation exceeding  30  acres  cannot  be
sustained as well. Though admittedly, at the institution of  the  suit,  the
rubber plantation of the respondent-company did exist on the  land,  in  the
teeth  of  Section  116  of  the  Transfer  of  Property  Act  1882,   which
comprehends renewal of the expired lease, year after  year  or  month  after
month it is essentially qua the purpose for  which  the  property  had  been
originally leased which in the instant case is traceable to the  year  1918.
As the lease deed dated 21.6.1918 proclaims in no uncertain terms  that  the
transaction evidenced thereby was by  no  means  a  tenancy  in  respect  of
plantation,  the  same  with  efflux  of  time,  in  our   estimate   cannot
transfigure into the same merely because a plantation  has  been  raised  on
the leasehold land in between by  the  lessee  who  had  been  left  at  its
discretion to grow the same.  In absence of a conscious intervention of  the
parties to the lease, either to convert it into one for tenancy  in  respect
of  such  plantation  ad  idem  or  to  extend  it  thereto,  an   automatic
transformation of the lease not for plantation cannot stand  converted  into
one for plantation.  As a  transaction  of  this  kind  involving  immovable
property is essentially governed by the terms and conditions concurred  upon
by the parties thereto, no unilateral alteration  or  modification  thereof,
unless agreed to by both, in categorical terms, ought to be permitted to  be
pleaded or enforced by anyone of them to  the  disadvantage  of  the  other.
Neither the lease deed contains any stipulation sanctioning such  unilateral
alteration of the stipulations contained therein nor  do  the  materials  on
record testify such consensus based modification of the lease  covenants.  A
plain perusal of the Section 116 of the Transfer of Property Act  1882  also
does endorse this deduction.

21.   This conclusion of ours is founded amongst others on the  enunciations
of the Federal  Court  in  Kai  Khushroo  Bezonjee  Capadia  Vs  Bai  Jerbai
Hirjibhoy Warden & Anr 1949-50 FCR 262 and referred to and  relied  upon  by
this Court in Bhawanji Lakhamshi & Ors Vs Himatlal  Jamnadas  Dani  and  Ors
(1972) 1 SCC 388 and State of UP Vs Jahoor Ahmad and Anr AIR 1973  SC  2520,
dwelling on the question of the nature of the tenancy created under  Section
116 of the Transfer of Property Act 1882.

21.1  Further, this cavil having been expressed before this  Court  for  the
first time, we are not inclined to sustain the same, on that count as  well.


22.   In the factual conspectus  unfolded  hereinabove,  the  issue  of  the
applicability of Act 1963 to the lease of private forests and  tenancies  in
respect of plantations exceeding 30 acres not in existence as on  21.6.1918,
but  standing/present  on  the  date  of  its  enforcement  deserves  to  be
addressed. This indeed is of decisive bearing and would assuredly involve  a
dialectical interpretation of Section 3 (1) (vii) and 3 (1)  (viii)  of  Act
1963 to discern the true purport  thereof  as  legislatively  intended.   In
view of the abandonment of the plea based on private forests, in  course  of
the arguments, as noted hereinabove, it is inessential thus  too  dilate  on
the scope of Section 3 (vii).

22.1   As  alluded  hereinbefore,  tenancies  in  respect   of   plantations
exceeding 30 acres in extent have been exempted from the purview of the  Act
vide Section 3 (1) (viii). That on the date of the execution  of  the  lease
deed i.e. 21.6.1918 there was no plantation on the  leasehold  land,  is  an
admitted fact. Such plantation as defined in Section 2 (44) of the Act  1963
however did exist on the date on which the enactment was brought into  force
i.e. 1.4.1964. To clinch the issue in favour of the appellant, reliance  has
been placed on the ruling of  the  Constitution  Bench  of  this  Court,  in
Karimbil Kunhikoman (supra) purportedly buttressed by the  Malankara  Rubber
and Produce Company and Ors etc. supra, Per contra, the verdict  of  a  Full
Bench of the Kerala High Court in Jerome Fernandes supra  has  been  pressed
into service on behalf of the respondent-company.

23.   In Karimbil Kunhikoman (supra), a Constitution  Bench  of  this  Court
was seized  with  the  impugnment  of  the  vires  of  the  Kerala  Agrarian
Relations Act 1960 (for short Act  1960)  on  the  following  counts  to  be
violative of Articles 14, 19 and 31 of the Constitution of India.

The Bill which became the Act had lapsed before it was assented  to  by  the
President and therefore the assent of the President to a lapsed bill was  of
no avail to turn it into law.
The Act is a  piece  of  colourable  legislation  as  it  has  made  certain
deductions from the compensation payable to landholders under Chap.  II  and
to others who  held  excess  land  under  Chap.  III  and  this  amounts  to
acquisition of money by the State which it is not competent to do under  the
power conferred on it in Lists II and III of the  Seventh  Schedule  to  the
Constitution.
The properties of  the  petitioners  who  are  ryotwari  pattadars  are  not
estates within the meaning of Art. 31 A of the  Constitution  and  therefore
the Act is not protected under that Article so far  as it applies  to  lands
of ryotwari pattadars like the petitioners.
The Act exempts plantation of tea, coffee, rubber and cardamom from  certain
provisions thereof, but no such exemption has been  granted  to  plantations
of areca and pepper, and this is clearly discriminatory and is violative  of
Art. 14.
The  manner  in  which  ceiling  is  fixed  under   the   Act   results   in
discrimination and is therefore violative of Art 14.
The compensation which is payable under Chapters II and III of the  Act  has
been reduced by progressive cuts as the  amount  of  compensation  increases
and this amounts to discrimination between persons similarly situate and  is
therefore violative of Art. 14.



24.   While repelling  the  impeachment  of  the  statute  qua  the  grounds
enumerated in serial No. 1 and 2 as above, it was ruled that the lands  held
by the ryotwari pattadars as referred to therein and which had come  to  the
State of Kerala by virtue of the States Re-organisation Act  1956  from  the
State of Madras were not estates within the meaning of Article 31 A (2)  (a)
of the Constitution and  therefore the  legislation  under  attack  was  not
protected from the assailment under Articles 14, 19 and 31.   Vis-a-vis  the
discord that the Act 1960 did effect  a  discrimination  between  areca  and
pepper plantations on one hand and certain other plantations  on  the  other
by not including these (areca and pepper plantations) in the  definition  of
“plantation” provided by Section 2 (39)  thereof,  by  totally  disregarding
the existing large number of areca and pepper plantations as  comparable  to
tea and coffee and rubber plantations, this court  sustained  the  same  and
being of the view that as the provisions relating  to  plantation  contained
in the assailed legislation were inseverable, adjudged the legislation as  a
whole to be unconstitutional.  In concluding thus, this  Court  did  explore
the reasons impelling the legislature  to  treat  these  two  categories  of
plantations as class different and  observed  that  the  objective  of  land
reforms, including imposition of ceiling on land holdings as  manifested  by
the statute under scrutiny, was  to  remove  impediments  arising  from  the
agrarian  structure  inherited  from  the  past,  in   order   to   increase
agricultural production and create conditions, for evolving as  speedily  as
possible  an  agrarian  economy  with  a  high  level  of   efficiency   and
productivity  as  was  underlined  in  the  Second  Five  Year  Plan.   That
thereunder, it was recognized that some exemptions would have to be  granted
from the ceiling, to ensure that the productions may not suffer,  was  taken
note of as well. While referring to the Third Five Year Plan,  dealing  with
land reforms and ceiling on agricultural holdings, this Court  on  an  audit
of  the  materials  available,  concluded  that  there  was  no  appreciable
difference between the economics of tea, coffee and rubber  plantations  and
areca and pepper plantations so as to justify  the  differential  treatment.
The report of the concerned  committee, that if areca gardens  were  brought
under the ceiling, it would hamper production and would be against  national
economy and that it had recommended to the Planning Commission, the  Central
Government and the State Government  that  at  par  with   tea,  coffee  and
rubber plantations, orchards, areca nut gardens  should  also  be  similarly
exempted from ceiling and that the result of the application of the  ceiling
and other provisions of Act 1960 would occasion breakup of  the  plantations
with a likely  result  in  fall   in  production,  was  also  noted.   While
concluding that the same considerations  as  extended  to  tea,  coffee  and
rubber plantations, were available as well to areca and pepper  plantations,
the omission of the respondent State, to set out adequate justification  for
exclusion of pepper and areca nut from the benefit of exemption  granted  to
tea, coffee and rubber plantation was recorded. Adverting to the object  and
purpose of the Act 1960, and  the  basis  on  which  exemption  was  granted
thereunder to the plantations as defined thereby, it  was  held  that  there
was no reason for making any distinction  between  tea,  coffee  and  rubber
plantations on one hand and areca and pepper plantations on  the  other,  in
the facts of the case. The contentions listed in serial No. 5 and 6  though,
beyond the framework of the instant inquisition, suffice it to  state,  were
answered in the affirmative in favour of the appellant.

25.   This pronouncement, though had taken note of  the  recommendations  of
the Planning Commission against disintegration of plantations as  a  measure
of land reforms in the State and to promote national economy, it was in  the
context of evaluation of the plea of  discrimination  between  the  existing
plantations vying for equal treatment for exemption. The issue  which  seeks
adjudication in the present  appeal  did  not  fall  for  scrutiny  in  this
decision and therefore, we  are  of  the  comprehension  that  it  does  not
advance the case of the appellant.

26.   The assertion  on  behalf  of  the  appellant  that  the  decision  in
Karimbil  Kunhikoman  (supra)  does  essentially  enjoin,  that  under   all
circumstances,  tenancies  in  respect  of  plantation  as  contemplated  in
Section 3 (1) (viii), as existing on the date of  the  commencement  of  the
Act, would stand exempted from the purview thereof, irrespective of  whether
or not such the plantation did exist on the date of  the  lease,  cannot  be
countenanced. Not only this  pronouncement  is  not  an  authority  on  this
proposition, having regard to the scope of the analysis  undertaken  therein
as well as issues addressed, it would be wholly  inferential  to  draw  this
conclusion only  on  the  basis  of  the  recommendations  of  the  Planning
Commission against disintegration of plantations as a  measure  of  economic
policy.  Such a presumptive approach according to us would not  a  safe  and
expedient guide for the interpretation required.

27.   The constitutionality of the  Kerala  Land  Reforms  Act  1963   (also
referred to as Act 1963) as amended (inter alia by Act 1964) was  questioned
in Malankara Rubber and Produce Co. & Ors (supra) on the  grounds  that  (i)
Chapter III thereof was not aimed exclusively at  agrarian  reform  and  was
thus not saved by Article 31 A. (ii), it was violative of Article 14 due  to
deletion of clause (a) and (g) of Section 81 (1) caused by the amendment  of
Act 1969 thereby withdrawing  the  exemption  extended  to  cashew  estates,
pepper gardens and areca gardens of the  areas  as  mentioned  therein.(iii)
lands which were not then under rubber plantation but  had  been  set  apart
for expansion of  existing  plantations  or  were  likely  to  be  taken  up
therefor in future could not be acquired and diverted to other  purposes  as
the rubber industry had been declared to be one of national importance  vide
Rubber Act of 1947.

28.    Following  an  exhaustive  reference  to  the  decision  in  Karimbil
Kunhikoman  (supra),  it  was  held  that  the  petitioners  had  failed  to
demonstrate that their lands were not  estates  and  thus  were  beyond  the
purview of the Kerala Land Reforms Act 1964 as  amended  in  1969.   It  was
declared as well, that the provisions of  the  1964  Act  were  immune  from
challenge under Article 31 A  by  reason  of  its  inclusion  in  the  Ninth
Schedule of the Constitution. It was held  that  the  reduction  of  ceiling
limit by the amending Act 1969 did not attract the operation of  the  second
proviso to Article 31 A(1). It was propounded that  the  provisions  of  the
Act 1963 withdrawing protection to pepper and areca  plantations  could  not
be challenged under Article  14,  if  the  lands  were  estates  within  the
meaning of Article 31 A (2) (a). That forest and jungles would  be  exempted
from the operation of the Act was underlined as well.  It  would  be  patent
from the contextual text of this decision that the questions posed  and  the
contours of the judicial survey were distinctively different from  those  in
hand and thus is of no avail to the appellant.

29.   A Full Bench of the Kerala High  Court  in  Jerome  Fernandes  (supra)
however encountered the same issue qua Section 3 (1) (viii) of Act  1963  in
an identical fact situation.  The appellant therein, had filed  a  suit  for
recovery of possession of the scheduled property with arrears  of  rent  and
mesne profits.  The suit land had been leased  out  to  the  predecessor  in
interest of  the  respondent-company  therein,  which  eventually  under  an
assignment stepped into the position of  the  original  lessee.  As  on  the
expiry of the lease, the respondent-company did not surrender possession  of
the land, the suit was instituted.  The  respondent-company  pleaded  fixity
of tenure in respect of the holding under the Act 1963.   The  lower  forums
concurrently held that the respondent-company was entitled  to  the  benefit
of fixity of tenure under Section 13 of  Act  1963  as  the  transaction  of
lease did not attract the exemptions under Chapter II of  the  statute.  The
query that fell for scrutiny, was  whether  the  transaction  of  lease  did
entitle the respondent-company to the  fixity  of  tenure.  That  it  was  a
tenant in terms of Section 2 (57) of the  Act  1963  was  admittedly  beyond
doubt. Referring  to  Section  3  (1)  of  the  statute,  which  listed  the
categories of transactions exempted  from  the  purview  thereof,  the  High
Court while noticing that the leasehold property had been described  in  the
lease deed as  consisting  of  garden  land,  and  wet  lands,  negated  the
appellant’s contention based on clause (iii). Qua clause  (viii),  the  High
Court examined the definition of the word “plantation” provided  in  Section
2 (44) and entered a finding, that undoubtedly on the date of the  execution
of the lease deed, the land covered thereby had not been put to any  use  as
expressly mentioned in the  definition.   Responding  to  the  plea  of  the
appellant, that the determinative factor for  the  applicability  of  clause
(viii) was the character of the land or the use thereof at the  commencement
of the Act, the High Court on a comparison of the  text  amongst  others  of
clause (v) and (ix) of Section 3 (1) and Section 2 of  the  Malabar  Tenancy
Act 1929 dealing with exemption and Section 3  (1)  (viii),  of  the  Kerala
Agrarian  Relations  Act  1960   enunciated   that   the   legislature   did
consciously, as a matter of policy, in relation to the  grant  of  exemption
for plantations, restrict the scope thereof. The High Court  in  categorical
terms referred to the  language  used  in  Section  3  (1)  (viii)  and  the
definition of the expression “plantation” in both the statutes, and  was  of
the view that the object behind the constricted sweep of  “plantation”,  was
to confine the scope of exemption from the applicability  of  the  Act.  The
High Court entertained the notion, that the legislature had construed it  to
be unfair and improper to deny the benefit of the  fixity  of  tenure  to  a
lessee who might have taken the lease of extensive parambos or  waste  lands
and in course of time by hard toil had  developed  those  into  plantations.
That under the provisions of the Malabar Tenancy Act  1929,  such  a  tenant
was entitled to fixity of tenure, unless the  lease  had  been  one  granted
specifically for the purpose of raising plantation as mentioned therein  was
also emphasised. The High Court thus rejected the appellant’s plea based  on
Section 3 (1) (viii) and held that in view of the  clues  furnished  by  the
statutory history preceding the legislation involved, and also  the  express
language used in Section 3 (1),  the lease transaction was beyond the  ambit
thereof.  It held as well that  if  the  interpretation  of  Section  3  (1)
(viii) as sought to be projected by the appellant  was  accepted,  it  would
divest the tenants of their pre-existing right of fixity under  the  Malabar
Tenancy Act 1929 was underlined as well.

30.   Another Full Bench  of  the  Kerala  High  Court,  comprising  amongst
others of Hon’ble Mr. Justice T. C. Raghavan C.J., as the common member,  in
Jacob Philip (supra) also had the occasion to  examine  the  aspect  of  the
fixity of tenure under Section 13  of  the  Act  1963.   A  lease  of  land,
covered by Section 3 (1) (i) was involved in a suit instituted  against  the
appellant therein.  It was contended on behalf of the appellant,  that  this
exemption provision ought to be applied qua the  point  of  time,  when  the
lease was granted and  not  at  the  commencement  of  the  Act  or  of  any
subsequent date, as on the date of the execution of the  lease  neither  the
Government nor any corporation owned or controlled by the Government was  in
the picture.  The attention of the High Court was drawn  amongst  others  to
the decision in Jerome Fernandes (supra).  On an analysis  of  the  contents
of the Section 3 (1) (i), the  High  Court  negatived  this  plea.   Drawing
sustenance from the text of the Explanations  appended  to  the  clause,  it
returned a  finding that the requirements under Section 3 (1) (i)  would  be
satisfied, even if the leased land happened to belong to  or  become  vested
in the Government or a corporation under or  controlled  by  the  Government
etc, subsequent to the grant of the lease.

31.   The rendering in Jacob Philip (supra) turns on its own  facts  and  by
no means, in our opinion neuters the determination made in Jerome  Fernandes
(supra). Jacob Philip (supra) proceeded on an interpretation  of  Section  3
(1) (i) of Act  1963  which  is  distinctively  different  in  language  and
content from Section 3 (1) (viii) and no analogy, therefore,  can  be  drawn
to make it applicable to the case in hand.  In our considered  opinion,  the
decision of the Full Bench, in Jerome Fernandes (supra),  having  regard  to
the scheme of Act 1963 with particular reference to Chapter II  and  Section
3 (1) (viii) thereof, correctly states the law on the issue. We endorse  the
view taken in Jerome Fernandes (supra) on the applicability or otherwise  of
Section 3 (1) (viii) to the leasehold land of the present appeal.

32.   Noticeably,  the  respondent-company  in  its  written  statement  had
pleaded  that  the  lease  created  by  the  deed  dated  26.6.1918  was  an
agricultural tenancy entitling the lessee to  fixity  of  tenure  under  the
Malabar Tenancy Act 1929 and that the same benefit stood extended under  the
Act 1963.  The learned Trial Court while dismissing the  suit,  recorded  as
well the finding of the  Land  Tribunal,  following  an  inquiry,  that  the
respondent-company was entitled to  fixity  of  tenure  in  respect  of  the
leasehold land both under the Malabar Tenancy Act 1929 (as amended) and  the
Act 1963. This finding was upheld upon by the First Appellate Court and  not
dislodged by the High Court. We  notice  as  well  that  Section  2  of  the
Malabar Tenancy Act 1929 has no application to the facts  and  circumstances
of the case, so as to warrant exemption from the applicability thereof.

33.   As determined hereinbefore, the  respondent-company,  continued  as  a
lessee by holding over after 1954 and the lease  rent  at  the  agreed  rate
fixed at  the  first  instance  was  paid  till  1978  as  admitted  by  the
appellant.  The Act 1963 had come into  force  prior  thereto.   As  neither
Section 3 (1) (vii) nor  3  (1)  (viii)  is  applicable  to  the  plantation
involved, the respondent-company is  entitled  to  fixity  of  tenure  under
Section 13 thereof.  To reiterate, Section 116 of the Transfer  of  Property
Act ,1882 even if applicable, the lease originally entered  into  would  not
get transformed with time into one of tenancy in respect  of  plantation  as
defined in Section 2 (44) of Act 1963, in absence of any overt  act  of  the
parties, intending the same on agreed upon terms.

34.   The consequences of  the  applicability  of  the  Act,  vis-a-vis  the
plantation need not detain us,  as  the  same  would  be  regulated  by  the
provisions of  the  statute  and  as  rightly  asserted  on  behalf  of  the
respondent-company, the course to follow would witness  the  State  and  the
tenant as the parties thereto.  With the enforcement of the  Act  1963,  the
appellant would be left with no role in that regard.

35.   On a totality of the consideration of all aspects, factual  and  legal
as  detailed  hereinabove,  we  are  of  the  unhesitant  opinion  that   no
interference with the findings recorded by the forums below is  called  for.
The appeal lacks in merit and is thus dismissed.

36.   No Costs.

……………………..J.       (M.Y. EQBAL)


……………………..J.
(AMITAVA ROY)
       New Delhi
       Dated: 02 July, 2015
ITEM NO.1               COURT NO.1               SECTION XIA

               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Civil Appeal  No(s).  5163/2012

NK RAJENDRA MOHAN                                  Appellant(s)

                                VERSUS

THIRVAMADI RUBBER CO. LTD AND ORS                  Respondent(s)


Date : 02/07/2015 This matter was called on for pronouncement of
                    Judgment today.


For Appellant(s)  Mr.A.S.Nambiar, Sr.Adv.
                     Mr. P. K. Manohar,Adv.
                     Ms.Shanta Vasudevan, Adv.


For Respondent(s)       Dr.A.M.Singhvi, Sr.Adv.
                        Mr.Amrendra Sharan, Sr.Adv.
                        Mr.Padam Khaitan,Adv.
                        Mr.Gopal Sankaranarayanan, Adv.
                        Mr.Nitish Massey, Adv.
                        Mr.Shikhar Srivastava, Adv.
                     for M/s. Khaitan & Co.,Advs.


            Hon'ble Mr.Justice Amitava Roy pronounced the  Judgment  of  the
Bench comprising Hon'ble Mr.Justice M.Y.Eqbal and His Lordship.

            The appeal  is  dismissed,  with  no  costs,  in  terms  of  the
reportable Judgment.



(G.V.Ramana)                                       (Vinod Kulvi)
  AR-cum-PS                                  Asstt.Registrar
      (Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file

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