Hardev Singh vs Prescribed Authority Kashipur on 10 January, 2022


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Supreme Court of India

Hardev Singh vs Prescribed Authority Kashipur on 10 January, 2022

Author: Krishna Murari

Bench: S. Abdul Nazeer, Krishna Murari

                                                                               REPORTABLE

                                    IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                     CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                       CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2295 OF 2010

          HARDEV SINGH                                                    …APPELLANT (S)

                                                    VERSUS

          PRESCRIBED AUTHORITY,
          KASHIPUR & ANR.                                                …RESPONDENT(S)
                                                     WITH

                                       CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2296 OF 2010


          JAMALUDDIN & ORS.                                               …APPELLANT(S)

                                                    VERSUS

          STATE OF UTTARAKHAND & ORS.                                    …RESPONDENT(S)



                                                  JUDGMENT

KRISHNA MURARI, J.

These appeals are directed against the common judgment and order dated

20.08.2008 passed by the High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital (hereinafter

referred to as ‘High Court’) dismissing the two Writ Petitions based on identical

facts raising common questions of law, filed by the appellants herein. Writ
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
Anita Malhotra
Date: 2022.01.10
16:28:29 IST
Reason:

1

petitions arose out of proceedings under the Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceiling

on Land Holdings Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as ‘Act of 1960’).

Facts

2. The factual matrix of two Civil Appeals being identical, reference is

being made to the facts of Civil Appeal No. 2295 of 2010 which are as under:-

The Secretary of State for India executed a lease deed dated 25.08.1920

under the Government Grants Act, 1895 (Act No. 15 of 1895) in favour of one

Lala Khushi Ram. On demise of Lala Khushi Ram, the lease hold rights were

inhereted by ‘Harikishan Lal’, Respondent No. 2 herein, as a successor. He

executed a registered sub-lease for agricultural purposes of an area measuring

2.49 acres in favour of the Appellants herein.

3. The Prescribed Authority, Kashipur (Respodent No.1 herein),

issued a notice under Section 10(2) of the Act of 1960 to Respondent No.

2 herein, the Government Lessee, proposing to declare certain area of

land held by him as surplus.

4. Vide order dated 28.07.1978, respondent no.1 declared the land

measuring 2 Bigha 16 Biswa of Khasra No. 254, 1 Bigha 11 Biswa of

Khasra No. 255, 8 Bigha 16 Biswa of Khasra No. 256 and 2 Bigha 16

Biswa of Khasra No. 257, total admeasuring 15 Bigha, 16 Biswa as

surplus land in the hands of the Government Lessee. The land declared

2
surplus included the land sub-let to the appellant by Respondent No. 2,

the Government Lessee.

5. On attaining knowledge of the fact that the land sub-let to him was

included in the land declared surplus in the hands of Government Lessee,

the appellant made an application under Section 11(2) of the Act of 1960,

which came to be dismissed by Respondent No.1 on the ground that the

appellant has no locus to maintain the said application. The appellant

challenged the order by filing Writ Petition No. 9048 of 1979 which was

allowed and the matter was remanded back to the Prescribed Authority to

decide the objections filed by the appellant under Section 11(2) of the Act

of 1960.

6. After remand, the Prescribed Authority again dismissed the

application vide order dated 12.04.1982 mainly on following two grounds

:-

(i) Possession of the appellant over the land in question is not

reflected in the revenue records.

(ii) The conditions postulated in Clause 9 of the lease deed for

transfer of land or portion thereof by the Government Lessee were

not followed before creating a sub-lease in favour of appellant.

3

7. The aforesaid order was challenged by the appellant by way of Ceiling

Appeal before the Additional District Judge, which also came to be dismissed

vide order dated 27. 08. 1984. Consequently, the appellant approached the High

Court of Judicature at Allahabad by filing Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition No.

14911/1984.

8. During the pendency of the Writ Petition before the High Court of

Judicature at Allahabad, State of Uttaranchal came into existence and since the

land in question fell within the territorial jurisdiction of the newly created High

Court for Uttaranchal, the Writ Petition came to be transferred there and

eventually got dismissed for want of prosecution. Restoration application made

by the appellant for recall of the order too was dismissed and the appellant

approached this Court by way of Special Leave Petition, which came to be

allowed and the Writ Petition was restored to its original number.

9. Vide Common impugned judgment and order dated 20.08.2008, the High

Court dismissed the writ petitions.

10. The High Court in the impugned common order though observed that the

appellants herein being sub-lessees would be tenure holder as per sub-Section

9(3) of the Ceiling Act but refused to extend the benefit to the appellant in view

of violation of the conditions specified by Clause 9 of the Lease Deed.

4

11. We have heard Shri S.R.Singh, learned senior counsel for the appellants

and Shri Tanmaya Agarwal, learned counsel for the Respondent-State of

Uttarakhand.

Contentions made on behalf of the appellant

12. Learned counsel for the appellant referring to the definition of the term

‘tenure holder’ as contained in Section 3(17) of the Ceiling Act and the definition

of ‘Holding’ contained in Section 3(9) of the said Act contends that the appellant

would attain the status of a ‘tenure holder’ within the meaning of Section 3(17)

of the Ceiling Act, and having acquired the status of independent tenure holder

is entitled for independent assessment of ceiling area and the land falling in his

tenure cannot be clubbed with holding in the hands of Respondent No. 2, the

Government lessee.

13. It was further submitted that the two fold prohibitory conditions contained

in Clause 9 of the lease deed, namely, (i) the lessee agrees in the event of his

transferring the lease land otherwise than by inheritance would either pay to the

Secretary of State 25 % of the price realised by him, or (ii) relinquish to the

Secretary of State 1/4th of the area proposed to be transferred are not applicable

to sub-leases made by the Government Lessee, when sub-letting the land in

ordinary course of agriculture as mentioned in Clause 9 itself. Referring to the

sub-lease, it is contended that sub-lease was for agricultural purposes and for the

cause of growing more food campaign and the High Court has patently erred in

holding the sub-lease as void on the ground of non-compliance of conditions

5
enumerated in the first part of Clause 9 of the lease deed ignoring the later part

postulating an exemption from the twin conditions for sub-lease made for

agriculture purposes.

Contentions made on behlaf of the Respondent

14. In reply, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that the case of the

appellant having acquired the rights of independent tenure holder is based

entirely on the definitions of ‘tenure holder’ and ‘holding’ under Sections 3(17)

and 3(9) of the Ceiling Act, without taking into consideration the provisions of

Section 5 of the Ceiling Act which is the charging section. It is further

submitted that definitions being relied upon by the counsel for the appellant

cannot be viewed in isolation and are to be read in consonance with Section 5 of

the Ceiling Act which is the charging section.

15. He further submitted that Section 5 of the Ceiling Act postulates that for

determination of ceiling area, there exists a presumption contained in

Explanation (I) that all land held by a tenure holder would also include land

ostensibly held in the name of any other person. He points out that Explanation

(II) clearly states that unless the contrary is proved to the satisfaction of the

prescribed authority, it is presumed that the first mentioned person continues to

hold the land ostensibly in the name of any other person. Thus, burden of proof

to disprove this presumption lies on the appellants to establish the claim that

6
they are independent tenure holders. The appellants have failed to discharge the

said burden and thus, their claim has rightly been negated.

16. Learned counsel for the Respondent No.2 further submitted that Clause 9

of lease deed since specifically excludes sub-leases made in the ordinary course

of agriculture, which clearly implies that independent tenure rights cannot be

created by sub-leases made in ordinary course of agriculture by the Government

Lessee. Admittedly, since the appellants are sub-lessees under a sub-lease made

for agricultural purposes and, therefore, by implication he is excluded from

acquiring any rights as independent tenure holder.

Issues Involved

17. Having perused the relevant facts and records and on an analysis of rival

contentions, the following issues arise for our consideration:-

(i) Whether the appellants who are sub-lessees, by

implication acquire the status of tenure holder in view of the

definitions of ‘holding’ contained in Section 3(9) of the Ceiling

Act and the ‘tenure holder’ in Section 3(17) of the Act?

(ii) Whether the Appellants being sub-lessee of the original

Government Lessee are merely ostensible tenure holders of the

land, while the Government lessees continued to be the original

7
holders i.e., the land in question is merely held by the Appellants

on behalf of the original lessees?

Our Analysis

18. The very purpose behind enactment of the Ceiling Act is to prescribe a

ceiling limit on the area of land held by a ‘tenure holder’ for the purpose of

securing the interest of the community at large to ensure increased agricultural

production and to provide land for landless agricultural labourers with a view to

have equitable distribution of land.

19. Before proceeding further it would be relevant to refer the definitions of

‘holding’ and ‘tenue holder’ as contained in Sections 3(9) and 3(17) and Section

5 of the Ceiling Act, which read as under :-

“ Section 3 (9) :-

(9) “holding” means the land or lands held by a person as a
bhumidhar, sirdar, asami of Gaon Sabha or an asami mentioned
in Section 11 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and
Land Reforms Act, 1950, or as a tenant under the U.P. Tenancy
Act, 1939, other than a sub-tenant, or as a Government lessee,
or as a sub-lessee of a Government lessee, where the period of
the sub-lease is co-extensive with the period of the lease;”

Section 3 (17) :-

“Tenure-Holder” means a person who is the holder of a holding
but [except in Chapter III] does not include –

(a) a woman whose husband is a tenure-holder;

(b) a minor child whose father or mother is a tenure-holder;

8

Section 5 :- Imposition of Ceiling. – (1) [On and from the
commencement of the Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceiling on
Land Holdings (Amendment) Act, 1972], no tenure-holder
shall be entitled to hold in the aggregate through-out Uttar
Pradesh, any land in excess of the ceiling area applicable to
him.

[Explanation I. – In determining the ceiling area applicable to
a tenure-holder, all land held by him in his own right, whether
in his own name, or ostensibly in the name of any other
person, shall be taken into account.

Explanation II. – [If on or before January 24,1971, any land
was held by a person who continues to be in its actual
cultivatory possession and the name of any other person is
entered in the annual register after the said date] either in
addition to or to the exclusion of the former and whether on
the basis of a deed of transfer or licence or on the basis of a
decree, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved to
the satisfaction of the prescribed authority, that the first
mentioned person continues to hold the land and that it is so
held by him ostensibly in the name of the second mentioned
person.]
(2) Nothing in sub-section (1), shall apply to land held by the
following classes of persons namely –

(a) the Central Government, the State Government or any
Local Authority or a Government Company or a Corporation;

(b) a University;

(c) [an intermediate or degree college imparting education in
agriculture or a post-graduate college;];

(d) a banking company or a co-operative bank or a co-
operative land development bank;

(e) the Bhoodan Yagna Committee constituted under the U.P.
Bhoodan Yagna Act, 1952.

(3) [Subject to the provisions of sub-sections (4), (5), (6) and
(7)] the ceiling area for purposes of sub-section (1) shall be –

(a) in the case of a tenure-holder having a family of not more
than five members, 7.30 hectares of irrigated land (including
land held by other members of his family) plus two additional
hectares of irrigated land or such additional land which
together with the land held by him aggregates to two hectares,

9
for each of his adult sons, who are either not themselves
tenure-holders or who hold less than two hectares of irrigated
land, subject to a maximum of six hectares of such additional
land;

(b) in the case of a tenure-holder having family of more than
five members, 7.30 hectares of irrigated land (including land
held by other members of his family), besides, each of the
members exceeding five and for each of his adult sons who are
not themselves tenure-holders or who hold less than two
hectares of irrigated land, two additional hectares of irrigated
land or such additional land which together with the land held
by such adult son aggregates to two hectares, subject to a
maximum of six hectares of such additional land;
Explanation. – The expression ‘adult son’ in clauses (a) and

(b) includes an adult son who is dead and has left surviving
behind him minor sons or minor daughters (other than
married daughters) who are not themselves tenure-holders or
who hold land less than two hectares of irrigated land;

(c) [x x x]

(d) [x x x]

(e) in the case of any other tenure-holder, 7.30 hectares of
irrigated land;

Explanation. – Any transfer or partition of land which is liable
to be ignored under sub-sections (6) and (7) shall be ignored
also –

(f) for purposes of determining whether an adult son of a
tenure-holder is himself a tenure-holder within the meaning
of [clause (a) or clause (b)];

(g) for purposes of service of notice under Section 9.

(4) Where any holding is held by a firm or co-operative society
or association of persons (whether incorporated or not, but
not including a public company), its members (whether called
partners, share-holders or by any other name) shall, for
purposes of this Act, be deemed to hold that holding in
proportion to their respective shares in that firm, co-operative
society or other society or association of persons :
[Provided that where a person immediately before his
admission to the firm, co-operative society, or other society or
association of persons, held no land or an area of land less

10
than the area proportionate to his aforesaid share then he
shall be deemed to hold no share, or as the case may be, only
the lesser area in that holding, and the entire or the remaining
area of the holding, as the case may be, shall be deemed to be
held by the remaining members in proportion to their
respective shares in the firm, co-operative society or other
society or association of persons.]

(5) In respect of any holding held by any private trust, –

(a) where the shares of its beneficiaries in the income from
such trust are known or determinable, the beneficiaries shall,
for purposes of this Act, be deemed to have the shares in that
holding in the same proportions as their respective shares in
the income from such trust,

(b) in any other case, it shall be governed by [clause (e)] of
subsection (3).

(6) In determining the ceiling area applicable to a tenure-
holder, any transfer of land made after the twenty-fourth day
of January, 1971, which but for the transfer would have been
declared surplus land under this Act, shall be ignored and not
taken into account;

Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall apply to –

(a) a transfer in favour of any person (including Government)
referred to in sub-section (2);

(b) a transfer proved to the satisfaction of the prescribed
authority to be in good faith and for adequate consideration
and under an irrevocable instrument not being a benami
transaction or for immediate or deferred benefit of the tenure-
holder or other members of his family.

[Explanation I. – For the purposes of this sub-section, the
expression transfer of land made after the twenty-fourth day of
January, 1971, includes -]
[(a) a declaration of a person as a co-tenure-holder made
after the twenty-fourth day of January, 1971 in a suit or
proceeding irrespective of whether such suit or proceeding
was pending on or was instituted after the twenty-fourth day of
January, 1971];

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(b) any admission, acknowledgment, relinquishment or
declaation in favour of a person to the like effect, made in any
other deed or instrument or in any other manner.
Explanation II. – The burden of proving that a case falls within
clause (b) of the proviso shall rest with the party claiming its
benefit.

(7) In determining the ceiling area applicable to a tenure-
holder, any partition of land made after the twenty-fourth day
of January, 1971, which but for the partition would have been
declared surplus land under this Act shall be ignored and not
taken into account;

Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall apply to –

(a) [x x x]

(b) a partition of a holding made in a suit or a proceeding
pending on the said date :Provided further that
notwithstanding anything contained in the preceding proviso
the prescribed authority, if it is of opinion that by collusion
between the tenure-holder and any other party to the partition,
such other party has been given a share which he was not
entitled to, or a larger share than he was entitled to may
ignore such partition.

[Explanation I. – If a suit is instituted after the said date for
declaration that a partition of land has taken place on or
before the said date, then such declaration shall be ignored
and not be taken into account, and it shall be deemed that no
partition has taken place on or before the said date.]
Explanation II. – The burden of proving that a case falls within
the first proviso shall rest with the party claiming its benefit.

[(8) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sections (6)
and (7), no tenure-holder shall transfer any land held by him
during the continuance of proceedings for determination of
surplus land in relation to such tenure-holder and every
transfer made in contravention of this sub-section shall be
void.

Explanation. – For the purposes of this sub-section,
proceedings for determination of surplus land shall be deemed
to have commenced on the date of publication of notice under
sub-section (2) of Section 9 and shall be deemed to have
concluded on the date when an order in relation to such

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tenure-holder is passed under sub-section (1) of Section 11 or
under sub-section (1) of Section 12, or as the case may be,
under Section 13.]”

20. Appellants herein have contended that since they are the holder of a

‘holding’ by implication become ‘tenure holder’ as per combined reading of

Sections 3(9) and 3(17) of the Act.

21. The terms of the grant go to show that 4805 acres of land situated in

Pargana Bazpur, District Nainital, were leased out to the Government Lessee.

22. Condition No. 9 of the Grant lays down the conditions to be fulfillled in

the event of lessee transferring the lease land or a portion thereto except transfer

by way of an inheritance. Conditions laid down by Clause 9 of the grant has

been made inapplicable in case of sub-leases made by the lessee while sub-

letting the land in the ordinary course of agriculture. For a ready reference, the

provisions of Clause 9 of the grant are reproduced hereunder :-

“9. The lessee agrees in the event of his transferring other
than by inheritance the leased land or portion thereof to either
pay to the Secretary of State twenty five percent of the price
realized by him by the transfer of lease rights or to relinquish
to the Secretary of State 1/4 of the area proposed to be
transferred.

The Deputy Commissioner shall have the power to choose
either alternative. Any further transfer by the lessee or his
transferee shall be subject to a similar payment of 1/4 of the
cost price or a similar relinquishment of 1/4 of the land
proposed to be transferred.

13

This clause shall not apply to leases made by the lessee when
subletting land in the ordinary course of agriculture.”

23. A perusal of the aforesaid provision makes it clear that the grantee was

only allowed to transfer the land on fulfillment of the conditions enumerated in

the said clause.

24. Furthermore, even the terms of the sub-lease specifically provided that if

the sub-lessee intends to purchase the full rights of the Government Lessee

thereby himself acquiring the status of an independent tenure holder, he could

do so in confirmity with Clause 9 of the Government lease within a period of

five years from the date of sub-lease on the payment of rent so fixed. Relevant

Clause 5 of the sub-lease in this regard reads as under :-

“That if the sub lessee intends to purchase the full rights of the
lessee which he has obtained according to the indenture made
by the lessee’s predecessor-in-interest late Lala Khushi Ram
and the then Secretary of State for India in Council in
conformity with clause nine of that indenture for the whole
area of 2.49 acres he shall be entitled to do so within five
years from 28.6.1966 on paying at the rate of Rs.150/- (Rupees
one hundred and fifty only) per acre to the lessee. The sub
lessee shall be liable to pay the annual rent of that current
year during which he makes such a transaction during the
period of five years from the commencement of this agreement
as mentioned above.”

25. Thus, a conjoint reading of Clause 5 of the sub-lease and Clause 9 of the

Government lease clearly stipulates that acquisition of rights, if any, as

14
independent tenure holder can only be by following the stipulations as

contained in Clause 5 of the sub-lease and Clause 9 of the Government lease,

which, in the present case, admittedly, has not been followed.

26. An analysis of the terms and conditions of grant makes it clear that any

transfer of land by the Government Lessee was subject to fulfilment of the

conditions of the government lease and sub-lease and non-compliance of the

conditions and transfer made without fulfilling the conditions would be void.

Though, the conditions of grant allowed sub-lease of the land in the ordinary

course of agriculture but contrary to the terms of grant, the sub-lessee can claim

no independent tenancy right so as to frustrate the terms and tenure of the grant,

as the sub-lease executed for ordinary course of agriculture cannot be treated as

transfer for want of compliance of the conditions enumerated in the Clause

itself. Thus, the appellants in their capacity as sub-lessee shall not acquire the

status of an independent tenure holder.

27. Admittedly, the lease in favour of Respondent No. 2 was made under the

Government Grants Act, 1895. Respondent No. 2 was put in possession of the

land under the terms and conditions of the Government grant which did not

permit any transfer of land by him without fulfilling the conditions prescribed

in Clause 9. The conditions of grant though allowed sub-lease for agricultural

purpose but sub-lessees cannot claim independent tenancy rights contrary to

terms of grant. The terms and conditions of grant will have an overriding effect

15
in view of amendment of Sections 2 & 3 of the Government Grants Act in its

application to State of U.P. inserted by U.P. Amendment Act 13 of 1960 with

retrospective effect. Section 2 of the Government Grants Act as applicable in

State of U.P. reads as under :-

STATE AMENDMENTS
Uttar Pradesh:

“2 (1). Transfer of Property Act, 1882, not to apply to
Government Grants – Nothing contained in the Transfer of
Property Act
, 1882, shall apply or be deemed ever to have
applied to any grant or other transfer of land or of any
interest therein, heretofore made or hereafter to be made, by
or on behalf of the government to or in favour of any person
whomsoever; and every such grant and transfer shall be
construed and take effect as if the said Act had not been
passed.

(2). UP Tenancy Act, 1939, and Agra Tenancy Act, 1926 not
to affect certain leases made by or on behalf of the
Government – Nothing contained in the UP Tenancy Act,
1939, or the Agra Tenancy Act, 1926, shall affect, or be
deemed to have ever affected any rights, created, conferred
or granted, whether before or after the date of the passing of
the Government Grants (UP Amendment) Act 1960, by leases
of land by, or on behalf of, the Government in favour of any
person; and every such creation, conferment or grant shall
be construed and take effect notwithstanding anything to the
contrary contained in the UP Tenancy Act, 1939, or the Agra
Tenancy Act, 1926.

(3) Certain leases made by or on behalf of the Government
to take effect according to their tenor – All provisions,
restrictions, conditions and limitations contained in any such
creation, conferment or grant referred to in Section 2, shall
be valid and take effect according to their tenor; any decree
or direction of a court of law or any rule of law, statute or
enactment of the Legislature, to the contrary

-notwithstanding:

16

Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent, or be
deemed ever to have prevented, the effect of any enactment
relating to the acquisition of property, land reforms or the
imposition of ceiling on agricultural lands.”

28. The aforesaid provisions as applicable in the State of U.P. with

retrospective effect clearly provides that the rights and obligations between the

Government as lessor of the land and the grantee as lessee of the land are to be

regulated by the terms of the grant. The terms of the grant clearly postulates

transfer of the land by Government Lessee subject to fulfillment of certain

conditions. A sub-lease created for agricultural purposes having been exempted

from operation of the conditions and no vested right shall be created in sub-

lease and he cannot claim any rights contrary to the terms of the grant.

29. Similar issue came up for consideration before this Court in the case of

Escorts Farms Ltd., Previously Known As M/S. Escorts Farms (Ramgarh)

Ltd. Vs. The Commissioner, Kumaon Division, Nainital, U.P. And Ors. 1, and

has been answered as under :-

“33. The Statement of Objects and Reasons for amending
Section 2 of the Govt. Grants Act, 1895 by UP Amendment
Act
of 1960 makes it clear that the State Legislature
intended to apply only the provisions of Land Reforms Act
and Ceiling Act to the lands held by persons under the Govt.
Grants Act. The statements of objects and reasons read
thus:-

“Provisions of Section 2 of the Government Grants (UP
Amendment) Act, 1959, have the effect of saving a grant of
an agricultural lease by or on behalf of the Government

1. (2004) 4 SCC 281

17
from the operation not only on the Acts mentioned therein,
but also of any other law, including the law for imposition of
ceiling on land holdings, that might be made in future. There
is also an apprehension that the result of the wordings of
section 2 may be to undo the vesting of estates of
government grantees under section 4 of the UP Zamindari
Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950. With a view,
therefore, to remove any such apprehension and to put the
UP Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Bill, 1959, when
enacted, beyond the purview of the Government Grants Acts,
this Bill is being introduced. Vide UP Gazette Extraordinary,
dated February 3, 1960.”

34. Land Reforms Act, 1950 being saved by sub-section (3)
of Section 2 of Govt. Grants Act is applicable to the govt.
grants. Under Section 18 (l)(c) of Land Reforms Act, a govt.
grantee holding land rent-free was allowed to retain
possession of the land as ‘Bhumidhar.’ Section 18 of the
Land Reforms Act with clause (c) in sub-section (1) reads
thus:-

“Section 18. Settlement of certain lands with intermediaries
or cultivators as Bhumidar – (1) Subject to the provisions of
Sections 10,15,16 and 17, all lands – (a) in possession of or
held or deemed to be held by an intermediary as sir,
khudkasht or an intermediary” grove. (b) held as a grove by,
or in the personal cultivation of a permanent lessee in
Avadh. (c) held by a fixed-rate tenant or a rent-free grantee
as such, or (d) held as such by – i) an occupancy tenant,
Possessing the ii) a hereditary tenant, right to transfer iii) a
tenant on Patta the holding by sale Dawami or Istamrari
referred to in Section 17, (e) held by a grove holder.
On the dale immediately preceding the date of vesting shall
be deemed to be sell led by the State Government with such
intermediary, [lessee, tenant, grantee or grove-holder] as
the case may be, who shall, subject to the provisions of this
Act. be entitled to take or retain possession as a bhumidhar
thereof. ”

35. As seen above, proviso below sub-section (3) of Section
2
, of Govt. Grants (UP Amendment) Act makes applicable
Ceiling Act to the land held by a grantee under the Govt.
Grant. It has already been noted that a ‘Govt. Grantee’ or a
”lessee’ is covered within the definition of ‘tenure holder’

18
given in under clause (17) read with clause (9) of Ceiling
Act and the definition of ‘person’ in Section 4 (33) of the UP
General Clauses Act
. Thus conjointly reading the provisions
of the Ceiling Act and the Land Reforms Act, the grantee of
land from the government is a holder of land in the status of
a Bhumidhar and the land can be subjected to ceiling limit.
To the lands held by the company, which is grantee of the
Govt., the provisions of Ceiling Act would be attracted. Such
grantee being a lessee from Government has no right to
transfer the land without permission of the Government. It
can grant leases or sub-leases under the UP Tenancy Act but
the lessees/sub-lessees can claim no rights contrary to the
terms of the grant. All the transfers made by the Company or
Farm by sale or lease contrary to the terms of the Govt.
Grant create no independent rights in favour of the said
transferees or lessees. The claims of transferees and lessees
based on the provisions of UP Tenancy Act were, therefore,
rightly negatived by the ceiling authority and the High
Court.

30. We may also reproduce the observations made in paragraph 32 of the

Escorts Farms Ltd. (Supra) :-

“32. No action of the revenue authorities can, therefore,
estop the ceiling authorities from ignoring the claims of
tenancy rights on the land set up by the lessees/sub-lessees.
The rights between the government and the grantee are
strictly to be regulated by the terms of the grant and in
accordance with the Govt. Grants (UP Amendment) Act,
1960. The entries in revenue records and recognition of any
tenancy rights of the lessee and/or sub-lessee as hereditary
tenant, Sirdars or Bhumidhars under the UP Tenancy Act
can have no adverse legal effect on the Govt. Grant which
has an overriding effect under the Govt. Grants Act. No
estoppel can operate against the overriding statute so as to
bind the ceiling authorities to accept the tenancy rights of
the lessees/sub-lessees as indefeasible in application of
Ceiling Act to the lands in question.”

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31. From the aforesaid discussions, it is clear that the provisions of Ceiling

Act would be applicable in case of grantee of Government under a lease

agreement. The grantee being a lessee from the Government has no right to

transfer the land without fulfilling the conditions stipulated in Clause 9 of lease

deed. The terms of the lease deed though provide for sub-lease for agricultural

purposes but sub-lessees can claim no independent rights as a tenure holder.

32. Thus, the appellant being a sub-lessee continues to be an ostensible

holder of land and the government grantee, the Respondent No. 2, to be the real

holder and the ceiling authorities as well as the High Court have rightly

dismissed the claim of the appellant.

33. In the result appeals fail and are dismissed. However, in the facts and

circumstances, we do not make any order as to costs.

……………………………J.

(S. ABDUL NAZEER)

………………………….J.

(KRISHNA MURARI)

NEW DELHI;

10th JANUARY, 2022

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