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Ceiling Limit for Agrlicultaral Land in Karnataka - Basanagouda_vs_the_land_tribunal_and 2004 Kar Hc

Ceiling Limit for Agrlicultaral Land in Karnataka - Basanagouda_vs_the_land_tribunal_and 2004 Kar Hc

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Though Section 2(A)(12) defines a 'family' in the case of a married individual, as such individual, the spouse and their sons and unmarried daughters, in the context of Section 63, reading Sub-section (2) with Sub-sections (3) and (10), the term 'family' with reference to a Hindu father, means the individual, his wife, undivided minor sons and unmarried daughters.
Though Section 2(A)(12) defines a 'family' in the case of a married individual, as such individual, the spouse and their sons and unmarried daughters, in the context of Section 63, reading Sub-section (2) with Sub-sections (3) and (10), the term 'family' with reference to a Hindu father, means the individual, his wife, undivided minor sons and unmarried daughters.

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10/01/2011

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Karnataka High CourtBasanagouda vs The Land Tribunal And Anr. on 11 May, 2004Equivalent citations: 2004 (4) KarLJ 193Author: R RaveendranBench: R Raveendran, A S Reddy, K ManjunathJUDGMENTR.V. Raveendran, J.1. The appellant's family consists of himself, his wife, one son and one daughter. According to appellant, therewas an oral partition between himself and his minor son [Sharanappa] on 13-3-1972 and subsequently thatwas reduced into writing in the form of a memorandum of partition [palupatti]. According to appellant, underthe said petition his minor son had been allotted Sy. Nos. 86 [7 acres 21 guntas], 156 [6 acres 15 guntas], 65[6 guntas], 66/1 [2 acres 17 guntas], 290/A [34 guntas], 293/A [1 acre 11 guntas] and 294/B [18 guntas] in all19 acres 02 guntas; and the appellant held the remaining land viz., Sy. Nos. 69/3 [3 acres 12 guntas], 74/2 [6acres 20 guntas], 85 [10 acres 5 guntas], 334 [24 guntas], 335 [34 guntas], 338 [5 acres 6 guntas] and 40 [13acres] in all 39 acres 21 guntas.2. The appellant filed a declaration under Section 66 of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961 [for short, 'theAct'] in regard to the lands held by him. In the said declaration, he disclosed the total extent of lands held byhim and also by his family members. According to appellant, the land which had fallen to the share of hisminor son Sharanappa under the partition dated 13-3-1972 had to be excluded to determine whether he (theappellant) holds any excess land or not.3. The Land Tribunal, Raichur by order dated 4-10-1981 held that the appellant was holding land in excess of the ceiling limit. Appellant challenge the said order in W.P. No. 1664 of 1982. This Court by order dated22-2-1984 allowed the said writ petition, set aside the order of the Tribunal and remanded the matter to LandTribunal for fresh consideration. On remand the Tribunal reconsidered the matter and passed a fresh orderdated 6-3-1987. It found that the appellant had filed the declaration declaring an extent of 60 acres 10 guntasof Pooratipli Village; that on verification it found that the actual land held by the appellant was 58 acres 23guntas (including a phut kharab of 1 gunta); that an extent of 55 acres 39 guntas was 'D' class land and 2 acres23 guntas was 'C' class land; that when the 'C' class land was converted to 'D' class, the total extent would beequivalent to 61 acres 21 guntas of 'D' class land; and that as the ceiling limit was only 54 acres, the appellantheld 7 acres 20 guntas of 'D' land in excess of the ceiling limit. The Tribunal held that as the partition dated13-3-1972 was not by a registered deed, but merely by means of a palupatti on stamp paper of Rs. 2/-, itcannot be taken into consideration. As a consequence, the Tribunal held that the appellant should surrender 7acres 20 guntas of 'D' class land held to be excess.4. Feeling aggrieved, the appellant filed an appeal before the Raichur District Land Reforms AppellateAuthority in R.A. No. 37 of 1987. The Appellate Authority by order dated 7-1-1988 ordered the return of theappeal to the appellant, as the order by the Tribunal was made final under Section 67(1)(d) of the Act and nottherefore appealable. Thereafter, the appellant filed W.P. No. 2536 of 1992, challenging the order dated6-3-1987 passed by the Land Tribunal, duly explaining the delay. In the said writ petition, he contended thatthe Tribunal committed a serious error in refusing to take note of the partition deed (palupatti) dated13-3-1972 between himself and his minor son Sharanappa. Relying on the decisions of a learned Single Judgeof this Court in Revanna Siddappa Hadri v. Assistant Commissioner, Indi and Ors., 1977(2) Kar. L.J. 187 andthe decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Abdul Khader v. Land Tribunal, Sedam and Anr., (DB) theappellant contended before the learnedSingle Judge that the lands allotted to his minor son Sharanappa on partition shall have to be excluded whilecalculating the extent of land held by him, having regard to Section 63 of the Act as such a partition had takenplace prior to 1-3-1974.
Basanagouda vs The Land Tribunal And Anr. on 11 May, 2004Indian Kanoon - http://indiankanoon.org/doc/566213/1
 
5. The learned Single Judge, by order dated 15-7-1996 dismissed the writ petition, holding that having regardto the decisions of the Supreme Court in Begulla Bapi Raju v. State of Andhra Pradesh, , Ramondrasingh v.State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors., , Vengdasalam Pillai v. Union Territory of Pondichery, and ThumatiVenkaiah v. State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors., , a minor son is not entitled to claim aseparate ceiling area and the extent of land held by the minor son should be clubbed with the land held by thefather for the purpose of calculating the extent of land held and the ceiling area will have to be applied withreference to the aggregate land held by the family members. He held:"Therefore, the family as defined under the Act for the purpose of calculating the extent of land to be held bya family is wholly distinct and different from the concept and Hindu Undivided Family under the Hindu Law.The circumstance that a partition had taken place disrupting the joint family status consisting of the petitionerand his minor sons, has no relevance in determining the total extent of the holding of the petitioner inaccordance with the provisions of Section 63(2) of the Act. That is because, the Act has created a specialstatutory unit consisting of the persons satisfying the description contained in Section 2(A)(12) of the Act, asconstituting a family, for the purpose of fixation of the ceiling area under the Act. The stress is only on theexistence of the relationship mentioned in the Section, and unity of title or jointness of holding in relation toproperty are not essentially for attracting the definition of family. Under Section 2(A)(12), the family meansthe individual, his wife, their minor sons and their unmarried daughter. They together constitute a family forfixing the ceiling area under Section 63(2) of the Act. That being so, the property alleged to have been allottedto the minor son under an unregistered document, which is said to have been executed on a stamp paper of Rs.2/- as well as the land owned by the petitioner are liable to be taken into account for fixing the ceiling area of the family under Section 63(2) read with Section 2(A)(12) of the Act. Therefore, for computing the totalextent of the holding of the family of the petitioner, the land alleged to have been allotted to the minor son of the petitioner under an unregistered document is liable to be taken into account. Family for the purpose of fixing the ceiling area as defined under Section 2(A)(12) read with Section 63(2) of the Act does not excludethe minor son also. Therefore, in this case, for the purpose of fixing the ceiling area of the family, the minorson of the petitioner cannot be excluded".Though he referred to the decisions in Revanna Siddappa Hadri's case, supra and Abdul Khader's case, supra,the learned Single Judge did not choose to follow them, apparently as he felt that they were not good law,having regard to the decisions of the Supreme Court referred to above. The learned Single Judge did not holdthat the said decisions in Revanna Siddappa Hadri's case, supra and Abdul Khader's case, supra, wereoverruled by the Supreme Court or that they had ceased to be good law. But, he held that the said twodecisions have not considered the scope of Section 63(2) of the Act, with reference to the definition of theexpression 'family' in Section 2(A)(12), for the purpose of computation of the ceiling area; and that theSupreme Court has considered the scope of the term, 'family' in the aforesaid cased and held that a dividedminor son cannot be excluded from the family; and that therefore the lands allotted to the minor son cannot beexcluded for computing the extent of land held by the father. The learned Single Judge held that the minor'sproperties even if he was divided from the father, had to be taken into account and included in the holding of the father for determining the total extent held. Learned Single Judge also examined as to whether thepartition put forth by the appellant was genuine or not and held that as the deed of partition was not registered,and as the palupatti had been executed only a stamp paper of Rs. 2/-, it created a suspicion that it was broughtinto existence in order to avoid or defeat the provisions of the Act. Feeling aggrieved the appellant has filedthis appeal.6. Having regard to the contentions urged, the following questions arise for consideration;(a) Whether there is a need to deviate from the view expressed in Revanna Siddappa Hadri's and AbdulKhader's cases?
Basanagouda vs The Land Tribunal And Anr. on 11 May, 2004Indian Kanoon - http://indiankanoon.org/doc/566213/2
 
(b) Whether the decision in Abdul Khader's case, supra is no longer a good law having regard to the earlierdecisions of the Supreme Court?(c) Whether the land allotted to the share of minor son under a partition which took place prior to 1-3-1974should be excluded, in calculating the extent held by the father and other members of the family, to find outwhether the total holding exceeded the ceiling limit or not?(d) Whether on facts, the learned Single Judge was justified in holding that the land allotted to the share of appellant's minor son cannot be excluded, as appellant failed to prove a valid partition?7. Re: Point (a).--In Revanna Siddappa Hadri's case, supra, a learned Single Judge of this Court interpretedSection 63(10) of the Act and held that where there was a partition between Hindu father and his minor son(prior to 1-3-1974), the land transferred on partition to the minor son cannot be treated as land held by thefamily, nor can it be included for determining the extent of land held by the father and other members of thefamily and the question whether there is any excess holding should be determined only after taking note of such partition. The said decision was being consistently followed. But, another learned Single Judge of thisCourt in Abdul Khadar v. Land Tribunal, , examined the question as to whether aminor son separated from the family at a partition that had taken place prior to 1-3-1974 could still be treatedas a member of the family as on 1-3-1974, though such question did not directly arise for consideration in thecase before him. While incidentally examining the question, he held, purporting to follow the decisions of theSupreme Court in State of Maharashtra v. Vyasendra, , Begulla Bapi Raju's case, supra, Ramondrasingh'scase, supra and Vengdasalam Pillai's case, supra, that the decision in Revanna Siddappa Hadri's case, supra,was no longer good law and if a minor son was a member of a 'family', the family as one entity is entitled toten units, whatever may be the share of the minor son; and that the minor son loses his independent status, forpurposes of ceiling and his status gets merged with that of his parents.8. In an appeal against the said decision in Abdul Khadar's case, supra, in Abdul Khader's case, supra, aDivision Bench of this Court examined the correctness of the decision in Revanna Siddappa Hadri's case,supra, with reference to the four decisions of the Supreme Court and held that it was correctly decided. Thefour decisions of the Supreme Court were distinguished on the ground that the wording of the Land CeilingStatutes of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Pondichery considered in those decisions,were different from the wording of the Karnataka Act. The Division Bench allowed the appeal and held thatthe decision in Revanna Siddappa Hadri's case, supra, rendered on 22-4-1977, had held the field for severalyears and the Courts and the Tribunal had followed the said decision and landowners had adjusted their rightsand arranged their affairs in accordance with the said decision and therefore the settled position of law shouldnot be disturbed, having regard to the Rule of stare decisis.9. However, we find that in this case, the learned Single Judge, following the very decisions distinguished bythe Division Bench in Abdul Khader's case, supra, has held that not only the decision in Revanna SiddappaHadri's case, supra, but also the decision of the Division Bench in Abdul Khader's cannot be followed, havingregard to the principles laid down in the said decisions of the Supreme Court. When a Division Bench of thisCourt has referred and distinguished the said four decisions of the Supreme Court, and thereafter held that thedecision in Revanna Siddappa Hadri's case, supra, is good law, it was not proper for the learned Single Judgeof this Court to refuse to follow the decisions in Revanna Siddappa Hadri's case, supra and Abdul Khader'scase, supra, by relying on the very decisions of the Supreme Court, which were considered and distinguishedby the Division Bench of this Court,10. We may also at this juncture refer to the rule of stare decisis (that is, rule of abiding by decisions) which isa sound and well-settled policy based on the doctrine that definiteness and finality, consistency and security. Itrequires that an accepted and established decision, on the basis of which severalcontracts/dealings/transactions/settlements would have taken place, should not be disturbed, even if it is
Basanagouda vs The Land Tribunal And Anr. on 11 May, 2004Indian Kanoon - http://indiankanoon.org/doc/566213/3

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