Terms of lease deed though provide for sub-lease for agricultural purposes purposes but sub-lessees can claim no independent rights as Tenure Holder: SC

The Supreme Court in the case of Hardev Singh v/s Prescribed Authority, Kashipur & Anr. ruled that terms of lease deed though provide for sub-lease for agricultural purposes but sub-lessees can claim no independent rights as tenure holder.

The Secretary of State for India executed a lease deed under the Government Grants Act, 1895 in favour of one Lala Khushi Ram. On the demise of Lala Khushi Ram, the leasehold rights were inherited by respondent Harikishan Lal, as a successor. He executed a registered sub-lease for agricultural purposes of an area measuring 2.49 acres in favour of the Appellants. The Prescribed Authority, issued a notice under Section 10(2) of the Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960 to Respondent, the Government Lessee, proposing to declare a certain area of land held by him as surplus. The land declared surplus included the land sub-let to the appellant by Respondent, the Government Lessee.

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 Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960, which came to be dismissed by Respondent on the ground that the appellant has no locus to maintain the said application.

The appellant contended that he 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, the Government lessee.

The respondent contended 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.
The division bench of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Krishna Murari noted that any transfer of land by the Government Lessee was subject to fulfillment 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.

The court held that the appellant being a sub-lessee continues to be an ostensible holder of land and the government grantee, the Respondent, to be the real holder and the ceiling authorities as well as the High Court have rightly dismissed the claim of the appellant.

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