21 November 2022


Supreme Court

Vishwasrao Satwarao Naik and Ors. Vs. State of Maharashtra




In ceiling proceedings, it is the duty of land owner to show which portion of his land is exempt from ceiling proceeding

In facts of present case, Satwarao, predecessor-in-interest of the Appellant, held huge tracts of land but did not file return under the Ceiling Act. A notice was issued to him and in response to the notice, he claimed that he only held agricultural land measuring 127 acres and 8 guntas in various villages. On inquiry, the authorities prima facie found that, on 4th August, 1959, Satwarao held 468.08 acres of land and notice was again sent to him. He again filed reply and set up some sales, gifts and transfers which, according to him, took place prior to the enforcement of the Ceiling Act. Satwarao was found to hold 333.14 acres of land. The admitted case of the parties is that, keeping in view the quality of land and the area in which it is situate, the Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) held that, Satwarao was entitled to retain 114 acres of land for his family. 44.51 acres of land was deducted as 'pot kharab' land i.e. land which is totally unfit for cultivation and thus, excluded from the ceiling limit.

Appeal was filed by Vishwasrao before the Tribunal and the main ground urged was that, when in the earlier proceedings 106.24 land was held out to be pot kharab, how could the pot kharab land be held to be less than that. The appeal with regard to this aspect was dismissed. Thereafter, the Appellants filed writ petition in the High Court which has also been dismissed leading to the filing of the present cases.

The main ground urged is that, since in the earlier proceedings held under the Act, the extent of pot kharab land was found to be 106.24 acres, then in the second ceiling proceedings the extent of pot kharab land could not come down to 28.20 acres. Further, it is urged that, the revenue authorities have relied upon the revenue entries with regard to the classification of the land and have not actually visited the land to determine which land is cultivable and which land is not cultivable. In ceiling proceedings, it is the duty of the owner of the land to show which portion of his land is exempt from ceiling proceedings.

In present case, in the return filed on behalf of the owner, it was mentioned that, only 11.10 acres of land is pot kharab. However, on the basis of the revenue record, the officer assessed the pot kharab land as 28.20 acres. The Appellant led no evidence and has not even placed on record the revenue records prior to the earlier ceiling proceedings or the revenue record thereafter, to support his claim that even earlier the land which was declared to be pot kharab, was actually not classified as such in the revenue record. Presumption of truth is attached to the revenue record. No doubt, this is a rebuttable presumption, but it is for the party who alleges that, the entries in the revenue record are wrong to lead evidences to rebut this presumption. The Appellants have miserably failed to do. The Appellants have also failed to lead any evidence to show that, the revenue entries are wrong. There is no merit in the appeals. The same are dismissed.

Tags : Ceiling Revenue entries Validity

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