Order of the Supreme Court regarding transfer of agricultural land to a non-farmer, Gujarat, 15/06/2020

  • 15/06/2020

Order of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Vinodchandra Sakarlal Kapadia Vs State of Gujarat & Others dated 15/06/2020. The applications were filed against the order of March 17, 2009 passed by the Division Bench of High Court of Gujarat.

The High Court had to decide whether Section 63 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands, Act, 1948 (for short ‘the Bombay Tenancy Act’) debared an agriculturist from parting with his agricultural land to a non-agriculturist through a “will”. The High Court had ordered that the transfer of agricultural land through will to a non-farmer was invalid.

Advocate for the State of Gujarat submitted that the basic intent behind the conferral of ownership rights upon a cultivating tenant was to see that the actual tillers and cultivators could be be protected and given the ownership rights upon payment of nominal charges. "The avowed objective of the Act, is to preserve agricultural lands in the hands of actual tillers, and not to let concentration of holdings in a few hands," the counsel for the state said. It is further submitted that Section 63 of the Act gives indications that a transfer to a non-agriculturist is not permissible.

The SC upheld the Gujarat High Court order and said that the primary concern of those provisions was to see that the "legislative scheme of granting protection to persons from disadvantaged categories and conferring the right of purchase upon them, and thereby ensure direct relationship of a tiller with the land." The court ruled that the provisions were designed to attain and serve the purpose of protecting the holdings in the hands of disadvantaged categories.