[Case Brief] U.P. Bhoodan Yagna Samiti, V/s. Braj Kishore and Others

The Bhoodan Movement or $6-Land Gift Movement was an intentional land change development in India, began by Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1951 at Pochampally town in Telangana which is presently known as Bhoodan Pochampally.

U.P. Bhoodan Yagna Samiti, V/s. Braj Kishore and Others

Civil Appeal Nos. 1866-68 of 1988

Supreme Court of India

Bench: G.L. Oza and K. Jagannatha Shetty, JJ.

Author of the judgement: Justice Oza.

Decided on: September 9, 1988

Relevant Acts:

  • P. Bhoodan Yagna Act, 1952 – Sections 14 and 15.

Advocate for Appellants: R.C. Mishra, Senior Advocate (B.B. Singh, Advocate, with him)

Advocate for Respondent: R.K. Jain, Senior Advocate (R.K. Khanna and R.P. Singh, Advocates, with him)

Brief Facts:

  • On May 17, 1972, the present Respondents – Braj Kishore & Others, who were businessmen, had obtained a grant under section 14 of the UP Bhoodan Yagna Act in respect of various plots situated in the village Jahangirabad Paragana Ghatampur, District Kanpur from Bhoodan Yagna Samiti. Section 14 of the UP Bhoodan Yagna Act provides for allotment of land to landless persons.
  • This grant was challenged by the Tehsildar, Ghatampur on three basic grounds:
    • The grant obtained was fraudulent and obtained by misrepresentation as the respondents were not the residents of the said village
    • They did not fall into the category of landless persons
    • The grants were not approved by the Government of UP

Procedural history:

  • Additional Collector, Kanpur
    • The collector held that the grant to the present respondents –Braj Kishore and others, could not be justified because they did not fall into the category of the landless persons as contemplated under the Act.
    • By his order dated January 1, 1976, he quashed all the grants made in favor f the respondent
  • High Court of Allahabad
    • Two questions before the High Court:
      • Whether the Additional Collector had jurisdiction to enquire into these matters?
      • Whether the grant was in the accordance with the law?
    • The answer to the first question was in affirmative. with regards to the second question, the High Courts quashed the orders passed by the Additional Collector and maintained the grants to be reasonable

Issue:

  • Whether the settlement made by the Bhoodan Yagna Samiti in favor of the respondent was in accordance with the law?

Petitioners Contention:

  • Although section 14 mentions about ‘landless persons’, this phrase has to be interpreted in the background of the law which was enacted and the Bhoodan Movement started by Acharya Vinoba Bhave and J.P. Narain. The purpose of the movement clearly indicated that ‘landless persons’ means those persons whose main source of livelihood was agriculturists and were residents of the same village in which the land was situated.
  • Section 15 further clarified the intention of the legislation wherein the grants was supposed to be made according to the scheme of Bhoodan Yagna.

Held:

  • The Supreme Court quashed the orders of the High Court and held that the grant is not maintainable.
  • The appeal was allowed and orders passed by the Additional Collectors were restored.
  • With respect to cost- counsel fee of Rs. 1500 was allowed.

Ratio: 

(This brief was prepared and submitted to LawBriefs.in by Abhishek Vyas, Student at Gujarat National Law University.)

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