Facts of Laws:-
In state of Uttar Pradesh, tenancy, tenure and succession rights of “agricultural” lands is/has been governed by provisions of UPZALR Act- a state law in agricultural lands subject.
Civil courts are barred from hearing litigations regarding succession of “agricultural land” viz Section 331 of UPZALR, but Section 331 A of UPZALR lifts this bar in certain conditions.
To invoke 331-A of UPZALR Act, three conditions must be satisfied:-
(a) The suit must relate to land held by a bhumidhar (land recorded as agricultural land)
(b) The question whether the land in question is or not used for purposes connected with agriculture, horticulture or animal husbandry should arise or be raised in the said suit; and
(c) A declaration has not been made in respect of such land under section 143 of the Act.
In the citation of Chandrika Singh by honorable Apex court, it has been emphasized that if some question arises regarding a land which is recorded as agricultural land in records but no agricultural activity has been done on it then it is not open to the civil court dealing with a suit in which the said question arises to pass the provision of section 331-A and to proceed to determine the question itself.
The court need to frame this issue and sent it to Assistant Collector and if the Assistant Collector finds that no agricultural activity has been done on the said land then it will be treated at par with 143 declaration and devolution will be done as per personal law of religion of that person and not as per state laws.
A father dies intestate in 1986 leaving behind a self acquired property recorded “agriculture” in revenue records. The land has also been seized in Urban Ceiling in 1980 declaring it as vacant land and ruling out that any agricultural activity has been done on it. (As agricultural lands were exempted from Urban ceiling). According to Hindu succession Act, daughters too have equal rights as per Section 8. Mutation was done as per ZA provisions (state law) in 1986 ( in which daughters have no right) .
The daughters moved an application 331-A to enquire about the nature of agriculture activity and decide the nature of devolution as per HSA or state laws.
Now UPZALR Act has been repealed in 2016 and replaced with Revenue Code 2006. The daughters are challenging the mutation of 1986, at that time Revenue Code was not there.
The objection of opposite party is that since UPZALR has been repealed, Civil Court has not right to use the provision of repealed law, i.e. 331-A. And there is no such provision for framing of issue in Revenue code which is presently enforced.
Is it correct that in this case Civil Court cannot use provisions of ZA act since it has been repealed? After all, the mutation was done in 1986 (succession), and we are challenging that succession that at that time it was not an agricultural land (to which even certified copies of Urban Ceiling are supporting). What law says about using provision of repealed act for cases where succession has been done as per repealed act?
Often we have to see the intent of provision. ZA covers “agricultural” land and defines activity for the land to be an agricultural. Section 331-A of the ZA Act intents to identify a land which though recorded as “agriculture” in records but no agricultural activity has been done on it will be treated at par as declaration of 143 and would be devolved by personal law. So the intent of the provision is devolution of non-agricultural land according to personal law. So even if there is some point in objection of other party that provision of repealed act cannot be used, then also will its applicability matters as to give fair justice to daughters in non-agricultural lands as per Hindu Succession Act? If the court cannot invoke 331-A on account of repeal of UPZALR, can still the court use this intent of 331-A and decide that since no agricultural activity has been done on it the land is out of definition of “land” in Revenue Code and shall be devolved by personal law as was the purpose of legislatures in framing 331-A in UPZALR?
The above property is situated in a State other than Karnataka. It is better you go to any local advocate who is well versed with local laws.