W.P. No. 2382/90, 7787 / 90, 7987 / 90 & 13308 / 90

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BANGALORE
DATED THIS THE 11TH DAY OF NOVEMBER 1996

BEFORE

THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE CHANDRASHEKARARIAH

Between:

In W. P. No. 2382/90

The Karnataka State Judicial Employees House Building Co-operative Society Lt.,
High Court Building, Bangalore - 560 001 by its Secretary,
N. Lingaiah S/o. Lingaiah,

High Court Building, Bangalore - 560 001.

In W. P. No. 7987/90.

The Bank Officers and Officials House Building Co-operative Society Ltd.,
By its Secretary, A. S. Prakash,
S/o, A.P. Suryakantharajaiah,
Aged 29 Years, No. 10, Baba Nivas,
1st Main Road, Seshadripuram, Bangalore - 560 020.

In W.P. No. 7787/90

Poornapragna House Building Co-operative Society Ltd.,
By its Executive Director,
S.R. Narayana Murthy, S/o. Late S. Rama Rao., Aged 44 Years,
No. 77/6, Puttanna Road, Basavanagudi, Bangalore - 560 004.

In W.P. No. 13308/90

M.E.I. Employees House Building Co-operative Society Ltd.,
By itsSecretary Mohanram, S/o. T.D.B. Naidu, Aged 39 Years, MEI Ltd.,
P.B.No. 2221, Tumur Road, Bangalore - 560 002. . Petitioners.
[ By Sri. T.S. Ramachandra, advocate]

AND

[1] The State of Karnataka by the Revenue Commissioner and Secretary to Government,
Revenue Department, Multistoryed Building,
Bangalore - 560 001. .. R.1 common in all the Petitions.

[2] The Special Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore District, Krishi Bhavan, Hudson Circle,
Bangalore . R. 2 common in W.P. Nos. 7987/90 & 7787/90

[3] The Special Land Acquisition Officer, Pocium block, Second Floor, Visveswariah Centre,
Bangalore - 560 001. R. 3 common in W.P. Nos 7989/90 & 7787/90

[4] The Special Land Acquisition Officer, III Floor, T. V. Tower Dr. Ambedkar Road,
Bangalore - 560 001. .. R. 4 only in W.P. No. 2383/90

[5] The Special Land Acquition Officer, Visveswariah Centre, III Floor, Podium Block,
Dr. Ambedkar Road, Bangalore - 560 001. R. 5 only in W.P. No. 13308/90.

[ By Sri. K.P. Ashok Kumar, GA for Respondents]

These writ petitions are filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to declare that the demand relating to conversion fine at Rs. 21, 780/- per acre is without authority of law and the Government has no jurisdiction to demand the same and etc.

These petitions coming on for hearing this day, the court made the following:-

O R D E R

[1] In all these petitions the petitioners have sought for a declaration that the demand relating to conversion fine payable u/s. 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 [ for short 'the Act 1964] is without authority of law and the Government has no jurisdiction to demand the same and also for other relief's.

[2] The Petitioners are the societies registered under the provisions of the Karnataka Co-operative Societies Act, The petitioners requested the State Government to initiate proceedings for acquisition of land for their benefit for the purpose of providing residential sites to its members. The State Government before initiating the proceedings called upon the societies to pay certain amount towards cost of acquisition which includes conversion fine payable under the provisions of the Act, 1964. In addition the societies are also required to pay certain amount towards establishment charges and audit charges. In these petitions the petitioner challenged the demand made by the State Government towards cost of acquisition relating to conversion fine, establishment charges and audit charges. The petitioners at the time of argument confined their arguments only towards conversion fine and they have not pressed insofar as the payment towards establishment charges and audit charges, obviously because the Government had to spend certain amount towards establishment and audit in order to complete the acquisition proceedings.

[3] Sri. T.S. Ramachandra, learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that the State Government has no authority to demand payment towards conversion fine relying upon sec. 14 of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 [for short 'the Act 1961]. It is in the submission of Sri. T. S. Ramachandra, that the land which is proposed for acquisition is earmarked for a residential proposed in the C.D.P. published under the Act, 1961 and that the same shall not be used for any other purpose other than residential purpose except with the written permission of the planning authority. In view of this, it is contended that as the lands which were the subject matter of the notifications issued under the LA Act, are all earmarked or reserved for residential purpose in the C.D.P. and the said land cannot be used for any purpose other than the residential purpose ; There fore, the question of payment of conversion fine for the purpose of using the land for non-agricultural purpose u/s. 95 of the Act, 1964 does not arise and therefore the demand made by the State Government calling upon the petitioner to pay the conversion fine towards cost of acquisition is without authority of law. In support of this contention he relied upon the decision of this Court in SPECIAL DEPUTY COMMISSIONER -vs- NARAYANAPPA [ I .L . R . 1988 Kar. 1398 ] where in it is held as follows:-

"In view of the above provision a written permission for change of land use in respect of land falling within Bangalore City Planning Area and covered by the CDP is mandatory. This subsequent notification also ousts the authority of the Deputy Commissioner under Sec. 95 of the Land Revenue Act in respect of lands falling within the Planning Area."

In reply to the said contention, Sri. K. P. Ashok Kumar learned Government Advocate submitted that the above said decision came up for consideration before the Division Bench in the case of DOULATRAJ - vs- THE STATE OF KARNATAKA & OTHERS [ W. P. No. 35179 of 1992 decided on 21-08-1996], wherein the Division Bench considering the subsequent amendment introduced to the Act, 1961 by Act 2/1991 has held that the Deputy Commissioner has got right to call upon the person to pay the conversion fine if he wishes to divert the agricultural land to any other purpose. The facts of the said case are - the petitioner in the said writ petition is the owner of the land filed an application u/s. 95 of the Act, 1964 for conversion. The said application was allowed imposing a conversion fine

Rs. 10,890/-. The same was paid pursuant to the order of conversion on 09-03-1990. Thereafter, the petitioner filed an application before the Deputy Commissioner for the refund of the amount relying upon the decision of this Court in the case of Narayanappa referred to above. The said application was rejected. This order of rejection was challenged on the ground that the Deputy Commissioner has no authority to collect conversion fine. The Division Bench [ relaying on the above said decision] rejected the said writ petition in view of the amendment to Sec. 95 of the Act, 1964 by Act 2.91, which was subsequent to the pronouncement of the Judgment in the Narayanappa's case [ Supra]. Admittedly, the lands which were proposed to the acquired or acquired by the State Government for the benefit of the societies are all agricultural lands. Under Sec. 95 of the Act, 1964 no person is permitted to use agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose without obtaining the permission of the Deputy Commissioner. Sub-section [2] of Sec. 95 of the Act, 1964 reads as follows:-

"[2] If any occupant of land assessed or held the purpose of agriculture wishes to divert such land or any part thereof to any other purpose he shall 'Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force apply for permission to the Deputy Commissioner who may subject to the provisions of this section and the rules made under this Act, refuse permission or grant it on such condition as he may think fit." [emphasis supplied]

The insertion of the words "Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force" is only to enable the Deputy Commissioner to collect conversion fine in the event if the agricultural land is permitted to be used for non-agricultural purpose, even though the said land use is shown in the C.D.P. published under the provisions of the Act of 1961 as residential . It is also necessary to mention that the Legislature introduced an amendment by Karnataka Act 2/1991 to Sec. 14 of the Act, 1961 by inserting the proviso to sub-sec. [2] of sec. 14 which reads as follows:-

" Provided that where the use or change of land use under this section needs the diversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes, such use or change of use shall not be permitted unless permission is obtained in accordance with the provisions of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 for such diversion ."

Threading of the said/proviso it is clear that any person who intends to have the change of land use as contemplated u/s. [2] of Sec. 14 of the Act, 1961 is required to obtain permission from the Deputy Commissioner to use the agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose u/s . 95 of the Act, 1964. This proviso makes it clear that even though the land is covered under the CDP, conversion fine is required to be paid to get the change of land use from agricultural to non-agricultural use, as provided u/s. 95 of the Act, 1964. The purpose of acquisition is to use the said land for non-agricultural purpose by the society. Therefore, the petitioner's societies are required to pay the conversion fine as contemplated u/s. 95 of the Act, 1964, to the Deputy Commissioner before it uses the land for non-agricultural purpose. When such being the case, there is nothing wrong on the part of the State Government in calling upon the petitioners to pay the conversion fine which was payable by the societies to the Deputy Commissioner.

Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, the writ petitions are rejected. Rule issued is discharge.

Sd/-

Judge

"Copy"
Assistant Registrar, High Court of Karnataka Bangalore - 560 001.
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