Landowner and his Characteristics [ Jasmer Singh v. State of Punjab]

Abstract: The subject revolves around the case of Jasmer Singh v. State of Punjab (1989PLJ288) where it follows the roadmap of the introduction of Landlords, stating who landlords are and what primarily is their status in the society. The paper then heads to the brief of the case of Jasmer Singh v. State of Punjab where the case is broken into lines and smaller paragraphs for better understanding, followed by evaluation on a personal note. The conclusion extracts the true meaning of the judgement held under the aforesaid case law stating the landowner’s definition and characteristics.

Introduction

The landowner is said to be a person to whom holding has been transferred or estate of holding let in a farm under Punjab Land Revenue Act for the recovery of arrears of land revenue. A landowner can be anyone who receives profits from that estate and enjoys the holding, receives sum recoverable as arrears, but he does not be tenant or assignee of land revenue.

Landowners and owners of the land both are different. The owner of the land is one who is having full-fledged control over the land and their shares. He has a right to sell and in case of mortgage of the land, if the owner of the land is still in possession, he will be considered as the real owner. The landowner may be called an owner but does not have all the rights related to land. He only enjoys the possession of land by keeping the hold of an estate and enjoys the profits from the same.

A landowner does not include a tenant or an assignee of land-revenue but does include a person to whom a holding has been transferred, or a holding has been let in a farm, under this Act for the recovery of an arrear of land-revenue or of a sum recoverable as such an arrear and every other person not hereinbefore in this clause mentioned who owns an estate or any share or portion thereof, or in the enjoyment of any part of the profits of an estate.

Brief of the case

Jasmer Singh v. State of Punjab [1]

  1. The petitioner divulged the case that he is in possession of the land of Smt. Angoori Devi and the litigation for the same is pending in the civil Court.
  2. The claim of the petitioner was primarily based on a will that was made by Jai Singh, who is said to be the original owner, the will also stand negative by the Civil Court, and then the matter is been stated to be pending in the High Court in appeal.
  3. If the appeal is to be decided in favour of the petitioner he would eventually become the owner of the land and, thus, the landowner, of the particular property.
  4. That being the position, the piece of the particular land could be included for the determination of the surplus area as said to be belonging to the petitioner.
  5. Even if he fails in the civil suit, his case stands covered in the definition of the landowner as reproduced above.
  6. He is in possession of the land and enjoying its profits. The authorities were, thus, justified, though on different grounds, inclusive of his piece of land in the area of the petitioner for determination of the surplus area in his hand.
  7. While declaring the land surplus in his hand the land possessed by him which was owned by Smt. Anguri Devi was also taken into consideration.
  8. It has been held by the Court that Smt. Anguri Devi was the sole owner of the suit land, the same could not be taken into consideration while declaring the land surplus in the hands of Jasmer Singh.
  9. He further submitted that the said land was also considered while declaring the surplus area in the hands of Smt. Anguri Devi as well.
  10. Learned Singh Judge has discussed the entire matter in detail. The definition of ‘landowner’ as given in the Punjab Land Reforms Act is the same as defined in Section 3(2) of the Punjab Land Revenue Act. Jasmer Singh vs. State of Punjab and others.
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Breakdown of the Judgement :

The Justices upheld the meaning, nature, and characteristics of Landowner by stating and interpreting that Landowner is the one who owns land with the absolute ownership rights that are transferable only at the landowner’s discreet. The right to contract too is underneath the landowner’s right and so does he holds the equitable rights of the same.

However, land held by any person whether as a sole land-owner or as a co-landowner in one or more holdings or as a sole landowner and as a co-landowner in one or more holdings in any estate shall be exempted from the liability to the payment of land revenue, if :
(i) the area of such land together with the area of land, if any, held by such person weather as a sole landowner or as a co-landowner in one or more holdings, or as a sole landowner and as a co-landowner in one or more holdings, in any other estate in the State of does not exceed five standard acres; and (ii) such person furnishes such particulars of all the land held by him in the State of Punjab in such form and manner and at such time and to such authority (hereinafter in this section referred to as the ‘prescribed authority’) as may be prescribed by rules made under section 64.

In the case of a Hindu undivided family, the land owned by such family shall, for sub-section (I-A), be deemed to be the land of the landowner in whose name it is entered in the record of rights.

An assessment, the undertaking of which has been sanctioned under the provisions of section 49 shall not be considered final until it has been confirmed by the State Government. At any time before an assessment is so confirmed the Commissioner or Financial Commissioner may subject to the provisions of sub-section modify the assessment of any estate. Before an enhancement is ordered under the provisions of sub-section the Commissioner or Financial Commissioner, as the case may be, shall be cause reasonable notice to be given to the land-owner by proclamation published in the manner described in section 22, to show cause in a petition addressed to the Revenue-officer why the proposed enhancement should not be ordered, and the

Revenue-officer shall enquire into any objections raised by any landowner and submit such petition received with his report thereon to the Commissioner or the Financial Commissioner, who shall consider the petition and the report and shall also hear the petitioner if he so desires.

Conclusion

In the above case law, the Justices upheld the true definition and elaboration of what defines landowner. It means any individual, family, or corporation who owns property in its name, and the name when appears as the eligibility of the proper holder. The landowner is the one who has its name on the purchaser on a contact deed as the eligibility calls for. The landowner has the entire title to himself with the entire rights of getting in the contract. The absolute interest is under the hands of the landowner and henceforth the maintenance and other under-takings like construction, land distributing, and other management activities are taken care of by the Landowner himself. 

Like as discussed in the case of Jasmer Singh v. State of Punjab, the landowner holds the totality of the agreement and lodging details as it holds the right of way and easement as the owner. The case law highlights Landowner as a legal person or an entity to be precise and the ownership stands absolute. It also holds the equitable interest in the real property, including the heirs, successors, representatives, and all such of similar kinds.

Also Read: Trademark Law: Criminal and Civil Remedies


[1]1989PLJ288.

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