Madras Land Ceiling Act
The Supreme Court on March 9 struck down the Madras Land Reform (fixation of ceiling on land) Act 1961 as unconstitutional. The Court gave this finding, while allowing a batch of six writ petitions filed under Article 32 of the Constitution. The petitioners attacked the constitutionality of the Act on the ground that it violated Articles 4, 19 and 31 (2). The Court held that Section 5 (1) of the Act which lays down the ceiling area was violative of fundamental right enshrined in Article 14. Their Lordships also expressed the view that the Provisions of Section 50 of the Act read with Schedule III relating to compensation were discriminatory and violative of Article 14. Since these two Sections are the pivotal provisions of the Act, the whole Act must be struck down as unconstitutional if these two Sections fall, their Lordships observed. The common question raised in these writ petitions was about the constitutionality of the Madras Land Reforms (fixation of ceiling on land) Act, 1961. (This Act came into force on May 2, 1962).
Sankar Cabinet survives
The Sankar Ministry on March 9 survived a division on an Opposition cut motion to the Police demand despite three Congress members walking out just before the vote was taken. The Government mustered 59 votes against the cut motion while the Opposition accounted for only 48. The three dissidents were Messrs. C.A. Mathew and K.M. George and Mrs. Kusumum Joseph. They offered no explanation before leaving the House.
Footprints of History
Pieces of pottery, beads and bangles and other ceramic evidence, helping to trace human history in the third or fourth century before the Christian era, are reported to have been found in the excavations, conducted since January 20 last in Alagarai Villages (Musiri Taluk) about 30 miles from Tiruchi, by a team from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology of the University of Madras. The mass of collections unearthed so far include five copper coins, believed to belong to the medieval period, one full-sized earthen pot and two broken pots.