Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has upheld Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Second Amendment Act, 1994.

Dismissing a batch of writ petitions by R. Sivashanmugam and others challenging the constitutional validity of the amendment Act, Justice K. Chandru, citing judgments, said it was clear that the legislature had the power to enact a retrospective legislation for the purpose of clarifying certain ambiguities. The present amendment did not make a new amendment to section 22, but only gave a statutory backing to the interpretation given by the Supreme Court in a case.

According to the statement of objects and reasons, the amendment was to make the section in consonance with the principles laid down by the Supreme Court and to make it clear that if any transfer or partition, had the effect of reducing the extent of surplus land in excess of the ceiling area, such transfer or partition whether bona fide or not, should be construed as defeating the provisions of the legislation. It was also to make provisions for validating all acts done or proceedings taken by the authorised officer and to reopen the past cases, based on the apex court’s judgment.

Mr. Chandru said if an Authorised Officer had given an order in favour of any of the petitioners ignoring the legal provision, such an order could only be a nullity as it had not taken note of the true legislative meaning as well as the intent and purport of Section 22. The provision as amended by the impugned Act had restored the correct meaning and the spirit of the Act. The Judge said the petitioners had no vested right in making a transfer to defeat the very purpose of the legislative injunction over such transfers. Further, the amendment itself had put an embargo by prescribing a limitation for reopening the issues beyond five years from the date of the gazette notification.

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