Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) Act, 1978= We, however, do not see the need to examine them as, according to us, the appellant is disentitled to any relief on the short ground of having knocked the doors of the concerned authorities three decades after the SC & ST Act came into force. =private respondents which compelled them to file a civil suit being OS No.5875/1994 on 25.6.1994 before the City Civil Court, Bangalore. A decree was passed for permanent injunction in favour of the private respondents and against the persons claiming similar rights as the appellant before us (who is in the line of succession of the original two ladies, namely, Smt. Gundamma and Smt. Siddamma) opining that the private respondents before us have proved their lawful possession of the property and were entitled to a permanent injunction. Aggrieved by the said decree, the defendants in that suit, who are grandchildren of G. Ramaiah and Gundamma laid a challenge in the first appeal before the High Court which was also dismissed on 19.03.2004 albeit on the ground of delay.

REPORTABLEIN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.4367-4372 OF 2016
JAGADISH � Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF KARNATAKA & ORS. � Respondents
J U D G M E N T
Sanjay Kishan Kaul, J .

  1. Smt. Gundamma and Smt. Siddamma, both widows of Late
    Ramaiah, were holding the land as permanent tenants under the
    Inamdar, B.K. Nagaraj. These lands are situated in Sy.Nos.77/1, 77/2
    and 77/3 of Agrahara Dasarahalli Village, Bangalore. The enactment
    of Mysore (Personal and Miscellaneous) Inams Abolition Act, 1954
    (for short, �the Inams Abolition Act�) which was brought into force
    with effect from 1.2.1959 abolished such personal inams and the
    land stood vested with the State of Karnataka free from all
    encumbrances under Section 1(4) of the Inams Abolition Act.
    However, certain class of persons were entitled to apply for
    occupancy rights including the class of permanent tenants and

2
thereby obtain ownership of lands upon payment of specified
premium to the Government. It is in pursuance to these provisions
that Smt. Gundamma and Smt. Siddamma filed two applications for
grant of occupancy rights under Section 5 of the Inams Abolition Act.

  1. Before this aspect stood concluded, on 17.7.1961, late Papaiah
    purchased the land in Sy. No.77 measuring 37� guntas from Smt.
    Gundamma and her son Sri Ramaiah. The father of the private
    respondents, one Nanjusa purchased this land from late Papaiah.
    The remaining extent of 03 acres and 11 guntas of land in Sy.No.77
    was also purchased directly by the father of the private respondents.
  2. It was only on 4.8.1962 that the Special Deputy Commissioner
    for Inams Abolition passed the order on the applications filed by
    Smt. Gundamma and Smt. Siddamma registering them as occupants
    khatedar under Section 10 of the Inams Abolition Act. The rights
    were, thus, perfected and they being already in possession of the
    land, improvements were made on the same including setting up of
    a weaving factory by the sons of Respondent No.4.
  3. The next development which may be taken note of was the
    coming into force of the Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
    Tribes (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) Act, 1978
    (hereinafter refers to as �the SC & ST Act�) which was brought into

3
force on 01.01.1979. The constitutional validity of this Act was
upheld in Manchegowda & Ors. vs. State of Karnataka & Ors. 1
. It
should be useful to reproduce some of the discussions made in the
judgment with regard to the SC & ST Act, more specifically in para 7
of the judgment, which reads as under :-
�7. The validity of the Act has been challenged
mainly because of the provisions contained in
Sections 4 and 5 of the Act which purport to
declare transfers of �granted land� made either
before or after the commencement of the Act in
contravention of the terms of the grant of such
land or the law providing for such grant null and
void and confer powers on the authority to take
possession of such land after evicting all persons
in possession thereof and to restore such lands to
the original grantee or his legal heirs and where it
is not reasonably practicable to so restore the
land to a person belonging to the Scheduled
Castes or Scheduled Tribes in accordance with the
rules relating to the grant of such land. It may be
noted that the validity of the Act insofar as it
imposes prohibition on transfer of granted land
after the commencement of the Act has not been
challenged and the principal objection to the
validity of the Act is taken because of the
provisions in the Act seeking to nullify the
transfers of granted lands effected before the
commencement of the Act.�

  1. The aforesaid discussion would, thus, show that the controversy
    arose on account of the provisions of the SC & ST Act being made
    applicable even to grants made prior to the commencement of this
    Act. It is in that context that in para 24, it was observed as under :-
    1 (1984) 3 SCC 301

4
�24. Though we have come to the conclusion that
the Act is valid, yet, in our opinion, we have to
make certain aspects clear. Granted lands which
had been transferred after the expiry of the period
of prohibition do not come within the purview of
the Act, and cannot be proceeded against under
the provisions of this Act. The provisions of the
Act make this position clear, as Sections 4 and 5
become applicable only when granted lands are
transferred in breach of the condition relating to
prohibition on transfer of such granted lands.
Granted lands transferred before the
commencement of the Act and not in
contravention of prohibition on transfer are clearly
beyond the scope and purview of the present Act.
Also in case where granted lands had been
transferred before the commencement of the Act
in violation of the condition regarding prohibition
on such transfer and the transferee who had
initially acquired only a voidable title in such
granted lands had perfected his title in the
granted lands by prescription by long and
continuous enjoyment thereof in accordance with
law before the commencement of the Act, such
granted lands would also not come within the
purview of the present Act, as the title of such
transferees to the granted lands has been
perfected before the commencement of the Act.
Since at the date of the commencement of the
Act the title of such transferees had ceased to be
voidable by reason of acquisition of prescriptive
rights on account of long and continued user for
the requisite period, the title of such transferees
could not be rendered void by virtue of the
provisions of the Act without violating the
constitutional guarantee. We must, therefore,
read down the provisions of the Act by holding
that the Act will apply to transfers of granted
lands made in breach of the condition imposing
prohibition on transfer of granted lands only in
those cases where the title acquired by the
transferee was still voidable at the date of the
commencement of the Act and had not lost its

5
defeasible character at the date when the Act
came into force. Transferees of granted lands
having a perfected and not a voidable title at the
commencement of the Act must be held to be
outside the pale of the provisions of the Act.
Section 4 of the Act must be so construed as not
to have the effect of rendering void the title of
any transferee which was not voidable at the date
of the commencement of the Act.�

  1. In a recent judgment of this Court in the context of the same
    Act, this aspect has been referred to in Satyan vs. Deputy
    Commissioner & Ors.
    2
    .
  2. One of the aspects debated in
    Satyan (supra), is whether in the
    context of the aforesaid legal position, settled transactions should
    be permitted to be disturbed after a long period of time. The various
    judgments were referred to in this behalf albeit the suo motu power
    be exercised by the Commissioner�s office in paragraph 12 of
    Satyan�s
    case (supra). The said paragraph is extracted as under :-
    �12. The second limb of the submission of Mr.
    Dave, learned senior counsel for the appellant,
    was that settled transactions cannot be disturbed
    after a long period of time. The transactions were
    of the year 1997. They were sought to be
    unsettled after almost eight (8) years, by
    preferring an application in the year 2005. To
    support this plea, he referred to the following
    judicial pronouncements:
    a.
    Ibrahimpatnam Taluk Vyavasaya Coolie
    Sangham
    v. K. Suresh Reddy & Ors., (2003) 7 SCC
    2 AIR 2019 SC 2797

6
667 11, � the question posed to be decided in the
appeal is referred to in para 1 and the question
has been answered in para 19. Both paras 1 and
19 are read as under: �1. In all these appeals, the
following question of law arises for consideration:
�Whether the Collector can exercise suo
motu power under sub-section (4) of Section
50-B of the Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area)
Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1950 at
any time or such power is to be exercised
within a reasonable time.�
� � � �
�19. It is also necessary to note that the suo
motu power was sought to be exercised by
the Joint Collector after 13-15 years. Section
50-B was amended in the year 1979 by
adding sub-section (4), but no action was
taken to invalidate the certificates in
exercise of the suo motu power till 1989.
There is no convincing explanation as to why
the authorities waited for such a long time. It
appears that sub-section (4) was added so
as to take action where alienations or
transfers were made to defeat the provisions
of the Land Ceiling Act. The Land Ceiling Act
having come into force on 1-1-1975, the
authorities should have made inquiries and
efforts so as to exercise the suo motu power
within reasonable time. The action of the
Joint Collector in exercising suo motu power
after several years and not within reasonable
per;iod and passing orders cancelling
validation certificates given by the Tahsildar,
as rightly held by the High Court, could not
be sustained.�
The ratio, thus, is that such suo moto powers
have to be exercised within a reasonable period of
time.
b. Situ Sahu & Ors . v. State of Jharkhand & Ors.,

7
(2004) 8 SCC 340 � the exercise of power in
respect of transactions, which required prior 12
sanction of the Deputy Commissioner was again
observed to be one which had to be exercised
within a reasonable period of time.
c. Chhedi Lal Yadav & Ors. v. Hari Kishore Yadav
(Dead) through Legal Representatives & Ors.
(2018) 12 scc 527
� the view expressed is the
same as in the aforesaid two judgments in para
13, as under:
�13. In our view, where no period of
limitation is prescribed, the action must be
taken, whether suo motu or on the
application of the parties, within a
reasonable time. Undoubtedly, what is
reasonable time would depend on the
circumstances of each case and the purpose
of the statute. In the case before us, we are
clear that the action is grossly delayed and
taken beyond reasonable time, particularly,
in view of the fact that the land was
transferred several times during this period,
obviously, in the faith that it is not
encumbered by any rights.�
d.
Vivek M. Hinduja v. M. Aswatha & Ors. (cIVIL
Appeal No.2166/2009, decided on 6.12.2017
(reported in 2019 (1) Kant LJ 819 (SC) � the
provisions of the said Act were in issue, where suo
moto action was sought to be taken in 1998, in
respect of transactions of the vintage 1967, and
this was held to be a long delay, which did not
warrant the exercise of such power.�

  1. We have discussed the aforesaid aspect in some detail as it has
    a direct bearing to the factual controversy in the present case.
  2. Now, once again, let us turn back to the factual matrix. It
    appears that there was an endeavour to disturb the possession of

8
the private respondents which compelled them to file a civil suit
being OS No.5875/1994 on 25.6.1994 before the City Civil Court,
Bangalore. A decree was passed for permanent injunction in favour
of the private respondents and against the persons claiming similar
rights as the appellant before us (who is in the line of succession of
the original two ladies, namely, Smt. Gundamma and Smt.
Siddamma) opining that the private respondents before us have
proved their lawful possession of the property and were entitled to a
permanent injunction. Aggrieved by the said decree, the defendants
in that suit, who are grandchildren of G. Ramaiah and Gundamma
laid a challenge in the first appeal before the High Court which was
also dismissed on 19.03.2004 albeit on the ground of delay.

  1. The appellant before us, as a legal heir of the original
    beneficiaries being Smt. Gundamma and Smt. Siddamma, sought
    directions from the deputy Commissioner to enquire about the
    violation of the provisions of the SC & ST Act. This application was
    filed by the appellant on 13.10.2009. Thus, this is the first time that
    the appellant has sought to claim exercise of rights under the SC &
    ST Act.
  2. On enquiry, the Assistant Commissioner, vide order dated
    09.09.2010 opined in his favour. The challenge laid by the private

9
respondent Nos. 4 to 9 also did not succeed. It was deemed
appropriate to take recourse to a remedy of appeal. The appeal was
thereafter dismissed by the Deputy Commissioner on 8.10.2010 and
once again a writ petition was filed by them before the High Court
but vide order dated 16.8.2011, the learned Single Judge dismissed
the writ petition. It is thereafter that the private respondents fate
took a turn for the better when they succeed in the writ appeal in
terms of order dated 5.7.2013. The appellant has, thus, filed the
present appeal.

  1. There are number of issues raised before us calling for the inter
    se
    play of the Inams Abolition Act and the SC & ST Act. We,
    however, do not see the need to examine them as, according to us,
    the appellant is disentitled to any relief on the short ground of
    having knocked the doors of the concerned authorities three
    decades after the SC & ST Act came into force. It is this very aspect
    which forms subject matter of debate in a number of judgments and
    finally in
    Satyan�s case (supra), (they have been discussed Para 12
    extracted hereinabove). It was recognized that there was no
    limitation of time prescribed but it should be exercised within a
    reasonable period of time. It is in that context that period of 20
    years have been said to be too long a period for calling for
    interference by the concerned authorities. Leave the said period, in

10
the present case, we are confronted with the factual situation of 30
years period between the rights accruing and the exercise of rights.
In the meantime, the lands have been developed by the private
respondents who, according to us, is bona fide purchaser of the land
and created infrastructure on the same. It does seem now an
endeavour of the appellant to only extract some amount knowing
fully well the kind of establishment which has come up on the land
in question. We cannot be a part to such endeavour. We are, thus,
of the view that in the conspectuous of the legal position discussed
aforesaid and the facts referred to by us, the appellant is disentitled
to any relief on this short ground of an inordinate delay in seeking to
avail of their remedy in limine. Insofar as the other aspects raised in
the present appeals are concerned, we are leaving the questions of
law open since we are not required to comment on the same for
adjudication of the present controversy.

  1. The appeals are accordingly dismissed leaving the parties to
    bear their own costs.
    ��������������,J.
    (Sanjay Kishan Kaul)
    ��������������,J.
    (K.M. Joseph)
    New Delhi;
    August 29, 2019

ITEM NO.102 COURT NO.11 SECTION IV-A
S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Civil Appeal No(s). 4367-4372/2016
JAGADISH Appellant(s)
VERSUS
STATE OF KARNATAKA & ORS. Respondent(s)
(LIST THE APPEALS IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST, 2019(R/P 8.2.2019) )
Date : 29-08-2019 These appeals were called on for hearing today.
CORAM : HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJAY KISHAN KAUL
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE K.M. JOSEPH
For Appellant(s) Mr. Basava Prabhu S. Patil, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Shailesh Madiyal, AOR
Mr. Sudhanshu Prakash, Adv.
Mr. Kartik Anand, Adv.
For Respondent(s) Mr. Jayant Bhushan, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Aman Lekhi, Adv.
Vamshi Chendarellu, Adv.
Mr. Sudhir Naagar, AOR
Mr. V. N. Raghupathy, AOR
Mr. Md. Afzal Ansari, Adv.
Mr. Mandndra Pal Gupta, Adv.
UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following
O R D E R
The appeals are dismissed in terms of the signed reportable
judgment leaving the parties to bear their own costs.
(GULSHAN KUMAR ARORA) (ANITA RANI AHUJA)
COURT MASTER COURT MASTER
(Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file)