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Act of receiving willingly; acceptance of gift can be inferred by implied conduct of the donee: SC

The aforesaid transfer was executed way before the cut­off date stipulated under Section 30DD i.e. 31.12.1969. Therefore, the registered gift deed dated 19.12.1963 was a bona fide transfer squarely covered within the ambits of Section 30DD, which intended to protect the rights of agriculturalists. Issue no. 3, stands answered in favour of the appellant, as the transfer is not invalid as it stands protected as per the provision of Section 30DD of the Tenancy Act of 1955. (Para 46)



DAULAT SINGH (D) THR. LRS. Vs THE STATE OF RAJASTHAN & ORS.

CIVIL APPEAL No.5650 OF 2010

December, 8 2020

The Hon’ble Supreme Court comprising of Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant in appeal against the judgment regarding the validity of transfer of gift deed from father to son dated 25.04.2008, passed by the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jodhpur. The appeal preferred by the respondents and the High court upheld the order dated 02.07.1990 passed by the Board of Revenue while setting aside the order dated 02.04.1997 of the Single Judge.


Daulat Singh was the owner of land, on 19.12.1963; he gifted away his land to his son, Narpat Singh. After the said transfer, the appellant was left with 17.25 standard acres of land, which was below the prescribed limit under the Ceiling Act. The amendment of Section 30DD of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955 was effective from 31.12.1969, and since the gift deed was executed before the aforesaid amendment, the aforesaid transfer was valid.

The revenue department re-opened the case of the appellant. The Court of Additional District Collector, therefore, directed the appellant to hand over vacant possession of the aforesaid 11 standard acres of extra land to the Tahsildar, Pali. The appellant further made an appeal to the board of revenue, the re-calculation held that the appellant is holding 4.5 acres of land in excess of the ceiling limit.


The appellant preferred a writ petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, 1950 before the High Court. The transfer of land by the appellant in favour of his son by virtue of a registered gift deed is said to be valid in the eyes of law. Thereafter the respondents preferred an appeal against the above order before the division bench, stating that the gift deed was invalid as the son was not aware of the gift deed. The Division Bench declared that the learned single judge passed the judgment in ignorance of the provisions of section 30C and 30D of the Tenancy Act, 1955. Therefore, it set aside the order passed by the Single Judge Bench for being untenable and upheld the order passed by the Board of Revenue. The appellant has preferred the present appeal by way of Special Leave Petition before the Court.


The counsel on behalf of the appellant argued that the transfer of land was effectuated way back in 1963. The Division Bench clearly erred in not recognizing the transfer of 17.25 acres in

favour of the appellant's son Narpat Singh, who was a major at the time the gift deed was executed, during his lifetime, as per the requirements of Section 122 of the Transfer of Property Act,1882. There was an implied acceptance because this is a case of transfer between father and son. On the basis of facts of this case, it is proved that the son was living separately with his family. Moreover, such a transfer does not violate the provisions of Section 30C and Section 30D of the Tenancy Act of 1955. Hence, the counsel also pleaded that the notice given for reopening of the ceiling case was beyond the period of limitation.

The counsel on behalf of the Respondents argued that the Division Bench rightly upheld the order passed by the Board of Revenue which was passed after detailed assessment of the facts and appropriate reliance upon Section 30C and 30D of the Tenancy Act of 1955. The respondents submitted that the findings of facts could not be interfered with in a writ proceeding. The respondents also stated that, issue of limitation was never argued by the appellant in the Courts below. Be that as it may, the notice was issued within the limitation period.

The issues discussed and answered by the Court are as follows:

(i) Whether reopening of the case was beyond the period of limitation?

(ii) Whether the registered gift deed executed by the appellant is valid in the eyes of law?

(iii) Whether the judgment of a learned Single Judge is in ignorance of the provisions of Sec 30C and 30D of the Tenancy Act of 1955?


“Section 15 of the Ceiling Act, 1973 confers upon the State Government the power to re-open the cases, if it is satisfied that the earlier order was in contravention with the provisions of the Act and is prejudicial to the State interest”(Para 13)


The proviso states that the notice to be issued before the expiry of five years from the date of order. Where, the aforesaid notice was sent to the appellant on 20.11.1976, that is within five years of the earlier order dated 15.04.1972. As, It fulfilled all the requirements provided under section 15, the Ceiling Act, 1973 it is said to be valid under the eyes of law. Hence, the court came to decision in favour of respondent in first issue.


The High Court passed an order stating the gift deed did not meet the requirements as provided under Section 122 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. The division bench further observed that a perusal of the gift deed does not show acceptance of gift by the donee.


In the case of Naramadaben Maganlal Thakker v. Pranjivandas (1997)2 SCC 255, it was held that,

“It would thus be clear that the execution of a registered gift deed, acceptance of the gift and delivery of the property, together make the gift complete. Thereafter, the donor is divested of his title and the donee becomes the absolute owner of the property.” (Para 22)


The Division Bench of High Court said that there was no valid acceptance by the donee. The Additional District Collector held that there was no semblance of acceptance in the gift deed. Further on appeal, the Board of Revenue stated that “it is irrelevant that after the gift the land remained in possession of the donee or that he got it mutated in his name”. The Division Bench of the High Court, relying on the aforesaid observation, stated that there was no valid acceptance as it seems like the donee was unaware about the gift deed itself.


The court referred to the case of Asokan v. Lakshmikutty, (2007) 13 SCC 210 where it was held,

“We must, however, notice that the Transfer of Property Act does not prescribe any particular mode of acceptance. It is the circumstances attending to the transaction which may be relevant for determining the question. There may be various means to prove acceptance of a gift. The document may be handed over to a donee, which in a given situation may also amount to a valid acceptance. The fact that possession had been given to the donee also raises a presumption of acceptance”.(Para 27)


The learned Single Judge Bench took a plausible view that it was a transfer between a father and a son and there was a valid acceptance of the gift when the donee's ­son started living separately. Lastly, it ought to be noted that apart from the point of acceptance by the donee as held above since the deed is registered, bears the signature of the donor and has been attested by two witnesses, the requirements under Section 123 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 have been satisfied. The court concluded that transfer of gift deed has fulfilled the requirements under section 123 of Transfer of Property Act, 1882. Hence, it is considered as a valid transfer, second issue is declared in favour of the appellant. (Para 33)


Section 30C of the Tenancy Act of 1955 provides for the ceiling limit of 30 standard acres for a family of five members or less. The appellant admittedly was having a family of less than five members and was originally holding around 34.4 standard acres. Subsequently, by virtue of a registered gift deed dated 19.12.1963; the appellant had transferred around 17.25 standard acres to his son. Section 30D provides that any transfer, on or after 25.02.1958, other than the ones provided in sub section 1(i) and 1(ii) shall be deemed to have been entered to defeat the purpose of ceiling act. Such transactions were declared to be void. The aforesaid two exceptions being transfer by partition and transfer to a landless person.


The court, after looking into both parties contentions held the following,

“In light of the aforesaid findings, the decision rendered by the Division Bench of the High Court is liable to be set aside. The transfer of the land being valid under Section 30DD the Tenancy Act of 1955, the ceiling area of the appellant falls within the ceiling limit as provided under Section 30C.”(Para 47)


The court stated that the transfer is not invalid as it stands protected as per the provision of Section 30DD, the Tenancy Act, 1955. Hence, third issue is answered in favour of appellant. The transfer of the land being valid under Section 30DD of the Tenancy Act of 1955, the ceiling area of the appellant falls within the ceiling limit as provided under Section 30C.


The appeal stand allowed in the aforesaid terms. Pending applications, if any, stand disposed of.



Shantha Gopika R

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