The Supreme Court Bench consisted of Justice UU Lalit , Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice AS Bopanna.
This case arose when an agricultural land was given to the present appellant who is not an agriculturist.
During Arguments, the appellant stated that Bombay Tenancy Act prevented such a transfer in case it is done by a living person through sale and consideration has also taken place. This Act does not govern wills.
It was also stated that the Indian Succession Act, being a Central Act, would be given precedence over the State Laws.
The decision of the Court in the case of Mahadeo v Shankuntalabai also was overturned by the court as it concluded that this Act did restrict such transfer even in case of wills.
The Supreme Court stated:
“The construction put on the expression “assignment” appearing in Section 43, therefore, has to be consistent with the legislative scheme. In the context of the entire scheme, the term “assignment” used in Section 43 of the Act must include testamentary disposition as well. By adopting such construction, in keeping with the law laid down by this Court, the statute would succeed in attaining the object sought to be achieved.
On the other hand, if it is held that the testamentary disposition would not get covered by the provisions of Section 43, a gullible person can be made to execute a testament in favour of a person who may not fulfil the requirements and be eligible to be a transferee in accordance with law. This may not only render the natural heirs of the tenant without any support or sustenance, but may also have serious impact on agricultural operations.”