The Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (Act
XXXIII of 1976) is in force in 17 States and all the Union
Territories in the country. It seeks to impose a ceiling on
vacant lands in urban agglomerations having a population of
two lakhs or more and for that purpose classifies such urban
agglomerations in various cities and towns in all the States
and Union Territories into four categories and fixes the
ceiling limit for each such category.
The primary object and purpose of the Act, as its long
title and the Preamble show, is to provide for the
imposition of a ceiling on vacant land in urban
agglomerations, for the acquisition of such land in excess
of the ceiling limit, to regulate the construction of
buildings on such land for matters connected there with,
with a view to preventing the concentration of urban land in
the hands of a few persons and speculation and profiteering
therein and with a view to bring about an equitable
distribution of land in urban agglomerations to subserve the
common good, presumably in furtherance of the Directive
Principles of State Policy contained in Article 39(c) and
(b) respectively. The enactment has also been put in the
Ninth Schedule as Item 132 by the Constitution (Fortieth
Amendment) Act, 1976; in other words, the enactment enjoys
the benefit of protective umbrella of both the articles,
Article 31-B and 31-C as it stood prior to its amendment by
the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976.
By these writ petitions the petitioners, who are
holders of vacant land in the urban agglomerations in
various States, are seeking to challenge the vires of some
of the salient provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling and
Regulation) Act, 1976 (XXXIII of 1976) and since, according
to them, some of the impugned provisions are pivotal and
non-severable, having an impact on its entire scheme, the
whole Act is liable to be struck down as being invalid and
unconstitutional. The petitioners have, therefore, prayed
for an order quashing notices issued to them by the
concerned competent authorities under the Act and a mandamus
directing the respondents not to implement the provisions
thereof against them.
Dismissing the petitions and upholding the
constitutional validity save and except section 27(1) by a
majority of partially dissenting on the
validity of sub-sections (1),(2), (3) and the opening words
of sub-section (4) of section 23), the Court.
1. The Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 is
constitutionally valid save and except section 27(1) in so
far a it imposes a restriction on transfer of any urban of
urbanisable land with a building or of a portion of such
building. which is within the ceiling area.
Per Chandrachud. C.J. and P.N. Bhagwati, J.
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