The Seventeenth Amendment Act, 1964


The Seventeenth Amendment Act, 1964 again restrained the guaranteed property rights under Article 31. The Supreme Court struck down the Kerala Agrarian Relations Act, 1961 in its application to ryotwari lands and by the Kerala High Court as well in relation to lands except ‘estates’ in the Malabar area, as it transgressed Articles 14, 19 and 31 since the protection was not available to the lands in question as those were not ‘estates’ under Article 31A. 

The expression ‘estate’ carried different meanings in different states and even in different parts of the same state. Most of the enactments relating to land areas were not included in the expression ‘estate’. There was a need to expand the scope of the expression ‘estate’ to protect all this legislation. The Seventeenth Amendment was brought for this very reason. It revised the definition of ‘estate’, bringing ryotwari lands and other lands within the scope in respect of which provisions are usually made in land reform enactments, Article 31(2)(a) was redrafted to give its existing form.

Under this Amendment, the State was prohibited to acquire any self-cultivated land inside the ceiling stated by the law until the compensation was provided i.e. not less than the market value.

Forty-four new State enactments covering wide fields such as the abolition of certain types of tenure, the ceiling on agricultural land holdings, fixation of rent, protection of tenants, etc., were included in the Ninth Schedule to immunize them from any legal action in the court of law for breach of any Fundamental Right.


  • In article 31A of the Constitution
  • In clause (1), the following proviso shall be inserted, "Provided further that where any law makes any provision for the acquisition by the State of any estate and where any land comprised therein is held by a person under his cultivation, it shall not be lawful for the State to acquire any portion of such land as is within the ceiling limit applicable to him under any law for the time being in force or any building or structure standing thereon or appurtenant thereto, unless the law relating to the acquisition of such land, building or structure, provides for payment of compensation at a rate which shall not be less than the market value thereof.", after the existing proviso.
  • In clause (2), sub-clause (a), `(a) the expression "estate" shall, in relation to any local area, have the same meaning as that expression or its local equivalent has in the existing law relating to land tenures in force in that area and shall also include-
  • any jagir, inam or muafi or other similar grant and in the States of Madras and Kerala, any janmam right;
  •  any land held under ryotwari settlement;
  • any land held or let for purposes of agriculture or purposes ancillary thereto, including waste land, forest land, land for pasture or sites of buildings and other structures occupied by cultivators of land, agricultural laborers and village artisans;', 

this sub-clause shall be substituted and shall be deemed always to have been substituted.

  • In Ninth Schedule after entry 20, the following entries were added: -

The Andhra Pradesh Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings Act, The Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Validation) Act, The Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Ijara and Kowli Land Cancellation of Irregular Pattas and Abolition of Concessional Assessment Act, The Assam State Acquisition of Lands Belonging to Religious or Charitable Institution of Public Nature Act, The Bihar Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, The Bihar Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling Area and Acquisition of Surplus Land) Act, The Bombay Taluqdari Tenure Abolition (Amendment) Act, The Bombay Taluqdari Tenure Abolition (Amendment) Act, The Bombay Inams (Kutch Area) Abolition Act, The Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Gujarat Amendment) Act, The Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act, The Sagbara and Mehwassi Estates (Proprietary Rights Abolition, etc.) Regulations, The Gujarat Surviving Alienations Abolition Act, The Maharashtra Agricultural Lands (Ceiling on Holdings) Act, The Hyderabad Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Re-enactment, Validation and Further Amendment) Act, The Hyderabad Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, The Jenmikaram Payment (Abolition) Act, The Kerala Land Tax Act, The Kerala Land Reforms Act, The Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, The Madhya Pradesh Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings Act, The Madras Cultivating Tenants Protection Act, The Madras Cultivating Tenants (Payment of Fair Rent) Act, The Madras Occupants of Kudiyiruppu (Protection from Eviction) Act, The Madras Public Trusts (Regulation of Administration of Agricultural Lands) Act, The Madras Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, The Mysore Tenancy Act, The Coorg Tenants Act, The Mysore Village Offices Abolition Act, The Hyderabad Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Validation) Act, The Mysore Land Reforms Act, The Orissa Land Reforms Act, The Orissa Merged Territories (Village Offices Abolition) Act, The Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, The Rajasthan Tenancy Act, The Rajasthan Zamindari and Biswedari Abolition Act, The Kumaun and Uttarakhand Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, The Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, The West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act, The West Bengal Land Reforms Act, The Delhi Land Reforms Act, The Delhi Land Holdings (Ceiling) Act, The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, and The Tripura Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act.


This Act hits various urban properties such as houses, factories, shops, etc., and the expression ‘estate’ after this Amendment Act virtually includes all kinds od landed property within its ambit. Article 31A now bars any challenge to the laws passed to acquire properties on the ground of transgression of Article 14, 19 and 31. Also, the payment of compensation is now obligatory and to the extent of current market value. This Amendment ostensibly appears as an improvement of the Fourth Amendment Act.