(Prayer:Petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a writ of Certiorari calling for the records relating to the impugned order of the respondent vide Proceedings Ref.K1/17100/2008, dated 10.02.2009, quash the same.)
1. Challenging the impugned order of the respondent, dated 10.02.2009, the present writ petition has been filed.
2. The case of the Petitioner is that an extent of 0.95.0 hectares of Punja land in Survey No.51/2 in Poovanthi Village, Manamadurai Taluk, Sivagangai District originally belonged to the Sivagangai Zamindar Mr.Shanmugaraja and the land was registered as Sivagangai Raja Chatram in settlement A Register. By virtue of an oral assignment by the Sivagangai Zamindar,. the Petitioner grandfather became the owner of the said property and the ownership and title is never disputed by the members belong to the Zamindar family till Petitioner s grandfather s time. However the Petitioner s grandfather had not applied for patta before the Settlement Authorities after the entire village was notified and taken over by the Government under the provisions of Tamilnadu Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 in Act XXVI of 1948 i.e. Act XXVI of 1948. However his enjoyment was never disturbed by anyone at any point of time. The Petitioner's grandfather died in the year 1969 and thereafter, the Petitioner s father was in continuous possession and enjoyment of the property. Even though the Government of Tamilnadu issued orders vide G.O.Ms.No.1300 (Revenue Department), dated 30.04.1971 and G.O.Ms.No.1312 (Revenue Department), dated 26.07.1987 empowering the Revenue Authorities to grant patta outside the scope of Abolition Act, the petitioner's father failed to pursue for getting patta in his name. However, his possession and enjoyment continued without any interruption.
3. The petitioner further states that the Sivagangai Zamindar appeared to have executed a sale deed in favour of one Solaimalai Konar by a document, dated 19.07.1948. The said Solaimalaikonar wife executed a sale deed in the name of Petitioner s grandfather, namely, Rajamani @ Pandiyan Ambalam on 18.01.1963. Therefore, the Petitioner family was in enjoyment of the lands in Survey No.51/2 for more than half a century without any interruption either by the Revenue Officials or by any other private individuals.
4. The Petitioner further states that the then President of Poovanthi Panchayat one Mr. M.Ganesan, who is none other than the Petitioner s cousin requested his father to give a portion of land to the local body to put up a construction and the Petitioner s father gave permission for the construction in the corner portion of the land. Similarly they also requested for permission to put up an Office for the Village Administrative Officer but the Petitioner s father rejected their request and they constructed the Village Administrative Office in the Highways land. Since their enjoyment in respect of the lands for more than 50 years was not disturbed there was no confrontation or conflict of interest so far.
5. The Petitioner further submits that the ex-president of poovanthi village panchayat and other interested persons wanted to grab the property in their enjoyment. At their instance the classification of the land was also brought as Government Poromboke without following any procedure and without giving any opportunity to the members of the Petitioner s family, who are in enjoyment for several decades. Taking advantage of the wrong entries in the revenue records, the ex-president of the local body and few others made attempts to initiate proceedings against the Petitioner s family for evicting them from the land. Under the said circumstances, the Petitioner s brother one Mr. V.Rajamani filed a suit in O.S.No.120 of 2002, on the file of District Munsif Court, Manamadurai, against the District Collector seeking permanent injunction restraining him and the revenue authorities so that their peaceful enjoyment of the property may not be disturbed. Though the suit was dismissed by the District Munsif Court, in appeal in A.S.No.74 of 2005 on the file of Sub-Court, Sivagangai, the suit was decreed after reversing the judgment and decree of the Trial Court. The Appellate Court rejected the contentions of the Government that the property is a Government Poromboke. Against which, the District Collector filed a Second Appeal before this Court in S.A(MD)No.84 of 2009.
6. The Petitioner further comeforward by saying that the previous history of the land holding and the wrong classification of land in the revenue records, made the petitioner to approach the revenue officials claiming patta in their name. The District Revenue Officer refused to grant patta on the ground that in respect of the land, which has been classified as Poromboke, no patta can be given in the name of individuals. However, in the same order the District Revenue Officer mentioned that the Special Commissioner and the Commissioner of Land Administration is competent to re-classify the land according to its real nature and enjoyment. Hence, the petitioner filed a Revision Petition before the respondent and requested him to set aside the order of the District Revenue Officer, dated 02.05.2008 and pass order to restore the original classification as per pre-settlement classification as Sivagangai Raja Chatram and grant patta in his favour. The Respondent dismissed the Revision Petition by Proceedings Ref. K1/17100/2008 dated 10.02.2009 and against which, the Petitioner filed the present Writ Petition.
7. The Writ Petition was came up for admission on 26.03.2009 this Court ordered notice of motion. Thereafter the case was listed on 13.12.2013 and this court Admitted the Writ Petition and directed the respondent to file Counter. Subsequently, the case was listed on several occasions, but the respondent has not chosen to file any counter fffidavit.
8. Heard Mr. M. Saravanakumar, learned Counsel of the Petitioner as well as Mr. K.Guru, Learned Additional Government Pleader appearing the respondent and perused all the relevant records produced by both parties.
9. The case of the Writ Petitioner is that in Poovanthi Village, Manamadurai Taluk, Sivaganga District, where the property is situated, was originally under the control of Palayampatti Zamin. The properties was in exclusive possession and enjoyment of Petitioner s Grandfather one Mr. Rajamani. The Petitioner s further case is that a chathiram was established in the Eastern portion of the properties with the help of Palayampatti Zamin. It was also pleaded by the Petitioner that a well was dug by his grandfather and cultivation was done through the well in remaining portion. The chathiram which was existence in the suit property was called as Sivagangai Chathiram. It was the case of Petitioner that the title and possession of the Petitioner s grandfather was never objected by anyone including the Zamin and that the petitioner s grandfather did not pursue to get his name included in the Revenue records. However the suit properties have been classified as Government Poramboke wrongly long after the settlement without any notice to the Petitioner or his predecessors in interest. Even though the Petitioner applied before the Assistant settlement officer, objecting the mutation in revenue records. However, due to personal enmity because of the recent Panchayat Election in which Petitioner s brother was a contestant, the elected Panchayat President made attempts to disturb the Petitioner s peaceful possession and enjoyment of the properties, particularly by instigating the subordinates of the District Collector. Therefore the Petitioner s brother filed a suit before the Principal District Munsif Court, Manamadurai with the prayer for permanent injunction in O.S.No.150 of 2002, which was dismissed. Aggrieved over the same, the Petitioner's brother preferred an appeal before the Sub-Court, Sivaganga in A.S.No. 74 of 2005. The lower appellate court, after considering the oral and documentary evidence, came to the conclusion that the suit properties are in the lawful possession and enjoyment of the members of the Petitioner. The Appellate Court also rendered a specific findings that the suit properties are not Government poromboke lands as contented by the District Collector. Against which, the District Collector filed a Second Appeal before this Court in S.A.No.84 of 2009 and the same also dismissed on 29.04.2009.
10. The Learned Government Advocate advanced his argument that the order passed by the respondent is in accordance with law and after following the procedure, he has passed the order and there is no such violation as alleged by the Writ Petitioner. Further, he argued that the said Solaimalaikonar's name was entered in the SLR the said person would have claimed the land to the field level staff during inspection, on the basis of the sale deed No.1037/1948. Thereafter, the claims would have been rejected by the competent settlement authority and therefore, the name was ringed off in the SLR and in the remarks column the word Chatthiram was entered and therefore, the said sale deed was also impeached by the settlement authority. Therefore there is no such violation in passing the impugned order.
11. So far as the present case is concerned the Sub-Court, Sivaganga categorically rendered a specific findings that the suit properties are not Government poromboke lands as contented by the District Collector. Against which, the District Collector filed a Second Appeal before this Court in S.A.No.84 of 2009 and the same was also dismissed on 29.04.2009. Therefore, it is the bounden duty of the official Respondents to carry out the mutations as per orders of the Civil Court. Contrarily, the respondent rejected the claim of the Petitioner through impugned order dated 10.02.2009, on the ground that the Second Appeal is pending. But this Court dismissed the Second Appeal filed by the District Collector in S.A.No.84 of 2009 on 29.04.2009 itself. The respondent miserably failed to understand the actual claim of the petitioner as full owner of the land in continuation of his grandfather s right title and enjoyment as a full owner and the long enjoyment of the lands by the petitioner and his predecessors in interest for more than 50 years based on the sale deed, dated 18.01.1963. Further, the Government has passed various orders indicating that the person upon proving the possession and enjoyment and having pre-existing right is entitled to get patta outside the scope of Act XXVI of 1948 i.e. Tamilnadu Estate (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948. The observation of the respondent that the petitioner has no right to seek patta after 50 years of settlement and that the settlement has attained finality as per Section 64 C of the Act namely Act XXVI of 1948 are erroneous and unsustainable in law. Further the respondent failed to look into the judgment made in A.S.74 of 2005, dated 06.03.2008, rendered by the Sub-Court, Sivagangai and the same was confirmed by this Court in Judgment and decree, dated 29.04.2009 made in S.A.No.84 of 2009. The above Judgments are binding on the respondent and that the jurisdiction of Civil Court and the findings cannot be brushed aside or ignored merely because an appeal is pending. It is basic principles of law that judgment and decree of the Civil Court is valid and binding till it is set-aside in appeal.
12. Therefore, in view of forgoing discussions in my considered view that, when this court clearly upheld the Judgment and Decree of the Sub-Court, Sivaganga and categorically rendered a specific findings that the suit properties are not Government poromboke lands as contented by the District Collector as against which the District Collector filed a Second Appeal before this Court in S.A.No.84 of 2009 and the same also dismissed on 29.04.2009. Therefore it is the bounden duty of the official Respondents to carry out the mutations as per orders of the Civil Court.
13. Accordingly, I am passing the following orders:-
(a) the Writ Petition is allowed and the impugned order passed by the respondent vide Proceeding Ref. K1/17100/2008, dated 10.02.2009, is set aside.
(b) the respondent is hereby directed to carryout mutations as per the orders of the civil Court.
(b) the exercise shall be done within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
No Costs. Consequently connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed.