1. The only question that arises in this writ petition is as to whetherthe proceedings under Section 46 (1) read with Section 48 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Vidarbha Region) Act, (hereinafter referred to as the Tenancy Act), should proceed further even after the landlord produces a certificate under Section 129 (b) of the Tenancy Act.
2. The controversy arises in the following manner: Survey Nos. 37/2 and 40/2 situated at Naosari are owned by the petitioner trust namely, Vithal Rukhmini Sansthan, Amravati. It appears that respondent No. 1 has been in possession of survey No. 40/2 as a tenant, while respondent No. 2 was previously occupying survey No. 37/2 as a tenant. This latter survey No. 37/2 is said to have been compulsorily acquired by the Government. The Agricultural Lands Tribunal started a sue motu enquiry No. 219/59(13)/65-66 under Section 46 read with Section 48 of the Tenancy Act with a view to decide as to whether the respondents were entitled' to have transfer of ownership of these lands in their favour. The landlord-trust filed a written statement contending therein that the provisions of compulsory purchase under Section 46 are not applicable as a certificate under Section 129 (b) has been issued in favour of the trust by the Collector. That section reads as follows :--
'Nothing in the foregoing provisions except Section 2. the provisions of Chapter II (excluding Sections 21, 22, 23, 24 and 37) and Section 91 and the provisions of Chapts. X and XII in so far as the provision; of the said chapters are applicable to any of the matters referred to in sections mentioned above, shall apply-
(a) ... ..
(b) to lands which are the property of a trust for an educational purpose, hospital, Panjarpole, Gaushala, or an institution for public religious worship, provided the entire income of such lands is appropriated for the purposes of such trust; and
(c) ... .. etc.
Explanation.-- For the purpose of Clause (b) a certificate granted by the Collector after holding an enquiry, that the conditions mentioned in the said clause are satisfied by a trust shall be conclusive evidence in that behalf.'
3. The Agricultural Lands Tribunal did not allow the objection based on the certificate under Section 129 (b). The Tribunal has observed as follows in its order dated 8-1-1971:--
'The point of exemption certificate under Section 129 (b) will have to be examinedand to see whether such certificate can be exclusive proof for exemption from the provisions of Section 46(1) read with Section 48 of the B. T. Act. The Court is empowered to go into the details or proper appropriation of income and expenditure of the tenant under the very provisions of the Section 1-29.'
The Tribunal, therefore, directed that the proceedings should be continued further. The Trust filed Appeal No. 62/59 (13)/70-71 against this order. The Special Deputy Collector on 28-9-1971 dismissed the appeal on the ground that no appeal on an interlocutory order is provided for. This view has been confirmed by the Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal in Revision No. Ten.A.861/71. These orders of the Tenancy authorities are being challenged before me.
4. Mr. Ingle for the petitioner submitted that the explanation under Section 129 makes it abundantly clear that a certificate issued by a Collector will be conclusive evidence in proof of the existence of the conditions contemplated by Sub-clause (b). As against that it was urged by Mr. Patil that the said certificate would be admissible in evidence but it would not be conclusive. According to him the respondent-tenant would be at liberty to show that the income of the trust has not been appropriated as contemplated by Sub-clause (b). He also urged that the tenant can also prove by independent evidence that the petitioner-trust is not of a type that is enumerated in that clause. It is with this reasoning that Mr. Patil tried to support the impugned orders.
5. It will be very difficult to hold that in spite of the certificate under Section 129 (b) the authorities under the Tenancy Act can continue an enquiry under Section 46 of the Act. I have already reproduced the relevant part of Section 129. More particularly the explanation to that section makes it clear that the certificate shall be conclusive evidence. The effect of such clause has been considered by the Supreme Court in the case of Somawanti v. State of Punjab : 2SCR774 . The Supreme Court was considering the two clauses 'conclusive evidence' and 'conclusive proof'. The relevant head note of the said case reads as follows:--
'Since evidence means and includes all statements which the Court permits or requires to be made, when the law says that a particular kind of evidence would be conclusive as to the existence of aparticular fact it implies that that fact can be proved either by that evidence or by some other evidence which the Court permits or requires to be advanced. Where such other evidence is adduced it would be open to the Court to consider whether, upon that evidence, the fact exists or not. Where, on the other hand evidence which is made conclusive is adduced, the Court has no option but to hold that the fact exists. Statutes may use the expression 'conclusive proof where the object is to make a fact non-justiciable. But the legislature may use some other expression such as 'conclusive evidence for achieving the same result. There is thus no difference between the effect of the expression 'conclusive evidence' from that of 'conclusive proof, the aim of both being to give finality to the establishment of the existence of a fact from the proof of another.'
6. In view of the abovementioned principle enunciated by the Supreme Court, it will not be open for the respondent or the tenancy authorities to neglect the certificate issued under explanation to Section 129 and to embark upon the enquiry as to whether the conditions contemplated by Section 129 (b) exist or not. The result is that the proceedings under Section 46 have to be dropped as soon as a certificate under Section 129 (b) is produced.
7. The rule is, therefore, made absolute. The orders passed by the Agricultural Lands Tribunal in Revenue Case No. 219/59(13)765-66, Special Deputy Collector in Revenue Appeal No. 62/5903)/ 70-71 and the Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal in Revision No. Ten-A-861/71 are quashed and suo motu proceedings now pending in Revenue Case No. 219/59(13)/ 65-66 are ordered to be dropped and terminated. To be more specific, no enquiry should be continued further. No order as to costs.
8. Rule made absolute.