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Yadaorao Hanumantrao Deshmukh Vs. the Bombay Revenue Tribunal at Nagpur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. Nos. 50, 52, 58, 59, 80, 86, 90, 91, 92 and 108 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1959Bom109; (1959)61BOMLR213; ILR1959Bom613
ActsMadhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, 1955 - Sections 3, 6, 7, 41, 205, 205(1), 205(2), 205(3), 214 and 237; States Reorganisation Act, 1956 - Sections 122; Bombay Revenue Tribunal Act; Berar Patels and Patwaris Law, 1900; Government of India Act; Hyderabhad Assigned Districts Land Revenue Code, 1896 - Sections 178 - Rule 278
AppellantYadaorao Hanumantrao Deshmukh
RespondentThe Bombay Revenue Tribunal at Nagpur and ors.
Appellant AdvocateN.L. Abhyankar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.B. Ranade, Addl. Special Government Pleader
Excerpt:
.....as far as madhya pradesh is concerned a revenue case was not a case dealing with government or state revenue, but a revenue case was a case where an officer functioning under the land revenue code, and may be other laws with which we are not concerned, gave a certain decision after entertaining certain proceedings. this rule was continued first by the code of 1928 and ultimately by the code of 1955. we have also the berar revenue manual and there is at page 79 of that manual a circular which says :the proceedings of revenue officers under the land revenue code and other ailed acts as well as certain proceedings relating to general administration constitute revenue cases which are classified under the subject heads given in appendix i. that is perfectly correct because, as we have..........as far as madhya pradesh is concerned a revenue case was not a case dealing with government or state revenue, but a revenue case was a case where an officer functioning under the land revenue code, and may be other laws with which we are not concerned, gave a certain decision after entertaining certain proceedings. so that, what constituted a revenue case was the decision by a revenue officer functioning under the land revenue code. if that be the correct position then there can be no doubt that as far as madhya pradesh was concerned, a decision of the deputy commissioner terminating the services of the patels would constitute a revenue case. let us see where this sis the correct position. we first turn to the hyderabad assigned districts land revenue code of 1896. under section 178.....
Judgment:

M.C. Chagla, C.J.

1. A rather important question as to the jurisdiction of the Bombay Revenue Tribunal arises in this Full Bench, and the few facts, which have to be stated in order to understand what the contention is, are that certain Patels were appointed under the Berar Land Revenue Code. The relevant Act is the Berar Patels and Patwaris Law of 1900, and the Patels that used to be appointed under this Act were either Patels who had certain Watan rights or Patels who were appointed ad hoc. This was continued under the subsequent Madhya Pradesh Laws till we come to the Madhya Pradesh land Revenue Code (II of 1955) and that law abolished the system of the appointment of these Patels. When we turn to the Code, Section 214 provides:

'At the end of one year from the date appointed for the coming into force of this Code or on any earlier date which the State Government may, by notification, specify, the Berar Patels and Patwaris Law, 1900, shall stand repealed and any right or claim to continue or to be appointed as a Patel or Patwari under the said Law shall stand extinguished.'

This Code came into force on 1-10-1955 and therefore the Berar Law of 1900 stood repealed on 30-9-1956 and any right which a Patel had to continue as a Patel or to be appointed as a Patel was extinguished. Under Section 237, which is the section dealing with the rule making power, power is conferred upon the requisite authority to make rules under Sub-clause (xlix) for the appointment of Patels under Section 205(1) of the Code, and when we turn to that section we find that the Deputy Commissioner has been given the power to appoint for each village or groups of villages one or more Patels. Therefore, the position that emerges is that the mode of appointment of Patels and the rights which Patels had under the law of 1900 ceased to exist on 30-9-1956, and under the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, from 1-10-1956, the Deputy Commissioner was given the power to appoint Patels and the mode of appointment was to be regulated by the rules to be framed under Sub-clause (xlix) of Section 237.

2. In fact these rules were not framed, but it appears that certain memoranda were issued dealing with the appointment of Patels, and the first is of 25-6-1956, and this memorandum states that on the abolition of the Watan, Patels and Patwaris should be appointed in the resultant vacancies by the Deputy Commissioner under Section 205 of the Code and that the following decisions have been taken by the State Government in this connection -

(a) The Watan of Patels and Patwaris in Berar shall be abolished with effect from 30-9-1956.

(b) Appointment of Patels in Berar should be made by the Deputy Commissioner for one year.

Then the memorandum further states :

'Detailed rules are being framed. You are requested to take early action for appointment of temporary Patels for one year equal to the present strength so that the new Patels may take over charge of their duties with effect from 1-10-1956.'

Then the next memorandum is of 21-7-1956 and that is to the following effect :

'Government have decided that you should select persons fulfilling the conditions laid down below and submit a list to the State Government for approval before appointing them as Patels.'

Then comes the list of qualifications. The next relevant memorandum is of 29-9-1956. This is addressed to the Deputy Commissioner by the Revenue Secretary, and it says :

'The list of persons submitted by you for appointment of Patels is being considered by Government. It is possible that some time may be taken in finalising the list. The appointment of new Patels must be made with effect from 1-10-1956. Government have therefore decided that existing Patels should be appointed by you as Patels under Section 205 of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code.'

Pursuant to this the Deputy Commissioner on the next day addressed letters to the Sub-Divisional Officers to the effect that until orders are issued by the Government on the proposals and appointments of Patels are made, all the present Patels at present working are hereby appointed temporarily under the Madhya Pradesh land Revenue Code, Section 205. Pursuant to his, the Patels who were functioning on 30-9-1956 continued to function and their services were terminated when new appointments were made from the approved list submitted by the Officers to Government, and the grievance of these Patels was that they were appointed for one year and their services were terminated before the termination of that year. They wanted these grievances to be ventilated before the Bombay Revenue Tribunal. Their case was that the order of termination of their services was passed by the Deputy Commissioner and they had a right of appeal to the Bombay Revenue Tribunal. The Bombay Revenue Tribunal held that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal, and these Patels, on the various applications which we have before us, have come to us challenging the order of the Revenue Tribunal, and the question that arises for our determination is that when we have an order passed under the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code by a Deputy Commissioner terminating the services of a Patel, is that order appealable, and if it is appealable, is it appealable to the Bombay Revenue Tribunal?

3. Now, there would have been no difficulty at all but for the fact that the State was reorganized on 1-11-1956. Before that, under the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code it was clear, as we shall presently point out, that an appeal lay to the Board of Revenue. This Board of Revenue was set up under the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code under Section 3 and its jurisdiction was defined under Section 6, and Sub-section (1) of Section 6 provides :

'The Board shall exercise powers and discharge functions conferred upon it by or under this Code and the functions of the State Government specified in Schedule I and such other functions as have been conferred or may be conferred by or under any Central or Madhya Pradesh Act on the Chief Revenue Authority or the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority.'

Then Sub-section (2) provides :

'The State Government may, subject to such conditions as it may deem fit to impose by notification, confer upon, or entrust to the board or any member of the Board Additional Powers or functions assigned to the State Government by or under any enactment for the time being in force.'

We are not concerned with Sub-section (3). Then Section 7 confers administrative functions upon the Board :

'The Board shall, in respect of all matters subject to its appellate jurisdiction, have superintendence over all authorities in so far as such authorities deal with such matters and may call for returns.'

The expression used here is 'administrative functions' which may also be considered to be revisions functions, functions which a Revisional Court exercises of superintendence over Courts subordinate to it. Section 27 constitutes the Board, while exercising its powers and functions,a s a Revenue Court, and Section 41 deals with appeal, revision and review from an order, and clause (e) of Sub-section (1) provides :

'(e) if such order is passed by a Deputy Commissioner, whether exercising the powers of Deputy Commissioner or Settlement Officer during the currency of the term of settlement -- to the Board.'

Therefore, there can be no doubt that this order of the Deputy Commissioner under the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code was appealable and the appeal lay to the Board of Revenue. Therefore, if the reorganization had not come about and Madhya Pradesh had continued as it was, these Patels would have had the right to go in appeal to the Board of Revenue.

4. The question is, what is the proper authority to whom the Patels could go if they were aggrieved by an order which had been made by the Deputy Commissioner? As already pointed out, the order terminating the services came into effect after the reorganization had taken place. Their services were terminated under the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code and under the orders passed by an Officer acting under the provisions of the Land Revenue Code. The scheme of the States Reorganization Act is to set up authorities corresponding to the authorities which existed under the law of that part of the State which joined the Bombay State. Therefore, if there was an authority under the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code which functioned in Nagpur, and Nagpur having merged with the Bombay State, some corresponding authority had to be set up under the State Reorganization Act which should function in its place, and when we turn to the States Reorganization Act, that position is made clear by Section 122 provides :

'The Central Government, as respect any Part C State, and the State Government as respect any new State or any transferred territory may by notification in the Official Gazette, specify the authority, officer or person who, as from the appointed day, shall be competent to exercise such functions exercisable under any law in force on that day as may be mentioned in that notification and such law shall have effect accordingly.'

This the State Government did by a notification which really calls for interpretation at our hands. The notification states :

'In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 122 of the States Reorganization Act, read with the provisions of laws referred to in columns 1 and 2 of the Schedule hereto annexed, and all other powers enabling it in this behalf, the Government of Bombay hereby specifies in column 6 of the Schedule the authority, officer or person as the corresponding authority, officer or person who or which in relation to the law mentioned in column 1 of the Schedule, shall be competent to exercise functions specified in column 5 of the Schedule exercisable under that law by the authority, officer or person mentioned in column 3 of the Schedule.'

When we turn to the Schedule, the relevant entry is that the law is the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, the provision is Section 3, the existing authority is the Board of Revenue, the functions are appellate and revisional powers in Revenue cases, and the corresponding authority is the Bombay Revenue Tribunal, and for all other functions the corresponding authority is the State Government.

5. Now the very narrow question that arises for our decision is: Is this a Revenue Case? If it is a Revenue case, then the appellate powers were exercised by the Board of Revenue and the corresponding authority which should now exercise those powers is the Bombay Revenue Tribunal. A Full Bench of the Bombay Revenue Tribunal in Abdul Latiff v. Mahadeo Dadaji, 1957 Nag LJ 161 , has taken the view that this particular case is not a Revenue case and therefore this is not a case in which the Board of Revenue could have exercised appellate authority, and the case would fall under the other functions of the Board of Revenue if at all, and therefore the appeal should go to the State Government. As we understand the judgment, it really comes to this that under the law which applied to Madhya Pradesh before reorganization, if the Patel had been dismissed or his services terminated by the Deputy Commissioner and he was aggrieved by that order, he could have appealed to the Board of Revenue. But in view of the notification issued by the Government of Bombay the Bombay Revenue Tribunal cannot hear his appeal. The question is : What meaning and what connotation must be given to the expression 'Revenue Case'? If we interpret the expression 'Revenue Case' in its strict etymological sense, then undoubtedly a Revenue Case would mean a case dealing with revenue which the State derives. It may also be true that if we were to interpret this expression in the sense in which, it was used in the Government of India Act, then also it would mean a case which dealt with the revenues of the State, and it may even be that if we were to interpret it according to the Bombay law, then a Revenue Case would be only that case which dealt with revenue. but, in our opinion, it is entirely fallacious to construe this expression from the point of view either of its ordinary dictionary meaning or from the point of view of its being understood in a particular way either by the Government of India Act or by the Bombay law. The fundamental position which has got to be accepted and appreciated is that this notification was setting up an authority to correspond to an authority which already existed under the law which applied to Nagpur, and what we have to consider is what were the functions of that authority which having ceased to exist another authority was created to take its place? Therefore, the proper approach is to consider in what sense was the expression 'Revenue Case' understood in Madhya Pradesh, and whether this particular decision of the Deputy Commissioner would have been appealable to the Board of Revenue, because, as we have pointed out, the object of the States Reorganization Act was not to create a vacuum, not to allow a state of affairs where persons would be deprived of their rights or would be deprived of the proper forum before which they could assert their rights, and applying that principle to the present case, the object of the State Reorganization Act was to provide to these Patels a Tribunal corresponding to the Board of Revenue before which they could go and ventilate their grievances. If that position is appreciated, then it is not difficult to come to a decision as to whether the Bombay Revenue Tribunal was right or wrong in refusing to assume jurisdiction in this case.

6. Mr. Abhyankar has taken us through various Madhya Pradesh Legislations which clearly establish that as far as Madhya Pradesh is concerned a Revenue Case was not a case dealing with Government or State revenue, but a Revenue Case was a case where an officer functioning under the Land Revenue Code, and may be other laws with which we are not concerned, gave a certain decision after entertaining certain proceedings. So that, what constituted a Revenue Case was the decision by a Revenue Officer functioning under the Land Revenue Code. If that be the correct position then there can be no doubt that as far as Madhya Pradesh was concerned, a decision of the Deputy Commissioner terminating the services of the Patels would constitute a Revenue Case. Let us see where this sis the correct position. We first turn to the Hyderabad Assigned Districts Land Revenue Code of 1896. Under Section 178 of that Code Rule 278 was enacted and that rule provides '

'It should be borne in mind that only those case which are taken cognizance of by Revenue Officers as such should be considered Revenue business.....'

And Rule 283 provides :

'A paper which constituted the commencement of a 'Revenue Case' should invariably be registered and given the number of the heading under which it falls and the date on which it was registered before any action is taken on it.'

This rule is consequential upon Rule 278. So as far back as 1896 all matters which were taken cognizance of by Revenue Officers were considered as constituting Revenue business and any proceedings arising ut of it as Revenue Cases. This rule was continued first by the Code of 1928 and ultimately by the Code of 1955. We have also the Berar Revenue Manual and there is at page 79 of that Manual a circular which says :

'The proceedings of Revenue Officers under the Land Revenue Code and other ailed Acts as well as certain proceedings relating to general administration constitute Revenue Cases which are classified under the subject heads given in Appendix I.'

Therefore, as far as this position is concerned, there is no doubt that under the Madhya Pradesh law this particular action on the part of the Deputy Commissioner would be a Revenue Case. Nor is there any doubt that an appeal would have lain from his decision to the Board of Revenue.

7. Now, the view taken by the Bombay Revenue Tribunal is that under the Revenue Tribunal Act under which it is constituted, it would have no jurisdiction to hear this case. That is perfectly correct because, as we have pointed ut, the expression 'Revenue' is understood in a different sense in Bombay, and we will concede that if this case had arisen in Bombay, the Revenue Tribunal would have no jurisdiction. But with great respect, the error into which the Revenue Tribunal has fallen is this. It is not considering and it should not consider the jurisdiction it is exercising under the Bombay Revenue Tribunal Act. What has to be considered is the jurisdiction it is exercising under the Madhya Pradesh land Revenue Code. It is that jurisdiction that is conferred upon ti by the States Reorganization Act and by the relevant notification to which we have drawn attention. If we may so put it, it is an additional jurisdiction conferred upon the Bombay Revenue Tribunal and the extend and ambit of that jurisdiction must be judged by the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code and not by the provisions of the Bombay Revenue Tribunal Act. Therefore, in our opinion, the Revenue Tribunal was in error in refusing to assume jurisdiction int he case of these appeals preferred by different Patels whose services were terminated under the circumstances we have indicated and whose appeals under the Madhya Pradesh Law would have lain to the Board of Revenue.

8. We will, therefore, quash the order passed by the Bombay Revenue Tribunal and direct it to deal with the appeals preferred by the Patels according to law. Petitioners to get the costs.

9. Order quashed.


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