1. The petitioner public trust filed this petition, challenging the order of M.R.T.dt .31-8-1978 passed in Ceiling Appeal No.A1c. A-108 of 1978arising out of order dated 31-7-1976 passed by the Sub Divisional Officer, Umrer, (having powers of Collector) in Ceiling Case No.75/60-A(5)of 1964-65 of Thana.
2. On return filed by the petitioner under S.12 of the Maharashtra Agricultural Land (Ceiling on Holdings) Act,1961, the Special Deputy Collector (Land Revenue) Nagpur after inquiry, held that the petitioner held 479.43acres of surplus land vide order dated 31-31971.This order was challenged in appeal before the Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal and the Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal dismissed the appeal on 13-3-1972. The petitioner then preferred Special Civil Application No.602of 1972,challenging these orders before this Court and this Court vide its order dated17-1-1975, set aside both these orders and remitted the matter back to Special Deputy Collector for affording opportunity to the petitioner to satisfy him with regard to the provisions of S.47(1)(d). The petitioner was directed to appear before the Special Deputy Collector on 3-2-1975 and to tender evidence within one month there after and if no evidence is tendered within this period, it was not make clear (sic) that it will be deemed that it has no further evidence and the matter will be decided on the basis of record available to the Special Deputy Collector.
3. As per aforesaid directions after remand the petitioner was given an opportunity to adduce the evidence and file documents. The petitioner filed accounts for 1955-56 to 1973-79 alleged to be audited by Chartered Accountant for all three units Thana in Umrer, Indora in Nagpur and Mansar in Ramtek, true copy of registration certificate, true copy of receipt dated 18-3-1976 and true copies of 5 notices of demand of contribution of Trust Fund. The petitioner examined its Secretary, Chartered Account, and one old retired School Teacher of Thana. The petitioner trust is registered on 5-7-1965. The petitioner paid contribution to Public Trusts Administration as required by S. 58 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act. 1950 for the years ending on 30-6-1961 to 30-6-1965. On 18-3-1976 in pursuance of demand notices dated 27-2-1976. It was held that the petitioner was not a public trust on 4-8-1959 or 26-1-1962 when Maharashtra Agricultural Lands (Ceiling on Holdings) Act, 1961 came into force, as the petitioner failed to prove that it applied for registration within the specified time as required under S. 4(1) of the M.P. Public Trust Act, 1950, which are mandatory provisions and in this view Special Deputy Collector held that the lands held by it are not exempted from the provisions of the Ceiling. It was a corporation only till 5-7-1965 and became a Trust thereafter. As regards the other conditions regarding expending major portion of income from lands on education or medical relief, the petitioner submitted accounts from 56 to 61 in respect of Thana unit alone and submitted that lands in other units were fallow during this period which is the relevant period before 26-1-1962 as the accounts thereafter are of no consequence. Lands in Thana unit were shown to be running in losses except in 1961and it is observed that in 1961 also major portion of income was not spent on education and medical relief. Hence the Special Deputy Collector held that major portions of agricultural income was not spent for education or medical relief and hence he held that the lands of the petitioner cannot be exempted from the Ceiling Act, 1961 and the case of the petitioner does not fall under latter part of S. 47(1)(d) of the Act. after excluding the area in possession of tenants, the Special Deputy Collector held that the petitioner held total lands 493.32 acres. Deducting 126 acres which the petitioner was entitled to retain, he held that the petitioner is a surplus holder or 353.43 acres of land as surplus vide his order dated 31-7-1976.
4. The petitioner preferred an appeal against the aforesaid order before the Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal, Nagpur. The learned counsel for the petitioner on 27-7-1978, filed an application for admission of documents i.e. inquiry report of the Assistant Charity Commissioner relating to the registration of the petitioner as Public Trust. The production was allowed by the M.R.T., as it is a public document. The same was filed on 16-8-1978. The learned counsel then filed an application to remand the case for adducing additional evidence. He stated that the Chartered Accountant Shetty &Company; of Bombay pointed out that the accounts of agricultural Unit of Thana, Mansar and Umrer contain erroneous entries and numerous entries are missing. He submitted that the petitioner is a public trust and its major income is utilised for charitable and religious purposes. He contended that the controversy whether the petitioner is a public trust or not is not open for challenge after remand by the High Court. The M.R.T. negatived the contentions of the petitioner, concurred in the findings of the Special Deputy Collector and dismissed the appeal on 31-8-1978. This order is now challenged in this writ petition.
5. That the learned counsel for the petitioner urged that the High Court while remanding the case held that the petitioner is a public trust and the issue whether the petitioner is a public trust either on 4-8-1959 or 26-1-1962 is not open for decision by the two Revenue authorities below. He pointed out my attention to the opening lines of the judgment of this Court. 'The petitioner is a public trust. It is not in dispute that it is registered under the provisions of Bombay Public Trusts Act'. it is an admitted fact that the petitioner was registered as a Public Trust on 5-7-1965. The case was remanded to the Special Deputy Collector for affording opportunity to the petitioners to satisfy the Collector with regard to the provisions of Sec. 47(1)(d) which recites as under:--
47(1). The following lands shall be exempted from the provisions of this Act, that is to say-
(d) Land held by a public trust, the major portion of the income of such land being appropriated for the purpose of education or medical relief, or where the major portion of the income is not so appropriated, but an undertaking in the prescribed form is given, within six months of the appointed day to the Collector that major portion of the income of such land will within a period of two years from the appointed day, be appropriated to those purposes.'
In view of the aforesaid provision and the specific order of remand, it is not possible to accept the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner. the special Deputy Collector was to enquire (1) whether the petitioner is a public trust on the relevant date, i.e. 4-8-1959 or 26-1-1962 and (2) in the event the petitioner is held to be a public trust on the appointed date whether major portion of the income of lands of the Trust was appropriated for the purpose of education or medical relief. (3) if not, whether the undertaking in the prescribed form is given within six months of the appointed date to the Collector that major portion of the income of the lands will within a period of two years from the appointed date be appropriated to those purposes.
6. It cannot be disputed that the petitioner continued to be a corporation till 5-7-1965 and it became a public trust from this date when it was registered as such vide certificate of registration filed by the petitioner on record. Shri Pendse, contended that the petitioner was a public trust held to be a public trust since the date of its inception, and hence date of registration is of no consequence. The argument cannot be accepted as the status of the petitioner continued to be corporation only for all purposes till 5-7-1965. Payment of contribution to Public Trust Administration as required under Sec. 58 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950, for the period ending on 30-6-1961 to 30-6-1965 on 18-3-1976 in pursuance of demand notices will not assist him. The petitioner was not a public trust on 4-8-1959 or 26-1-1962, the appointed date under the Ceiling Act of 1961. Consequently the petitioner is disentitled to benefit of the exemption from the provisions of the Ceiling Act of 1961 as held by both the Tribunals below and I uphold the said finding.
7. The next contention of the petitioner's counsel that the major portion of the income from the lands of the petitioner is utilised for the purpose of education and medical relief, assuming but not admitting that the petitioner is a public trust, unregistered on the appointed dates, i.e. 4-8-1959 or 26-1-1962, is also not substantiated by the evidence on record. It may be noted that despite opportunity given, the petitioner did not file documents or lead necessary evidence on this issue, within the time specified by this /court in its remand order. Accounts for Thana units only were filed for relevant period, i.e. 1956 to 1961 alone. The Secretary of the petitioner, Father Mathew in his deposition stated that during this period lands of other units were fallow. Lands in Umrer Taluka (Thana unit) were running in loss except for 1961. Perusal of these accounts reveals that major portion of the income was not at all utilised for education or medical relief. The accounts produced are not in fact the audited account as alleged by the petitioner as I have verified from the originals produced before me that there is no account as regards the expenses on education and medical relief in the original accounts produced in this Court as per my directions and the amount in account sheets filed in Court as expenses on education is admittedly stated to be shown by estimate. No regular accounts are also kept as cash book and ledger. Account monthwise only is shown. There is no Rokad maintained to show the income and expenditure daily and accounts are not written according to any system of accounting and the cash balance is not struck daily. At the time of hearing I granted opportunity to the petitioner to file balance sheets and he has filed them for the period from March ending 1956 to 31st March, 1962. The original produced before me does not prove the relevant entries about expenses as the amount debited under the head provision for boys, do not find place in original books produced on record and Shri Pendse, admits that they have been shown by estimate. What I have observed above in respect of the extracts filed before Special Dy. Collector also apply to the extracts filed in this court alleged to be audited balance sheet. Even most of the entries in the original account books do not seem to be audited by the auditor, who has prepared this balance sheet. I am, therefore, satisfied that the extracts filed in this court as also before the Special Deputy Collector are not worthy of reliance, and deserves to be rejected. The petitioner failed to prove that major portion of the income of the petitioner is utilised for education or medical relief. The pursis filed by the petitioner's counsel, mentions these extracts as audited balance sheets. Shri Pendse, the learned counsel for the petitioner fairly conceded that they are not audited balance sheets.
8. The next contention is, therefore, whether in view of the fact aforesaid the petitioner has given an undertaking in the presented form, within 6 months of the appointed day to the Collector that major portion of the income of such land within a period or 2 years from the appointed day will be appropriated to those purposes. Obviously the petitioner has not given such undertaking. I am told that the application under Sec. 47(d) was made to the Collector at page 89 praying for grant of exemption certificate but this application will not also come to the rescue of the petitioner. Such an application has to be filed within 6 months of the appointed day, i.e. 4-8-1955 or 26-1-1962 and undertaking has to be given that major portion of the income from the lands will be utilised towards education or medical relief within a period of two years. The aforesaid application was made on 9-6-1966 long after those dates contemplated under Section 47(d) expired.
9. In view of my observations above, the petitioner has miserably failed to satisfy the authorities below with regard to the provisions of S. 47(1)(d) despite enough opportunities given to it. The orders of both the tribunals below are perfectly just and legal and calls for no interference. In the result, the petition fails. It is dismissed. However, there will be no order as to costs.
10. Petition dismissed.