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Bhawandas Motiram Marwari Vs. the Bombay Revenue Tribunal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Application No. 400 of 1958
Judge
Reported in(1959)61BOMLR1406
AppellantBhawandas Motiram Marwari
RespondentThe Bombay Revenue Tribunal
Excerpt:
.....of india, article 226-bombay revenue tribunal whether an 'authority' within section 8 whether word 'authority' in article 226 of constitution includes a purely judicial tribunal.;the bombay revenue tribunal does not fall within the term 'authority' used in section 8 of the bombay commissioners of divisions act, 1957.;the word 'authority' in article 226 of the constitution of india does not include a purely judicial tribunal. a quasi-judicial body or tribunal (that is, an administrative or executive body or tribunal entrusted with judicial functions) will fall within the ambit of the word 'authority'. but where the sole function of a tribunal is to administer justice judicially, it cannot fall within the expression 'authority.' - - in our opinion, therefore, that term, as used in..........not specifically mentioned in this section, but in vishweshar rao's case it has been held that the word 'authority' occurring in this section includes a revenue tribunal, it was contended before the tribunal that the word 'authority' should be construed ejusdem generis. negativing this argument the revenue tribunal pointed out that before applying the rule of ejusdem generis it must be shown that the authorities enumerated in the section belong to the same genus. it was further argued before the tribunal that in section 8 the expressions 'state government', 'divisional officer' and 'director of local authorities' are used in the descending order and, therefore, the words 'any other officer or authority' must be construed to indicate officers or authorities subordinate to those mentioned.....
Judgment:

Mudholkar, J.

1. This is a petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution for quashing the order of the Bombay Revenue Tribunal at Nagpur, transferring an appeal preferred by the petitioner and pending before it to the Commissioner, Nagpur, for disposal. According to the Tribunal, by virtue of Section 8 of the Bombay Commissioners of Divisions Act (Act VIII of 1958) an appeal of this kind has to be transferred to the Commissioner for disposal. The appeal in question arose out of an order made by the Sub-Divisional Officer upon an application made by respondent No. 4 under Section 19 of the Berar Regulation of Agricultural Leases Act, 1951.

2. In coming to the conclusion that the appeal has to be transferred to the Commissioner, the Revenue Tribunal has relied upon a decision of the Full Bench of the Tribunal in Vishweshar Rao v. State of Bombay [1958] N.L.J. 505. Section 8 of the Bombay Commissioners of Divisions Act runs thus:-

All proceedings including proceedings by way of appeals, revision or review pending under any existing law before the State Government or a Divisional Officer or Director of Local Authorities or any other officer or authority immediately before the commencement of this Act shall, where disposal of the proceedings falls within the purview of the powers and duties of the Commissioner, be transferred to the Commissioner for disposal according to law.

3. Now, the Revenue Tribunal is not specifically mentioned in this section, but in Vishweshar Rao's case it has been held that the word 'authority' occurring in this section includes a Revenue Tribunal, It was contended before the Tribunal that the word 'authority' should be construed ejusdem generis. Negativing this argument the Revenue Tribunal pointed out that before applying the rule of ejusdem generis it must be shown that the authorities enumerated in the section belong to the same genus. It was further argued before the Tribunal that in Section 8 the expressions 'State Government', 'Divisional Officer' and 'Director of Local Authorities' are used in the descending order and, therefore, the words 'any other officer or authority' must be construed to indicate officers or authorities subordinate to those mentioned already. This argument was also repelled by the Tribunal upon the view that there is nothing to show that the status of the Director of Local Authorities was inferior to that of the Divisional Officer.

4. In our opinion, however, the word 'authority' cannot, at any rate in the particular context, be deemed to include a tribunal which is entrusted with the exercise of purely judicial powers. The word 'authority' literally means a body exercising executive, administrative or legislative power and is usually used by the Legislature to indicate subordinate agencies i.e. agencies subordinate to the Executive Government, entrusted with the exercise of executive or administrative or quasi-judicial power. It is also used to denote agencies such as independent or semi-independent Corporations to which power has been delegated by Government or upon which power to exercise executive or administrative functions is conferred by the Legislature. The term 'authority' cannot be deemed to include a Court or any other judicial tribunal. In our opinion, therefore, that term, as used in Section 8, would not include a tribunal like the Bombay Revenue Tribunal, which is entrusted with the duty of adjudicating upon the rights of persons judicially. Now, if the word 'authority' is given the meaning accorded to it by the Full Bench of the Revenue Tribunal, then it would mean that the Revenue Tribunal must transfer every proceeding pending before it, whether it is an appeal or a rivision and which falls 'within the purview of the power and duties of the Commissioner' to the Commissioner. The result of this would be that a Revenue Tribunal which has been constituted by the Revenue Tribunals Act of 1939, would be bereft of almost all its work and will have hardly anything to do. It could not have been the intention of the Legislature to deprive the tribunal of its work and strike at the very root of its existence.

5. We have already adverted to the second condition which has to be fulfilled before any appeal or application could be transferred to the Commissioner and that is that the proceedings must fall within the purview of the powers and duties of the Commissioner. This point has been dealt with by the Full Bench of the Tribunal in para. 9 of its judgment. The Tribunal had examined the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code and had come to the conclusion that every appeal against the orders of the Additional Deputy Commissioner and Collector which could have been entertained or dealt with by the Commissioner would lie to the Commissioner or, if it had been preferred to the Tribunal, would have to be transferred to the Commissioner. Upon this view, it will follow that the Revenue Tribunal will have no work whatsoever to deal with.

6. It is true that in Article 226 of the Constitution, which deals with the power of the High Court to issue writs, it is provided that such a writ can issue to any person or 'authority' including a Government. It is suggested that the word 'authority' so used must include even a Revenue Tribunal or a Board of Revenue. However wide may be the meaning of the word 'authority' used an this article, it cannot, in our opinion, include a purely judicial tribunal. A quasi-judicial body or a tribunal (that is, an administrative or an executive body or a tribunal entrusted with judicial functions) would certainly fall within the ambit of the word 'authority'. But where the sole function of a tribunal is to administer justice judicially, it cannot fall within the expression 'authority'. The Bombay Revenue Tribunal is not entrusted with any administrative work but is solely entrusted with the duty of deciding matters judicially, whether between an individual and an individual or between the State and an individual. It cannot be deemed to be performing quasi-judicial functions but must be regarded as performing purely judicial functions. We are, therefore, clear that the Revenue Tribunal does not fall within the term 'authority' as used in Section 8 of the Act. Upon this view it will follow that the appeal will have to be dealt with by the Revenue Tribunal itself and that its transfer to the Commissioner is erroneous.

7. We accordingly make the rule absolute, quash the order of the Revenue Tribunal and direct it to withdraw the appeal from the file of the Commissioner and hear it. There will be no order as to costs.


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