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Vishnu Govind Mulik Vs. Pandurang Raghunath Sabnis - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Application No. 415 of 1956
Judge
Reported in(1956)58BOMLR815
AppellantVishnu Govind Mulik
RespondentPandurang Raghunath Sabnis
Excerpt:
.....and decide question of fact-mamlatdar on evidence led before him arriving at finding of fact-prant officer on appeal characterising such evidence insufficient and not giving finding on it-revenue tribual on revision going into such question of fact and giving finding upon it -whether open to revenue tribunal to decide the question of fact upon evidence on record.;where in an appeal from an order passed by the mamlatdar under the bombay tenancy and agricultural lands act, 1948, the prant officer had made no effort to appreciate or even consider the evidence which was on the record (e.g. documentary evidence of revenue extracts), had failed to give a finding upon that evidence and had also failed to remand the case to the mamlatdar on the ground that the evidence recorded in the..........at the date of the notice did not exceed 50 acres of land. on this point, the judgment of the prant officer was sketchy and unsatisfactory. the prant officer did not give any finding on this issue. he merely observed that although the respondent-landlord had admitted that he was owning more than 50 acres of land, he had given an explanation that some portion of the land was fallow, that grass was growing upon it and that, therefore, it was not to 'be taken into consideration. then the learned prant officer stated that from the record of the case it appeared to him that sufficient evidence had not been recorded on this point. although the prant officer did not give his own finding whether the area under the personal cultivation of the landlord exceeded or did not exceed 50 acres of.....
Judgment:

Vyas, J.

1. [His Lordship after stating the facts of the case and dealing with points not material to this report, proceeded:] Adverting to the next point, viz. the point whether the area under the personal cultivation of the landlord at the date of the notice was more than 50 acres or less than 50 acres, it is to be noted that according to the Mamlatdar, who considered the evidence before him, the area which the landlord was cultivating at the date of the notice did not exceed 50 acres of land. On this point, the judgment of the Prant Officer was sketchy and unsatisfactory. The Prant Officer did not give any finding on this issue. He merely observed that although the respondent-landlord had admitted that he was owning more than 50 acres of land, he had given an explanation that some portion of the land was fallow, that grass was growing upon it and that, therefore, it was not to 'be taken into consideration. Then the learned Prant Officer stated that from the record of the case it appeared to him that sufficient evidence had not been recorded on this point. Although the Prant Officer did not give his own finding whether the area under the personal cultivation of the landlord exceeded or did not exceed 50 acres of land, the learned members of the Revenue Tribunal, in places more than one in their judgment, made an erroneous observation that upon this point also there was a concurrent finding of both the Courts below. It may be noted however that after making the above incorrect observation, the learned members of the Revenue Tribunal went on to deal with this point themselves. They considered certain extracts produced by the landlord, referred to the testimony which the landlord gave before the Mamlatdar and, upon the application of their own mind to the material on the record, they came to the conclusion that certain lands, out of the 59 acres of land which were owned by the landlord, were fallow, that grass was growing upon them and that, therefore, they should be left out of consideration so far as the point of the area under personal cultivation of the landlord was concerned. They accepted the finding of the Mamlatdar that the landlord was personally cultivating only 14 acres of land. Mr. Hegade appearing for the tenants before us has strenuously contended that as the Prant Officer, who was the final fact-finding authority, had not given a clear or categoric finding upon this question of fact, but had on the contrary said that sufficient evidence had not been recorded upon this point, the learned members of the Revenue Tribunal had no competence at law to go into this question themselves and give a finding upon it. 'We are unable to accept the submission of Mr. Hegade. If the Prant Officer as a final fact-finding authority had given a finding on this question of fact regarding the extent of the area under personal cultivation of the landlord, then of course it would not have been open to the Revenue Tribunal to go behind that finding. The Prant Officer's finding would have been final. But such is not the position here. Here the Prant Officer did not record any finding on this issue; he did not appreciate the documentary evidence which was led before the Mamlatdar-indeed he did not even refer to it; he made no attempt to point out why the explanation given by the landlord was not acceptable to him; and he did not say in what respects he considered the evidence recorded in the Mamlatdar's Court insufficient. In other words, he did not deal with this question of fact at all. It is true that it is not within the jurisdiction of the Revenue Tribunal to reappreciate the evidence, appreciated by the Prant Officer. But where the Prant Officer made no effort to appreciate or even consider the evidence although the evidence was there on the record (e.g. documentary evidence of revenue extracts), where he failed to give a finding upon that evidence and also failed to remand the case to the Mamlatdar which he should have done if he thought that the evidence recorded in the Mamlatdar's Court was insufficient, and when there is no specific provision in the Act which forbids the Tribunal from applying their mind to the evidence which exists on the record, we are of the view that it is open to the Tribunal in the exercise of their revisional jurisdiction to decide a question of fact upon such evidence as is on the record, provided of course the Tribunal considers that the evidence on the record is sufficient to enable them to give a finding upon that particular point. If the Tribunal does so, it does not superimpose its own appreciation of evidence upon the appreciation made by the lower Court. It is the superimposition of its own appreciation of evidence by the Tribunal which is forbidden by the Act and not the appreciation of evidence when there has been none by the lower Court. In the case before us, the MamIntdar who had a certain amount of oral and documentary evidence before him considered the said material sufficient to enable him to pronounce his judgment that the landlord was actually cultivating only 14 acres of land. The Prant Officer characterised the above evidence as insufficient, but this characterisation was unsupported by any reasons whatever, and he did not give a finding. It was in these circumstances that the learned members of the Revenue Tribunal applied their own independent mind to this question and considered that the extracts which were produced by the landlord and the sworn testimony of the landlord were sufficient for the purpose of the conclusion that the landlord was actually cultivating only 14 acres of land. It is true that as the Prant Officer had not given a specific finding upon this question of fact, the members of the Revenue Tribunal, if they had been so disposed to do, could have remanded the case to the Prant Officer for giving a finding. But they did not do so and chose to consider the evidence on the record themselves and gave a finding upon this point. We do not think that they went beyond their competence in doing so. In our view, therefore, no valid reasons are made out byMr. Hegade for a remand of this case to the Revenue Tribunal with a direction to remand it to the Prant Officer.

2. The rest of the judgment is not material to the report.


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