1. This petition under Art. 226(1)(b) and (c) of the Constitution is directed against an order made by the Land Tribunal, Jamkhandi, in case No. KLRSR 2120 dated 29-10-1975. The petitioner had applied for registration of occupancy rights in regard to S. No. 65/8 of Banahatti village in accordance with the Land Reforms Act and the Rules framed there under. The Tribunal after purporting to hold an enquiry rejected his claim. Hence this petition.
2. On behalf of the petitioner, it is contended principally that the procedure followed by the Tribunal in the matter of recording the statements of parties did not conform to the provisions of R. 17 of the Land Reforms Rules read with S. 34 of the Land Revenue Act, and therefore the proceedings were vitiated. It seems to me that this contention is well founded and must be accepted as correct.
3. It is seen from the records made available that the statement of the petitioner has been recorded on a cyclostyled sheet with an interpolation that 'NanuKula anta iruvudilla' (original transliterated-Ed.). The petitioner seems to have affixed his thumb impression to that statement. It is strange that a cyclostyled pro forma should have been prepared at all by the Land Tribunal in regard to recording of depositions of parties or witnesses. This apart, recording 91 depositions in this manner is plainly opposed to the requirements of the provisions of law aforementioned.
4. Rule 17 of the Land Reforms Rules reads:
'Procedure to be followed by the Tribunal. The Tribunal shall in respect of applications made to it follow the same procedure as specified for a summary enquiry under S. 34 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 subject to the condition that the records of the proceedings shall be maintained in a language understood by all its members.'
5. Section 34 of the Land Revenue Act provides for procedure. in summary inquiries to be followed in proceedings under the Land Revenue Act and any other law for the time being in force, and reads:
'Summary inquiry.- When a summary inquiry is prescribed, for determination of any question by or under this Act or any law for the time being in force, the officer conducting inquiry shall himself, as such inquiry proceeds, record in his own hand, in Kannada or in English or in any other language of the taluk or village as declared by State Government, the summary of the evidence and a minute of the proceedings containing the material averment made by the parties interested, the decision and the reasons for the same: Provided that it shall at any time be lawful for the officer, if he deems fit to conduct an inquiry directed by this Act to be summary under all or any of the provisions applicable to a formal inquiry.'
6. The combined effect of these two provisions is that evidence should be recorded in the handwriting of the officer conducting an inquiry. This being the clear obligation imposed upon officers or authorities entrusted with the duty of holding a formal inquiry, as in the instant case, recording of evidence on cyclostyled pro forma is clearly impermissible. The impugned order is, therefore, vitiated and has to be set aside.
7. In the result, this petition is accepted and is, accordingly, allowed. The impugned order is, therefore, set aside. There will, however, be a remit of this matter to the Tribunal concerned for a fresh disposal of the case in accordance with law after affording an opportunity to all the parties concerned. No costs.
8. Smt. P. G. Gouri, the learned High Court Government Pleader, who had earlier been directed to take notice on behalf of the Tribunal, is permitted to file the memo of appearance within 10 days from today.
9. Let the records of the Tribunal be returned along with a copy of this order, forthwith.
10. Petition allowed.