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H.B. Shingappa Gowda Vs. Land Reforms Tribunal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1977Kant218; ILR1977KAR1250; 1977(2)KarLJ312
ActsKarnataka Land Reforms Act, 1962 - Sections 48-A and 48-A(6); Constitution of India - Articles 226 and 227
AppellantH.B. Shingappa Gowda
RespondentLand Reforms Tribunal and ors.
Appellant AdvocateMohandas N. Hegde, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.P. Chandrakantraj Urs, Government Adv.
Excerpt:
.....unnecessary to examine this controversy any further as i am satisfied that justice has been done in this case which makes it imperative for me not to interfere in exercising the jurisdiction of this court under art. 9. it has been now well settled that unless the power of review is expressly conferred by the statute, no tribunal has a right of reviewing its earlier order once made which has become final. when this court is satisfied that the order of the tribunal materially affects the rights of the appellant and is one made without jurisdiction, a writ of certiorari must issue as a matter of right unless there are other circumstances disentitling him to relief......the appellant's writ petition challenging the order dated 30-5-1975 passed by the first respondent land tribunal in case no, lrm/6/75-76.2. in order to appreciate the contentions urged in this appeal, it is necessary to set out the relevant facts. briefly stated they are:the appellant is the owner of an agricultural land measuring 3 acres 38 guntas in sy. no. 104 of markal village of sringari taluk, chickmagalur district. the second respondent-sheshachari made an application before the land tribunal under s. 48-a of the karnataka land reforms act, 1961 (hereinafter called the act), for grant of occupancy right to him alleging that he is a tenant personally cultivating the said land. on the said application, notice was issued to the appellant-land-holder. the case was posted for hearing.....
Judgment:

1. This appeal is directed against the order dated 21-3-1977 made in Writ Petition No. 8722 of 1976 by Malimath, J. by which the learned single Judge dismissed the appellant's writ petition challenging the order dated 30-5-1975 passed by the first respondent Land Tribunal in Case No, LRM/6/75-76.

2. In order to appreciate the contentions urged in this appeal, it is necessary to set out the relevant facts. Briefly stated they are:

The appellant is the owner of an agricultural land measuring 3 acres 38 guntas in Sy. No. 104 of Markal village of Sringari taluk, Chickmagalur District. The second respondent-Sheshachari made an application before the Land Tribunal under S. 48-A of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961 (hereinafter called the Act), for grant of occupancy right to him alleging that he is a tenant personally cultivating the said land. On the said application, notice was issued to the appellant-land-holder. The case was posted for hearing on 29-4-1975. On the said date, both parties appeared before the Tribunal. The second respondent disclaimed his claim of tenancy over the land in question. Therefore, the Tribunal dismissed his application. The order of the Tribunal, which has been filed as Ext. 'B' in these proceedings, reads thus:

'29-4-75. Case called. Both parties present. The applicant had disclaimed any tenancy over the land. He refuses to say that he has cultivated the land at any time.

There is no alternative except to reject the land subject (sic) to make a reference to the Government.

Hence the application is rejected.

LRM of Seshachari

Sd/-Members

Sd/- H. M. Singappa Gowda

Sd/- '

3. On May 30, 1975 the second respondent submitted an application before the Land Tribunal stating that the appellant and his sons had promised to give him half the lands to cultivate and thereby he was induced to disclaim his application before the Tribunal. On the said date the appellant, who was present before the Tribunal for some other cases was notified and on the same day the Tribunal passed the order impugned in the writ petition setting aside its order dated 29-4-1975 and posting the case for evidence on 23-6-1975. The order dated 30-5-1975 marked as Ext. 'C' in the writ proceedings reads thus:

ORDER

'30-5-75: The applicant and the Khatedar both present. The applicant Sheshachar submits an application wherein he states that he had filed application under Land Reforms Act, but then the landlord and his sons told me that they would give me half the lands to cultivate and they have induced me to disown the application before the Tribunal. The landlord has not lived up to his promises. Therefore the applicant requests the Tribunal to reconsider his case.

All the members of the Tribunal have gone through his application dated 30-5-1975 and they come to the conclusion that there may be truth in what the applicant says. There are furthermore, strict instructions from Government wherein Government have directed the Tribunals not to permit withdrawal of application when it is suspected that it is done out of pressurisation from the khatedar. (underlining is ours).

The Tribunal, therefore unanimously decided to reconsider the case of applicant Sheshachar and the order dated 29-4-75 by this Tribunal kept aside.

Both the parties to be present for adducing evidence on 23-6-75.

Sd/- xx Sd/- xx Members.'

4. The above order was challenged by the appellant before this Court under Art. 227 of the Constitution mainly on the ground that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to review or recall its order made under S. 48-A of the Act dismissing the application of the second respondent. This court issued rule nisi in Writ Petn. No. 8722 of 1976. This second respondent remained unrepresented despite service of notice. The learned High Court Government Pleader appeared for the Land Tribunal. After hearing the counsel for the writ petitioner and the learned Government Pleader, Malimath, J., made the order under appeal dismissing the writ petition on the ground that he was satisfied that justice has been done in the case which made it imperative not to interfere in the exercise of the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. It is necessary to set out the observations made in para 2 of the learned single Judge's order, which reads:

'2. The principal contention taken in support of the writ petition is that the Tribunal has not been conferred with any power to review or recall its earlier order made under S. 48-A of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961. It is therefore, contended that the Tribunal by the impugned order Exhibit 'C' could not have set aside its earlier order Exhibit 'B' dated 29-4-1975. It is unnecessary to examine this controversy any further as I am satisfied that justice has been done in this case which makes it imperative for me not to interfere in exercising the jurisdiction of this Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India. Even if the petitioner is right in his contention that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to review its earlier order, having regard to the circumstances of the case, I would have quashed the first order of 29-4-1975 also as there is sufficient material to indicate that the said order came to be made on the basis of the stand taken by the 2nd respondent, which stand was taken on false representation and inducement made by the petitioner as alleged by the 2nd respondent. If the aforesaid course is adopted, it would result in quashing the order Exhibit 'B' dated 2.9-4-1975 and the order Exhibit 'C' dated 30-5-1975. As the said result has been brought about by the Tribunal acting suo motu in this matter and even if the said action can be regarded as technically not right, as that would be the result that would flow from my interfering in this case, and as the result brought about in this case is consistent with justice, I decline to interfere in this case and dismiss this writ petition............'

5. This order has been challenged in this appeal, which was admitted by us and notices of the Appeal were taken to the second respondent and also to the State Government which was impleaded as the third respondent as directed by us. The second respondent has not appeared before us, despite notice. The third respondent is represented by Sri M. P. Chandrakantraj Urs, learned Government Advocate.

6. It was urged by Sri Mohandas N. Hegde, learned counsel for the appellant that the order impugned in the writ petition is one made wholly without jurisdiction and when that order is made without jurisdiction, which vitally affects the right of the writ petitioner, a writ of certiorari lies as of right and it is not a matter of discretion.

7. The learned Government Advocate, Sri Urs, supported the order of the learned single judge, and contended that the exercise of jurisdiction by this Court is discretionary and if no injustice has been done in the view of the learned single Judge, there is no ground to interfere in the appeal.

8. The first question is whether the Tribunal had the jurisdiction to review its earlier order dismissing the application of the alleged tenant claiming occupancy right. If our answer is that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to review or recall its order, whether this Court ought not to interfere with that order, which is ultra vires and one made without jurisdiction. Sri Urs conceded, and in our opinion rightly, that the Tribunal has no power of review specifically conferred upon it by the Act.

9. It has been now well settled that unless the power of review is expressly conferred by the Statute, no Tribunal has a right of reviewing its earlier order once made which has become final. Sub-section (6) of S. 48-A of the Act states that the order of the Tribunal under the said section shall be final. The order dated 29-4-1975 dismissing the second respondent's application is an order made under S. 48-A of the Act. Once the said application is dismissed, the proceedings initiated under S. 48 of the Act come to an end, the order of the Tribunal becomes final. The State Government, it is necessary to observe, did not challenge by any writ petition that the land in question vested in it.

10. When there is no provision under the Act empowering the Tribunal to entertain the second application by the same applicant for grant of occupancy right on the ground that the earlier application was withdrawn or not pressed under pressure or coercion, the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the application of the second respondent made on 30-5-1975 and it had no jurisdiction, equally, to make an order recalling its earlier order. It is therefore clear that the order dated 30-5-1975 (Exhibit 'C') is one made without jurisdiction. In other words, that order is ultra vires of the powers of the Land Tribunal.

11. Having come to the conclusion that the order impugned before the learned single Judge is one without jurisdiction, the question is whether this Court, in the exercise of its discretion under Art. 226 or 227 ought not to interfere. In the exercise of jurisdiction either under Art. 226 or 227 of the Constitution, the Courts have made a distinction between orders made without jurisdiction and orders made within the jurisdiction but where a Tribunal in exercise of its jurisdiction has acted illegally or irregularly. When an order made by a Tribunal or any authority is without jurisdiction, such an order, when it is brought to the notice of this Court, cannot remain uncorrected. The reopening of the proceedings which have become final by an order made in favour of the appellant, substantially affects the property right of the appellant-landholder and therefore injustice has resulted by reopening of the proceedings by the Tribunal. When this Court is satisfied that the order of the Tribunal materially affects the rights of the appellant and is one made without jurisdiction, a writ of certiorari must issue as a matter of right unless there are other circumstances disentitling him to relief. Therefore, we are of clear opinion that the learned single Judge was in error in declining to exercise his writ jurisdiction either under Art. 226 or 227 of the Constitution.

12. Accordingly, we allow this appeal, reverse the order of Malimath, J., and quash the impugned order dated 30-5-1975 in Case No. LRM/6/75-76 on the file of the Land Tribunal, Sringeri. The appellant is entitled to his costs which shall be recoverable from the second respondent. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.

13. Ordered accordingly.

14. The learned Government Advocate is permitted to file his memo of appearance within 10 days.

15. Appeal allowed.


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