G.K. Govinda Bhat, C.J.
1. This appeal arises out of an order made by the Special Tahsildar and Secretary of the Land Tribunal, Tumkur taluk, on 19-1-1976, directing the police authorities to give full protection to respondents 4 and till their case is decided by the Land Tribunal under the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961 (herein after called the 'Act). Respondents 4 and 5 alleging that they are tenants of certain agricultural lands comprised in Sy. Nos. 167 and 168 of Mallasandra Amanikere village of Tumkur taluk, made an application before the Land Tribunal, Tumkur taluk, for registration of occupancy under Section 45 of the Act. Appellants 5 and 6 were the original owners of the said lands and they are said to have conveyed by sale the said lands to appellants 1 to 4. The said appellants denied that respondents 4 and 5 are the tenants of the lands in question. It was stated before us that the Tribunal had not even issued notice to the appellants under Section 48-A(2) of the Act, stating that the said lands had vested in the State Government under Section 44(1) of the Act and to show cause why the applicants should not be registered as occupants. Even before such a notice was issued, respondents 4 and 5 made an application to the first respondent alleging that they have filed a declaration under Section 45 of the Act, on 30-12-1974 and that the landlord and his agents are obstructing their peaceful enjoyment and for necessary relief. On that application, the 1st respondent who is the Secretary of the Land Tribunal, issued a memo-dated 19-1-1976, marked as Ext. 13. It is necessary to set out the memo in full, as it is the said memo that has been the subject-matter of challenge before this Court. It reads:
'KLRM 503/75-76 Exhibit 'B'
(Seal) Bhoosudharana Special
Fd. to the Sub-Inspector of Police rural station Tumkur. The applicant has filed a declaration under Section 48-A of Land Reforms Act, in respect of S. No noted in the petition to the Land Tribunal on 30-12-1974. it is now represented that the Landlord and his agents are obstructing his peaceful enjoyment and prays for protection. It is therefore requested that the applicant who is a tenant may be given full protection in this behalf till the case is decided.
D/- 20-1-1976 Sd/-
(Seal) Special Tahsildar and
Secretary, Bhoosudharana Mandali,
Tumkur Taluk. A2 Pc/c176.
'H. C for immediate N/s sent for the parties and produce before me.
Police Rural station Tumkur.'
2. On the basis of the memo issued by the 1st respondent, the police are alleged to have attempted to dispossess appellants 1 to 4. Therefore, they approached this Court for relief under Art. 226 in Writ Petition No. 3416 of 1976, which came up for final disposal before Malimath, J. who, by order dated 2-6-1976, dismissed the writ petition. The reasons thereof have been set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the learned Judge's order as follows:-
3. The challenge to the memo is on the ground that it is wholly without jurisdiction. The memo, if properly understood, only conveys that the Sub-Inspector of Police should look into the complaint of the persons who have presented a petition on 30-12-1974 claiming to be the tenants of the lands in question, and if there is substance in their complaint, the Sub-Inspector of Police is requested to give police protection so that the landlords and their agents are prevented from taking law into their own hands for dispossessing the persons actually in possession of the lands. The memo cannot be understood as an order or command to the Sub-Inspector of Police, to give police protection to the persons who have filed a petition under Section 48-A of the Land Reforms Act on 30-12-1974. Whether or not their complaint is true, it is for the police authorities to investigate the matter and if the facts justify, to take action for the maintenance of law and order.
4. With these observations this writ petition is rejected.'
3. The learned single Judge construed the memo of the 1st respondent issued to the Sub-Inspector of Police and stated that the memo should be understood to mean that the Sub-Inspector of Police should look into the complaint of the persons who had presented a petition on 30-12-1974, claiming to be the tenants of the lands in question, and if there is substance in their complaint, the Sub-Inspector of Police should grant them police protection and that the memo cannot be understood as an order or command to the Sub-Inspector of Police, to give police protection to such persons who have filed a petition under the Act and what the police authorities are required to do is to investigate whether the complaint of respondents 4 and 5 is true or not and whether the facts justify any action for maintenance of law and order. Aggrieved by the said order, the petitioners have preferred the above appeal.
4. Respondents 4 and 5, at whose instance the 1st respondent issued the memo to the police, did not enter appearance before the learned single Judge; nor have they entered appearance before us.
5. Sri. K. S. Puttaswamy, learned 1st Additional Government Advocate, has appeared for respondents 1 to 3. The 1st respondent is the Special Tahsildar and Secretary of the Land Tribunal, who has issued the impugned memo; the 2nd respondent is the Land Tribunal and the 3rd respondent is the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tumkur.
6. We have set out the memo issued by the 1st respondent in full. It contains a statement in unambiguous terms that the applicant who has made the complaint to the Land Tribunal on 30-12-1974, is a tenant and therefore, full protection should be given to him against the aggression of the landlord and his agents. That is the plain meaning of the memo issued by the 1st respondent. No other construction, however liberal one may be disposed to take, is possible when the 1st respondent, who is the Secretary of the Land Tribunal, categorically states that the applicant who is a tenant may be given full protection in this behalf till the case is decided'. A copy of the application made by respondents 4 and 5 before the first respondent has been made an enclosure to the Writ Petition and marked as Ex. A. We have perused the said application. That application is one for necessary relief without specifying the same, alleging that the applicants are tenants personally cultivating the lands and their possession is sought to be disturbed. They have not sought for any police protection. Though the application does not mention any section under which it is made, it has to be treated as an application for interim relief under Section 48-C of the Act which empowers the Tribunal to grant interim relief like temporary injunction or appointment of a Receiver pending final disposal. The Tahsildar ought to have placed that application before the Land Tribunal which alone has the jurisdiction to deal with such an application under Section 48-C. Instead, he issued a memo impugned in the writ petition. The 1st respondent is the Secretary of the Land Tribunal. He has signed the Memo describing himself as the Special Tahsildar and Secretary of the Land Tribunal, Tumkur taluk. So, when the police authorities read that memo, the reasonable understanding by them would be that it has been issued under the authority of the Land Tribunal. He has issued the memo when as yet the Land Tribunal has not decided that the complainant is the tenant. He could not have expected the police authorities to enquire whether or not the Tribunal has decided that the applicant has been held to be a tenant when there is a categorical statement in the impugned Memo that 'the applicant is a tenant'.
7. It is not disputed before us that the Tribunal has to decide the contest between the appellants on the one hand and respondents 4 and 5 on the other and there is no decision even till this date holding that respondents 4 and 5 are tenants of the lands in question. It is also relevant to observe that under the Act, it is the Tribunal and the Tribunal alone that has the jurisdiction to decide the question whether a person claiming to be a tenant is or is not a tenant. The Tahsildar functions only as the Secretary of the Tribunal and he is not a Member of the Tribunal either. It was not disputed before us by the learned 1st Additional Government Advocate that the Tahsildar has no jurisdiction to decide the question of disputed tenancy nor has he any jurisdiction to make any interim order in proceedings commenced on an application for registration of occupancy under Section 45 of the Act. The Act has made provision by Section 48-C conferring power on the Tribunal to grant interim orders in the nature of temporary injunction or appointment of Receiver pending final decision. The Tahsildar should have placed the application before the Tribunal for appropriate orders under Section 48-C of the Act. That was not done. The 1st respondent who is the Secretary of the Land Tribunal, is expected to know the material provisions of the Act, particularly the provisions of Chapter III of the Act. The memo issued by the Tahsildar 1st respondent, in our opinion, Was issued in gross violation of the provisions of the Act and in utter disregard of the rights of persons who would be adversely affected when police authorities are directed to take action on the basis of an order which is illegal and without jurisdiction.
8. Disagreeing with the learned Single Judge, we hold that the impugned memo dated 19-1-1976, issued by the 1st respondent, is illegal, without jurisdiction and has been made in utter disregard of law. Therefore, for the reasons stated above, we allow this appeal, reverse the order of the learned single Judge and quash the impugned memo dated 19-1-1976 (Ext. 'B'). We issue a further direction to the 1st respondent to recall the memo.
9. The appellants are entitled to their costs of this appeal as also in the writ petition which shall be paid personally by the 1st respondent. Advocates fee Rs. 500/-.
10. Appeal allowed.