G.K. Govinda Bhat, C.J.
1. This appeal by a land-holder is directed against the order of Malimath, J., dated 25-10-1976 made in W. P. No. 9295 of 1976 rejecting the Writ Petition at the preliminary hearing stage.
2. The appellant is the land-holder of the land comprised in Survey No. 957/1B of Athni village. The second respondent Ramappa, alleging that he is a tenant of the said land, made an application in Form No. 7 before the Land Tribunal, Athni, for grant of occupancy right. That application is dated 6-10-1975. The second respondent appended a Note to his application stating that for the reasons stated in his affidavit accompanying Form No. 7 application, the delay in making the application may be condoned. The first respondent Land Tribunal did not consider the sufficiency of the cause shown by the applicant to admit the application made beyond 31st December 1974. It straightway went into the merits of the case and held that the second respondent was a tenant of the land and consequently entitled to grant of occupancy right. The said order was challenged by the appellant in W. P. No. 9295 of 1976, which came up before Malimath, J., on 25-10-1976 for preliminary hearing. The learned single Judge rejected the Writ Petition at that stage being of the view that the finding of the Tribunal is a finding of fact and as such did not call for interference under Article 226 of the Constitution.
3. Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant has come up in appeal.
4. At the very outset, Sri K. S, Savanur, learned counsel for the appellant, sought leave to raise a new ground which was not raised before the learned single Judge and also in the Memorandum of Appeal. The ground sought to be raised, for which leave has been sought, is that the application of the second respondent was made beyond 31-12-1974 and the Tribunal could not have proceeded with the enquiry into the case of the applicant unless it admitted the application after being satisfied that the cause shown for making the application beyond the date fixed, viz., 31-12-1974, was sufficient. The ground raised by the applicant is a pure question of law and it goes to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to make an order granting occupancy right. In that view, we grant the leave prayed for.
5. Sub-section (1) of Section 48-A of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act. 1961, which is the relevant section, reads thus:
'Every person entitled to be registered as an occupant under Section 45 may make an application to the Tribunal in this behalf. Every such application shall, save as provided in this Act, be made on or before the 31st day of December 1974, provided that the Tribunal may, for sufficient cause shown, admit an application made beyond that date but on or before 30th June 1977.''
Section 48-A was introduced into the Act by Act 1 of 1974 which came into force on 1-3-1974. It prescribed a time-limit for making applications by persons claiming registration of occupancy right under Section 45. The time-limit for making such applications was, on or before 31st day of December 1974; Under the proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 48-A, the Tribunal has discretion, for sufficient cause shown, to admit an application made beyond 31st December 1974 but on or before 30th June 1977. The Tribunal has no jurisdiction to admit an application made after 30th June 1977. The applicant has to show sufficient cause if his application for registration of occupancy right is made after 31st day of December 1974. The landholder should he afforded an opportunity of showing that the cause shown by the applicant is not sufficient. After hearing the landholder as well as the applicant, the Tribunal may, in its discretion, if the cause shown is sufficient, admit the application; but if the cause shown is not sufficient, then the application has to be rejected in limine.
6. When a law prescribes a period of limitation for an action, such action has to be brought within the prescribed period. The Court or Tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain an action or proceedings after the expiry of the, period of limitation prescribed. Where the law gives discretion to the Court or Tribunal, for sufficient cause, to condone the delay and admit the application, then that discretion has to be exercised in accordance with settled principles of law after affording both parties reasonable opportunity of being heard. Where the application is made beyond the period of limitation and cause is shown for condonation of delay, the Tribunal cannot straightway go into the merits of the application, unless it admits the application after being satisfied that the cause shown is sufficient for condonation of delay.
7. In the instant case, though the second respondent, who is the applicant before the Tribunal, had appended a Note to his Form No. 7 application that the delay in making the application may be condoned for the reasons stated in the affidavit accompanying the said application, the Tribunal did not issue any notice to the appellant-landholder on the application for condonation of delay. The order of the Tribunal does not state that the application has been admitted after condoning the delay being satisfied that the cause shown by the applicant was sufficient. The enquiry by the Tribunal into the merits of the claim without admitting the application made beyond the date fixed, viz., 31-12-1974 is clearly without jurisdiction. This error in the exercise of jurisdiction has clearly vitiated the order of the Tribunal which affects the property rights of the appellant-landholder. Therefore, the case falls under Clause (b) of Article 226(1) of the Constitution as, in our opinion, the appellant has suffered injury of substantial nature by reason of the contravention of the provision of Sub-section (1) of Section 48-A of the Act.
8. Accordingly, we allow this appeal and reversing the order of the learned single Judge, quash the impugned order of the Tribunal and remit the matter back to the Tribunal with a direction to consider the application of the second respondent for condonation of delay after hearing the interested parties. If the Tribunal admits the application after condonation of delay, then notice on Form No. 9 has to be issued and the matter heard on merits.
9. Parties to bear their own costs.
10. Appeal allowed.