1. Common questions of law and facts arise in these petitions; hence the same are disposed of by a common order.
2. The Petitioners in all these petitions are the applicants for the grant of land under the Land Grant Rules in the village of Vadiyur and Singanamane Bhadravathi Taluk. The case of the petitioners is that they have filed applications for grant of the lands and on the basis of their applications, records were built up and it was found by the authorities that an extent of 29 acres 12 guntas of lands was available for- being granted to the petitioners. It is the case of the petitioners that they are the land less agriculturists avid they satisfy all the requirements for grant of lands. The further case of the petitioners is that even though the Tahsildar came to the conclusions that the land is available for grant and the petitioners are entitled for the grant, he nevertheless without granting the applications of the petitioners sought for instructions from the Assistant Commissioner, Shimoga Sub-division, Shimoga. In respect of this contention, the learned Counsel for the petitioners relied upon the report made by the Tahsildar No. LND (9) -1068/76-77, dated 15-12-1976, which reads as follows:
'No. LND (9) 1068/76-77 Office of the Tahsildar, Bhadravathi taluk, Bhadravathi, Dt. 15th Dec. 76.
The Assistant Commissioner,
Shimoga Sub-Division, Shimoga.
Sub: Grant of land out of land reconveyed in Singanamane and Vediyur Villages to Sri Ibharam s/o of Ibharam and 24 others.
With reference to the above subject, I write to submit herewith a darkest record built up in favour of one Sir. Ibrahim S/o Irabhim and 24 others resident of Singanamane village to an extent noted against each in the enclosed list out of remaining land reconveyed in several S. Nos. of Vediyur and Singanamane village for favour of kind perusal and solicit suitable instructions to grant of land to the applicants. As extent of acres of land was handed over by the P.W.D. B.R.L.B.C. in several S. Nos. of Vediyur and Singanamane village out of which an extent of 28.05 acres of land has been regranted to 7 original Khathedars, and an extent of 18.00 acres of land has been granted to the 18 Writ Petitioners as per orders of the Special Deputy Commissioner vide order No. LND (i) 0.21807576 dated 9-8-76. Further proposal for an extent of 20.03 has been submitted to your notice for sanction in favour or original Khatedars vide this office report No. LND. CR. 119/75-76 dated 16-11-1976.
Apart from the above extent, it is reported that there is an extent of 29.12 acres of wet land still available for disposal as per enclosed sketch prepared by the Taluk Surveyor, dated 4-7-1976 in Vadiyur and Singanamane villages.
It is reported that except Sri Palaniswamy, SI. No. 13 and Sri Narappa Gownder, S1. No. 17 of the enclosed list, all are landless person. As per list enclosed to the records Sri Palani Swamy has got an extent of 2.00 acres of wet land, Sri Marappa Gownder has got an extent of 5.12 acres of wet land in their Khatha.
The land grant consultative Committee has agreed to grant the land to the applicants, vide its meeting held on 22-11-1976 to that effect: an extract of resolution item No. 13 is prepared and enclosed to the records for kind perusal.
It is reported that the land proposed for is fit for wet cultivation by using channel water and all the applicants are cultivating personally paying T. T. fine from 1972-73.
As the land required for re-conveyance to the Khathedars and requested for writ petition has already been reconveyed and proposals have accordingly been submitted as the case may be proposed for disposal in several S. Nos. of Vadiyur and Singanamane villages.
Hence I solicited your kind instructions to sanction the land extent of 29-12 acres to 25 applicants as per list enclosed to the records as the proposed extent is within the sanction power of this office.
3. The contention of Sri Javali, the learned Counsel for the petitioners, is that under the Land Grant Rules, the Tahsildar is the competent authority to grant the land to the extent of two acres and in each of the application made by the petitioners land, the prayer is for grant of less than two acres and that being so, the Tahsildar having come to the conclusion that the land is available for the grant and the petitioners are entitled for the grant of land, it was incumbent upon the Tahsildar to grant the land to each of the petitioners instead of seeking instructions from the Assistant Commissioner.
3A. Shri B. B. Mandappa, the learned High Court Government Pleader appearing for respondents I to 3, also submitted there cannot be any objection for grant of land to the petitioners as stated in the report submitted by the Tahsildar in view of the fact that in the said report itself, it is said that an extent of 29 acres 12 guntas of wet land is available. Though, in the petitions the petitioners have challenged the grant made in favour of respondents 4, 5 and 6 on the various grounds stated in the writ petitions, but in the report made by the Tahsildar, it is clear that the land granted to respondents 4 and 5 and other respondents in the connected writ petitions is not the same land which is applied for and is found available for being I granted to the petitioners: that being so, it is not at all necessary to go into the correctness or otherwise of the grant of land made in favour of the respondents, though it is one of the prayers made in the writ petitions. Shri Mandappa also submitted that the grant of land made to the respondents in writ petitions 3700 to 3704 of 1973. Was in pursuance of the policy decision taken by the Government to grant the land to the' previous owners. Whatever it may be in view of the aforesaid fact that the land granted to the respondents is different from the one applied for by the petitioners, it is not necessary to go into the question of validity of the grant made in favour of the respondents.
4. The petitioners, in all these petitions have prayed for issue of a direction to respondents 2 to 6 restraining them from disturbing the possession and cultivation of the lands by the petitioners. There is no other prayer made in the writ petitions. But in view of the undisputed facts, it is open for the Court to mould the relief and Issue a direction to the Tahsildar to grant the land to the petitioners. If they are found eligible in view of the findings recorded by him in his report, dated 15-12-1976, referred to above, as otherwise, it will lead to multiplicity of proceedings and to void multiplicity of proceedings, the court can always mould the reliefs.
5. The undisputed facts in all these cases are that each of the petitioners made an application for grant of different bits of land measuring less than 2 acres and on the basis of those applications, the taluk darkest Disposal Consultative Committee, Bhadravathi, on consideration of the applications of the petitioners, passed a resolution on 22-11-1976 and recommended for grant of lands as prayed for by the petitioners. A copy of the proceedings of the said Committee has been produced by the petitioners at Exhibit-D and in that proceedings the names of the petitioners have been found and the extent of the land against their names has also been mentioned. After the decision of the Consultative Committee, the Tahsildar has submitted the report to the Assistant Commissioner based upon the sketch prepared by the Taluk Surveyor, dated 4-7-1976. In the reports the Tahsildar has stated that an extent of 29 acres 12 guntas of wetland is available for disposal. The extent of the land claimed by the petitioners also comes to 29 acres 12 guntas. Under the Land Grant Rules, the Tahsildar is empowered to grant the land to an extent of 2 acres. Thus, it is clear and is also undisputed that each of the applicants prayed for grant of less than two acres of land and the Tahsildar, on enquiry, came to the conclusion that the land applied for is available for grant and that the applicants are entitled for the grant of lands being the landless agriculturists. That being so, the Tahsildar himself being the authority empowered to grant the land was not justified in law in seeking a direction from the Assistant Commissioner. An authority, in the instant case, the Tahsildar, empowered under the. Statute to do a particular thing affecting the right of a citizen cannot, in law, seek instructions from his superior officer for discharging his statutory duty. That being so, the Tahsildar has failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him in not considering the applications made by the petitioners for grant of lands. Therefore, the petitioners' request made during the course of hearing for issue a writ in the nature of mandamus to the Tahsildar, Bhadravathi, to consider the applications filed by them for grant of lands and also grant the same if, they are found to be otherwise eligible, is Justified.
6. As far as the availability of the land is concerned, the same is available. As per the report of the Tahsildar, dated 15-12-1976, an extent of 29.12 acres of wet, land is available and the said land has been specifically shown in the sketch and the report of the Surveyor. The only thing that is now required to be done by the Tahsildar Is to find out as to whether the applicants are eligible for grant of the land as prayed for by them.
7. For the reasons stated above, a writ in the nature of Mandamus shall issue to the Tahsildar, Bhadravathi, to consider the applications of the petitioners for grant of land and to grant the lands to the petitioners in all these Writ petitions if they are found eligible for grant of land which is available as per the sketch and the report pie pared by the Surveyor referred to In the report of the Tahsildar, dated 15-12-1976 quoted in extend so in the body of this judgment.
8. No order as to costs.
9. Petitions allowed.