1. I have heard petitioner's learned Advocate and learned Government Advocate on behalf of respondent 1 on merits. Respondent 2 has been served and has not appeared.
2. Petitioner's learned Counsel has raised a pure point of law before me wherein he points out that there have been two very grave and serious breaches on the part of the Tribunal on the basis of which he claims that the impugned order will have to be quashed. Firstly, what he demonstrates to me is that the petitioner is the absolute owner of Survey No. 143/1. The respondent 2 had admittedly made an application for grant of occupancy rights in respect of Survey No. 142/1. When the case had come up for hearing in the year 1988, the Tribunal took it upon itself to virtually permit the original application to stand amended and that it should be construed as though the claim is in respect of Survey No. 143/1. The submission is that the Tribunal has acted purely beyond its jurisdiction and illegally and the further submission is that even if the applicant had moved a formal amendment and the Tribunal permitted it that such a procedure has no legal sanction.
3. Since the submission concerned the correct legal position, the learned Advocate pointed out to the Court that there is no getting away from the well-settled legal position that has been laid down in the case of Seethadevi v Narayana Kamath and Others, wherein the Division Bench has very clearly laid down that if an amendment is sought after the cut off date in 1979 that no such amendment is competent in law because it is tantamount to making a new claim at a point of time when the law does not permit it. Relying on the Division Bench judgment, petitioner's learned Counsel submitted that the Tribunal's order is absolutely erroneous and he also emphasised the fact that this is a case in which the Tribunal has done something which the applicant could not have done nor could the Tribunal have permitted. I need to record here that the legislature has set down a cut off date for a very good reason namely that belated claims and afterthoughts were creating havoc in this field because all sorts of false claims and exaggerated claims were being made and it was considered necessary to put a full-stop to it perhaps, one cannot rule out the possibility that in a small number of cases where genuine errors had occurred that it was not possible to correct those mistakes but one needs to understand the rationale behind imposing the bar insofar as the parties had a good five years time within which if at all any such mistakes had occurred, there was ample scope to rectify them. Petitioner's learned Advocate is fully justified in the dual submission canvassed by him which will have to be accepted. It was certainly not competent for the Tribunal to have virtually amended the claim irrespective of what was pointed out.
4. As regards the subsidiary contention canvassed by the petitioner which is to the effect that the Tribunal has virtually granted occupancy rights in the petitioner's lands without there being any application to that effect. I need to straightaway uphold this contention having regard to the Court's findings on the earlier issue. The applicant was free to press his claim, if at all it was justified, in respect of the lands that form the subject-matter of his application and the Tribunal's order granting occupancy rights in respect of the petitioner's lands in this background was clearly erroneous and without jurisdiction.
5. In the light of the aforesaid findings, the petition succeeds. I am aware of the fact that this is a case that has come back from the Appellate Authority which was abolished and that in the majority of cases this Court has remanded the proceeding to the Tribunal for fresh decision. That question arises where there are some contested issues which require to be resolved. In the present case, the entire order of the Tribunal is erroneous, unjustified, illegal and without jurisdiction and there is no ground on which a remand would be competent. The impugned order is accordingly quashed and set aside. In the circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs. The learned Government Advocate has been heard on merits on behalf of respondent 1.