Jeevan Reddy, J.
1. The first point raised in this writ petition, challenging a notification issued under Section 41 of the Land Acquisition Act, is that the notification has been issued by the Collector in the name of the Government which he cannot do and that. therefore, the notification itself is vitiated. This point has been negatived by us in our judgment delivered little while ago in W. P. No. 5707 of 1978, following a Bench decision of this Court in another matter.
2. The second question raised in this writ petition, however, appears to be substantial. The contention is that, in this case, the notification has not been approved even by the District Collector, but by the District Revenue Officer. This contention has been conceded in the counter; but, it is submitted that the same is good and valid for the reason, it is stated, that the powers of the District Collector are delegated to the District Revenue Officer by virtue of the notification contained in G.O.Ms. No 77, dated 22-1-1968, issued under Section 3 of the Andhra Pradesh District Collectors' powers (Delegation) Act, 1961.
3. Section 3 of the Andhra Pradesh District Collectors' Powers (Delegation) Act. 1961, empowers the State Government to authorise, by a notification in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette, any Joint Collector or any other officer of the Revenue Department, not below the rank of a Deputy Collector, to exercise all or any of the powers vested by or under any Law, in the District Collector and may, in Like manner, withdraw such authorization There are two provisos to that section, viz:--
'Provided that no authorisation under this section shall prevent the District Collector from exercising in such cases as he deems fit, all or any of the powers exercisable by the Joint Collector or other officer by virtue of the authorisation aforesaid: Provided further that where in respect of any case, the District Collector exercises his powers, the Joint Collector or other officer authorised under this section shall not exercise his powers in respect of the same case.'
4. G.O.Ms. No. 77 has been issued under the aforesaid provision; paragraph 2 (1) thereof clearly says:--
'All correspondence in his Collector's office shall be carried out in the name of the District Collector. Where any statutory power can be exercised only by the District Collector as defined by Section 3(8) of the A. P. General Clauses Act, the preliminary examination of a case may be made by the District Revenue Officer or the Personal Assistant as the case may be, in accordance with the distribution of work now ordered, but the final order should be passed by the District Collector.........'.
5. Under paragraph 3, the Government approved the distribution of work 'between the Collector, the District Revenue Officers and the Personal Assistant to the Collector as proposed by the Board of Revenue, with slight modifications. Among the subjects reserved for District Revenue Officers, item 17 is 'Land Acquisition'. It reads as follows:--
'17. Land Acquisition:
(1) The Land Acquisition Act (Central Act 1 of 1897),
(2) The Requisition and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act..........'
6. The Andhra Pradesh General Clauses Act defines the expressions 'Collector' and 'District Collector', separately The expression 'Collector' is defined in clause (6) of Section 3. It reads as follows: -
6. Collector:- 'Collector' shall include every officer who, for the time being, is authorised to exercise the Powers of a Collector.'
The expression 'District Collector' has been defined in clause (8) of Section 3, which may also be set out:--
8. District Collector: 'District Collector' shall mean the Chief Local Officer in charge of the Revenue Administration of a District.'
7. It is thus clear that there is a clear distinction between 'Collector' and 'District Collector'. Now,
according to paragraph 2 (1) of G.O.Ms. No, 77, where power has been vested in the 'District Collector' as defined by Section 3 (8) of the Andhra Pradesh General Clauses Act, any statute, in such cases the final orders can be passed only by the District Collector, though it may be that the preliminary examination is done by some other officer. Now Act 22 of 1976, which amends the Central Act, speaks of 'the District Collector' and not of 'Collector' In Sec. 4 of the Central Act, after words 'appropriate Government' the words 'or the District Collector' are added. Since the power to issue a notification under Section 4 is vested only in the District Collector, by virtue the said State amendment, that power can be exercised only by the District Collector, and by none else, as G.O.Ms. No. 77 Since in this case the notification has been, admittedly, approved by the District Revenue Officer, the same is bad and accordingly, quashed herewith.
8, The writ petition is allowed but, in the circumstances there shall be no order as to costs, Advocate's fee, Rs. 150.
9. Petition allowed.