Skip to content


Kanumuri Anji Raju and anr. Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh Represented by Its Secretary, Revenue Department, Hyderabad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 983 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1961AP123
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 14 and 226
AppellantKanumuri Anji Raju and anr.
RespondentState of Andhra Pradesh Represented by Its Secretary, Revenue Department, Hyderabad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateP.A. Choudhary and ;P. Venkayamma, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateGovernment Pleader, ;T. Dhanurbhanudu and ;S. Venkateswararao, Advs.
Disposition Petition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....- articles 14 and 226 of constitution of india - land assigned temporarily to petitioner being political sufferers - government reserved right to decide who exactly were political sufferers - notification published by government setting out order in which assignments were made - petitioners required to produce certificate showing membership of congress for permanent assignment - petitioners did not possess any right in land - cannot asked for any right to get heard before making permanent assignment - no infringement of article 14 as no right accrued to petitioners. - - provisional assignment may be confirmed in all cases in which the lands involved were not under sivoijama cultivation at the time of provisional assignment, even if the eviction of an existing landless poor..........in or about the year 1947, the then government of madras decided to make an assignment of some lands to political sufferers. to effectuate this policy, they were issuing instructions to their subordinates from time to time. the earliest government order placed before us was issued on 23-12-1947, attempting to define a political sufferer and reserving to the government the power to ultimately decide as to who exactly was a political sufferer and prescribing the procedure for making applications by political sufferers in order to get grants of, lands from the government. another notification was published by the govemment setting out the order in which the assignments were to be made. by this, the collectors concerned were directed to give priority to persons, who had actually gone to.....
Judgment:

Chandra Reddy, C.J.

1. The validity of the proceedings of the District Collector making an assignment of lands on the eastern side of disafforested reserve of Pittalavari-palem village, Bapatla Taluk, Guntur District to respondents 2 to 7 is impeached in this writ petition.

2. In order to appreciate the contention raised in this petition, it is useful to refer to the background of this litigation. In or about the year 1947, the then Government of Madras decided to make an assignment of some lands to political sufferers. To effectuate this policy, they were issuing instructions to their subordinates from time to time. The earliest Government Order placed before us was issued on 23-12-1947, attempting to define a political sufferer and reserving to the Government the power to ultimately decide as to who exactly was a political sufferer and prescribing the procedure for making applications by political sufferers in order to get grants of, lands from the Government.

Another notification was published by the Govemment setting out the order in which the assignments were to be made. By this, the Collectors concerned were directed to give priority to persons, who had actually gone to jail, and, in the case of other political sufferers who had not gone to jail, they had to obtain certificates from the District Congress Committees about their being eligible for these grants. We need not refer to the other instructions bearing upon the allotment of lands to political sufferers. Suffice, it to say that by reason of this notification, the petitioners, along with several others, appear to have applied to the Collector, Guntur, for the grant of lands to them.

3. The proceedings of the District Collector dated 17-10-1951, which is the foundation of the claim of the petitioners, reads as follows:

'Pending permanent assignment, the following political sufferers are temporarily assigned Ac. 5-00 of land each, on the eastern side of the disafforested 'ORRS' reserve of the Pittalavaripalem village, Bapatla Taluk.

xxxx'' The two petitioners were two of the persons towhom such temporary assignment was made. Itis beyond controversy that these proceedings contemplated temporary use o the lands by the petitioners.

4. We will next refer to G. O. No. 1143 dated 18th June, 1954, which is also responsible for the present claim of the petitioners. The relevant portion of the G. O. may be extracted here: '(iii) Where only provisional assignment has been made in favour of a political sufferer, such assignment shall he confirmed, provided that the land assigned was not in the occupation of any sivoijamdar at the time of provisional assignment.'

5. In partial modification of this G. O. the Government of Andhra Pradesh issued instructions embodied in G. O. No. 1281 dated 12th June, 1954, We may refer to that to the extent it has immediate relevance in this context:

'........provisional assignment may be confirmed in all cases in which the lands involved were not under Sivoijama cultivation at the time of provisional assignment, even if the eviction of an existing landless poor Sivoijamadar is involved.' It is immediately clear that while the earlier G. O. regulating the permanent assignment of lands was pouched in a mandatory form, this G. O. seems to give discretion to the officers concerned as regards, the assignment of lands. It is also pertinent in this connection to cite G. O. No. 1291 dated 6th June 1955 to the extent it has a bearing on this enquiry:

'Provided however that applications of only those political sufferers who were included in the list compiled by the Collectors in consultation with the Advisory Committees should be reconsidered.'

6. We now come to G. O. Ms. No. 1540 dated 19th August 1957, the legality of which is now questioned. The Government by this order directed that the lands specified therein including those which were assigned to the petitioners temporarily should be assigned to the persons mentioned therein. That G. O. also contains a direction, which is in the following words;

'Sri Vegasena Tammiraju (second petitioner) and Kanumuri Anji Raju (1st petitioner) who are first assigned lands in Alluru village are now claiming lands in this block. The Collector, Guntur, is requested to allot the lands to them in Allur village if they produce before him a certificate from, the District Congress Committee, Guntur, that they are members of the Congress now.'

It is pursuant to those instructions that the Collector initiated the proceedings on 19th October, 1957) tailing upon the first petitioner to produce a certificate as directed in his R. C. A. 6-23405/57 dated 15-9-1957. It is to remove this order of the Collector on certiorari that the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 220 is invoked.

7. The main ground urged in support of the petition is that as the orders were passed by the Collector and the Government behind the back of the petitioners and without giving them an opportunity to place their case before them, they are and have to be quashed. Indisputably, no notice was issued to the petitioners, nor were they heard before the Government issued the G. O. in question.

8. The question for consideration in this petition is whether the doctrine of audi alteram parterre could apply to this case. In other words, had the petitioner a right to be heard before any action could be taken by the Government making permanent assignment of lands to some of the political sufferers? This depends upon whether they had acquired any interest in the property. They contend that the answer to this must be in the affirmative because of G. O. No. 1142 dated 8th June 1954.

9. We have to examine the question from the stand-point whether that G. O. had created any right in any of the political sufferers which could be enforced in a Court of law. In our considered opinion, this G. O. should not clothe the political sufferer with any legal right, as it is merely an executive instruction issued for the guidance of the officers who were to carry out the policy of the Government.

10. There is abundant authority for this position. In Krishnamurthy v. Bapanayya, 1936 Andh LT 566: (AIR 1957 Andh Pra 997), Viswanatha Sastry, J., who spoke for the Court, had expressed the opinion that the instructions issued by the Government for the grant of land to political sufferers could not confer any rights which were enforceable in a court of law and the propriety of the decision of the darkhast authority acting within its powers could not be questioned by a civil Court. The learned Judge has referred to the decisions of the Madras High Court which have established this proposition.

11. There is another ruling of this Court which has taken a similar view. In Muralidhar v. State of Audhra Pradesh, : AIR1959AP437 , to which one of us was a party, it was decided that every order passed by the Government would not confer any right or create any liability on any individual or groups of individuals, nor could an action be founded on that in a court of law. This is also the view expressed by our learned brother, Satyanarayana Raju, J., in W. P. No. 582 of 1955, which was confirmed on appeal in W. A. No. 88 of 1958.

12. These decisions receive support from the authoritative pronouncement of the Supreme Court) in Raman and Raman Ltd, v. State of Madras, : AIR1959SC694 . It was ruled by their Lordships that the instructions issued by the Government from time to time under Section 43-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (as amended by the Amendment Act XX of 1948), were in the nature of administrative directions and not rules of law affecting the rights of parties. This judgment also furnishes an answer to the contention of Sri Chowdhary that as these Government Orders were traceable to Arts. 154, 166 and 298 of the Constitution, they should be regarded as 'law within the meaning of Article 13 of the Constitution and consequently any action taken by the Government in derogation of these orders could be questioned in a Court of law. Subba Rao, J., dealing with this argument remarked thus:

'Nor is there any basis for the argument that as the directions are issued under a statutory power they are 'laws'. The source of the power does not affect the character of the things done in exercise of that power. Whether it is a law or an administrative direction depends upon the character or nature of the orders or directions authorised to be issued in exercise of the powers conferred. That should be determined on other circumstances adverted to by us already.'

It is thus clear that this is not a justiciable matter and any departure from these orders does not amount to infringement of any rights of the petitioners. There is no legal injury flowing from the non-adherence to this particular Government Order.

13. The judgment of this Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Gangappa, 1957-2 Andh WR 123: (AIR 1958 Andh Pra 140) does not carry the petitioners any far, for in that case, there was a final assignment by competent authorities and all that was decided there was that under the Dhara-khast rules there was no power which enabled the Government to revise the orders of the Board or Revenue and other subordinate officials. It follows that there is no infraction of the right of the peti- tioners, much less a fundamental right, as complained by the petitioners, in making assignment of these lands to the respondents.

14. It is also apposite in this connection to note that the Government Order issued on the 12th June 1954 in modification of the earlier one, as already pointed out, was not couched in mandatory language but discretion was left to the officers concerned. However, that need not detain us any further, for, as we have already pointed the Government Order in question did not create an absolute right in the petitioners which could be enforced in a court of law.

15. This takes us to the question as to whether the proceedings of the Collector had vested any rights in the petitioners. In our opinion, it had not. As could be seen from the proceedings of the Collector, the assignment was only temporary pending a permanent assignment. In fact, to make a permanent assignment, the procedure indicated in B. S. O. No. 15 has to be followed and a patta would be issued after adopting the procedure laid down by the proper authorities which could only be the basis for the right of the assignee.

There is no provision at all for making a temporary assignment either in the B. S. Os. or in any instructions issued by the Government. Therefore, the petitioners who were to be given possession of the lands for a temporary use, could not complain of any violation of principles of natural justice if no notice was issued to them before making a permanent assignment of the lands. It is also noteworthy that the petitioners had not been given possession of the lands.

AS late as 1956, in a petition presented by them to the Minister concerned, they complained that notwithstanding that orders were passed to give a temporary assignment of lands to them, they were not given possession at all. When they trespassed upon the lands they not having got possession thereof through proper channel the karnam of the place issued a B memo in 1956.

16. For all these reasons, we hold that the petitioners could not challenge the order of the Government which was given effect by the Collector making assignment of the lands to other persons.

17. Another proposition argued by Sri Chowdary on behalf of the petitioners was that the Government Order conferred a benefit on a named class of persons and that particular individuals could not be excluded from the purview of the benefit except on grounds known to Article 14 of the Constitution. This argument is unsubstantial for the reason that no rights accrued to the petitioner from the G. Os. referred to above. That apart, no particular individuals were excluded from the benefits of those G. Os.

The G. O. in question merely directed assignment of lands to particular individuals. As we have already said, the Government reserved to themselves the absolute right to decide as to who a political sufferer was. Indisputably, the unoccupied lands were at the disposal of the Government and, by reason of Article 298 of the Constitution as it stood before the amendment, it was quite competent for the Government to make grants to particular persons.

It could not be urged that every citizen of India or even every political sufferer has a fundamental right to get an assignment of unoccupied lands from the Government. It is only consequent upon the policy enunciated by the Government that some persons, who could be described as political sufferers, could get grant of lands. There is, therefore, no ground for complaint that Article 14 of the Constitution has in any way been violated by the issue of the Government order now challenged.

18. In the result the impugned order of the Government could not be quashed and the writ, petition has to be dismissed. We make no order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //