1. This appeal is from the judgment of our learned brother , Chinnappa Reddy , J. given in W.P. No. 5183 of 1970 on 22-11-1971.
2. The facts lie in a narrow compass and are not in dispute. The Settlement Officer, Chittoor initiated a suo motu inquiry to determine the question whether the village of Tirumalapuram in Dharmavaram Taluk , Anantapur District is an inam village in an inam estate. After a proper inquiry, the Settlement Officer by his order dated 28-1-1950 reached the conclusion that the grant was of a whole village within the meaning of Section 3 (2) (d) of the Madras Estates Land Act. He further found that it was not the melwaram alone that was granted but both the warams were granted. As a result of these findings the Settlement Officer held that the village Tirumalapuram is not an inam estate within the meaning of the Inam Abolition Act.
3. No appeal as against this order was filed by anybody.
4. In the meanwhile, the 1957 amendment came in whereby Section 9 (4) of the Abolition Act was amended and in 1960 Section 9-A was introduced.
5. It is relevant to note that sub-section (3) of Section 1 as originally amended by Section 12 of Act XXXV of 1956 was substituted by Section 2 of Act XVIII of 1957. The Estates Abolition Act was thus applied to all estates as defined in Section 3, clause (2) of the Madras Estates Land Act of 1908. The result of this was that inam village which by virtue the Madras Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act XVIII of 1936 had become an estate was also brought within the purview of the Estates Abolition Act.
6. The Government in G.O. Ms. No. 5 dated 4-1-1968 has issued a notification under Section 1 (4) of the Estates Abolition Act. It is to challenge this notification that the writ petition was filed. A writ of certiorari was sought to quash the said notification on the ground that it was illegal and without jurisdiction and that the Settlement Officer's order dated 28-1-1950 having become final such notification could not have been issued.
7. The learned Judge after observing that in the instant case the Settlement Officer had expressly found that the grant was of an inam village or of a whole village , that it was not an estate as it was not shown that the grant was only of melawaram, observed that since the petitioner did nor choose to prefer any appeal in pursuance of Section 9-A of the Estates Abolition Act, the Government had the right to issue the impugned notification. It is this view that is now assailed in this writ appeal.
8. The question, therefore is whether the Settlement Officer's order has become final and in view of its finality the Government could not have issued the notification which it has now issued.
9. Any answer to this question naturally turns on what construction we place upon Section 9-A.
10. A careful and analytical reading of this section would indicate that in order to attract the main provision , firstly a decision under Section 9 must have been given by the Settlement Officer before the commencement of Estates Abolition Act XVIII of 1957. Secondly , such a decision must be in respect of any village that it was not an inam estate as it stood before the commencement of the Act XVIII of 1957, and thirdly , that such a decision must have been based on the finding that the inam village became an estate by virtue of the Madras Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act XVIII of 1936. It is only when all the three things are satisfied that certain consequences follow and which are enumerated in clauses (a), (b) of that section.
11. If the decision referred to in the main Section was given by the Tribunal under Section 9 (4) of the Abolition Act, then no fresh enquiry under that section shall be necessary for taking any proceedings under the Act on the basis of that finding. In other words , since the Tribunal after enquiry had already given finding that the inam village became an estate under the 1936 Act, then the inquiry having been already completed , no fresh enquiry has been found necessary.
12. If, on the other hand , the decision based on the said finding was given by the Settlement Officer and no appeal against such a decision was filed to the Tribunal, then the Government or any person aggrieved can prefer appeal to the Tribunal against such a decision and finding. A longer period of limitation to appeal for the Government and a shorter one for the aggrieved party have been prescribed.
13. Clause (b) further declares that if no such appeal is filed within the said period , the finding of the Settlement Officer is final and no fresh enquiry shall be necessary for taking any proceedings under the Act on the basis of that finding.
14. It is in these contexts that the marginal note 'Enquiry under Section 9 not necessary in certain cases' becomes quite relevant.
15. We have already noticed that against the decision of the Settlement Officer under Section 9 in the instant case no appeal was preferred to the Tribunal either by the Government or by the aggrieved party. The decision of the Settlement Officer , therefore , if it comes under Section 9-A, became final.
16. The question, however, is whether the said decision of the Settlement Officer satisfies the three main requirements of the main Section 9-A. While the first two requirements can be said to have been fully satisfied in the instant case, we are of the opinion that the third requirement is not at all satisfied. To put it differently, while it is clear that the decision was given by the Settlement Officer under Section 9 of the Act before the commencement of Act XVIII of 1957 and that the decision regarding the village was that it was not an inam estate as it stood before the commencement of Act XVIII of 1957, the decision clearly is not based on the finding that the inam village 'became an estate by virtue of the Madras Estates Land Act (XVIII of 1936).' The contention that because it is found that the grant was of both the warams, therefore, it would amount to finding that it became an estate by virtue of 1936 Act is not convincing. It had to be conceded that in express terms the finding as required is not given. We are satisfied that even by implication we cannot read the decision as giving any finding that the inam village became an estate by virtue of 1936 Act. In this connection, it is of interest to know the intention of the legislature in enacting Section 9-A. Notes on clauses 2, 3 and 12 which were submitted to the Assembly read as under :
'Clauses 2, 3, and 12. By virtue of the amendments made to the Abolition Act by Andhra Pradesh Act XVIII of 1957 all post-1936 inam village were also brought within the purview of the Abolition Act. Several of these villages were the subject-matter of inquiries held under Section 9 of the Act, before amending Act of 1957 was passed. The decisions at these inquiries were to the effect that these village were not inam estates under the Act as it then stood because they were found to be post-1936 inams. In view of these findings, a fresh inquiry now will virtually be a duplication of procedure, involving avoidable waste of time and labour. The Government have therefore, decided that all much there was a finding in an inquiry held under Sec. 9 prior to the commencement of Andhra Pradesh XVIII of 1957 that they were post-1936 inams can be notified under Section 1 (4) of the Abolition Act and taken over based on such finding without fresh inquiries being conducted under Section 9 of the Act. Clause 3 of the Bill makes necessary provisions for the purposes and clause 12 also validates all such notifications so far issued on this bases.'
17. In the light of this passage, can it be said that the Settlement Officer has found that the inam village was a post-1936 inam village.' We do not think that the finding of the Settlement Officer can be equated to any such finding.
18. What follows, therefore, is that since there is no such finding given by the Settlement Officer the third requirement to apply Section 9-A is not fulfiled and consequently Section 9-A does not apply. Even if, therefore, no appeal is preferred either by the Government or by the aggrieved party, provisions of Section 9-A would not entitle the Government to issue a notification under Section 9 (4) of the Estates Abolition Act.
19. What then is the effect of the decision of the Settlement Officer That does not, in our view, follow that even though Section 9-A is not applicable squarely it falls under Section 9 (3) of the Act. Section 9 empowers Settlement Officer to determine suo motu also whether any inam village in his jurisdiction is an inam estate or not. In the exercise of this undisputed jurisdiction, the Settlement Officer determined that the inam village is not an inam estate under Section 9 (3). Since no appeal was preferred under Section 9 (4) as it stood then, or under Section 9 (4) (a) (I) as amended against the determination of the Settlement Officer to the Tribunal either by the Government or by the aggrieved party, under Section 6 of the Act the decision became binding on all concerned. It cannot be disputed that when this decision of the Settlement Officer that it is not an inam estate has become final, the Government cannot have jurisdiction or power to issue the impugned notification under Section 1 (4) of the Act.
20. It is seen that while Section 9 (4) (a) is a general provision. Sec. 9-A is a special provision applicable in certain cases. In our view, since the special provision. Section 9-A is not attracted, it must follow that the general provision. Section 9 (4) (a) (I) alone must apply. Since no appeal was preferred, that judgment under Section 9 (4) became final and binding. Since enquiry has been completed, no fresh enquiry is postulated. The issue of the notification under Section 9 (4) is, therefore without any jurisdiction and is liable to be quashed.
21. We would accordingly allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the learned Judge and quash the notification by the issue of a writ of certiorari. The appellant will get his costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/- in each Court.
22. Appeal allowed.