(1) This is an application under Art. 227 of the Constitution of India to revise an order of the Revenue Divisional Officer, Guntur, registering the appointment of one Rachapudi Seetharamanjaneya Sarma, 2nd respondent in this petition, as a minor Village Munsif in the vacancy created by the death of one Panakala Rao on 3-10-1953, acting under S. 13 of Madras Act II of 1894.
(2) The learned Counsel for the 'petitioner attacks the validity of the registry on the following grounds: His client is the third of three daughters left by the deceased Village Munsif, and she is fully qualified under the Act for appointment. Her rights were ignored by the Executive Officer, Pushpagiri Mutt, who submitted the name of the 2nd responodent as the person entitled to the office. Mr. Veerabhadrayya contends that the Executive Officer, Pushpagiri Mutt is not the proprietor of the village in question and the nomination submitted by him to the Revenue Divisional Officer under S. 13 is not a proper or valid nomination, and the Revenue Divisional Officer has no power to register the name so submitted.
I cannot accede to this contention. There is nothing before me to indicate that the Executive Officer, Pushpagiri Mutt, is not the registered proprietor of this village. Indeed, no evidence has been produced in support of the contention that he is not the proprietor. On the other hand the scheme relating to the Mutt, to which Mr. Srinivasa Rao appearing on behalf of the Government Pleader drew my attention, clearly indicates that he is the person who conducts all the affairs of the Mutt, and who is law, is the person entrusted with the management of the institution.
I have no reason to suppose that the Officers concerned with this matter overlooked the fact that the Executive Officer is not the proprietor in respect of this village. I must assume, in the absence of proof to the contrary, that official acts are done in accordance with rules and regulations governing them. I therefore reject this contention.
(3) It is next argued that the supersession of the petitioner by registry of the name of the 2nd respondent as the holder of the office is invalid on the ground that it contravenes the provisions of S. 10(3) of the Act. It is argued that he elder sisters arenot qualified for appointment because of their not having passed thenecessary test prescribed fr the office, and it is contended further that they relinquished their rights in favour of the petitioner.
The petitioner, therefore, claims to be the only daughter, entitled to the appointment because she was fully qualified for the appointment at the time when it was actually made. I cannoty see my way to accept this contention. No evidence was adduced before the Revenue Divisional Officer that the present petitioner was qualified for appointment at the time when the Registry was made. The name of the 2nd respondent was submitted by the Executive Officers as early as 15-11-1953, while a certificate hasnow been produced before me to indicate that the petitioner became fully qualified sometime in May, 1954.
That being so, it is clear that when, the proprietor submitted the name of 2nd respondent there was no person among the nearest heirs of the deceased holder of the office, who could be said to be qualfiied under S. 10(1) of the Act. That being so, sub-s. (3) to S. 10 applied, which runs as follows:
'Where the next heirs to an hereditary village-office is not qualified undersub-s. (1), the proprietor shall appoint the person next in order of succession who is so qualified, and in the absence of any such person in the line of succession, may appoint any person duly qualified under sub-s. (1).'
In my view, if there is no person qualified under sub-s. (1) for the appointment among the nearest heirs, the appointment cannot be held in abeyance until one of them becomes qualfied, and the proprietor is bound to appoint the person next in order as succession, who is so qualified . Of course, the Act does not provide for the supersession of a minor on the ground of any such disqualificatioin. Therefore, when people are passed over on the ground disqualification and there is a minor who is next in succession, the minor will have to be registered by the Revenue Divisional Officer under S. 13 on the submission of the name by the proprietor.
No person whohas been superseded under sub-s. (S) of S. 10 can have a valid ground to complain unless he can establish that at the time when the appointment was made he or she was fully qualified to hold the office. That proof is wanting in this case. No affidavit has been filed, either here or before the Revenue Divisional Officer, and indeed no atempt has been made to estalish any of the facts alleged.
The application actual made to the Revenue Divisional Officer by the petitioner is dated 5-10-1953, and that mentions only that she passed the necessary tests only in part. No subsequent application of hers, either to the proprietor or to the Revenue Divisional Officer, has been brought to my notice.
(4) Apart from these difficulties involved in the merits of the claim advanced by the petitioner, it appears to me that this is not a case for intereference under Art. 227 of the Constitutioin. In the first instance, in all cases where a person wants to question the validity of an appointment under this Act, he can file a suit before the Collector, whose powers are vested in the Revenue Divisional Officer, under S. 13 of Act III of 1895.
It has also been held by a Bench of the Madras High Court in -- 'Srinivasa Ayyanagar v. Jagannatha Ayyangar', AIR 1938 Mad (A), that the Order of the Revenue Divisional Officer is even subject to revision by the District Collector. The suit under S. 13 is also to be filed before the Revenue Divisional Officer, and there is no reason why when a remedy is available ebfore the same authority, which is at least equally convenient and inexpensive, the powers of this Court under Art. 227 should be invoked.
Further, it seems to be doubtful whether the Revenue Divisional Oficer could be said to be acting as a Tribunal of registering the name of the minor as the holder of the Office under S. 13 of the Act. He merely accepts the name submitted by the proprietor and enters it in official recrods for the purpose of evidence. He is not the appointing authority, the appointing authority, as is clear from the provisions of S. 10, being the proprietor himself.
Article 227 of the Constitution confers jurisdiction only in respect of Courts and Tribunals unlike Article 226 which refers to any person or authority. It seems tome, therefore, that the maintainability of the present application for revision under Art. 227 is open to serious doubt.
(5) For all these reasons, I dismiss the Civil Revision Petition, but make no order as to costs.
(6) Any observations of mine relating to the merits of the case will not be understood as affecting the rights of the petitioner, because these observations are primarily based not on evidence but on its absence.
(7) Revision dismissed.