S. Reddy, J.
1. The social welfare measure and so the social justice is stultified to derelict observance of the procedural law. The consequences, however, are appalling, which will be apparent from the text of the judgement which presently follows.
2. Poor people erected some huts on the pavements and road margins, which became the cause for not only hazardous traffic problems but also accidents of serious nature. Faced with this, a suitable site in the vicinity was sought to be acquired under the land Acquisition Act by simultaneously invoking the urgency clause. Hence the emergence of the notification dated 3- 2- 1978 under section 4 and 17 of the Act, which is subjected to challenge in this writ petition. The notification is assailed primarily on the ground that the notification published on the official Gazette has neither been signed nor approved by the 'District revenue officer, and non- compliance of the same would vitiate the entire notification.
3. Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act reads:
'Whenever it appears to the appropriate Government that land in any locality is needed or is likely to be needed for any public purpose, a notification to that effect shall be published in the official Gazette, and the collector shall cause notification to be given at convenient places in the said locality.'
By the Land Acquisition (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 1976 (Act No. 22 of 1976), in section 4(1), after the words 'appropriate Government', the words 'or the District collector' have been inserted. Though in the counter it has been averred that the collector, west Godavari, Eluru in Roc. k- (SW) 16715/ 78, Revenue, dated 28-1-1978, has approved the draft notification , from a perusal of the record called for, it is evident that it has been approved nor sighed by the 'District collector'. The contention, in defence, is that the notification is still good, for the reason that the power 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 of the Andhra Pradesh District collectors' powers (Delegation) Act, 1961. we will. therefore, examine whether the contention of the Government pleader has any force.
4. 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 authorisation. 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 power 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 exercise his powers, the joint collector or other officer authorised under this section shall not exercise his powers in respect of the same case.'
5. G. O. Ms. No. 77 has been issued under the aforesaid provision; paragraph 2 (1) thereof clearly says:-
'.................. All correspondence in the 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 clause 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.............'
Under paragraph 3, the Government approved the distribution of work 'between the collector, the District Revenue officer, and the Personal Assistant to the collector' as proposed by the Board of Revenue officers, item 17 is 'land acquisition'. It reads as follows:-
'17. Land Acquisition:
(1) The land Acquisition Act (central Act I of 1894);
(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 CL. (6) of section 3. It reads as follows:-
'(6) Collector: '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, therefore, manifest that the powers to be exercised by the 'Collector' . According to paragraph 2 (1) of G. O. Ms. 77. where a power has been vested in the ' District collector' as defined by section 3 (8) of the Andhra Pradesh General clauses Act, by any statue, in such cases, the final orders can be passed only by the District collectors and none else, preliminaries though could be done by some other officer, Now, Act 22 of 1976, which amends the central Act, speaks of the 'District collector' and not of 'collector'. The power to issue a notification a fortiori vests only in the ;District collector' under section 4. since, in scrutiny, it transpires that the notification has not received the approval of the District collector but has been approved and signed by the District Revenue officer, it cannot be held to be a valid one. The same is the view held to be a valid one. The same is the view held by a Division Bench of this court in W. P. No. 5414 of 1978 dated 16-4-1979 (reported in AIR1979 Andh pra 164). Consequently, the impugned notification is quashed and the writ petition is allowed. No costs. Advocate's fee Rs.150.
8. Petition allowed.