1. There is considerable force in the point made on behalf of the petitioner (S. K. Nanne Saheb) that the order passed by the Government in G. O. Ms. No. 377 Rev. dated 7-3-1963, whereby he was informed that the site measuring 20 `x18' sq. ft. in S. No. 35/5 C1 A1 of Kurnool Town, was not available for assignment, was made behind his back without any notice to him, and as such it is liable to be set aside.
2. Some two years before that, the Board of Revenue by its Reference, Rt. No. 1318/61 dated 17-1-1961 accepted the proposal for assignment of the land in question to the petitioner and the Collector was requested to take action to assign the site to the petitioner. Thereafter by D. Dis. No. 22/61 dated 16-5-1961 the petitioner was asked by the Collector was deposit the market value of the land at Rs. 5 per square yard. This the petitioner did on 19-5-1961 and the Sub Treasury Officer, Kurnool, issued a certificate saying: `Certified that Sri Nanne Saheb has credited an amount of Rs. 200 in Chalan No. 1741 dated 19-5-1961 under the head of A/C VII L. R. Mis.' Thereafter it would appear one Abdul Samad filed a revision petition before the Government and the Government issued G. O. Ms. No. 377 Rev. dated 7-3-1963, pursuant to which the Collector passed the following order:
'The petitioner Sri Abdul Samad and applicant Sri S. K. Nanne Saheb are informed that the site measuring 20' x 18' sq. ft. in S. No. 35/5 C1 A1 of Kurnool Town applied for assignment by the latter, is not available for assignment'.
This order, virtually cancelling the previous order of the Board of Revenue, was made without even giving notice to the petitioner to enable him to meet the allegations made by Abdul Samad in his revision petition to the Government. Whether the action taken by the Government be deemed judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative, is of little consequence because the duty to act fairly should govern administrative action as such as judicial action. One of the requisites of fair-play is that before an order affecting the rights of a person is made, he should be given an opportunity to state his case and make his representation, and more so in a case like the present, where some two years before the impugned order was made, the Board of Revenue sanctioned the assignment of the land in question to the petitioner.
3. In this connection the observation made by Lord Parker, Chief Justice of England, in recent case in H. K. (An infant), In re, 1967-1 All ER 226 DC at p. 231 are instructive. The Lord Chief Justice observed as follows in a case in which the action taken by the immigration authorities against an immigrant who, they thought, was minor, came up for consideration:
I doubt whether it can be said that the immigration authorities are acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity as those terms are generally understood. At the same time, however, I myself think that even if an immigration officer is not acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity, he must at any rate given the immigrant an opportunity of satisfying him of the matters in the sub-section, and for that purpose let the immigrant know what his immediate impression is so that the immigrant can disabuse him. That is not, as I see it, a question of acting or being required to act judicially, but of being required to act fairly. Good administration and an honest or bona fide decision must, as it seems to me, require not mere impartiality, nor merely bringing one's mind to bear on the problem, but of acting fairly, and to the limited extent that the circumstances of any particular case allow, and within the legislative frame-work under the administrator is working, only to that limited extent do the so-called rules of natural justice apply, which in a case such as this is merely a duty to act fairly.'
4. Since this salutary principle was not observed in this case, I would allow this writ petition, set aside the order the Government made in G. O. Ms. No. 377 Rev. dated 7-3-1963, and direct the Government to reconsider the revision petition preferred by Abdul Samad, after giving notice to the petitioner (S. K. Nanne Saheb). In the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.
5. Petition allowed.