Madhava Rao, J.
1. In this batch of writ petitions notifications issued under S. 4 of the Andhra Pradesh irrigation projects (Special land tax) Act, 1976 (hereinafter called the special land tax Act ) are challenged on the ground that hte impugned notifications are invalid and have to be quashed.
2. The facts stated in the writ petitions are almost common. In almost all the writ petitions the issue of the notifications under S. 4 of the special land Tax Act is attacked on the ground that before the issue of the notifications. The Government has not formed any opinion but notification were issued by the commissioner, alnd revenue and the district collectors to appreciate this point it is necessary to examine the scheme of the Act. The statement of objects and reasons discloses that the special land Tax Act was enacted as it was found that the Andhra pradesh Irrigation (levy of Betterment contribution and Advance Betterment contribution) Act, 1955 could not be implemented effectively in view of the fact that the procedure laid down therein for determination of betterment contribution has proved cumbersome. There after for the purpose of developing the ayacuts under the projects costing more than Rs. 30 Lkhs in the scheduled area and Rs. 25 lakhs in other areas this special land Tax Act was enacted. There are several projects in the state Therefore, it was thought that before the special land tax is imposed the provisions of theis Act should be applied. S. 3 provides that from the commencement of this Act, the Government shall be entitled to levy and collect in respect of every land the owner of which in their opinion is benefited or is capable of being benefited by any irrigation work, the costs of which exceeds in the case of scheduled areas thirty lakhs of rupees and in other cases twenty five lakhs or rupees a special land tax in the fasli year in which the notification under S. 4 is issued. After this opinion is formed by the Government the notification is issued under S. 4 s. 4 provides that the district collector shall specify from time to time by notification for the purpose of this Act, the irrigation works and the lands under the commands of th ayacut thereof lying within his jurisdiction and where any of the said irrigation works and the lands under the commandable ayacut lies in more than one district such notification shall be issued by the Borad of Revenue. Thus it is evident that until and unless the Government forms an opinion in respect of the irrigation projects under which the special assessment tax has to be imposed neither the district collector nor the commissioner, land revenue could issue a notification in respect of those areas.
3. In the instant case several notifications are issued by the District collector as well as the commissioner, land revenue in respect of various ayacuts under the projects. It is submitted that all these notifications are invalied as the Government has not formed any opinion in respect of levy of special tax for the lands under these projects. The Government has filed counters in some cases. No material is placed before us to show that the Government has formed the opinion before the issue of the notifications under S. 4 by the district collector as well as the commissioner, land revenue therefore it is clear that such notifications could not have been issued without the prior approval of the Government in the sense that unless the Government has formed the opinion ot levy special land tax on the lands, no such notification could have been issued by the District Collector or the commissioner, Lnad revenue we see sufficient force in the submission made in this regard. Raghuvir J had to deal with same points in a batch of caes in W.P. Nos 521 of 1978 and batch on 15-2-1980. The learned judge also took the view that in the instant case the legislature to sum up the discussion under Act XXXV of 1976 levy of special land Tax is left to the opinion of the state Government therefore without reference to the orders of the state Government, the tax cannot be imposed by mere publication under S. 4 of the Act. The Revenue authorities including the respondents have failed to show any order of the state Government pertaining to the lands of the villages in the batch of that writ petitions. Having found that the opinion of the Government was not available, the notifications issued under S. 4 were struck off in all those writ petitions. In the instant case also we find that the Government has not formed the opinion and therefore the notifications issued under section 4 of the said Act have to be quashed in this view of the matter it is not necessary for us to go into the merits of the individual cases. The impugned notifications are therefore, quashed and the writ petitions are allowed. There will be no order as to costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 75/- in each.
4. This will not preclude the Government from taking such steps under the Act as they want in the light of the provisions of the Act.
5. Petitions allowed.