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Budan Khan Vs. Estate Officer, Hyderabad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Constitution
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 368 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1966AP336
ActsConstitution of India - Article 14; Andhra Pradesh Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1961 - Sections 10; Madras Land Encroachment Act, 1905 - Sections 14
AppellantBudan Khan
RespondentEstate Officer, Hyderabad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK. Jagannadharao, Adv. for ;K. Rangarao and ;N. Anjaneyulu
Respondent AdvocateP. Ramachandra Reddy, 3rd Govt. Pleader
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
constitution - validity of act - article 14 of constitution of india, andhra pradesh public premises (eviction of unauthorised occupants) act, 1961 and madras land encroachment act,1905 - validity of andhra pradesh public premises (eviction of unauthorised occupants) act challenged on grounds that it was more rigorous and less advantageous than madras land encroachment act and violative of article 14 - article 14 forbids class legislation and does not forbid reasonable classification - held, impugned act was not more rigorous or less advantageous and cannot be struck down as offending article 14. - - it was further contended that the impugned act being more drastic and less advantageous than act iii of 1905 the persons like the petitioner would be discriminated from those whose cases.....ekbote, j. 1. this is a petition under article 226 of the constitution of india for the issue of a writ of prohibition restraining the 2nd respondent from proceeding with the ease of eviction against the petitioner under the andhra pradesh public premises (eviction of unauthorised occupants) act, 1961 (hereinafter called the 'impugned act').2. the essential facts in order to appreciate the merits of the contentions raised before us are that the petitioner took on lease a site known as south-east corner plot of victoria zenana hospital, hyderabad from the former government of hyderabad for the purpose of erecting a petrol pump. the rent fixed was o. s. 15/- (rs.) per month. the petitioner thereafter constructed the petrol pump and was carrying on petrol business. subsequently on 24-8-1954.....
Judgment:

Ekbote, J.

1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issue of a Writ of Prohibition restraining the 2nd respondent from proceeding with the ease of eviction against the petitioner under the Andhra Pradesh Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1961 (hereinafter called the 'impugned Act').

2. The essential facts in order to appreciate the merits of the contentions raised before us are that the petitioner took on lease a site known as South-east corner plot of Victoria Zenana Hospital, Hyderabad from the former Government of Hyderabad for the purpose of erecting a petrol pump. The rent fixed was O. S. 15/- (Rs.) per month. The petitioner thereafter constructed the petrol pump and was carrying on petrol business. Subsequently on 24-8-1954 the lease was renewed and the rent agreed to be paid was Rs. 21 per month. In April 1962, the Government of Andhra Pradesh asked the petitioner to pay Rs. 40 per month instead of Rs. 21. With some hesitation the petitioner agreed to pay the rent. Government thereafter asked the petitioner to renew the lease. The petitioner agreed to do so and submitted the necessary stamp paper.

When the draft was shown to him he declined to execute on the plea that the lease as it stood in 1954 should be repeated, and no new term should be added. As the Government was not willing and was insisting on a clause that the Government will be at liberty to evict the petitioner at their pleasure, the petitioner declined to agree to the execution of the lease. Consequently the Government issued a notice under the impugned Act directing the petitioner to show cause why he should not be evicted from the premises. The petitioner therefore has filed this petition questioning the validity of the impugned Act and the jurisdiction of the 2nd respondent to continue the proceedings under the impugned Act.

3. The principal contention of Mr. K. Jagannadharao, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, is that the Madras Land Encroachment Act (Act III of 1905) was extended to Telangana area by G. O. Ms. No. 23-P-2-58 and it came into force in this area from 15-1-1959. In spite of this Act the State Legislature passed the impugned Act in 1961. It is contended that both these Acts occupy the same field at least in so far as 'land is concerned'. It is contended that the authorities concerned are left to an unguided and uncontrolled discretion to pick and choose the Act under which proceedings for eviction against 'unauthorised occupant' should be started. Different persons thus falling under the class or category of unauthorised occupants of public premises would be subject to different procedures, one under Act III of 1905 and the other under the impugned Act. It was further contended that the impugned Act being more drastic and less advantageous than Act III of 1905 the persons like the petitioner would be discriminated from those whose cases would be tried under the more liberal and advantageous Act III of 1905 although all these persons belong to the same class or category of unauthorised occupants of public premises. His submission therefore is that the impugned Act being more drastic and less advantageous is violation of Article 14 and must therefore be struck down. In that view of the submission it is contended that the 2nd respondent would have no jurisdiction to continue the proceedings of eviction against the petitioner.

4. Before we consider the provision of the impugned Act and compare them with the provisions of Act III of 1905, we must remind ourselves of the scope of Article 14 of the Constitution. The scope, content and import of Article 14 of the Constitution has been discussed in several decisions of the Supreme Court and our High Court. It is not therefore necessary to embark upon any fresh investigation. It would be sufficient for the present purposes to say that while Article 14 forbids class legislation, it does not forbid reasonable classification for the purpose of legislation. Article 14 condemns legislation discriminative in character not only by a substantive law but also by a procedural law. Such a discriminative piece of legislation may be found in the law or in two different enactments applicable to the same category of persons in regard to the same subject matter. The permissible classification must however satisfy the two essential tests viz.

(1) that the classification must be found on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from others left out of the group, and (2) that the differentia must have a rational relationship to the object sought to be achieved by the statute in question. Such a classification may rest on different bases. What is however necessary is that there must be a nexus between the basis of such classification and the object of the Act in question.

5. It must be borne in mind that there is always a presumption in favour of constitutionality of the Act and the burden is upon him who attacks it to show that there has been a violation of certain constitutional principles. This is based on the assumption that the Legislature knows the needs of the community and that the discrimination it has made, must have been based on some reasonable and adequate grounds and made in order to meet such needs of the society. It is however plain that if there is nothing on the facts of the impugned law of the surrounding circumstances placed before the court on which the classification may reasonably be regarded as based, the presumption of constitutionality cannot be stretched to the extent of presuming the existence of undisclosed or unknown reasons for any discrimination. It need not perhaps be disputed that if the two enactments in question operate upon the same field and these enactments leave the discretion with the officers concerned to decide as to under what Act the proceedings of eviction are to be initiated and if such a discretion is unchannelled or unregulated, then as the two enactments would apply unequally to persons or things similarly situated, it would certainly be an instance of a direct violation of the constitutional guarantee and the Act which is more rigorous and less advantageous would have to be struck down.

6. In the view which we are taking in this case it is unnecessary to examine in detail whether the two enactments operate in the same field for all the purposes. It is also unnecessary to examine whether the two enactments do not provide any guidance to the officers concerned as to under which enactment, in the circumstances of a particular case, proceedings of eviction should be initiated. It was conceded by the learned Advocates for the parties that in so far as 'land' is concerned, both the Acts apply. Whether these enactments disclose a legislative policy and legal principles which are to control cases arising in this common area, or whether they provide any standard of measure to guide the officers concerned to pick and choose under what Act the action should be initiated in regard to 'land' need not, in the view of ours in this case, be examined in detail. We may however assume, without of course deciding so, that the Acts or rules made thereunder do not give any directions which regulate or guide the exercise of discretion by the officers concerned. Even so, our opinion is that the impugned Act is not more rigorous or less advantageous and it cannot there-fore be struck down as offending Article 14. It is of course clear that if the impugned Act or Act III of 1905 indicates the policy which inspired it and the object which it seeks to attain, the mere fact that the impugned Act does not itself make a precise and complete classification of the persons to which it is to be applied in cases falling within the common field but leaves the selective applications of this or the previous law to be made by the standard indicated or the underlying policy and the object disclosed cannot be a sufficient ground for condemning it as arbitrary and therefore obnoxious to Article 14. As we are of the opinion that even assuming that the two Acts operate in the common field of 'land' in so far as eviction matters are concerned and further assuming that there is no legislative policy or principles incorporated in the two Acts which indicates as to under what Act a particular proceeding should be initiated in so far as the eviction from 'land' is concerned, even then we do not think that the impugned Act is more rigorous and less advantageous and therefore violative of Article 14.

7. Bearing in mind the abovesaid discussion on Article 14 let us examine the two enactments in the light of which it is contended that the impunged Act is more rigorous and less advantageous than the other Act.

8. The object of Act III of 1905 is to provide measures for checking unauthorised occupation of lands which are the property of the Government. What is 'property of Government' is defined in Section 2. A reading of that Section would disclose that if is applicable strictly to Government owned properties and may not perhaps apply to properties which the Government have taken on lease, or properties requisitioned by the Government to which the provisions of the impugned Act are expressly made applicable. Section 3 provides that the Government may levy assessment on the lands unauthorisedly occupied and makes provision for the two categories of 'land' mentioned in that section. It is Section 4 which makes any decision us to the rate or amount of assessment payable under Section 3 conclusive, not open For any challenge in any civil court.

9. Apart from the levy of assessment under Section 3, Section 5 makes each unauthorised occupant liable at the discretion of the officer concerned to pay penalty and makes provision in regard to the two types of 'land' mentioned therein. Section 6, apart from the two modes of treating the unauthorised occupants mentioned previously, permits the Collector to summarily evict such an unauthorised occupant subjecting the crop standing on the land to forfeiture. This Section also provides the manner in which the eviction shall be effected. Section 7 enjoins upon the officer concerned to issue notice calling upon the unauthorised occupants to show cause before any action under Section 5 or Section 6 is taken. Section 8 empowers the Government to make Rules. Section 9 authorises the recovery of assessment or penalty imposed under the Act to be collected as arrears of land revenue. Section 10 which is material for our purpose provides an appeal to the Collector from any decision or order passed by a Tahsildar or a Deputy Tahsildar under the Act and to the District Collector from any decision or order of a Collector passed otherwise than on appeal and to the Board of Revenue from any decision or order of a District Collector passed otherwise than on appeal. The Section also confers powers of revision on District Collector and Board of Revenue in certain cases. The appellate and revisions authorities are also empowered under the Section to stay the execution of the order appealed against or sought to be revised. Section 11 puts certain limitations on appeal. It states that no appeal shall be brought after the expiration of sixty days from the date of the decision or order complained of.

Section 13 saves the operation of other laws in force. According to that Section the person unauthorisedly occupying 'land' can be proceeded under any other law for the time being in force. Section 14 which has been the subject of a good deal of argument is in the following terms :--

'14. Nothing contained in this Act shall be held to prevent persons deeming themselves aggrieved by any proceedings under this Act except as hereinbefore provided, from applying to the civil courts for redress; Provided that the civil courts shall not take cognizance of any suit instituted by such person for any such cause of action unless such suit shall be instituted within six months from the time at which the cause of action arose.

Explanation :-- The cause of action shall be deemed to have arisen ......

(a) In respect of any assessment or penalty, on the date on which such assessment or penalty was levied;

(b) in respect of eviction or forfeiture, on the date of eviction or forfeiture.'

Section 15-A which was inserted by a suitable amendment in 1950 provides that where a lease of land which is the property of the Government expired or is terminated by the Government or any other authority competent in that behalf, the lessee or any other person remaining in possession of the land after such expiry or termination, shall for the purposes of Sections 3 to 15 be deemed to be a person unauthorisedly occupying such land.

10. Coming now to the provisions of the impugned Act it is clear from the aims and object of the Act that the Act was specially designed to meet the extraordinary situation existing in general in regard to the unauthorised occupants of public premises in the State and in particular to a large number of unauthorised occupants including some of the retired Government servants in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It provides for summary eviction of unauthorised occupants from public premises and for the recovery of rent and penalty. Section 2 defines 'Public premises' to mean.

'any premises belonging to or taken on lease or requisitioned by, or on behalf of, the Government.'

It also defines unauthorised occupation which includes persons occupying public premises whether by way of grant or any other mode of transfer under which he was allowed to occupy the premises, and whose period of occupation has expired or the authority to occupy determined for any reason whatsoever. Section 3 empowers the Government to appoint estate officers for the purposes of the Act. According to Section 4 if the estate officer is of opinion that any persons are in unauthorised occupation of any public premises and that they should be evicted, the estate officer shall issue in the manner provided a notice in writing calling upon all persons concerned to show cause why an order of eviction should not be made. It also provides for the content of such notice.

Section 5 authorises the estate officer to direct eviction in case after proper enquiry he is satisfied that the persons should be evicted and if the persons refuse or fall to comply with the order of eviction to take coercive methods to see that eviction takes place. Section 7 empowers the Estate Officer to recover rent or damages in respect of public premises as arrears of land revenue. Section 8 vests the Estate Officer with the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 while trying a suit in respect of matters such as summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath, and requiring the discovery and production of documents and any other matter which may be prescribed. Section 9, which is of great materiality, provides an appeal from every order of the estate officer in respect of any public premises under Section 5 or Section 7 to an appellate Officer who shall be the District Judge of the District in which the public premises are situate or such other judicial officer in that district of not less than ten years' standing as the District Judge may designate in this behalf. This section also provides the limitation within which such appeal must be filed. Section 10 clothes the order of the estate officer or appellate officer passed under the Act with finality, and precludes any body from questioning it in any original suit, application or executive proceeding. Section 13 empowers the Government to make rues. It is Section 14 of this Act which was subjected to some discussion We would therefore reproduce it here;

'14. The provisions of this Act are in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Land Encroachment Act, 1905 (Act III of 1905) so far as they relate to unauthorised occupation of lands belonging to the Government'.

11. On these provisions of the two enactments it was contended by the learned Advocate for Petitioner that the impugned Act is more rigorous and less advantageous in the following respects :

1. The Act III of 1905 permits the aggrieved party one appeal and a revision, while the impugned Act provides only one appeal to the Government.

2. Act III of 1905 provides a remedy of suit to the aggrieved party even in regard to the matters falling within the ambit of the said Act, while the impugned Act bars the remedy of suit in regard to matters decided. We do not think that on these grounds, whether singly or jointly the impugned Act can be said to bo obnoxious to Article 14 of the Constitution.

It is true that the Act III of 1905 provides an appeal as well as a revision, but it must be realised that the original proceedings are tried by a Deputy Tahsildar, or a Tahsildar or Collector, and in such cases the appeal is provided to either the Collector if the original order is that of Deputy Tahsildar and to the District Collector when the order is that of Collector, The District Collector and the Board of Revenue have been clothed with the powers to revise the orders of their subordinates. In the impugned Act on the other hand, although one single appeal is provided that appeal is to the District Judge who would always be an experienced judicial officer trained in judicial matters. It may be that the original authority under the impugned Act, is a Deputy Tahsildar or a Tahsildar, but on matters of fact and law when the Judicial Officer of the District Judge's rank disposes of the matter in appeal, it cannot be said that the impugned Act is more rigorous, simply because it does not provide a revision.

It must be understood that an order of the District Judge is always subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court and that of the Supreme Court. It makes in our opinion very little difference if no revision expressly is provided against the order of the District Judge in appeal under the impugned Act. In the earlier law the revision, as stated already, is to the District Collector or the Board of Revenue against the orders of whom the High Court and the Supreme Court would have always the supervisory powers. Merely because a further revision is not provided in the impugned Act, in the circumstances mentioned above it does not in our opinion make the impugned Act in any way more rigorous or less advantageous in that behalf. On the other hand, our feeling is that when the appeal is disposed of by a District Judge, the impugned Act provides better safeguards to the rights of unauthorised occupants.

12. In this respect it is perhaps profitable to refer to some decisions of the Supreme Court. In State of Orissa v. Dhirendranath Das. (AIR 1961 SC 1715 at p. 1717) relied upon by the counsel for the petitioner, it is decided :

'If the two sets of rules were in operation at the material time when the enquiry was directed against the respondent and by order of the Governor, the enquiry was directed under the Tribunal Rules which are 'more drastic and prejudicial to the interests of the respondent, a clear case of discrimination arises and the order directing enquiry against the respondent and the subsequent proceedings are liable to be struck down as infringing Article 14 of the Constitution.'

This case however tell for consideration in Jannath Prasad v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (AIR 1061 SC 1245 at p. 1252). The learned Judge who had written the opinion in the earlier case, wrote the opinion in this case also. Explaining the circumstances under which the earlier case was decided and examining the various cases he observed at p. 1252 :--

'The fact that an order made by a police authority is made appealable whereas the order passed by the Governor is not made appealable is not a ground on which the validity of the Tribunal Rules can be challenged. In either case, the final order rests with the Governor who has to decide the matter himself. Equal protection of the laws does not postulate equal treatment of all persons without distinction: it merely guarantees the application of the same laws alike and without discrimination to all persona similarly situated. The power of the Legislature to make a distinction between persons or transactions based on a real differentia is not taken away by the equal protection clause. Therefore by providing a right of appeal against the order of police authorities acting under the police regulations imposing penalties upon a member of the police force and by providing no such right of appeal when the order passed is by the Governor, no discrimination inviting the application of Article 14 is practiced.'

In the light of this decision it cannot be said that the discrimination which is prohibited by Article 14 gets attracted so far as the impugned Act is concerned. It does not in our opinion provide anything in a manner prejudicial as compared with another person similarly circumstanced either substantively or procedurally different from the one applicable to the other persons under the previous Act merely because a further revision is not provided.

13. In Kapur Singh v. Union of India, : [1960]2SCR569 their Lordships of the Supreme Court held that by directing an enquiry against a member of the Indian Civil Service who was charged with misdemeanour under the Public Servants (Inquiries) Act, 1950 and not under Rule 55 of the Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules when there was no substantial difference between the material provisions, discrimination was not practised. It was observed at page 498:

'Does the holding of an enquiry against a public servant under the Public Servants (Inquiries) Act 1950, violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution? The appellant submits that the Government is invested with authority to direct an enquiry in one of two alternative modes and by directing an enquiry under the Public Servants (Inquiries) Act which Act it is submitted contains more stringent provisions when against another public servant similarly circumstanced an enquiry under Rule 55 may be directed, Article 14 of the Constitution is infringed.'

14. After comparing the provisions of the two laws their Lordships of the Supreme Court at pages 499 and 500 observed:

'The primary constitutional guarantee, a member of the Indian Civil Service is entitled to is one of being afforded a reasonable opportunity of the content set out earlier, in an enquiry in exercise of powers conferred by either the Public Servants (Inquiries) Act or R. 55 of the Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, and discrimination is not practised merely because resort is had to one of the two alternative sources of authority, unless it is shown that the procedure adopted operated to the prejudice of the public servant concerned. In the case before us, the enquiry held against the appellant is not in manner different from the manner in which an enquiry may be held consistently with the procedure prescribed by Rule 55, and therefore on a plea of inequality before the law, the enquiry held by the Enquiry Commissioner is not liable to be declared void because it was held in a manner though permissible in law, not in the manner, the appellant says, it might have been held.'

The same view is reiterated in another decision of the Supreme Court in State of Orissa v. Bidyabhushan, : (1963)ILLJ239SC . Considering the question of the remedy of appeal their Lordships observed at page 784:

'Under the Classification rules there is a right of appeal from an order imposing a penalty passed by a departmental head to the latter's superior whereas there is no such right of appeal against the order passed by the Governor imposing penalty upon a public servant. But this also cannot be regarded as a ground sustaining a plea of unlawful discrimination.' We are therefore of the opinion that the fact that an order made under the earlier Act is subjected to a further revision whereas an order passed by the District Judge under the impugned Act is not made revisable is not a ground on which the validity of the impugned Act can be challenged. It does not in our opinion result in discrimination contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution.

15. Now in regard to the second contention that the impugned Act takes away the valuable right of the petitioner to test the correctness of the order passed in appeal by the District Judge, or an order passed by the estate officer in a civil court under the ordinary taw, it is plain that this also does not make the impugned Act violative of Article 14. It must be realised that in so far as the 'jurisdictional fact' or 'preliminary fact' is concerned, on the basis of which the officers concerned assume the jurisdiction to proceed under the relevant Act, the right of suit is not taken away. In either case whether the premises occupied by any person is a Government property or public premises will have to be determined. In case it is not a Government or public property, it is obvious that the authority concerned will have no right to determine it finally. No provision of the law was brought to our notice, which makes the decision in regard to the character of the property or the title set up by the person concerned, tree from attack in a civil court. That being a preliminary fact the authority concerned is undoubtedly entitled to determine whether it is a public premises or not, but any order passed in that behalf is not clothed with finality by either of the two Acts. Under the impugned Act under Section 4 if the estate officer is of opinion that any persons are in unauthorised occupation of any public premises and that they should be evicted, he can issue the notice. This involves the formation of a tentative opinion by the estate officer on such materials as he can collect, that a person is in unauthorised occupation of any public premises. It presupposes that the person is in occupation unauthorisedly of a public premises. What is 'public premises' although defined in the act, if disputed, will have to be decided by the estate officer in order to assume jurisdiction. If the person who is alleged to be in unauthorised occupation of any public premises sets up his title, or disputes the title of the Government, it is plain that the estate officer cannot give any decision on that finally. He may determine that question for the purposes of assuming or declining to assume the jurisdiction vested in him under the impugned Act. But his order is not clothed with finality by the Act.

16. In Desika Charyulu v. State of Andh Pra : AIR1964SC807 their Lordships of the Supreme Court approvingly quoted the following passage in The Queen v. Commissioner for Special Purposes of the Income-Tax, (1888) 21 QBD 813 at pp. 319-320 :

'When an inferior court or tribunal or body, which has to exercise the power of deciding facts, is first established by Act of Parliament, the Legislature has to consider what powers it will give that tribunal or body. It may in effect say that, if a terrain state of facts exists and is shown to such tribunal or body before it proceeds to do certain things, it shall have jurisdiction to do such things, but not otherwise. There it is not for them conclusively to decide whether that State of facts exists, and, if they exercise the jurisdiction without its existence, what they do may be questioned and it will he held that they have acted without jurisdiction. But there is another state of things which may exist. The legislature may instruct the tribunal or body with a jurisdiction which includes the jurisdiction to determine whether the preliminary state of facts exists as well as the jurisdiction, on finding that it does exist, to proceed further or do something more. When the legislatures are establishing such a tribunal or body with limited jurisdiction, they also have to consider, whatever jurisdiction they give them, whether there shall be any appeal from their decision, for otherwise there will be none. In the second of the two cases I have mentioned it is an erroneous application of the formula to say that the tribunal cannot give themselves jurisdiction by wrongly deciding certain facts to exist, because the legislatures gave them jurisdiction to determine all the facts, including the existence of the preliminary facts on which the further exercise of their jurisdiction depends, and if they were given jurisdiction so to decide, without any appeal licing given, there is no appeal from such exercise of their jurisdiction.'

In the above Supreme Court case a similar question has arisen. Under the relavant law the settlement officer was empowered to determine whether 'any mam village is 'inam estate or not'. This determination involved two distinct matters in view of the circumstances that every 'inam village'., is not necessarily an 'inam estate' viz., (1) Whether a particular property is or is not an 'inam village and (2) whether such a village is 'an inam estate' within the definition in Section 2(7) of the Estates Abolition Act. It was held by the Supreme Court that 'the first of these questions whether the grant is of an 'inam village' is referred to in Section 9(1) itself as some extrinsic fact which must pre-exist before Settlement Officer can embark on the enquiry contemplated by that provision and the Abolition Act as it stood at the date relevant to this appeal, makes no provision for this being the subject or enquiry by the Settlement Officer.' On the same analogy whether under the impugned Act or under the previous Act, a particular property is a Government Property or a public premises or not, can be decided by the concerned authority for the purposes of assuming or declining to assume jurisdiction under the relevant Act. But this decision can certainly be challenged in a civil court. To that extent therefore in our opinion the right of suit is not taken away by any one of the two Acts. It is however true that while Section 14 of the Act III of 1905 permits the aggrieved party except as against the order passed under Section 4 of the said Act to apply to the civil courts for redress, it must at the same time be realised that Section 14 permits the institution of suits only after the eviction is effected in cases of eviction and in other respects assessment or penalty was levied. A person who is in unauthorised occupancy after his eviction is thus permitted to institute the suit to recover possession which he has already lost under the Act. The remedy of the suit which this Act provides therefore would not protect the unauthorised occupant from his eviction. It is only after he is evicted that he can institute the suit, that too within six months from the date of his eviction.

It is true that in this truncated form and in a limited way Section 14 recognises the right of suit. But Section 10 of the impugned Act which bars the suit in respect of matters decided under the Act falling within the powers of the estate officer, is not, in our opinion, more drastic or less advantageous. If it is remembered that the final order in all such cases can be that of a District Judge who is a trained judicial officer, the remedy of suit particularly in a truncated manner would be of little avail and must necessarily be considered as superfluous. The contention that Section 9 authorises the District Judge to delegate the powers to hear the appeal to any judicial officer of not less than ten years' standing would reduce the importance of an appeal does not seem to us correct. In theory It may be that even a Second Class Magistrate who is also a judicial officer of more than ten years' standing can also be delegated the power to hear the appeal, but in practice we do not think that when the legislature purported to confer the power to hear the appeals on a District Judge, the District Judge would delegate the powers to judicial officers of a very lower rank. The intention of the section appears to be clear that the District Judge is normally expected to designate the Additional District Judge or a person of a similar rank to hear the appeals. Although the Act has come into force in 1961, so far the appeals are being heard only by the District Judges. We do not therefore consider that merely because of a remote possibility of such obnoxious delegation the importance of Section 9 can in any manner be undermined. The Legislature thought, and in our opinion correctly, that when a judicial Officer of the rank of District Judge goes through the case both in regard to facts and law, it is hardly necessary to permit the aggrieved party to institute a regular suit after he is evicted in the limited manner in which the previous Act permits the institution of suits. It would have been a superfluous thing.

After all the suits in such cases would be instituted with the District Munsifs or the Subordinate Judges and in any case would be disposed of in appeal either by the Subordinate Judge in case suits are instituted before the District Munsif and by the District Judge in case the suits are instituted before the Subordinate Judge. In that event, In many cases, the Subordinate Judge would have been the final authority in so far as questions of facts are concerned. In the impugned Act on the other hand, the finality is given to an order of the District Judge passed in appeal. It cannot at the same time be forgotten that against any order of the District Judge on questions of law the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court can always be called in aid by the aggrieved party. We do not therefore consider that merely because Act III of 1905 provides the institution of a suit even in regard to matters falling within the ambit of that Act in a truncated manner and the impugned Act does not so provide the institution of a regular suit, it makes the impugned Act in any manner discriminatory and prejudicial to the interests of the petitioner. It cannot on that count be struck down as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. As stated earlier, the existence or otherwise of the right of appeal has been definitely considered as not the test to find out the invidious discrimination. On the same analogy the existence of a truncated right of suit or otherwise cannot be considered as an invidious discrimination between the same class of persons particularly when the impugned Act confers the right to hear the appeal by a District Judge. We are therefore satisfied that on both these counts the impugned Act cannot be attacked as obnoxious to Article 14 of the Constitution, and in our opinion there is no substantial difference between the material provisions of the two Acts. The impugned Act therefore is good and valid. Consequently the proceedings initiated by the 2nd respondent against the petitioner cannot be said to have been initiated without having any jurisdiction in that behalf. In this view of the case we cannot decide whether the lease in question is compulsorily registerable or not or that it is a permanent lease or a lease for an indefinite period, or a lease determinable at any time by the Government. These are matters, which fall within the jurisdiction of the Estate Officer and any order of the estate officer is subjected to an appeal to the District Judge.

17. For all these reasons, we find no substance in this Writ application. We dismiss therefore this application with costs. GovernmentAdvocate's fee Rs. 100.


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