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G. Ramappa and ors. Vs. Secretary to the Revenue Dept. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 1017 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1959AP318
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 226 and 227; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 47, Rule 1
AppellantG. Ramappa and ors.
RespondentSecretary to the Revenue Dept. and ors.
Appellant AdvocateA. Bhujanga Rao and ;C. Pattabhiram Rao, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateP. Ramachandra Reddy, 3rd Govt. Pleader and ;K. Venkataramayya, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....- government passed order reassigning village land to him - writ petition filed for quashing andhra pradesh government order provisionally assigning lands to third respondent - high court did not admit petition either under articles 226 or 227 - writs to be issued on infringement of fundamental rights or any other legal right under article 226 - high courts cannot issue writs if alternate remedy available - petitioners failed to establish legal right - alternate remedy also available to petitioners - power of superintendence under article 227 to be used most sparingly only in appropriate cases - no case for issuance of writ made out under article 226 or 227 - writ petition dismissed. - - 512/2a/2, 512/2b and 472/2 excluding the portion of a site occupied by the poor harijans..........under article 226 of the constitution for quashing the order passed by the government of andhra pradesh in memorandum no. 43778-b/57-1 dated 24-9-1957 directing the provisional assignment to the 3rd respondent of the tends in survey nos. 512/2a/2, 512/2b and 472/2 excluding the portion of a site occupied by the poor harijans in the village of t. sodam in chittoor district.2. the case of the petitioners is that in 1950, the 3rd respondent herein was provisionally assigned certain poramhoke lands in t. sodam village and that upon the representations made by the villagers, the tahsildar, madanapalli submit led a report, e 1-9909/53 dated 13-10-1955 and that the sub-collector by his proceedings d. dis, no. 19161/55 dated 20-10-1955 cancelled the provisional assignment except in.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Umamaheswaram, J.

1. This is an application under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing the order passed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in Memorandum No. 43778-B/57-1 dated 24-9-1957 directing the provisional assignment to the 3rd respondent of the tends in Survey Nos. 512/2A/2, 512/2B and 472/2 excluding the portion of a site occupied by the poor Harijans in the village of T. Sodam in Chittoor District.

2. The case of the petitioners is that in 1950, the 3rd respondent herein was provisionally assigned certain poramhoke lands in T. Sodam village and that upon the representations made by the villagers, the Tahsildar, Madanapalli submit led a report, E 1-9909/53 dated 13-10-1955 and that the Sub-Collector by his proceedings D. Dis, No. 19161/55 dated 20-10-1955 cancelled the provisional assignment except in regard to Survey No. 273/1.

Thereupon the 3rd respondent preferred an appeal to the Collector, and the Collector of Chittoor in D. Dis. No. 23514/55 dated 1-9-1956 substantially dismissed the appeal. In regard to an extent of about 1 1/2 acres of land under the cultivation of the 3rd respondent in S. No. 512/2A/2 and S. No. 512/2B, the appeal was allowed. By Memorandum No. 454-B/56-7, dated the 26th of March 1957, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, Revenue Department, dismissed the application of the 3rd respondent and confirmed the order of the Collector.

But, on a fresh application dated 22-4-57 filed by the 3rd respondent for reconsidering the Government Memo No. 454-B/56-57, dated the 26th of March 1957, the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Revenue Department, passed an order on 34th of September, 1957 in Memorandum No. 43778-B/57-1 dated the 24th of September 1957 in the following terms:

'Government of Andhra Pradesh Revenue Department. Memorandum No. 43778-B/57-1, dated 24th September, 1957.

Subject: Assignment - land - grant to political sufferers - (Chittoor) - Madanapalli talug -T. Sodam (village) S. No. 513/2-A-2 etc,, grant _confirmation.

Ref: 1. Govt. Memo No. 454-8,56-57, dated 26-3-57

2 From Sri P. Subrahmanyachari, Petition, dt. 22-4-57.

In modification of the order issued in the Government Memorandum first cited, the Government direct that the provisional assignment of the lands in S. Nos. 512/2A/2, 512-2B, 278/1 and 472/2 of T. Sodam Village in Chittoor District, made to the political sufferer, Sri P. Subrahmanyachari be con-finned, except for the portion of the site occupied by the poor Harijans. The Collector of Chiltoor is re-quesied to take action accordingly.

The petitioner is referred to the Collector of Chitioor for orders on his petition.

J. Ramaswamy,

Assistant Secretary to Government.'

The petitioners thereupon filed the above writ before this Hon'ble Court.

3. The contentions raised by Sri A. Bhujenga Rao, the learned advocate for the petitioners, were:

(i) that under the Board's Standing Orders, the Government of Andhra Pradesh had no jurisdiction to entertain an appeal or revision as against the order of the Collector of Chittoor dated 1-9-1956:

(2) that even assuming that the Government of Andhra a Pradesh had such Jurisdiction it had power to review the earlier order passed in March 1957; (3) that the order passed in September 1957 was vitiated by reason of no notice being given to the villagers who objected to the assignment of the land in favour of the 3rd respondent, and Justly (4) that the order was vitiated as no reasons me given for reviewing and going behind the earlier order passed in March 1957.

On behalf of the Government and the 3rd respondent, two preliminary objections were raised viz, that the petitioners were not entitled to maintain, the application for the issue of a writ of Certiorari under Article 226 of the Constitution inasmuch as they had no legal rights in the poramboke lands and (2) that they had an alternative remedy by way of suit As I am inclined to uphold the preliminary objections, I think it is unnecessary to deal with the merits of the application in detail.

4. Construing the language of Article 226 of the Constitution, Kama C. J, held in State of Orissa v. Madan Gopal, : [1952]1SCR28 :

'The language of the Article shows that the issuings of writs or directions by the court is founded only on its decision that a right of the aggrieved party under part III of the Constitution (Fundamental Rights) has been infringed. It can also issue writs or give similar directions for any other purpose. The concluding words of Article 226 have to no read in the context of what proceeds the same. Therefore the existence of the right is the foundation of the exercise of jurisdiction of the Court under this Article.'

The same view was laid down by a Division Bench of the Madras High Court in In re, Ramamoorthi, : AIR1953Mad94 . The learned Judges held that the petitioner should have a personal and direct interest in the matter in respect of which he made the application, and repelled the contention that it was the duty of the court to interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution whenever any violation of any of the provisions of the Constitution were brought to the notice of the Court 'Pro Bono Publice' by any citizen of the State. The relevant observations are at page 95 and are as follows:

'Our power under Article 226 or the Constitution can only be invoked at the instance of a person who has 'a personal grievance against any act of the State in its executive capacity which inflicts a legal injury on him. It has been held over and over again both in the United States of America and an this country that the right which is the foundation of a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution Or a corresponding provision is a personal and individual right.'

The view taken by the Allahabad High Court in S. Barrow v. State of U. P., 0043/1958 : AIR1958All154 that the terms of Article 226 are wide enough to authorise the High Court to quash an order suo motu is opposed to the decisions referred to supra and I am not inclined to follow that decision. The view taken by the Madras High Court was accepted as a rule of guidance applicable to ordinary cases by a Division Bench of this Court in Srikishan v. State of Andhra Fradesh. 1957-2 Andh WR 43: ((S) AIR 1957 Andh Pra 734).

The learned Judges left open the question whether in-extra ordinary cases

'where for instance an Act is passed by the parliament or by a Legislature in excess of its constitutional power reshaping the map of India...........a citizen of India, who lived his lifetime as a permanent resident of one of the States abolished, has no personal interest to maintain an application.'

Applying the observations in the above cases, it is necessary to consider whether the petitioners who arc the villagers of T. Sodam Village, have sustained any legal injury by reason of the assignment of the poramboke lands by the Government to the 8rd respondent.

5. In Venkatasami v. Chenga Reddi, AIR 1930 Mad 621, it was pointed out by Wallace J. that :

'It is now well settled law that the mere, registry of land in a village as a particular kind of poramboke creates no vested right in the villagers to hold it as such against Government. Such registry implies no kind of dedication or trust or any recognition of a vested right or user.'

Reference was made by the learned Judge to his earlier judgment in S. A. No. 692 of 1926 (Mad) (unreporled) wherein he dealt with a case of grazing ground poramboke. This decision was followed by Walsh J. in Rudrappa v. Dasan, AIR 1933 Mad 610. The learned Judge held that the registration of the land as cattle-stand in the settlement registers did not imply any grant to the villagers.

The decision in Collector of Godavari v. Pedda Rangayya, 4 Mad LT 440 to the effect that according to the common law of the country, ihe control of the gramanatham vests in the revenue authorities and that they are at liberty to grant portions of it at their discretion to persons who apply for it was followed. All the relevant authorities hearing on this question were discussed by Viswanatha Sastry J, in a Bench judgment of this Court in Krishnamurthy v. Bapanayya, 1956 Andh LT 566 : (AIR 1957 Andh Pra 997).

The learned Judge held at page 574 (of Andh LT): (at p. 1001 of AIR) that unless the villagers had acquired rights 'in or over the land either under a grant, proved or presumed, 01 by custom or by prescription, they could not complain of any legal injury resulting from the assignment of the poramboke by the Government to this first defen-' dant'. As I am bound by this Bench decision, T must hold that unless the petitioners establish their legal rights in the poramboke lands 'under a grant, proved or presumed, or by custom or by prescription', the writ must fail.

6. It was contended on behalf of the petitioners that inasmuch as both the Revenue Divisional Officer and the Collector heard them in pursuance of the Board's Standing Orders prior to the cancellation of the provisional assignment in favour of the 3rd respondent, they must be held to be parties aggrieved by the order passed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. I am not inclined to accept this contention. No legal rights have accrued to them by reason of the subordinate revenue authorities hearing their representations or objections (vide the authorities referred to supra negativing any such legal right in them in Government poramboke lands).

7. As the petitioners have also an alternative remedy by way of suit, it is not necessary to exercise the extraordinary and discretionary power under Article 226 of the Constitution.

8. It was next sought to be contended that under Article 227 of the Constitution, this Court might exercise the powers of superintendence suo motu as held in Hara Gobinda Das v. Bhur and Co., ILR 1955-1 Cal 478 and set aside the illegal order of review passed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in September 1957. As pointed out in Waryam Singh v. Amarnath, : [1954]1SCR565 , 'this power of superintendence conferred by Art, 227 is, as pointed out by Harries C. T., in Dalmia Jain Airways Ltd, v. Sukumar Mukherjee, : AIR1951Cal193 (SB) to be exercised mo-it sparingly and only in appropriate cases in order to keep the subordinate courts within the bounds of their authority and not for correcting mere errors.'

This view was reiterated by Supreme Court in Nagendra Nath v. Commr. Hills Division, : [1958]1SCR1240 . Sinha J., pointed out that the powers of judicial interference under Article 227 of the Constitution with orders of judicial and quasi-judicial nature are not greater than the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution. While under Article 226, the power of interference may extend to quashing an impugned order on the ground of a mistake apparent on the face of the record, under Article 227 of the Constitution, the power of interference is limited to seeing that the tribunal functions within the limits of its authority.

In the particular circumstances of the case, I am not inclined to treat the application as one under Article 227 of the Constitution and decide suo motu whether the order of the Andhra Pradesh. Government in question is liable to be set aside. It is therefore unnecessary to decide whether the order passed by the Government of Andhra Pra-desh is that of a 'tribunal' within the meaning of Article 227 of the Constitution.

9. Elaborate and able arguments were addressed by Sri A. Bhujanga Rao on behalf of the petitioners and Sri P. Ramachandra Reddy, the learned Government Pleader on behalf of the resondents 1 and 2 on the merits also. It was right-' conceded by the learned Government pleader that if the earlier order passed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in March 1957 was a judicial or quasi-judicial order, there would be no right of review unless the statute confers such a power. That a court or tribunal has no inherent power of review is well established. Vide RameswaraswamI Yaru v. Ramalinga Raju, 1958-1 Andh WR 290.

10. Sri A. Bhujanga Rao the learned advocate for the petitioners strongly - relied upon my decision in Gangappa v. State of Madras (now Andhra), AIR 1957 Anrdh Pra 447 confirmed on appeal in State of Andhra v. Gangappa, 1957-2 Andh WR 123: (AIR 1958 Andh-Pra 140) in support of the proposition that the Government of Andhra Pradesh had no revisional powers to set aside the order of the Collector.

Sri P. Kamachandra Reddi, the learned Gov-ernment Pleader, on the other hand relied on Article 298 of the Constitution and Beard's Standing Order No. 15, paragraph (3), as conferring a residuary power on the Executive Authority or the Government to assign the land to whomsoever it liked without following the procedure laid down under the Board's Standing Orders so- long as legal rights have not been conferred by the orders of the revenue officers or the Board of Revenue. Inasmuch as I am inclined to uphold the preliminary objections, it is unnecessary for me to decide which contention is sound.

But, I cannot, however, refrain from observing before concluding my judgment that in order to inspire confidence in the public and to repel any possible suggestion as to nepotism or exercise of my influence, it was absolutely necessary for the Government of Andhra Pradesh to have stated in its order dated the 24th of September 1957 as to the grounds or reasons on which it went back upon its prior order and assigned the land to the 3rd respondent. Whether the laconic order passed by the Government in September was a judicial or an administrative order, I have no doubt that as the Government has rescinded its prior order passed in March 1957 and arrived at a contrary conclusion, cogent and detailed reasons ought to have been given.

11. In the result, the writ petition is dismissed, but there will be no order as to costs.


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