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Taduri Gopala Krishna Rao and ors. Vs. Kodey Narayya (Died) Kode Gangarao and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 107 of 1960
Judge
Reported inAIR1964AP528
ActsConstitution of India - Article 227; Andhra Tenancy Act, 1956 - Sections 13 and 16; Transfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 111
AppellantTaduri Gopala Krishna Rao and ors.
RespondentKodey Narayya (Died) Kode Gangarao and anr.
Appellant AdvocateR.V. Vidyasagar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateC.V. Dikshitulu, Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
.....reasons for dismissal not recorded ( tahsildar and revenue divisional officer not civil courts but tribunals - tribunals to follow proper procedure as envisaged under section 16 in disposing of dispute - requirement of recording intelligible reasons dealing with substantial point of law mandatory ( order of appellant authority erroneous on face of record - high court to exercise supervisory jurisdiction under article 227 and order liable to be set aside. - - as the respondent failed to pay the rent for four years, thelandlord determined the lease and filed an application undersection 13 for eviction. the respondent also disputed that validity of a clause authorising the landlord to determine the lease on failure to pay four years' rent by the tenant. in these days, therefore, it is..........and reasons they have assigned in support of them do not seem to me to be adequate. no doubt the lease in question is a permanent lease allowing the tenant to transfer the same. it cannot however be forgotten that the lease is subject to a clause that if the rent is not paid for four years, it is able to be determined. broadly speaking a permanent lease is liable, like any other lease, to be forfeited on breach of a condition which provides that on breach thereof the lessor may re-enter. it has been held that a condition against non-transferability in the perpetual lease is not illegal or void and is binding on the parties. it has however to be carefully examined that when a perpetual lease authorises the tenant to transfer the property but also provides for the forfeiture of the lease.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Gopal Rao Ekbote, J.

1. This petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, is filed against an order of the Revenue Divi-sional Officer, Eluru, given on 24th September, 1958. Theaction which leads up to this petition was instituted by thepetitioner before the Special Deputy Tahsildar, Tanuku underSection 13 of the Andhra Tenancy Act. It was alleged interalia in the petition that the petitioner is the landlord andthe respondent is a tenant The respondent executed apermanent muchilika in favour of the petitioner on 12-4-1920after paying a nazarana of Rs. 540/-. According to theterms of the said muchilika the respondent was to pay th8petitioner a rent of Rs. 60 on 30th Palgunam every year.It was provided that if the tenant commits default in payingthe rent for four years, the lease is liable to be determined.As the respondent failed to pay the rent for four years, thelandlord determined the lease and filed an application underSection 13 for eviction.

2. The defence raised by the tenant was that the lands ere situated in the Mokhasa village Tadepalligudem which is an inam village under the Madras Estates Land Act, that the lands in question are ryoti lands and that the respondent on account of his possession has the permanent occupancy rights. It was also stated that as the petitioner is mot a landlord within the meaning of the Andhra Ten-ancy Act, he cannot file any petition for eviction. It was further stated that the Madras Rent Reduction Act having been made applicable to Tadepalligudem, the rent of the lands in question also was consequently reduced and that the petitioner has collected excess rent over the rent now notified by the Government and that there is therefore no question of any default.

The respondent also disputed that validity of a clause authorising the landlord to determine the lease on failure to pay four years' rent by the tenant. As the respondent was competent to sell or alienate the land permanently leased out to him, he has not only partitioned the lands between them both but sold a portion of it with the knowledge of the petitioner. The petitioner was collecting rent from the alienees and other persons in whose favour the land was partitioned. He cannot therefore claim the entire rent from the respondent, nor is the respondent liable to vacate the land.

3. After examining the petitioner who was the sole witness on behalf of the petitioner, the Deputy Tahsildar dismissed the petition. He held that the clause in Ex. P-1 (a) is inconsistent and militates with the right conferred on the respondent to disposa of the land and the issue of permanent patta as contemplated in the said deed. Even if the tenant therefore commits any default in payment of rent for four years, the clause being penal cannot be given any effect to. The Deputy Tahsildar also held that the petitioner is not a landlord within the meaning of the Andhra Tenancy Act. He also adverted to the fact that the Rent Reduction Act was applied to the said village. He stated that the landholder has no right to collect rent from the tenants. The Deputy Tahsildar found that al-though some decrees have been obtained by the petitioner against the respondent, but they were obtained when the respondent was ill. Consequently he dismissed the peti-tion. The petitioner therefore went in appeal before the Revenue Divisional Officer, Eluru.

4. In his short decision, the Revenue Divisional Officer posed only one Question for his consideration, and that was, whether the provisions of the Andhra Tenancy Act apply to 'not taken over Mokhasa villages'. He contended himself by merely observing that the Deputy Tahsildar has dealt with that question very elaborately. He did not find it necessary to discuss the same. He found without discussing the evidence on the record that the petitioner is a land-holder and not a landlord as the village is an estate village which has not yet been taken over by the Government. He relied upon a Government Memo dated 27-1-1958 and reached that conclusion. In the end he found that the respondent has amply proved that he is an occupancy ryot who paid the nazarana to the petitioner and obtained possession of the land. He consequently dismissed the appeal. It is this order of the Revenue Divisional Officer which is now impugned in this petition.

5. From a reading of the petition and the counter filed ay the parties, the real issues which arise for consideration were : Whether the village is an estate; what is the consequence of the application of the Rent Reduction act to the lands in question; whether Ihe tenant has got the occupancy rights; whether the landlord-tenant relation-ship within the meaning of the Andhra Tenancy Act exists between the parties; whether the tenant defaulted in paying four years' rent and consequently whether his tenancy is liable to be determined.

These were broadly the main questions to he considered in the petition. It is however evident from the summary of the orders passed by the Tahsildar and the Revenue Divisional Officer as extracted above that most of the important questions involved in the case were not considered at all, and the question which was considered by the Tahsildar was, it is argued, wrongly answered. The Revenue Divisional Officer did not consider even questions which were considered by the Tahsildar. This being the state of affairs I have to see whether this Court can inter fere under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.

6. It is not, in my opinion, in doubt that this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution does not act as a Court of Appeal and consequently a mere error in the decision of the inferior Tribunal cannot be a ground for interference, but there has always been an important exception to this general rule. This is, when the decision of the inferior Tribunal is vitiated by an error of law, or other error on the lace of the record, the proceedings of the inferior Tribunal can certainly be quashed under the supervisory jurisdiction which undoubtedly vests in this court under Article 227. It is therefore clear that if there is any patent error of law on the face of the record, or the order impugned does not decide the real and substantial questions which ought to receive consideration in disposing of the matter, or an order is made, the reasons of which are on the face of the order invalid in law, in all such cases this Court Is not only entitled to, but is bound to interfere in the exercise of its supervisory jurisdiction. When the inferior Tribunal gives the grounds of the order and makes what is commonly known as a 'speaking order' and these grounds are untenable in law, the order is erroneous on its face and will have to be quashed by this Court. In R. v. Northumberland Compensation Appeal Tribunal, Denning L. J. observed as follows: (1952) 1 All ER 122 at p. 131:

'I think the record must contain at least the document which initiates the proceedings, the pleadings, if any, and the adjudication but not the evidence, nor the reasons, unless the Tribunal chooses to incorporate them. If the Tribunal does stale its reasons, and those reasons are wrong in law, certiorari lies to quash the decision.'

In view of the expansion of the powers of the Executive and in view of the fact that the governmental activities now extend to many of the departments of human activity, it has become not only desirable, but in many cases, necessary to establish various types of Tribunals. In these days, therefore, it is of great Importance that these Tribunals must not only consider the matters in their right perspective, but dispose them of in accordance with certain well-acceptable principles. Such Tribunals are charged with the performance of a public duty and as such they are amenable to the jurisdiction of this Court within the limits now well established by law. If the Tribunal exercises the discretion entrusted to it bona fide, not Influenced by extraneous or irrelevant considerations, and not arbitra-rily or illegally, it is obvious that this Court cannot interfere. Similarly if the Tribunal acts within its jurisdiction and passed an order which is free from any informity, even then this Court will not be entitled to interfere, as this Court is not a Court of Appeal from the Tribunal.

This Court however has power to prevent the intentional usurpation or mistaken assumption of a jurisdiction beyond that given to the Tribunal by law, and also the re-fusal of their true jurisdiction by the adoption of extraneous considerations in arriving at their conclusions or deciding a point other than that brought before them, in which cases the Courts have regarded them as declining jurisdiction. Such a Tribunal, it must be understood, is not an autocrat free to act as it pleases, but is an inferior Tribunal subject to the jurisdiction of this Court. It there-fore follows that the Tribunal by answering a question not put to it and avoiding any answer to the real question in the strict sense of the terms would be deemed to have declined to exercise the jurisdiction which is vested in it. If this Court therefore is satisfied either that the Tribunal has not acted judicially in the way I have described above, or has not determined the question which it is required by the relevant Act to determine, then surely there is a remedy under Article 227 of the Constitution.

7. Now it cannot (in my judgment) be in doubt that Section 13 of the Andhra Tenancy Act entitles the landlord to terminate the tenancy and evict his cultivating tenant, if tile tenant has failed to pay the tent due by him. Under Section 16 of the said Act the Tahsildar has to decide such disputes after making an enquiry in the manner prescribed. The same Section provides an appeal to the Revenue Divisional Officer against any order passed by the Tahsildar. Although therefore these Tribunals may not be civil Courts but they are undoubtedly Tribunals which are of a quasi-judicial nature and are therefore expected to act in accordance with the procedure and the law relevant for the disposal of the disputes. In my judgment, therefore, the purpose of the said provisions of the said Act is to enable persons to receive proper and adequate reasons for orders passed by any such Tribunal. These reasons must not only be intelligible, but must also deal with substantial points which had been raised. If the reasons assigned by he Tribunal are inadequate and do not comply with the purpose of the abovesaid provisions of the Andhra Tenancy Act, it would certainly amount not only to declining the exer-cise of the jurisdiction, but in any case that amounts to an error of law on the face of the order. I am fortified in my conclusion by a recant decision of the Queen's Bench Division in In Re Poyser and Mills' Abritration, (1963) 2 WLR 1309 at p. 1316 Megaw, J., observed at p. 1316:

'The whole purpose of Section 12 of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act, 1958, was to enable persons whose property, or whose interests, were being affected by some administrative decision of some statutory arbitration to know, if the decision was against them, what the reasons for it were ..... Parliament provided that reasons shall be given, and in my view that must be read as meaning that proper, adequate reasons must be given. The reasons that are set out must be reasons which will not only be intelligible, but which deal with the substantial points that have been raised, if those reasons do not fairly comply with that which Parliament intended, then that is an error on the face of the award. It is a material error of form. Here, having regard to paragraph 3, this award, including the reasons does not comply with the proper form and that is, in my view, an error of law on the face of the award and is properly so to be described rather than as technical misconduct.'

Consequently on that ground alone the motion succeeded and the award was set aside. Applying these tests to the facts of this case I have no manner of doubt that not only the real and substantial points as broadly set out above have not received the consideration of the inferior Tribunals, but whatever points they have decided and reasons they have assigned in support of them do not seem to me to be adequate. No doubt the lease in question is a permanent lease allowing the tenant to transfer the same. It cannot however be forgotten that the lease is subject to a clause that if the rent is not paid for four years, it is able to be determined. Broadly speaking a permanent lease is liable, like any other lease, to be forfeited on breach of a condition which provides that on breach thereof the lessor may re-enter. It has been held that a condition against non-transferability in the perpetual lease is not illegal or void and is binding on the parties. It has however to be carefully examined that when a perpetual lease authorises the tenant to transfer the property but also provides for the forfeiture of the lease in case of some default, what is the effect of such a condition. The Revenue Divisional Officer does not seem to have given any thought to this question.

The Deputy Tahsildar without any reference to the provisions of the law stated that the clause is penal. That was based more or less on the common sense ground and not on any provision of law. The Advocate appearing for the parties do not want me to dispose of this question here in view of the conclusions to which I have reached, that is, that the matter has to be remitted to the Special Deputy Tahsildar for a de novo consideration of the entire matter and for disposal in accordance with the law. As have reached the conclusion that the orders do not dispose of some of the very important matters which arise in the case and also that the reasons given are not adequate and therefore the Tribunals' orders would amount to declining the jurisdiction in any case they suffer from an error appearing on the face of the record. I have no other option than to quash the same, and send the matter back to the Special Deputy Tahsildar for the disposal of the case in accordance with the law. The costs of this petition will depend upon the ultimate result of the petition.

8. Advocates fee Rs. 100/-.


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