1. The petitioner filed a complaint before the Sub-Collector; Bodhan stating that survey No. 152 admeasuring Ac. 6-00 situated at Doulatapur village of Madnoor taluk has been alienated by the first respondent in favour of the second respondent. According to him the said land is a service inam land attached to Sri Chidanand Swamy and Venkateshwara and Joshigiri. He requested that the land should be resumed in favour of the petitioner, the Inamdar.
2. On the basis of the said application, a show cause notice under Sec. 6 of Inam Atiyat Enquiry Act was issued to the respondents, who appeared and filed a counter. They denied that the said land is attached to Sri Chidanand Swamy and Venkateshwara temple. They relied upon a decision of the Munsif Magistrate's Court, Yellareddy in that behalf. They also denied the allegation that the petitioner is the inamdar entitled to the possession of the said land.
3. On the basis of the pleadings the Sub-Collector framed three issues, viz.,
1. Whether the disputed land is the service inam land?
2. Whether the judgment, in O. S. 23/75 of Munsif Magistrate's Court, operates as res judicata?
3. Whether the land can be resumed in favour of the petitioner?
4. On issue No. 1 he found that 'the land hearing Survey No. 152, area Ac. 6.12 guntas, as per Muntaqab is service inam land and attached to Chidanand Swamy and Venkateshwara Temple.'
5. On issue No. 2 he found that, 'the Atiyat Court has the jurisdiction to enquire and take action, if there is any violation of provisions of Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act 1966.'
6. On issue No. 3 he found the, 'the petitioner's request is liable to be rejected inasmuch as no rules have been framed as contemplated by S. 71 of the A. P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act 1966.'
7. The petitioner preferred an appeal before the Joint Collector. The Joint Collector dismissed the appeal agreeing with the Sub-Collector that, in the absence of rules being made, as contemplated by Section 71, the Sub-Collector was right in rejecting the petitioner's application. Hence this Revision petition.
8. Section 71 of the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act provides for resumption of inam lands. It says that the Revenue Divisional Officer, may suo motu or on application of the trustee or of any persons having interest in the institution or endowment, authorised by the Commissioner, by order, resume the whole or any portion of any inam land referred to under Section 70, if the holder of inam has effected a transaction, which is null and void under Section 70.
9. Sub-section (2) which is relevant for the present purpose reads as follows :
'Before passing an order under sub-sec. (1) the Revenue Divisional Officer, shall give notice to the trustee, to the Commissioner, to the holder of the inamland, to the person in possession of the inam land where he is not the holder thereof, and to alienee, if any, of the inam land and also publish a copy of the notice in such manner as may be prescribed, which publication shall be deemed to be sufficient notice to every other person likely to be affected by such order; and consider the objections, if any, after holding such inquiry as may be prescribed.'
10. Sub-section (3) says that every order passed under sub-sec. (1) shall be communicated to each of the persons mentioned in sub-section (2) and also be published in the manner prescribed.
11. Now the objection of the respondents is that no rules have been framed prescribing the manner of publication of a copy of the notice or prescribing the manner in which the inquiry should be held, as contemplated by sub-sec (2). In my opinion the ground upon which the petitioner's application has been rejected is unsustainable.
12. It has been held by the Supreme Court in Dargah Committee v. State of Rajasthan, : 2SCR265 , that merely because rules are not made, it does not follow that the statutory power conferred on an authority or body is unenforceable. That was a case where Section 222 (1) contemplated rules being made prescribing the form in which a demand should be made. No such rules were however made. It was argued that in the absence of such rules, no demand can be made under S. 222. That argument was negatived by the Supreme Court in the following words (at p. 578):
'If the rules are not prescribed, then all that can be said is that there is no form prescribed for issuing a demand notice; that does not mean that the statutory power conferred on the committee by S. 222 (1) to make a demand is unenforceable.'
13. Applying the principle of the said decision to the present case, it must be held that merely because rules are not made prescribing the mode in which the notice should be published, or the inquiry should be made, it does not follow that the R. D. O. cannot exercise the power conferred upon him by S. 71 of the Act. In the absence of Rules, he has to act and proceed in accordance with the principles of natural justice. A notice has to be served in a manner and mode, which is sufficient and adequate in the circumstances of the case and the inquiry should be made consistent with the principles or natural justice which means that both parties should be given a reasonable opportunity to establish their respective contentions. Under S. 71, RDO acts, as a quasi judicial tribunal which also means that he has to act and pass orders fairly, on the material placed before him and in accordance with law. Indeed, in this case, the Sub-Collector is not a stranger to such proceedings. Under several enactments, for example under AP (TA) Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, he acts as a quasi Judicial Tribunals
14. I must also point out that it was really unnecessary in this case to refer to the Atiyat Enquiry Act. The allegation is that this is a service inam land attached to a temple. In such a case it would be governed by S. 71 of the A. P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1966 and indeed the RDO ultimately came to rely upon and pass orders under this provision alone. It is therefore directed that the Sub-Collector shall proceed with reference to and in accordance with the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act 1966 (Act 17 of 1966) and in particular S. 71 of the Act and pass final orders in the proceedings in accordance with law after hearing both the parties.
15. Mr. Sadatullah Hussaini, learned counsel for the respondents, requests that his clients may be given an opportunity for filing a fresh counter. He submitted that the proceedings initiated by the petitioner were not under or with reference to S. 71 of the A. P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act, but were purported to be taken under S. 6 of the Atiyat Enquiries Act, and therefore his clients could not raise appropriate defences under the provisions of S. 71 of the Act. I find this argument worth of acceptance. It is therefore directed that the respondents shall be given an opportunity for filing their counter and then the Sub-Collector shall frame appropriate issues and proceed to dispose of the matter in accordance with the law, as directed above.
16. This revision petition is allowed in the above terms. No costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 150/-.
17. In this case I requested Mr. R. Venugopal Reddy to assist the Court on the point, whether any rules have been framed under S. 71 of the Act and whether even in the absence of rules, the inquiry can go on. Accordingly, he stated before me after due enquiry that no rules have been framed, but relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court referred to above. I am grateful to Sri Venugopal Reddy for the, assistance rendered by him.
18. Revision allowed.