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Nanha and anr. Vs. Deputy Director of Consolidation, Kanpur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 7924 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1976All91
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantNanha and anr.
RespondentDeputy Director of Consolidation, Kanpur and ors.
Excerpt:
.....finding on relevant evidence - appellate or revisional court affirms the finding but some of the material evidence not referred to - whether error of law manifest on face - held, no apparent error on face of record and interference under article 226 not called for. - cantonments act[c.a. no. 41/2006]. section 346 & cantonment fund (servants rules, 1937, rules 13, 14 & 15: [h.l. gokhale, ag. cj, p.v. hardas, naresh h. patil, r.m. borde & r.m. savant, jj] jurisdiction of school tribunal constituted under maharashtra employees of private schools (conditions of service) regulations act, (3 of 1978) held, school run by the cantonment board is a primary school and it is not a school recognised by any such board comparable to the divisional board or the state board. the school tribunal..........it was argued that the deputy director of consolidation was in error in not considering the material evidence adduced by the petitioners to support their case. in support reliance was placed upon a decision of the division bench in chedda lal v. sub-divisional officer : air1972all51 . the bench felt doubtful about the correctness of this decision. after referring to several supreme court decisions it observed:--'in view of the aforementioned decisions the question whether omission to consider material evidence can furnish a ground for interference in a writ petition requires consideration by a full bench we, therefore refer the following question to a full bench:-- 'whether an order or a finding of a court or tribunal, based on evidence on the record, can be interfered with under.....
Judgment:

Satish Chandra, J.

1. During consolidation operations the petitioners filed an objection claiming to be co-sharers in the holding. Their claim was contested by respondents 4 and 5. One of the issues framed by the Consolidation Officer was whether Beni and Gappu died before the death of Chandi, if so, its effect. In support of their case that Chandi had died before the other two, the petitioners had, inter alia, filed extracts from death registers. The Consolidation officer after considering the evidence on record, held that Gappu and Beni died before Chandi, On, inter alia, this finding the objection of the petitioners was rejected. The petitioners went up in appeal. The Settlement Officer elaborately discussed the extracts from the death registers and rejected them. He confirmed the finding of the Consolidation Officer and dismissed the appeal. The petitioners filed a revision. The Deputy Director of Consolidation stated that he had carefully gone through the record of the case in the two courts below and heard the arguments of the learned counsel for the applicants as well as those of the learned counsel for the opposite parlies. The arguments put forward before him by the learned counsel for the applicants were not new and were the same which had been put forward before the two learned lower courts. He observed:--

'For the reasons already mentioned in great detail in the orders of both the learned lower courts I do not find any force whatsoever in those arguments, I find myself in agreement with the conclusion drawn and the findings arrived at by the two learned lower courts and I do not find any good justification to interfere with them. I do noteven consider it necessary to repeat these points in this order.'

On this view the revision was dismissed. Aggrieved, the petitioners filed a writ petition in this Court. For the Petitioners it was argued that the Deputy Director of Consolidation was in error in not considering the material evidence adduced by the petitioners to support their case. In support reliance was placed upon a decision of the Division Bench in Chedda Lal v. Sub-Divisional Officer : AIR1972All51 . The Bench felt doubtful about the correctness of this decision. After referring to several Supreme Court decisions it observed:--

'In view of the aforementioned decisions the question whether omission to consider material evidence can furnish a ground for interference in a writ petition requires consideration by a Full Bench we, therefore refer the following question to a Full Bench:-- 'Whether an order or a finding of a Court or tribunal, based on evidence on the record, can be interfered with under Article 226 of the Constitution, if some material evidence has not been referred to by the court or the tribunal?'

In the penultimate paragraph of the referring order the emphasis has been placed on omission to consider. We have reframed the question as follows:--

'Whether an order or a finding of a court or tribunal, based on evidence on the record, can be interfered with under Article 226 of the Constitution, if some material evidence to the contrary bas beep ignored from consideration by the court or the tribunal?'

2. In Girijanandini Devi v. Bijendra Narain Choudhary, : [1967]1SCR93 the Supreme Court held that:--

'It is not the duty of the appellate Court when it agrees with the view of the Trial Court on the evidence either to restate the effect of the evidence or to reiterate the reasons given by the Trial Court. Expression of general agreement with reasons given by the Court decision of which is under appeal would ordinarily suffice.'

3. In State of Madras v. A. R. Srinivasan, : AIR1966SC1827 it was held that it is unreasonable to suggest that a superior authority must record its reasons as to why it accepts the findings of the inferior authority. The matter was examined in detail by a Full Bench of this Court in Haji Manzoor Ahmad v. State of U. P., 1968 All LJ 809 : AIR 1970 All 468. It was held that:--

'Where an order of an inferior authority is carried in appeal or revision before a superior authority, and the superior authority in disposing of the appeal or revision makes an order in the exercise of quasi-judicial jurisdiction:--

(1) In all cases where the superior authority interferes with the order of the inferior authority the order of the superior authority must set out its reasons.

(2) In cases where the superior authority merely affirms the order of the inferior authority, and

(a) where the order of the inferior authority does not set out its reasons, 'the superior authority must disclose its reasons in its order;

(b) where the order of the inferior authority sets out the reasons, and

(i) where the superior authority finds the reasons of the inferior authority acceptable to it, it need not specify the reasons in its order but may merely refer to the reasons given by the inferior authority or give an outline of the process of reasoning by which it finds itself in agreement with the inferior authority;

(ii) where the superior authority does not find the reasons of the inferior authority acceptable to it the superior authority must set out its 6wn reasons ip its order.'

4. The view of this Full Bench was re-affirmed by a Larger Bench in Ram Murti Saran v. State of U. P., : AIR1971All54 , as well as Prem Prakash Virmani v. State Government, : AIR1971All82

5. When an inferior authority records a finding after consideration of the evidence on the record it is not necessary for the superior authority, if it agrees with the finding, to reiterate its reasons. Ex hy-pothesi, the superior authority's affirmatory order will not be invalid on the ground that it does not refer in its order to some material or the evidence on the record. If the superior authority while affirming the finding refers to some salient features of the case without mentioning the contrary evidence the order will not be bad for such an omission.

6. The reason for this view was succinctly expressed in Ram Agyan Singh v. Murli Dhar Agrawal, 1969 All XJ 1060. It was observed:--

'It is established from the record that the State Government gave personal hearing to the parties before disposing of the application under Section 7-F, and there is no reason to doubt that the entire material on the record must have been placed before it by the parties according as it supported their respective interests, The statement of reasons on which the impugned order under Section 7-F was made was drawn up after this personal hearing, and although all that is stated there is that the benefit under the proviso should be given to the tenant and not to the landlord there is no reason to suppose that the State Government considered part only of the material which was before it. In my opinion, the omission of the State Government to refer in its order to all the material on the record does not vitiate the order.'

In cases where the superior authority dismisses an appeal or a revision after oral hearing, it can safely be assumed that the parties must have placed before the authority the evidence on the record, as it supported their cases. Since the superior authority is not required to independently state reasons for affirming the finding, the omission to refer to contrary evidence ip its order, will not mean that it has not been considered.

7. Our attention was invited to a Division Bench decision in Chheda Lal v. Sub-Divisiopal Officer, : AIR1972All51 . In that case it was argued on behalf of the appellant that the Sub-Divisional Officer did not consider four material circumstances while considering the question whether the ballot papers had been tampered with. The Bench held that three out of the four circumstances were not material while the fourth was considered by the Sub-Divisional Officer. On this view the appeal was dismissed. But in the course of the judgment the Bench observed that the finding that the ballot papers had not been tampered with may be a finding of fact, but such a finding can be successfully assailed in a writ petition, if it can be shown that the Sub-Divisional Officer had recorded that finding on the basis of some evidence leaving out of consideration other material evidence or circumstances.

8. In view of the actual decision of the Bench these observations were clearly obiter. Moreover, in that case the writ petition was filed against the original court's order. The tribunal of first instance has to consider all material evidence. But as seen above, the position is different in respect of an appellate or revisional order of affirmance, This decision is not applicable to such orders of superior authorities. In support of its view the Bench relied upon Commr. of Income-tax v. Indian Woollen Textiles Mills : [1964]51ITR291(SC) . The Court observed that if the conclusion of the Tribunal was based upon some evidence, ignoring other essential maters, it could not be regarded as a finding not giving rise to a question liable to be referred to the Court. The Court was considering the scope of a question of law arising out of the order of the Tribunal within meaning of Section 68 of the Indian Income Tax Act. Ip our opinion such a case is not helpful ip considering the scope of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitutions

9. In G. Veerappa Pillai v. Raman and Raman Ltd. : [1952]1SCR583 the Supreme Court held that:--

'Such writs as are referred to in Article 226 are obviously intended to enable the High Court to issue them in grave cases where the subordinate tribunals or bodies or officers act wholly without jurisdiction, or in excess of it, or ip violation of the principles of natural justice, or refuse to exercise a jurisdiction vested in them, or there isan error apparent on the face of the record, and such act, omission, error or excess has resulted in manifest injustice.'

10. Article 226 has a two-fold requirement. There should be a manifest error of law apparent on the face of the record and that such an error has resulted ia manifest injustice.

11. It is well settled that under Article 226 of the Constitution the High Court does not act as a Court of appeal for the purposes of judging the correctness of the impugned decision. See Deoria Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Government of U. P., : (1954)IILLJ269All and Sangram Singh v. Election Tribunal, Kotah : [1955]2SCR1 , In State of Andhra Pradesh v. S. Sree Rama Rao : (1964)IILLJ150SC , it was held that it is not the function of the High Court to review the evidence and to arrive at an independent finding under Article 226 of the Constitution. It cannot reappraise or re-examine the evidence or facts. See Sales Tax Officer, Jodhpur v. Shiv Rata G. Mohatta, : [1965]3SCR71 and Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies v. P. S. Rajagopal Naidu, : [1971]1SCR227 .

12. Cases may arise where a court or a tribunal bases its findings on several reasons some of which are erroneous or otherwise unsustainable. In such cases where the conclusion is based on objective facts, if it is found that there was legal evidence before the tribunal then even if some of it was irrelevant, the superior court would not interfere with the finding if it can be sustained on the rest of the evidence. The reason is that in writ petition for certiorari the superior court does not sit in appeal, but exercises only supervisory jurisdiction and therefore does not enter into question of sufficiency of evidence. See Zora Singh v. J. M. Tandon : AIR1971SC1537 .

13. On the other hand if a tribunal has disabled itself from reaching a fair decision by some considerations extraneous to the merits of the case or if its conclusion on the very face of it is so wholly arbitrary and capricious that no reasonable person can ever arrive at that conclusion, interference under Article 226 would be justified. See Parry and Co. Ltd. v. P. C. Pal, : (1970)IILLJ429SC .

14. For the Petitioner reliance was placed upon Hindustan Steels Ltd. v. A. K. Roy, : (1970)ILLJ228SC . In that case a writ petition was filed directly against the order of an industrial tribunal. The Supreme Court observed that if a statutory tribunal exercises its discretion on the basis of irrelavant considerations or without regard to relevant considerations certiorari may properly issue to quash that order. In other words if a finding is based on no evidence interference can properly be made under Article 226 of the Constitution: Provided of course the Court is satisfied that there has been failure of justice. This case has nomaterial bearing to a situation where a court of fact records a finding after considering all relevant evidence and its finding is affirmed ia appeal or revision by not so elaborate orders.

15. For the petitioner reliance was placed upon Bijli Cotton Mills (P) Ltd. v. The Presiding Officer Industrial Tribunal II, Allahabad : (1972)IILLJ320SC . In this case a writ petition was filed against the order of an industrial tribunal. There, the principal plea raised by the employers was that there was no practice or custom for allowing festival holidays with wages. On behalf of the employers one M. P. Jaiswal had made a statement on this point. The industrial tribunal held that Shri Jaiswal's statement was a clear admission overriding the plea taken in the written statement. On this view the industrial Tribunal disallowed evidence on the question of the practice and custom in the textile industry in Kanpur. The Supreme Court held that in law the clarificatory statement made under Rule 12 was ip the nature of a supplementary pleading. It could not be treated as evidence. In relation to the pleas the Court said that a statement was to be read as a whole and if so read it did not constitute any admission as taking away the effect of the basic plea. It held that the industrial tribunal had erroneously ignored the real plea and had on the basis of this manifest blatant error which was clear on the face of the record, disallowed the evidence cm the question of practice and custom in the textile industry in Kanpur. The error was palpable and gross and was manifest on the face of record and the same had resulted in failure of justice by excluding evidence on the most vital point

16. Since the High Court does not under Article 226 sit in appeal, it insists that the inferior Court or Tribunal should consider all relevant aspects and evidence. If this is not done, manifest error of law becomes apparent. The High Court then further considers whether the omission by the inferior court is so blatant or palpable that failure of justice has resulted.

17. Our answer to the question referred to us is-

'If it appears that a court of fact has in substance based its findings on no evidence or that its finding is perverse in the sense that no reasonable person could possibly come to that conclusion or that it erroneously ignores a vital plea or material evidence which affects the result, a manifest error of law apparent on the face of the record leading to failure of justice can be said to be established. But if a court or a tribunal bases its finding on a consideration of all relevant evidence, but an appellate or a revisional court or tribunal while affirming the finding does not refer to some material or contrary evidence in its order it cannot be said that it has been ignored from consideration so as to entitle the High Court to interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution.'

18. Let the papers be laid before the concerned bench with this opinion and answer.


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