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Smt. Rani Vs. Deputy Director of Consolidation, Bareilly and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Constitution
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 2861 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1959All525
ActsUttar Pradesh Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1953 - Sections 15, 17 and 48; Constitution of India - Articles 14, 226 and 227
AppellantSmt. Rani
RespondentDeputy Director of Consolidation, Bareilly and ors.
Advocates:Sant Prakash, Adv.
DispositionPetition rejected
Excerpt:
constitution - validity - section 15 of u.p. consolidation of holdings act, 1953 and article 14, 226 and 227 of the constitution of india - held, section 15 contain elaborate provisions safeguarding the right of the tenure holders and fettering any tendency on the part of the consolidation authorities to be arbitrary. - - it is true that the petitioner is dissatisfied with these decisions but i have yet to meet a litigant who goes away satisfied with a decision which is against him. but evidently he was satisfied with the manner in which the settlement officer had disposed of the case after remand......alteration was made in the original statement of proposals. she remained dissatisfied with the chaks allotted to her. she contrasts her case with that of respondents baldeo prasad who was allotted all the plots according to his choice, the five chaks given to him being at very short distance from one another. the petitioner contends that the members of the same family ought to have been allotted neighbouring chaks but this principle was not followed. she filed a revision before the deputy director which was rejected. aggrieved by the decisions of the consolidation authorities she has come to this court for relief under article 226 of the constitution.2. learned counsel for the petitioner contended that section 15 of the u. p. consolidation of holdings act 1953 is unconstitutional as.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S.S. Dhawan, J.

1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution praying for the quashing of an order of the Deputy Director of Consolidation Bareilly rejecting the petitioner's revision against an order of the Settlement Officer Bareilly. The case of the petitioner is that she and certain other persons were co-tenure holders with equal shares in a joint holding in village Churai Dalpatpur in Bareilly. The petitioner had her holding partitioned under Section 10-A of the U. P. Consolidation of Holdings Act. She states that after the partition her plots were equal in quality to those of the other members of her family who are respondents 4 to 6 in this petition. The plots were also situate in the same area. In the consolidation proceedings a statement of proposals was drawn up.

Under it the respondent Baldeo Prasad was given all the plots of his choice while the petitioner's claim of plots of her choice was ignored. She was allotted plots of inferior quality and given two chaks in block A which were away from the village and situate in opposite directions. Aggrieved by the proposals she filed an objection before the Consolidation Offiner which was rejected. Her appeal before the Settlement Officer was also dismissed. Finally she filed a revision before the Deputy Director of Consolidation who quashed the orders of the lower Tribunals with the observation that the petitioner had been allotted two chaks at a distance of two miles from each other. He pointed out that the plots would be unmanageable by her. In pursuance of the order of remand a fresh proposal was made.

But, according to the petitioner, no material alteration was made in the original statement of proposals. She remained dissatisfied with the chaks allotted to her. She contrasts her case with that of respondents Baldeo Prasad who was allotted all the plots according to his choice, the five chaks given to him being at very short distance from one another. The petitioner contends that the members of the same family ought to have been allotted neighbouring chaks but this principle was not followed. She filed a revision before the Deputy Director which was rejected. Aggrieved by the decisions of the consolidation authorities she has come to this Court for relief under Article 226 of the Constitution.

2. Learned counsel for the petitioner contended that Section 15 of the U. P. Consolidation of Holdings Act 1953 is unconstitutional as it vests arbitrary power in the Assistant Consolidation Officer, I am unable to agree with this contention. Section 15, lays down principles for the guidance of the Assistant Consolidation Officer in the preparation of the statement of principles which precede consolidation. These principles regulate the powers of the Assistant Consolidation Officer. It is true that each one of the sections contains the qualifying words 'as far as possible.'

This phrase really means that the principles are to be observed unless it is not possible to follow them in the particular circumstances of a case. This qualification was absolutely necessary in view of the fact that the process of compulsory consolidation is a very difficult and complicated one in the peculiar conditions prevailing in this State. Fragmentation of holdings has, through a process of centuries, reached such a stage that there is no straight road back towards consolidation. What can be done in one village may not be possible in another. Therefore, in view of the fact that consolidation is a pressing necessity, it was necessary to add these qualifying words.

But that does not render the principles enunciated in Section 15 ineffective or illusory. It is also noteworthy that any person aggrieved by the statement of proposals has the right to file objections under Section 17. The Assistant Consolidation Officer has to dispose of these objections after hearing the parties. There is a further right of appeal to the Consolidation Officer and a final opportunity of getting redress from the Director of Consolidation under Section 48. In view of these provisions I am inclined to hold that the provisions of Section 15 contain elaborate provisions safeguarding the right of the tenure-holders and fettering any tendency on the part of the Consolidation authorities to be arbitrary.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner relied upon some observations of S. R. Das C. J., in a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Ram Krishna Dalmia v. Justice S. R. Tendolkar, AIR 1958 SC 538. These are as follows :

'Nevertheless, the bare possibility that the powers may be misused or abused cannot per se induce the Court to deny the existence of the powers. It cannot be overlooked that Parliament has confided this discretion, not to any petty official but to the appropriate Government itself to take action in conformity with the policy and principles laid down in the Act, As this Court has said in Matajog Dobey v. H. C. Bhari 1955-2 SCR 925 at p. 932: (S) AIR 1956 S. C. 44 at p. 48 'a discretionary power is not necessarily a discretionary power and that abuse of power is not to be easily assumed where the discretion is vested in the Government and not in a minor official'. We feel sure, however, that if this law is administered by the Government 'With an evil eye and an unequal hand' or for an oblique or unworthy purpose the aims of this Court will be long enough to reach it and to strike down such abuse with a heavy hand. What then, we inquire, are the salient facts here?'

4. These observations do not help the petitioner's case. The Supreme Court was careful to lay down that the bare possibility that a power may be misused or abused is no ground for holding that the powers should not exist. The Supreme Court held in that ease that the protection of the equality clause in Article 14 extends not only to legislation but also to executive decisions. The question, however, in this case is whether the decisions of the lower Tribunals is tainted with an element of arbitrary discrimination. It is true that the petitioner is dissatisfied with these decisions but I have yet to meet a litigant who goes away satisfied with a decision which is against him. The fact that the petitioner considers these decisions arbitrary is not enough. The Court has to consider whether the powers have been exercised in an arbitrary manner.

5. The following observation of the Settlement Officer is noteworthy;

'From the perusal of records it is evident that prior to the consolidation the applicant had land at 25 different distant and scattered places. Now she has been allotted three chaks in the whole village. Both these chaks of block A have been carved out over her original plots, and she has been allotted two chaks one comprising of land suitable for sugarcane and paddy crops and the other chak is suitable for producing all these crops. The applicant was represented by her relation Jhanjhan Lal who refused to accept one chak at any of these two places. It is not desirable to reshuffle a large number of chaks merely to concede to the sentimental desire of the applicant. I have already mentioned on page 7 of my judgment dated 17-8-1957 that the land allotted is dofasla and gives all type of crops. The applicant has inherited land in this village from her parents and the cultivation is looked after by her husband. As such the argument of applicant being a lady has no weight. The applicant is in no way looser and no injustice has been done to her. Instead of scattered fields at 25 places she has compact area only at three places in the whole village with similar facilities which she previously held. Under the circumstances I do not find any force in this case.'

6. In revision the Deputy Director heard learned counsel for the applicant at great length. He carefully went through the judgment of the lower Tribunals and also perused the records ot the consolidation, staff. He came to the conclusion that there was no illegality er material irregularity committed by the lower Tribunals. He pointedly observed that the counsel for the petitioner has not been able to point out any. Accordingly, he dismissed the revision.

7. Before me learned counsel for the petitioner contended that it was unfair that the petitioner's chaks should be scattered whereas those of the other members of the family should be in one place. The order of the Settlement Officer gives a detailed explanation and justification for the statement of proposals.

8. Learned counsel for the petitioner also contended that after the remand order it was incumbent on the Settlement Officer to proceed in accordance with the directions contained in the remand order. The short answer to this contention is that his revision was rejected by the very authority who had gassed remand order. This contention must have been brought to the notice of the Deputy Director in revision. But evidently he was satisfied with the manner in which the Settlement Officer had disposed of the case after remand.

9. There is no case made out for interference by this Court under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution. The petition is rejected.


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