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Ayodhya Prasad Vs. Union of India (Uoi) and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Nos. 437 of 1980 and 430 of 1981
Judge
Reported inAIR1983MP39
ActsPublic Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 - Sections 4, 5, 9 and 10; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 115
AppellantAyodhya Prasad
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi) and anr.
Appellant AdvocateJha, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.P. Sinha, Adv.
DispositionRevisions dismissed
Cases Referred and Hadifaandhu v. D. M.
Excerpt:
.....not complied with, the divisional manager (works). central railway, jabalpur complained to the estate officer, central railway, jabalpur about the unauthorised occupation of the public premises by the applicants and sought their eviction. however, both of them failed to appear or show cause before the estate officer. the estate officer passed the eviction orders against the applicants under section 5 on 14-10-1980 after being satisfied that the applicants are in unauthorised occupation of railway premises. the non-applicants supported the orders and submitted that orders are perfectly legal and valid. section 4 requires the estate officer to issue show cause notices as being of the opinion that any person is in unauthorised occupation of any public premises and then under section 6..........(eviction of unauthorised occupants) act, 1971, affirming the order of eviction passed by the estate officer under section 5 of the act against the applicants.2. applicant ayodhya prasad and applicant tikaram are brothers and in occupation of plots, total area 10 square meters, near railway quarter no. 273-a-c and railway bungalow no. b-176 in pachpedi, jabalpur. the assistant engineer, central railway, jabalpur by his notices dated 12-3-1980 asked the applicants to vacate their unauthorised occupation. the notices were not complied with. so the divisional engineer of the central railway, jabalpur by his notices dated 20-5-1980 again asked the applicants to vacate the railway premises. since these notices were also not complied with, the divisional manager (works). central railway,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

C.P. Sen, J.

1. By this order connected Civil Revision no. 437 of 1980 (Tikaram v. Union of India) is also disposed of as it arises out of the common appellate order of the District Judge under Section 9 of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, affirming the order of eviction passed by the Estate Officer under Section 5 of the Act against the applicants.

2. Applicant Ayodhya Prasad and applicant Tikaram are brothers and in occupation of plots, total area 10 square meters, near Railway Quarter no. 273-A-C and Railway Bungalow no. B-176 in Pachpedi, Jabalpur. The Assistant Engineer, Central Railway, Jabalpur by his notices dated 12-3-1980 asked the applicants to vacate their unauthorised occupation. The notices were not complied with. So the Divisional Engineer of the Central Railway, Jabalpur by his notices dated 20-5-1980 again asked the applicants to vacate the railway premises. Since these notices were also not complied with, the Divisional Manager (Works). Central Railway, Jabalpur complained to the Estate Officer, Central Railway, Jabalpur about the unauthorised occupation of the public premises by the applicants and sought their eviction. The Estate Officer then served the applicants with cause notices dated 21/22-8-1980 under Section 4(1) of the Act, asking them to show cause on or before 25-9-1980 as to why eviction order be not passed for vacation of public premises. Applicant Ayodhya Prasad received the notice on 29-8-1980 and applicant Tikaram also received the notice near about the same date. However, both of them failed to appear or show cause before the Estate Officer. The Estate Officer passed the eviction orders against the applicants under Section 5 on 14-10-1980 after being satisfied that the applicants are in unauthorised occupation of Railway premises. The applicants were given 30 days' time to vacate the premises, otherwise they would be forcibly evicted. The applicants then preferred Miscellaneous Civil Appeals nos. 37 and 38 of 1980 before the District Judge, Jabalpur, under Section 9 of the Act. By common order dated 12-3-1980. both the appeals have been dismissed by the District Judge, holding that the orders of the Estate Officer are in accordance with law and so affirmed the orders. Aggrieved by the Order these two revisions have been filed under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

3. The applicants have challenged the orders on the following grounds : (1) The applicants are illiterate persons but the show cause notices were served in English and they could not understand the contents thereof, and (2) the Estate Officer without holding any enquiry and in the absence of any material on record and even without drawing an order-sheet passed the eviction orders in contravention of Section 8, which provides the procedure to be followed. The non-applicants supported the orders and submitted that orders are perfectly legal and valid. An objection had also been raised that no revision lies against the order of District Judge who acts as a persona designata under Section 9 of the Act.

4. Maintainability of these revisions are taken up first. Section 9 provides that an appeal lies from every order of the Estate Officer under Section 5 of the Act to an appellate Officer who shall be the District Judge of the district in which the public property are situate or such other Judicial Officer in that district of not less than two years' standing as District Judge may designate in this behalf. Section 10 gives finality to the orders of the Estate Officer or appellate Officer, which shall not he called into question in original suit, application or execution proceedings. A single Bench of this Court in Hargovind v. South Estate Railway, AIR 1966 Madh Pra 7, had held that District Judge acts as persona designata, the word 'application' in Section 10 is wide enough to cover an application for revision under Section 115 of the C. P. C. and hence revision is excluded. But since then much water has flown on this question and the correctness of this decision is quite doubtful. There is a similar provision about appeal in the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. Section 6C provides for appeal to a judicial authority appointed by the M. P. State Government, i.e. Sessions Judge, against the order of confiscation passed by the Collector under Section 6C. Interpreting this provision, the Supreme Court in Thakurdas v. State of M. P., AIR 1978 SC 1 had held--

'When the Sessions Judge was appointed an appellate authority by the State Government under Section 6C of the Essential Commodities Act, what the State Government did was to constitute art appellate authority in the Sessions Court over which the Sessions Judge presides. The Sessions Court is constituted under the Code of Criminal Procedure and indisputably it is an inferior criminal court in relation to High Court. Therefore, against the order made in exercise of powers conferred by Section 6C a revision application would lie to the High Court and the High Court would be entitled to entertain a revision application under Ss. 435 and 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 which was in force at the relevant time and such revision application would be competent In such case the Sessions Court is not persona designata.'

The finality to the order of the District Judge means no further appeal lies and the orders cannot be challenged in collateral proceedings, i.e. by way of original suit or application, that is in separate proceedings. The section does not exclude the further remedy of revision provided under Section 115 of the Civil P. C. against the order of a Court Subordinate to High Court. Court of District Judge being a Court subordinate to High Court, revision would lie against the order of the District Judge in appeal under Section 9 of the Act. A Full Bench of this Court in Municipal Council, Khandwa v. Santosh Kumar, 1975 MPLJ 33 : (AIR 1975 Madh Pra 36) has held--

'In exercising the revisional power under Section 139, M. P. Municipalities Act, 1961, the District Judge functions as a Court and not as persona designata inasmuch as the jurisdiction is conferred under the Act on the Court itself. Sin'ce the District Judge exercising powers of revision acts as a Court and not as a persona designata the ordinary incidents of the procedure of that Court including any right of appeal or revision will attach to the decision rendered in revising by the District Judge so long as there is no stationary provision excluding such right of appeal Or revision. The use of the word 'final' in Section 139 (5) only means that there is no further appeal. It does not exclude the power of revision. The order of the District Judge, though in revision, being an order of a Court subordinate to the High Court and the order being 'a case decided' a revision against such order under Section 139 (5), M. P. Municipalities Act is tenable under Section 115, Civil Procedure Code.'

So the revisions are quite competent.

5. Now regarding merits First objection is that show cause notices were in English and the applicants being illete-rates could not know the contents. The cases relied on are Hari Kisan v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1962 SC 911 and Hadifaandhu v. D. M., Cuttack, AIR 1969 SC 43 that serving grounds of detention in English to a detenu not knowing English is no compliance to Article 22(5) of the Constitution and mere oral explanation of the grounds by the authorities is not sufficient. The Supreme Court in these cases were considering detention under the Preventive Detention Act and Article 22(5) enjoined that as soon as may be order of detention has to be communicated and the detenu to be afforded opportunity at the earliest to make representation. Here the applicants were free agents when the show cause notices were served and thereafter and there was no difficulty in taking advice about the contents from others. This apart, the Divisional Engineer did serve the notices dated 20-5-198Q on the applicants in Hindi and the applicants could not have been ignorant about what proceedings are being taken against them. Significantly, the applicants have put dates in English below their acknowledgments of the notices. The applicants did not file any reply to the notices served on them because they were aware about the unauthorised nature of their possession of the railway plots.

6. Regarding the second objection about the enquiry it is not the requirement of the Act that the Enquiry Officer had to follow the procedure of a suit. Section 4 requires the Estate Officer to issue show cause notices as being of the opinion that any person is in unauthorised occupation of any public premises and then under Section 6 after considering the cause shown and evidence given by noticee, to give him a reasonable opportunity of being heard, then to pass the order of eviction if satisfied that the public premises are in unauthorised occupation. Under Section 8 the Estate Officer is vested with the following powers of a Civil Court for holding an enquiry: (i) summoning and enforcing attendance of any witness; (ii) requiring discovery and production of documents; and (iii) any other matter that may be prescribed. So it Is not correct to say that Estate Officer has to follow the procedure of a suit. The Estate Officer has to record evidence only if the noticee shows cause and produces evidence and not otherwise. In the absence of any cause being shown he is only required to satisfy himself about the un~ authorised occupation of public premises before issuing show cause notice and again while passing the eviction order.

7. In the present case the Estate Officer issued the show cause notices after satisfying himself about the unauthorised nature of possession of the applicants of the public premises and since the applicants failed to appear and show cause, the eviction orders were passed after again satisfying himself about the unauthorised nature of occupation of the railway premises by the applicants. The show cause notices were issued on 21/22-8-1980, they were served on 29-8-1980 and acknowledgments of the applicants obtained, they failed to appear on 25-9-80 or earlier, then eviction orders were passed on 14-10-1980 and orders were served on 25-10-1980. The applicants are not claiming title to these plots nor saying that they are in authorised possession. They only claim to be in possession for over 70 years but no adverse title set up nor any documentary evidence produced in support. It has been stated by the learned counsel for the Railway that the Estate Officer was shown the Railway map and other documents in support of its title and it is pertinent to note that the plots in occupation of the applicants are open spaces in between a railway quarter and railway bungalow. There can be no doubt about the plots being Railway property. There is no illegality in the orders passed.

8. Accordingly the revisions fail and they are dismissed with costs. Counsel's lee Rs. 100/- if certified.


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