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Ramsingh Gangaram Vs. State of M.P. Through Chief Secretary - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal 73 of 1961
Judge
Reported inAIR1966MP24; 1965MPLJ716
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 9 - Order 21, Rules 84 and 85; Dhar State Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1940 - Sections 54; Constitution of India - Articles 19(1), 31(1), 226 and 227
AppellantRamsingh Gangaram
RespondentState of M.P. Through Chief Secretary
Appellant AdvocateK.A. Chitalay, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.L. Dubey, Addl. Govt. Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Cases ReferredNanhelal v. Umrao Singh
Excerpt:
- - 11800/ this satisfied the entire auction price of the three lots auctioned in favour of the appellant. 8). in pursuance of the same, the appellant was actually placed in possession of the property on 19-8-1952. 10. it is not very clear from the record as to when and how ramaji, one of the unsuccessful rival bidders in one of the auction sales approached the tahsildar for cancellation of the sale certificate granted to the appellant and for holding a reauction. the application was rejected by the tahsildar on 31-7-1951. it may be interesting to note the nature of the claim of ramaji as also his capacity to challenge the sale certificate granted to ramsingh to be gathered from an order of the revenue officer dhar state, dated 20 8-1951 (ex. 13). this ramaji claimed to be a cultivator.....1. this appeal is by the plaintiff against the decree, dated 30-6-1961, passed by shri s.n. chaturvedi, additional district judge, dhar in civil suit no 1 of 1956, renumbered as 3 of 1960. dismissing the plaintiff's claim mainly on the ground that the civil court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.2. one, mst. moti, a widow, owned about 261 bighas and 15 biswas of land. she died heirless. therefore, the lands escheated to the then dhar state. her death had taken place some time in the year 1923 steps were being taken to have the lands allotted by public auction. in the year 1944, the government of dhar state decided to hold public auction for the purpose of allotment in favour of the highest bidder.3. the land was decided to be sold in five different lots. regarding lots nos. 1, 2.....
Judgment:

1. This appeal is by the plaintiff against the decree, dated 30-6-1961, passed by Shri S.N. Chaturvedi, Additional District Judge, Dhar in Civil Suit No 1 of 1956, renumbered as 3 of 1960. dismissing the plaintiff's claim mainly on the ground that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

2. One, Mst. Moti, a widow, owned about 261 Bighas and 15 Biswas of land. She died heirless. Therefore, the lands escheated to the then Dhar State. Her death had taken place some time in the year 1923 Steps were being taken to have the lands allotted by public auction. In the year 1944, the Government of Dhar State decided to hold public auction for the purpose of allotment in favour of the highest bidder.

3. The land was decided to be sold in five different lots. Regarding lots Nos. 1, 2 and 3, the present appellant was the highest bidder. Regarding lot No. 4 one, Kanhaiyalal was the highest bidder, while regarding lotNo. 5, one, Bherusingh was the highest bidder. The auction was held on 28-4-1944. The appellant's bids for lot No. 1 for Rs. 3800/-for lot No. 2 Rs. 3100/- and for lot No. 3 Rs. 4900/- were accepted. As such, the appellant was liable to pay a total auction price of Rs. 11800/- for the three lots purchased by him. He deposited Rs. 2950/-on 26-5-1944, that is within one month of the auction sale. This represented one-fourth. of the auction price payable by an auction purchaser. However, the appellant did not mention the various lots or the amount that was being deposited towards each auction sale.

4. Thereafter, the auction sales in favour of the appellant were approved by an order, dated 3-1-1945 (Ex P. 19) passed by the Revenue Member of the State Council, Dhar State. The same was confirmed by the Dewan of Dhar State by an order passed on 5-1-1945. Thereafter, the Tehsildar, by an order, dated 22-2-1945 granted one month's time for payment of the remaining three-fourth amount of Rs 8850/-. In that connection, the appellant executed an agreement, dated 31-7-1945 (Ex. P. 2), agreeing to pay Rs. 2000/-by 15-8-1945. It was not however mentioned as to when the remaining amount would be paid. In compliance with the said agreement, the appellant deposited an amount of Rs. 2000/- before the agreed date, that is, on 10-8-1945.

5. According to Clause 15 of Rule V of the Rules framed under the Dhar State Land Revenue and Tenancy Act. No. 1 of 1940-41, the appellant was required to deposit an amount equal to the earnest money (one-fourth) after the approval of the Chief Revenue Officer. The balance of the amount was required to be deposited after the next harvest when he was placed in possession of the land. However, neither the appellant was placed in possession of the land nor did he pay the remaining amount till the year 1951

6. At this stage, it may be relevant to reproduce Clauses 6 and 7 of Rule V of the Rules framed under Section 54 of the Dhar Land Revenue and Tenancy Act 1940-41 which are as follows: Clause 6

'When any Khasra number is knocked down, the successful bidder shall deposit as earnest money one fourth of his bid. After the bid has been finally accepted he shall deposit an amount equal to the earnest money. On his so depositing he shall be put in possession of the land and granted a patta in the following form The balance of the auction price shall be paid by the purchaser when the next Kharif Kist fails due.' Clause 7

'In default of payment of the subsequent deposit as contemplated by the preceding rule, earnest money will be forfeited to the state and the Khasra number shall be reauctioned and such defaulting purchaser shall forfeit all claim to the land auctioned.'

7. On 26-11-1946, the Tehsildar passed an order to the effect that a default had been committed and therefore, the property should he reauctioned. Against that order Kanhaiyalal, the auction purchaser of lot No. 4 went up in appeal before the Chief Revenue officer of the Dhar State, who by his order (Ex. P. 26) dismissed the appeal and upheld the order of the Tehsildar directing a reauction of the property. In pursuance of that, an attempt for a reauction was made on 18-1-1948 but there were no bidders coming forward. An application was made on behalf of the defaulters for grant of time for making the payment. Thereafter, it appears that no action was taken till the year 1951.

8. The record shows that the appellant deposited an amount of Rs. 4000/- on 8-6-1951: and therefore, the Tehsildar by an order of the same date (Ex. P. 23) granted time to Ramsingh to deposit the balance of the amount. The balance of Rs. 2850/- was accordingly deposited by him on 9-6-1951 is clear from the order sheet of the Tehsildar, dated 11-6-1951 (Ex. P. 24). Thus the total deposits made by the appellant were as follows:

Rs. 2950/- on 26-5-1945,

Rs. 2000/- on 10-8-1945,

Rs. 4000/- on 8-6-1951 and

Rs. 2850/- on 9-6-1951

Total Rs. 11800/

This satisfied the entire auction price of the three lots auctioned in favour of the appellant. It is true that the payments were made very late, almost during a period of more than five years. The question, therefore, arises whether any penalty was provided by Clauses 6 and 7 of Rule V of the Rules framed under the Dhar State Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1940-41, and whether the Tehsildar had the discretion to grant extension of time. On this will depend the question of jurisdiction of the Civil Court to entertain a suit of the present kind.

9. As the entire amount has been deposited by the appellant, the Tehsildar granted him a sale certificate on 1-8-1951 (Ex. P. 8). In pursuance of the same, the appellant was actually placed in possession of the property on 19-8-1952.

10. It is not very clear from the record as to when and how Ramaji, one of the unsuccessful rival bidders in one of the auction sales approached the Tahsildar for cancellation of the sale certificate granted to the appellant and for holding a reauction. Therefore, we have to ascertain the sequence of events from the statement of facts given by the learned Member of the Board of Revenue in his order dated 22-12-1953 (Ex. P. (9)).

11. In paragraph 2 of the order the learned Member observed that the auction took place in the year 1944. Approval and sanction were granted in the year 1945 Some amount was paid in the year 1945 and the balance of the amount was paid in the year1951 After deposit of the amount, the auction sale was made absolute and a sale certificate was granted in favour of the present appellant. It was at that stage that this Ramaji approached the Tahsildar for cancelling the sale certificate. The application was rejected by the Tahsildar on 31-7-1951. It may be interesting to note the nature of the claim of Ramaji as also his capacity to challenge the sale certificate granted to Ramsingh to be gathered from an order of the revenue officer Dhar State, dated 20 8-1951 (Ex. P. 13). This Ramaji claimed to be a cultivator with a family and as a citizen and an aspirant for purchase of the land and well wisher of the Government, in order to prevent any loss, he prayed for cancellation of the sale certificate granted to Ramsingh. A question would arise whether his application made to the Tahsildar was tenable in law after a sale certificate had been granted to Ramsingh.

12. Against the order of the Tahsildar, dated 20-8-1951 Ramaji purported to file an appeal before the Collector who by order, dated 22-10-1951 (Ex. p. 16), set aside the order of the Tahsildar and directed a reauction.

13. Against the order of the Collector, the present appellant filed an appeal before the Commissioner who by order, dated 19-7-1952 (Ex. P. 14), allowed Ramsingh's appeal and set aside the order of the Collector directing a reauction of the property.

14. Against that order, Ramaji purported to file a revision before the Board of Revenue, Madhya Bharat State The Revenue Board, as per order, dated 22-12-1953 (Ext P. 9) allowed Ramaji's revision; but at the same time held that the order of the Chief Revenue Officer of the Dhar State passed on 31-7-1945 directing reauction did not affect the present appellant, Ramsingh as he was not a party to those proceedings. Therefore, that order of the Chief Revenue Officer would be operative against the other auction purchasers. Against that order, a review petition was filed by the present appellant, which was also dismissed by order, dated 14-2-1955 (Ex. P. 10). In this order, the learned Member of the Board of Revenue observed that the amount of Rs 2000/- deposited on 10-8-1945 was towards the auction price of all the three lots sold to the present appellant. A contention was raised that the said deposit be treated as sufficient towards the auction price of two lots at least However, that contention was negatived.

15. In the meantime, as the entire auction price had been deposited by 9-6-1951, the Tehsildar issued a sale certificate (Ex. P 8) in favour of the appellant and possession was also delivered to him on 19-8-1952. It was after the grant of sale certificate that the Collector and the Board of Revenue purported to allow Ramaji's appeal and revision. Hence when an attempt was made to hold a reauction of the lots sold to the appellant, he filed the present suit on 6-2-1956 for the following reliefs:

(a) It be declared that the plaintiff has become lull owner of the lauds sold to him in lots Nos. 2 and 3 and that the defendant was not entitled to reauction the same.

(b) That the plaintiff has become owner of the land covered by lot No. 1 in respect of which a sale certificate had been duly granted and that the defendant had no power to order a reauction of the said land on the assumed authority of the orders passed by the Revenue Court. That the orders of the revenue Board, dated 22-12-1953 (Ex P. 9) and dated 14-2-1955 (Ex. P 10) and the order of the Collector, dated 22-10-1951 (Ex. P. 16) which were said to have been based on the orders of the Chief Revenue Officer of the Dhar State, dated 22-11-1946 and 31-7-1947 (Ex. P. 13) were without jurisdiction and, therefore, null and void. Costs be awarded to the plaintiff and any other relief that he may be found entitled to may be granted.

16. The respondent's defence was that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain a suit of the present kind as the revenue Courts had exclusive jurisdiction to decide the matter. That was the main contention on which the suit was fought out between the parties. It is, therefore, necessary lo ascertain whether the civil Court had jurisdiction to entertain the present suit; and whether the special tribunals, namely the revenue Courts acted without jurisdiction or in excess of the statutory provisions. It is first necessary to determine the powers of the civil Court to interfere with decisions of special tribunals, particularly with reference to the provisions of the Dhar Land Revenue and Tenancy Act No. 1 of 1940-41 and the M.B. Land Revenue and Tenancy Act. 1950.

17. In this connection. Their Lordships of the Privy Council and Their Lordships of the Supreme Court have enunciated certain principles which it is necessary lo take note of. In Secy. of Slate v. Mask and Co., 67 Ind. App. 222 : (AIR 1940 PC 105) Their Lordships of the Privy Council laid down the general principle that the jurisdiction of a civil Court to try disputes of civil nature is not to be readily inferred unless the special enactment excludes such jurisdiction specifically, or such exclusion is inferable due to a necessary implication or intendment arising on account of the provisions made in the special enactment. Thus the jurisdiction of the civil Court to try disputes of a civil nature would always be there, and the existence of jurisdiction will not be inferred where the special enactment excludes it specifically. In respect of the special tribunals. the further thing to be noted is that the authorities acting under a special statute are immune from a challenge to their actions in any civil Courts as long as they are acting within their powers as conferred by the special statute. However, the immunity could not be available where they act without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction by exceeding the statutory limits placed on them.

18. In another type of case, namely,Raleigh investment Co. Ltd. v. Governor General in Council, 74 Ind. App. 50: (AIR 1947 PC 78). Their Lordships of the Privy Council laid down that a suit to set aside or modify an assessment made by an authority acting under the Indian Income Tax Act, 1922 would not be tenable even if the contention of the assessee were to be that the provisions of the Income Tax Act were ultra vires the powers of the Contral Legislature, and on that basis the assessment was termed as illegal. Their Lordships further laid down that if the special Act itself provides for a machinery whereby the assessee can effectively raise the question whether or not a particular provision of the Act having a bearing on the assessment order is ultra vires or otherwise. the assessee could only resort to the special remedy indicated by the special enactment. From this point of view, Their Lordships of the Privy Council laid down that the jurisdiction of the civil Court to entertain a suit challenging an order of assessment would be ousted.

19. It may further be relevant to note the principles laid down by Their Lordships of the Supreme Court in a series of cases. In Brij Raj Krishna v. S.K. Shaw and Brothers, AIR1951 SC 115, Their Lordships laid down that if a special enactment has entrusted the Controller with a jurisdiction which includes the jurisdiction to determine whether then is non-payment of rent or as well as the jurisdiction, on finding that there is non-payment of rent, to order eviction of a tenant, the civil Court would not be able lo interfere with the decision of the Controller even though he may wrongly decide the question of non-payment of rent and may order eviction of the tenant on the basis of such a wrong conclusion.

20. In Ebrahim Aboobakar v. Custodian General of Evacuee Properly New Delhi, AIR1952 SC 319, Their Lordships had to consider the powers of a High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution in the matter of issuing a writ of certiorari against the decisions of special tribunals Their Lordships, adopting the dictum laid down by Lord Esher M. R. in Reg. v. Income Tax Commrs. (1885) 21 Q.B.D. 313, laid down that the decision of an inferior Court or tribunal can be interfered with only if the authority is found to be acting without jurisdiction, or if it is found to be acting in excess of jurisdiction or power conferred by law, or if the special authority has acted in violation of the principles of natural justice These are the limitations within which a High Court exercising prerogative powers under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution can interfere with decisions of special tribunals.

21. However. the position would be slightly different so far as civil Courts not exercising prerogative powers, but only exercising ordinary civil jurisdiction are concerned. In Chaube Jagdish Prasad v. Ganga Prasad Chaturvedi. AIR 1959 SC 492. Their Lordships had lo consider the question relating to powers of the civil Court vis-a-vis the special tribunal constituted under the U.P.(Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act (3 of 1947). In that case also. Their Lordships adopted the dictum of Lord Esher M.R. bY stating that there would be two kinds of tribunals, one which are empowered by Acts of the legislature to decide the question of their own jurisdiction and the other kind of tribunals whose jurisdiction would be dependent on certain objective facts. The decisions of tribunals of the first kind could not he interfered with except when they are found to be wholly acting without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction. Regarding the latter types of tribunals, it would also be open to the civil Court to examine the question whether the objective facts which are necessary for the conferral of jurisdiction on a special tribunal exist. If they exist, the civil Court would stay its hands, however, wrong the decision of the special tribunal may be on merits. At the most, the civil Court could examine the question whether the special tribunal has jurisdiction, and nothing more It may be observed that a revenue, Court constituted under any of the land revenue and tenancy legislations is a tribunal of the first kind which has the jurisdiction to decide questions of its own jurisdiction. Therefore, the civil Court would be debarred from examining the objective facts which would confer jurisdiction on the revenue Court. Consequently, the limitation for the civil Court regarding interference with the decision of revenue Courts would he that interference would be possible only if a revenue Court is found to be acting without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction by exceeding the statutory authority.

22. In State of Vindhya Pradesh (now Madhya Pradesh) v. Moradhwajsingh, AIR 1960 SC 786. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court had to consider the question relating to jurisdiction of a civil Court vis-a-vis the provisions of Section 37 of the V.P. Abolition of Jagirs and Land Reforms Act, 1952. Their Lordships laid down that even though a dispute may be of a civil nature, vet if the legislature, which is competent passes a law ousting the jurisdiction of a civil Court even in respect of a dispute of a civil nature, the jurisdiction of a civil Court would be ousted: and the action of the special tribunal cannot be challenged in a civil Court. At the most, the remedy may be as indicated by the provisions of the special enactment and an approach to a civil Court could be made only if the special tribunal is found to be acting without jurisdiction or in excess of statutory powers. In that view, their Lordships held that Section 37 of the V.P. Abolition of Jagirs and Land Reforms Act, 1952 was intra vires the powers of the legislature.

23. In Magiti Sasamal v. Pandab Bissoi AIR 1962 SC 547. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court laid down that having regard to the beneficent object which the legislature had in view in passing the Orissa Tenants Protection Act, 1948 its material provisions ought to be liberally construed. The legislature intended that the disputes contempleated bythe provisions should be tried not by ordinary civil Courts, but by tribunals specially designated by it and so in dealing with the scope and effect of the jurisdiction of such tribunals, the relevant words used in the section should receive not a narrow, but a liberal construction. Further on. Their Lordships laid down that while bearing this principle in mind, the Courts must also have regard to another important principle of construction and that is that if a statute purports to exclude the ordinary jurisdiction of civil Courts it must do so either by express terms or by the use of such terms as would necessarily lead to the inference of such exclusion. Their Lordships approved of the view of the Privy Council as expressed in 67 Ind. App. 222 : (AIR 1940 PC 105) (supra).

24. In Durga Singh v. Tholu, AIR 1963 SC 361, Their Lordships laid down that the jurisdiction of a civil Court would not be ousted where a suit for possession or mesne profits was filed against persons who claimed to be occupancy tenants, but whose status as tenants was denied by the plaintiff. Thus Their Lordships laid down that the exclusive jurisdiction of a special tribunal would exist only if the necessary fuels indisputably exist. Where such fact or status is disputed, the jurisdiction of the civil Court would not at all be ousted. In such an event, the civil Court would be able to grant a declaration of status of the person concerned.

25. In Firm Radha Kishan v. Administrator Municipal Committee. Ludhiana, AIR 1963 SC 1547. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court laid down that although under Section 9 of the Civil Procedure Code the Civil Court would have jurisdiction to try all suits of civil nature it cannot have jurisdiction in respect of matters which have been excepted from its cognizance either expressly or by necessary implication or intendment. Therefore, where a statute specifically ousts the jurisdiction of the civil Court in respect of a particular matter, or if the special statute creates a liability or provides for a remedy, the party aggrieved can only resort to the remedy provided by the special statute, and it cannot approach the civil Court except when the special tribunal is found to be acting without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction by exceeding the statutory limits. In that case, Section 84 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911 provided for an appeal against an order about levy of terminal tax on salt: and therefore. Their Lordships laid down that the remedy of the party aggrieved would be to resort to the remedy provided by the special statute.

26. Adverting to the latest pronouncement of Their Lordships of the Supreme Court, it is to be noted that in Firm of Illuri Subbayya Chelty and Sons v. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1964 SC 322. Their Lordships laid down that a suit by an assessee for recovery of a sum of money against the State on the ground that the said amount had been illegally recovered from him as sales tax underthe Madras General Sales Tax Act, 1939 would be incompetent in view of the bar enacted in Section 18A of the Act. This case was more or less on the lines of the Privy Council case of 74 Ind. App. 50 : (AIR 1947 PC 78) (supra).

27. In the Provincial Govt. of Madras (Now Andhra Pradesh) v. J.S. Basappa, AIR 1964 SC 1873, Their Lordships of the Supreme Court laid down that the bar of Section 18 of the Madras General Sales Tax Act, 1939 would apply to suits for damages and compensation in respect of acts under the said Act. It would protect and indemnify the authorities including Government in respect of bona fide acts done or purporting to be done under powers conferred by the statute. The period of limitation prescribed in the section would not, however, apply to a suit by an assessee for refund of the tax on the ground that it had been illegally recovered from him.

Their Lordships further laid down that the exclusion of the jurisdiction of a civil Court is not to be readily inferred: and even if a provision giving the orders a finality may be enacted, the civil Court would still have the jurisdiction to interfere where fundamental provisions of the Act are not complied with, or where the statutory tribunals do not act in conformity with the fundamental principles of judicial procedure. In that view. Their Lordships laid down that on account of a provision like Section 18A which was added to the Act in 1951, the jurisdiction of the civil Court would not be taken away at least where the action of the authorities is wholly outside the law and is not a mere error in the exercise of jurisdiction. Their Lordships observed that the addition of Section 18A did not make valid an action which was unwarranted by the Act as for example--the law of tax on a commodity which was not taxable at all or which was exempt from taxation. Thus their Lordships laid down that if a special tribunal acts without initial jurisdiction, or in excess of statutory powers conferred by the law, the jurisdiction of the civil Court to question its decisions would not at all be ousted. The only limitation is that the civil Court would not be able lo challenge decisions of special tribunals where they commit a mere error in exercise of jurisdiction within the statutory powers. That is the real distinction.

in our opinion, the observations made by Their Lordships of the Supreme Court in this case would conclude the question of jurisdiction of civil Court to interfere with decisions of special tribunals, while the observations made by Their Lordships in AIR 1952 SC 319 (supra) would indicate the limitations on the prerogative powers of the High Court while issuing a writ of certiorari against the decisions of special tribunals. We have, therefore, to examine whether any of the conditions mentioned by Their Lordships so as to warrant interference with the decision of a special tribunal exist in the present case.

28. The Dhar Stale Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1940-41 remained in force till 15-8-1950 when it was repealed by the Madhya Bharat Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1950. However, Section 2 of the Madhya Bharat Act provided that all pending cases had to be disposed of according to the repealed enactments whether by the revenue Courts or by the civil Courts. Therefore, it would not be necessary to examine the provisions of the Madhya Bharat Act. The matter had to be decided by the revenue Courts according to the provisions of the Dhar State Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1940-41.

29. It is further pertinent to note that Clauses 6-7 of Rule V framed under Section 54 of the Dhar State Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1940-41 specified different stages for payment of the auction price. One-fourth of the amount had to be deposited as earnest money by a successful bidder. There is no indication that the deposit was to be made immediately. A further amount of one-fourth was to be deposited after the bid was finally accepted by the then Chief Revenue Officer. Thereafter, the auction purchaser would be put in possession and granted a patta. Then the balance of the auction price amounting to half would be payable by the auction purchaser when the next Kharif Kist would fall due. This was the time table indicated by Clause 6. Clause 7 provided for reaction in the event of default of payment of subsequent deposit as contemplated by Clause 6. It is significant to note that there was no provision like Order 21 Rule 84 or Order 21 Rule 85, Civil Procedure Code in the Dhar Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1940-41, or in the rules framed thereunder. Therefore, the effect was that the revenue authorities had the jurisdiction, as also the discretion either to extend time or to treat the auction purchaser a defaulter and to order the property to be reauctioned. There can be no doubt about that proposition.

30. In the present case, although the Tahsildar, had on an earlier occasion namely, 26-11-1946, passed an order that a default had been committed; and, therefore, the property should be reauctioned; he later on took steps to have the entire auction price recovered and he actually issued a sale certificate in favour of the appellant on 1-8-1951 (Ex. P. 8). The question arises whether Ramaji could be held to be a person aggrieved by the grant of a sale certificate. The revenue officer rejected Ramaji's prayer by order, dated 20-8-1961 (Ex. P. 13). Thereafter, Ramaji purported to file an appeal before the Collector and the matter was ultimately taken up to the Board of Revenue which ultimately upheld Ramaji's contention and cancelled the sale certificate granted to the present appellant. It is also pertinent to note that the proceedings initialed by Ramaji were not for setting aside the auction sale, but for cancellation of the sale certificate already granted to the present appellant

31. It is true that the state of laws insome of the former Princely States was imperfect; and consequently the authorities then might have been required to fill in the lacuna either by acting in accordance with commonsense, or by acting justly or unjustly in an arbitrary manner. However, the same situation could not and did not continue after the formation of the United State of Gwalior, Tadore and Malwa in May 1948, and the subsequent formation of Madhya Bharat was a Part B State after the coming into force of the present Constitution of India. It is to be noted that a sale certificate was granted to the appellant on 1-8-1951. The superior revenue Courts, it might be assumed for the sake of argument, could interfere with the discretion exercised by the Tahsildar in the matter of granting extension of time for payment of the balance of the purchase price at the instance of the State, which alone could be considered to be an aggrieved party and which could move the Revenue Courts for reauctioning the property. But the State remained satisfied with the grant of a sale certificate to the present appellant. Moreover, in our opinion, that could be done only as long as the sale certificate had not been granted to the appellant. When no steps were taken for setting aside the auction sale, the Revenue authorities were bound to confirm it was laid down by Their Lordships of the Privy Council in Nanhelal v. Umrao Singh, 27 Nag LR 95 : (AIR 1931 PC 33). Moreover, when a sale certificate was once issued, the appellant's right to property became absolute, and he was entitled to a fundamental right of owning that property as per Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution of India; and he could not be deprived of the property except by a due process of law as per Article 31(1) of the Constitution. It appears that the superior Revenue Courts, right from the Collector up to the learned Member of the Board of Revenue, not only committed a flagrant viola-lion of the statutory provisions, but also acted in contravention of Article 31(1) of the Constitution of India

32. Once the sale certificate was granted to the appellant, the Tehsildar himself had no jurisdiction to entertain an application filed by Ramaji for cancellation of the sale certificate. We are unable to appreciate this procedure adopted by Ramaji, who claimed that he as a citizen was entitled to act in the interest of the Government That evidently, could not make him an aggrieved person so as to entitle him to approach the Tahsildar for such an unusual relief and to entitle him to file an appeal against such refusal under Sections 32 and 33, or a revision under Section 34 of the Dhar State Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1940-41 or under the provisions of the M. B. Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1950. 'From this point of view, it is clear that the learned Tahsildar was right in rejecting the request of Ramaji for cancellation of the sale Certificate The same could not be done under any provisions of the Dhar State Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1940-41, orthe provisions of the Madhya Bharat Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1950.

33. However, the learned Collector purported to entertain ah appeal at the instance of Ramaji and actually he allowed that appeal on 22-10-1951. that is, after the sale certificate had been granted to Ramsingh. Ramsingh again appealed to the Commissioner who restored the order of the Tahsildar; but again Ramaji purported to file a revision before the Board of Revenue which was entertained and which was allowed by restoring the order of the Collector. Thereafter, a review application at the instance of Ramsingh was also dismissed by the Board of Revenue.

34. This sequence of events will show that Ramaji could have no locus standi to claim cancellation of a sale certificate granted by the Tahsildar to the present appellant. His objection in that behalf was not maintainable under any provision of the law. Similarly, the superior Revenue Courts had no jurisdiction to entertain an appeal at his instance. At the most, it might be said that the superior revenue Courts could interfere with the discretion of the Tehsildar at the instance of the State, which alone could be an aggrieved party. But that could be done only before a sale certificate was granted to Ramsingh, and not after his title to property became absolute and he got a vested interest which he could protect by relying on the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution. As the entire proceedings right from the application made by Ramaji upto the last review order passed by the Board of Revenue were wholly without jurisdiction, we have no hesitation in holding that the revenue courts acted not only without initial jurisdiction, but also in excess of jurisdiction by throwing to winds the statutory provisions of the law, as also by contravening Article 31(1) of the Constitution of India. For this reason, the present suit was tenable in a civil suit on the principles laid down by Their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the latest pronouncement made in AIR 1964 SC 1873 (supra).

35. As a result of the discussion aforesaid, it is clear that the view of the learned Judge of the trial Court holding that the civil Court had no jurisdiction cannot be sustained in law. It is further clear that the appellant's title to property having become absolute by the grant of a sale certificate, the revenue Courts could not defeat his vested interest by flouting the statutory provisions and by entertaining infructuous proceedings and appeals and contravening Article 31(1) of the Constitution of India Therefore, the appellant was entitled to the reliefs claimed by him in his plaint As a result, this appeal succeeds and is allowed with costs of the trial Court and this Court. Counsel's fee in this Court according to schedule or certificate, whichever be less. It is hereby decreed that the appellant's title to the suit, lands having become absolute, the State could not interfere with those rights on the assumed authority of the orders of the revenueCourts, which were not only without initialjurisdiction, but also in excess of suchjurisdiction and unconstitutional.


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