S.C. Mohapatra, J.
1. In this application under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India the petitioner invokes the extraordinary writ jurisdiction of this Court to get his application under Section 36A of the Orissa Land Reforms Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') disposed of on merits by the Revenue Officer, Baripada in O.L.R. Case No. 553 of 1976.
2. The petitioner claims to be a tenant under Maharani Premkumari Devi of Baripada. She possessed lands beyond the ceiling limit fixed under the Act for which O.L.R. Case No. 90 of 1975 was initiated and the Revenue Officer determined 173.89 acres to be her ceiling surplus land. On 23-5-1976 the draft statement was confirmed under Section 44(1) of the Act and the same was finally published on 20-7-76. Shortly thereafter, on 6-8-1976 the petitioner made an application under Section 36A of the Act before the Revenue Officer for declaration of the land in his cultivation as a tenant to be non-resumable and to determine the fair and equitable rent and compensation payable by him. On the same day, the Revenue Officer rejected his application on the finding that the land having been vested in the State Government in O.L.R. Case No. 90 of 1975 by order dt. 20-7-1976, the application is not maintainable. The petitioner approached the Land Reforms Commissioner to move the Board of Revenue to revise the orders in O.L.R. Case No. 90 of 1975 and O.L.R. Case No. 553 of 1976. Having failed to get the matters moved to Board of Revenue, the petitioner has approached this Court in the absence of any efficacious remedy available to him.
3. It is not disputed that the application under Section 36A is within the period stipulated under the Act. The legislative intention in the scheme of the Act is to give protection and higher rights to tenants within the limitations provided under the Act. When the vires of the legislation was questioned in this Court, it was observed in the decision reported in ILR (1975) Cut 843 (Bhikari Sahu v. State of Orissa) in paragraph 22 at page 887, after considering Sections 39 to 45 and Sections 36A and 36B, that a broad view should be taken. It was observed thus :
'.....Since all these provisions are part of the same statute and the Legislature must have intended to give effect to all the provisions, a broad view has to be taken to make the entire scheme workable, if it is possible to make it so work.'
Later, in the said paragraph, it was observed :
'.....Since the Legislature in its own wisdom has allowed a two-year time limit to the tenant for making an application under Section 36A and has bestowed the suo motu jurisdiction on the Revenue Officer to be exercised within a further extended period, it would mean that even if a return is made under Section 40A of the Act, determination of the ceiling area cannot be undertaken until the claim of the tenant for conversion of the tenanted holding into raiyati status or the time limit for exercise of suo motu jurisdiction for conferring on the tenant the said right has expired. It is only upon a determination of the tenant's claim for raiyati status that the ceiling area in the hands of the landholder or raiyat can be finally determined.....'
4. The aforesaid observations interpreting the scheme of the Act to give effect to the legislative intention, have held the field for a decade. The Revenue Officer ought not to have determined the surplus land in the hands of Rani Premkumari before expiry of the period statutorily provided for an application under Section 36A. The order of the Revenue Officer, Baripada dt. 23-5-1976 under Section 44(1) of the Act in O.LR. Case No. 90 of 1975 is, therefore, quashed. The only ground on which the application under Section 36A was held by the Revenue Officer not to be maintainable is that the land has vested in the State Government. The order confirming the statement as a result of which the land has vested, has been quashed. Unless the order dt. 7-8-1976 in O.L.R. Case No. 553 of 1976 is quashed, the petitioner's application under Section 36A which has been rejected cannot be considered by the Revenue Officer.
5. The petitioner is not guilty of laches. He has approached this Court immediately after the Land Reforms Commissioner refused to exercise his jurisdiction under Section 59(2). In the circumstances, the order dt. 7-8-1976 of the Revenue Officer in O.L.R. Case No. 553 of 1976 is quashed. The petitioner is directed to appear before the Revenue Officer, Baripada on 10-5-1985 (Friday) at 7 a.m. when the Revenue Officer shall fix the further date for disposal of the application of the petitioner under Section 36A after observing all the procedural formalities provided under the Act. On the basis of the result of the application of the petitioner under Section 36A, the ceiling surplus proceeding in O.L.R. Case No. 90 of 1973 shall be disposed of by observing the principles of natural justice and procedural formalities. The Revenue Officer shall do well in dispoing of both the proceedings by 31st August, 1985.
6. In the result, the writ application is allowed. Parties shall bear their own costs in this Court.
D. Pathak, C.J.
7. I agree.