(1) The petitioners, Bhola and Ran Pat, have approached this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution on the following allegations.
(2) The petitioners claim to have been tenants of agricultural land measuring about 307 kanals and 8 marlas on 16-7-1959, when they moved on an application before the Assistant Collector, 1st Grade, Bhiwani under section 18 of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act for the purchase of the land mentioned above.
(3) Respondents 1 to 3 in this Court contested the application on the ground that they were small land-owners; in the alternative, it was also pleaded that the land in dispute had been reserved by them. The Assistant Collector, 1st Grade upheld the petitioner's claim on all the points and allowed their application on 17-8-1960. In accordance with that order, the petitioners state, that, they actually deposited the first installment of Rs. 1348.75 nP. within the stipulated period. Their claim is that on making the said deposit, they became the owners of the land in dispute. Mutation of ownership is also claimed by them to have been sanctioned by the Tehsildar in their favour.
(4) Respondents 1 to 3 went up in appeal to the Collector Hissar and for the first time in appeal they raised the contention that the Punjab Security of Land Tenures (2nd Amendment) Act, 1959 had come into force on 13-8-1959 and as the land in dispute was Evacuee Property allotted to Kurra Ram, the application for the purchase of land was not competent on 16-7-1959. The said application, according to the contention, can only be preferred after 13-8-1959. The Collector, so plead the petitioners under misapprehension of law, and thinking himself bound by the decision of the Financial Commission in Des Raj v. Sema etc., R. O. R. No. 380 of 1959-60, upheld the contention of the appellant before him and set aside the order of the Assistant Collector, 1st Grade.
(5) The present petition took the matter up in second appeal to the Commissioner but he also felt bound by the order of the Financial Commissioner in the case mentioned above and dismissed the revision. The petitioners have approached this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution for setting aside the orders of the Commissioner and the Collector.
(6) It is conceded at the bar that the petitioners could approach the Financial Commission on revision and that they have not done so because the Financial Commissioner is not likely to change his views, as expressed in R. O. R. No. 380 of 1959-60, though the learned counsel for the petitioners asserted that the decisions of this Court have taken a contrary view to the one taken by the learned Financial Commissioner in Des Raj's case R. O. R. No. 380 of 1959-60. The counsel has submitted that the existence of alternative remedy in the case in hand should be no bar to the exercise of the powers of this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution. Reference has been made to Satyanarayan Laxminarayan v. Mallikarjun Bhavanappa AIR 1960 SC 137 in support of the counsel's contention. The reported case deals with the question as to what is an error apparent on the face of the record. I, however, do not see how this decision can support the proposition that this Court should interfere under Article 227 of the Constitution with the order of the Tribunal which is revisable by the superior Tribunal constituted by the statute under which these Tribunals function. It is, however, emphasised by the learned counsel for the petitioner, that in this respect, there is no material difference between a petition under Article 226 and one under Article 227 of the Constitution.
(7) Article 227, as is by now well settled, how revived in essential particulars the powers which had been conferred on the High Courts under S. 107 of the Government of India Act 1915, but which was excluded from section 224 of the Government of India Act, 1935. This power is not original power like that conferred by Article 226. It is more akin to the revisional powers, though it is described, in the Constitution as 'power of superintendence over all Courts by the High Court.' Without determining the broad question whether or not it is permissible, as a general rule, for this Court to interfere under Article 227 with orders of Tribunals or Courts whose orders are, under the law constituting them, appealable or revisable by a superior departmental Tribunal, I am clearly of the view that it is highly undesirable for this Court to exercise this power in such circumstances, in an average case, in the absence of very exceptional circumstances.
The reason given by the petitioners for not filing revision to the Financial Commissioner has not appealed to me. I am positively disinclined to agree with the appellant's suggestion that the Financial Commissioner would have stuck to his previous views even after his attention were drawn to the decision of this Court laying down the law differently. In this connection, it is pertinent to point out that the Constitution has vested this Court with supervisory powers of superior Court in the territories in relation to which it exercise jurisdiction, and the law laud down by this Court is binding on all the Tribunals and Courts in this State except when it is in conflict with the law as laid down by the Supreme Court. To concede to the petitioner's contention would really mean imputing to the Financial Commissioner an unconstitutional attitude for which I find no jurisdiction on the existing material.
In this view of the matter I think it was essential for the petitioners first to approach the Financial Commissioner on revision, and it is only when the departmental hierarchy has finally dealt with the matter that the petitioners should have thought of approaching this Court for redress of grievances under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution. With these observations, I dismiss this petition but not on merits; it would still be open to the petitioners to approach the Financial Commissioner it permitted by law. There would be no order as to costs.