1. This order will dispose C. W. Nos. 3605 to 3607 of 1978 as counsel for the parties are agreed the identical point is involved in all of them
2. The Union of India started proceedings against the petitioner and his tenants under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act; 1971 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) for evicting the petitioner and his tenants from the property in dispute abutting the railway line on the ground that it belonged to Government of India and the respondents had encroached upon it. Orders of eviction were passed under S. 5 of the Act against which the petitioner filed three separate appeals before the District Judge, Ambala which were decided by Mr. Surinder Sarup, Additional District Judge, Ambala who rejected these appeals. The petitioner has come to this Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India to challenge the order passed by Mr. Surinder Sarup, Additional District Judge, Ambala on the following two points:--
1. That under S. 9 of the Act, the appeals could be heard and decided either by the District Judge of the District in which the Public Premises are situate or/such other Judicial Officer in that District of not less than 10 years standing as the District Judge may designate in this behalf and since Mr. Surinder Sarup, Additional District Judge was not a Judge of 10 years standing, even if there was an authorisation by the District Judge, he could not hear the appeals; and
2. That the appellants were within limitation and were wrongly held to be without limitation.
3. After hearing the learned counsel far the parties, I am of the view that there is merit in both the points raised on behalf of the petitioner. A reading of S. 9 of the Act clearly bears out what has been urged. It is not disputed that on the day Mr. Surinder Sarup, heard the appeals as Additional District Judge he had not been acting as a Judge even for a year and therefore, unless he had 10 years' standing, he could not be authorised by the District Judge to hear the appeals. Accordingly Mr. Surinder Sarup had no jurisdiction to hear the appeals and the order is without jurisdiction.
4. On the second point of limitation also, the petitioner is on firm grounds. The Court below held that there was no material on the record to justify extension of time. The order of the Asstt. Registrar was passed in the absence of the petitioner on 30th of Sept., 1977 and it was conveyed by post. It was received by the son of the petitioner on 6th of Oct., 1977 which was received by the petitioner on l7th of Oct., 1977 on return Prom his business tour. On l8th of Oct., 1977 he fell ill and remained under the treatment of Dr. Vidya Rattan Verma up to 28th October, 1977 and filed appeals on 29th of October, 1977. Besides the affidavit of the petitioner regarding the aforesaid facts there is the medical certificate dated 27th of October, 1977 of Dr. V. R. Verma which is attached with the file of the Appellate Court. I am prepared to believe the affidavit of the petitioner in view of the medical certificate produced on the record which was shown to me. Accordingly I hold that a case for extension of time was clearly made out and appeal was within time.
5. For the reasons recorded above, I allow these writ petitions and quash the order of Mr. Surinder Sarup, Additional District Judge, Ambala and remand the case to the District Judge Ambala who shall now proceed to decide the appeals on merits. There will be no order as to costs as point of jurisdiction was not specifically, raised before the Additional District Judge.
6. Writ petitions allowed.