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Rawat Ram Vs. State of Rajasthan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCommercial
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. No. 1176 of 1976
Judge
Reported inAIR1977Raj72; 1976(9)WLN467
ActsRajasthan Land Development Corporation Act, 1975 - Sections 20, 24 and 24(4); ;Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantRawat Ram
RespondentState of Rajasthan and ors.
Appellant Advocate B.L. Purohit, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S.K. Tiwari, Addl. Adv. General for Respondent Nos. 1 to 5
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....corporation act, 1975 - section 24--petitioner participates (sic) scheme--notice for proportionate cost of work does not suffer from an infirmity.; as the petitioner had voluntarily participated in the scheme and applied for loans and as he has admittedly been a defaulter in the payment of the proportionate cost of the work, the issue of a notice under section 24 of the act does not suffer from any infirmity. - - section 30 provides for a penalty of stoppage of water supply to the land holders who fail to provide funds to the corporation within the period allowed to them for meeting proportionate cost of works. a reference to the loan application filed along with the reply clearly shows that the loan application was in hindi and it also bears the signatures of the petitioner in hindi...........out. obviously it is difficult for this court to say anything about the probable or the estimated cost worked out by qualified expert agency, mr. purohit also objected to the addition of 49% on account of price escalation and other administrative charges to emphasise how the cost has been inflated. i am afraid sitting under article 226 i can hardly be expected to go into the justification of these details constituting the estimate though addition of 49% price escalation included in the estimate may prima facie seem to be on the high side. mr. tiwari however explained that this addition for price escalation was made out of abundant caution so that if during the process of executing the work the cost goes up such funds may be available. he had also assured on behalf of state that if.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Rajindar Sachar, J.

1. The Legislature of Rajas-than has passed the Rajasthan Land Development Corporation Act, 1975 (hereinafter to be called 'the Act'). The object for which the Act has been passed is to constitute a Corporation for the execution of projects relating to land development with a view to preventing damage to land and loss in agricultural productivity and to securing optimum utilisation of land and water resources in the State of Rajasthan and for other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

2. Section 2(e) defines 'competent authority' to mean any authority empowered under the relevant law to require execution of works by land holders or to execute or get the works executed. The 'relevant law' is defined in Section 2 (p) to mean the Rajasthan Irrigation and Drainage Act and certain other Acts relating to land development for the time being in force in the State of Rajasthan. Section 2 (j) defines 'land development' to mean amongst others construction, renovation, re-designing, re-aligning and lining of water courses 'Project' is defined in Section 2 (n) to mean any project of or scheme for land development sanctioned under Section 20. Section 20 empowers the State Government to sanction any project specifying the areas entrusted to the corporation and the works to be executed by the corporation in such area Sub-section (2) further lays down that the corporation shall in collaboration with the prescribed agency be the sole authority for execution of works in the areas entrusted to the corporation under Sub-section (1) except in cases where land holders execute works in their respective land holdings within the period and in the manner specified by the competent authority. Section 24 provides that for the purpose of execution of the works every land holder other than those who execute the works in their respective land holdings within the period and in the manner specified by the competent authority shall pay to the corporation the proportionate cost of works on the issue of a notice to him by the corporation. Sub-section (4) provides that any dispute relating to a notice shall be adjudicated in an inquiry to be held by the Collector. Section 26 provides for a loan to be taken by the land holder from a bank or a financing institution for an ordinary loan for meeting the proportionate cost of works and Sub-section (2) provides that the the amount of ordinary loan if sanctioned to the land holder shall be paid to the Corporation by the bank or the financing institution concerned on account of and on behalf of the land holder towards the proportionate cost of Works payable by him to the corporation. Section 27 provides that if the land holder is unable to raise an ordinary loan the corporation may grant to such land holder a special loan. Section 30 provides for a penalty of stoppage of water supply to the land holders who fail to provide funds to the corporation within the period allowed to them for meeting proportionate cost of works. Sub-section (3) of Section 30 provides for an inquiry to be made by the Collector whether the requisition made under Sub-section (1) was proper or not.

3. In exercise of powers conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 20 of the Act the State Government sanctioned a number of projects to be executed by the Rajasthan Land Development Corporation (hereinafter to be called the 'Corporation') in the areas mentioned therein. A copy of the notification dated 30-5-1975 filed along with the reply by respondent 2 Ex. Rule 2 shows at item 57 Sardarpura Distributory SPD-20. After the project is sanctioned the Corporation prepares a scheme of the land development so as to undertake a scheme on behalf of the land holders. The proportionate cost of work is to be borne by the land holder. For that purpose the amount of loan is to be raised from the bank or the financing institution by the land holders with the assistance of the Corporation. The practice followed by the respondent 2 is that after the project has been sanctioned the colonisation authorities who are entrusted with the job of collecting loan applications on behalf of the corporation visit the Chak along with the Chak Plan and cost estimate with a view to explaining to the farmers the manner in which the proposed works are to be carried out and the benefits accruing to them. It is stated in reply that in pursuance of this the authorities went to the village and after explaining the scheme loan applications were got signed from a number of land holders including the petitioner. A copy of the loan application dated 21-11-75 signed by the petitioner is on record. By this application the petitioner has asked for a loan of Rs. 10,017/- from the Bank of Rajasthan and has also authorised the bank that on sanction of the loan, the said amount may be given to the officers of the Corporation who are to execute the work on his behalf. The Corporation has prepared an estimate work in the Chak of the petitioner with which we are concerned which is of watercourse lining and has worked out the costs and estimates which comes to about Rs. 2,37,170. According to the loan policy and procedure prescribed by the Corporation, the corporation is expected to give a green signal to the command area authorities for commencing the work in the Chak as soon as it is advised by the Regional Manager, that on the basis of the loan applications received about 80% of the cost of works is likely to be, made available by way of commercial credit. The financial sanction in respect of this Chak was accorded by the Corporation on 12-2-76. Bank of Rajasthan had conveyed the sanction of loan applied for on 17-2-76, and the executing agency commenced the work in this Chak on 19-2-76. As the Bank is advancing the loan evidently the bank insists on getting the land of the loanee mortgaged. The Corporation having asked the petitioner to execute the mortgage the petitioner refused to do so. Evidently this created a situation in which the work which had been started on the basis of the assurance from the petitioner given by him in his loan application was in danger of being starved of funds because of the refusal of the petitioner to execute the mortgage documents. It was thereupon that the respondent 2 Corporation invoked to its aid Section 24 of Act and gave notice to the petitioner a notice asking him to pay Rs. 10,017/-. Another notice also was issued to him demanding Rs. 2328/-, Thereafter the petitioner filed this petition in this Court with the allegation that the impugned notices were un-warranted and that he was also apprehending that he may be proceeded with under Section 30 of the Act by stoppage of water and asking for quashing of these notices.

4. Mr. Purohit learned counsel for the petitioner has first sought to contend that the loan application was not signed by the petitioner after knowing its implications. As a matter of fact in the petition it had been alleged that the loan application was in English and the petitioner who does not know the language did not understand what he was signing. This has been denied in the reply where it is stated that the petitioner never raised any objection when the scheme was explained to him and in token thereof signed the loan application. It is also emphasised that the loan application was in Hindi and not in English. A reference to the loan application filed along with the reply clearly shows that the loan application was in Hindi and it also bears the signatures of the petitioner in Hindi. It is futile therefore for the petitioner to urge that he did not understand the full implications of the loan application which he was signing including the one which asked the bank to give the loan amount to the corporation for the purpose of executing the work to be executed by it. Mr. Purohit however next raises a serious objection to the notice under Section 24 on the ground that it is only if the petitioner refuses to execute the work on his respective land holdings specified by the competent authority that he can be asked to pay the proportionate cost of works to the corporation. It is Mr. Purohit's case that the petitioner has alleged and is even now agreeable to execute the work of lining of water course and makes a grievance that though the competent authority has not asked him to do so and yet Section 24 is being applied to him. Now Sub-section (2) of Section 20 provides that the corporation will be the sole authority for execution of works in the areas entrusted to the corporation under Sub-section (1). After the issue of a notification on 30-5-75 the State Government had entrusted to the corporation the works to be executed in the area where the land of the petitioner is situate and which is included in the area of said notification. Mr. Purohit however maintains that as Section 20 (2) carries an exception in favour of those land holders who execute work as specified by the competent authority it is incumbent on the competent authority to call upon a land holder to execute any particular work and it is only if the land holder after having been so-called, refuses to execute the work that Section 24 can be invoked. I do not agree. A plain interpretation of Section 24 would show that all that it means is that every land holder excepting those who are executing the work specified by the competent authority can be asked to pay to the corporation proportionate cost of work. This necessarily means that it is only if a competent authority has asked land holder like the petitioner to execute the work in his respective land holdings and he is executing the same that Section 24 will not be applicable to him. But Section 24 does not say that in the absence of any direction by the competent authority to a land holder to execute any work and even when that land holder like the petitioner has agreed in his loan application to get the works executed by the corporation, Section 24 will not apply. It seems to me that to accept the argument of Mr. Purohit will make Section 24 completely unworkable. This interpretation will also require the competent authority mandatorily to direct the land holder to execute the work himself even if the competent authority for good, sound technical reasons in connection with the works feels that such a work should not be executed by the land holder. Mr. Purohit's argument seeks to read into the Section 24 a condition precedent that it is only after a competent authority has called upon the land holder to execute the work and he has failed to do so that the jurisdiction of the corporation to execute works would come into play. This runs completely counter to the scheme of the Act and the mandate of Section 20 (2) which lays down that the corporation will be the sole authority for execution of the work in the areas entrusted to the corporation under Sub-section (1), Mr. Purohit also referred me to Sub-section (3) of Section 20 which says that nothing shall affect the exercise of powers and performance of functions by the competent authority in relation to issue of any notices, requisitions or directions by it to land holder for execution of work. Frankly I fail to see the relevancy of that for the argument which Mr. Purohit urges. Sub-section (3), says he only empowers the competent authority under the relevant law to issue notice, directions etc. which it deems fit under the provisions of relevant laws. It does not however mean that if in particular case the competent authority under the relevant law has not chosen fit to take any action asking the land holder to execute any work, the jurisdiction of the corporation is suspended thereby. This argument would reduce corporation to a mere appendage of the competent authority, a situation surely not contemplated when the legislature passed the Act. The legislature could not have contemplated the corporation to be left in such a suspended state of existence as not to be able to function unless some competent authority under the relevant law was first to take action. That argument has only to be stated to be rejected. The only exception under Section 24 of the Act are those persons who are executing the works in their respective land holdings in the manner specified by the competent authority. In the present case admittedly the competent authority has not asked the petitioner to execute any work. The exception in Section 24 therefore cannot apply to the case of the petitioner. This plea of Mr. Purohit therefore fails.

5. Mr. Purohit had also sought to make a grievance about the excessive cost of the lining of the water course. He sought to urge that the cost estimated by the corporation was excessive and was beyond proportion to any justifiable expenditure. The allegation that estimated cost of water course is arbitrary is denied in the reply. It is stated that the cost has been worked out by the qualified engineers attached to the State Irrigation Department and approved by the Financing Institutions including the Agricultural Refinancing and Development Corporation Bombay. The scheme of development the various site plans and the details of works have been filed along with the petition. It is also stated that the estimated cost per bigha works out 371 and that is why the demand of Rs. 10017/-, the total estimated cost from the petitioner has been worked out. Obviously it is difficult for this Court to say anything about the probable or the estimated cost worked out by qualified expert agency, Mr. Purohit also objected to the addition of 49% on account of price escalation and other administrative charges to emphasise how the cost has been inflated. I am afraid sitting under Article 226 I can hardly be expected to go into the justification of these details constituting the estimate though addition of 49% price escalation included in the estimate may prima facie seem to be on the high side. Mr. Tiwari however explained that this addition for price escalation was made out of abundant caution so that if during the process of executing the work the cost goes up such funds may be available. He had also assured on behalf of State that if ultimately the cost works out to be the less than estimated the benefit of that will be given to the petitioner and to the other land holders and out of the amount now realised from them the balance will be refunded to them. Whatever the grievance and whatever the justification for Mr. Purohit's objection the same unfortunately cannot be examined by me. If the petitioner feels aggrieved at the excessive estimate, and hence the demand in the notice he may if it is permissible to him under law take up this matter under Section 24 (4) of the Act which provides for any dispute relating to a notice to be adjudicated in an inquiry to be held by the Collector. As a matter of fact one of the objections raised by the respondent was that such an alternative remedy being available to the petitioner challenge by the writ petition was not maintainable. The corpora-lion has also stated in the reply that the development works had been undertaken with a view to securing optimum utilisation of land and water resources and to prevent damage to land and loss to agricultural productivity. The said development work will obviously be for the benefit of land holders of the Chaks. Mr. Purohit even did not challenge that the work undertaken by the corporation is beneficial to the land holders including the petitioners. His only objection was that the cost worked out was far too excessive and put great strain on the petitioner's resources and made the whole scheme unprofitable to him. As I said above the time for weighing all these matters was at the stage when he was approached by the Colonisation Authorities to agree and participate in the work to be carried out by the corporation. Apparently the petitioner and others accepted at the time of signing the loan applications, that this was a reasonable one from all angles including cost and being beneficial to them should be executed by the Corporation. Whether how on rethinking the cost looks prohibitive are evidently matters which cannot form the subject matter of a grievance in the writ petition. This grievance, if any, must be addressed to the authorities under the Act or in the ultimate resort to the answerability of the legislature to the people which is supposed to have enacted this piece of beneficial legislation for the betterment of the land holders like the petitioner. In any case as the petitioner had voluntarily participated in the scheme and applied for loans, and as he has admittedly been a defaulter in the payment of the proportionate cost of the work, the issue of a notice under Section 24 of the Act does not suffer from any infirmity.

6. As a result I find no merit in the petition and the same is therefore dismissed but there will be no order as to costs.


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