1. This is an application by Jaikishan under Article 226 of the Constitution for issue of a writ of certiorari in connection with an order passed in Patta proceedings relating to an area in the former State of Marwar.
2. The applicant's case is briefly this. There is a small piece of land situate in Didwana town which has got a municipality. Jhumarmal, opposite party, applied to the Municipal Board, Didwana, for grant of a no objection certificate so that he could obtain a Patta of this piece of land. The applicant objected to the grant of the no-objection certificate to Jhumarmal and the Municipal Board refused to give the certificate by its order dated the 28-1-1955. There was an appeal from this refusal to the Government by Jhumarmal. The Deputy Minister for Local Self Government inspected the site and heard arguments and thereafter, the appeal of Jhumarmal was dismissed in May 1955. In June 1955, Jhumarmal applied for review of the order of the Government.
This review was accepted on the 16-9-1955 & the previous order dismissing the appeal was set aside and the Municipal Board was directed to grant a no-objection certificate to Jhumarmal. The applicant has come up to us against this order and his contention is that there was no jurisdiction in the Government to review the earlier order and, therefore, thisCourt should quash the order passed in review by a writ of certiorari.
3. The application has been opposed by Jhumarmal and his contention is two-fold. In the first place, it is urged that such an order could be passed under Section 34 of the Marwar Patta Act, 1921. In the second place, the contention is that the proceedings culminating in the order of Government were executive proceedings and the applicant has no right in the land which is the subject of the no-objection certificate and as such, his application should be dismissed and he should be left to his remedy, if any, in the civil court.
4. In 1921 the Marwar Patta Ordinancewas passed by the then Ruler of the former State of Marwar. It has now become Marwar Patta Act, 1921. This law laid down the procedure for grant of Pattas of lands of which the State was the owner. It was judged from modern standards, a somewhat strange law as it placed fetters on the powers of the State to dispose of its own property. However, the law came into force from 1st of January 1922 and is still in force in the area covered by the former State of Marwar. In 1928, certain rules were framed under the Patta Act with respect to State lands within municipal limits.
The rules provide that any person, desiring to obtain a Patta of any State land within municipal limits, shall, in the first instance, apply to the municipal board concerned. The municipal board is to take action, as provided by Sections 12, 13 and 14 of the Patta Act. Of these, Section 14 may be referred to, as it provides for the issue of a proclamation calling upon all persons, having any objections to the grant of the Patta for the site in question, to file them within thirty days thereof. Thereafter, the Municipal Board is to take these objector's into consideration. If the municipal board refuses to grant a Patta (this later came to be known as no-objection certificate, for, the Patta could be granted only by some State official), there was a right of appeal to the Mehkma Khas i.e. the Government.
5. It was in pursuance of these rules that Jhumarmal applied to the Municipal Board, Didwana, for the grant of a no-objection certificate with respect to this land. The certificate -was refused by the Municipal Board and thereafter, there was an appeal by Jhumarmal to the Government. That appeal was dismissed; but later, on review the order dismissing the appeal was set aside and the Government ordered the Municipal Board to issue a no-objection certificate. It is this order in review which is being challenged before us.
6. Learned counsel for the applicant relies on Nathulal v. Collector, Sawai Jaipur, ILR (1951) 1 Raj 47: (AIR 1952 Raj 36) (A). In that case, it was held by this Court that when a matter is finally disposed of by a judicial or quasi-judicial authority, that authority, in the absence of any statutory provision, becomes functus officio and is left with no authority to rehear and give fresh decision unless such authority is given to it by law. If no such authority is given by the statute, it is clear that apart from correcting clerical mistakes or errors arising from an accidental slip or omission, there is no inherent power to review a final decision given on merits inter partes.
7. The first question that immediately arises in view of the decision in Nathulal's case (A) is whether any such power of review is conferred by the Patta Act. Learned counsel for the opposite party, Jhumarmal, contends that such power of review is contained in Section 34 of the Act. It is not necessary to set out Section 34. It is enough to' say that though the word 're-view' appears in that section, it is clear beyond all doubt that what that section contemplates is revision either by the Darbar or by the Govemment of orders passed by authorities subordinate to the Darbar or the Government. It does not contemplate review of its own decision by the Government. There is, therefore, no provision in Section 34 for review of a final order 'once passed in appeal by the Government.
8. The next question is whether the proceedings in which the Government reviewed its order are quasi-judicial proceedings. If they are, ILR (1951) 1 Raj 47: (AIR 1952 Raj 36) (A) would fully apply and there could be no review by Government. The argument in this connection is that the land in dispute belongs to Government and the question whether the land should be given to anyone in Patta is a matter within the executive competence of Government and is not a quasi-judicial matter. Normally, that would be so. But, in the peculiar circumstances of the law as it prevails in the area, which was part of the former State of Marwar, the matter assumes a different form. Ordinarily, if the Government changes its mind in the matter of disposing of its own property, no one can have a right to challenge the change of mind; for, the property being Government's, it can do what it tikes with it and a person like the applicant, who has no right in the property, cannot object to the change of mind by Government.
But the circumstances in the area comprised in the former State of Marwar are different. By passing the Patta Act, the Government put fetters on its own power to deal with its property in such manner as it thought fit and provided certain procedure for grant of Pattas of State lands. Under this procedure, where the land is situate in municipal areas, the person desiring to obtain a Palta has to apply to the municipality for a no-objection certificate. The municipality notifies such an application and people interested in the land have a right to object. Their objection is considered by the municipality which either grants the no-objection certificate or withholds it.
If the municipality withholds the certificate, the person aggrieved has a right to appeal to Government. It is clear therefore that this Act confers rights on persons interested in the land for which a person makes an application to object to the grant of no-objection certificate and the matter is decided according to the public interest. The statute, therefore, confers a right on a person like the applicant to make an objection and to have that objection decided in the manner provided by the statute, even though he may have no interest in the land in the sense that he has no interest of a proprietary nature in it. When, therefore, the statute gives right to a person like the applicant, who may be interested in the land, though not in the sense that he has any proprietary interest in it and provides for the manner in which the objection of such a person shall be determined and also provides for an appeal in case the no-objection certificate is refused, it is, in our opinion, clear that these proceedings must be of a quasi-judicial nature.
It is the duty of the authorities concerned, where there are two contending parties before it one asking for a no-objection certificate and the other objecting to it on grounds which must be in the public interest (which includes the interest of the person objecting also) to approach the matter in a judicial spirit. Therefore, in the peculiar circumstances prevailing in the area which was in the former State of Marwar, the right is conferred on all persons, if they have any interest in the wide sense, as distinguished from proprietary interest, in the land, to object to the grant of a no-objection certificate. Two parties thus contend before the authorities and considering that even an appeal is provided, it is but right that the matter should be decided with a judicial approach. In these circumstances, these proceedings become quasi-judicial proceedings and there can be no review of final orders passed in such proceedings unless there is a specific provision to that effect in the law. We have already held that in this law, there is no provision for review.
Therefore, the decision in ILR (1951) 1 Raj 47: (AIR 1952 Raj 36) (A) fully applies and the Government had no right to review the order which had been passed by it in May 1955 and to set it aside in review later on. Therefore, the order of Government dated the 16th of September 1955 was without jurisdiction and is liable to be set aside.
9. It is urged finally that in any case, the applicant has no interest in the land and, therefore, we should not give him any relief. It is enough to point out that though the applicant may not have any kind of proprietary interest in the land, he is certainly interested in the land in a wide sense inasmuch as the land is just near his house and he is interested in its disposal. Section 14 of the Marwar Patta Act, 1921, read with the rules framed in 1928, gives a statutory right to the applicant to object to the grant of a no-objection certificate. This is, in our opinion, the interest that the applicant has in the matter of the disposal of this land and, therefore, he can ask us to intervene if the Government has acted in this quasi-judicial matter beyond its powers.
10. We are, therefore, of opinion that this application should be allowed. We may, however, point out that the proceedings of this kind are not res-judicata and it is always open to the same parties to apply again and if the circumstances have changed, the authorities concerned can change their mind; but they cannot in the same proceedings review a final order passed by them.
11. We, therefore, allow the applicationwith costs against Jhumarmal only and setaside the order of Government dated the 16thof September 1955.