1. This is a writ application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India by one Bairang Singh, erstwhile Jagirdar of Harpura, District Aimer.
2. His Jagir was resumed under the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Resumption of jagirs Act, 1952 (which with hereinafter be referred to as the Act). The question of compensation to be given to him was decided by the Deputy Collector (Jagir), Ajmer on 30th August, 1958. The Deputy Collector (Jagir) communicated this decision to the Government under Section 33 of the Act and it reached the Government on 3rd of October, 1958. The Government of Rajasthan preferred an appeal against the said decision under Section 39 of the Act and that appeal was filed on 1st December, 1958 before the Board of Revenue, Ajmer. When the appeal came up for hearing, it was urged by the petitioner, who was respondent in that appeal, that the appeal was time barred. It was pointed out that under Rule 39 of the Act 90 days timewas provided for filing an appeal from the date of the decision, but it was tiled two days alter theexpiry of that period.
It was, therefore, prayed that the appeal should be dismissed as time barred. This argument prevailed with the learned Members of the Board and they dismissed the appeal on 28th January, 1960. The Government of Rajasthan then preferred a review petition in the same court, it was urged that the last date of hearing before the Deputy Collector (Jagir) was 16th June, 1958 and thereafter the case was adjourned without giving another date. The decision was pronounced by the Deputy Collector (Jagir) on 30th August, 1958. None of the parties was present on that date because they were not informed about it. On the basis of these facts it was contanded that the period of limitation prescribed under Section 39 of the Act should have been computed from 3rd October, 1958 when the appellant was informed of the decision. It was prayed that since these facts escaped the noticeof the learned Members of the Revenue Board, who dismissed the appeal, that decision should be set aside. The learned Members of the Board accepted this argument, allowed the review application and set aside their previous order regarding the dismissal of the appeal. It is against this order dated 1st April, 1961 that the present writ application is directed.
2a. It is urged by learned counsel for the petitioner that Section 39 of the Act prescribed ninety days period for filing an appeal from the date of the decision against which it was directed. According to him, the Board of Revenue was, therefore, justified in dismissing the appeal on 28th January, 1960 when it was found that the appeal was filed two days after the prescribed period. It is urged that the learned Members of the Board had no jurisdiction to extend the period of appeal by holding that the period of ninety days would be computed from the date the decision of the Deputy Collector (Jagir) was communicated to the Government. It is prayed that there being on error apparent on the face of the record, this Court should interfere in the matter and quash the impugned order.
3. In reply, it is urged by learned Deputy Government Advocate that Section 33 of the Act cast a duty on the Jagir Commissioner to communicate his final order as soon as practicable to the Government, the Jagirdar and every other interested person, that the Deputy Collector (Jagir) had communicated his decision to the Government under this Section on 3rd October, 1958 and, therefore, the Board of Revenue had rightly allowed the review petition.
It would be proper to reproduce here the provisions of Sections 33 and 39 of the Act on which reliance is placed by learned counsel on either side:
'33. 'Communication of decision.--The Jagir Commissioner shall communicate as soon as practicable his final order made under Sub-section (2) of Section 32 to the Government, the Jagirdar and every other interested person.'
'39. Appeals from the orders of Jagir Commissioner and Collector.--(1) The Government or any person aggrieved by any decision of the Jagir Commissioner or the Collector, as the case may be, under Section 5, Sub-section (2) of Section 23, Section 24, Sub-section (2) of Section 25, Section 26A, Sub-section (2) of Section 32, Sub-section (3) of Section 35, Section 36, Section 37, Section 38, or Section 38 B may within ninety days from the date of such decision, appeal to the Board.
1a. Any person aggrieved by an order made by the Collector under Section 16 may appeal therefrom to the Commissioner for Khudkasht land within sixty days from the date of the order.
2. When an appeal is made to the Board under Sub-section (1), the appeal shall be heard by a bench of the Board consisting of two members.
3. In deciding an appeal under this section, the authority hearing the appeal shall follow the same procedure as is prescribed for the hearing of appeals made to it under the Rajasthan Revenue Courts (Procedure and Jurisdiction) Act, 1951.
4. The decision of the Board or the Commissioner for Khudkasht lands as the case may be in an appeal under this section shall be final.'
4. The ban perusal of Section 33 will show that it certainly makes it incumbent upon the Jagir Commissioner to communicate his final order as soon as practicable to the Government, the Jagirdar and every other interested person. Section 39 provides ninety days' period for filling an appeal from the date of the decision. There is no express provision in the Act as to what would happen if the Jagir Commissioner, fails to communicate his order to the parties as envisaged in Section 33 within niney days from the date of his decision. It would be absurd to suggest that in such a case no appeal would lie. We have, therefore, to harmonise the provisions of the two sections. It appears to us that when the legislature provided ninety days time for filing an appeal from the date of the decision under Section 39, it had in its mind the basic principles which have to be followed by a civil court in pronouncing its judgment and which are embodied in Order 20, Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code.
It is provided in that order that after the case has been heard, the Court shall pronounce judgment in open Court, either at once or, as soon thereafter as may be practicable, on some future day; and when the judgment is to be pronounced on some future day, the Court shall fix a day for that purpose, of which due notice shall be given to the parties or their pleaders. If a day is fixed by the court for the pronouncement of the judgment and the judgment is actually pronounced on that day, then the period of limitation would commence from that day whether any one of the parties cares to appear in the court or not. The same kind of situation must have been contemplated by the legislature when It provided the period of ninety days from the date of the decision in Section 39 of the Act.
It could not have been envisaged by the legislature that the Jagir Commissioner, or for that matter, the Collector, would reserve his order and then would not inform the parties of the future date on which he proposes to announce his decision. The scheme of Section 33 seems to be that if the Jagir Commissioner does not announce his decision before the parties, or if he does not fix any day for pronouncing his decision, then he must communicate his final order to the Government, the Jagirdar and every other interested person as soon as practicable. In such a case, the period of limitation would commence from the date, the party concerned receives the communication under Section 33.
5. It may bo pointed out that a similar situation arose in Kharak Singh v. Laccham Singh, AIR 1925 All 293 (2). In that case, the Assistant Commissioner heard the suit for pre-emption on 24th August, 1921 and reserved his Judgment. On the 14th of February, 1922 he signed, dated and delivered the judgment in the absence of the parties and their pleaders, and without previous notice to them. It was, however, directed by him that the order should be communicated to the parties through the patwari. The plaintiff was not served with that notice till the 25th of February, 1922. When he filed an appeal it was dismissed. This case went in reference before a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court, and the question which arose for decision was, whether the judgment of the Assistant Commissioner dated the 14th of February, 1922 was valtdly pronounced and whether the period of three months should be calculated from the date thejudgment was signed in the absence of the parties, or whether it should be computed from the 25th of February, 1922, when the party concerned was informed of the pronouncement through the patwari.
It was held that the pronouncement was irregularand the time of payment must be computed from the14th February, 1922, when the party was informedabout it. This view was followed in MohammadZaman v. Hans Raj Shah, AIR 1938 Lah 707, andit was held that where a Court delivers a judgmentwithout previously fixing a date for pronouncingthe judgment, and the defendant is absent on thatdate and his counsel is Informed on some later day,this later day must be regarded as the date for pronouncing judgment and the period of limitation forappeal must be deemed to run from that date and notfrom the date on which the judgment is actually pronounced.
6. It is urged by learned counsel for the petitioner that the provisions of Order 20, Rule 1 Civil Procedure Code did not apply to the case before the Deputy Collector (Jagir). It is true that the provisions of Order 20, Rule 1 did not in terms apply to it but that order is based on broad principles of justice and, in our opinion, the learned Members of the Board committed no error in expressing their views in the same spirit. As we have already pointed out above, it could not have been contemplated by the legislature while providing Section 39 of the Act that even if a party is not informed by the Jagir Commissioner of his decision for ninety days, he would have no right of appeal. In our opinion, this section would apply in terms in cases where the Jagir Commissioner pronounces his decision before the parties, or if he has adjourned his decision to some other date, then the parties or their pleaders are informed of that date. In a case where the parties are not informed of the date of the decision, Section 33 of the Act would come into play and the period of limitation would commence from the date the communication about the decision is received by the party under Section 33 of the Act.
7. There is thus no force in the present writ application and it is hereby dismissed. No order as to costs.