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Raghubir Singh and anr. Vs. the Board of Revenue for Rajasthan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberD.B. Civil Writ Petition Nos. 681/78 and 769/79
Judge
Reported in1979WLN481
AppellantRaghubir Singh and anr.
RespondentThe Board of Revenue for Rajasthan and ors.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredKana and Ors. v. Board of Revenue
Excerpt:
.....september 6, 1976 and remanded the case to the sub-divisional officer, hanumangarh, for fresh determination of the ceiling area for the petitioner in accordance with law a certified copy of the order of the board of revenue for rajasthan has been placed en the record and marked annexure 3. 3. the contention raised by mr......submitted that in such circumstances the powers regarding general supervision and control by the revenue board over revenue courts and revenue officers could not be exercised to the detriment of she petitioners. in supports of his contention, the learned counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on koran singh v. board of revenue rajasthan 1962 r.l.w. 171. on the other hand, mr. d.s. shishodia, learned government advocate for the state of, rajasthan, has urged that a patent illegality had been committed by the sub-divisional officer while determining the ceiling area for the petitioners by his order dated may 5, 1976, and therefore, the board had jurisdiction in exercise of its powers of superintendence and control under section 221 of the act of 1955 to correct the patent illegality.....
Judgment:

C.M. Lodha, C.J.

1. These are two connected writ petitions which can be conveniently disposed of by a single order. Writ petition No. 681 of 1978 is by the father Raghubir Singh while Writ Petition No. 769 of 1979 is by his minor son Surendrapal Singh through his next friend Shri Jagjit Singh, maternal grand-father of the minor. The relief claimed in both the petitions is the same, namely, that the order dated August 6, 1977, by the Board of Revenue for Rajasthan, Ajmer, (marked Annx. 3) be set aside.

2. Briefly stated, the facts of the case are that proceedings under Chapter III-B of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act (Act No. 3 of 1955) (which will hereinafter be called the Act of 1955) were commenced for determining the ceiling area for the petition Raghubir Singh. The Sub-Divisional Officer Hanumangarh, by his order dated August 10, 1972, determined the Ceiling area, but the Revenue Appellate Authority, on appeal by Raghubir Singh, set aside the order of the Sub-Divisional Officer on March 6, 1973; and remanded the case. The matter was taken to the Board of Revenue for Rajasthan by a revision application and the Board by its order dated April 14, 1975 directed that the ceiling area for the petitioner may be determined according to the old law i.e. Act of 1955 and not according to the new law, i.e. Rajasthan-Imposition of Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings Act, 1973 In pursuance of the direction by the Sub Divisional Officer, Hanuroangarh, by his order dated May 5, 1976 (Anx. 1) held that the petitioner Surendrapal Singh, aged 12 years, was a minor son of Ragubir Singh and used to study in the Punjab and further that the land in possession of Raghubir Singh was ancestral. The Sub Divisional Officer, therefore, came to the conclusion that the father and the son constitute two separate units and each one of them was entitled to get 62 Bighas and 8 Biswas Thus, it was held that petitioners are entitled to retain 124 Bighas and 16 Biswas only and the surplus land measuring 4 Bighas and 46 Biswas may be resumed Aggrieved by the order of the Sub-Divisional Officer, Raghubir Singh filed appeal before the Revenue Appellate Authority, Bikaner, who by his order dated September 6, 1976 (Annx. 2) dismissed the appeal and upheld the order by the Sub-Divisional Officer. Dissatisfied with the order of the Revenue Appellate Authority, Raghubir Singh filed a revision-application under Section 230 of the Act of 1955 before the Board of Revenue for Rajasthan. It was urged on behalf of the petitioner before the Board that the peiitioner was in possession of 12 Bighas only and not 129 Bighas and 3 Biswas as held by the lower courts. He sought permission to adduce additional evidence in support of his contention. The application for adducing additional evidence was disallowed. However, the learned Member of the Board came tithe conclusion that Surendrapal Singh was born to Raghubir Singh on March 14, 1963 and was only 13 years of age when the ceiling proceedings were finalised by the Sub-Divisional Officer on May 5, 1976. He further held that the revisions of the old ceiling law applied to the case but the Sub-Divisional Officer had committed an error of law in determining the ceiling area under the new law, i.e. the Act of 73 The Board went on to hold that there is no provision for separate units in Chapter IIIB of the Act of 1955. In the ultimate analysis the learned Member found that there is a gross and patent illegality in the order of the learned Sub-Divisional Officer and. consequently, he set aside the order of the Sub Divisional Officer dated May 5, 1976 as well as the appellate order by the Revenue Appellate Authority dated September 6, 1976 and remanded the case to the Sub-Divisional Officer, Hanumangarh, for fresh determination of the ceiling area for the petitioner in accordance with law A certified copy of the order of the Board of Revenue for Rajasthan has been placed en the record and marked Annexure 3.

3. The contention raised by Mr. L.R. Mehta, learned Counsel for the petitioners, is that no appeal having been filed by the State from the order of the Sub Divisional Officer dated May 5, 1976, the said order became final tend he Board of Revenue had no jurisdiction to set aside that part of the Sub Divisional Officer's order which had gone against the State and in favour of the petitioner. It is submitted that in such circumstances the powers regarding general supervision and Control by the Revenue Board over revenue courts and revenue officers could not be exercised to the detriment of she petitioners. In supports of his contention, the learned Counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on Koran Singh v. Board of Revenue Rajasthan 1962 R.L.W. 171. On the other hand, Mr. D.S. Shishodia, learned Government Advocate for the State of, Rajasthan, has urged that a patent illegality had been committed by the Sub-Divisional Officer while determining the ceiling area for the petitioners by his order dated May 5, 1976, and therefore, the Board had jurisdiction in exercise of its powers of superintendence and control under Section 221 of the Act of 1955 to correct the patent illegality To fortify his submission, he has placed reliance on Harchand v. Rajasthan Revenue Board I.L.R. (1952) 2 Raj. 833, Kana and Ors. v. Board of Revenue, Rajasthan I.L.R. (1955) 5 Raj. 55, a Bench decision of this Court in D.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 685 of 1978 Fateh Khan and Ors. v. The State of Rajasthan and Ors. decided on April 20, 1979 and Maneck Custodji v. Sarofazali : AIR1976SC2446 .

4. Section 221 of the Act of 1955 reads as under:

221. Subordination of revenue courts. The general superintendence and control over all revenue courts shall be vested in, and all such Courts shall be subordinate to the Board and subject to such superintendence, control and subordination-

(x x x x)

(b) all Additional Collectors, Sub-Divisional Officers, Assistant Collectors and Tehsildars in a District shall be subordinate to the Collector thereof,

(c) all Assistant Collectors, Tehsildars and Naib-Tehsildars in a subdivision shall be subordinate to the Sub-Divisional Officer thereof and

(d) all Additional Tehsildars and Naib-Tehsildars in a tehasil shall be subordinate to the Tehsildar thereof.

5. It is clear from the language of Section 221 of the Act of 1955 thaw the Board of Revenue for Rajasthan has the general powers of superintendence and control over all revenue courts.

6. A similar provision is contained in the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956 (Act No. 15 of 19So) and that is Section 9 which reads as under;-

9. General superintendence of subordinate revenue courts. Subject to other provisions of this Act, the general superintendence and control over all revenue courts and over all revenue officers shall be vested in, and all such courts and officers shall be subordinate to the Board.

Mr. L.R. Mehta learned Counsel for the petitioners contended that the impugned order by the Board of Revenue by which the Board has set aside the order of the Sub Divisional Officer, Hanumangarh, (Annx. 1) must be held to have been passed in exercise of the powers of the Bard under Section 9 of the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act and not under Section 221 of the act of 1975 Pursuing this argument, he his pressed into service Karan Singh's case (supra) wherein a distinction was drawn between cases covered by Section 9 of the Land Revenue Act and those which were decided with reference to Section 12 of the Rajasthan Board of Revenue Ordinance, 1949. Ranawat J. as he then was, speaking for the Court, observed that 'under Section 9 powers of superintendence and control have been qualified by other provisions of the Act whereas under Section 12 of the Ordinance there was no such qualification.' His Lordship went on to observe 'with this difference the language of Section 12 and Section 9 is similar.' Learned Counsel for the petitioners has laid considerable emphasis on the following passage in the judgment:

To sum up it may be mentioned that in cases where appellate and revisional powers are not exercisable, the Board may exercise its powers of superintendence and control in the interest of justice m appropriate cases, but in this case the Board had appellate jurisdiction and it could not, therefore, make use of its powers of superintendence and control and the order of the Board cannot be, held proper with reference to Section 9 of the Land Revenue Act.

The first question, therefore, is whether the impugned order passed by the Board should be held to have been passed in exercise of its powers under Section 9 of the Land Revenue Act or under Section 221 of the Act of 1955. This is important for determination of the question whether the rationale of the decision in Karan Singh's case can be applied to the case on hand. There is no denying the fact that the proceedings for determination of the ceiling area in the present case had taken place under Chapter III-B of the Act of 1955. The appeal filed by the petitioner to the Revenue Appellate Authority was obviously under Section 225 of the Act and So also the revision application filed by the petitioner to the Board was under Section 230 of the Act. In these circumstances, we are unable to accede to the submission made by Mr. Mehta that the powers of superintendence vested m the Board in the present case should be deemed to have been exercised under the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act We are, therefore, of the opinion that the impugned order is covered by Section 21 of the Act of 1955 In this view of the matter, the distinction drawn between Section 9 of the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act and Section 12 of the Rajasthan Board of. Revenue Ordinance, 1949 in Karan Singh's case (supra) has no relevance to the present case in as much as the powers of superintendence and control under Section 221 of the Act of 1955 have not been qualified by other provisions of the Act.

7. In Harchand v. Rajasthan Revenue Board (supra) it was held, that according to the provisions of Section 12 of the Rajasthan Board of Revenue Ordinance, 1949, which provides that the general superintendence and control over revenue courts and o her officers shall be vested in and all such courts and officers shall be subordinate to the Board. It is open to the Board to exercise its powers of superintendence over all its subordinate courts in order to regulate the functions of the subordinate courts so as to keep them within their respective spheres of jurisdiction If a subordinate court disregards any specific provision of law and does something illegal, it is open to the Board of Revenue to interfere and set the matters right This view was affirmed in Kana and Ors. v. Board of Revenue, Rajasthan (supra) wherein Wanchoo C.J., as he then was, observed as follows:

General superintendence to our mind is the same as superintendence, and following the consistent interpretation given to Section 10 of the Government of India Act, 1915 it must fee held that Section 12 gives power to the Board to revise judicial orders passed by courts in appropriate cases. Of course, such powers would generally not be exercised where a party had remedy by way of appeal and revision, and did not avail of it. At the same time, the power is there, and it may be exercised sparingly in extraordinary cases where interest of justice requires that the Board should exercise the power.

All the three authorities of this Court referred to above were discussed by us in the judgment of Fateh Khan (supra) it was held that even in casts under Section 221 of the Act of 1955 the Board is empowered to set a side orders of subordinate revenue courts if a clear breach of a provision of law comes to its notice and it considers it expedient to uses its powers of superintendence and control. Thus, our conclusion is that the Board had jurisdiction to set aside the order of the Sub-Divisional Officer provided it came to the conclusion that interest of justice requires exercise of stick power.

8. What the Board did in the present case was to set aside the order of May 5, 1976, on the ground that the Sub-Divisional Officer had determined the ceiling area under the new law whereas he should have determined it under the old law. This is undoubtedly an error apparent on the face of the record and pertain to exercise of jurisdiction and deserves to be set right. It is true that the powers may be exercised sparingly in extraordinary cases. In our opinion, the present case falls within the category of such cases where such power should be exercised.

9. Mr. L.R. Mehta made an endeavour to justify the order dated May 5, 1976 in the light of the provisions of the old law, i.e. Chapter III-B of the Act of 1955 and invited our attention to the definition of word 'holding' contained in Section 5(17) & also the definition of the word 'family' contained in Section 30B(a) of the Act of 1955. He also drew attention to Rule 17 of the Rajasthan Tenancy (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Government Rules, 1963 and argued that even according to there provisions each of the petitioners is entitled to retain 62 Bighas and 8 Biswas of land as permissible extent of ceiling area. On the other hand, Mr. Shishodia has submitted that both the petitioners constitute a family so that the extent of ceiling are in their cases cannot exceed 60 standard acres of land. However, we refrain from expressing our opinion on the merits of the case in as much as by our doing so the case of either party is likely to be prejudiced. The Board of Revenue has remanded the case to the Sub-Divisional Officer, Hanumangarh, for fresh determination of the ceiling area according to law and hence it is for the Sub-Divisional Officer to determine the extent of the ceiling area for the petitioner in accordance with the appropriate law.

10. In the result, we do not see any force in these two writ petitions and hereby dismiss them. But in the circumstances of the case we make no order as to costs.


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