K.S. Lodha, J.
1. This writ application has been filed by the petitioners challenging the order of the learned Collector, Ganganagar, dated 15-3-76 directing acquisition of their lands Kilas No. 5, 6, 15, 16 and 25 in Khasra No. 186/281 of village Misana Tehsil Tibi district Ganganagar.
2. As the writ application is liable to succeed on a short point, namely, the jurisdiction of the Addl. District Development Officer, the facts of the case need not be stated at any length. Suffice it to say that the petitioners who are the khatedars of the aforesaid land received notice dated 27-13-75 from the Collector, Ganganagar, under Section 88A(2) of the Rajasthan Panchayat Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act.') stating that the land of the petitioners was required for the proposes of allotment free of charge and asking them to show cause why it should not be so acquired, The petitioners filed their replies to this notice. Thereafter the petitioners again received a notice from the Addl. District Development Officer asking them to appear before him for personal hearing on 9-2-76. This notice purported to be under Section 88A(3) of the Act. The petitioners apasired before the learned Addl. District Development Officer who after hearing them, recommended that the land in dispute may be acquired. He sent his recommendation vide his order dated 9-3 76 to the Collector, Ganganagar, who by his order dated 15-3-76 ordered that the land may be acq lire The petitioners being aggrieved of this order of the learned Collector, hive come up before this Court. Their case is that even though powers of the State Government under Section 88 had been delegated to the Collector vide the notification dated 22-10-75, a copy of which has been produced by them as Ex 3, the Addl. District Development Officer was never authorised by the State Government to hear the objections under Section 88 A (3) of the Act and the learned Collector could not have ordered acquisition of the land on the basis of the recommendations made by the Addl. District Development Officer under Section 88A(3) of the Act. According to the learned Counsel, therefore, the recommendation of the Addl. District Development Officer and the order of the learned Collector based on it are void and ineffective and deserve to be quashed. Before this writ application was admitted, the learned Deputy Government Advocate was asked by this Court on 11-5-76 to find out as to whether any person had been appointed by the State Government as Officer on Special Duty under Sub-section (3) of Section 88A. A number of adjournments were sought on behalf of the State but no such information was made available. The fearped Government Advocate was also not able to state till 4 10-76 whether the powers delegated to the Collector upto 31-3-76 had further been extended or not and, therefore, some more time was granted to the State still no reply has been filed and the learned Deputy Government Advocate even today has not been able to state whether the Addl. District Development Officer had been appointed by the State Government either as an Officer on Special Duty or for the purposes of Sub-section (3) of Section 88A of the Act. Therefore, the inevitable conclusion is that the Addl. District Development Officer was neither an Officer on Special Duty or an officer appointed for the purposes of Sub-section (3) of Section 88A of the Act. That being so, the hearing granted by the Addl. District Development Officer to the petitioners in respect of the show cause notice under Section 88A(2) or (3) and the recommendation made by him in that respect is without jurisdiction and the learned Collector could not have acted upon such a recommendation. It will be convenient here to refer to Section 88A(3) of the Act, which reads as under:
Within the time specified in the notice, the owner of the land or any other person interested therein may show cause and make objections, why the land should not be acquired. Every such objection to the notice given under Sub-section (2) shall be made in writing to the Officer-on Special Duty, or any other officer appointed by the State Government for the purpose. Such Officer shall give the objector an opportunity of being heard, either in person or by pleader, and after hearing all such objections and after making such enquiry, as he deems necessary, shall submit the case for decision held of the State Government together with the record of the proceedings held by him and a report containing his recommendations on the objections. Thereafter, the State Government may pass such orders as it deems fit. The decision of the State Government thereon shall be final.
It is clear that when a notice under Sub-section (2) of Section 88A is published, the owner of the land or any other person interested therein, may show cause and make objection about the proposed acquisition either before the Officer on Special Duty or any other officer appointed by the State Government for the purposes and then such officer has to give an opportunity of hearing to the objector and then after making an enquiry, he has to make his report to the State Government or the Collector as its delegated authority and thereafter the State Government or the Collector as its delegated authority can pass such orders as are deemed fit. The State Government or the Collector as the case may be cannot set upon the recommendation of an officer who 13 not competent to make the enquiry and to submit his report under Sub-section (3) of Section 88 A. As already stated above, in this case the State has failed to show that the Addl. District Development Officer was appointed by the State either as an Officer on Special Duty or an officer for the purpose of Sub-section (3) of Section 88A of the Act and, therefore, he could not have conducted this enquiry.
3. Further the hearing of the objections by the Addl. District Development Officer and the final decision given by the learned Collector without hearing the objectors themselves also cannot be said to be in consonance with the principles of neural justice as has been held by this Court in Anandilal v. State of Rajasthan 1971 RLW 561. In these circumstances, the order of the learned Collector, Ganganagar, dated 15-3-76 directing acquisition of the lands of the petitioners referred to above cannot be allowed to stand and deserves to be quashed.
4. I, therefore, allow this writ application and quash the order of the learned Collector, Ganganagar, dated 15-3-75. in the circumstances of the case, the parties shall bear their own costs.