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Rajpal Singh and ors. Vs. the State of Rajasthan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Writ Petition Nos. 301, 441 and 883 of 1978
Judge
Reported in1979WLN(UC)168
AppellantRajpal Singh and ors.
RespondentThe State of Rajasthan and ors.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredHarji Ram v. State of Rajasthan and Ors.
Excerpt:
.....a direction of the superior officer would, therefore be clearly illegal.;it must be held that the collector, sri ganganagar, has no jurisdiction to give the directions contained in the order dated april 30, 1978, to the tehsildars and naib tehsildars, who were functioning as receivers in suits pending before other revenue court.;writs allowed. - section 2(k), 2(1), 7 & 40 & juvenile justice (care and protection of children) rules, 2007, rule 12 & 98 & juvenile justice act, 1986, section 2(h): [altamas kabir & cyriac joseph, jj] determination as to juvenile - appellant was found to have completed the age of 16 years and 13 days on the date of alleged occurrence - appellant was arrested on 30.11.1998 when the 1986 act was in force and under clause (h) of section 2 a juvenile was..........application before the collector, sri ganganagar with the request to withdraw the order dated 30th april, 1978 passed by him and also met the collector, sri ganganagar on 12th july, 1978 the said application is said to have been rejected by the collector but a copy of the order passed by the collector on the said application has not been supplied to the petitioners.3. the facts in the other two writ petitions (s.b. civil writ petition nos. 441 of 1978 & 883 of 1978) are similar. in both these cases also, the petitioners are vendees of agricultural lands under registered sale deed executed by vendors belonging to a scheduled caste and suits for eviction of the petitioners have been filed under section 175 of the act and in said suits, which are pending before the sub-divisional officer,.....
Judgment:

S.C. Agrawal, J.

1. All these writ petitions raise a common question with regard to the validity of the cider dated 30th April, 1978 passed by the Collector, Sri Ganganagar and therefore, all these petitions are being disposed of by a common judgment.

2. In Rajpal Singh and Anr. v. State of Rajasthan and Ors. (S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 361/78), the petitioners are the vendees of 25 Bighas of land in square No. 50 Chak 9 MN Tehsil Padampur, under a registered sale deed dated J7th February, 1972, executed by Sukhram respondent No. 5. It appears that the vendor Sukhram, respondent No. 5, has filed a suit under Section 183 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955, (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act'), for ejectment of the petitioners, in the court of the Sub Divisional Officer Karanpur (Revenue), District Sri Ganganagar, with the allegation that he belongs to a Schedule Caste and that the sale deed executed. by him an favour of the petitioners, who are by caste Hindus is void under Section 42 of the Act and that the possession of the petitioners over the land is illegal-In the said suit, the trial Court, by order dated 8th March, 1978, passed under Section 212 of the Act, has appointed the Tehsildar, Padampur as the receiver of the property in dispute. On 2nd May, 1978, the said receiver issued a notice for the auction of the cultivatory rights on the land in dispute. Before any auction could be held in pursuance of the aforesaid notice, an order dated 30th April, 1978 had been passed by the Collector, Sri Ganganagar. In his aforesaid order dated 30th April, 1978 which is addressed to all the Tehsildars and Naib Tehsildars, the Collector, Sri Ganganagar, has stated that a number of suits relating to the lands of Harijans which have been sold to caste-Hindus are pending and in those suits, standing crops had been attached and the possession of the land after auction, has been delivered to caste - Hindus and this has given rise to great dissatisaction amongst the Harijans and that in order to remove the aforesaid discontentment amongst the Harijans, it was necessary to introduce uniformity in the management of the lands under attachment. The Collector, in his order dated 30th April, 1978 directed that in the next year, the arrangements for the cultivation of the lands under attachment should be made in such a way that the land is released in favour of the Harijan who is claiming it after taking security @ Re. 25/- per bigha for un-irrigated land and @ Rs. 75/- per bigha for irrigated land and that in all cases, in which the Tehsildar or Naib Tehsildars have been appointed as receivers, the aforesaid arrangements should be made and report should be submitted to him within 15 days. In pursuance of the direction contained in the aforesaid order of the Collector, Sri Ganganagar dated 30th April, 1978, the Tehsildar Padampur, by his order dated 11th May, 1978 directed that the possession of the land in dispute, which had been entrusted to him as receiver by the trial court, should be given to Sukhram, respondent No. 5, as Sukhram had given surety in the amount of Rs. 75/- per bigha as per the order of the Collector dated 30th April, 1978. In pursuance of the aforesaid order dated 11th May, 78 passed by the Tehsildar, Padampur, the possession of the land in dispute was handed over to Sukhram, respondent No. 5 on 17th May, 1978, by the Patwari. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order dated 30th April, 1978, passed by the Collector, sri Ganganagar and the action taken by the. Tehsildar and the Patwari in pursuance of the said order, the petitioners have filed this writ petition for the issue of an appropriate writ or direction quashing the order dated 30th April, 1978, passed by the Collector, Sri Ganganagar and declaring that the auction taken by the Tehsildar and the Patwari in pursuarce of the aforesaid order is wholly illegal. After the filing of this writ petition, the petitioners on 6th July, 1978, moved an application before the Sub-Divisional Officer, Karanpur, wherein they submitted that the receiver is an officer of the court and he was holding the possession of the lands in dispute on behalf a of the court in the interest of the parties and he was not bound by the directions given by the Collector in his order dated 30th April, 1978 and that the receiver had acted illegally in taking action in compliance with the order of the Collector, Sri Ganganagar dated 30th April, 1978 and that the aforesaid order dated 11th May, 1978 passed by the receiver may be recalled and the cultivatory rights in the land in dispute may be disposed of by the regular auction No orders have been passed by the Sub-Divisional Officer on the said application of the petitioners. The petitioners have also moved an application before the Collector, Sri Ganganagar with the request to withdraw the order dated 30th April, 1978 passed by him and also met the Collector, Sri Ganganagar on 12th July, 1978 The said application is said to have been rejected by the Collector but a copy of the order passed by the Collector on the said application has not been supplied to the petitioners.

3. The facts in the other two writ petitions (S.B. Civil Writ Petition Nos. 441 of 1978 & 883 of 1978) are similar. In both these cases also, the petitioners are vendees of agricultural lands under registered sale deed executed by vendors belonging to a Scheduled Caste and suits for eviction of the petitioners have been filed under Section 175 of the Act and in said suits, which are pending before the Sub-Divisional Officer, the Tehsildar has been appointed as Receiver by the trial court and the receiver, in accordance with the directions given by the Collector, Sri Ganganagar, in his order dated 30th April, 1978 has delivered the possession of the land in dispute to the Harijan vendors after taking security in accordance with the aforesaid order of the Collector Sri Ganganagar dated 30th April, 1978.

4. In the writ petitions, the petitioners have submitted that the Court had appointed the Receiver in order to protect the rights of the rightful claimant of the land and that the Tehsildar, in the discharge of his functions as the Receiver is not a subordinate to the Collector and the Collector has no jurisdiction to give any direction to the Receiver, In the writ petitions the petitioners have also submitted that when the Receiver auctions the cultivatory rights of the land he does so in order to protect the rights of the rightful claimant of the land to whom the produce of the land during the pendency of the suit will go as per the final decision in the suit and that as a result of the direction contained in the order dated 30th April, 1978 passed by the Collector Sri Ganganagar, land will be allowed to be cultivated by a party to the suit on a surety of Rs. 25/- or Us 75/- per bigha being given, & that thereby the party which is the rigtful owner of the land will stand dispossessed of the land in question and will not be able to get anything by way of mesne profits compensation or damages for being deprived of possession of the land and that the order is thus violative of the fundamental rights of the petitioners guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(f) & 31(1) of the Constitution.

5. The writ petitions have been contested by the State of Rajasthan, including the Collector, Sri Ganganagar, the Sub-Divisional Officer and the Tehsildar. In the reply to the writ petition filed on their behalf it has been asserted that in the District of Sri Ganganagar a few persons have grabbsd almost all valuable lands blonging to persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes by obtaining void and illegal sale deeds and that the suits filed to challenge the said sales were pending in revenue courts for years and that there was great discontent amongst the original poor allottees who have been deprived of their lands and who have no other means of subsistence. According to the said reply, the order dated 30th April, 1978 issued by the Collector, Sri Ganganagar is only an advisory letter of an administrative nature intended to prevent exploitation of the weaker sections of the society and that the said advice of the Collector dots not in any way interfere with any judicial or quasi judicial function of a court in as much as the management of the land is only an executive function the Receiver. In the reply aforesaid, it is further claimed that the sale deeds executed in favour of the petitioners were null and void and that the petitioners cannot claim the violation of any fundamental right in respect of the property in dispute.

6. At the out set a preliminary objection was raised on behalf of the respondents with regard to the maintainability of the writ petitions on the ground that the order dated 30th April, 1978 passed by the Collector, Sri Ganganagar, was issued far period of one year only and that after the expiry of the period of one year the said order has ceased to be operative and, therefore, the questions with regard to the validity of the said order are now of academic interest only. Shri M. Mridul the learned Counsel for the petitioners in C. W. No. 361 of 1978, has placed on record the photostat copy of the cider dated April 6/7, 1979 passed by the Collector Sri Ganganagar wherein it is directed that the arrangement which had been made for the cultivation of lands under attachment under the order dated April 30, 1978 may be continued for a further period of one year. In view of the aforesaid order dated April 6/7, 1979, it must be held that the operation of the impugned order dated 30th April, 78 has been extended for a further period of one year and, therefore, it cannot be said that the questions with regard to the validity of the order dated 30th April, 1978 are now of academic interest only.

7. Another objection that has been raised on behalf of the respondents to the maintainability of these writ petitions is that the sale deeds executed in favour of the petitioners are null and void and that the petitioners have no legal right in the property in dispute and therefore, they cannot challenge the validity of the order dated April 30, 1978. In my opinion, the aforesaid contention cannot be accepted. The petitioners have duly executed sale deeds in their favour and so long as the said sale deeds are not set aside by a competent court, it cannot be said that they do not have any legal right in the lands which have been sold to them under the aforesaid sale deeds. The petitioners were in possession of the property in dispute and in the event of the dismissal of the suits, they will be entitled to be restored the possession of the lands along with the mesne profits. The impugned order by directing the Receivers to hand over the possession of the property in dispute to the Harijan vendors after taking surety in the amount of Rs. 25/- or Rs. 75/- per Bigha (depending on whether the land is unirrigated or irrigated) will result in loss of mesne profits to the petitioners and the petitioners can, therefore, challenge the validity of the said order on the ground that it is violative of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(f) and Article 31(1) of the Constitution.

8. As to the merits, the submission of Shri M. Mridul and Shri Satya Narain, the learned Counsel for the petitioners is that a Receiver appointed by the Revenue Court in a pending suit is an officer of the Court, who is required to discharge his functions as a receiver in accordance with directions of the Court only and that neither under the Act nor under any other law has the Collector been conferred any power to give any direction to the Receiver appointed by a Revenue Court with regard to the manner of discharging his duties as a receiver. The learned Counsel for the petitioners have submitted that merely because the Tehsildar has been appointed as the Receiver by the Court, does not empower the Collector to give any direction to him with regard to the manner in which the Tehsildar, while functioning as the receiver, should administer the property which has been entrusted to him for management.

9. On behalf of the respondents, it has been submitted that the Tehsildar, while functioning as the receiver of the property which has been entrusted to him, is exercising administrative functions and that it is open to the Collector to give directions to the Tehsildar with regard to the manner in which the aforesaid administrative functions are to be exercised. The learned Counsel for the respondents have further submitted that under Section 221 of she Act, all Additional Collectors, Sub-Divisional Officers and Tehsildars in a district are subordinate to the Collector of the district and the Collector is, therefore, competent to give directions to them with regard to the exercise of the functions entrusted to them,

10. It is settled law that a parson who has been appointed as the receiver of a property by a Court in a pending suit is an officer of the Court and he is required to administer the property which has been entrusted to him for management in accordance with the directions of the Court, which has appointed him as the receiver. In the discharge of his function', the receiver is thus under the administrative control of the Court, which has appointed him as a receiver. Merely because a person who has been appointed as a receiver happens to be a Government official does not mean that the officer, who is superior to him in the administrative hierarchy has the right to give any direction to him with regard to the manner in which the property entrusted to him should be administered. It is not possible to comprehend a situation where a' person while functioning as the receiver should be under a dual administrative control viz.- under the control of the court which has appointed him as receiver and the control of the officer superior to him in the administrative hierarchy. Any direction given by a superior officer to an officer junior to him, who has been appointed as a Receiver by a Court in a peading suit, with regard to the mode in which the property entrusted to him should be managed and administered, is bound to impinge on the control which is exercised by the Court over the functions of the Receiver. Such a direction of the superior officer would, therefore, be clearly illegal.

11. In the present case, the Tehsildar had been appointed as the Receiver by the Revenue Court in exercise of the power conferred on him under Section 212 of the Act, while acting as the Receiver, the Tehsildar was required to act in accordance with the directions of the Revenue court which had appointed him as the Receiver. A receiver cannot, without the sanction of the Court, let, even for a single year, the property which has been entrusted to him and when a proposed lease is submitted before the Court for approval, the parties to the suit have a right to make their submissions as to whether the Court should give its sanction to the proposed lease or not. The Tehsildar was, therefore, required to obtain the sanction of the Court to any arrangement which he was proposing for the cultivation of the lands. By the impugned order dated 30th April, 1978, the Collector, Sri Ganganagar, (who is an officer superior to the Tehsildar as well as the Sub-Divisional Officer, before whom the suit is pending) has intervened in the matter by directing the Receiver to make only a particular type of arrangement for the cultivation of the lands and has thereby, interferred with the exercise of jurisdiction of the revenue court over pending proceedings. Such an interference by the Collector in the exercise of jurisdiction vested in a revenue court is subversive of the judicial process and it cannot be countenanced.

12. It is a settled law that no administrative or executive direction can be given with regard to the manner in which the judicial or quasi judicial functions entrusted to a person or authority are to be discharged. In B. Rajagopala Naidu v. The State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Madras AIR 1961 SC 1573, the Supreme Court was dealing with the question as to the validity of an order passed by the Government of Madras in exercise of the powers conferred in It under Section 43-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, whereby the State Government had prescribed a marking system for the guidance of the Regional Transport Authority and State Transport Appellate Tribunal in the matter of selection of applicants for grant of stage carriage permits. The Supreme Court, while declaring the said order of the State Government to be invalid has laid down:

It is of the essence of fair and objective administration of law that the decision of the Judge or the Tribunal must be absolutely unfettered by any extraneous guidance by the executive or administrative wing of the State. If the exercise of discretion conferred on a quasi judicial tribunal is controlled by any such direction, that forges fetters on the exercise of quasi-judicial authority and the presence of such fetters would make the exercise of such authority completely inconsistent with the well-accepted notion of judicial process.

13. In view of the aforesaid decision, it must be held that the Collector could not have issued any direction to the Revenue Court (Sub-Divisional Officer) with regard to the manner in which he should deal with a case pending before it. If the Collector could not have issued a direction to the Revenue Court with regard to the manner in which a property under the control of the Court shall be administered, he could not achieve the same object by giving a direction with regard to the manner in which the receiver appointed by the revenue Court and who is functioning under the direction and the control of the Revenue Court should exercise his functions as the Receiver. To permit the Collector to do so would enable him to do indirectly what he cannot do directly. This is impermissible.

14. The provisions of Section 221 of the Act, whereby it is declared that Additional Collectors, Sub-Divisional Officers and Tehildars in a district are subordinate to the Collector thereof, on which reliance has been placed by the learned Counsel for the respondent Vendors, do not lend any assistance to their submission that the Collector, Sri Ganganagar was competent to issue the directions contained in his order dated 30th April, 1978. In my opinion, Section 221 has to be read along with Sections 232, 235 and 237 of the Act. Section 232 provides that the Collector may call for & examine the record of any case or proceeding decided by or pending before any revenue Court subordinate to him for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the legality or propriety of the order passed and as to the regularity of the proceeding and, if he is of opinion that the order passed or proceeding taken by such Court should be varied cancelled or reversed he shall refer the case with his opinion thereon for the orders of the Revenue Board and the Board shall thereupon pass such orders as it thinks fit. Section 235 embowers the Collector to withdraw any case or class of cases from any revenue Court subordinate to him and to try such case or class of cases himself or to transfer the same to any subordinate revenue court competent to deal with it. Similarly Section 237 empowers the Collector to transfer any case or class of cases pending before himself to any subordinate revenue Court competent to deal with it. This shows that a limited power of making a reference to the Revenue Board and the power of transfer alone has been conferred on the Collector in respect of the Courts of Sub - Divisional Officer and Tehsildar, which have declared as subordinate to the Collector. Section 221 itself shows that superintendence and control ever all revenue Courts is vested in the Revenue Board and the Collector has not been conferred any right of superintendence or control over the Sub-Divisional Officers, and Tehsildars who have been declared as subordinate to the Collector under Section 221. In nay view, there fore, Section 221 of the Act, by declaring that the Sub-Divisional Officer and the Tehsildar are subordinate to the Collector, does not empower the Collector to interfere with the discharge of the judicial as well as other statutory powers conferred on the said authorities.

15. It is also not possible to accept the contention urged by the learned Counsel for the respondents that the directions contained in the order dated April 0, 1978 are only can advisory nature and that they were not binding on the Tehsildars. The tenor of the order dated 30th April, 19/8 shows that the Tehsildars and Naib Tehsildars, to whom it was addressed, were required to comply with the directions contained in the said order and submit a report to the Collector within 15 days. It is difficult to appreciate how such an order can be regarded as containing directions of an advisory nature only. Moreover in the present case, we find that the Tehsildars have treated the directions contained in the order dated April 30, 1978 to be of a binding nature and after the said order was brought to their notice, they dropped the proceedings for auction of the cultivatory rights and proceeded to pass orders in accordance with the directions contained in the said order dated April 30, 1978. Shri Bhagwati Prassad, the learned Counsel for the respondent vendor in CW 583 of 1978, Harji Ram v. State of Rajasthan and Ors., has submitted that in the order dated May 17, 1978 whereby possession was handed over to the respondent vendor, there is no reference to the order dated April 30, 1978. In this context, it may be observed that possession of the lands was delivered to the respondent vendor on May 16 and 17, 1978. By order dated May 16, 1978, the possession of 12 Bighas of land was delivered by the Receiver to the respondent vendor and in that order a reference is made to the order of the Collector dated April 30, 1978. By order dated May 17, 1978, the Receiver delivered possession of the remaining 8 Bighas of land. The failure to make a reference to the order of the Collector dated April 30, 1978, in the order dated May 17, 1978 is of no consequence. It cannot be Suggested that the Receiver who was following the order of the Collector till May 16, 1978, statred exercising his own discretion and was not following the said order of the Collector on May 17, 1978.

16. For the reasons aforesaid, it must be held that the Collector, Sri Ganganagar, had no jurisdiction to give the directions contained in the order dated April 30, 1978, to the Tehsildars and Naib Tehsildars, who were functioning as Receivers in suits pending before other revenue courts.

17. Now coming to the orders that have been passed by the receivers in pursuance of the order of the Collector, Sri Ganganagar dated April 30, 1978, I find that in one case (CW 361 of 1978) an application has been filed by the petitioner before the revenue Court in which the suit is pending praying that the Receiver may be directed to recall his order giving possession of the land to the respondent vendor. The Revenue Court has refrained from passing any order on the said application of the petitioners. Now that the directions contained in the order of Collector, Sri-Ganganagar, dated April 30, 1978 have been held to be illegal and void, the Revenue Court will be free to consider the merits of the order passed by the Receiver unoppressed by the order of the Collector, Sri-Ganganagar. It will be, therefore, more appropriate that the revenue Court may be left to deal with the question as to the validity and the propriety of the order passed by the Receiver. In the other two writ petitions (CW 441 of 1978 and CW 883 of 1978) no such application has been moved by the petitioners before the Revenue Court for setting aside the orders passed by the Receivers in pursuance of the order dated April 30, 1978, passed by the Collector, Sri-Ganganagar. The said petitioner may move the revenue Court before whom their suit is pending seeking appropriate relief with regard to the order that has been passed by the Receiver in their cases.

18. Before concluding, I wish to observe that these writ petitions have brought out in bold relief, the dark clouds that are looming large on our judicial horizon, viz. the rising discontentment amongst the people on account of undue delay in the disposal of cases pending before the Courts. The Collector, Sri-Ganganagar, in his order dated April 30, 1978 has made a pointed reference to the discontentment prevailing amongst the Harijan allottees of land) who lost possession of their lands under illegal sale deeds executed in favour of the caste-Hindus and whose suits for cancellation of the sale deed and ejectment of the purchasers from the lands have been pending for a number of years. The Collector, Sri-Ganganagar chose a rough and ready method of ignoring the sale deeds executed by the Harijans and directing the Receiver holding the possession of the lands to deliver the possession of the lands to the Harijans. The aforesaid course adopted by the Collector was, as held earlier, subversive of the judicial process and the Rule of law. By declaring the directions contained in the order of the Collector are illegal and void, a danger posed to the Rule of law has been averted. But the danger to the Rules of Law on account of rising discontentment amongst the people again3t the judicial process due to the undue delay in obtaining relief in judicial proceedings is no less imminent and it cannot be ignored. It is hoped that the revenue courts before whom the suits are pending will take note of this situation and dispose of the suits expeditiously.

19. In the result, these writ petitions are allowed and it; is declared that the order dated 30th April, 1978 passed by the Collector, Sri Ganganagar is illegal and void and is not binding on a Tehsildar functioning as a receiver under the orders of the Revenue Court in a suit pending before it. It will be open to the petitioners to move to the revenue court before which She suit is pending for seeking appropriate relief with regard to the order that has been passed by the receiver in pursuance of the aforesaid order dated 30th April, 1978, passed by the Collector, Sri Ganganagar. There will be no order as to costs in these writ petitions.


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