Dwarka Prasad Gupta, J.
1. I have heard learned counsel for the parties in respect of the main revision petition.
2 An application for making a reference was made to the Assistant Collector, Gangapur, under Section 18 of the Rajasthan Land Acquisition Act. The application for making a reference was rejected by the Assistant Collector on the ground that no one was present on behalf of the Municipal Board, Gangapur.
3 It is not the case of the respondents that the provisions of Section 18 were not complied with in the precent case. If an application for making a reference is made in writing complying with the provisions of Section 18, within the prescribed period of limitation, it is incumbent upon the Collector to make a referenc. The Collector can refuse to make a reference only in cases where there is improper application under Section 18 or the application is not made within the prescribed period of limitation or the same does not fulfil the specified in Sub-sections (1) & (2) of Section 18.
4. In the case of Laldeen v. The State of Rajasthan 1982 WLN page 717: 1982 RLR 1013. it was held by a learned Judge of this Court that when an application under Section 18 is made, the Collector is required to decide Whether the application presented before him is or,s not within time and whether it satisfied the conditions laid down in Section 18 and that while considering the application under Section 18 of the Act for making a reference, the Collector is not required to examine the merits of the case. The Collector cannot refuse to make a reference to the civil court on the ground that on merits the objections sought to be raised by the applicant were not sound or acceptable. The use of the word 'required' in Section 18 goes to show that it is obligatory for the Collector to make a reference once an application is made within time complying with the provisions of Sub-section (1) and (2) of Section 18. Therefore, mere absence of the applicant cannot be, in my view, a ground for refusing to make a reference, if a valid application in writing has been presented by the applicant within the prescribed time, complying with the conditions specified in Section 18. It may be pointed out the Collector could not refuse to pass an order making a reference under Section 18, once an application in writing in accordance with the provisions of Section 18 is filed within time. There could be no short circuiting by the Collector in such matters by dismissing the application for default of appearance or on any such ground. The refusal to make a reference is liable to be quashed if there is no valid ground for such refusal. As already observed above, the Collector has no option but to make a reference, to the Civil Court under Section 18, once a proper application in writing is presented before him within the prescribed time complying with the conditions of Section 18. Thus, the Assistant Collector Gangapur, was not justified in the present case, in rejecting the application of the Municipal Board Gangapur, for making a reference on the ground of default of appearance of a representative of the Board.
5. Consequently, the revision petition is allowed and the order passed by the Assistant Collector, Gangapur City, dated October 8, 1984, is set aside. The Assistant Collector is directed to examine the application filed by Municipal Board, Gangapur City before it and make a reference to the Civil Court in case the application filed by the Municipal Board, Gangapur, is found to be in accordance with law and presented within time.