Dwarka Prasad Gupta, J.
1. The facts which have given rise to this appeal lie in a very narrow compass. The appellant's land bearing square No. 66/29 was in the first instance included in chak No. 5 PPA. On December 4, 1970 the appellant submitted an application to the Divisional Irrigation Officer, namely, the Executive Engineer Irrigation, South Gang Canal, Sriganganagar, praying that the appellant's land be transferred from Chak No. 5 PPA to Chak No. 4 PP, as the land was situated at a higher level and it was not possible to irrigate the entire land because it lay at the tail end of Chak No. 5 PPA. The Executive Engineer, Irrigation made a recommendation to the Superintending Engineer for transfer of the land of appellant from Chak No. 5 PPA to Chak No. 4 PP & the Superintending Engineer, accepting the recomendation made by the Executive Engineer, passed an order on February 4, 1971 directing the transfer of the appellant's land to Chak 4PP. A revision petition was filed before the Additional Chief Engineer, Irrigation who by his order dated July 22, 1972 set aside the order passed by the Superintending Engineer, Bikaner transferring the appellants land from Chak 5 PPPA to chak 4 PP and restoring the status quo as existed before December 4, 1970.
2. The appellant felt aggrieved against the order passed by the Additional Chief Engineer dated July 22, 1972 and a filed a writ petition in this Court which was dismissed by the learned Single Judge on August 11, 1978. In this appeal, it was urged by the learned counsel for the appellant that the Additional Chief Engineer had no jurisdiction to set aside the order passed by the Superintending Engineer in respect of the transfer of the appellant's land from Chak 5 PPA to Chak 4 PP. It was also urged by the learned counsel for the appellant that the Addl. Chief Engineer passed the impugned order dated July 22, 1971 without affording an opportunity of hearing to the appellant. On the question of jurisdiction, the reply of the respondents is that the Chief Engineer exercised a supervisory control over all the officers appointed under the provisions of the Rajasthan Irrigation and Drainage Act, 1954. As regards the question of affording the appellant an opportunity of hearing, the respondents' reply is evasive and it has been stated that the appellant were aware of the fact that a revision petition was filed in the matter and that he was also aware of the proceedings before the Additional Chief Engineer and also about the order passed by the Additional Chief Engineer. However, it has not been pleaded by the respondents that an opportunity of hearing was afforded to the appellant, much less to say that the appellant was actually heard in the matter by the Additional Chief Engineer, before he proceeded to pass the order dated July 22, 1972.
3. We are of the view that even if the Additional Chief Engineer or the Chief Engineer could exercise any supervisory control in respect of the orders passed by the officers appointed under the Rajasthan Irrigation and Drainage Act, yet it was incumbent upon the Additional Chief Engineer to afford an opportunity of hearing to the appellant. Principles of natural justice require that any order affecting that the civil rights of a citizen should not be passed behind his back and without affording him an opportunity of hearing in the matter. The order passed by the Superintending Engineer dated July 22, 1972 was certainly in favour of the appellant, in as much as the appellant's land was transferred from Chak 5 PPA to Chak 4 PP as prayed by the appellant in his application dated December 4, 1970. If the Additional Chief Engineer desired to reverse the order passed by the Superintending Engineer, he ought to have afforded the appellant an opportunity of hearing in the matter and then only he should have proceeded to pass an order adverse to the interests of the appellant. In this view of the matter, we find that the principles of natural justice have been breached in the present case. We do not wish to express any opinion as to whether the Additional Chief Engineer had jurisdiction in the matter or not. It would be open to the appellant to raise all questions before the Additional Chief Engineer or the Chief Engineer when an opportunity of hearing is afforded to him, including the objection relating to lack of jurisdiction.
4. In the result, we allow the appeal, set aside the order passed by the learned Single Judge dated August 11, 1978 and quash the order passed by the Additional Chief Engineer Irrigation, Rajasthan, Jaipur dated July 22, 1972 and direct that the Additional Chief Engineer or the Chief Engineer, Irrigation may hear the revision petition afresh affording the appellant an opportunity of hearing and decide the same in accordance with law, keeping in view the observations made above. The parties are left to bear their own costs.