1. The petitioner, an ex-service man of the Indian Army, having served for fourteen years upto 1958, applied to the District Revenue Officer, Thanjavur, to assign to him an extent of 1.25 acres in Survey No. 108 in Valkai village in Nannilam taluk, the land having been declared as surplus under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961. For the same land the third respondent, another ex-service man of the Indian Army, also made an application. The District Revenue Officer made the assignment in favour of the third respondent and rejected the application of the petitioner. The appeal which the petitioner filed to the Board of Revenue was also dismissed. The writ petition has been filed to quash the said order of the District Revenue Officer as confirmed by the Board of Revenue.
2. Mr. Radhakrishnan, appearing for the petitioner, put forward two contentions in support of this petition. Firstly he contended that the application made by the third respondent for assignment was not maintainable, as it was not sent within the prescribed time and that the District Revenue Officer erred in entertaining that application. His second contention is that the third respondent was assigned another extent of one acre by the District Revenue Officer along with the assignment of the land in question, thereby enabling him to acquire 2.25 acres, whereas the petitioner was not assigned any land, when the actual extent owned by him was only 0.84 cents and that the District Revenue Officer was in error in taking into account the extent of land held by the petitioner's wife, which is subject to a mortgage. The contention is that, even if the extent held by the petitioner's wife is taken into consideration, the total extent does not exceed 5 standard acres and that the petitioner is therefore entitled to get the assignment of this land which, together with the extent already held by him and his wife, does not exceed five standard acres.
3. The argument that the District Revenue Officer erred in entertaining the third respondent's application is not tenable. The third respondent's application was received on 1-1-1968. The last date for receipt of the application was 31-12-1967. But the application was sent within the time limit, though it was received by the authorised Officer a day later. Rule 7 of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules, 1965, permits the application being sent by registered post, in addition to presenting it in person. The third respondent adopted the mode of communication through posts and despatched the application before the expiry of the time. Though it reached the authorised officer a day later, the despatch having been made within time, there was sufficient compliance with the said rule, and therefore the District Revenue Officer was not wrong in considering the third respondent's application.
4. The petitioner is admittedly owning 80 cents of land. His wife is admittedly having two acres 30 cents, both being wet lands. The extent held by the petitioner's wife has to be taken into consideration in calculating the total extent held by the petitioner, as admittedly the petitioner's wife is a member of his family. The petitioner and his wife together own 3.14 acres, whereas the third respondent does not own any land. it is true that the third respondent was given another extent of 1 acre in addition to the extent of 1.25 acres for which the petitioner also had made an application. Together, the third respondent got only 2.25 acres, whereas the petitioner is already having 3-14 acres. The District Revenue Officer took this fact into consideration in rejecting the petitioner's claim and assigning the land in favour of the third respondent. Both the petitioner and the third respondent are ex-servicemen and they are both entitled to equal treatment on that score. But, having regard to the extend of land already held by the petitioner including the extent held by his wife, the District Revenue Officer rightly held that the petitioner was not entitled to assignment in preference to the third respondent. The Board rightly agreed with this view. I see no merit in this writ petition.
5. In the result, the writ petition fails and is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.
6. Petition dismissed.