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K.P. Ayyeemuthuswami Gounder Vs. the Land Commissioner, Board of Revenue, Land Reforms and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1982)1MLJ133
AppellantK.P. Ayyeemuthuswami Gounder
RespondentThe Land Commissioner, Board of Revenue, Land Reforms and anr.
Excerpt:
- - practically this would amount to unjust enrichment by the state at the expense of a citizen like the petitioner......and the final assessment roll was also published on 2nd october, 1974. the amount payable for the lands acquired was determined at rs. 6,916. the said amount has also been disbursed. the surplus lands have also been assigned to third parties and the value for the lands so assigned has also been determined on the basis of the determination of the amount payable for the lands acquired. while so, after the lapse of practically four years, the first respondent purported to exercise suo motu powers of revision under section 82 of the act in respect of the draft assessment roll and by the impugned order dated 30th november, 1978, came to the conclusion that the amount payable for the lands acquired is nil and directed the second respondent to amend the final assessment roll.2. in challenging.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Nainar Sundaram, J.

1. The petitioner is the owner of the lands declared as surplus under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act (LVIII of 1961), hereinafter 'refer-red to as the Act. AH the proceedings under the Act have been oompleted. The draft assessment roll under Section 50 (3) of the Act was published on 10th July, 1974 and the final assessment roll was also published on 2nd October, 1974. The amount payable for the lands acquired was determined at Rs. 6,916. The said amount has also been disbursed. The surplus lands have also been assigned to third parties and the value for the lands so assigned has also been determined on the basis of the determination of the amount payable for the lands acquired. While so, after the lapse of practically four years, the first respondent purported to exercise suo motu powers of revision under Section 82 of the Act in respect of the draft assessment roll and by the impugned order dated 30th November, 1978, came to the conclusion that the amount payable for the lands acquired is nil and directed the second respondent to amend the final assessment roll.

2. In challenging the order passed by t he first respondent dated 30th November, 1978, Mr. K. Srinivasan learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that the amount payable for the lands acquired as surplus under the Act was determined, adopting the formula set out in Schedule III of the Act and on the same basis, the value for the lands assigned was also 'determined and it is open to the authorities under the Act IO take away the lands of the petitioner under the Act without paying any compensation and at the same time assign the same lands, getting appropriate value for the same under the provisions of the Act.

3. The first respondent has chosen to revise the determination of the amount payable for the lands acquired on the ground that the lands were lying waste and they were not under actual cultivation and hence there is no possibility of working out the normal gross produce with reference to which the fair rent could be calculated. Earlier, the amount payable for the lands acquited as surplus was determined, may be, taking into account the potentialities of the lands for yielding crops, if cultivated. Earlier determination enured to the benefit of the petitioner and he had no occasion to object to it. Now. the first respondent wants to adopt a different norm, to say that if the lands were not under actual cultivation, there was no scope for working out the normal gross produce and the fair rent. At this point of time, it is not possible for the petitioner to demonstrate the factual position one way or the other and repel the reasoning of the first respondent either on principle or on facts. It is too late in the day for the first respondent to adopt this reasoning to reopen the matter which got concluded practically four years back. The amount for the lands acquired has got to be determined as per the formula set out in Schedule III to the Aot. The same formula hag got to be adopted for fixing the value of the lands for the purpose of assignment of the same to third parties It is not disputed before me that adopting the same formula as was done with reference to the draft and final assessment rolls, the value for lands assigned has been determined and the assignees were bound to pay the same. It is not the case of the respondents that there is a proposal to revise the value of the lands assigned on the basis that no amount b payable for the lands acquired. It is true that the first respondent can exercise suo motu powers of revision in respect of orders passed under Section 50 (5) of the Act. This is permissible under Section 82 of the Act. But, this power is not intended to be exercised arbitrarily without taking note of the consequences, which have followed pursuant to orders already passed under the Act. In the instant case, the authorities are declaring nil compensation for the lands acquired under the Act and at the same time they have already determined and are reaping the benefit of the value for the same lands assigned to third parties. Practically this would amount to unjust enrichment by the State at the expense of a citizen like the petitioner. In my view, the suo moiu powers of revision under Section 82 of the Act reserved for the first respondent are not intended to be exereised to lead to the above result. Any power vested with a public authority is not intended to be exercised unreasonably and unfairly. Any element of caprice or arbitrariness in the exercise of such power cannot be tolerated by Courts when it is brought to their notice by citizens who are put to prejudice and loss by such exercise of power. In this view, I feel obliged to take cognizance of the grievance expressed by the petitioner with regard to the order passed by the first respondent. This compels me to interfere in writ proceedings. Accordingly, the writ petition is allowed. There will be no order as to costs.


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