1. This revision petition was filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India before its amendment, questioning the authority of the remand order passed by the Land Tribunal (Principal Sub-J), Tiruchirapalli, in C. M. A. No. 87 of 1974. The facts of the case are : The petitioner herein is an assignee of the surplus land acquired by the Government and the said assignment was made in his favour on 19-9-1973. The Authorised Officer (Land Reforms) Pudukottai, on 19-9-1973, after carefully examining the claims of the applicants before him, allotted to the petitioner herein 2.02 acres of land in survey filed No. 71/3 as per Rule 8 (4) of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules 1965 as amended in G. O. Ms. No. 1870 dated 8-9-1969. Before such an assignment, the Authorised Officer declared the surplus land of the third respondent herein as 15 standard acres. The third respondent was given an opportunity as the trustee of the Govindadas Ganshyamdas Private Family Trust, to give particulars specifying his desire regarding the lands to be retained by the Trust. Even though time was taken, the third respondent herein did not furnish the particulars as called for. Hence the Authorised Officer (Land Reforms) Tiruchirapalli. Passed an order under Section 10(3) of the Tamil Nadu Act 58 of 1961, specifying the land to be retained by the land owner within his ceiling area and stated that the lands specified by him in his order will be notified as surplus lands. It is the case of the petitioner that subsequent to the said order there was an order under Section 10(5), Section 12 and finally under Section 18 of the Act. In pursuance of such steps taken by the Government, the petitioner, as stated above, got the lands allotted on 19-9-1973. The third respondent, as the trustee of Govindadas Ganshyamdas Private Family Trust, preferred an appeal to the Land Tribunal, Tiruchirapalli against the order of the Authorised Officer dated 28-4-1972, contending that the Authorised Officer had not considered the objection statement filed by him and that he should be given option to declare the extent of lands to be retained by him. This appeal was filed under Section 78 of the Act. Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 78 of the Act read as follows :-
'Section 78(1) : Against any decision of the Authorised Officer under Sections 9(2)(b), 10(3), (4) and (5), 16(3)(a)(iii), 20, 22, 30(4), 51(1), (2), 52, 61(3)(b) or 102(2)(b), the Government may, within thirty days from the date of the decision and any persons aggrieved by such decision may within sixty days from the date of such decision appeal to the Land Tribunal.'
'Section 78(2) : The Land Tribunal may admit an appeal presented after the expiration of the period mentioned in sub-section (1), but not exceeding thirty days, if it is satisfied that the party concerned had sufficient cause for not presenting it within the said period'.
The Tribunal, after observing 'in the appeal the appellant (third respondent herein) has made an endorsement that he is willing to surrender some other lands as surplus instead of the lands chosen by the Authorised Officer as surplus, then once the appellant is found to own more than the ceiling area he should be given option to specify the lands to be retained by him and the surplus land which he desired to surrender, hence it is just and proper to remand the case to the lower court to give opportunity to the appellant to specify the land to be taken as surplus from his holding.' Allowed the appeal by setting aside the order of the Authorised Officer and remanded the matter back to the Authorised Officer for fresh disposal.
2. It is seen from the records that the appeal was filed after a delay of more than one year and an application was also filed before the Land Tribunal to excuse the delay. From the facts of the case, it is also clear that the appeal was filed only in December 1973, while the assignment in favour of the petitioner herein was made as early as 19-9-1973 and the order of the Authorised Officer is dated 28-4-1972. Hence it is clear from the facts of the case that any re-alignment of the land will definitely affect the interests of the petitioner who has got a specific land assigned in his favour as per the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, and the Rules framed thereunder. Mr. Srinivasan, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, apart from submitting that the petitioner is an interested party to agitate the matter by questioning the order of remand made by the Land Tribunal, contended that the Land Tribunal had absolutely no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal under Section 78 of the Act filed by the third respondent herein since it was delayed by more than a year. Section 78 of the Act is clear as regards the limitation for preferring such an appeal. Admittedly, the appeal was filed beyond the period of limitation fixed by Section 78 and the same has been conceded by Mr. Rajappa, learned counsel appearing for the third respondent herein Mr. Rajappa, learned counsel contends that inasmuch as the Government is the aggrieved party as against the remand order passed by the Tribunal, the petitioner cannot be heard to say that the order of remand is invalid. According to the learned counsel, the petitioner can have ample say when the matter is taken up by the Authorised Officer in pursuance of the remand order for the re-alignment of the standard acres to be retained by land owner and the distribution of the excess lands in his hands. I do not think such an argument is available to the third respondent herein, especially when the petitioner, who is interested in this matter, as stated above, questions the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to entertain the appeal which has vitally affected the assignment made in his favour. The chances of getting the very same land to be assigned to the petitioner cannot be a ground to ignore the contention of the petitioner when, he questions the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to entertain the appeal, filed by the third respondent beyond the period if limitation. In my view, the tribunal, without even considering the limitations imposed upon it by Section 78 of the Act, has arrogated to itself the powers not vested in it. The excusing of delay in preferring the appeal and ultimately passing an order on the said appeal was arbitrary in nature and such an entertainment of the appeal in the tooth of Section 78 was an error apparent on the face of the record. All these points have been raised in the grounds of revision filled by the petitioner under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. It has been specifically stated by the petitioner that the Land Tribunal overlooked that the appeal before it was filed beyond the period of limitation prescribed under the Madras Land Reforms Act and the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to excuse the delay exceeding thirty days, that the Land Tribunal failed to note that the third respondent did not even file a revision petition against the final statement under Section 12 which was made on 24-8-1972, that the Land Tribunal overlooked that the publication under Section 18(3) was made in February 1973 and further proceedings pursuant to the final notification was taken in April 1973 itself, that the appeal filed by the third respondent against the order, under Section 10(3) is clearly beyond the period of limitation contemplated under Section 78 of the Land Reforms Act, that the Land Tribunal ought to have taken into consideration that after the final notification under Section 18 (3) proceedings under the Madras Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Lands) Rules 1965 were taken and completed and the surplus lands were assigned to various individuals in accordance with the said Rules and that the Tribunal overlooked that the assignment order was made in favour of the petitioner on 19-9-1973 and the petitioner had also deposited the instalments due as per the order of assignment long before the filing of the appeal by the land owner before the Land Tribunal.
3. Thus, taking all these points raised by the petitioner and also finding that the Tribunal had absolutely no power to entertain the appeal filed beyond the period of limitation, I am of the view that the order of the Tribunal must be set aside. Accordingly, the civil revision petition is allowed and the order of the Land Tribunal is set aside, with the result that the order of the Authorised Officer, over which the appeal was filed, is retained.
4. There will be no order as to costs in this revision petition.
5. Revision allowed.