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N. Rajendran Vs. the Revenue Divisional and Land Acquisition Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1968)2MLJ302
AppellantN. Rajendran
RespondentThe Revenue Divisional and Land Acquisition Officer
Cases ReferredAburubammal v. Official Assignee I.L.R.
Excerpt:
.....that it had not been received, because the presumption is that a letter which is proved to be posted and posted to the right address is in fact received by the recipient. this context gives strong support to the contention of the petitioner that what he had posted under certificate of posting was the originals of the application for reference under section 18, a copy of which he sent when he sent a subsequent communication by registered post on 1st january, 1965. in the registered communication sent on 1st january, 1965 he had also referred to the fact of his sending the applications for reference by ordinary post under certificate of posting on 12th march, 1964. it is urged on behalf of the petitioner that in the reply sent to him by the department there was no specific denial of..........the petitions is that he prepared such an application and sent it by post to the land acquisition officer posting the letters at the mallanginar branch post office, mallanginar being the village where he is resident. he also obtained from the branch postmaster of mallanginar a certificate of posting. this certificate of posting contains the date seal of 12th march, 1964 and it also shows that the two covers respectively addressed to the revenue divisional officer and land acquisition officer, sivakasi, were posted on that date. the petitioner was under the impression that the reference would be taken on file. but finding that no intimation of such taking on file was sent to him, he sent a letter by registered post on 1st january, 1965 to the revenue divisional officer mentioning the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

P. Ramakrishnan, J.

1. These two writ petitions are filed by one N. Rajendran for the issue of writs of mandamus under Article 226 of the Constitution under circumstances which can be set down briefly as follows:

2. The petitioner is the owner of certain lands situated in Allampatti Village and Kottaipatti Village, Virudhunagar, which were acquired for the construction of the Government Hospital at Virudhunagar. Two awards Were passed, Award Nos. 13 and 14 of 1963 on the same date, namely, 31st December, 1963. The petitioner received the notices dated 22nd February, 1964 of the awards under Section 12.(2) of the Land Acquisition Act in both the cases on 24th February, 1964. Six weeks time from the date of receipt of the notices is provided in the statute for a party aggrieved with the quantum of compensation to apply to the Collector to make a reference to the Court under Section 18 of the Act. The petitioner's strenuous contention in the affidavits in both the petitions is that he prepared such an application and sent it by post to the Land Acquisition Officer posting the letters at the Mallanginar branch post office, Mallanginar being the village where he is resident. He also obtained from the Branch postmaster of Mallanginar a certificate of posting. This certificate of posting contains the date seal of 12th March, 1964 and it also shows that the two covers respectively addressed to the Revenue Divisional Officer and Land Acquisition Officer, Sivakasi, were posted on that date. The petitioner was under the impression that the reference would be taken on file. But finding that no intimation of such taking on file was sent to him, he sent a letter by registered post on 1st January, 1965 to the Revenue Divisional Officer mentioning the fact of his having made the necessary application for reference on 12th March, 1964 and his obtaining a certificate of posting on that date from the branch post office.' After sometime, he was told by the Revenue Divisional Officer that his application for making a reference was belated and nothing could be done in the matter.

3. It is claimed by the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner that a legitimate presumption should be drawn the presumption being one of fact under Section 114 of the Evidence Act--from the circumstances of his having posted the applications for making a reference on 12th March, 1964 that he made the applications duly and in time to the Land Acquisition Officer for reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. He urges that the authorities were in error in ignoring this presumption in the circumstances of this case, and in refusing to make a reference to the Court under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act.

4. Learned Counsel has referred in support of his contention mentioned above to several authorities including a decision of this Court in Aburubammal v. Official Assignee (1924) 45 M.L.J. 817 : I.L.R. (1924) Mad. 215, Hulas v. Allahabad Bank : AIR1958Cal644 , Babulal Talakchand v. Purushottam Shridhar I.L.R. (1963) Bom. 583, Janno v. Gaja Singh (1966) All. L.J. 424, Dhanapati Debt v. The Corporation of Calcutta (1951) 55 C.W.N. 751. It is sufficient for our purpose to refer to the broad principle followed in such cases and which can be gathered from the observation of the Bench in Aburubammal, v. Official Assignee (1924) 45 M.L.J. 817 : I.L.R. (1924) Mad. 215, viz.

The evidence is that that letter was posted and it is quite clear that it was so posted because a certificate from the Post Office to that effect is produced before the Court. It is suggested by the learned Judge that it is possible that that letter Was not delivered to the insolvent and that it is possible that, although not delivered it did not come back to the dead letter office, through what the learned Judge speaks of as the vagaries of the Madras post; but the insolvent was called as a witness and he did not deny the receipt of that letter, though it is true he was not asked whether he had received it or not; and I fail to see how the learned Judge Was justified in coming to the conclusion on that evidence that it had not been received, because the presumption is that a letter which is proved to be posted and posted to the right address is in fact received by the recipient.

Adverting to the above principle, Sarkar in his book on evidence, in the commentaries under Section 114 of the Evidence Act, Illustration (F) has laid stress that the presumption under that section does not arise unless there is proof of actual posting.

5. It is clear from the Bench decision above mentioned, that the same principle is also reiterated there namely that before the. presumption could be drawn there must be proof that the letter had been actually posted. The certificate issued by the post office, which is called a ' certificate of posting ' may be one of the items of proof in that connection. When a letter is sent by registered post, then also the post office gives a certificate of posting, but it is in a different form. In addition to the certificate of posting there was evidence in Aburubammal v. Official Assignee I.L.R. (1934) Mad. 215 : (1934) 45 M.L.J. 817, cited above that the letter was actually posted, and the data adduced in that case Were considered sufficient to prove actual posting. In such circumstances the presumption that the recipient duly received the letter would follow. The learned Judges also took into account the fact that the recipient, the insolvent, did not deny the receipt of the letter. So it was a case of the cumulative effect of all the facts including the certificate of posting, which must be examined to find out whether there was in fact proof of the posting of a letter with the alleged purport in the post office. The conduct of the recipient also will become relevant thereafter, and taking all these into account, the Court can come to the conclusion that presumption of receipt of the communication must be drawn.

6. No doubt, the instructions contained on the reverse of the certificate of posting form state that there is no guarantee of the nature of the contents of the communication for which the certificate is issued. But in the present case, one can put the context of the, land acquisition proceedings which preceded immediately before, and the name of the addressee as Revenue Divisional Officer noted on the two covers posted on the same date, and infer that the letters have reference to the awards passed on the same date in the two cases. This context gives strong support to the contention of the petitioner that what he had posted under certificate of posting was the originals of the application for reference under Section 18, a copy of which he sent when he sent a subsequent communication by registered post on 1st January, 1965. In the registered communication sent on 1st January, 1965 he had also referred to the fact of his sending the applications for reference by ordinary post under certificate of posting on 12th March, 1964. It is urged on behalf of the petitioner that in the reply sent to him by the department there was no specific denial of the receipt of the letters by ordinary post, but there was only a bare statement that his application was belated.

7. Further, the matter does not end with what I have stated above. A reference to the concerned file of the department which was supplied to me at the time of the hearing of the Writ petitions, shows that on receipt of the communication dated 1st January, 1965 by registered post, the Revenue Divisional Officer addressed the branch postmaster at Mallanginar about the certificate of posting, and the branch postmaster of Mallanginar has given a categorical reply, Which is found in the file, that in fact two letters under certificate of posting were posted in his branch post office on 12th March, 1963, ' 1963 ' being evidently a clerical mistake for ' 1964'. The statement of the branch postmaster in this connection must be viewed as of great importance to show that in fact two letters were sent by the petitioner by post on 12th March, 1964. It is also stated that several other claimants in. the same land acquisition proceedings had applied for enhancement of the compensation under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act and their applications were pending at the time. Further, the Collector himself had suo motu made a reference to the Court under Section 30 to settle a dispute about apportionment of compensation. This reference was also pending. In the context of these proceedings it is Very likely that the petitioner also applied on 12th March, 1964 as he claims and he is therefore entitled to the presumption that in the normal course of things, the applications must have reached their destination through post, namely, the Revenue Divisional Officer, to whom under the statute the reference has to be made for the purpose of subsequent reference to the Court under Section 18. Taking these above circumstances in to consideration, I am of the opinion that this is a case where the respondent a Revenue Divisional Officer and Land Acquisition Officer, Sivakasi, ought to have made the necessary reference under Section 18 to the Court. Consequently writs, of mandamus will issue to the respondent in both the petitions as prayed for. No order as to costs.


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