A.D. Koshal, J.
1. The petitioner is the present trustee of Begavanthaswamy Mutt, Pudupalayam, Cuddalore (hereinafter referred to as the trust), having been appointed to that office in the year 1971. Properties belonging to the trust were acquired by the State of Tamil Nadu under the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter called the Act) and an award determining compensation payable therefor was made by the Special Tahsildar for Land Acquisition (Harijan Welfare), Chidambaram, South Arcot District (hereinafter referred to as the Tahsildar on the 27th of July, 1967. No application for a reference of the question of compensation to the competent Court was made on behalf of the trust till the 19th of October, 1967, when such an application was filed by Bhoganathan Pillai, the then trustee of the trust. However, the Tahsildar refused to make a reference of the question of the quantum of compensation under Sub-section (2) of Section 18 of the Act, on the ground that the application made by (the then trustee in that behalf was time-barred, although a reference was made by him to the District Court under Sub-section (2) of Section 31 of the Act. The present trustee of the trust is aggrieved by the failure of the Tahsildar to make a reference under Sub-section (2) of Section 18 of the Act and has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India with a prayer that the Tahsildar be directed by a writ of mandamus to make such a reference.
2. To begin with, learned Counsel for the Tahsildar raised an objection that the application dated the 19th of October, 1967 did not require the Tahsildar to make a reference under Section 18 of the Act. This objection, however, is found to be without substance. Although the application made by the then trustee of the trust on the 19th of October, 1967 is inartistically worded and does not contain any specific request that the matter of compensation for the land acquired from the trust be referred for arbitration under Sub-section (2) of Section 18 of the Act to the competent Court, it does state that the compensation awarded should be fixed at the rate of Re. 1 per sq. foot plus 15 per cent and such a statement all by itself, has been held by a Division Bench of this Court in Special Deputy Collector Land Acquisition, Corporation Scheme, Madras v. N. R. R. Swami W.A. No. 150 of 1953 date 29th April 1963, to satisfy the requirements of Section 18 of the Act. So, the only question which I am called upon to decide is whether the said application was time-barred. The question has to be decided with reference to the provisions of Sub-section (2)' of Section 12 and Sub-section (2.) of Section 18 of the Act. Those provisions are reproduced below:
12(2) The Collector shall give immediate notice of his award to such of the persons interested as are not present personally or by their representatives when the award is made.
18(2) The application shall State the grounds on which objection to the award is taken:
Provided that every such application shall be made -
(a) if the person making it was present or represented before the Collector at the time when he made his award, within six weeks from the date of the Collector's award;
(b) in other cases, within six weeks of the receipt of the notice from the Collector under Section 12, Sub-section (2), or within six months from the date of the Collector's award, whichever period shall first expire.
It is common ground between the parties that the trust was not represented before the Tahsildar at the time when the award was made and it is the case of the petitioner that an application under Section 18 could have been made within six months of the date of the award inasmuch as no notice under Section 12, Sub-section (2) was served on any trustee of the trust at any time. Reliance for a proposition to the contrary is placed on behalf of the Tahsildar on the contents of paragraph 4 of the petitioner's affidavit, which states inter alia:
In the circumstances though notice of the award appears to have been received by some female members of the then trustee's family on 12th August, 1967 and 15th August, 1967, the trustees did not specifically apply for a reference under Section 18(2) of the Act....
It is urged by learned Counsel for the Tahsildar that in view of this assertion in paragraph 4 of the affidavit of the petitioner, the notice under Sub-section (2) of Section 12 must be deemed to have been served on the then trustee himself. That proposition, however I cannot hold to be well-founded in view of the contents of Section 45 of the Act, which States:
(1) Service of any notice under this Act shall be made by delivering or tendering a copy thereof signed, in the case of a notice under Section 4, by the Officer therein mentioned, and, in the case of any other notice!, by or by order of the Collector or the Judge.
(2) Whenever it may be practicable, the service of the notice shall be made on the person therein named.
(3) When such person cannot be found, the service may be made on any adult male member of his family residing with him and, if no such adult male member can be found, the notice may be served by fixing the copy on the outer door of the house in which the person therein named ordinarily dwells or carries on business, or by fixing a copy thereof in some conspicuous place in the office of the officer aforesaid or of the Collector in the Court-house, and also in some conspicuous part of the land to be acquired:
Provided that, if the Collector or Judge shall so direct, a notice may be sent by post, in a letter addressed to the person named therein at his last known residence, address or place of business and registered under Part III of the Indian Post Office Act, 1866, and service of it may be proved by the production of the addressee's receipt.
Sub-section (2) of this section authorises service on the person interested himself alone and Sub-section (3) comes into play only if such person cannot be found; and when such is the case, service can be effected only in one of two different ways, that is, by service of notice on any male member of the family of the person to be served or if such a male member also cannot be found, then by affixture of copies of the notice at certain specified places. No part of the section authorizes service of a notice on a female member of the family of the person sought to be served. If a notice was served, therefore, as stated in paragraph 4 of the affidavit, it cannot be deemed to have been served in accordance with law. Any service so effected cannot enure to the benefit of the respondent for the purpose of Sub-section (2) of Section 18. No notice under Sub-section (2) of Section 12 is alleged to have been served in any other manner. In fact, no counter-affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Tahsildar and the allegations made in the petition have been left uncontroverted in every detail.
3. Holding that no notice under subsection (2) of Section 12 was served on any of the trustees of the trust, I find that the application made by the then trustee of the trust on the 19th of October, 1967, was within time, having been filed before the expiry of six months from the date of the award, that the Tahsildar was duty-bound to refer the matter of compensation for the land acquired from the trust for the determination of the Court. In the result, therefore, the petition succeeds and is accepted and the Tahsildar is directed to make such a reference. The parties are, however, left to bear their own costs.