1. The appellant herein claims to own about 15 standard acres of land in Vandipalayam village, Ulundurpet taluk. A show cause notice was issued to the appellant by the 3rd respondent herein (the Authorised Officer, Villupuram), to show cause as to why the excess land in his possession, should not be taken by the Government. The appellant filed his objection contending that he is not in possession of any excess land and that the lands in the name of his wife cannot be clubbed with the extent held by him for purpose of Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961, hereinafter referred to as the Act. The 3rd respondent herein, viz., the Authorised Officer, held that the petitioner is holding 28.47 ordinary acres of land in excess of the permissible holding and, therefore such excess lands will stand transferred to the Government. As against the said order, the appellant filed an appeal before the Tribunal, constituted under Section 76 of the Act. Under Section 76 before its amendment by Act 2 of 1979 only a Subordinate Judge of the area was constituted as the Land Tribunal. However, by the said amending Act the Land Tribunal should consist of a Judicial Officer not below the rank of a Subordinate Judge or an officer not below the rank of District Revenue Officer. The appellant, who as already stated, filed an appeal under Section 78 of the Act to the Land Tribunal has now chosen to question the said amendment which brought about a change in the constitution of Land Tribunal. The appellant's challenge as against the amendment brought in by Act 2 of 1979 was on the following three grounds: (1) The appellant has acquired a vested right to have his appeal filed under Section 78 to be heard by a Judicial Officer as was the position before the amending Act of 1979 and such a right cannot be taken away arbitrarily especially when a judicial officer who has got the requisite judicial temperament and judicial training to decide the appeals filed under Section 78 has been constituted the Land Tribunal. (2) In any event, Section 76 which contemplates the constitution of either a Judicial Officer not below the rank of a Subordinate Judge or an Officer not below the rank of a District Revenue Officer, as Land Tribunal is quite arbitrary as it does not contain any guidelines as to in what types of cases the Subordinate Judge will constitute a Tribunal and in what cases the District Revenue 'Officer will constitute a Tribunal and if Section 76 were to be enforced without any guidelines, it will lead to unreasonable and indiscriminate exercise of power and (3) the order in G.O.Ms. No. 1827, Revenue, dated 21st August, 1979, under which the Government has chosen to appoint Land Tribunals with District Revenue Officers as Presiding Officers in the place of the Tribunals with judicial officers in certain areas is bad for the reason that the Government has not been conferred with the power of transfer and the power of transfer is in fact vested, only with the Land Commissioner under Section 76-A of the Act.
2. All the above three conentions have been elaborately considered, if we may say so with respect, by Nainar Sundaram, J. and the learned Judge has chosen to reject all the contentions as not being tenable. Though before us the learned Counsel for the appellant had chosen to canvass the correctness of the judgment of the learned Judge, on a due consideration of the matter, we are of the view that the decision rendered by the learned Judge does not call for any interference in this appeal. So far as the first contention is concerned, as pointed out by the learned Judge persons like the appellant can if at all be said to have acquired a vested right to the appellate forum constituted under Section 76, but they have no vested right to have their appeal filed under Section 78 to be heard by a particular person or officer. It is no doubt true, before the amending Act of 1979 an Officer not below the rank of a Subordinate Judge was constituted as Land Tribunal. Later in addition to an officer not below the rank of a Subordinate Judge, an officer not below the rank of a District Revenue Officer has also been constituted as Land Tribunal and after the amendment of Section 76 in 1979, the Government passed G.O.Ms. No. 1827, Revenue, dated 21st August, 1979, substituting some of the existing land tribunals presided by Judicial Officers with Land Tribunals presided over by District Revenue Officers. Thus the amending Act does not bring about any change in the appellate forum. It is only in the personnel there is a difference. But as already stated, no litigant has got a vested right to have his appeal heard by a particular person or authority. We are, therefore in entire agreement with the learned Judge that the appellate is not right in saying that he has got a vested right to have his appeal heard by a Tribunal presided over by a Judicial Officer and that right has been now taken away.
3. Coming to the second ground of attack which is based on Article 14 of the Constitution of India, we find that the learned Judge has rejected the said contention on the ground that there is no discrimination or difference brought about by the amendment and that having regard to the laudable object of reducing the work load of civil Courts the District Revenue Officers have been constituted as Land Tribunals, such a change brought about to reduce the work load of civil Court cannot be characterised as discriminatory. As a matter of fact, in this case, there is no classification either based on the types of cases or the class of persons approaching the Tribunal. But the matter of constituting either the Subordinate Judge of the District Revenue Officer as the Land Tribunal will be considered by the State Government having regard to the object with which the amendment was brought in, that is, to reduce the work load of civil Courts. Therefore, the second ground of attack also fails.
4. Coming to the third ground of attack which mainly relates to the order passed by the State Government in G.O.Ms.No. 1827, Revenue, dated 21st August, 1979 we find that the power conferred exercised by the State Government under the said G.O. is not a power of transfer as contended by the learned Counsel for the appellant, but it is substitution of Land Tribunal presided over by a Judicial Officer by Land Tribunal presided over by District Revenue Officer. It cannot be denied that the power to constitute a Tribunal under Section 76 vests with the State Government and if the State Government has got the power to constitute a Tribunal they have also the power to reconstitute the Tribunal if circumstances warrant. In this case, originally, the Land Tribunal with a Judicial Officer as the Presiding Officer was constituted and in its place the Government has now chosen to reconstitute the Tribunal with a District Revenue Officer as Presiding Officer. Thus the government has not exercised the power of transferring a proceeding from one Tribunal to another but has substituted one Tribunal with another Tribunal which it has got the power to do under Sections 76 and 77 of the Act. On this aspect of the matter also, we are inclined to agree with the learned Judge whose order has been challenged before us.
5. Since all the contentions advanced by the appellant fail, the writ appeal is dismissed. There will, however, be no order as to costs.