S. Mohan, J.
1. How lightheartedly the vital rights of the tenants could be dealt with is exemplified in this case. The petitioner filed as application to register his name as a tenant under the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Lands Record of Tenancy Rights Act, 1969. The petitioner received summons on 22nd October, 1972 stating that hearing will take place on '27th', of which month it was not made known. The petitioner presumably thought that it must be only in the month of October and he appeared for the enquiry. But nothing happened on that day. Thereafter the enquiry is alleged to have taken place on 29th November, 1972 regarding which the petitioner did not receive any notice. The matter was proceeded therefore ex parte. In spite of his filing appeal to the Revenue Divisional Officer about there being no enquiry, that plea fell on deaf ears. Curiously, the Revenue Divisional Officer held that an enquiry took place on 26th November, 1972. The matter was taken up in revision. The District Revenue Officer would commit a more serious error in coming to the conclusion that the enquiry took place on 24th November, 1972. Therefore, Mr. K.V. Sankaran, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, contends that at no point of time an enquiry ever took place. It is somewhat curious to note that if in fact an enquiry had taken place why three different dates should be given by the officers. This itself would amply prove that no enquiry whatsoever had taken place. The learned Government Pleader would say from the available records that an enquiry did take place on 29th November, 1972 while the learned Counsel for the 4th respondent would contend that the petitioner has not proved his case that there existed a valid tenancy in this case. In paragraph S of the counter it is stated thus:
It is a fact that the petitioner and others filed applications in Form No. IV before the Record Officer, Tiruppathur. The Additional Record Officer, Tiruppathur, the 1st respondent himself in his note, dated 29th November, 1972 has stated that he conducted the enquiry on their applications on 27th October, 1972 and 24th November, 1972 at Devakottai, that after the completion of the enquiry on 24th November, 1972 he left the handbag containing the Form No. IV applications and the Records of enquiry as they were stolen at the bus stand at Devakottai and that he filed a complaint with the Town Police Station, Devakottai on 24th November, 1972 for the loss of records. He has also recorded that the police has registered a case and the matter was under investigation. Then he has proceeded with the enquiry on 29th November, 1972 and examined the petitioner and others and concluded the enquiry. The petitioner himself has appeared before the Record Officer and deposed on 29th November, 1972. As such, it is incorrect to say that there was no enquiry at all. It is submitted that the notices issued by the Record Officer on 27th October, 1972 and 24th November, 1972 are not available as they have been stolen away. The petitioner has availed himself of the opportunity afforded to him to make his representation.
This counter has been filed by the District Revenue Officer who had nothing to do with the enquiry and therefore he has no personal knowledge. Hence I reject this counter-affidavit.
2. Having regard to the fact that three dates are given for the so-called enquiry, even if such an enquiry had been held, which is highly improbable, it should have been somewhat perfunctory, without the petitioner having the real opportunity to prove his rights as a tenant. In these circumstances, in the interest of justice, the impugned orders are quashed and the matter is remitted to the original authority the Special Deputy Tahsildar, Tenancy Records, Tiruppathur, now Tahsildar, Devakottai, for conduct of a proper and full enquiry after giving opportunity to the petitioner, in which he is entitled under law. The writ petition is allowed with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 150.