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Periyaswami Padayachi Vs. the Government of Madras, Represented by the Commissioner of Land Revenue Settlement of Estates and Land Reforms and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1969)2MLJ362
AppellantPeriyaswami Padayachi
RespondentThe Government of Madras, Represented by the Commissioner of Land Revenue Settlement of Estates and
Cases ReferredVine v. National Dock Labour Board L.R.
Excerpt:
- .....under the third clause of section 3 of madras regulation vii of 1828, under which the district revenue authority purported to act, in this case, that authority had really no justification for enhancing the punishment, originally one of suspension for a considerable period, into one of removal from the office. it is further urged in this context, that the district revenue officer was not acting suo motu, but was acting at the instance of the person who was officiating instead of the writ petitioner, during the period of suspension. it is claimed that this person made some representation to the district revenue officer about the inadequacy of the punishment originally imposed, by the revenue divisional officer, which really led to the proceeding.3. this point has no substance, for the.....
Judgment:

M. Anantanarayanan, C.J.

1. There are only three grounds on which the admission of this appeal has been urged before us, somewhat strenuously, it must be conceded; nevertheless, we are not at all convinced that any of these grounds is substantial, or will justify the admission of the appeal from the considered judgment of Ramakrishnan, J., in W.P. No. 1654 of 1964 dismissing the writ petition with costs.

2. The first ground is that under the third clause of Section 3 of Madras Regulation VII of 1828, under which the District Revenue Authority purported to act, in this case, that Authority had really no justification for enhancing the punishment, originally one of suspension for a considerable period, into one of removal from the office. It is further urged in this context, that the District Revenue Officer was not acting suo motu, but was acting at the instance of the person who was officiating instead of the writ petitioner, during the period of suspension. It is claimed that this person made some representation to the District Revenue Officer about the inadequacy of the punishment originally imposed, by the Revenue Divisional Officer, which really led to the proceeding.

3. This point has no substance, for the simple reason that the charge itself was a very serious one of conviction for criminal breach of trust, though the sentence of imprisonment was reduced by the appellate Court. We find, from a perusal of Section 3, Clause (3) that the District Revenue Officer has very wide powers of confirmation, modification or annulment of any order passed by subordinate Authority, or ' to issue any further orders in the case as he may see fit'. This width of language will certainly include a power to enhance the punishment. In the circumstances it cannot be said that the District Revenue Officer acted outside his jurisdiction, in taking up this case for enhancement, though the facts might have been brought to his notice by the person who was officiating instead of the writ petitioner. We need not stress that we are not concerned here with the conduct of that person at all. We are concerned with the powers of the District Revenue Officer, and with the validity of his action alone. This ground must fail.

4. The second ground is a somewhat interesting one, that a judicial power cannot be delegated, and hence that the delegation of this judicial power, which was originally vested in the Collector, to the District Revenue Officer, who is a different though concurrent authority, is invalid. The argument is sought to be buttressed by certain observations of Lord Cohen in Vine v. National Dock Labour Board L.R. (1957) A.C. 488. We find, from a perusal of the relevant passages, that all that was observed in that case was that, on those facts, what was involved was the exercise of the judicial and not a mere administrative power, and that a delegation of a judicial power, without a clear statutory authority therefor, would obviously be invalid. But, in the present case, and as pointed out by the learned Judge (Ramakrishnan, J.) there is a wide statutory base for this delegation, under Section 3 of the Delegation Act, Madras Act XLI of 1956. We have perused the terms of this section, and we find that the section, both in its amplitude and in its unqualified language, would indisputably render valid the delegation of this power, inter alia, by the Collector to the District Revenue Officer.

5. We are quite unable to accept a proposition that .where the Legislature empowers an authority vested with a judicial power, to delegate it to another, the Courts would have jurisdiction to question the wisdom of such a provision, or to consider that provision as excessive delegation. No precedent for any such proposition has been cited before us. This ground also cannot prevail.

6. The last ground is a mixed question of a principle and the facts. It is argued that the unamended Article 311 of the Constitution applies to this case, and, we may take it, for the purpose of argument, that it is so, notwithstanding what Ramakrishnan, J., has concluded. Certainly, if the unamended Article applies and the punishment was enhanced without a second opportunity to show cause, the action might not be valid. But what is expressly found from the record, by the learned Judge, is that the second opportunity was given, and that learned Counsel for the party had a full opportunity to submit arguments against the proposed enhancement and did, in fact, do so. We are quite unable to accept that this is not sufficient, and that some notice to show cause served on the party should be exhibited in the record, for our satisfaction.

7. Since none of the three grounds merits the admission of the writ appeal, it is dismissed.


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