1. This is an appeal from an order of Mr. Justice Bake well who dismissed the petition of the appellants Messrs. Best and Co., praying for an order under Section 45 Specific Relief Act, requiring the Land Acquisition Collector of Madras to refer the appellants' case to the Chief Judge of the Small Cause Court, Madras. The Government gave notice expressing their intention to acquire the building' occupied by the National Bank of India and questions arose as to the amount of compensation to be awarded and as to who was entitled to it and so forth Before the Government gave the notice to acquire the building the National Bank had agreed to sell the property to Messrs. Best and Go. It appears that notices were received by the National Bank and Messrs. Best and Co. from the Land Acquisition Collector acting under the Land Acquisition Act Both appeared and put in claims for compensation.
2. The substantial question before us is whether the Land Acquisition Collector has referred the case of Messrs. Beat and Co. as required by Sections IS and 19 of the Land Acquisition Act or whether he has only referred the case put forward by the National Bank Mr. Justice Bake well was of opinion that the case of Messrs. Best and Co. was also referred and in that view be dismissed the appellants' application. We are of opinion that Ibis view is wrong. In the first five paragraphs of the letter of reference the Land Acquisition Collector deals with the case of the National Bank. Then in the 6th paragraph be refers to the application which was made to him by Messrs. King and Partridge on behalf of Messrs. Best and Co,, and he says that their application is also forwarded and mentions the claim made by them He was of opinion that because no conveyance had been executed Messrs. Best and Co. were not interested in the enquiry. In the schedule that is sent up, the Collector mentions the notice served on the National Bank of India; but he does not mention any of the notices which were served by him on Messrs Best and Co, It is true that he sent up also the statements which were made on behalf of Messrs. Best and Co. but the schedule contains no reference to the notices served on them. As we read paragraph 6 of the letter of reference, it appears to to us that the Land Acquisition Collector being of opinion that Messrs. Best and Co, were not interested in the enquiry, only forwarded their application and did not refer their case as he referred the case of the National Bank of India He did not state all the necessary particulars of the claim made by the appellants.
3. It is however contended by Mr. Adam appearing for the Government that mandamus was not the proper remedy as there was a remedy provided by the Code by way of revision. But we do not think that there could have been any revision by this Court of the order of reference made by the Land Acquisition Collector. It is true that there are at least two decisions of the Calcutta High Court reported as Administrator-General of Bengal v. Land Acquisition Deputy Collector 24-Pergannahs 12 C.W.N 241, and Krishna Das Roy v. Land Acquisition Collector of Pabna 13 Ind. Cas. 470 : 16 C.W.N. 327 : 16 C.L.J. 165, where it was held that such an order can be revised in the exercise of the Extraordinary Jurisdiction of the High Court. But we are inclined to agree with the opinion expressed by Mr. Justice Mookerjee in British India Steam Navigation Company v. Secretary of State for India -S that the Land Acquisition Collector is not a Court and he is certainly not subordinate to the High Court within the meaning of Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code. As that learned Judge points out, the Judicial Committee of the Friday Council have observed in Ezra v. Secretary of State for India 9 C.W.N. 454 : 1 C.L.J. 227; that the proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act until the matter comes before the Land Acquisition Judge are only Administrative and not judicial proceedings. We therefore think that the application under Section 45 of the Specific Belief Act was properly made and that the Order of Mr. Justice. Bakewell on the merits is wrong. The order must be set aside. As we hold that there was no proper reference made of the case of the appellants to the Chief Judge of the Small Cause Court of Madras by the Land Acquisition Collector we make an order directing the said Collector to refer the case of. Messrs Best and Co., to the Chief Judge of the Small Cause Court under Sections 18 and 19 of the Land Acquisition' Act. The appellants are entitled to their costs both in this Court and the Court below.
4. Then there is a revision petition against the order of the Chief Judge of the Small Cause Court in which he held that the case of Messrs. Best and Co. had not been referred to him and. therefore declined to hear them He was right as we have already expressed our opinion on the subject. That petition is dismissed with costs. Civil Revision Petition No, 8 1 preferred against the order of the Land Acquisition Collector is also dismissed with costs.