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G. Doraiswamy Vs. the Land Commissioner, Board of Revenue (Land Reforms) and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1972)2MLJ262
AppellantG. Doraiswamy
RespondentThe Land Commissioner, Board of Revenue (Land Reforms) and anr.
Excerpt:
- .....of ceiling on land) act, 1961, read with the tamil nadu land reforms (disposal of surplus land) rules, 1965. the second respondent, who was admittedly a person belonging to the class of landless poor, competed with the petitioner for the assignment of such surplus land in thalan-cheri village, sirkali taluk, thanjavur district. it is not disputed that the petitioner, prior to the application for the assignment of the available surplus land in this village, had already the benefit of a similar assignment on the same ground of entitlement, but in another village. of an extent of 91 cents of land. the second respondent, however, did not secure any such land, though he was also entitled to the same, but, in the matter of preference, had to stand next to the petitioner. upto the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

T. Ramaprasada Rao, J.

1. An interesting question is taken up by the petitioner. The petitioner was a member of the Armed Forces. By virtue of his status and prior employment, he was entitled to assignment of surplus lands acquired by the State under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961, read with the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules, 1965. The second respondent, who was admittedly a person belonging to the class of landless poor, competed with the petitioner for the assignment of such surplus land in Thalan-cheri village, Sirkali Taluk, Thanjavur District. It is not disputed that the petitioner, prior to the application for the assignment of the available surplus land in this village, had already the benefit of a similar assignment on the same ground of entitlement, but in another village. of an extent of 91 cents of land. The second respondent, however, did not secure any such land, though he was also entitled to the same, but, in the matter of preference, had to stand next to the petitioner. upto the level of the Board of Revenue the petitioner was successful. But, on further reference to the Board of Revenue, the Board considered the fact and found that the second respondent was equally entitled, in the circumstances, to 1.21 acres of land in the above village. The Board did not put it on the ground of preference, but took into consideration the following facts. Firstly, the petitioner as an ex-serviceman had been assigned land in another Village. Secondly, he was cultivating 1.17 acres of poramboke lanti himself. Thirdly, he was owning 1.45 acres of land. As against this, the second respondent was admittedly a person who had no land for himself. One other consideration which weighed with the Board was that, on the date when the revision petition was disposed of by the Board of Revenue, the petitioner was reported to have been employed in the Police Department, and that he would be unable therefore to cultivate those lands personally himself. The learned Counsel for the petitioner now says that the petitioner has been recalled to the Military Service. Therefore he cannot be said to be a person who can personally cultivate those lands. Apart from the circumstances last mentioned, the other facts and circumstances prompted the Board to interfere with the order of the Collector.

2. The contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that, as under Rule 5 of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules, 1965, the petitioner is entitled to preference over the second respondent, the order suffers from an error apparent. No-doubt, the petitioner, ay a member of the Armed Forces, is eligible for assignment of surplus land in preference to a landless agricultural labourer who is likely to enage himself in direct cultivation. But the point here is that the petitioner had already secured such an assignment on his being found eligible for the surplus land acquired in another village. Having secured such an assignment in his capacity as a member of the Armed Forces, the petitioner again wanted to apply in another village and get a similar benefit on the foot of the same status. The argument is that he is entitled to apply until he secures five standard acres for himself. I do not think that this is the essential principle which is inhered in this rule. Though the rule of preference is thought of yet it has to be understood, and applied having regard to the real intendment of the legislation and its purpose. This is one of the banches of the agrarian law made recently by the Legislature in order to subserve the socialistic principles which are sought to be inducted into society through various channels of legislation. The surplus land acquired under the provisions of the above enactment are at the disposal of the Government to be distributed equitably to persons who deserve to be provided for. The rule of preference prescribed by Rule 5 has to be understood only as a guideline and not as a wooden rule to be followed even in cases where a person coming under Clause (iii) of Rule 5(1) has already secured an assignment under Rule 5, and the others standing below in the lower rung of the ladder of preference are yet to be provided for. If once a person, who claims, preference under Rule 5, is provided for then he has to stand by until the others in the other rungs of the ladder of preference are exhausted, and after such exhaustion, if surplus lands are still available, then he can again project his entitlement and seek for such assignment. In the instant case, the petitioner has secured assignment of such land in one Village. Besides, he has lands of his own and he is cultivating poramboke land as well. These circumstances were rightly considered by the Board of Revenue, who, on the second occasion of assignment of surplus land, preferred a landless agricultural labourer under Clause (v) of Rule 5(1) in preference to a member of the Armed Forces falling under Clause (v) of the above rule. The order therefore does not suffer from any error apparent or lack of jurisdiction.

3. The next point urged is that under Rule 11 the Board can exercise jurisdiction only suo motu. But in the instant case the subject-matter was brought to the notice of the Board by the second respondent. Actions or decisions in exercise of jurisdiction suo motu by authorities are normally undertaken only if a particular subject-matter is brought to their notice by some one. That some one may sometimes include the affected party as well. There is nothing wrong in a person who is aggrieved by the order of an authority in the lower hierarchy seeking redress. Even in such cases the higher authority in the hierarchy can be said to exercise jurisdiction suo motu. Here in this case the petitioner was also heard. The question therefore does not arise.

4. The writ petition is dismissed.


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