1. The petitioner claims to have become the owner of a piece or parcel of land situate at Chamha and numbered as Evacuee Property No. 116 (Chamba) under a deed of conveyance D/-20-11-1967, executed in hisfavour under the provisions of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954. The deed of conveyance is annexed to the petition at Annexure-PB, Consequently, mutation entry No. 1210 was sanctioned on 27-4-1968. Respondents initiated proceedings for the review of mutation which ultimately was rejected by the Assistant Collector, IInd Grade, Chamba, on 13-12-1977. Respondent 4 then initiated independent proceedings for the review of the mutation which terminated by an order D/- July 29. 1981 passed by the Deputy Commssioner, Chamba, granting permission to review the mutation and ordering review within a specified time limit (Annexure-PD/1). Against the said order the petitioner went in revision before the Divisional Commissioner and then to the Financial Commissioner but without success. Hence the present writ petition.
2. The effect of the findings recorded by the revenue authorities is that whereas the area allotted to the petitioner by the authorities under the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 was 281 sq. yards, the mutation was sanctioned in respect of 468.7 sq. yards, Under the circumstances, the mutation entry was required to be reviewed by deleting the excess land mutated in favour of the petitioner.
3. We are unable to persuade ourselves to interfere in writ jurisdiction at the present stage. It is settled law that proceedings for mutation do not relate to title. The findings of the revenue authorities, therefore, with regard to the disputed portion of land cannot affect the title, if any, acquired by the petitioner to the said land. The holding of the revenue authorities would have effect merely for revenue purposes including levy of land revenue and other cesses. It hardly needs to be reiterated that the revenue authorities are not competent to go into the question of title, When the question of title is raised before the revenue authorities by any party and the dispute is serious, the appropriate course for the revenue authorities would be to refer the case to the civil court and not to decide the question of title themselves (vide : State of Gujarat v. Patel Raghav Natha AIR 1969 SC 1297). Under the circumstances, the revenue authorities were ill-advised in the present case to enter into the question of title and adjudicate upon the same.
4. Be that as it may, if the petitioner is aggrieved and is apprehensive that cloud is created on his title, it is open to him to institute a civil suit and to get the question decided in the civil court.
5. Mr. Chhabil Dass, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, however, urged that no civil suit lies having regard to the provisions of Section 163 read with Section 171, Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act, 1953. The submission, in our opinion, is ill-founded. The opening words of Section 163 clearly indicate that before any action could be taken thereunder, the land in question should be Government land or land which has been reserved for the site of a village or for the common purpose of the co-sharers therein. Therefore, there should be no dispute on the question of title before an action is initiated under Section 163. If there is a dispute, then the dispute will have to be first resolved by a court of competent jurisdiction, especially if the dispute is of a serious nature and then only the power under Section 163 of the Act can be legitimately exercised. Section 171, which creates a bar on the jurisdiction of the civil courts, has to be read in the light of this legal position. Section 171, Sub-section (2), Clause (xxv) relates to an order of ejectment passed pursuant to the valid exercise of the powers under Section 163, If a revenue authority acting under Section 163 determines the question of title when it is seriously in dispute between the parties and consequently passes orders in the purported exercise of the power under the said section, such a determination would not oust the jurisdiction of the civil courts. It is well settled that even if the statute gives finality to the orders of special tribunals, such a provision does not exclude those cases where the provisions of the particular Act have not been complied with or the statutory tribunal has not acted in conformity with the fundamental principles of judicial procedure (See I Dhulabhai v. State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 1969 SC 78).
6. Under the circumstances, in a case like the present, the jurisdiction of the civil court to entertain the suit for clearing the cloud, if any, created on the title, if any, of the petitioner to the disputed land, is not barred.
7. Be it stated that Section 46, Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act, 1953, saves the right of anaggrieved person to file a suit for a declaratory decree in case of any entry in the revenue record and that that provision also has its own bearing on the question of ouster of jurisdiction of civil court.
8. For the foregoing reasons, we see no reason to interfere in this matter and leave the petitioner to prosecute his remedy in the ordinary forum.
9. At this stage, Mr. Chhabil Dass requeststhat the implementation of the impugned orders should be stayed in order to enable the petitioner to institute a suit in a civil court. The request is reasonable and it is granted. The respondents are restrained from implementing and acting upon the directions contained in the impugned orders for a period of 8 weeks from to-day. The petition is rejected subject to the above orders. Dasti order on usual terms.