R.S. Pathak, C.J.
1. The Compensation Officer, Paonta, has made this and the connected references in three cases pending before him under Section 11 of the Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act, 1953. The references purport to have been made under Section 113 and O. 46 Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure. According to the statement of the case drawn up by the Compensation Officer, the point on which the opinion of this Court is sought is whether Section 12 of the Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act is ultra vires on the ground that it violates the fundamental rights of the respondent.
2. At the outset, the question for consideration is whether the three references are competent. Section 113 of the Code empowers a court to state a case and refer it for the opinion of the High Court. O. 46 Rule 1 of the Code provides for a reference to the High Court where in certain cases a court trying a suit or appeal or executing a decree entertains a reasonable doubt in respect of any question of law or usage having the force of law. The two provisions contemplate a reference by a subordinate court to the High Court. In my opinion, the Compensation Officer cannot be described as a court. Ipso facto the provisions of Section 113 and Order 46 Rule 1 of the Code cannot be invoked. And no provision in the Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act, or in any other statute has been brought to my notice which brings into play Section 113 and Order 46 of the Code in respect of proceedings taken by the Compensation Officer under that Act. Section 25 of the Act confers upon a Compensation Officer the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, but only for the limited purpose of administering oaths, taking evidence and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and compelling the production of documents. In the absence, of any material indicating that Section 113 and O. 46 of the Code can be invoked by a Compensation Officer, the three references must be held incompetent.
3. Accordingly, the references shall be returned to the Compensation Officer, Paonta without any opinion of this Court. There is no order as to costs.