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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Division Bench made it clear that since the dispute between the parties was in respect of the area, as to what has been purchased in auction sale by Gulabai Desai and what is the area allotted to the Appellant by the orders of the Deputy Collector and Deputy Custodian of Evacuee Properties, the Appellant requested the Bench not to enter into the merits on this question in this LPA since the parties may prosecute their remedies in the Civil Court for such adjudication, and therefore, that aspect was not considered by the High Court.Before parting with the order, we must make it clear that in view of the request made by the appellant before the High Court not to enter into the merit of the case since the party may prosecute their remedies in the Civil Court for adjudication, we have not expressed any opinion with regard to the merit of the case of the parties. The parties may prosecute their remedies in Civil Court in accordance with law.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5102 OF 2006


Gurudassing Nawoosing Panjwani               Appellant(s)

                                   versus

The State of Maharashtra and others          Respondent(s)


                               J U D G M E N T

|                                                         |
|M.Y. Eqbal, J.:                                          |


       This  appeal  by  special  leave  is  directed  against  order  dated
13.7.2005 passed by the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court.  Dismissing
Letter Patents Appeal preferred by the appellant against the  order  of  the
learned Single Judge who dismissed  his  writ  petition  and  confirmed  the
orders  passed  by  the  State  Minister  for  Revenue  in  the   proceeding
R.T.S.3402/ Pra.kra.309/L-6 dated 18th October, 2002.


2.    It is the appellant’s case that his father  Shri  Nawoosingh  Panjumal
Panjwani was a displaced person who migrated from Pakistan to  India  during
the period of partition and the appellant’s family  while  in  Pakistan  was
having agricultural land over there admeasuring 4 acres 10  gunthas.   After
migration, the family took shelter  at  Refugee  Camp  of  Pimpri,  Pune  in
Maharashtra. In view of enactment of  Displaced  Persons  (Compensation  and
Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 by the Union of India,  the  immovable  properties
left behind by Muslims who had migrated to Pakistan were  acquired  and  the
same  was  distributed  to  displaced  persons  as  a  “compensation  pool”.
Accordingly, father of the appellant  was  allotted  a  land  admeasuring  2
acres 5 gunthas  bearing  Revenue  Survey  Nos.351  and  118/2  situated  at
Village Lonavala, Taluka Maval, District Pune.  It has been pleaded  by  the
appellant that Survey No.118/1 and 118/2 are one and the same thing.

3.    The facts in brief, as  narrated  in  the  impugned  order,  are  that
Survey Nos.118, 328 and 351 of Lonavala were originally owned  by  one  Haji
Habib Tar Mohammed Janu. The said Haji Habib Tar Mohammed Janu  migrated  to
Pakistan and while going to Pakistan, he  sold  his  property  to  one  Smt.
Hajrabi Haji Yusuf on 4.6.1949. However, this transaction was  cancelled  by
the Collector and Custodian of Evacuee Property on 17.4.1949 as per  Section
8(i) of the Evacuee Properties Act and these lands were accordingly  entered
as Evacuee Property by the Tahsildar, Maval on 26.10.1949.  It appears  that
these survey numbers were also given C.T.S.No. 129, 130-A,  130-B  and  133.
It appears that in CTS No.129, 130-A, 130-B and 133, apart from vacant  land
there is a bungalow  No.52-  Habib  Villa.  It  appears  that  the  Regional
Settlement Commissioner placed this property for auction through  Government
Auctioner and one Gulabbai Desaipurchased the said property in  auction  for
a  consideration  of  Rs.16,750/-  on  17.5.1956  and,   accordingly,   sale
certificate was issued by the Regional Settlement  Commissioner,  Bombay  on
behalf of the Government. In the said sale certificate the  C.T.S.  No  129,
130-A, 130-B and 133 of Village Lonavala were mentioned.   The area of  this
CTS Nos. were as under:
129 - 55.16 sq.mts.
130A - 1651.1 sq.mts.
130B - 2934.02 sq.mts
133 - 3237.00 sq.mts
______________
Total 7897.21 sq.mts.
------------------


4.    On the basis of the said sale certificate the mutation  Entry  No.1836
was effected in the village record in favour of Gulabai Desai,  and  thereby
her name was entered in  Survey Nos.118/1B and 328 of  village  Lonavala  to
the extent of 29.30 Ares and  70  Ares  respectively.   Thereafter,  Gulabai
sold CTS No.133 admeasuring 33 Gunthas on 24.4.1977 to Respondent No.3  Genu
Kadu.  The said Gulabai also gifted her  remaining  area  from  this  Survey
numbers to her grandson Anil Gajanan Desai on 15.1.1979,  who  in  turn  has
sold his properties to Respondent no.2 - Prem Hasmatraj Lalwani in the  year
1980.

5. The Survey Nos.118/2 and 351, being Evacuee Properties, were allotted  to
the Appellant in the year 1956. Later on, it was found  that  the  Appellant
is in possession of more area and, therefore, the said  order  was  modified
on 6.5.1982 and excess area was granted  to  the  Appellant  on  payment  of
Rs.31,360/-, which Appellant had paid on 17.5.1982  in  Government  Treasury
and thereby the Deputy  Collector  and  Assistant  Settlement  Commissioner,
Pune granted the excess land to the Appellant, and  thereafter  the  dispute
started between the parties.

6.    In the impugned order, Division Bench made it  clear  that  since  the
dispute between the parties was in respect of the area, as to what has  been
purchased in auction sale by Gulabai Desai and what is the area allotted  to
the Appellant by the orders of the Deputy Collector and Deputy Custodian  of
Evacuee Properties, the Appellant requested the Bench not to enter into  the
merits on this question in this LPA since the parties  may  prosecute  their
remedies in the Civil Court  for  such  adjudication,  and  therefore,  that
aspect was not considered by the High Court. However, in the  facts  of  the
conflicting claims, the Appellant made grievance  to  the  Deputy  Collector
and the Deputy Custodian of Evacuee Properties in respect  of  the  Mutation
made in  favour  of  the  Respondent  Gulabai  and  other  Respondents  and,
therefore,  by  order  dated  18.9.1984  the  Deputy  Collector  and  Deputy
Custodian of Evacuee Properties, Pune, directed the Sub-Divisional  Officer,
Haveli Sub Division to take up the case in revision  under  Section  257  of
Maharashtra Land Revenue Code and pass necessary orders. In  view  of  these
directions,  the  Sub-Divisional  Officer,  Haveli,  Sub   Division,   Pune,
initiated proceeding RTS Revision 14 of 1984 and by  order  dated  30.7.1985
cancelled the mutation Entry No.1836 which comprises land  admeasuring  7897
sq. yards and directed necessary  corrections  in  the  record  as  per  the
observations made in the order.

7.    It appears that the said order was taken in appeal by  the  respondent
and the matter was remanded to the Sub  Divisional  Officer.  After  remand,
the Sub Divisional Officer, conducted inquiry and again passed an  order  on
29.10.1987 and confirmed  the  earlier  order.  Therefore,  the  RTS  Appeal
No.128 of 1987 was preferred before the Collector, which  was  disposed  off
by the Additional Collector on 13.7.1993. By the said order,  the  Order  of
the third Sub-Divisional Officer was maintained.  However,  further  inquiry
as directed by the SDO  was  to  be  conducted.  Since  the  mutation  Entry
No.1836 was cancelled by above order,  the  Talathi  gave  effect  to  these
orders and effected the mutation  Entry  No.2176  and  showed  the  disputed
properties in the name of the Collector  and  Deputy  Custodian  of  Evacuee
Properties. The directions were issued by the Collector to the Tahsildar  to
place the appellant in possession of the property as per the orders  of  the
Deputy Collector and the Deputy Custodian of  Evacuee  Properties.  However,
instead of giving effect to  those  orders,  it  appears  that  the  Revenue
Officers at Tahsil level effected two mutations, viz, Mutation  No.2377  and
2394. By mutation entry No.2377 the name of respondent was again mutated  in
the record and by the mutation Entry No.2394  the  name  of  Genu  Kadu  was
mutated in the record. Since the Collector noticed  on  complaint  that  the
orders of the Collector has been bypassed or surpassed  by  the  Subordinate
Revenue Officers, the Collector by order dated 12.7.1999  directed  the  SDO
to take these mutations namely mutation Entry No.2377 and 2394  in  revision
and therefore the Sub-Divisional Officer, Maval  Division  has  taken  these
mutations in revision bearing RTS Revision No.12 of 1999. The said  revision
was decided by the Sub Divisional officer at Maval on  28.1.2000  and  those
mutations were cancelled.

8.    Being aggrieved by the order passed in the said revision,   Respondent
No.2 Lalwani preferred RTS Appeal No.81 of  2000  and  the  Respondent  No.3
Genu Kadu preferred RTS Appeal No.114 of 2000. Both these RTS  Appeals  were
heard by the Additional Collector, Pune and by  order  dated  28.5.2001  the
Addl. Collector, Pune dismissed the said appeals and confirmed the order  of
the Sub Divisional Officer, Maval.  Aggrieved  by  the  said  order  of  the
Additional Collector, Respondent No.2 preferred RTS Revision No.330 of  2001
under Section  257  of  Maharashtra  Land  Revenue  Code,  1966  before  the
Additional  Commissioner,  Pune  Division,  Pune.  The  said   revision  was
decided by the Additional Commissioner, Pune by order dated  22.11.2001  and
the said revision was dismissed.

9.   Respondent No.2 challenged this order of  the  Additional  Commissioner
by filing the proceeding RTS 3402/Pra.kra.309/L-6 by way of second  revision
before the Revenue Minister for State and the said  proceeding  was  decided
by the Minister for State on 18.10.2002. The Revenue  Minister  allowed  the
said proceeding and set aside  the  orders  passed  by  the  Sub  Divisional
Officer,  Maval  dated  28.1.2000,   order  dated  28.5.2001  of  Additional
Collector, Pune and of Additional Commissioner dated 22.11.2001,  and  thus,
restored the position as reflected by  the  Mutation  Entries  Nos.1836  and
2377 and 2394. Thus, all the entries  in  favour  of  the  Respondents  were
protected and maintained by the order of the State Minister for Revenue.

10.    Appellant  challenged  the  order  dated  19.10.2002  passed  by  the
Minister by filing a writ petition, which was dismissed  by  learned  Single
Judge of the Bombay High Court.  Thereafter,  the  appellant  filed  Letters
Patent Appeal, which was also dismissed by the Division Bench  holding  that
when  the  State  Minister  for  Revenue  entertained  the  matter,  he  was
possessed of jurisdiction under Section 257 of the Maharashtra Land  Revenue
Code and, therefore, the order passed by him under  the  said  authority  is
within  his  jurisdiction,  power  and  competence.    The  Division   Bench
observed thus:
“…We record our finding that under  Section  257  of  the  Maharashtra  Land
Revenue Code more than one revision is possible. Now coming to the facts  of
the present  case,  the  mutation  Entry  No.1836  was  in  fact  certified.
However, the Sub-Divisional Officer has taken the said mutation in  revision
in RTS Revision No.14 of 1984 and has set aside the mutation by order  dated
30.7.1985. There was appeal as against that order  which  was  remanded.  It
was again decided by the Sub Divisional Officer on 29.10.1987 and  the  said
mutation was set aside. There was  RTS  Appeal  No.128  of  1987  which  was
decided on 13.7.1993. In view of these orders  the  mutation  entry  No.1836
was cancelled and Mutation Entry No.2176 was effected whereby  the  name  of
the Collector and the Deputy Collector of the Evacuee Property  was  entered
into 7 X 12 extracts. It is further  found  that  when  the  orders  of  the
Collector directing to put the petitioner into possession  were  not  obeyed
by the subordinate Revenue Officers and the Revenue  Officers  effected  the
mutation entry No.2377 in favour of the Respondent Nos.3 Gulabai  Desai  and
Mutation Entry No.2394 in favour  of  the  Respondent  No.5  Genu  Kadu  and
thereafter for second  time  the  special  Divisional  Officer,  Maval,  has
exercised the revisional powers under Section 257 and  initiated  proceeding
RTS Revision 12 of 1999 in respect of the mutation entry No.2377  and  2394.
The RTS Revision 12/99 was allowed on 28.1.2000  as  against  that  two  RTS
appeals namely, RTS Appeal No.81 of 2000 and RTS Appeal No.114 of 2000  were
preferred by the Respondent. They were  decided  on  28.5.2001.  As  against
that the RTS Revision No.330 of 2001 was preferred. The same was  dismissed.
As against that the RTS  proceeding  bearing  No.3402  /Pra.Kra.309/L-6  was
preferred before the Minister for State. All  these  proceedings  will  show
that twice the Sub-Divisional Officer has  exercised  the  revisional  power
under Section 257 at  the  directions  of  the  Collector,  namely  the  RTS
Revision No.14 of 1984 and RTS Revision  No.12  of  1999.  It  will  further
reveal that the appeals as against  the  RTS  Revision  No.14  of  1984  was
preferred by the parties in view of the provisions of Section  247  and  249
sub-section 2. It will equally appear that when the
orders were passed in Revision Application No.12  of  1999  before  the  Sub
Divisional Officer in exercise of the powers under Section 257  the  parties
have preferred two RTS appeals in view of the provisions of Section 247  and
249 sub-section 2. Not only that, thereafter the  RTS  Revision  Application
No.330 of 2001 was also preferred before the Commissioner and  if  the  view
is taken that the second revision is not tenable then in that  circumstances
since the first order passed in RTS Revision No.12 of 1999 is  a  revisional
order, this second revision  before  the  Commissioner  being  RTS  Revision
No.330 of 2001 would not have been tenable.  However, said revision RTS  330
of 2001 is tenable since the appeals as provided under Section 247  and  249
intervene in between the revisional  orders  passed  by  the  Sub-Divisional
officer and the Commissioner. Thus, in short, we find that the scheme  under
Maharashtra Land Revenue Code is quite different scheme and it permits  more
than one revision. Thus, viewed from any  angle,  we  find  that  the  State
Minister for Revenue when he entertained  the  matter,  State  Minister  for
revenue was possessed of jurisdiction under Section 257 of  the  Maharashtra
Land Revenue Code and therefore the order  passed  by  him  under  the  said
authority is within his jurisdiction, power and competence.”

11.   Hence, the present appeal by special leave.



12.    Mr.  Huzefa  Ahmadi,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing   for   the
appellant, mainly attacked the revisional power exercised  by  the  Minister
concerned in purported exercise of jurisdiction under  Section  257  of  the
Maharashtra Land Revenue Code.  In the alternative, learned  Senior  counsel
submitted that  even if it  were  to  be  admitted  without  prejudice  that
second  revision  is  maintainable,  the  Minister  being   the   revisional
authority should not have interfered with the findings recorded by  all  the
six Revenue Authorities.  Referring the decision of the  Bombay  High  Court
in the case of Sambappa vs.  State  of  Maharashtra  [(2002)  SCC  on  line,
Bombay  1222],  learned  counsel  submitted  that  when  the  Sub-Divisional
Officer, Additional Collector and Additional Commissioner  had  concurrently
recorded finding in favour of the appellant by observing  that  the  revenue
record is not in consonance with the factual aspect and they  have  directed
to correct the revenue entries,  in  such  a  case,  the  second  revisional
authority exceeded its jurisdiction in  entertaining  the  said  application
and interfering with the finding of fact.  Section 257 makes it  clear  that
a revisional authority has to consider only the legality  and  propriety  of
the decision.  Learned counsel referring the revisional jurisdiction of  the
High Court under Section 115  of  the  Code  of  Civil  Procedure  tried  to
impress us that when the power of revision is given to the  District  Judge,
then the High Court cannot entertain second revision petition under  Section
115 of the Code.  Learned counsel relied upon the decision of this Court  in
the  case of  State of Kerala vs. K.M. Charia Abdulla &  Co.,  AIR  1965  SC
1585 and Hari Shankar vs. Rao Girdhari Lal Chowdhury, AIR 1963 SC 698.



13.   Mr. Ahmadi, learned senior counsel further submitted  that  a  request
was made to the High Court not to enter into the merit of the case,  and  to
confine itself to  the  question  whether  a  second  revision  was  at  all
maintainable, in the light of  the  ratio  in  Harishankar’s  case  (supra),
(1962) Suppl.(1) SCR 933, Hiralal Kapur vs. Prabhu Choudhury, (1988)  2  SCC
172 and  Helper Girdharbhai vs. Saiyed Mohmad Mirasaheb  Kadri  and  others,
(1987) 3 SCC 538.  Learned counsel also drew our attention to  the  decision
of this Court in Dharampal vs. Ramshri, (1993) 1 SCC 435  where  this  Court
held that a second revision to the High  Court  under  Section  482  of  the
Cr.P.C. was not permitted.

14.   Lastly, Mr. Ahmadi submitted that the second revision  would  not  lie
under Section 257 of  the  Revenue  Code  since  Section  259  of  the  Code
provides an opportunity to the State Government to only correct  any  “Final
Order” while exercising power under the provisions of Section 257 i.e.  with
regard to its legality and propriety.

15.   Mr. Ravindra Srivastava, learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
respondent–State, at the very outset submitted that the  appellant  conceded
before the High Court not to decide the merit of the case.  The  only  point
raised before the High Court was  with  regard  to  the  maintainability  of
second revision before  the  State  Government  under  Section  257  of  the
Revenue Code.  Learned counsel submitted that Section 257 expressly  confers
power of revision on the State Government which power is coupled with  power
of  control  and  superintendence.   Learned  counsel  submitted  that   the
Commissioner or the Additional Commissioner is  not  equal  in  a  rank  but
subordinate to the State Government.  Learned  counsel  submitted  that  the
State Government is the supreme revenue  authority  and  existence  of  more
than one appeal or revision to an aggrieved party is not  per  se  abhorrent
to any legal principle; depends  upon  the  Statute.   Mr.  Srivastava  then
contended that the High Court correctly analysed and appreciated the  scheme
of the Code vis a vis judicial review in revenue matters.   Learned  counsel
put heavy reliance on the decision of this Court  in  the  case  of   Ishwar
Singh vs.  State  of  Rajasthan  and  others,  (2005)  2  SCC  334  for  the
proposition that there can be a second revision under the same provision  of
the Statute.

16.   The only question that falls for consideration  is  as  to  whether  a
second revision under Section 257  is  maintainable  and  that  whether  the
State  Government  exceeds  its  jurisdiction  in  entertaining  the  second
revision?

17.   Before we proceed to decide the aforesaid question, we would  like  to
refer the relevant provisions of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code 1966.

18.   Section 2(31) defines the Revenue Officer as under:-
“2 (31)" revenue  officer"  means  every  officer  of  any  rank  whatsoever
appointed under any of the provisions of  this  Code,  and  employed  in  or
about the business of the  land  revenue  or  of  the  surveys,  assessment,
accounts, or records connected therewith ;”


19.   Chapter II deals with the Revenue Officers, their powers  and  duties.
Sections 5, 6 and 7 reads as under:-
“5. Chief Controlling authority in revenue matters.  The  chief  controlling
authority in all matters connected with the land  revenue  in  his  division
shall vest in the Commissioner, subject to  the  superintendence,  direction
and control of the State Government.

6.Revenue Officers  in  division.  The  State  Government  shall  appoint  a
Commissioner of each division; and may appoint in a division  an  Additional
Commissioner and so many Assistant Commissioners as  may  be  expedient,  to
assist the Commissioner:
Provided that, nothing in this section shall  preclude  the  appointment  of
the same officer as Commissioner for two or more divisions.

7.Revenue officers in district. (1)The  State  Government  shall  appoint  a
Collector for each district (including the City of Bombay  who shall  be  in
charge of the revenue administration there of ; and  a  Tahsildar  for  each
taluka who shall be the chief  officer  entrusted  with  the  local  revenue
administration of a taluka.
(2)The State Government may appoint one or more  Additional  Collectors  and
in each district (including the  City  of  Bombay   and  so  many  Assistant
Collectors and Deputy Collectors (with such designations  such  as  "First",
"Second", Super numerary", etc. Assistants as may be expressed in the  order
of their appointment), one or more Naib-Tahsildars in a taluka, and  one  or
more Additional Tahsidars or Naib-Tahsildars therein and such other  persons
(having such designations) to assist the revenue officers  as  it  may  deem
expedient.
(3)Subject to the general orders of the State Government, the Collector  may
place any Assistant or Deputy Collector in charge of one more  sub-divisions
of a district, or may himself  retain  charge  thereof.  Such  Assistant  or
Deputy Collector may also be called a Sub-Divisional Officer.
(4) The Collector may appoint to each district as many persons as he  thinks
fit to be Circle Officers and  Circle  Inspectors  to  be  in  charge  of  a
Circle, and one or more Talathis for a saza, and  one  or  more  Kotwals  or
other village servants for each village or group  of  villages,  as  he  may
deem fit.”


20.   Section 11 of the Code is worth to be quoted herein below:-
“11.Subordination of officers.
 (1)All revenue officers shall be subordinate to the State Government.
(2)Unless the State Government directs otherwise, all revenue officers in  a
division shall be subordinate to the Commissioner, and all revenue  Officers
2[in a district (including the City of Bombay)] shall be subordinate to  the
Collector.
3)Unless the State Government directs otherwise, all other Revenue  Officers
Including survey officers shall be subordinated, the one to  the  other,  in
such order as the State Government may direct.”

21.   Sections 13 and 14 deal with the powers  and  duties  of  all  Revenue
Officers.

22.   From reading of the aforesaid provisions,  it  is  manifest  that  the
State Government makes appointment of the  Revenue  Officers  including  the
Commissioner and the Chief Controlling Authorities in the  revenue  matters.
Section 5 makes it  clear  that  the  Chief  Controlling  Authority  in  all
matters connected with the land revenue in his Division shall vest with  the
Commissioner, subject to superintendence, directions  and  control   of  the
State Government.  Section 11 provides that all Revenue  Officers  shall  be
subordinate to the State  Government.   It  is,  therefore,  clear  that  in
revenue matters the State Government is the Supreme Revenue Authority.

23.   In the present case, we noticed the scheme of the Code in the  matters
of hearing and disposal of appeals, revision and review.  Section 247  deals
with the appeal and appellate authorities, which reads as under:-

“247.Appeal and appellate authorities.
 (1)In the absence of any express provisions of this Code,  or  of  any  law
for the time being in force to the contrary, an appeal shall  lie  from  any
decision or order passed by a revenue or survey officer specified in  column
1 of the Schedule E under this Code or any other law for the time  being  in
force to the officer specified in column 2 of that Schedule whether  or  not
such decision or order may itself  have  been  passed  on  appeal  from  the
decision of order  of  the  officer  specified  in  column  1  of  the  said
Schedule.

Provided that, in no case the number of appeals
 shall exceed two.

(2)When on account of promotion of change of designation, an appeal  against
any decision or order lies under this section to the same  officer  who  has
passed the decision or order appealed against, the appeal shall lie to  such
other officer competent to decide the appeal to whom it may  be  transferred
under the provisions of this Code.”
24.   Section 248 is also relevant which provides the  forum  of  appeal  to
the State Government.  Similarly, Section  249  makes  provision  of  appeal
against the review or revision.

25.   The schedule preferred to in  Section  227  mentions  the  Authorities
before whom appeal would lie. The  Schedule  appended  to  the  Code  is  as
follows:-
                                 Schedule E
                              (See section 247)
|   |REVENUE OFFICER              |APPELLATE AUTHORITY    |
|1. |1., All Officers in a        |Sub-divisional Officer |
|   |Sub-Division, sub-ordinate to|or such Assistant or   |
|   |the  Sub-division Off        |Deputy Collector as may|
|   |                             |be specified by the    |
|   |                             |Collector in this      |
|   |                             |behalf.                |
|2. |Sub-Divisional Officer,      |Collector or such      |
|   |Assistant or Deputy          |Assistant or Deputy    |
|   |Collector.                   |Collector who may be   |
|   |                             |invested with powers of|
|   |                             |the Collector by the   |
|   |                             |State Government in    |
|   |                             |this behalf            |
|3. |Collector 1 (including the   |Divisional             |
|   |Collector of Bombay) or      |Commissioner.          |
|   |Assistant/Deputy Collector   |                       |
|   |invested with the appellate  |                       |
|   |power of the Collector.,     |                       |
|4. |A person exercising powers   |Such officer as may be |
|   |conferred by section 2 (15).,|specified by the State |
|   |                             |Government in this     |
|   |                             |behalf.                |


|   |Survey Officer               |Appellate Authority     |
|1. |District Inspector of Land   |Superintendent of Land  |
|   |Records, Survey Tahsildar and|Records or such Officers|
|   |other Officer not above the  |of equal ranks as may be|
|   |rank of District Inspector of|specified by the State  |
|   |Land Records.,               |Government in this      |
|   |                             |behalf.                 |
|2. |Superintendent of Land       |Director of Land Records|
|   |Records and other Officer of |or the Deputy Director  |
|   |equal ranks.,.               |of Land Records, who may|
|   |                             |be invested with the    |
|   |                             |powers of Director of   |
|   |                             |Land Records by the     |
|   |                             |State Government in this|
|   |                             |behalf.                 |


26.   Section 257 is the relevant provision which deals with  the  power  of
State Government and of certain revenue and survey officers to call for  and
examine the records and proceedings of Subordinate  Officers.   Section  257
reads as under:-
“257. Power of State Government and of certain revenue and  survey  officers
to call for and examine records and proceedings of subordinate officers.
(1) The State Government and any revenue of survey officer, not inferior  in
rank to an Assistant  or  Deputy  Collector  or  a  Superintendent  of  Land
Records, in their respective departments,  may  call  for  and  examine  the
record of any inquiry or the  proceedings  of  any  subordinate  revenue  or
survey officer, for the purpose of satisfying  itself  or  himself,  as  the
case may be, as to the legality  or  propriety  of  any  decision  or  order
passed, and as to the regularity of the proceedings of such officer.
(2) A Tahsildar, a Naib-Tahsildar, and a District Inspector of Land  Records
may in the same manner call for and examine the proceedings of  any  officer
subordinate to them in any matter in which neither a formal  nor  a  summary
inquiry has been held.
(3)If in any case, it shall appear to the State Government, or  any  officer
referred to in sub-section (1) or  sub-section  (2)  that  any  decision  or
order  or  proceedings  so  called  for  should  be  modified,  annulled  or
reversed, it or he may pass such order thereon as it or he deems fit.
Provided that, the State Government  or  such  officer  shall  not  vary  or
reverse any order affecting any question of right  between  private  persons
without having to the parties interested notice to appear and  to  be  heard
in support of such order.
Provided further that, an Assistant of Deputy Collector  shall  not  himself
pass such order in any matter in which a formal inquiry has been  held,  but
shall submit the record with his opinion to the Collector,  who  shall  pall
such order thereon as he may deem fit.”


27.   A bare  reading  of  the  aforesaid  provision  would  show  that  the
provision uses the word ‘and’ for State Government  but  for  other  Revenue
officers it uses the word ‘or’.  The language and  the  words  used  in  the
said  provision  suggest  that  jurisdiction  of  the  State  Government  is
concurrent with the jurisdiction of other Revenue officers in  deciding  the
revision.  Hence, even if one party goes to the  Commissioner  in  revision,
the  State  Government  can  still  be  approached  under  Section  257  for
revision.  The power of revision exercised by any Revenue officer  including
the Commissioner is a proceeding by a  subordinate  officer  and  the  State
Government can satisfy itself as  to  the  legality  and  propriety  of  any
decision including the order passed in revision by the Revenue officers.

28.   Further, in view of the fact that  State  Government  itself  appoints
the Revenue officers including the Commissioner  under  the  scheme  of  the
Code and all Revenue officers are subordinate to  the  State  Government  as
per Section 11 of the Act, and even the Chief Controlling Authority  in  all
matters connected with the land revenue in his Division is vested  with  the
Commissioner,  they  are  subject  to  the  superintendence,  direction  and
control of the State Government as provided under Section  5  of  the  Code.
The power of the State Government has further been widened  by  Section  259
of the Code, which reads as under:-
“259. Rules as to decisions or orders expressly made final

      Whenever in this Code, it is provided that a decision or  order  shall
be final or conclusive, such provision shall mean that no appeal  lies  from
any such decision or order; but it shall be lawful to the  State  Government
alone to modify, annul or reverse any  such  decision  or  order  under  the
provision of Section 257.”

29.   The aforesaid provision makes it clear that even if  the  decision  is
considered to be final,  the  State  Government’s  power  to  call  for  and
examine the record and proceedings of subordinate  officers  is  saved.   In
other words, the State Government in exercise of its revisional as  well  as
general power of superintendence and control can  call  for  any  record  of
proceedings and consider the legality and propriety of the orders passed  by
the Revenue officers under Section 247 or 257 of the Code.

30.   From perusal of the entire scheme of the Code including  Section  257,
it is manifest that the revisional powers are not only  exercisable  by  the
State Government but also by  certain  other  Revenue  officers.   There  is
nothing in  the  Code  to  suggest  that  if  these  revisional  powers  are
exercised by a Revenue officer who has jurisdiction, it  cannot  be  further
exercised by a superior Revenue officer or by the State Government.  A  fair
reading of Sections 257 and 259  suggests  that  if  revisional  powers  are
exercised by a  Revenue  officer  having  jurisdiction  to  do  so,  further
revisional power can be exercised by the superior officer or  by  the  State
Government.

31.   A similar question came for consideration before  this  Court  in  the
case of Ishwar Singh vs. State of Rajasthan and Others,  (2005)  2  SCC  334
under the Rajasthan Cooperative  Societies  Act,  1965.   In  that  Ac,t  by
Section 128 power was conferred upon the State Government and the  Registrar
to call for and examine the records of any enquiry  or  proceedings  of  any
other  matter, of any  officer subordinate  to  them,  for  the  purpose  of
satisfying themselves as to the legality or propriety  of  any  decision  or
order passed by such officer.  It was submitted by the counsel that  Section
128   related  to  two  authorities  i.e.  the  State  Government  and   the
Registrar.  In  fact  the  two  authorities  are  interchangeable.   If  one
authority exercises revisional power, the other authority  logically  cannot
have exercised such power. Hence, it was argued  that  second  revision  was
not maintainable. Rejecting the submission this Court held:-
“20. Sub-section (2) of Section 124 provides that if the decision  or  order
is made by the Registrar, appeal lies to the Government and if the  decision
or order is made by any other person, or a cooperative society,  the  appeal
lies to the Registrar. Therefore, under Chapter XIII a clear distinction  is
made between the State Government and the Registrar.  The  test  is  whether
the two authorities with concurrent revisional  jurisdiction  are  equal  in
rank. It is, therefore, not correct as contended by learned counsel for  the
appellant that the  two  authorities  i.e.  the  State  Government  and  the
Registrar  are  interchangeable.  The  power  of  the  Government  and   the
Registrar in terms of Section 128 excludes  matters  which  are  covered  by
Section 125 i.e. revision by the Tribunal.”


32.   Considering  the  entire  scheme  of  the  Code,  and  the  provisions
contained in Sections 257 and 259, we are of the definite opinion  that  the
Minister concerned of the State Government can entertain second revision  to
satisfy the legality and propriety  of  the  order  passed  by  the  Revenue
Officer.  The Division Bench  of  the  Bombay  High  Court  has  elaborately
discussed the question and passed the impugned order  holding  that  Section
257 confers jurisdiction to the State Government to entertain  its  revision
against the order passed by any Revenue  Officer  either  in  appeal  or  in
revision.  We find no infirmity in the impugned order  passed  by  the  High
Court. Hence, this appeal has no merit which is accordingly dismissed.

33.   Before parting with the order, we must make it clear that in  view  of
the request made by the appellant before the High Court not  to  enter  into
the merit of the case since the party may prosecute their  remedies  in  the
Civil Court for adjudication, we have not expressed any opinion with  regard
to the merit of the case of the parties. The  parties  may  prosecute  their
remedies in Civil Court in accordance with law.



                                                              …………………………….J.
                                                                (M.Y. Eqbal)



                                                              …………………………….J.
                                                               (C. Nagappan)
New Delhi
November 06, 2015


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