1. This is an application by Rambul Singh against the Board of Revenue, the Sub-Divisional Officer, Behror, and Ghinsa.
2. The allegattions of the petitioner are that he was discharged from the military service some time in the year 1951 and thereafter he obtained possession of his land in village, Shahjanpur, Tehsil Behror, from his tenant, namely Ghinsa. But Ghinsa made an application on 28-7-1952, under Section 7, Rajasthan (Protection of Tenants) Ordinance of 1949 (hereinafter referred to as the Ordinance) in the Court of the Sub-Divisional Officer, Behror, that he was illegally dispossessed.
The Sub-Divisional Officer dismissed the application with reference to Government of Rajasthan Notification No. F.1(4) Rev./51 of 11-1-1951, by which the application of the Ordinance was barred, in respect of the land of the military personnel either discharged from service after coming into force of the Ordinance or who are still in the employment of the Government.
Ghinsa went in revision to the Board of Revenue against the said order of the Sub-Divisional Officer and the learned Members of the Board on 10-9-1953, reversed the decision of the Sub-Divisional Officer holding that the applicant after obtaining a discharge from military service & taking possession of his land by ejecting the tenant thereof had granted it to the opposite party, namely, Ghinsa, instead of cultivating it himself and the opposite party could not, therefore, be deprived of the protection granted by the Ordinance.
The case was remanded to the Sub-Divisional Officer for trying other issues that were raised by the petitioner. The Sub-Divisional Officer, after having tried the case, ordered reinstatement of Ghinsa. The petitioner again went to the Board of Revenue but he was unsuccessful. He has now come to this Court against the decision of the Board of Revenue of 18-8-1955.
It has been contended on his behalf that the learned Members of the Board were not justified in interpreting the notification of the Rajasthan Government No. F.1(4)Rev/51 of 11-1-1951, in the manner in which they did and the exercise of jurisdiction by the Sub-Divisional Officer and also by the Board of Revenue under the Ordinance was illegal. It is prayed that a writ of certiorari be issued quashing the decision of the Board.
3. Shri Yadav has appeared on behalf of Ghinsa and he has urged that (1) the notification, referred to above, was hit by Article 14 of the Constitution as it discriminated against the tenants of the military personnel vis-a-vis other tenants, (2) the term "Government" in the notification refers to the Government of Rajasthan and as the Government of Rajasthan does not keep any armed forces the notification is unmeaning and cannot be construed as giving any right to the military personnel serving under the Government of India or discharged from the service of that Government, (3) the petitioner has come to this Court with delay of 2 years and he should not now be allowed any relief for this reason, and (4) the interpretation of the Notification by the judgment of the Board of Revenue is correct and is in consonance with the spirit of the Ordinance.
4. The Notification No. F.1(4)Rev/51, dated 11-1-1951, published in the Rajasthan Gazette No. 110 of 20-1-1951, runs as Follows :
"In exercise of the powers conferred by S. 15 of the Rajasthan (Protection of Tenants) Ordinance, 1949 (No. 9 of 1949) the Government of Rajasthan is pleased to exempt the following land from the provisions of the said Ordinance, namely:
1. Land belonging to persons who are in the Military employment of the Government; or
2. Land belonging to persons who were discharged from Military employment of the Government after the coming into force of the said Ordinance."
5. Section 15 of the Ordinance empowers the Government whenever it thinks expedient to do so, by notification in the Rajasthan Gazette, to exempt either wholly or partially and either for a specified period or permanently any person or class of persons or any lands or class o lands in any part of Rajasthan in which this Ordinance is in force from the provisions thereof.
6. There is no force in the arguments of Shri Yadav regarding the said notification being hit by Article 14 of the Constitution of India. We think there is a reasonable basis for classification of military employees whether in service or discharged after the coming into force of the Ordinance in the interests of the general public, firstly, to rehabilitate such persons on their own lands, and secondly, to facilitate recruitment of the armed forces also from rural population.
Shri Yadav has not been able to say anything against the said reasons underlying the Notification issued by the Government of Rajasthan and the classification on the basis pointed out above cannot be regarded as unreasonable. We, therefore, hold that there is a reasonable basis for classification in the interest of general public underlying the Notification, in question, and the point raised in this behalf cannot help, the case of the opposite party.
7. It is known to everyone that it is only the Central Government which has in its employment military personnel; consequently it cannot be conceived that the term ''Government" appearing in the notification referred to the State of Rajasthan. The intention of the framers of the notification is very clear. The term "Government'' means the Government of the Union of India.
8. On the point of delay Shri R. C. Sharma has argued that his client was strenuously prosecuting the case after it had been remanded to the Court of the Sub-Divisional Officer and thereafter before the Board of Revenue, & when he lost his case finally in that Court he has come to this Court without any delay and that he has not been negligent in this respect.
It may be noted that though a remand order was made by the Board of Revenue interpreting the notification as early as 10-9-1953, the petitioner had been contesting the case in the revenue Courts and he has come to this Court after its final decision there.
We may refer to the judgment of this Court in R. S. Manohar Singhji v. State of Rajasthan, 1952 Raj LW 81: ILR (1951) 1 Raj 888: (AIR 1953 Raj 22) (A), wherein a delay of about 2 years has not been considered to be detrimental particularly when the petitioner in that case was held to have been prosecuting the case strenuously for redressing his grievance during that period. It cannot be considered that in this case the petitioner has given up contesting the case at any time before he came to this Court and for this reason we think he cannot be deprived of his right to come to this Court.
9. Coming to the last point regarding merits of the case it may be noted that the language of the notification is very plain and it does not admit of any ambiguity. Lands belonging to (1) persons serving in the military and (2) of persons discharged from the military service after coming into force of the ordinance have been saved from the operation of the Ordinance. The finding of the Courts below is in favour of the petitioner that he was discharged from military ser- vice some time in the year 1951 and the dispute regarding dispossession relates to July, 1952.
The learned members of the Board have decided against the petitioner on the ground that he had let this land to Ghinsa after he had received his discharge from the army. This circumstance has been held to be detrimental to the petitioner's case.
We are told by the learned counsel of the petitioner that some time is always required by a person to equip himself for undertaking cultivation of his land and for such duration a discharged military personnel cannot be expected to allow his land to lie fallow and he should not be deprived of his right under the law merely because he let out his land for the period till he collected his implements of husbandry and prepared himself for undertaking cultivation of the land himself.
There is reason in what has been stated by Shri Sharma in this behalf. The learned members of the Board have taken too narrow a view in order to extend the operation of the Ordinance in utter disregard of the language of the notification, referred to above. It may be observed that when the language of the law admits of no ambiguity and is very clear it is not open to the Courts to put their own gloss in order to squeeze out some meaning which is not borne out by the language of the law.
Shri Yadav has tried to support the judgment of the Board of Revenue but he had to concede that the language of the notification could not be considered to bo ambiguous. The findings of the Courts below are that the land, in question, belongs to the petitioner and that he is a discharged military personnel.
By virtue of the notification, referred to above, the land in question, is saved from the operation of the Ordinance, and the jurisdiction exercised by the Sub Divisional Officer & by the Board of Revenue under the Ordinance is, therefore, illegal. The remedy of the parties in the present case was to get their dispute settled in the ordinary Courts of law.
10. This application succeeds and the judgments of the Board of Revenue, dated 18-8-1955, and also of 10-9-1953, are set aside and the parties are left to seek their remedy in the ordinary Courts of law. In view of the circumstances of the case we make no order as to costs.