WRIT PETITION No.26480 OF 2010
Indukuri Anil and others and
The Commissioner (Appeals) and others.
Counsel for petitioners: Sri A.K.Kishore Reddy
Counsel for Respondents : GP for REvenue
The petitioners feel aggrieved by the order, dated 04.09.2010, passed by the Commissioner (Appeals), Hyderabad, the 1st respondent herein, in a revision filed under Section 7(d) of the A.P. Estates Abolition (Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 (for short 'the Act'), in so far as it has remanded the matter to the Joint Collector-cum-Settlement Officer, Visakhapatnam, the 2nd respondent herein.
Briefly stated, the facts that gave rise to the filing of the writ petition are:
The land in old survey No.3 of Kapparada Village, Visakhapatnam Urban Mandal, admeasuring Acs.66.60 cents, was part of Zamindari estate of the Vizianagaram Zamindar. The estate holder gave it on permanent lease to one Namballa Family, way back in the year 1865. Thereafter, several transactions have taken place, and ultimately, an extent of Acs.10.00 was purchased by M/s.Jagannadha Raju, through a sale deed, dated 04.11.1969. The said Company obtained loan, from Bank of India, offering that property as security. Since the loan amount was not repaid, the Bank filed O.S.No.182 of 1972 in the Court of I Additional Sub-ordinate Judge, Visakhapatnam. The suit was decreed, and in E.P.No.121 of 1978, the property was brought to sale. M/s.V.Rama Murthy and Sons, of which the petitioners herein were partners, emerged as highest bidder and a sale certificate was issued in its favour, on 07.03.1980. At the time of dissolution of the firm, an extent of Acs.4.96 cents was allotted to the share of the petitioners and the same is said to have been assigned revised survey No.9/6.
With inordinate delay, the petitioners submitted an application, under the Act, for grant of ryotwari patta, only in the year 2003, before the 2nd respondent. The application was rejected, through order, dated 28.08.2004, on the ground of delay. Some discussion was also undertaken, on merits. The appeal preferred before the Director of Settlements was dismissed, on 28.08.2004. Thereafter, the petitioners filed revision under Section 7(d) of the Act, before the 1st respondent. Through order dated 26.11.2005, the 1st respondent remanded the matter to the appellate authority i.e. the Director of Settlements, duly condoning the delay. After remand, the Director of Settlements, dismissed the appeal, through order, dated 10.06.2009. The petitioners filed revision before the 1st respondent for the second time, and the same was disposed of through the impugned order, directing that the matter be remanded to the 2nd respondent for consideration.
Sri A.K.Kishore Reddy, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners, submits that the denial of relief to the petitioners, either by the 2nd respondent, or the appellate authority, was on the ground of delay and that the land is non-ryoti. He contends that, once the 1st respondent has condoned the delay in the earlier round of litigation and has taken the view that the land is non-ryoti in nature in the impugned order itself, there was no necessity for him to remand the matter to the
Learned Government Pleader for Revenue, on the other hand, submits that the appellate authority, deciding the appeal or revision, cannot be itself grant ryotwari patta, and even if the contentions of applicant are accepted at such levels, the matter has invariably to go back to the primary authority for consideration. He contends that, even if the two aspects, referred to above, are held in favour of the petitioners, other questions, such as whether the petitioners or their predecessors-in-title were in possession of the land, as on the notified date, identity of the land, the present state of affairs etc., need to be examined.
The Act provides for abolition of estates and the consequences that flow from the same. It recognises the rights of the persons in possession and enjoyment of any land, the estate holders etc., and stipulates the conditions, subject to which the ryotwari patta can be granted. A detailed mechanism is provided for, and the Act is considered to be one of the most complicated pieces of legislation.
The application for grant of ryotwari patta is required to be made within the stipulated time. However, the petitioners submitted such application only in the year 2003 and there was delay of more than a decade. The 2nd respondent refused to entertain the application. He has also expressed a doubt as to the nature of land. Ryotwari patta cannot be granted in respect of land which is non-ryoti in nature.
The appeal preferred by them was rejected. It was only at the stage of revision that the 1st respondent condoned the delay by accepting the reasons assigned by the petitioners. The proper course at that time would have been to remand the matter to the primary authority i.e. the 2nd respondent. However, the remand was made to the appellate authority, and the appeal was dismissed. Thus, arose the occasion to file a revision for the second time.
It is no doubt true that the 1st respondent has examined the matter in detail and expressed the view that subject land is not a non-ryoti one, meaning thereby, ryoti in nature. The two principal obstacles, viz., the ground of delay and nature of the land, stood cleared with the successive orders passed by the 1st respondent. Still that is not all.
The Act and the Rules made thereunder stipulate various conditions, such as the applicant being in possession of land; the extent of the land held by him; the state of affairs existing over the land, when the application was made, in the context of continuous possession. These aspects need to be verified only by the 2nd respondent. Therefore, no exception can be taken to the order under challenge. The interests of the petitioners can be protected by restricting the scope of examination of the matter by the 2nd respondent to the one of identification of the land and whether ryotwari pattas were granted in respect of the lands in the immediate neighbourhood of the land, which is the subject- matter of these proceedings.
Hence, the writ petition is disposed of, upholding the order dated 04.09.2010, passed by the 1st respondent, but directing that the 2nd respondent shall restrict his consideration of the matter on remand, to the question of identifying the land, which is the subject-matter of the application of the petitioners and as to the question whether ryotwari pattas were granted in respect of the lands in the immediate neighbourhood of the land applied for by the petitioners and which formed part of erstwhile survey No.3. This exercise shall be completed within two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
The miscellaneous petition filed in this writ petition also stands disposed of.
There shall be no order as to costs.
____________________L.NARASIMHA REDDY, J.