WRIT PETITION No.3486 OF 2012
Sri S.Madhusudhan and others
The Revenue Divisional Officer and others.
Counsel for petitioners: Sri S.Niranjan Reddy
Counsel for Respondents : GP for REvenue
The respective fathers of the petitioners herein are said to have purchased different extents of land, aggregating to 92 acres in survey Nos.668 to 673 and 679 of Gundlapochampally Village, Medchal Mandal, Ranga Reddy District, from the owners thereof through unregistered documents, in the year 1975. It is stated that the petitioners, or their fathers, as the case may be, have initiated proceedings under Section
5-A of the A.P. Rights in Land and Pattadar Pass Books Act, 1971 (for short 'the Act'), for validation of the unregistered sale deeds. Orders are said to have been passed in the year 2000, as regards the individual sale transactions, duly collecting the stamp duty. Pattdar pass books and title deeds are issued in favour of the petitioners, apart from making entries in their favour in the revenue records.
Acting on certain items in the newspapers and representations from the persons in the locality, the District Collector, Ranga Reddy District, the 2nd respondent herein, called for a report from the Tahasildar, the 3rd respondent, as to the genuinity of the said transactions. The 3rd respondent is said to have reported that the relevant file is not available and the proceedings are not genuine. On this basis, the 2nd respondent directed the Revenue Divisional Officer, the 1st respondent, to take up an appeal suo motu, under Section 5-B of the Act. Accordingly, the 1st respondent initiated proceedings under Section 5-B of the Act, and issued notice to the petitioners. An objection was raised as to the power of the 1st respondent to initiate suo motu proceedings. However, through order, dated 04.02.2012, the 1st respondent has set aside the orders of validation passed in favour of the petitioners, in respect of the lands mentioned therein. Hence, this writ petition.
On behalf of respondents 1 to 3, a counter-affidavit is filed, narrating the circumstances, under which the proceedings came to be initiated. It is stated that the proceedings of validation, relied upon by the petitioners, are vitiated by fraud, and that the grounds, raised by them are technical, in nature. Respondents 4 and 5 got themselves impleaded and they too filed a counter-affidavit almost on the same lines.
Heard learned counsel for the petitioners, learned Government Pleader for Revenue and learned counsel for respondents 4 and 5.
The short question that arises for consideration in this writ petition is, as to whether the 1st respondent is conferred with suo motu powers to take up an appeal under Section 5-B of the Act. Section 5-A of the Act was introduced by way of an amendment providing for validation of sales affected through unregistered documents. The provisions for an appeal against the orders passed under Section 5-A of the Act was introduced, through Act 9 of 1994, by inserting Section 5-B, in the year 1993. The Revenue Divisional Officer is designated as an Appellate Authority. The provision does not indicate that the Appellate Authority is conferred with suo motu powers. Unless a statute specifically confers suo motu powers, or for that matter, any power, no authority can assume to itself, such powers. It is only under Section 9 of the Act, that the District Collector is conferred with the suo motu powers of revision, as regards the orders that are passed in exercise of power under Sections 3, 5, 5A or 5B of the Act.
On this short ground, the writ petition is allowed and the impugned order is set aside. It is, however, left open to the respondents to initiate proceedings in accordance with law.
The miscellaneous petition filed in this writ petition also stands disposed of.
There shall be no order as to costs.
____________________L.NARASIMHA REDDY, J.