M. Jagannadha Rao, C.J.
(1) In this writ petition, filed as a public interest case, the point that is raised is whether the second respondent Shri S.N. Aggarwal, Additional District Judge, is competent to deal with appeals under Section 9 of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act (hereinafter called the Act). A writ of quo warranto has been sought. The contention is that Shri S.N. Aggarwal is a Judicial Officer not having 10 years standing as a 'Judicial Officer' and that the learned District Judge, Delhi, could not have transferred the appeals to Shri S.N. Aggarwal.
(2) Section 9 of the Act deals with appeals against the orders of the Estate Officer. It reads:
"SECTION 9. Appeals: (1) An appeal shall lie from every order, of the Estate Officer made in respect of any public premises under Section 5 or Section 5B or Section 5C to an appellate officer who shall be the District Judge of the district in which the public premises are situate or such other judicial officer of that district of not less than ten years' standing as the District Judge may designate in this behalf. (2)..................."
(3) Relying on the language of the above provision, it is contended by the petitioner that though Shri S.N. Aggarwal is an Additional District Judge and hence a Judicial Officer of the District, still inasmuch as he does not have 10 years experience, he is not competent to hear appeals.
(4) In this context, reference is to be made to the provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of the Punjab Courts Act, 1914. The applicability of the said provisions to Delhi is not in dispute. Section 20 of the Act states that the central Government shall appoint as many persons as it thinks necessary to be District Judges, and shall post one such person to each district as District Judge of that District. We are here more concerned with Section 21. That Section reads:
"ADDITIONALJudges: S. 21(1): When the business pending before any District Judge requires the aid of an Additional Judge or Judges for its speedy disposal, the Chief Commissioners may appoint such Additional Judges as may be necessary. (2) An Additional Judge, so appointed, shall discharge any of the functions of a District Judge which the District Judge may assign to him, and in the discharge of those functions, he shall exercise the same powers as the District Judge."
(5) The Courts in Delhi being governed by the above provisions of the Punjab Courts Act, 1914, it is clear that, by virtue of sub-clause (2) of Section 21, an Additional District Judge can discharge any functions assigned to him by the District Judge and sub-clause (1) shows that Additional District Judges are, in fact, appointed to aid the District Judge. Once the District Judge assigns certain functions to the Additional District Judge the latter is fully competent to exercise the same functions as the District Judge.
(6) In the present case, it is not disputed by the petitioner that the District Judge has "assigned" his functions to Shri S.N. Aggarwal, Additional District Judge. The assignment of such powers is traceable to Section 21(2) of the Punjab Courts Act, 1914. In our view, it was open to the District Judge to take the aid of Shri S.N. Aggarwal for purposes of disposing of the appeals under the Public Premises Act, 1971 and once there is such an assignment in favour of Shri S.N. Aggarwal, the latter is fully competent to deal with the appeals and "in the discharge of those functions, he shall exercise the same powers as the District Judge." The case of Shri S.N. Aggarwal falls within the first part of Section 9 of the Public Premises Act, 1971 read with Section 21(2) of the Punjab Courts Act, 1914 and it is not necessary to resort to the latter part of Section 9 of the Public Premises Act, 1971.
(7) There is a clear distinction in law between the powers which a District Judge can exercise Under the Punjab Courts Act, 1914 and the Public Premises Act,1971. Under the former the power is one of 'assignment' and that too to an Additional .District Judge. Under the latter, the power is merely to 'designate' and designate a 'Judicial Officer' of not less than 10 years standing and such a Judicial Officer need not necessarily be an Additional District Judge. He could, for example be even a 'Sub-Judge". In as much as here the powers have been 'assigned' and assigned to an Additional District Judge, the first part of Section 9 of the Public Premises Act read with Section 21 (2) of the Punjab Courts Act, 1914, would show that Shri S.N. Aggarwal is fully competent to hear the appeals. The power of 'designation' and the power of 'assignment' are distinct and different. That in the present case the District Judge had assigned his powers to Shri S.N. Aggarwal by virtue of Section 21(2) was not disputed by the learned counsel for the petitioner. In fact, on the very first day on 21.8.1996, when the writ petition came up for admission, we invited the attention of the petitioner to Section 21(2) of the Punjab Courts Act, 1914 and adjourned the matter to 30.8.1996 so that he could look into the said provisions. When the matter was listed on 30.8.1996, petitioner merely referred to certain rulings - to which we shall presently refer - and could not controvert the powers of Shri S.N. Aggarwal as assigned by the District Judge under Section 21 (2) of the Punjab Courts' Act, 1914. Therefore we have no difficulty in holding that-though Shri S.N. Aggarwal is an Additional District Judge with less than 10 years standing, he is fully competent to exercise the powers assigned to him by the District Judge under Section 21 (2) of the Punjab Courts Act, 1914, namely, the powers to hear and dispose of appeals under Section 9 of the Public Premises Act,1971.
(8) We shall now advert to the rulings cited by the petitioner. No doubt, Bawa Gopal Singh vs. Union of India decided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court apparently supports the contention of the petitioner when it says that an Additional District Judge not having 10 years standing cannot dispose of appeals under Section 9 of the Public Premises Act, 1971. We are unable to agree with this ruling. There we do not find any reference whatsover to Section 21(2) of the Punjab Courts Act. Apart from that, we find that the said Judgment was overruled by a Division Bench of the same Court in Tara Singh vs. Addl. District Judge,Ferozepur . In that, it was held, that an Additional District Judge with less than 10 years standing, could dispose of appeal under Section 9 of the Public Premises Act. Reference was made to Article 236 of the Constitution of India and to Section 21(3) of the Punjab Courts Act. We are in entire agreement with the view taken by the said Division Bench.
(9) The decision in Badrinath vs. Estate Officers (AIR 1977 J &K 38) merely holds that the District Judge under the Public Premises Act, 1971 acts as a Civil Court and not as a persona designata. The case was not concerned with the validity of any orders passed by the Additional District Judge with less than 10 years standing nor could the Punjab Civil Courts Act come up for interpretation so far as J&K is concerned.
(10) A contention was then raised that the Act is a Special Act and is a complete code. So far as the point raised before us is concerned, this contention is irrelevant. Here we are concerned with powers of assignment to an Additional District Judge and necessarily we have to read the Punjab Courts Act, 1914. That Act being applicable to Courts in general, cannot be excluded by Section 9 of the Public Premises Act. In fact, even for the purpose of deciding who is a District Judge or a 'Judicial Officer' as referred to in Section 9, one has to resort to the Punjab Courts Act, 1914. Therefore assuming that the Act deals exclusively with the procedure for eviction from Public Premises, it cannot, in our view, affect the 'assignment' of powers by the District Judge to the Additional District Judge under Section 21 (2) of the Punjab Courts Act, 1914.
(11) Finally, in any event, we are also of the view that the matter is not one fit for interference under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, in exercise of our extraordinary jurisdiction. The writ petition is dismissed.