Allahabad High Court Judgement

Allahabad High Court Judgement

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JUDGEMENT HEADLINE : Illegality At Stage Of Sec. 8 & 8A Provisional Consolidation Scheme Rightly Directed To Be Reframed.
JUDGEMENT TITLE : Sundar Lal And Another Vs. D.D.C. And Others On 27/01/2006 By Allahabad High Court
CASE NO : WRIT - B NO. 15985 OF 2000
CORAM : Hon'ble Krishna Murari,J

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD

Reserved


Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 15985 Of 2000

Sundar Lal And Another Vs. Deputy Director Of Consolidation And Others

Hon'ble Krishna Murari, J.
By Means Of This Writ Petition Filed Under Article 226 Of The Constitution Of India, The Petitioners Have Challenged The Order Dated 24.2.2000 Passed By Deputy Director Of Consolidation Dismissing The Revisions Filed By Them And Various Other Persons And Remanding The Case Back After Setting Aside The Provisional Consolidation Scheme With A Direction To The Assistant Consolidation Officer To Prepare The Same Afresh After Redetermining The Valuation And Exchange Ratio. A Further Writ Of Mandamus Has Been Claimed To Direct The Deputy Director Of Consolidation To Decide The Revisions Filed By The Petitioners On Merits.
Briefly Stated Facts Are As Follows :-
After Publication Of The Provisional Consolidation Scheme The Contesting Respondent No. 8 Along With 215 Other Tenure Holders Of The Village Filed Objection Against The Provisional Consolidation Scheme On The Ground That A Large Number Of Illegalities And Irregularities Were Committed By The Subordinate Staffs In Revision Of Field Books, Determination Of Valuation Of The Plots And Exchange Ratio. The Consolidation Officer After Consolidating All The 216 Objections Decided The Same By A Common Judgment Dated 16.7.1992. It Was Held By The Consolidation Officer That Material Injustice Will Be Caused To General Tenure Holders If The Provisional Consolidation Scheme Is Given Effect To And A Fair And Proper Allotment Of Chaks To The Tenure Holders Is Not Possible Without Preparation Of A Fresh Consolidation Scheme After Redetermining The Valuation And The Exchange Ratio. The Said Judgement Of The Consolidation Officer Was Challenged By Filing Three Appeals. The Settlement Officer Consolidation Consolidated The Appeals And Vide Judgment Dated 9.6.1995 Dismissed The Same.
Both The Authorities Have Pointed Out Following Illegalities And Irregularities In The Preparation Of The Provisional Consolidation Scheme:-
i) Before Preparing The Provisional Consolidation Scheme, The Records Were Not Verified By The Assistant Consolidation Officer And The Subordinate Consolidation Staffs In Accordance With The Direction Contained In Paragraph 156 Of Chakbandi Manual And Serious Mistakes Have Been Committed Resulting In Anomalies In The Valuation And Exchange Ratio Of The Plots.
ii) No Spot Inspection Was Made By The Assistant Consolidation Officer And The Subordinate Staffs And The Provisional Consolidation Scheme Has Been Framed Sitting In The Office.
iii) More Than Two Chaks In The Same Sector Has Been Proposed To A Large Number Of Tenure Holders.
iv) A Large Number Of Tenure Holders Have Been Proposed More Than 5 Or 6 Chaks.
v) 19 Tenure Holders Have Been Proposed Totally ''Uran' Chaks.
vi) Chak Road Have Not Been Carved Out Properly With The Result Many Chak Holders Do Not Have Access To Their Chaks.
vii) In Stead Of Proposing A Compact Area As Bachat Land The Same Has Been Left At Various Places.
viii) There Is Variation Of More Than 25 Per Cent In The Area Of Original Holding And Proposed Chaks Of About 41chak Holders.
ix) The Exchange Ratio And Valuation Has Been Fixed So Arbitrarily That If The Same Is Not Corrected More Than 65 % Of The Tenure Holders Of The Village Will Be Adversely Affected.
Due To The Aforesaid Illegalities And Irregularities Found In The Determination Of The Valuation And Exchange Ratio And Preparation Of Provisional Consolidation Scheme The Same Was Set Aside And The Assistant Consolidation Officer Was Directed To Redetermine The Valuation And Exchange Ratio Of The Plots And Thereafter Prepare A Fresh Consolidation Scheme.
The Assistant Consolidation Officer Without Carrying Out The Aforesaid Directions Invited Fresh Objections From The Tenure Holders Against The Old Provisional Consolidation Scheme. The Petitioners, It Appears Filed Objections Which Was Decided By The Consolidation Officer Vide Order Dated 17.1.1997. Appeals Were Filed Which Were Decided By The Settlement Officer Consolidation Vide Order Dated 7.4.1998. The Petitioners Challenged The Appellate Order Before The Deputy Director Of Consolidation In Revision. Certain Other Revisions Were Also Filed. The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Consolidated All The Revisions And Decided Them By Common Order Dated 24.2.2000. The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Found That The Direction Issued By The Consolidation Officer Vide Order Dated 16.7.1992 Confirmed In Appeal By The Settlement Officer Consolidation On 9.6.1995 Have Not Been Followed. He Has Also Noted In The Judgement Various Illegalities And Irregularities In The Provisional Consolidation Scheme. The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Set Aside The Provisional Consolidation Scheme And Remanded The Case Back To The Assistant Consolidation Officer To Redetermine The Valuation And Exchange Ratio Afresh And After Hearing The Tenure Holders And Thereafter Prepare A Fresh Provisional Consolidation Scheme.
I Have Heard Sri Sankhata Rai, Learned Counsel Appearing For The Petitioners, Learned Standing Counsel For Respondent No. 1, Sri Y.B.Mohan Holding Brief Of Sri V.K. Singh For Gaon Sabha And Sri Deepak Saxena For Respondent No.8.
It Has Been Urged By The Learned Counsel For The Petitioners That Provisional Consolidation Scheme Could Not Have Been Set Aside By The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Completely And If There Was Any Illegality Or Irregularity The Same Ought To Have Been Corrected And The Revisions Ought To Have Been Decided On Merits. It Has, Further, Been Contended That In View Of Bar Created By Section 11 A Of The Act, The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Was Not Empowered To Direct The Consolidation Operations Afresh From The Stage Of Section 8. It Has Been Urged That Once Stage Of Section 9 Was Over The Bar Of Section 11 A Starts Operating And Valuation And Exchange Ratio Can Not Be Altered At The Stage Of Section 20 Of The Act. It Has Next Been Submitted That General Remarks Made By The Deputy Director Of Consolidation In The Impugned Judgement Regarding Alleged Illegalities And Irregularities Were Not There In The Case Of Petitioners And Thus The Revisions Filed By Them Ought To Have Been Considered And Decided On Merits. It Has Also Been Submitted That In View Of Section 21(4) Of The Act The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Has No Power To Set Aside The Provisional Consolidation Scheme And To Direct Preparation Of A Fresh Scheme And The Said Power Is Only Vested In Consolidation Officer And Settlement Officer Consolidation.
In Reply, It Has Been Contended By Sri Deepak Saxena Appearing For Contesting Respondent No. 8 That The Earlier Order Dated 16.7.1992 Confirmed In Appeal Vide Order Dated 9.6.1995 Was Passed By The Consolidation Authorities In Exercise Of Powers Conferred By Section 21(4) Of The Act And The Said Order Became Final. Without Carrying Out The Directions Contained In The Said Orders The Action Of The Assistant Consolidation Officer In Inviting Fresh Objections From The Tenure Holders Against The Same Old Provisional Consolidation Scheme Was Totally Illegal And The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Rightly Remanded The Matter Back For Carrying Out The Directions Contained In The Earlier Judgments Of The Consolidation Authorities. It Has, Further, Been Urged That The Consolidation Authorities Including The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Have Ample Power Under The Provisions Of The Act To Order Cancellation Of The Provisional Consolidation Scheme If It Is Not In Accordance With Law And To Frame Fresh Scheme. It Has Next Been Contended That In View Of The Large Scale Illegalities And Irregularities Found In Fixation Of Valuation And Exchange Ratio And Preparation Of Statement Of Principles At The Stage Of Section 8 A, The Bar Created By Section 11 A Would Not Come In The Way Of The Authorities To Direct Fresh Proceedings From The Stage Of Section 8. The Arguments Advanced By Sri Deepak Saxena Have Been Adopted By The Learned Standing Counsel And The Counsel Appearing For Gaon Sabha
I Have Considered The Arguments Advanced By The Learned Counsel For The Parties And Perused The Record.
The Consolidation Operation Starts With The Issuance Of Notification Under Section 4 Of The Act. Revision Of The Field Book, Current Annual Register And Determination Of Valuations And Shares In The Joint Holdings Is Undertaken Under Section 8 Of The Act. Thereafter A Statement Of Principles Is Prepared Under Section 8 A Of The Act Setting Forth The Principles To Be Followed In Carrying Out The Consolidation Operation In The Unit. Section 8 A Further Provides That Statement Of Principles Shall Also Contain The Details Of Area To Be Earmarked For Extension Of Abadi Including Area For Abadi Site For Harijans And Landless Persons And Other Public Purposes, The Basis On Which Tenure Holders Will Contribute Land For Extension Of Abadi And Other Public Purposes Etc. , The Standard Plot For Each Unit. Thereafter Notice Under Section 9 Is Issued Containing Extract From The Records And Statements Prepared Under Sections 8 And 8 A Of The Act Inviting Objections. Sections 9A To 9C Provide For Filling Of Objections And Appeal. Section 11 A Of The Act Creates A Bar To Objections In Respect Of Claims To Land, Partition Of Joint Holdings And Valuation Of Plots, Trees And Other Improvements Which Has Been Raised Under Section 9 Or Ought To Have Been Raised Under That Section But Has Not Been Raised At Any Subsequent Stage Of Consolidation Proceedings.
After The Aforesaid Exercise Is Completed A Provisional Consolidation Scheme Is Prepared By The Assistant Consolidation Officer. Section 19-A And Rule 46 Of U.P. Consolidation Of Holdings Rules 1954 Provides That Assistant Consolidation Officer Shall Prepare A Provisional Consolidation Scheme For The Unit In CH Form 23 In Consultation With The Members Of The Consolidation Committee And After Making Enquiries From As Many Tenures As Possible. Section 19 Of The Act Prescribes The Conditions To Be Fulfilled By A Provisional Consolidation Scheme. Apart From Others One Of The Conditions Prescribed By Section 19(1)(b) Is That The Valuation Of The Plots Allotted To A Tenure Holder After Deductions, If Any, Made Towards Public Purpose Shall Be Equal To The Valuation Of The Plots Originally Held By Him. Similarly, Section 19(2)(d) Provides That A Provisional Consolidation Scheme Shall Follow The Principles Laid Down In The Statement Of Principles Prepared Under Section 8 A Of The Act.
From The Reading Of The Aforesaid Provisions Of The Act It Becomes Apparent That The Two Stages Of Consolidation Operation, The One Under Chapter II Relating To Revision And Correction Of Maps And Records And Preparation Of Consolidation Scheme Under Chapter III Are Totally Interlinked. In Case Any Illegality Or Irregularity Is Committed At The Stage Of Section 8 And 8 A, The Provisional Consolidation Scheme Framed Cannot Be In Conformity With The Provisions Of Section 19-A, So As To Ensure A Fair And Proper Allotment Of Land To The Tenure Holders, Frustrating The Very Purpose Of Consolidation Operations.
The Bar Created By Section 11 A Of The Act As A Matter Of Fact Operates In Respect Of An Individual Tenure Holder In Order To Attach Finality To The Proceedings At That Stage. The Said Bar Would Not Operate In A Case Where There Has Been A Large Scale Illegalities And Irregularities Committed By The Subordinate Consolidation Staffs In Determining The Valuation And Preparation Of Statement Of Principles. The Court Cannot Shut Its Eyes To The Various Illegalities And Irregularities Pointed Out In The Fixation Of Valuation And Exchange Ratio And The Provisional Consolidation Scheme By All The Three Authorities And Allow A Few Tenure Holders To Be Benefited At The Cost Of The Tenure Holders At Large In The Garb Of The Bar Created By Section 11 A.
In View Of The Above, The Argument Advanced By The Learned Counsel For The Petitioners That The Matter Could Not Have Been Remanded To Start Consolidation Proceedings Afresh From The Stage Of Section 8 Of The Act In View Of The Bar Created By Section 11 A Are Not Liable To Be Accepted In The Facts And Circumstances Of The Present Case.
The Next Submission Of The Learned Counsel For The Petitioners, That The Provisional Consolidation Scheme Ought Not To Have Been Set Aside Totally And In Any Case The Power Does Not Vest In The Deputy Director Of Consolidation And In View Of Section 21(4) Of The Act The Said Power Can Only Be Exercised By Consolidation Officer And Settlement Officer Consolidation, Has Also Got No Force.
Section 21 (4) Of The Act Reads As Under :-
" If, During The Course Of The Disposal Of An Objection Or The Hearing Of An Appeal, Consolidation Officer Or The Settlement Officer, Consolidation, As The Case May Be, Is Of The Opinion That Material Injustice Is Likely To Be Caused To A Number Of Tenure-holders In Giving Effect To The Provisional Consolidation Scheme, As Prepared By The Assistant Consolidation Officer, Or As Subsequently Modified By The Consolidation Officer, As The Case May Be, And That A Fair And Proper Allotment Of Land To The Tenure-holders Of The Units Fresh One Prepared, It Shall Be Lawful, For Reasons To Be Recorded In Writing For-
i) The Consolidation Officer To Revise The Provisional Consolidation Scheme, After Giving Opportunity Of Being Heard To The Tenure-holders Concerned, Or To Remand The Same To The Assistant Consolidation Officer, With Such Directions As The Consolidation Officer, May Consider Necessary; And
ii) The Settlement Officer, Consolidation, To Revise The Provisional Consolidation Scheme, After Giving Opportunity Of Being Heard To The Tenure-holders Concerned Or To Remand The Same To The Assistant Consolidation Officer, Or The Consolidation Officer, As The Settlement Officer, Consolidation, May Think Fit, With Such Directions As He May Consider Necessary.
The Aforesaid Section Empowers The Consolidation Officer To Interfere With The Provisional Consolidation Scheme As Prepared By The Assistant Consolidation Officer By Setting Aside Or Modifying The Same And Directing The Assistant Consolidation Officer To Frame A Fresh Scheme If He Comes To The Conclusion That A Fair And Proper Allotment Of Land To The Tenure Holders Of The Unit Is Not Possible Without Revising The Provisional Consolidation Scheme Or Getting Afresh One Prepared. Same Powers Are Conferred Upon The Settlement Officer Consolidation While Hearing The Appeal. What Is Therefore Material Is The Opinion Of The Consolidation Officer Or Settlement Officer Consolidation That Material Injustice Is Likely To Be Caused To A Number Of Tenure Holders And A Fair And Proper Allotment Of Land Is Not Possible In Case The Provisional Consolidation Scheme As Prepared Is Given Effect To. The Power Of Consolidation Officer And Settlement Officer Consolidation To Direct Revision Of The Provisional Consolidation Scheme Or Getting A Fresh One Prepared Is Of A Very Wide Amplitude. The Exercise Of Power Would Require Satisfying The Above Two Conditions And There Must Be An Order In Writing Specifying Reasons.
In The Present Case, The Consolidation Officer While Hearing Objections Has Recorded His Satisfaction In The Order Dated 16.7.1992 That A Fair And Proper Allotment Of Land To The Tenure Holders Is Not Possible Unless A Fresh Scheme Is Prepared. The Settlement Officer Consolidation Has Also Confirmed The Same Vide Order Dated 9.6.1995. He Has Also Recorded His Satisfaction With Regard To The Fact That Preparation Of A Fresh Consolidation Scheme Was Necessary For Proper Allotment Of Land To The Tenure Holders. The Reasons Recorded In The Two Judgements Clearly Shows That The Assistant Consolidation Officer Had Committed Various Irregularities And Illegalities In The Proceedings At The Stage Of Section 8 And 8 A And Also In Preparing The Provisional Consolidation Scheme. The Two Authorities Have Rightly Observed That Not Only Material Injustice Would Be Caused To A Large Number Of Tenure Holders But Also A Fair And Proper Allotment Of The Land Of The Tenure Holders Was Not Possible Under The Provisional Consolidation Scheme As Framed. Thus The Two Authorities Were Fully Justified In Canceling The Entire Provisional Consolidation Scheme Of The Village. There Were Also Fully Justified In Directing The Same To Be Prepared Afresh By The Assistant Consolidation Officer After Redetermining The Valuation And Exchange Ratio Of The Plots After Giving An Opportunity Of Hearing To The Tenure Holders.
In So Far As The Other Limb Of The Arguments That The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Cannot Exercise The Powers Conferred By Section 21(4) Of The Act Is Also Without Any Force And Is Wholly Misconceived. Section 48 Of The Act Which Confers The Revisional Powers On The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Makes It Clear That He Can Call For And Examine The Record Of Any Case Decided Or Proceedings Undertaken By Any Subordinate Authority For The Purpose Of Satisfying Himself As To The Legality Of The Proceedings Or As To Correctness, Legality Or Propriety Of Any Order Passed By Such Authority In Any Case Or Proceedings. He Is Also Empowered To Make Such Order In The Case Or Proceedings As He Thinks Fit. Thus, There Can Be No Doubt That The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Also Has The Same Power As The Consolidation Officer Or The Settlement Officer Consolidation While Hearing Revision Under Section 48 Of The Act And He Can Also Exercise The Powers Conferred Under Section 21(4) Of The Act As Given To The Consolidation Officer And Settlement Officer Consolidation By The Said Section.
Furthermore, The Earlier Orders Dated 16.7.1992 Confirmed By The Settlement Officer Consolidation In Appeal Vide Order Dated 9.6.1995 Directing The Assistant Consolidation Officer To Prepare A Fresh Consolidation Scheme After Redetermining The Valuation And Exchange Ratio Etc. Afresh Had Become Final. The Action Of The Assistant Consolidation Officer Inviting Fresh Objections Without Carrying Out The Directions Contained In The Aforesaid Judgements Was Absolutely Illegal And Without Jurisdiction. The Deputy Director Of Consolidation Rightly Did Not Proceed To Decide The Revision Filed By The Petitioners On Merits And Directed The Assistant Consolidation Officer To Comply With The Directions Contained In The Aforesaid Two Earlier Judgements Of The Consolidation Officer And Settlement Officer Consolidation.
Having Carefully Perused The Orders Of The Consolidation Officer, Settlement Officer As Well As Deputy Director Of Consolidation There Is No Manner Of Doubt That In This Case Appropriate Orders Have Been Passed For Reframing The Provisional Consolidation Scheme After Redetermination Of The Valuation And Exchange Ratio Afresh. The Reasons Given By All The Three Authorities Are Not Only Sound But Are Strictly In Conformity With All The Requirements Prescribed By Section 21(4) Of The Act And There Appears To Be No Manifest Error Of Law In Setting Aside The Provisional Consolidation Scheme. The Interest Of The Petitioners Is Not Affected In Any Manner Because They Will Always Have An Opportunity Of Filing Objections Afresh In Case Of Any Grievance. In The Facts And Circumstances Preparation Of Fresh Provisional Consolidation Scheme After Redetermining The Valuation And Exchange Ratio Afresh In Accordance With Law Would Ensure Fair And Proper Allotment Of Land To The Tenure Holders Of The Village And Would Be In Public Interest And For The Benefit And Good Of All The Tenure Holders Of The Village.
In View Of The Aforesaid Directions, This Writ Petition Lacks Merit And Must Fail And Is Accordingly Dismissed. However, In The Facts And Circumstances Of The Case There Shall Be No Order As To Costs.

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