A.P. Estates Abolition (Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 (for short 'the Act'),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.


THE HON'BLE MR JUSTICE L.NARASIMHA REDDY          

WRIT PETITION No.26480 OF 2010  
       
08.09.2012

Indukuri Anil and others and

The Commissioner (Appeals) and others.

Counsel for petitioners:        Sri A.K.Kishore Reddy

Counsel for Respondents :  GP for REvenue

<GIST:

>HEAD NOTE:  

?Cases referred

ORDER:
       
        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
2nd respondent.

        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.    
Dated:08.08.2012

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