Thereupon the 1st respondent - Tahsildar summoned both the petitioner and the 4th respondent and attempted to settle the issue amicably. Since both the parties were indifferent, in order to maintain peace and tranquility the 1st respondent directed seizure of the bore well of the petitioner. Pursuant thereto, the Mandal Revenue Inspector along with Village Revenue Officer, Medipally has seized the bore well under a panchanama. It is also contended that as per Section 10 (2) of the Act read with Rule 12 (1) of the Rules made thereunder it is necessary to obtain prior permission to dig a new bore well and that the petitioner had failed to comply with the same. No doubt, the prohibition under Section 10 of the Act is only with regard to sinking of wells in the vicinity of public drinking water source within a distance of 250 mts. Similarly the prohibition under Section 11 of the Act is with regard to ground water basins which are declared as overexploited areas. whether the well in question is an existing well or it is dug recently being a pure question of fact which can be decided only on appreciation of evidence, the petitioner ought to have availed the statutory remedy of appeal. Accordingly, without expressing any opinion as to the rival claims made by the petitioner and the 4th respondent, the Writ Petition is disposed of granting leave and liberty to the petitioner to invoke the statutory remedy of appeal. Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, status quo obtaining as on today shall be maintained for a period of ten (10) days from today.


THE HON'BLE Ms. JUSTICE G. ROHINI    

WRIT PETITION No.2063 OF 2012  

26.03.2012

Chiduruppa Hanumantha Reddy  

1. The  Tahsildar, Bommala Ramaram Mandal,Bommala Ramaram, Nalgonda District.,    
And 3 others.                                  

Counsel for the petitioner: Sri Madhusudhan Reddy Bhureddy

Counsel for respondent Nos.1 to 3: Govt. Pleader for Revenue

Counsel for respondent No.4: Sri Malleswara Rao Kallu

(GIST:

(HEAD NOTE:  

?Cases cited:

ORDER:

The petitioner claims title and possession  in respect of Ac.1-31 cents of land
situated in Sy.Nos.92, 94 & 95  of Medipally Village, Bommal Ramaram Mandal, 
Nalgonda District, having purchased the same under a registered sale deed, dated
3.1.2012.  It is claimed that a bore well is existing in the said land which
was dug by his vendor in the year 1993 and electricity service connection was
also obtained to the said well by his vendor long back.

While so, by order dated 23.1.2012 the 1st respondent - Tahsildar, ordered
seizure of the said bore well on the ground that the petitioner had dug the bore
well without prior permission as required under the provisions of A.P. Water,
Land and Trees Act, 2002 (for short, 'the Act'). Aggrieved by the said order,
dated 23.11.2012, the present writ petition is filed contending inter alia that
the  allegation that the petitioner had dug the bore well in question without
prior permission is absolutely false and baseless since the well has been in
existence even by the date of the commencement of the Act.  It is also contended
that  the impugned order is arbitrary, illegal and without jurisdiction since no
permission is required under the A.P. Water, Land and Trees Act, 2002  with
regard to sinking a well for irrigation purpose.

In the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents 1 to 3, it is stated
that on a complaint received from the respondent No.4, the Village Revenue
Officer, Medipally after making the necessary enquiry submitted a report, dated
11.1.2012  stating that the petitioner had dug a bore well six days ago without
any prior permission within 23 yards from the bore well of the respondent No.4
due to which the well of the 4th respondent was dried up.  It is also stated
that though a notice was issued to the petitioner calling upon to explain the
said allegations, the petitioner failed to submit his reply.  Thereupon the 1st
respondent - Tahsildar summoned both the petitioner and the 4th respondent and
attempted to settle the issue amicably.  Since both the parties were
indifferent, in order to maintain peace and tranquility the 1st respondent
directed seizure of the bore well of the petitioner.  Pursuant thereto, the
Mandal Revenue Inspector along with Village Revenue Officer, Medipally has
seized the bore well under   a panchanama.   It is also contended that as per
Section 10 (2) of the Act read with Rule 12 (1) of the Rules made thereunder it
is necessary to obtain prior permission to dig a new bore well and that the
petitioner had failed to comply with the same.   Therefore, the impugned order
was rightly passed after affording an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner.

The respondent No.4 also filed a counter-affidavit  on the same lines
reiterating the allegation that the petitioner had dug the bore well without
obtaining permission from the concerned authorities 15 days prior to the
impugned proceedings dated 23.01.2012.

I have heard the learned counsel for both the parties and perused the material
available on record.

On a combined reading of Section 8 of the Act and Rules 12 to 14 of the Rules
made thereunder, it is clear that so far as the wells existing by the date of
the commencement of the Act the owner of the well shall give an application
giving details as in Form-I appended to the  Rules.   Rule 12 provides that the
Town Planning Department of the Municipal Corporation, Municipalities, Hyderabad
Water  Supply and Sewerage Board,  Village Secretaries of the Gram Panchayat  
shall facilitate registration of all existing wells in their jurisdiction and
the details should be entered in a  register as prescribed in Form-I.

So far as new wells are concerned, Rule 13 of the A.P. Water, Land and Trees
Rules, 2004 provides that any person desiring to dig a new well of any kind in
their premises should obtain permission by submitting to the Authority
constituted under the Act having jurisdiction over the area an application in
Forms 2 & 5 as the case may be appended to the Rules together with a fee as 
fixed by the Authority from time to time.   Thereupon the Authority shall
process the application with the help of the designated officer.  The designated
officer has to give his recommendation to the authority on being satisfied about
the compliance of the various provisions of the Act and then the Authority shall
dispose of the application within 15 days of receipt of the application.  The
permission of the Authority shall be in Forms 3 & 6 as the case may be appended
to the Rules.  Rule 14 further provides that the permission for grant of sinking
of well shall be subject to the conditions specified therein.

No doubt, the prohibition  under Section 10 of the Act is only with regard to
sinking of wells in the vicinity of public drinking water source within a
distance of 250 mts. Similarly the prohibition under Section 11 of the Act is
with regard to ground water basins which are declared as overexploited areas.
Even with regard to areas other than overexploited areas, the Authority
constituted under the Act is empowered under Section 13 to issue directions
specifying the distance for sinking of wells from the existing well and depth
for such sinking and such other conditions in order to curb unhealthy
competition to tap water from deeper layers of ground water.

In the case on hand,  the 4th respondent's well is being used for irrigation
purpose and admittedly no drinking water source is involved.   It is also true
that the area in question is not declared as overexploited area and it is not
the case of the respondents that any directions are issued by the Authority
under Section 13 of the Act specifying the distance for sinking of wells from
the existing well in order to curb unhealthy competition.
Nevertheless it is necessary for  any person to dig a new well of any kind in
their premises to obtain the permission as provided under Rule 13 of the Rules.
As noticed above, an application shall be made in Forms 2 & 5  seeking
permission for digging a new well and on being satisfied about the compliance of
the various provisions of the Act, the permission will be granted in Forms 3 & 6
as the case may be.  Thus it is clear that the prior permission of the Authority
for sinking a new well is mandatory under the Act.

The specific case of the respondents is that the petitioner in the instant case
has not obtained such permission.  The petitioner has denied the very allegation
that  the well in question is dug recently and pleaded that the said well has
been in existence even by the date of the commencement of the Act.  However, in
spite of the fact that the petitioner was given an opportunity of being heard
before passing the impugned order, he could not establish that the well had been
in existence even by the date of the commencement of Act.  Therefore, the
impugned order  came to be passed by the 1st respondent.   Since the said order
cannot be held to be without jurisdiction or in violation of the principles of
natural justice, the interference by this Court is not warranted.
However, as against the impugned order, an alternative remedy of appeal is
available under Section 33 of the Act.  The issue whether the well in question
is an existing well or it is dug recently being a pure question of fact  which
can be decided only on appreciation of evidence, the petitioner ought to have
availed the statutory remedy of appeal.

Accordingly, without expressing any opinion as to the rival claims made by the
petitioner and the 4th  respondent, the Writ Petition is disposed of granting
leave and liberty to the petitioner to invoke the statutory remedy of appeal.
Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, status quo obtaining
as on today shall be maintained for  a period of ten (10) days from today.

Writ Petition is accordingly disposed of.    No costs.
____________

G. ROHINI, J
Date: 26.03.2012

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