A.P.Revenue summons Act 1/1989 and the Andhra Pradesh Escheats and Bona Vacantia Act, 1974 (for short 'the 1974 Act'). - Thasildar issued to two notice of summons to produce documents etc., else he will take action under Escheats or Bona Vacanita Act to the petitioner - Writ - High court quashed the notices as the Thasildar is not competent to issue the notice - but left open the issue for taking action as per law = Sri Sai Balaji Health Care India Private Ltd., Hyderabad...Petitioner The Government of Andhra Pradesh, represented by its Principal Secretary, Hyderabad and another ..Respondents = Published in / cited in / Reported in judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=10621

A.P.Revenue summons Act 1/1989 and  the Andhra Pradesh Escheats and Bona Vacantia Act, 1974 (for short 'the 1974 Act'). - Thasildar issued to two notice of summons to produce documents etc., else he will take action under Escheats or Bona Vacanita Act to the petitioner - Writ - High court quashed the notices as the Thasildar is not competent to issue the notice - but left open the issue for taking action as per law = 

Whether the Thasildar is a competent authority to issue summons under Revenue summons Act  1 of 1989, in an enquiry under under the Andhra Pradesh Escheats and Bona Vacantia Act, 1974 (for short 'the 1974 Act'). ? = No as he is not the competent authority only joint collector as per 1977 G.O.Ms.
Under Section 1 of the 1869 Act, the revenue officers such as Collectors, Sub-
Collectors, Assistant Collectors, Deputy Collectors, Tahsildars and Deputy
Tahsildars etc., are empowered to summon any person whose evidence may appear to   
them to be necessary for the investigation of any matter in which they are
authorised to hold an inquiry, and also to require the production of any
document or other article relevant to the matter under inquiry, which may be in
possession or under the control of such person.  
Thus, the power to summon under
Section 1 of the 1869 Act can be exercised only by such persons as named in the
said provision who are authorised to hold an inquiry.  
The phrase 'authorised'
shall necessarily mean that either the officer is authorised by any provision of
any enactment or by delegation of power by an authority which is permitted to
delegate his power under the extant enactment to hold an inquiry. 
Thus, Section
1 is not a stand alone provision.  Unless the authority concerned is vested with
the power to hold an inquiry under any other enactment, he cannot exercise the
power under the said provision.

In the first notice dated 08.04.2011, respondent No.2 has not disclosed the
purpose for which he has issued the summons.  However, in the second notice 
dated 27.04.2011, he has indicated that if the documents mentioned therein are
not produced, action under the provisions of the 1974 Act will be initiated.
Under the said Act, only local officer as defined under Section 2(vi) read with
Section 5 is empowered to hold an inquiry for declaring any property as an
escheat or bona vacantia.  
Under Section 5 of the 1974 Act, the Government is
authorised to appoint by notification the District Collector or such other
officers as they deemed fit to be the local officers for each district to
exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned by or under the Act
subject to the general control and directions of the competent authority.

The learned senior counsel for the petitioner drew the attention of this Court
to 
G.O.Ms.No.1426, Revenue, dated 31.10.1977, published in the Andhra Pradesh  
Revenue Code, Ninth Edition-2012, Volume 1, by Padala Rama Reddi.  
A perusal of 
the said G.O. shows that the Governor of Andhra Pradesh has appointed the Joint
Collectors as the local officers within the jurisdiction of their respective
Districts to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned by or under
the 1974 Act and has also appointed the Tahsildars and the independent Deputy
Tahsildars as the officers to assist the local officers appointed for the
purpose of the 1974 Act within the jurisdiction of their taluks and the sub-
taluks respectively.

Thus, it is quite evident that the Tahsildar is not authorised to inquire under
the provisions of the 1974 Act to enable him to invoke the provisions of Section
1 of the 1869 Act.   Respondent No.2 was merely appointed to assist the Joint
Collector in an inquiry that may be initiated by the latter under the 1974 Act.

Therefore, I have no hesitation to hold that the two impugned notices dated
08.04.2011 and 27.04.2011 issued by respondent No.2 are without jurisdiction and
they are accordingly quashed.  
However, the local officer concerned is left free
to initiate appropriate proceedings if he is of the opinion that the petitioner
is in possession of any property, which falls under the provisions of the 1974
Act.

The Writ Petition is accordingly allowed.

As a sequel to allowing the writ petition, interim order dated 30.04.2011 in
W.P.M.P.No.16320 of 2011 is vacated and W.P.M.P.No.16320 of 2011 and    
W.V.M.P.No.1113 of 2012 shall stand disposed of as infructuous.

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY          

WRIT PETITION No.13459 of 2011  

05-12-2013

Sri Sai Balaji Health Care India Private Ltd., Hyderabad...Petitioner

The Government of Andhra Pradesh, represented by its Principal Secretary,
Hyderabad and another ..Respondents

Counsel for the petitioner:Sri D.Prakash Reddy, senior counsel for Ms.V.Uma
Devi

Counsel for respondents: Assistant Government Pleader for Revenue

<Gist :

>Head Note:

?Cases referred:

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY          

WRIT PETITION No.13459 of 2011  

05.12.2013

The Court made the following:

ORDER:                        

This writ petition is filed for a mandamus to declare the action of respondent
No.2 in issuing notices dated 08.04.2011 and 27.04.2011 under the Andhra Pradesh 
Revenue Summonses Act, 1869 (for short 'the 1869 Act') as arbitrary and without
jurisdiction.

The petitioner purchased property bearing Nos.3-4-3, 3-4-3/1 and
3-4-3/2 (corresponding to old premises No.1579 known as Ashokvihar) situated at
Station Road, Kachiguda, Hyderabad, together with appurtenant open land
admeasuring 2554 sq. yards from five private individuals under registered sale
deed dated 31.07.2008.
When the petitioner was preparing to construct a
building for hospital over the said land, respondent No.2 issued notice dated
08.04.2011 summoning the present occupier of the premises to appear before him 
along with all the related documents on 16.04.2011.  The petitioner claimed to
have submitted a copy of the sale deed in response to the said summons.
Thereafter, respondent No.2 has issued another notice dated 27.04.2011 directing
the petitioner to produce the order copies of judgment in O.P.No.103 of 1975,
dated 15.04.1976, succession certificate/legal heir certificate in favour of Sri
Vivek Anand Shrikande and 'No Objection Certificate' from the District
Collector, Hyderabad, within three days from the date of the said notice.  Both
these notices have been questioned in this writ petition on the ground that the
same have been issued by respondent No.2 without jurisdiction.

Sri D.Prakash Reddy, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner,
submitted that the power to issue summons as done by respondent No.2 is  
available under the 1869 Act only if the summoning authority is authorised to
hold an inquiry and that while in his notice dated 08.04.2011, respondent No.2
has not specified the purpose for which the summons were issued, in the notice
dated 27.04.2011, he has indicated that if the documents required by him are not
produced by the petitioner, necessary action will be initiated under the Andhra
Pradesh Escheats and Bona Vacantia Act, 1974 (for short 'the 1974 Act').  The
learned senior counsel further submitted that respondent No.2 does not fall
within the definition of 'local officer' under Section 2 (vi) of the 1974 Act
and that therefore, as he has no power to hold an inquiry under the said Act,
both the impugned notices are without jurisdiction.

The learned Government Pleader for Revenue (Telangana Area) submitted that under
the 1869 Act, respondent No.2 is empowered to issue summons and that therefore,
the impugned notices do not suffer from any jurisdictional error.

I have carefully considered the submissions of the learned counsel for both the
parties.

Under Section 1 of the 1869 Act, the revenue officers such as Collectors, Sub-
Collectors, Assistant Collectors, Deputy Collectors, Tahsildars and Deputy
Tahsildars etc., are empowered to summon any person whose evidence may appear to   
them to be necessary for the investigation of any matter in which they are
authorised to hold an inquiry, and also to require the production of any
document or other article relevant to the matter under inquiry, which may be in
possession or under the control of such person.  
Thus, the power to summon under
Section 1 of the 1869 Act can be exercised only by such persons as named in the
said provision who are authorised to hold an inquiry.  
The phrase 'authorised'
shall necessarily mean that either the officer is authorised by any provision of
any enactment or by delegation of power by an authority which is permitted to
delegate his power under the extant enactment to hold an inquiry. 
Thus, Section
1 is not a stand alone provision.  Unless the authority concerned is vested with
the power to hold an inquiry under any other enactment, he cannot exercise the
power under the said provision.

In the first notice dated 08.04.2011, respondent No.2 has not disclosed the
purpose for which he has issued the summons.  However, in the second notice 
dated 27.04.2011, he has indicated that if the documents mentioned therein are
not produced, action under the provisions of the 1974 Act will be initiated.
Under the said Act, only local officer as defined under Section 2(vi) read with
Section 5 is empowered to hold an inquiry for declaring any property as an
escheat or bona vacantia.  
Under Section 5 of the 1974 Act, the Government is
authorised to appoint by notification the District Collector or such other
officers as they deemed fit to be the local officers for each district to
exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned by or under the Act
subject to the general control and directions of the competent authority.

The learned senior counsel for the petitioner drew the attention of this Court
to 
G.O.Ms.No.1426, Revenue, dated 31.10.1977, published in the Andhra Pradesh  
Revenue Code, Ninth Edition-2012, Volume 1, by Padala Rama Reddi.  
A perusal of 
the said G.O. shows that the Governor of Andhra Pradesh has appointed the Joint
Collectors as the local officers within the jurisdiction of their respective
Districts to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned by or under
the 1974 Act and has also appointed the Tahsildars and the independent Deputy
Tahsildars as the officers to assist the local officers appointed for the
purpose of the 1974 Act within the jurisdiction of their taluks and the sub-
taluks respectively.

Thus, it is quite evident that the Tahsildar is not authorised to inquire under
the provisions of the 1974 Act to enable him to invoke the provisions of Section
1 of the 1869 Act.   Respondent No.2 was merely appointed to assist the Joint
Collector in an inquiry that may be initiated by the latter under the 1974 Act.

Therefore, I have no hesitation to hold that the two impugned notices dated
08.04.2011 and 27.04.2011 issued by respondent No.2 are without jurisdiction and
they are accordingly quashed.  
However, the local officer concerned is left free
to initiate appropriate proceedings if he is of the opinion that the petitioner
is in possession of any property, which falls under the provisions of the 1974
Act.

The Writ Petition is accordingly allowed.

As a sequel to allowing the writ petition, interim order dated 30.04.2011 in
W.P.M.P.No.16320 of 2011 is vacated and W.P.M.P.No.16320 of 2011 and    
W.V.M.P.No.1113 of 2012 shall stand disposed of as infructuous.
__________________________  
(C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY, J)    
05th December, 2013

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