the power of the revenue Court in deciding the disputed questions
The application before the Mandal Revenue Officer
was filed under Section 3 of the Andhra Pradesh Rights in Land
and Pattadar Pass Books Act, 1971 (for short, the Act of 1971).
Thereupon in accordance with the provision contained in the A.P.
Rights in Land and Pattadar Pass Books Rules, 1989, the Mandal
Revenue Officer conducted enquiry and after giving due
opportunity to the objectors and on detailed consideration of the
revenue records, passed orders on 15.03.1991.
The objection as
to maintainability of such application and the competency of the
Mandal Revenue Officer to decide the disputed questions of fact
with reference to the succession was considered and specifically
rejected by the Mandal Revenue Officer.
In support of his
decision, the Mandal Revenue Officer placed reliance on the
provision contained in Rule 9(1)(a)(i) read with Rule 9(1)(c)(i) of
the A.P. Rights in Land and Pattadar Pass Books Rules, 1989.
said provisions read as under:
9(1)(a)(i). all cases requiring change of Registry
necessitated by the death of registered holder i.e., succession
by heirship, if succession is not disputed.
With regard to the
entry of the names of the heirs, the names of all the heirs
entitled to shares in the property should be registered.
9(1)(c)(ii). In respect of cases falling under Rule
the Mandal Revenue Officer shall hold a summary
enquiry as to who has the right to succeed to the property of
the deceased registered holder, according to the principles of
the Law of Succession which govern the case and give notice to
all persons known or believed to be interested to the effect
that the registry will be made in the name of the person found
to be entitled, unless a declaration if filed, within three
months from the date of the notice, by any person objecting to
the registry, stating that he has instituted a suit in a Civil Court
to establish his superior title and an authenticated copy of the
plaint in the suit is produced. If no declaration is filed, the
registry should be made as stated in the notice, at the
expiration of three months.
If a declaration is filed, the result
of the suit should be awaited before taking further action.
The reading of the above provisions would make it
clear that the Mandal Revenue Officer is competent to grant the
certificate as sought; entitled to enquire into the issue by
considering the rival claims; and such enquiry is summary enquiry.
However, it is permissible for the objector to bring it to the
notice of the Mandal Revenue Officer that on the same subject
the objectors have instituted civil litigation and the same is
The provision in Rule 9(1)(c)(ii) enables
objectors three (3) months time to institute suit in civil Court and
file proof of institution of such suit before the Mandal Revenue
In such a case, the Mandal Revenue Officer has to
postpone taking decision till the matter is adjudicated by the civil
Thereupon he would have to follow the declaration given
by the said Court.
In the present case, admittedly, the petitioners have not opted to the said course.
Thus, there was no restraint imposed on the Mandal Revenue Officer to decide the
issue raised before him.
The scope of power of the revenue Courts under Rule 9 of the Rules of 1989 was considered by this
Court in the two decisions relied upon by the petitioners.
In K.G. Krishna Murthys Case (Supra 1),
Single Judge of this Court held that the orders of the Courts of
limited jurisdiction like Revenue Courts, are only conclusive as far
as the proceedings are concerned.
The Revenue Courts have no
power or jurisdiction to decide the title conclusively. Subject to
the conditions mentioned under the statute, they have got
limited jurisdiction conferred thereunder.
This Court observed
that mutation proceedings are only for the fiscal purposes and
they are made only to enable the collection of land revenue to
the Government and mutation proceedings also are not conclusive
empowered to deal with change of Registry owing to the death
of the registered holder.
Under Rule 9(1)(a)(ii), the Mandal
Revenue Officer is authorized to entertain a dispute where
there is a break in the chain of registered documents, if the
change of registry is based on a sale, gift etc. through
Under Rule 9(1)(a)(iii), disputes
pertaining to grant of joint pattas of a joint Hindu family shall
be referred to the Mandal Revenue Officer.
9(1)(c)(iii), the Mandal Revenue Officer is entitled to resolve
disputes involving a break in the chain of registered documents
by relying on certain other evidence such as statements of
other ryots and cist receipts.
Under Rule 9(1)(c)(ii), the Mandal
Revenue Officer is empowered to hold a summary enquiry as to
who has the right to succeed to the property of a registered
These, then, are the only disputes that can be resolved
by the Mandal Revenue Officer under the scheme of the Act of
1971 and the Rules of 1989.
The aforesaid provisions demonstrate that the revenue
authorities, under the Act of 1971 and the Rules of 1989, are
empowered to undertake a summary appraisal and enquiry of
particular disputes in respect of title.
Such enquiry is obviously
not a substitute for an adjudication by a Civil Court of
competent jurisdiction. In the course of such enquiry, it would
not be open to the revenue authority to set aside transactions
or adjudicate complicated issues falling out side the scope of
Rule 9(1)(a)(i), (ii) and (iii) of the Rules of 1989.
Under Section 5 of the Act of 1971, on the decision of
the Mandal Revenue Officer, an appeal shall lie to the Revenue
Divisional Officer and such appeal shall be filed within 60 days
from the date of communication of the decision of the Mandal
Admittedly, no such appeal was filed and
directly invoking the provision under Section 9 of the Act of 1971,
without exhausting the remedy of appeal, a revision was filed
before the Joint Collector after more than 12 years.
revision was entertained, but dismissed on merits. No
explanation is forthcoming as to why the petitioners kept quiet
for 12 years and allowed the decision of the Mandal Revenue
Officer to stand for such a long time.
This unexplained delay also
mitigate against the claim of the petitioners at this stage.
petitioners having not exhausted the right of appeal within the
statutory limitation prescribed, cannot take advantage of
provision contained in Section 9 of the Act of 1971 to file a
Section 9 of the Act of 1971 though does not
prescribe time limit for preferring a revision, such revision has to
be filed within reasonable time.
Twelve years cannot be treated
as reasonable time, more so, when it is concerning the status of
the land in issue.
The petitioners are seeking to upset an issue
which was concluded by the Mandal Revenue Officer on
15.03.1991, by filing a revision after 12 years and thereafter
preferring this writ petition.
Thus, the petitioners are not
entitled to equitable relief, even assuming that there was serious
dispute regarding the status of the joint family properties. Thus,
I see no merit in the writ petition.-2015 Telangana & A.P. MSKLAWREPORTS