HARESH OCTROI CO Vs. S RAMABHADRAN
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
HARESH OCTROI CO.
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G.T.NANAVATI, P.D.DESAI -
(1.) The Bagasra Nagar Panchayat which is the second respondent in the Letters Patent Appeal and petitioner in the writ petition is constituted under the Gujarat Panchayats Act 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) and it exercises powers and performs functions under the various provisions of the Act. Sec. 180 inter alia enables a nagar panchayat to lease by public auction or private contract the collecting of octroi. The petitioner Panchayat gave an advertisement in a daily news paper on July 27. 1979 inviting applications from persons interested in taking such lease. A public auction took place on August 9 1979 The appellate in the Letters Patent Appeal gave a bid for Rs. 8 26 503 the third respondent in the said appeal gave a bid for Rs. 8 27 0 There were other bids but they were not higher than the bids of these two parties. By a circular resolution No. 441 passed by the petitioner Panchayat on August 7 1979 the bid of the appellants which was lower than that of the third respondent was accepted. The third respondent preferred an appeal on August 16 1979 to the District Panchayat Amreli under sec. 290. The Appeal Committee of the District Panchayat by its order dated August 20 1919 dismissed the said appeal. The third respondent preferred Special Civil Application No. 2569 of 1979 against the said appellate order. However the said writ petition was withdrawn in view of the alternative remedy available under sec. 305. Soon after the withdrawal the third respondent preferred on September 12 1979 a revision application before the Development Commissioner under sec. 305 The Development Commissioner by his order dated September 29 1979 allowed the revision application and quashed the order of the Appeal Committee of the District Panchayat as also resolution No. 44 of the petitioner Panchayat. The ground on which Development Commissioner quashed the aforesaid order and resolution was that upon a bare reading of the resolution in question it appeared that the lower bid of the appellants was accepted in preference to the higher bid of the third respondent on the ground that whereas the partners of the appellant firm were local residents the third respondent was outsider. In the opinion of the Development Commissioner the ground which prevailed with the petitioner Panchayat was not relevant and germane particularly in view of the fact that the third respondent was a resident of Junagadh District which was next adjacent to Amreli District. The appellants feeling aggrieved by the decision of the Development Commissioner preferred special Civil Application No. 2914 of 1979 which came on for hearing b fore the learned Chief Justice. By a speaking order dated October 17 1979 the learned Chief Justice summarily rejected the said writ petition. Hence the Letters Patent Appeal. The writ petition of the petitioner Panchayat which has been tagged on with the Letters Patent Appeal is directed against the self same order of the Development Commissioner and it has come up for hearing for the first time along with the Letters Patent Appeal.
(2.) We are in entire agreement with the reasoning and conclusion of the learned Chief Justice and in our opinion there is no merit in this Letters Patent Appeal as also in the writ petition.
(3.) One of the grounds which was urged before the learned Chief Justice and which has been forcefully reiterated before us on behalf of the petitioner Panchayat and the appellants is that the State Governmenthad no jurisdiction under sec. 305 to quash the resolution in question passed by the petitioner Panchayat. The submission before the learned Chief Justice was that under sec. 305 the revisional powers could be exercised only in respect of any order passed inter alia by any Panchayat and that a resolution passed by the petitioner Panchayat granting lease under sec. 180 amounts to a decision and it cannot be said to be such an order. The argument was rejected by the learned Chief Justice on the ground that under sec. 305 the State Government had the power to call for and examine the record of proceedings of any Panchayat or Committee thereof and that the width of the power indicated that if any decision taken or order made in such proceeding was not in accordance with law or was improper the revisional power could be properly exercised. We agree with the view of the learned Chief Justice. In addition we would like to point out that even assuming that there is a distinction between an order and a resolution passed by a panchayat and that what is revisable under sec. 305 is an order and not resolution it requires to be noted that so far as the present case is concerned the revisional power was exercised under sec. 305 against the appellate order of the District Panchayat. Sec. 29) sub-sec. (3) which deals with the scope of the appellate power of the District Panchayat in terms speaks of the District Panchayat passing such order on the appeal as it may deem just and proper (underlining supplied). There is no manner of doubt therefore that when the District Panchayat dismissed the appeal preferred by the respondent its decision amounted to an order and that such order would in any event be revisable under sec. 305 on the plain terms of the said section.;
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