Decided on February 20,1952



Govinda Menon, J. - (1.) The appellant before us was the first defendant in the Court below, the second defendant being the Government of Madras represented by the District Collector, Guntur. The plaintiff brought a suit for a declaration that the order of the Revenue Divisional Officer, Guntur, dated 27th July 1947 is illegal, ultra vires, and not binding on him. The learned Judge decreed the suit as prayed for and hence this appeal by the first defendant.
(2.) The first defendant was the permanent village munsif of Nandigama village in Sat-tenapalli taluk, Guntur district. On account of irregularities in official, proceedings as well as charges of misappropriation he was dismissed by the Revenue Divisional Officer on 25th July 1944, which dismissal, on appeal to the Collector, was confirmed on 31st December 1944. On 15th January 1945, under Ex. A. 5 the Revenue Divisional Officer appointed the plaintiff as acting village munsif which appointment was confirmed on 31st January 1945 under Ex. A. 6. Against the confirmation of the order of dismissal the first defendant preferred a second appeal to the Revenue Board which was also dismissed on 4th May 1945 (Ex. A. 3). There was a further petition to the Government for interference in this matter in revision and on this the order under the signature of the Assistant Secretary to Government was that the law does not provide for interference by the Government in the matter and therefore the petition was rejected on 14th October 1946 (Ex. A. 4). Subsequently, the first defendant memorialised the Honourable Prime Minister, Government of Madras, under Ex. E. 1, and on that, orders were passed (Ex. B. 2) on 16th May 1947 by which the Government came to the following conclusion: "Last year, the petitioner submitted a petition to the Government requesting reinstatement to the post. The petition was rejected in the Government endorsement read above. The Government have since re-examined the case, on a petition subsequently received from the dismissed headman. They consider that, in view of the fact that the petitioner is young, the punishment is too severe and this is a fit case in which they should exercise clemency and reduce the punishment. They accordingly direct that the petitioner should be restored to duty, the period between the date of his dismissal and the date of his restoration being treated as one of suspension and that he should be warned to behave himself in future. The petitioner is referred to the Board of Revenue for orders on his petition read above."
(3.) The Board of Revenue to whom the petitioner was referred for orders by the Government, in its turn directed the Collector to enquire into the matter, who Makkena Sambayya vs. Makkena Tirupatayya and Anr. (20.02.1952 - MADHC) Page 3 of 14 referred the petitioner to the Revenue Divisional Officer who on 27th July 1947, passed the following order: "Sri Makkena Sambiah is hereby restored to office as headman of Nandigama village of Sattenapalle taluk in relief of Sri Makkena Tirupathiah whose appointment ordered in this office R. D. is No. 827 of 1945 dated 31st January 1945 is hereby superseded." The plaintiff, whose appointment terminated as a result of the reinstatement of the present appellant, has brought the suit for a declaration that the order of the Revenue Divisional Officer was ultra vires, illegal and invalid and that the order by which he was appointed, viz., Ex. A. 6, should remain effective and that the first defendant cannot have any right to the office. The first defendant's contention in the court below was that the Government has complete jurisdiction and power to review the earlier order refusing to interfere and thai according to the provisions of the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act his restoration is valid and operative. There was a further question raised as to whether the suit was entertainable at all in a civil court. The State of Madras which have been impleaded as the second defendant in the suit supported the first defendant and asserted that they had ample powers to act in the manner they did. As stated already the Subordinate Judge agreed with the contentions urged on behalf of the plaintiff and decreed the suit. The State of Madras though a party respondent to this appeal, actively supports the case put forward on behalf of the appellant and contends that Ex. B. 2 by which the Government held, on a re-examination of the case, that the appellant was entitled to a reduction of punishment find clemency cannot be questioned by the plaintiff. It is further contended that under the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, Sections 240 and 241, then in force, the subsequent order, Ex. A. 7, cancelling the earlier order has force and vitality and cannot be questioned at all.;

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