Decided on June 19,1963



- (1.) The petitioner asks for a Writ of mandamus or other appropriate direction or order to prohibit to the District Collector, Guntur, from enforcing his order dated 27th April, 1962, granting a lease to quarry napa slabs to Srimathi Tulasi Reddy who has subsequently been impleaded as the fourth respondent in this Writ Petition.
(2.) The petitioner alleges that he and the fourth respondent were partners of a firm of which the latter was the Managing Partner. A lease to quarry napa slabs from an extent of Ac. 23-55 cents in Survey No. 598/23 D. 20 of Mandadi village Palnad Taluk, Guntur district, was held by this firm. That lease was to expire on 28th February, 1961. Both the petitioner and the fourth respondent applied for renewal of the' lease in their individual names. The District Collector, Guntur, granted the lease in favour of the fourth respondent by his order dated 27th April, 1962 and the petitioner's application was rejected. The Collector granted the renewal of the lease to her on the directions of the Government. The Government had no jurisdiction to issue such directions. The Collector was the sole competent authority to pass the order according to his own judgment. As the Collector did not exercise his discretion or judgment, but merely carried out the directions of the Government the order is bad in law and is in contravention of the binding statutory rules governing the grant of mining leases. An appeal preferred by the petitioner to the Director of Mines and Geology against the Collector's order was rejected on the ground that the Collector had passed he order on the specified direction of the Government. The petitioner complains that non-consideration of his application on merits by the Collector is a contravention of Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India As the order passed by the Collector in the circumstances is claimed to be void and devoid of jurisdiction, the petitioner seeks to restrain the Collector, who is the second respondent, from giving effect to it. The first respondent is the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the third respondent the Director of Mines and Geology.
(3.) The respondents resist this petition on the grounds that, the petitioner is not entitled to claim renewal of a mining lease as a matter of right, that the rules relied upon by the petitioner have no statutory force, that the Government, as the sole owner of the land and the minerals, is entitled to grant a lease to such person as it may deem fit that the Collector is only acting as an executive agent of the Government in the matter, that the fourth respondent had a preferential right to the grant of the lease in question because she was the prior lessee, that a lease deed has already been executed by her on 27th September, 1962, and that she is actually working the quarry in pursuance of it and that no question of any fundamental right of the petitioner is in any manner involved in the case. The affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents by the Assistant Secretary to Government in the Industries Department further sets out that, while the competing applications of the petitioner and the fourth respondent for the lease were being considered by the Collector, the petitioner preferred a petition to the Government making several allegations against the Joint Collector Guntur and requested the Government to issue directions to the Collector that the lease should be granted to the petitioner. The Government called for the Collector's report on the case. He reported that the allegations made against the Joint Collector were false and that the fourth respondent had a preferential claim for the grant of the lease as she was the previous lessee and has had mining experience in respect of the same land. The Government thereafter examined the matter and found that it was not convenient to divide the land and grant a lease of a portion of it to each of the two rival claimants. The Government therefore intimated to the Collector its view in favour of the fourth respondent which was in complete agreement with the view of the Collector himself. The petitioner himself having moved the Government for issue of directions to the Collector, cannot now be heard to question the power of the Government to issue the directions to the Collector.;

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