RAMANATH SAHU Vs. REVENUE DIVISIONAL COMMISSIONER, CENTRAL DIVISION AND ANR.
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Central Division And Anr.
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R.N. Misra, J. -
(1.) PETITIONER filed a revision under Section 59 of the Orissa Land Reforms Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act ') before Opp. party No. I being O. L. R. Revision No. 233 of 1977 against the order of the Addl. District Magistrate dated 16 -7 -1977 in O. L. R. Appeal No. 294 of 1976. He filed the revision on 29 -9 -1977. Time requisite for obtaining the certified copy of the appellate order was two days. Previously the period of limitation for filing of a revision had been prescribed to be 60 days under Section 63 of the Act, but by Orissa Act 44 of 1976 with effect from October, 1976, the period of limitation was reduced to 30 days. On the basis of the reduced period of limitation, the application when presented was barred by time by 12 days. Petitioner, therefore, under Section 5 of the Limitation Act applied for condonation of delay. The Revisional authority has rejected the application and this writ application is directed against that order.
(2.) USUALLY this Court is very slow in interfering with the discretion of a statutory authority in dealing with the question of limitation. The position here is however, peculiar.
Section 59 of the Act provides for revision. Sub -section (3) thereof runs thus:
For the purposes of revising any order, the prescribed authority and the Board of Revenue shall follow such procedure as may be prescribed....
Rule 44 of the Rules made under the Act runs thus:
Every application for revision under Section 59 shall be filed within a period of sixty days from the date of the order against which such application is preferred.
Section 63(2) of the Act as amended by Orissa Act 47 of 1975 provided:
Every appeal or application for revision under this Act unless specifically provided elsewhere in the Act shall be filed within a period of sixty days from the date of the order against which such appeal or revision is preferred....
This provision was in accord with Rule 44. By Orissa Act 44 of 1976 the period of 60 days provided in Sub -section (2) was reduced to 30 days. Admittedly, if the period of limitation of 60 days would have applied, the revision was in time. The Revisional authority has, however, applied Sub -section (2) of Section 63 of the Act for computation of limitation. There can be no scope for argument that where the conflict is between a statutory provision and a rule made thereunder, the statute would over -ride and the rule has to give way. It is, however, contended that Sub -section (2) of Section 63 has been couched in a guarded way by saying:
... ...unless specifically provided elsewhere in the Act...". Rule 44 has been made under Section 59 of the Act, and since rule is to be read of a part of the statute, it must follow that there was a special limitation provided for proceeding under Section 59 of the Act and the limitation prescribed under Section 63(2) of the Act would not operate. While on principle, the submission is attracted and acceptable, on the facts we do not think Rule 44 is intended to survive after the amendment of Section 63(2) of the Act. Learned Standing Counsel appears to be correct in contending that prior to the amendment of Section 63(2) by Orissa Act 44 of 1976 the period of limitation in the statute as also in the rule was one and the same. While by amendment of Sub -section (2) of Section 63 the limitation has been reduced, no modification has been made in the rule and he has assured us that no time would be lost in rectifying the mistake.
We would accordingly hold that the period of limitation applicable for the purpose of revision is 30 days as provided in Section 63(2) of the Act. There is clear scope for the Petitioner to have been misguided and we think, Petitioner would be visited with injustice, if in these circumstances, the delay is not condoned. As we have already pointed out, we are normally very slow in interfering with exercise of discretion by a statutory authority, but the facts are so peculiar and telling that unless the delay is condoned and the revision is heard, Petitioner is likely to be prejudiced.
We record our appreciation for the concession of Mr. Patnaik for the opposite party No. 2 that circumstances existed to justify condonation of delay.
(3.) WE would accordingly allow this application, vacate the order of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Opp. party No. 1 refusing to condone the delay and direct that the revision petition before him be disposed of on merits in accordance with the law. There would be no direction for costs.
K.B. Panda, J.;
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