THOKCHOM KULABIDHU SINGH Vs. THE STATE OF MANIPUR AND OTHERS
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI (AT: IMPHAL)
Thokchom Kulabidhu Singh
The State of Manipur And Others
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Pathak, C.J. -
(1.) THE facts leading to this Writ Petition are as follows. Government fishery, namely Fishery No. 160 Ikop with No. 161 Laidagon, was advertised for sale by issuing a notice dated 13 -1 -1972, which was published in the Manipur Gazette dated January 19, 1972. In the said notice the date for auction of the fishery in question was fixed on 19 -2 -1972. Auction was held by A. Ibohal Singh, Incharge Chief Fishery Officer. The petitioner Thokchom Kulabidhu Singh offered a bid of Rs. 45,150/ - per year, which is found to be the highest bid offered on the date of sale. The Respondent No. 4, Ikop -Laidagon Fishing Co -operative Society Ltd. represented by its Secretary Abdul Latif, offered a bid of Rs. 40,635/ - and the fishery was settled with the Respondent No. 4 i.e. the Co -operative Society, at Rs. 45,150/ - per year for the period from 1 -4 -1972 to 31 -3 -1975. In the order of settlement dated 19 -2 -1972 it is stated that the fishery in question has been settled with the Co -operative Society with normal preference admissible under the Rules.
(2.) AT this stage the relevant Rules may be quoted. The Manipur Fishery Rules 1971, which came into effect from 11 -2 -1972, have been framed by the Administrator in exercise of powers conferred by Sections 155 and 156 of the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886 (1 of 1886), as extended to Manipur, and Section 6 of the Indian Fisheries Act, 1897 (4 of 1897) read with Government of India, Ministry of States Notification No. 104 -J dated 24 -8 -1950. The rules for auction sale of fishery lease and collection of fishery revenue are to be found in Part III of the Manipur Fishery Rules. 1971, hereinafter called the Rules. The relevant rules are quoted below:
25. Government fisheries shall be sold by public auction. Provided that the Administrator may in individual cases direct any other mode for sale or settlement of fisheries and specify the period thereof in special cases for reasons to be recorded in writing.
31. (1) The Deputy Commissioner, or the auctioning officer working on his behalf or under his order, will normally accept the highest bid unless there are special reasons for not doing so which shall be recorded in writing.
(2) A co -operative fishing society formed of genuine fishermen and registered under the Assam Co -operative Societies Act, 1949 (Assam Act I of 1950) as extended to the Union Territory of Manipur shall be given option of taking lease of a fishery at the highest bid offered by an individual, subject to the following conditions:
(a) the fishery falls within the area of operation of the Co -operative Society;
(b) before participating in the auction the representative of the Co -operative Society shall produce two resolutions of the society;
(i) authorising a representative to bid in the auction on behalf of the Co -operative Society.
(ii) intimating names of not more than two members of the society who will execute the agreement on behalf of the co -operative society in case the society is the successful bidder; and
(c) the final bid of the Co -operative Society is not less than 90% of the highest bid offered by the individual bidder.
39. When the sale of a fishery has been confirmed by the Government as per Rule 41 below, a lease and counterpart shall be executed and interchanged in Form Nos. II and III.
41. If. on the expiration of 30 days from the date of the sale of any fishery or of such further period as may be allowed by the Dy. Commissioner, no application has been made for setting aside the sale or, if any such application has been made for setting aside the sale and rejected, the Deputy Commissioner shall make a reference to the Government for confirmation and the Government may confirm the sale unless, for reason to be recorded, the Government set aside the sale notwithstanding that no application therefor has been made, and the sale shall not be final unless confirmed by the Government.
45. Appeals shall lie to the authority and in the manner prescribed below:
(1) Officer to whom appeals lie - Appeals shall lie under these Rules as follows:
(a) to the Administrator from any order original or appellate passed by a Deputy Commissioner;
(b) to the Deputy Commissioner, from any order passed by a Sub -Divisional Officer, an Assistant Commissioner or Extra Assistant Commissioner;
(c) to the Sub -Divisional Officer, from any order passed by a Sub -Deputy Collector.
Provided that no appeal shall lie against any order imposing a fine not exceeding one hundred rupees;
(2) Limitation of appeal - (a) Unless otherwise specially provided in these Rules, -
(i) no appeal under sub -rule (1)(d) shall lie after the expiration of thirty days from the date of the order appealed against;
(ii) No appeal under the sub -rule (1)(c) shall lie after the expiration of six weeks from the date of the order appealed against;
(iii) no appeal under the sub -rules (1)(a) and (b) shall lie after the expiration of two months from the date of the order appealed against.
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48. These Rules supersede the Fishery Rules of Manipur published under Manipur Government Notification No. F/Fy/19/51 -56 dated 8 -4 -1957 and any other existing rules issued in this behalf:
Provided that this supersession shall not affect any existing lease or anything done or omitted to have been done under the said Rules.
It may be mentioned here that the Fishery Rules of Manipur. 1957 have been superseded by these Rules of 1971. It may also be pointed out that on and from 21 -1 -1972 the Union territory of Manipur has attained Statehood and consequently the reference to Administrator in the aforesaid Rules should be read as reference to the State Government.
(3.) MR . Nilamoni Singh, the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, submits that the settlement made in favour of Respondent No. 4 and confirmed by the State Government being in violation of the Rules, the settlement must be deemed to be made without jurisdiction and as such, is liable to be set aside. The precise submission of the learned Counsel is that the sale was knocked down on the highest bid of the petitioner at Rs. 45,150/ - and after the knocking down of the sale at the highest bid of the petitioner, the auctioning officer allowed the Respondent No. 4 to raise the bid to 90 per cent, of the highest bid and then made the settlement with the Respondent No. 4 at the highest bid of the petitioner, that is at Rs. 45,150/ - which is clearly against Rule 31 of the Rules.;
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