PRAHLAD CHANDRA Vs. ASSAM BOARD OF REVENUE
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
ASSAM BOARD OF REVENUE
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LAHIRI, C.J. -
(1.)Should a party to the appeal be penalised for the inaction, deliberate omission, negligence or misdemeanour of his lawyer ? The answer obviously is in the negative, in view of the decisions of the Supreme Court in Rafiq v. Munshilal, (1981) 3 SCR 509 = AIR 1981 SC 1400; Goswami Krishna Murarilal Sharma v. Dhan Prakash, (1981) 4 SCC 574; Smt. Lachi Tewari v. Director of Land Records, AIR 1984 SC 41.
(2.)Shortly put the relevant facts necessary to answer the questions posed in this application under Art.226 of the Constitution are that a revenue appeal was taken by the petitioner to the Assam Board of Revenue, statutory Tribunal, which was registered as Case No. 176 RA(G) of 1982. The appeal was hung up for hearing on 20-10-82. The lawyer engaged by the appellant defaulted, and, accordingly, the appeal was dismissed for default. Learned lawyer appeared and explained the reasons in writing, under Cl. 15 of the Assam Board of Revenue Regulation, 1963, which was registered as Case No. 3 RA(G) (RST) of 1983. Cl. 15 enables a party to so apply for and obtain an order of restoration of an appeal dismissed for default, if the party satisfies the Board that he was prevented by sufficient cause from appearing when the appeal was called for hearing. Naturally, the Board has had jurisdiction to restore an appeal. Learned Member of the Board of Revenue rejected the explanations offered by the lawyer, took note of the fact that learned lawyer had taken four adjournments, and, rejected the application for restoration of the appeal. The appeal in question involved valuable property. It was dismissed for failure of the appellant's lawyer to appeal and argue the case on the date of hearing. The party lost the appeal, without even getting any opportunity to put forward his case. The Board found fault with the lawyer but penalised the litigant to suffer a heavy loss.
(3.)Is the order just, proper, reasonable and valid ? Is the order violative of Art.141 of the Constitution ? Should we allow the impugned order to stand in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court ? These are the questions which have come up for consideration in this writ application.
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