Decided on December 21,1999

Special Tribunal, JAndK Respondents


- (1.) FACTS of the case in brief are these. One Garba Singh husband of Mst.kapoora Devi respondent -5 was admittedly in possession of land measuring 10 kanals 12 marlas comprising Kh.No.658 and 659 situate in village Targwal Tehsil Akhnoor. He died in the year 1970. Tehsildar Akhnoor Vide order dated 26.11.77 directed that name of petitioner Attar Singh be recorded in the Girdawari with effect from Khariff 1971 and vide order dated 14.09.81 passesd on mutation No. 421 be held that the land has vested in the state u/s 4 of the Agrarian Reforms Act. By the same order, he also held the petitioner to the prospective owner. Both these orders were challenged by the petitioner in appeal before the commissioner, Agrarian Reforms, Jammu. The appeal was, however, dismissed on 25.04.84. The petitioner filed revision against the order of the commissioner rejecting the appeal.This revision was allowed by the Special Tribunal on 10.07.86 who remanded the case to the Tehsildar, Akhnoor with a direction to pass fresh after holdin g the enquiry. Tehsildar, Akhnoor vide order dated 12.12.1991 held that after the death of Garba Singh in January 1970, land was cultivated by his widow respondent -5 and she was in possession in Khariff, 1971. He further held that petitioner was wrongly entered in possession in Rabi 1972.
(2.) THE petitioner challenged this order in appeal before the commissioner Agrarian Reforms who by his order dated 23.07.1993 set -aside the order passed by the Tehsildar and directed that the appellant be recorded in cultivating possession of land in Khariff 1971 and all the rights under Agrarian Reforms Act be conferred upon him. This order was set -aside by the Special Tribunal who restored the order dated 12.12.1991 passes by the Tehsildar, Akhnoor.
(3.) IT is this order of Special Tribunal which is challenged by the petitioner on the ground that the member, Special Tribunal exceeded the jurisdiction while determining the question of fact when neither any question of law nor public interest was involved which is sine -qua -non for exercising jurisdiction u/s 21 of the Agrarian Reforms Act. Mr.Basotra appearing for the petitioner argued that the question whether widow of Garba Singh continued in possession after his death is a question of fact which has been decided by the appellate authority. The petition of revision u/s 21(2) of the Act would lie only if any question of law or public interest was involved. Since the factum of possession is neither a question of law nor public interest, therefore, revision petition was not maintainable. The Tribunal according to him has assumed the jurisdiction was not vested in it. Mr.Razdan on the other hand argued that the question of possession in this case after the death of Garba Singh who admittedly was a tenant is a question of law and not of fact. Since Garba Singh is recorded as a protected tenant after his death in July 1970 his widow would be deemed to be in possession in terms of section 2(17) of the Act. His further argument is that as land had been ploughed/broken in khariff 1971, therefore, the person who was personally cultivating it immediately before khariff 1971 will be deemed to be in possession in terms of clause(3) of the second proviso to sub -section (12) of section 2 of the Act.;

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