SATYA DEVI Vs. STATE OF J&K
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
STATE OF JANDK
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DOABIA, J. -
(1.) AS to who is in possession of the land in dispute is basically a question of fact. Such was the view expressed by a learned Single Judge
of this Court. After taking note of the factual realities and also the
scope of the writ jurisdiction, the writ petition was dismissed. It is
the dismissal of the writ petition which has led the appellants to prefer
this appeal under clause 12 of the Letters Patents.
(2.) ORIGINALLY the dispute was between respondents No. 5, 6, 7 and Puran. Puran has since died. His legal heirs figure as appellants, the
further fact is that Puran had sold the land in question to number of
persons. This aspect of the matter was noticed by the learned Single
Judge. The individuals to whom the land had been sold had also appeared
before the learned Single Judge as interveners. The appellants and the
interveners assail the view expressed by the learned Single Judge. It is
submitted that the questions of fact could not be examined in writ
jurisdiction. They also assailed the view expressed by the J&K Special
Tribunal whereby the Tribunal appreciated the entire material on the
record and recorded a positive finding that it was Ishar Chand, Sain son
of Kaka, and Gian Chand S/o Kalu respondents who were the persons in
possession and therefore, entitled to the benefit of sections 4 & 8 of
the J&K Agrarian Reforms Act. There can be no dispute with the
proposition that the scope of the writ jurisdiction is limited. The
findings of fact recorded by the subordinate authorities are normally not
to be interfered with. We are of the opinion that the view expressed by
the learned Single Judge in this regard is a view to which no exception
can be taken. It can be safely concluded that the learned Single Judge
rightly refused to exercise jurisdiction in the matter. In this regard it
would be apt to refer to the decision of the Supreme Court reported as
Hari Vishnu Kamath Vs. Ahmad Ishaque and others (AIR 1955 SC 233) wherein
it has been held as under:
21. Then the question is whether there are proper grounds for the issue of Ëœcertiorariâ„¢ in the present case. There was considerable argument before us as to the character and scope of the writ of Ëœcertiorariâ„¢ and the conditions under which it could be issued. The question has been considered by this court in Parry and Co Vs. Com. Employees Ass., (AIR 1952 SC 179 (L), AIR 1952 SC 192; AIR 1952 SC 319 and quite recently in AIR 1954 SC 440 (C). On these authorities, the following propositions may be taken as established: (1) Certiorari will be issued for correcting errors of jurisdiction, as when an inferior Court or Tribunal acts without jurisdiction or in excess of it, or fails to exercise it (2) Certiorari will also be issued when the Court or Tribunal acts illegally in the exercise of its undoubted jurisdiction, as when it decides without giving an opportunity to the parties to be heard, or violates the principles of natural justice, (3) The Court issuing a writ of certiorari acts in exercise of a supervisory and not appellate jurisdiction. One consequence of this is that the court will not review findings of fact reached by the inferior court or Tribunal, even if they be erroneous. This is on the principle that a court which has jurisdiction over a subject matter has jurisdiction to decide wrong as well as right and when the Legislature does not choose to confer a right of appeal against that decision, it would be defeating its purpose and policy, if a superior court were to re -hear the case on the evidence and substitute its own findings in Certiored. These propositions are well settled and are not in dispute.
The above observations of the Supreme Court remain valid even
today. It can safely be concluded that the findings of fact recorded by
the Subordinate authorities are not to be interfered with in writ
jurisdiction. This is one aspect of the matter.
(3.) LEARNED counsel appearing for the appellant/writ -petitioner submits that the scope of section 21(2) of the Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian
Reforms Act 1976 (hereinafter to be referred to as the Act) under which
the original power was exercised by the J&K Special Tribunal was also not
in accordance with the para -meters fixed under section 21(2) of the Act.
It is urged that the Tribunal in the exercise of revisional jurisdiction
could not up -set the findings of fact recorded by the Subordinate
authorities. It is submitted that this jurisdictional error which was
required to be corrected by a learned Single Judge in the exercise of
writ jurisdiction. It is precisely this argument which has been addressed
again in this appeal. Before examining the scope of the power which the
Tribunal exercises under section 21 (2) of the Act it would be apt to
notice the relevant provisions itself. Section 21(2) of the Agrarian
Reforms Act 1976 reads as under:
21(2): The Revenue Minister may at any time call for the record of any case in which a Tehsildar or an Asstt Commissioner has passed orders in respect of any evacuees land or State land or of any case in which Commissioner has passed final order and if he finds that a question of law or public interest is involved in the case, he may pass such orders thereon as he thinks fit.
What would be the scope of revisional jurisdiction. This question be now examined.;
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