BACHAN SINGH Vs. GOPAL SINGH
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
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(1.)THIS is an appeal against the order of the Sub-Divisional Officer - Land Records Office, Rajgarh dated 14. 11. 59 in a matter of correction of entries.
(2.)WE have heard the learned counsel for the parties and examined the record also.
The facts of the case are simple and not in dispute. The respondents No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (hereinafter referred to as the respondents) are the Jagirdars of the village Mohlana Tehsil Rajgarh Distt. Bikaner in which the land tinder dispute - Khasra No. 72 measuring 18 Bighas and 11 Biswas is situated. The appellant and respondents No. 6 and 7 are the Khatedars thereof, having been entered as such in the Settlement Records prepared in Samvat year 2000. The Jagir has been resumed long before the commencement of the proceedings out of which this appeal has arisen. The proceedings were started by the respondent as ex-Jagirdar for the cancellation of the Khatedari of the appellant and his co-tenants with the allegation that the land formed part of Abadi and contained 'baras' and 'kunds' of so many persons, that it was under possession of neither of the parties, that the appellant and his co-tenants bad got it entered in their Khatedari by collusion with the Settlement staff, that the respondents came to know of it when they made a claim for compensation and that the appellant arid his co-tenants have refused to agree to the correction claimed. The appellant and his co-tenants contested this application with the allegation that the disputed land had been under their cultivation for generations and that it had been rightly entered into their Khatedari in the Settlement in Samvat year 2000, and that an application made to have the same corrected, was clearly time barred. It was also alleged by them that one Jodhsingh had forcibly dug "kund" into this land and that the case against him has been decided in favour of the appellant by the Civil Court.
The learned Sub-Divisional Officer Rajgarh, after framing necessary issues and recording the evidence of the parties decided the application in favour of the respondents holding that the land had never been under cultivation and possession of the respondents but, on the other hand, had been under public use, ordered the Khatedari of the respondent to be cancelled.
In this appeal, it has been argued on behalf of the appellant that neither the respondents as Ex-Jagirdar had locus-standi to apply for the cancellation of the Khatedari of the appellant after a period of 17 years of the Statement when their Jagir had been already resumed, nor could any such application for the correction of the entries in the settlement records lie under sec. 136 of the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956. Both these contentions are bound to prevail.
The learned counsel for the respondents has conceded that the application preferred by bis clients was under sec. 136 of the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act 1956 (hereinafter referred to as the Act ). It does not need reproduction of the language of this section as a whole to show that this is meant for the decision of the disputes regarding the entries made in the "annual register" prescribed by sec. 132 of the Act. It is regretted that this transparently apparent fact did not occur to the learned Sub-Divisional Officer. "annual Registers" are not the same as the "settlement Record" or "record of Rights" prepared under sec. 113 and 114 of the Act. Nor is there any provision in the Act to entertain and decide the disputes about entries in the Settlement Record or Record of Rights after the operations relating thereto have been declared to be closed under sec. 117 of the Act. Sec. 125 of the Act enables the decision of disputes regarding entries in the record of rights only during the course of their preparations and* before the closure of the operations connected therewith. Sec. 127 of the Act also enables the Collector (who is the ex-officio Land Records Officer) to decide only such applications and proceedings as may remain pending with the Additional Land Records Officer appointed under sec. 108 of the Act at the close of the Record operation by a notification under sec. 107 of the Act and does not authorise the Collector (Land Records Officer) to entertain new applications for the purpose. Sub-Divisional Officer is also only a Land Records Officer specially delegated with the powers as such. Much less therefore can he entertain and decide any application for the correction of entries made in the Settlement Records or Record of Rights, and specially after the operations relating to the same have been declared to have been closed.
There is one more aspect of the case which we would like to emphasise here. Even sec. 12s of the Act authorises the determination of the disputes only relating to entries in the record of rights prepared under the provisions of Chapter VII of the Act. It could, by no stretch of imagination, apply to any correction sought in the record of rights already prepared before the coming into force of this Act. The present application is meant to get the entries in the record of rights prepared in Smt. year 2000 under the provisions of Bikaner Land Revenue Act 1945, which, vide Sec. 42 thereof enjoined the institution of a suit alone for a declaration of rights by any person considering himself aggrieved by any entry in the record of rights.
Any application for the correction of an entry in the record of rights prepared under the provisions of any Act in force before the commencement of the Act is therefore mis-conceived and no Land Records Officer has any jurisdiction to entertain such an application and order any correction in the entries made in the settlement papers or record of rights prepared long before the enforcement of the Act.
Vide Sec. 22 (1) (a) of the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Resumption of Jagirs Act, 1952 "as from the date of resumption of any Jagir lands notwithstanding anything contained in any existing Jagir law applicable thereto but save as otherwise provided in this Act - the right, title and interest of the Jagirdar and of every other person claiming through him in his jagir land, including forests, trees, fisheries, wells, tanks, ponds, water channels, ferries, pathways, village sites, hats, bazars and mela-grounds and mines and minerals whether being worked or not, shall stand resumed to the Government free from all encumbrances. " A Jagirdar cannot, therefore, have any locus-standi to question any entry or any right of anybody in the Jagir lands after the resumption of his Jagir, unless by virtue of sec. 10 of this Act, he acquires Khatedari rights in any such part thereof as may be his Khudkasht and held by him as such. In the instant case, the respondents have not claimed the land to be their Khudkasht and evidently, therefore, they cannot have any status to dispute the claim of any other person or entry in favour of any other person about disputed land. It is a pity that this simple fact did not occur to the learned Sub-Divisional Officer.
It is quite clear from what has been discussed above that the proceedings out of which the present appeal has arisen were not only mis-conceived but also that the learned Sub-Divisional Officer has exercised the jurisdiction thereby which did not at all vest in him.
We, therefore, accept this appeal, set aside the orders of the learned Sub-Divisional Officer and further direct that the application of the respondents shall stand dismissed. .
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