STATE OF KERALA Vs. ROSALIND THOMAS
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KERALA)
STATE OF KERALA
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K. G. Balakrishnan, J. -
(1.)This appeal is preferred by the State of Kerala challenging the order passed by the Division Bench of Kerala High Court on 4-1-2000 in Writ Appeal No. 2391 of 1998. The matter arises under the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 (for short, "the Act").
(2.)The husband of the respondent in his capacity as Managing Partner of a firm filed a statement before the Taluk Land Board under Section 85(2) of the Act. Section 85 relates to surrender of excess land. The Taluk Land Board held enquiry and passed an order on 27th March, 1982 holding that an extent of 193.26 acres of land was to be surrendered by the declarant as excess land held by him. Against the final order passed by the Taluk Land Board, the declarant filed a Civil Revision Petition before the High Court of Kerala under Section 103 of the Act. Some properties had been earlier alienated by the declarant and as the alienees were affected by the order passed by the Taluk Land Board, they too filed two Civil Revision Petitions. The three Civil Revision Petitions were disposed of by a common judgment wherein certain observations were made by the learned single Judge of the Kerala High Court. The purport of that order was that the extent of the land allowed to be retained by the declarant was fixed not strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The learned single Judge doubted the correctness of certain exemptions granted by the Taluk Land Board. All the Civil Revision Petitions were dismissed by the learned single Judge.
(3.)After the disposal of the above Civil Revision Petitions, the Taluk Land Board issued two notices to the declarant. In these notices, it was stated that the Taluk Land Board cases had been reopened under Section 85(9A) of the Act (Amendment Act 16 of 1989) and that the cases would be posted for enquiry in the light of the order of the High Court dated 21st January, 1991, passed in the Civil Revision Petitions. The two notices were challenged by the declarant. The learned single Judge declined to interfere with the same, but on appeal the Division Bench held that under Section 85(9A), the Taluk Land Board can suo motu reopen a case only on any of the grounds mentioned therein and not for any other reason and as there was no case of failure to produce relevant data or other particulars relating to ownership and possession before it, or collusion or fraud or any suppression of material facts, the notices issued by the Taluk Land Board were without jurisdiction and were accordingly quashed by the Division Bench. Aggrieved by the same, the present appeal is filed by the State.
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