MOHAMMAD RAFIQ KHAN Vs. B M SINGH
LAWS(ALL)-1965-10-9
HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD
Decided on October 29,1965

MOHAMMAD RAFIQ KHAN Appellant
VERSUS
B.M.SINGH Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

VISHUN KANT V. VIJAI BAHADUR SINGH [REFERRED TO]
SADHAN LAL SURAJ PRASAD VS. DEPUTY DIRECTOR CONSOLIDATION [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

SMT. MOHINDER KAUR VS. SARDARA SINGH [LAWS(P&H)-1971-5-31] [REFERRED TO]
MOHINDER KAUR VS. SARDARA SINGH [LAWS(P&H)-1971-5-25] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

K.B. Asthana, J. - (1.)THIS is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution for a writ of certiorari for quashing of an order dated 30-6-1960 of Sri B. M. Singh, Settlement Officer, Consolidation, by which the petitioner has been found to be guilty of an offence under Section 228 I. P. C. and has, been sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 200 and in default of payment of fine to simple imprisonment for a period of one month.
(2.)SRI B. M. Singh, Settlement Officer, Consolidation on 30-6-1960 as an appellate authority was busy in hearing the appeals in an open grove in village Banahra, police station Sarpatha, district Jaunpur and when the case of Smt. Sharifan appellant came up for hearing, the petitioner started, to argue the case on her behalf. Thereupon SRI B. M. Singh enquired from the petitioner as to who he was. This lead to some unpleasant remarks. This is the version of the petitioner. The version of SRI B. M. Singh on the other hand as In the happening on 30-6-196.0, is that while the appeal of one Mohd. Sayeed Khan was being argued a person by name Mohd. Rafiq Khan appeared and shouted that the officer was doing all nonsense. The said person was smoking a cigarette and even on being asked by the officer he did not stop smoking and went on further shouting in anger with the result that he interfered with the judicial proceedings. I am not concerned in this writ petition to weigh and assess which version is correct; the fact remains that the petitioner Mohd. Rafiq Khan was present on the spot where SRI B. M. Singh was hearing appeals on 30-6-1960 and some incident took place. SRI B. M. Singh proceeded against the petitioner for an offence under Section 228 I. P. C. and in purported exercise of powers under Section 480 of Criminal Procedure Code after complying with the necessary formalities, found the petitioner guilty and awarded the punishment already indicated above.
The learned counsel for the petitioner contended that Sri B. M. Singh while hearing the appeals under Section 21 of the U. P. Consolidation of Holdings Act (hereinafter called the Act) as Settlement Officer, Consolidation, was neither a Civil Court nor a Revenue Court nor a criminal court and he had no jurisdiction to draw up proceedings for alleged offence under Section 228 I. P. C. and punish the petitioner. It is submitted that the impugned order of Sri B. M. Singh is without authority of law, arbitrary, illegal and improper.

It was contended by the learned Junior standing counsel that Sri B. M. Singh was exercising the powers which were invested in him under the Act and since he was carrying on judicial proceedings connected with agricultural tenures and land revenue administration of the State he would be deemed to be a revenue court within the meaning of Section 480 Cr. P. Code.

(3.)THE question that falls for determination in this petition is whether a Settlement Officer, Consolidation, when hearing appeals under Section 21 of the Act, is a court; and if so whether he is a revenue court. Here I may also mention that by an application for amendment of the grounds a substantial question of a far reaching importance was also raised to the effect that the State legislature had no legislative competence to invest any court or authority with the power to punish for contempt, and the material provisions in the Act conferring upon the consolidation Authorities the powers of a civil court to punish for contempt were ultra vires. However, now that the learned junior standing counsel has not taken his stand on the basis of Section 38(1) (c) of the Act, it is no longer necessary to consider the constitutional validity of any part of that section. I may also observe that the learned junior standing counsel rightly did not press into service the provisions of the above sub-section as Sri. B. M. Singh, whose order is impugned purported to exercise, powers under Section 480 of the Criminal Procedure Code and not the power conferred upon him under Section 38 (1) (c) of the Act.
A large number of decided cases of our High Court were cited by the learned counsel for the petitioner before me to show that the Settlement Officer, Consolidation, who is one of the authorities constituted under the Act though he has the power to adjudicate upon the rights of the parties, call for evidence and examine witnesses yet would not be a court but at best a public officer or public servant empowered to carry on judicial proceedings. In the case of Ram Bharose v. Deputy Director, 1964 AM WR (HC) 424 a Division Bench of this Court held that the Consolidation authorities namely the Assistant Consolidation Officer, the Consolidation Officer, the Settlement Officer, the Deputy Director and the Director are not courts. Learned junior standing counsel has not been able to point out any compelling reason for doubling this decision.

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