Decided on March 16,1965

BABU RAM Appellant
SUGHAR SINGH Respondents


D.S. Mathur, J. - (1.)THIS is a revision under Section 115 Code of Civil Procedure by Babu Ram and another against the order dated 7 7.1962 of the District Judge of Farrukhabad allowing the appeal of Sughar Singh, opposite party, and thereby declaring the reference under Section 12(4) of the UP Consolidation of Holdings Act (to be referred hereinafter as the Consolidation Act though with reference to the Am ending Act UP Act XVI of 1957 it may also be called the Principal Act) to be invalid. At the same time the Civil Judge was directed to return the papers to the Consolidation Officer with directions to proceed with the case according to law.
(2.)THE point in issue was whether both the parties, or only Sughar Singh, opposite party, was the sirdar of the plots in dispute. The Consolidation Officer treated the dispute to relate to a question of title and under order dated 30.12.1956, passed under Section 12(4) of the Consolidation Act, referred the question of title to the Civil Judge for decision in accordance with the law. The Civil Judge received the papers on 27.4.1957. The Consolidation Act was amended under UP Act XVI of 1957 (to be referred hereinafter as the Amending Act) and under Section 18 of the Amending Act, a new Section 36A was added to the Principal Act, laying down that the question whether a person is a sirdar, adhivasi or asami shall not be deemed to a question of title. The amendment came into force on Tune 3, 1957.
Prior to the incorporation of S. 36A there existed a corresponding provision in the UP Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act (to be referred hereinafter as the Zamindari Abolition Act, namely, Section 332A, which was applicable to all the suits or proceedings not only under this Act but also under any other law for the time being in force. Section 332A indicated what was not a question of title and it provided that a questiou whether a person is or is not a sirdar, adhivasi or asami of any land shall not be deemed to. raise a question of title. Section 332A was incorporated in the Zamindari Abolition Act under UP Act XVIII of 1956.

Consequently, if there was no other provision in the Amending Act it could rightly be said that Section 332A of the Zamindari Abolition Act determined not only for purposes of that Act but also for other enactments what amounted to a question of title, and hence the validity of the reference Under Section 12(4) of the Consolidation Act an 1 a so the jurisdiction of the Civil Judge.

(3.)THE legislature appears to have realised the confusion arising out of the consolidation authorities not following Section 332A, and incorporated a saving Clause (Section 21) in the Amending Act. Section 21 of the Amending Act is as below:
Nothing in Section 18 shall affect the validity, invalidity, effect or consequence of anything already done or suffered or any right, or title, obligation or liability already acquired, accrued, incurred, or any jurisdiction already exercised, and any proceeding referred to any Civil Judge prior to commencement of this Act, shall continue to be heard by the appropriate authority.

The section has not been happily drafted and if it is strictly construed it can be said that the saving clause does not give protection to any action taken in disregard of S. 332A of the Zamindari Abolition Act. But in interpreting the provisions of an enactment the courts have to determine and to give effect to the intention of the legislature, and with this aim in view can at occasions depart from the ordinary meaning of the words. As observed in Tirath Singh v. Bachittar Singh and Ors. (1) ( : AIR 1955 SC 830):

Where the language of a statute, in its ordinary meaning and grammatical construction, leads to a manifest contradiction of the apparent purpose of the enactment a construction may be put upon it which modifies the meaning of the words, and even the structure of the sentence." In the instant case we are concerned with the effect of Sections 18 and 21 of the Amending Act, and not the other provisions of the Amending Act or of the Principal Act; but the rule applicable to interpretation of statute in general can safely be utilized in the interpretation of Sections 18 and 21 of the Amending Act.


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