Decided on July 31,1992



- (1.)This writ petition is filed challenging the order of the 2nd respondent herein setting aside the order dated 2-4-1980 passed by the Special Deputy Tahsildar (Inams), Ongole who is the 3rd respondent herein. The dispute revolves around the agricultural lands and the nature of the rights therein. While the petitioners claim that they were holding the lands in their personal capacity and that they were entitled to have Ryotwari pattas, the contra claim was that the lands belonged to the institution and they are Inam lands. The law which operates is Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Inams Abolition and Conversion Act, 1956 (A.P. Act No.37/1956). Section 3 confers power on the Tahsildar, which according to the definition includes the Deputy Tahsildar also, to enquire into as to (1) whether a particular land in his jurisdiction is a Inam land; (2) whether such land is in Ryotwari, Zamindari or Inam village; and (3) whether such Inam land is held by any institution. The enquiry initiated can be suo motu or on application. The 3rd respondent herein purporting to exercise his suo motu powers under the above provision, has initiated proceedings and rendered an order on 2-4-1980 holding that the lands in question are Inam lands held by the petitioners and not by the institution. The said proceedings and the said order were on the premise that there were no earlier proceedings of that kind initiated. That is very clear from 3rd paragraph of the order "In these cases, the old case records of the Special Deputy Tahsildar, Bapatla are not forthcoming. There is also no indication to show that the the decision u/s.3(3) of the Inams (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1956 was issued previously and it was published in the District Gazette. Therefore, I am obliged to take up suo-motu enquiry in these cases under the Inams Abolition Act, 1956."
(2.)Admittedly, previously, there were proceedings initiated suo motu by the competent Special Deputy Tahsildar in cases numbers 8598, 8599, x8600, 8601, 8602,8603,8604 and 8605of 1959 and after due enquiry, the then Special Deputy Tahsildar (Inams), Bapatla has rendered a decision on 10-3-1960 that the lands in question were Inam lands belonging to the institution. In the records produced by the learned Government Pleader, the said order is found and Mr. Krishnamurthy, the learned counsel for the petitioner also filed a photostat copy of the said order. Thus, it is crystal clear that there were earlier proceedings concerning the same subject matter, same lands and same adjudication and it was held that the lands in question belonged to the institution and not to the petitioners and that the petitioners were not entitled for ryotwari pattas.
(3.)I have scanned through the entire scheme of the Act referred to above and I am at loss to find any provision enabling the Special Deputy Tahsildar to reinitiate the proceedings even after the initiation of the proceedings suo motu earlier and the decision thereon. As such, the inescapable conclusion is that the entire proceedings initiated by the 3rd respondent culminating into his order dated 2-4-1980, were rightly set aside on valid grounds by the 2nd respondent, i.e., on the ground of his authority as they arc clearly without jurisdiction and are void ab initio and non-est under law.

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