State of Uttaranchal Vs.
M/S Golden Forest Co. (P) Ltd.
J U D G M E N T
G.S. Singhvi, J.
only question which arises for consideration in these appeals is whether the Board
of Revenue, U.P. could hear and decide the revisions filed by the appellant
after creation of the State of Uttranchal (renamed as Uttrakhand) by the Uttar
Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000 (for short "the Reorganisation
Sanjay Ghai had purchased bhumidhari land from various tenure holders in the
name of Golden Forest India Limited and its sister concerns, namely, Indian Peace
Foundation Trust, Mani Majra, Chandigarh, Golden Forest India Limited, Golden Agro
Forest Limited and Golden Forest Distributors Limited. Tehsildar, Dehradun,
submitted report dated 12.08.1997 to Assistant Collector 1st Class-cum-Sub Divisional
Magistrate (for short "the Assistant Collector") with the finding that
the purchases made in the name of the respondents were violative of the restriction
contained in Section 154 (1) of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land
Reforms Act, 1950 (for short "the Act"). He suggested that action may
be initiated against them under Sections 166/167 of the Act and land in excess of
the ceiling may be declared to have vested in the State Government. The Assistant
Collector issued notice to the respondents, gave them opportunity of hearing
and passed order dated 21.08.1997 whereby he held that the disputed transactions
were ultra vires the provisions contained in Section 154(1) of the Act and forwarded
the matter to Collector, Dehradun for taking action under Section 167(2) of the
The respondents challenged the aforesaid order by filing revisions, which were
allowed by the Board of Revenue, U.P. vide order dated 24.11.2000 by observing
that in terms of Section 154(1) of the Act each major person or company is
entitled to purchase 12.5 acres land and the purchases made in the names of
different companies cannot be clubbed for deciding the issue relating to
violation of that section
State of Uttar Pradesh challenged the order of the Board of Revenue in Writ
Petition No. 81 (M/S) of 2000. The State of Uttranchal also challenged that
order in Writ Petition Nos. 2046 (M/S) -2049(M/S) and 2051(M/S) - 2053(M/S) of 2001
on several grounds including the one that after coming into force of the
Reorganisation Act, the Board of Revenue, U.P. did not have the jurisdiction to
deal with and decide the revisions filed by the respondents.
Learned Single Judge did not deal with the issue of jurisdiction and dismissed the
writ petitions by observing that the conclusion recorded by the Board of
Revenue, U.P. on the legality of the disputed transaction was correct.
Mukul Rohtagi, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant argued that
in view of Section 91 of the Reorganisation Act, the proceedings pending before
the Board of Revenue, U.P. stood transferred to the newly created State of
Uttranchal and, as such, it did not have the jurisdiction to decide the
revisions filed by the respondents. Learned senior counsel pointed out that the
Reorganisation Act had come into force w.e.f. 09.11.2000 and, therefore, the
Board of Revenue, U.P. could not have decided the revisions on 24.11.2000.
Vijay Hansaria, learned senior counsel appearing for the respondents argued
that the appellant cannot question the orders passed by the Board of Revenue, U.P.
on the ground of lack of jurisdiction because no such objection was raised at the
hearing of the revision petitions. Learned senior counsel further argued that
this Court may not interfere with the impugned order because the land purchased
in the names of the respondents had already been divided into plots and
allotted to various persons, who are not parties in these cases.
have considered the respective submissions. Section 91 of the Reorganisation
Act reads thus: "91. Transfer of pending proceedings.--(1) Every
proceeding pending immediately before the appointed day before a court (other
than High Court), tribunal, authority or officer in any area which on that day
falls within the State of Uttar Pradesh shall, if it is a proceeding relating exclusively
to the territory, which as from that day are the territories of Uttaranchal
State, stand transferred to the corresponding court, tribunal, authority or
officer of that State. (2) If any question arises as to whether any proceeding
should stand transferred under sub-section (1) it shall be referred to the
High Court at Allahabad and the decision of that High Court shall be final. (3)
In this section-- (a)"proceeding" includes any suit, case or appeal;
and (b)"corresponding court, tribunal, authority or officer" in the
State of Uttaranchal means-- (i) the court, tribunal, authority or officer in which,
or before whom, the proceeding would have laid if it had been instituted after
the appointed day; or (ii) in case of doubt, such court, tribunal, authority,
or officer in that State, as may be determined after the appointed day by the Government
of that State or the Central Government, as the case may be, or before the
appointed day by the Government of the existing State of Uttar Pradesh to be the
corresponding court, tribunal, authority or officer."
reading of the plain language of the above reproduced provision makes it clear that
every proceeding pending before a Court, Tribunal, Authority or Officer in any
area which fell within the State of U.P. on 09.11.2000 stood automatically transferred
to the corresponding Court, Tribunal, Authority or Officer of the State of Uttranchal
(now Uttrakhand). Therefore, the revisions which were pending before the Board of
Revenue, U.P. on 9.11.2000 stood transferred to the State of Uttranchal and, as
such, the same could not have been decided by the Board of Revenue, U.P. Unfortunately,
the learned Single Judge over looked the fatal flaw in the order of the Board of
Revenue, U.P. and pronounced upon the legality of the purchases made in the
names of the respondents.
the result, the appeals are allowed. The impugned order as also the order
passed by the Board of Revenue, U.P. are set aside and it is declared that the
revisions filed by the respondents stood transferred to the Board of Revenue,
State of Uttranchal. The Board of Revenue, U.P. is directed to transmit the
record of the revision petitions to the Board of Revenue of the State of Uttrakhand
which shall decide the revision petitions afresh. If there is no Board of Revenue
in the State of Uttrakhand then the record shall be transferred to the corresponding
adjudicating authority. The respondents shall furnish the list of allottees of plots
along with their latest addresses to the Board of Revenue, Uttrakhand or any
other competent adjudicating authority within a period of four weeks from today.
Thereafter, the allottees be impleaded as parties to the pending revisions and appropriate
order be passed in accordance with law after hearing all the parties.
(Asok Kumar Ganguly)