Deputy Collector (L.A.) Vs. N. Vasudeva Rao & Ors
 Insc 1191 (28
Arijit Pasayat & Lokeshwar Singh Panta
APPEAL NOs. 4649-4650 OF 2004 Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
in these appeals is to the order passed by a Division Bench of the Andhra
Pradesh High Court disposing of four Letters Patent Appeals i.e. LPA Nos. 184
and 185 of 2002 and 33 and 34 of 2003, filed by the appellants.
facts need to be noted in brief before dealing with the rival contentions.
land in question to an extent of 24 acres 82 cents is Government land which was
said to have been assigned to the respondents herein on the basis of D Form pattas.
As per the terms and conditions of the pattas, whenever the land is required
for any public purpose, the same can be resumed by the Government on payment of
certain ex-gratia amount.
concerned Executive Engineer SRBC Division, Koilakuntla is said to have sent
proposals for acquiring about 24 acres 82 cents that is the land in question situated
in Cherlopalli village of Owk Mandal. Accordingly, the Revenue authorities surveyed the land and
arrived at the actual extent of land involved to be only 20 Acres 75 cents and
the said land is Government land and therefore proposal for resumption of the
land was said to have been initiated.
herein filed W.P. Nos. 6511 of 1999 and W.P. No. 6513 of 1999, inter alia,
contending that the appellants have resumed their land without paying ex gratia
amounts in terms of GOMs. No. 1307 dated 23.12.1993.
Single Judge by common judgment and order dated 11.8.1999 in Writ Petition Nos.
6511 & 6513 of 1999 disposed of the writ petitions directing the
respondents herein to make a detailed representation to the authorities within
four weeks and the authorities were directed to consider the same and pass
appropriate order within a period of six weeks. Subsequently, respondents
herein filed Contempt Case No. 493 of 2001 and Contempt Case No. 1211 of 2001
before the High Court inter alia alleging that despite court's order the ex-gratia
payment was not made. The appellants filed detailed counter affidavits in the
said contempt petitions inter alia indicating that the land in question was not
resumed and out of the alleged land in question i.e. out of Acre 24.82 cents,
soil was stated to have been excavated only in Acre 2.40 cents and as such they
are not entitled to any ex-gratia payment in respect of the entire extent.
learned Single judge of the High Court on consideration of the matter by a common
order dated 11.9.2002 in the two contempt cases held that the department has
resumed the land in question, exonerated the concerned officer and directed
payment of ex-gratia payment in terms of GOMs. No. 1307 dated 23.12.1993 for
the entire extent of the land. Appellant filed LPA Nos. 184 and 185 of 2002
before the High Court against the order passed by learned Single Judge. The
other LPA No. 33 of 2003 was filed by the Commissioner of Municipality, Tuni.
The third parties filed LPA No. 34 of 2003 along with a Misc. Petition seeking
permission of the Court to condone delay in filing of the LPA against the
order. They also filed another Misc. petition to direct the Municipality to
deliver possession of the shops as per the terms and conditions of the auction.
These two appeals have been filed by the functionaries of the State Government
against the combined order of the High Court in the Letters Patent Appeal.
of the appellant in these appeals is as follows:
it is contented that the learned Single Judge has no jurisdiction to give any
direction in the manner done while dealing with the contempt petition. In any
event, a learned Single Judge has no jurisdiction as his order merging to the
order of Division Bench. Finally it is submitted that the LPA was not
counsel for the respondents on the other hand submitted that there was clear
violation of the order passed in the writ petitions and there was blatant
attempt to deny the legitimate claim of the respondents herein. The land was
resumed on 18.11.1998 and till now nothing has been paid to the respondent as
compensation. Reference has been made to several correspondences between
Municipal Revenue Officer Owk Mandalam and the Special Deputy Collector, Nandyal
to show that the lands of the respondents were resumed.
law as to nature of order that can be passed in contempt proceedings had been
elaborately dealt with by this Court in several cases. In Union of India & Ors. v. Subedar Devassy PV [2006(1)
SCC 613] it was held as follows:
While dealing with an application for contempt, the court is really concerned
with the question whether the earlier decision which has received its finality
had been complied with or not. It would not be permissible for a court to examine
the correctness of the earlier decision which had not been assailed and to take
a view different from what was taken in the earlier decision. A similar view
was taken in K.G. Derasari v. Union of India [(2001)10SCC 496]. The court
exercising contempt jurisdiction is primarily concerned with the question of
contumacious conduct of the party who is alleged to have committed default in
complying with the directions in the judgment or order. If there was no
ambiguity or indefiniteness in the order, it is for the party concerned to
approach the higher court if according to him the same is not legally tenable.
question has necessarily to be agitated before the higher court. The court
exercising contempt jurisdiction cannot take upon itself the power to decide
the original proceedings in a manner not dealt with by the court passing the
judgment or order. Though strong reliance was placed by learned counsel for the
appellants on a three-Judge Bench decision in Niaz Mohd. v. State of Haryana [(1994)6SCC 332], we find that the
same has no application to the facts of the present case.
that case the question arose about the impossibility to obey the order. If that
was the stand of the appellants, the least it could have done was to assail
correctness of the judgment before the higher court."
above position was earlier highlighted in Prithawi Nath Ram v. State of Jharkhand [(2004) 7 SCC 261].
appears that there is also dispute about the area, so in the contempt petition
no direction could have been given in the manner done. The Division Bench has
held that the LPA is not maintainable. In view of what has been stated in Midnapore
Peoples' Coop. Bank Ltd. & Ors. v. Chunilal Nanda and Others [2006(5) SCC
399], the LPA was clearly maintainable.
Mathur v. L. Maheswara Rao [2000(10) SCC 285] it was inter alia held as
The above will show that the High Court has directed the State Government to
absorb the respondent against a suitable post either in a government department
or in any public sector undertaking. This order, in our opinion, is wholly
without jurisdiction and could not have been made in proceedings under the
Contempt of Courts Act or under Article 215 of the Constitution."
was placed on two Division Bench Judgments holding that contempt petition was
not maintainable before Learned Single Judge as his order had merged with the
Division Bench order. As regards Lalith Mathur's case (supra), the High Court
distinguished the judgment on the ground that there was no elaborate discussion
in the judgment and therefore no reason is discernible. To say the least, the
alleged distinguishing feature as pointed out by the High Court not to follow
the judgment cannot be said to be graceful. It is clearly violative of the
judicial discipline. It has been stated that payments have been made to some
persons and no departure could be made in the present case. Actually there is
no definite material as to whether the land was resumed or it was an excavated
appears from record that three counter affidavits have been filed and one of
the basic issues was whether the land was resumed or excavated land. There is
no definite material in this regard brought by the respondents on record. Three
counter affidavits filed by the respondents clearly indicate their definite
stand. Neither learned Single Judge nor the Division Bench addressed the basic
issues and on the other hand came to abrupt conclusions. Therefore, the orders
passed by learned Single Judge and the Division Bench deserve to be set aside,
which we direct.
authorities shall however consider the matter in detail and record findings
keeping in view the GO, the factual position and evidence led before it. The
appeals are accordingly disposed of without any order as to costs.