Padharo Devi Vs. Indrajeet Tiwary & Anr  Insc 118 (31 January 2008)
Arijit Pasayat & P. Sathasivam Dr. Arijit Pasayat, J.
Challenge in these appeals is to the judgment rendered by a learned Single
Judge of the Patna High Court dismissing the Civil Revision filed and the order
in the Review Petition.
the High Court challenge was to the order passed by learned Munsif, Bikramganj
in T.S. No. 162 of 1992 by which the Objection Petition, filed by the
defendant-Petitioner before the High Court viz. respondent No.1 in the present
appeal, was rejected. His stand was that in view of Section 43 of the Bihar
Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling Area and Acquisition of Surplus Land) Act,
1961 (in short the 'Act') the suit was incompetent.
position in a nutshell is as follows:
pre-emption applications under Section 16(3) of the Act were filed by the
pre-emptier defendant Respondent No.1, herein. They were registered as Ceiling
Case Nos. 19 and 20 of 1973. The plaintiff i.e. purchaser filed objection. The
Deputy Commissioner of Lands Reforms, Sasaram rejected both the Petitions.
Thereafter the appeals bearing Nos. 49 of 1974 and 52 of 1975 were filed which
were allowed by learned Additional Collector. Purchaser-plaintiff, the appellant
herein, challenged the same up to the High Court in CWJC Nos. 5970 and 5971 of
1983 and raised an issue relating to jurisdiction of the Authorities under the
Act. The High Court by a common order and judgment dated 11th October, 1991 dismissed the writ petitions. After
dismissal of the two writ petitions, the purchaser-plaintiff (appellant herein)
filed Title Suit No. 162 of 1992 in the Court of Munsif, Bikramganj for
declaration that the orders passed by the Ceiling Court in Ceiling Case Nos. 19 & 20 of 1973 were without
jurisdiction and not binding on the purchaser. The present respondent No. 1
appeared and filed a petition before the Court below relating to
maintainability of the suit. It was pointed out that the said suit was barred
in terms of Section 43 of the Act and the Court below had no jurisdiction to
entertain the said suit, against an order passed under the Act. Learned Munsif,
after hearing the parties, rejected the application and therefore the Civil
Revision was filed. The plaintiff-respondent No.1 in the present appeal, relied
on a decision of the High Court in the case of Nand Kishore Singh v. Satya Narain
Singh & Ors. (AIR 1978 Patna 315). The High Court after considering the
ratio of the said decision and the factual position held that the question
relating to jurisdiction of the authorities under the Act was specifically in
issue in the writ petitions. By judgment dated 11th October, 1991, the writ petitions were dismissed.
it was held that the title suit filed by the present appellant was not
maintainable in terms of Section 43 of the Act.
support of the appeals, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the
view of the High Court is clearly wrong and the reasoning of the High Court
cannot be maintained.
counsel for the respondents on the other hand supported the impugned order of
the High Court.
Section 43 of the Act reads as follows:
Bar of jurisdiction of Civil
Save and except as provided in this Act, no civil Court shall have jurisdiction
to settle, decide or deal with any question which is by or under this Act,
required to be settled, decided or dealt with by the Board of Revenue (x x x x),
the appellate authority or the Collector.
order of the Board of Revenue, (x x x x) the appellate authority or the
Collector made, under this Act, shall be questioned in any court."
is firmly established that the jurisdiction of the civil appeal to deal with
civil right can be excluded by legislature, but the statutory provision in this
regard must be expressed and clear. The bar created under the relevant
provisions of a Statute excluding the jurisdiction of the Civil Court cannot however operate in cases
where the plea raised before the Civil Court goes to the root of the matter and could, if upheld, lead
to the conclusion that the impugned order is a nullity. This position was
highlighted by this Court in Ram Swarup and Ors. v. Shikar Chand & Anr. [AIR
1966 SC 893]. If the proceedings of the orders passed therein are completely
without jurisdiction then the bar to the maintainability to the suit in the
ordinary civil court would not apply. The High Court noted that a plain reading
of Section 43 of the Act shows that while a suit is not maintainable against an
order passed under the Act, the jurisdiction of the authority passing such
order can be decided by a Civil Court.
The following observations of the High Court are relevant:
In the present case, it is not in dispute that the S.B.L.R. and/or the
Additional Collector, who passed the order in the ceiling cases and/ or appeal
petitions had such jurisdiction to decide the dispute raised under Section
16(3) of the Ceiling Act.
The issue relating to such jurisdiction was also raised by the
plaintiff-opposite party in his earlier writ petitions, which were rejected by
view of the aforesaid position, the High Court held that the title suit filed
by the present appellant was not maintainable in terms of Section 43 of the
view of what has been stated by this court in Ram Swaroop's case (supra) and
the observations of the High Court at paragraphs 9 & 10 quoted above, the
inevitable conclusion is that the appeals are without merit and deserve
dismissal which we direct.
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