T. S. FERNANDO, J.—The Attorney-General v. Abeyratne
1964Present: T. S. Fernando, J.THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL, Petitioner, cmd K. M. ABEYRATNE,
S. C. 220 of 1964—Application in Revision in M. G.
Paddy land—Inquiry into eviction cf tenant cultivator—Procedure—Parties whoshould be heard—Paddy Lands (Amendment) Act, No. 01 of 1967, s. 4(1)—Paddy Lands Act, No. 1 of 1958, as omended by Act No. 61 of 1961, ss. 4(1A) (b), 4 (1A) (c), 4 (1A) (d) (i), 4 (1A) (d) (ii), 21 (2) (a).
.A fc the stage when an inquiry into an eviction of a tenant cultivator is heldin terms of section 4 (1) of the Paddy Lands (Amendment) Act, No. 61 of 1961,it is not necessary that any party other than the landlord should he heard.However, at the stage of execution of the order made by the Commissioner,any person against whom the order to vacate was made must be given anopportunity, by virtue of the provisions of section 21 (2) (a) of the Paddy LandsAct, No. 1 of 1958, to show cause against his threatened eviction.
PPLICATION to revise an order of the Magistrate’s Court, Kandy.V. S. A. Pullenayegum, Crown Counsel, for the Attorney-General.
G. T. Samerawickreme, for the respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
November 9, 1964. T. S. Fernando, J.—
The Assistant Commissioner of Agrarian Services of the KandyDistrict held an inquiry in terms of section 4 (1) of the Paddy Lands(Amendment) Act, No. 6J of 1961, and decided that the tenant cultivatorof a paddy land, one acre in extent, known as Hapugaskumbura, andbounded on the north by Assadume Kumbura, on the south by KoholaneKumbura, on the east by Oya and on the "west by paddy land belongingto the Dalada Maligawa and Arniinu Ela, situated at Aladeniya had beenevicted from such extent of land. Section 4 (1 A) (b) of the Paddy LandsAct No. 1 of 1958, as amended by Act No. 61 of 1961, renders this decisionof the Assistant Commissioner, in the absence of any proof to the contrary,equivalent to a decision that the eviction had been made by or at theinstance of the landlord of such extent.
Tha landlord did not appeal to the Board of Review, and in terms ofsection 4 (L4) (d) (i) of the Paddy Lands Act, amended as above indicated,the person evicted became entitled to have the use and occupation ofthe extent of paddy land in question restored to him. Section 4 (1 A) (d) (ii)enables the Commissioner to order every person in occupation of anyextent of land (in respect of which a decision has been made that the
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—The Attorney-General v. Abeyralne
tenant cultivator had been evicted) to vacate such extent on or beforea specified date ; if the person so ordered to vacate fails to comply withthe order, he shall be evicted from such extent in accordance with theprovisions of section 21 of Act No. 1 of 1958.
On the basis that the respondent to the present application has failedto vacate the extent of paddy land in question although ordered by theCommissioner to do so, the Assistant Commissioner invoked the procedurein eviction provided for by the said section 21. The learned Magistratebefore whom the application for eviction came up for disposal held thatthe Assistant Commissioner who made the decision that the tenantcultivator had been evicted had acted without jurisdiction in that heviolated that rule of natural justice which requires that any personagainst whom an order is to be made should be afforded an opportunityto show cause against the making of such order. For that reason theMagistrate refused the apnlication of the Assistant Commissioner foran eviction of the respondent.
It is this order of the Magistrate made on 1st June 3 964 that is soughtto be questioned in the proceeding by way of revision that is now beforeme. Crown Counsel, on behalf of the Attorney-General, pointed tosection 4 (1 A) (c) which enacts that the landlord of the extent of paddyland in question shall be given an opportunity of being heard. Thereis no requirement that any other person shall be heard. He contendedthat where a statute has indicated that on any particular proceedinga specified procedure shall be followed, all that it is necessary to do isto follow the procedure so laid down. In other words, he arguedthat the doctrine of non-observance of the rule of natural justice canbe invoked only where no procedure has been laid down. This argumentis, in my opinion, sound, and the order of 1st June .1964 must be setaside.
Mr. Samerawickreme, for the respondent, while not challenging thesoundness of the argument of Crown Counsel, contended that the respon-dent must now be afforded an opportunity of showing cause againsthis threatened eviction. Indeed, section 21 (2) (a) provides for thegranting of that opportunity. Crown Counsel conceded that therespondent must now be granted such an opportunity.
Acting in the exercise of this Court’s revisionary powers, I set asidethe order of 1st June 1964 made by the Magistrate refusing the applicationof the Assistant Commissioner, and direct that, on the return of therecord to the Magistrate’s Court, an opportunity be granted to therespondent to show cause as required by section 21 (2) of the Act, andfurther action be taken as provided for by law.
Order set aside.
THE ATTORNEY- GENERAL, Petitioner, and K. M. ABEYRATNE, Respondent