TBAMQTHERAM, J.^-Itosalin Nona v, Assistant Commissioner of 443.
Agrarian Servians, Vavuniya
1972 Present ■ Thamotheram, J., Wlmalaratne, J., and Rajaratnam, J.R,A, ROSALIN NONA and another, Appellants, and ASSISTANTCOMMISSIONER OF AGRARIAN SERVICES, VAVUNIYA,
S.C. 950-951168-^M. 0, Vavuniya, 44529
Poddy land—Tenant cultivator’s complaint of eviction by landlord-^Orders ofCommissioner and Board of Review that the tenant should be restored to possession=■Non-compliance by landlord—Commissioner's application then to Magistrateto put into effect the order of eviction–Conclusive nature of the orders of theCommissioner and the Board of Revievi— 1 ‘addy Lands Act No. 1 of 1958, asamended by Acts Nos, 81 of 1961, 11 of 1964 and 25 of 1966, as. 3, 4 (1),4 llAt), 21,59 (15),
Where a person who has boon ordered under the Paddy Lands Aot to vacate aland fails to comply with the order, and the Commissioner then moves theMagistrate’s Court under section 21 (1) of the Aot for an order to evict suchperson through the Fiscal, the Commissioner's order made under section 4 (1)1A (c) as well as the order of the Board of Roviow confirming such order arefinal and conclusive end cannot be questioned in the proceedings before theMagistrate under Beation 21. Section 21 does not permit the Magistrate toexamine the validity of the order of the Commissioner, except in regard to theaccuracy of the particulars furnished by the Commissioner, viz., the personmentioned in the order, or the extent and description of the land. It is onlyin such oases that the order of the Magistrate can be challenged in an appealpreferred to the 8upreme Court under section 21 (3).
ApPEAL from an order of the Magistrate’s Court, Vavuniya..
V. K. Kandosamy, with K. Sivananthan and K. Kanag-Iswaran. fatthe 1st and 2nd respondent-appellant .
Shiva Paaupaii, Senior State Counsel, with K. M. M B. Kvlaturiga,Acting Senior State Counsel, for the applicant-respondent.
July 10,1972. Thamotheram, J.—
. In this case the 1st and 2nd Respondent-Appellants appealed from anorder of the Magistrate of Vavuniya allowing an application of thaAssistant Commissioner of Agrarian Services, Vavuniya, to evict themand all other persons in occupation of the Paddy Land known as Godawelain extent 5 acres situated at Iratperiyakulam in the district of Vavuniyaand to deliver possession thereof to S. A. Abilin Singho of Navagama,Vavuniya. They have also moved this court by way of revisionpraying that the order of the Magistrate and the order of the AssistantCommissioner of Agrarian Services be set aside.
444 THAMOTHERAM, J.—Rosalia Nona v. Assistant Commissioner of
Agrarian Services, Vavuniya
The Assistant Commissioner of Agrarian Services held an inquiryunder Section 4 (I) 1 A (a) of the Paddy Land Acts No. 1 of 1958 asamended by 61 of 1961 and 11 of 1964 and informed the Respondent-Appellants that he had decided that Abilin Singho of Navagama,Vavuniya, had been evicted from the said extent of Paddy Land and thatif the Respondents were not appealing to the Board of Review againsthis decision, to restore the occupation and use of the Paddy Land to thesaid Abilin Singho and to report to him immediately this was done. TheRespondents appealed to the Board of Review which confirmed thedecision of the Assiistant Commissioner.
Under Act 1 of 1958 an eviction of a tenant cultivator as described inSection 4 (1) of the Act was an offence. A person convicted of sucheviction after summary trial before a Magistrate was liable to a fine notexceeding five hundred rupees and in default of payment of a fine toimprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one month.As this provision did not prove a sufficient deterrent a new sub-section4 (1) 1 A was introduced by Act 61 of 1961. Under this sub-sectionthe Commissioner was empowered to hold an inquiry where a tenantcultivator notified the Commissioner that he had been evicted. If theCommissioner decided that the tenant cultivator had been evicted hehad power to order that the person evicted be entitled to have the useand occupation of such extent restored to him and further to direct thatevery person in occupation of such extent shall vacate it on or before adate specified in the order and if such person failed to comply with theorder, that he shall be evicted from such extent in accordance with theprovisions of Section 21 of the Act.
In short the Commissioner was empowered by this new sub-sectionto inquire and make an order restoring the possession to a tenant cultivatorwho had been evicted.' He had first to give the landlord an opportunity ofbeing heard. The landlord had a right of appeal from the Commissioner'sorder to the Board of Review within 30 days of the said order. Ifthe Board of Review confirmed the Commissioner's order or if therewas no appeal then the landlord or a,ny other person in occupation hadto hand over possession to the tejiant cultivator named in the order.In case of failure to do so the provisions of Section 21 of the Act wereavailable to the Commissioner to obtain a Magistrate’s order affirminghis order and directing the fiscal to put into effect the order of eviction.
Section 59 (3) of the Paddy Lands Act 1 of 1958 stated that—
“ The decision of the Board of Review on an appeal Bhall except•otherwise provided in this Act be final and conclusive and shall notbe called in question in any Court. ”
THAMOTHERAM, J.—Itosalin Nona v. Assistant Commissioner of 445
Agrarian Services, Vavuniya
The amending Act 11 of 1964 introduced a new Section 59. Sub-section15 of this Section reads :
“A Board of Review may on any appeal made under this Act to
such Board confirmthe determination or decision from which
such appeal is made and the decision of such Board on such appealshall be final and conclusive and shall not be called in question in.anyCourt. ”
It is to be noted that in this sub-section the words “ except otherwiseprovided in the Act ” which appear in the earlier section have beenomitted.
Section 3 of the Act as amended by 11 of 1964 deals with evictionafter April 12th 1956 and before the coming into operation of the Act.In such cases the Commissioner was empowered to inquire intoan allegation of eviction to see. if it was bona fide. In regard to thisit was stated that—
Where no appeal is made from the Commissioner’s decision suchdecision was final and conclusive and shall not be called in question inany Court. ”
A similar clause appears in the amending Act 25 of 1966 with referenceto an order of the Commissioner under 4 (1) 1 A (c). This also reads :
“ Where no appeal is made from the Commissioner’s decision withinthe time allowed therefor, such decision shall be final and conclusiveand shall not be called in question in any legal proceedings in anyCourt. ”
The position therefore is clear that under the Paddy Lands Act 1 of1958 read with the subsequent amendments where a Commissioner underIts provisions inquired into an alleged eviction and ordered the restorationof possession the rights and obligations created by that order flowedfrom the date given therein, if no appeal to the Board of Review was made.But where the person aggrieved appealed to the Board of Reviewthe consequences flowed from the. date of the confirmation of theCommissioner’s order. Both the order of the Commissioner and theorder of confirmation by the Board were final and conclusive and couldnot be questioned in any Court of law.
Moreover by Section 3 of the amending Act 11 of 1964 a new sub-clause was added 4 (1) 1 Ad (ii) which said :
“.The landlord of such extent shall for each day during which a
person in respect of whom an orderis made continues to occupy
such extent after the dates specified in that order, pay to the personmentioned in sub-paragraph 1 of this .paragraph damages at such rateas may be prescribed unless such landlord satisfies the Commissionerthat the person was evicted without the knowledge, consent orconnivance of such landlord. ”
TTrAMrH'nHiRAM, J.—Rosalin Nona v. Assistant Commissioner of
Agrarian Services, Vavuniyo
This new sub-clause in regard to damages shows that the legislatureintended the decision of the Commissioner and the decision of the Boardof Review to be final and for the consequences of the order, includingpayment of damages, to flow immediately from the date specified. Itdid not intend to give an opportunity to the landlord to canvassthe whole issue once again before the Magistrate when it gave theCommissioner the right to invoke Section 21 of the Act.
It remains now to consider the provisions of Section 21 to see whetherthere is anything in it to support Mr. Kandasamy’B Contention that whena Commissioner takes action under Section 21 the Magistrate mustindependently satisfy himself of the validity of the Commissioner’sorder before affirming. Section 21 (1) reads:
" Where any person, who haB been ordered under this Act by acultivation committee or the Commissioner to vacate any extent ofPaddy Land and to deliver possession thereof to any specified person,fails to comply with such order, such committee or the Commissioner . ..may present to the Magistrate’s court within whose local jurisdictionBuch extent lies, a written report specifying the nature of 6uch orderand the peraon to whom it waB issued describing the extent of paddyland to which such order relates Btating that such person has failed
as required by such order to vacatepraying for an order to
evict such person and all other persons in occupation …. mentioningthe person to whom delivery of possession of such extent shall be made. ”
Mr. Kandasamy conceded that the Assistant Commissioner in theinstant caBe had done as required by this sub-seotion.
Sub-section 2 of the same Section states : “ Where a written reportis presented to the Magistrate’s Court under sub-section (1) such courtshall issue an order directing the persons specified in such report….
to be evicted forthwithAfter making Buch order the court Bhall
give notice of such order through the fiscal or peace officer to the personagainst whom the order is made .”
The main complaint of the appellants was that they were not allowedto canvass the validity of the Commissioner’s order before the Magistrate.A close examination of Section 21 makes it clear that it does not permitthe Magistrate to examine the validity of the order of the Commissioner.If the Commissioner had acted in accordance with 21 (1), under sub-section 2 the Magistrate shall make the order of eviction and the require-ment that he shall give notice of such order through the fiscal or peaceofficer to the person against whom the order iB made Bhows that even thepresence of the person affected is not necessary when he makes theorder.
TBAMOTHERAM, J.—Roaalin Nona v. Assistant Commissioner of 447
Agrarian Services, V aim my a
Sub-Beotion 3 Of thiB Section states that —
“ Any person aggrieved by an order made by the Magistrate’s Cour*'under sub-section 2 may appeal therefrom to the Supreme Court andthe provisions of chapter 30 of the Criminal Procedure Code Bhall applyaccordingly as if the appeal were preferred against a final order of aMagistrate’s Court in respect Of which an appeal lies to the SupremeCourt under that chapter of that Code. ”
Mr. KandaSamy Stressed this provision for appeal and Btated that an-appeal from an order of eviction by the Magistrate was purposeless unlessthe Order was based on an independent judgment of the Magistratehimself) as to the validity of the Commissioner’s order of eviction. InBub-section 4 of this Section the Magistrate’s order of eviction haB beencalled an order affirming the order of the eviction of the Commissioner.The question asked is whether a Magistrate can affirm an orderwithout considering its validity.
It seems to ub that when the Commissioner presents to the Magistratea written report specifying the nature of its order and the person to whomit was issued describing the extent of the paddy land to which suoh orderrelates Stating that Buch person has failed as required by such order tovacate and praying for an order to evict, the Magistrate must issue theOrder prayed for, Any error in Such order can only arise from the parti-culars furnished by the Commissioner under 21 sub-Bection 1 beingincorrect) viz, the person mentioned in the order or the extent and descrip-tion Of the land. It is only in such caBes that the order of the MagistrateCan be challenged in appeal. It seemB to us that the legislature havingprovided for an inquiry into an eviction by the Commissioner and anappeal from the order of the Commissioner to a Board Of Review did notby Section 21 provide for the order to be canvassed again before theMagistrate and once again before the Supreme Court. It is to be notedthat it is only the Commissioner who can move court under Section 21.If he does not, the aggrieved party will not have the opportunity, ifpermitted to do so, of canvassing the matter before the Magistrateand thereafter in appeal before the Supreme Court. ThiB shows thatthe purpose of Section 21 is to make available to the Commissioner theservices Of the fisoal to enforce his order. Further there is no time limitfixed for the Commissioner to seek the assistance of the Magistrateunder 21. ThiB again shows the conclusive nature of the orders of theCommissioner and the Board of Review.
The present Section 21 replaced an earlier Section whioh was repealed.Under the earlier Section the Magistrate was required to issue summonson the person named in the report to appear and Bhow cause why he shouldnot be evicted. He Was empowered to order a cultivation committee tooccupy the land until the question whether sUch person should be evictedfrom such extent was finally determined according to law. It furtherprovided that where a person to Whom summons was issued failed to
Motor Trawler “ Mecgamnua ” v. Thilagaralnam
appear on the date specified in the summons or appeared and informedCourt that he had no cause to show, against an order of the eviction, theCourt should issue an order directing such person to be forthwith evicted.When a person to whom summons was issued stated that he had cause toshow against the order of eviction the court could proceed forthwith tohear and determine the matter or could set the case down for inquiry onsome future date. If after inquiring the court was not satisfied that theperson showing cause was entitled to occupy, the court should make orderdirecting such person and all other persons in occupation of such extentto be evicted. It is significant that all these provisions are omitted inthe new Section.
The Act as it now stands with amendments makes it quite clear thatthe Commissioner’s order under 4 (1) 1 A (c) as well as the order of theBoard of Review confirming such an order are final and conclusive andcannot be questioned in any proceedings in a Court of law. This includesproceedings under Section 21 before a Magistrate. We dismiss the appealand refuse the application in revision. The learned Magistrate’s order isaffirmed.
Wimalaratne, J.—I agree.
Rajaratnam, J.—I agree.
R. A. ROSALIN NONA and another, Appellants, and ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF AGRARI