Limitations on the Inherent Power of the Deputy Commissioner under Section 25 of Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964

Posted On - 10 January, 2024 • By - Arsalan Zaidi S M

In a recent judgment passed by the division bench of Karnataka High Court, on 23rd November 2023, The Writ Appeal[1] was under review of Hon’ble Justice Prasanna B. Varle and Hon’ble Justice Krishna S Dixit which dwelled into the inherent powers of the Deputy Commissioner under Section 25[2] of Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964. The judgment reviewed the orders passed by Hon’ble Justice R. Devdas in the High Court of Karnataka with respect to a Writ Petition[3].

In the instant case the appellant has sought to set aside the orders passed by the Hon’ble single bench. As recorded in the Writ Petition before the single bench, the petitioner had challenged the impugned orders dated 15.02.2014 passed by the Deputy Commissioner setting aside Tahsildar’s order of land conversion dated 16.10.1988 filed by the appellant in the Revenue Court under section 25 of the Act. The petitioner in the revenue court had filed objections and raised various grounds seeking rejection of the petition, stating that the appellant could not have approached the Deputy Commissioner for seeking cancellation of the conversion after a lapse of 21 years. The petitioner brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner that the said land was formed into a layout and sold sites to various persons. Nevertheless, the Deputy Commissioner proceeded to pass the impugned order[4].

Thereafter, the petitioner filed the Writ Petition challenging the impugned order passed by the Revenue Court in the High Court of Karnataka. The Hon’ble single judge found that the appellant could not have invoked the inherent jurisdiction of the Revenue Court under Section 25, when the statute provided for a remedy to the aggrieved person in the form of an appeal under Section 49 of the Act. The Judge noted that in order to overcome the limitation prescribed under Section 51 of the Act, the appellant could not invoke Section 25. It was also noted by the appellant could not take any action against the petitioner unless he obtained an order of declaration in his favour and the court opined that the impugned order passed by the Deputy Commissioner setting aside the conversion order nearly after 25 years could not be sustained and therefore quashed and set aside the impugned order dated 15.02.2014.

In concurrence to the order passed by the single judge the division bench also reiterated that the appellant could not approach the Deputy Commissioner as an appellant authority and such matters and by no means could he have invoked Section 25, as in an appeal[5]. The Division bench seconded that the order passed by the single judge, that the Deputy Commissioner have not accepted the appeal under Section 25 of the Act, without plausible explanation and observed that the Deputy Commissioner could not have casually rescinded the conversion order which was in existence for nearly 25 years.

It can be observed from the above case that the Hon’ble court is of the opinion that a Deputy Commissioner cannot utilize the inherent powers under Section 25 of the Act without plausible reason and cause.

[1] Writ Appeal 387/2023 (KLR-CON)

[2] Section 25: Saving of inherent powers of a Revenue Court. — Nothing in this Act, shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect the inherent power of the Revenue Court to make such orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent the abuse of the process of the Revenue Court.

[3] Writ Petition 33747/2014

[4] Order dated 15.02.2014

[5] Siddeshwar Yuvak Mandal vs State & Anr., ILR 1981KAR 1309