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Rudrappa & Others v/s State of Karnataka Represented by its Secretary, Revenue Department & Others

    Writ Petition Nos. 38056 & 38062 of 2017 (KLR-RES) 9662-9664 of 2018 (KLR-RES)

    Decided On, 22 February 2019

    At, High Court of Karnataka

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.N. SATYANARAYANA

    For the Petitioners: A.V. Gangadharappa, G. Ravishankar, Advocates. For the Respondents: T.S. Mahantesh, AGA.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: W.P.Nos.38056/2017 & 38057/2017 are filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the impugned order dated 9.11.2010 passed by the 2nd respondent in so far as it relates to land of petitioners bearing Sy.Nos.52/49 and Sy.No.52/52 of Siddagondanahali, Muthodu Hobli, Hosadurga Taluk, Chitradurga District each measuring 3 acres is concerned at annexure-F and etc.

W.P.Nos.38051/2017 are filed under articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the impugned order dated 9.11.2010 passed by the 2nd respondent in so far as it relates to land of petitioners bearing Sy.Nos.4/62, 4/64 and 4/66 of Siddagondanahali, Muthodu Hobli, Hosadurga Taluk, Chitradurga District each measuring 3 acres is concerned at annexure-F and etc.

W.P.Nos.38054-38055/2017 are filed under articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the impugned order dated 9.11.2010 passed by the 2nd respondent in so far as it relates to land of petitioners bearing Sy.Nos.4/64, 4/66 and of Siddagondanahali, Muthodu Hobli, Hosadurga Taluk, Chitradurga District each measuring 3 acres is concerned at annexure-F and etc.

W.P.Nos.38059/2017 are filed under articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the impugned order dated 9.11.2010 passed by the 2nd respondent in so far as it relates to land of petitioners bearing Sy.Nos.52/44 of Siddagondanahali, Muthodu Hobli, Hosadurga Taluk, Chitradurga District each measuring 3 acres at annexure-F and etc.

W.P.Nos.38060-38062/2017 are filed und

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er articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the impugned order dated 9.11.2010 passed by the 2nd respondent in so far as it relates to land of petitioners bearing Sy.Nos.31/5, 31/6 & 31/8 of Shivanakatte village, Kasaba Hobli, Hosadurga Taluk, Chitradurga District each measuring 1 acre 20 guntas is concerned at annexure-F and etc.

W.P.Nos.9662-9664/2018 are filed under articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the impugned order on 15.4.2010 passed by the 2nd respondent in case No.KLR (Amendment) 1/10-11 in so far as it relates to petitioners are concerned true copy of which is produced as annexure-G and etc.)

1. These six batches of writ petitions are with reference to grants said to have made by the Tahsildar of Hosadurga Taluka, Chitradurga Division between 1974-75 and 1980-81 under four grant orders with reference to 3 lands bearing sy.Nos.4 and 52 of Siddagondanahalli village, Mathodu Hobli and Sy.No.31 of Shivanakatte, Kasaba Hobli, both villages situated at Hosadurga Taluk, Chitradurga District.

2. The petitioners herein are confined to grants said to have made by the Tahsildar under 4 grant orders, namely No.LND.SR.22/1974-75 dated 22.2.1975, No. LND.SR. 240/1974-75 dated 28.3.1975, No.LND.Sr.238/1979-80 dated 30.3.1980 and No.LND.Sr.238/1980-81 dated 30.3.1980. So far as the last two orders are concerned, date being the same, number with reference to the year is slightly erroneous.

3. The records would indicate that in the year 2010 the Tahsildar of Hosadurga Taluk and Assistant Commissioner of Chitradurga Sub-division have come to know that a large scale fraud is committed with reference to grant of lands in 2 villages, namely Siddagondanahalli of Mathodu Hobli and Shivanakatte, Kasba Hobli; that the same is said to have committed by the then ahsildar of Hosadurga Taluk and some of the staff of said office, who are identified as about 9 persons in all as referred to in the statement of objections filed in these writ petitions. In fact, involvement of said 9 persons is identified in the order of the Under Secretary, Revenue Department (Services 3) in proceedings bearing No.RD.41.ADE.2014, dated 22.6.2016, at Annexure-R1. Wherein it would indicate that in all around 70 persons are involved in creation of forged documents for grant of 195.10 acres. Howe4ver, in the order of Deputy Commissioner, Chitradurga dated 9.11.2010 in proceedings bearing No.LND.CR.20/2011-11, at Annexure-F in WP.No.38056/2017, there is reference to 26 persons working in the office of the Revenue Department of Mathodu village and Hosadurga Taluk, being involved in the aforesaid fraud.

4. Coming to present writ petitions, the dispute is confined to petitioners in these six batch of writ petitions involving 4 grant orders, as stated supra. The records would indicate that the lands granted in favour of the petitioners in these writ petitions are mutated in their name vide MR.No.10/1974-75 with reference to 3 items of grant i.e., three entries;MR.No.3/1981-82 one entry; MR.No.20/1981-82 two entries; MR.No.2/1981-82 two entries; MR.No.24/1981-82 one entry; MR.No.13/1982-83 five entries and totally involving 14 transactions./ entries regarding Sy.Nos.4 and 52 of Siddagondanahalli and Sy.No.31 of Shivanakatte villages.

5. The records would also indicate that with reference to grant made to several persons in Sy.No.52 of Siddagondanahalli, further mutation entry is ordered on 21.1.2010 vide MR.No.24/2009-2010 by the Tahsildar of Hosadurga Taluk, wherein new survey numbers are assigned to different extents of lands in original Sy.No.52. It is these new survey numbers assigned to old survey number, namely Sy.Nos.99 to 103 of Siddagondanahalli village, is the subject matter in these petitions.

6. The material on record would indicate that when the fraud in grant of lands in aforesaid two villages has come to the notice of the Tahsildar, Hosadurga Taluk and Assistant Commissioner of Chitradurga Sub Division, they have placed the same before the Deputy Commissioner of Chitradurga along with a report prepared by them in that behalf. Based on that, the Deputy Commissioner has orders for an enquiry in to the matter by the Assistant Commissioner of Chitradurga Sub Division by issuing a notice to the concerned persons. It is on the said order of the Deputy Commissioner dated 9.11.2010 in proceedings bearing No.LND.CR.20/2010-11 ordering enquiry in to the aforesaid fraud, the notices dated 30.11.2010 were issued by the Assistant Commissioner in proceedings bearing Nos.RA.105/2010-11, 110/2010-11, 103/2010-11, 114/2010-11 and 1/2010-11 dated 30.11.2010. Admittedly, the said notices of even date are in calling upon the parties to produce the documents available with them with reference to grants said to have made in their favour, pursuant to which mutation entry is effected, pursuant to which they are all registered as persons, who are in possession, enjoyment and cultivation of lands said to have granted in their favour by the Tahsildar of Hosadurga Taluk.

7. When the said notices were issued by the Assistant Commissioner, all these petitioners have approached the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal by filing appeals under Section 49(c) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 except with reference to Revision which is filed by the petitioners in WP.Nos.9662-9664/2018 which is under Section 56 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964. The appeals are filed in Appeal Nos.935/2010, 933/2010, 934/2010, 936/2010 and 937/2010 before the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal are dismissed as premature in holding that the same cannot be subject matter of challenge before it. Instead, it has observed that all the parties should appear before the competent authority, namely Assistant Commissioner who is authorized by the Deputy Commissioner, Chitradurga for issuing the notices impugned and to conduct enquiry with reference to grant made in respect of each of the persons to whom notices are issued. The orders passed in aforesaid appeals as well as the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner in proceedings bearing No.LND.CR.20/2010-11 dated 9.11.2010 and notices dated 30.11.2010 in the proceedings before the Assistant Commissioner in RA.105/2010-11 and other proceedings, referred to supra, are subject matter in these batch of writ petitions except WP.Nos.9662-9664/2018.

8. In WP.Nos.9662-9664/2018 the petitioners, who are petitioners in other batch of writ petitions also, would contend that suo motu parallel proceeding in No.Bhu.U.Ni Correction 1/2010-11 is initiated before the Technical Assistant Ex-Officio, Deputy Director of Land Records attached to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Chitradurga at the instance of the Land Tribunal under Section 49(a) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964, with reference to changing katha in Sy.No.52 and granting new survey numbers to different portions bearing Nos.99 to 103, wherein the phodi work with regard to new Sy.Nos.99 to 103 to old Sy.No.52 was stalied by interim order dated 15.4.2010; the said interim order as well as the notice issued by the Tahsildar or Hosadurga dated 5.6.2010 in No.LND.CR.2/2010-11 were subject matter before the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal (KAR for short) in Revision Petition No.33/2010 under Section 56 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964, however, the KAT declined to interfere with either interim order or notice impugned before it and accordingly, dismissed the revision by order dated 13.10.2017. It is this order of KAT as well as the interim order of 2nd respondent dated 15.4.2010 are subject matter of challenge in these batch of writ petitions.

9. In the instant case, what is to be seen is that a large scale fraud is said to be committed between 1974-5 and 1980-1981 in granting 195 of 200 acres of land spread over in two villages, referred to supra, in favour of several persons of unscrupulous employees of Revenue Department starting from Tahsildar of Hosadurga Taluk going down to Peon/Sub-Staff of the very same office in colluding together and creating documents to show as if the Tahsildar has granted land to several persons under 4 grant orders, referred to supra. Among said 4 grant orders, when grant orders in proceedings bearing No.LND.SR.238/1979-80 and LND.SR.238/1980-81 are looked in to, both are dated 30.3.1980 thereby clearly disclosing that all these numbers are fraudulent numbers, therefore the orders passed therein are without valid authority of law. Hence, to ascertain the correctness or other wise of the same, the Assistant Commissioner Chitradurga Sub Division had initiated proceedings in RA.No.105/2010-11 and other proceedings, referred to supra, by issuing notices to each one of the parties on the same day i.e., 30.11.2010. In fact, when said proceedings are initiated in the year 2010, they have successfully stalled it till this day, none of the petitioners herein and other persons appeared before the Assistant Commissioner and produced the documents in the proceedings before said authority, as the said proceedings being stayed in these batch of writ petitions.

10. The material available on record would also indicate that the petitioners herein have approached the Co-ordinate Bench of this Court on criminal side in filing Crl.P.Nos.6169/2010 and 6170/2010 and some other persons in some other criminal petitions and secured an order on 11.1.2017, wherein on the basis of certain statements made by the counsel appearing for the State all the Criminal Petitions are allowed and criminal prosecution launched by filing FIR against the petitioners and similarly placed persons are quashed. However, the Co-ordinate Bench of this Court while disposing of the aforesaid criminal petitions at paragraphs 4 and 5 has observed as under:

“4. The learned Government Pleader would fairly submit that if the proceedings have been initiated without notice to the petitioners, it certainly cannot be sustained and would therefore submit that with liberty to the authorities to initiate fresh proceedings in accordance with law, there is no objection if the petition is allowed.

5. Accordingly, the petitions are allowed. The impugned complaint lodged by the second respondent is a fall out of the finding of the Deputy Commissioner and hence, the pending FIR No.341/2010 registered by the first respondent –police of the Hosadurga Police Station and FIR No.139/2010 registered by the Sreerampura Police, Hosadurga Taluk, Chitradurga District and the further proceedings pursuant to the FIRs are hereby quashed.”

11. With the said observations, the aforesaid criminal petitions were disposed of by the Co-ordinate Bench thereby indicating that the statement made by the learned Government Advocate is accepted insofar as fresh proceedings to be initiated. However, the said order is misinterpreted by the authorities, no fresh proceedings are initiated and an attempt is made by all those who are concerned in allowing the matters to be at standstill both with reference to inquiry into the manner in which the grant was made as well as resumption of land, also with reference to launching criminal prosecution afresh against the officers and the beneficiaries who are involved in this large scale fraud involving nearly 200 areas of agricultural land.

12. It is surprising that the Deputy Commissioner has also not taken possession of lands in question having prima facie come to the conclusion that there is large scale fraud, is another aspect which remains as an enigma. Further, the police also does not seem to be interested in pursuing registering complaint and conducting investigation afresh pursuant to the order passed by this Court in criminal petitions, referred to supra, wherein liberty is reserved to the police for conducting fresh investigation and to file appropriate report after conducting proper investigation. Therefore, in the present set of circumstances, this Court is of the considered opinion that these batch of writ petitions filed assailing the continuence of proceedings in Nos.RA.105/2010-11, 110/2010-11, 103/2010-11, 114/2010-11 and 1/2010-11 vide order of the Deputy Commissioner in proceedings bearing No.LND.CR.20/2010-11, dated 9.11.2010 are erroneous, wherein the impugned proceedings should not have been stalled. In fact, similar opinion is expressed by the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal in several of the appeals filed before it which appears to be just and proper. Therefore, question of interfering with any one of the impugned proceedings i.e., order of Deputy Commissioner, consequential issuance of notices by the Assistant Commissioner as well as the order of the KAT, do not arise.

13. Accordingly, these batch of writ petitions are dismissed. While doing so, this Court would pass the following order:

(a) The Deputy Commissioner having made enquires in the matter vide proceedings bearing No.LND.CR.No.20/2010-11 is not prevented from ordering resumption of land forthwith without allowing the petitioners to enjoy the fruits of fraudulent grant, which is made by the Tahsildar when admittedly he is not the person authorized to grant land under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964.

(b) The Assistant Commissioner of Chitradurga Sub Division to pursue the notices which are already issued by him in Nos.RA.105/2010-11, 110/2010-11, 103/2010-11, 114/2010-11 and 1/2010-11 of even date, namely 30.11.2010 to each one of the petitioners and other similarly placed persons; thereafter, to conduct enquiry in to the matter; find out the role of each one of the persons in fraudulently creating the grant certificate and to take appropriate action against them in accordance with law.

(c) Simultaneously the jurisdictional police to conduct investigation afresh in to the complaints which are already filed before them and take necessary steps.

(d) It is needless to state that all these exercises by the police shall be on time bound basis with an upper limit of six months and the Assistant Commissioner to complete the proceedings which are already started by issuing notices within six months after the police concludes investigation and filed its report before the jurisdictional Magistrate.

With such observations, these writ petitions are dismissed
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