HC holds ‘time-barred’ revision petition under Land Revenue Act

Declares some judgements ‘not good in law’
File photo of J&K High Court
File photo of J&K High CourtMubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar: The High Court Monday held as “time-barred” the revision petition under the Land Revenue Act.

“A revision arising out of the provisions of the Land Revenue Act under Section 15 thereof, initiated at the instance of an aggrieved party, would attract the law of limitation,” a Division Bench (DB) of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice Muhammad Akram Chowdhary said.

Dismissing related appeals, the DB also did not concur with some of the single benches’ judgments which it said were expressing a conflicting view and would continue to baffle the revenue authorities and the legal practitioners.

Holding the judgments as bad, the DB said: “Those judgments do not lay down good law and, therefore, need to be, and are, declared so. Some of these judgments, which have come to our notice are Akhtara versus State of J&K and Others, 2009 (I) SLJ 20; Sukhdev and Another versus Financial Commissioner and Others 2005 (II) SLJ 716 (to the extent it holds so) and Azizi versus Fata.”

The court pointed out that “the provision of the law in Sub-section (2) of Section 12 of the Land Revenue Act clearly and unambiguously provides limitation period for revision applications under the act as being the same as provided for revisions under the Limitation Act in civil suits.

“The plea or the contention that the law of limitation is not attracted to the revision applications under the Land Revenue Act does not hold good,” the court said.

It said that there was no limitation period as such prescribed under the Limitation Act for revision applications in civil suits.

“However, it has been consistently held by this court that normally a revision petition should be filed within the same period as is prescribed for filing an appeal against a decree or order, which, admittedly, is 90 days,” the court said.

In the appeals before the DB, the appellants, Wali Muhammad Magrey and another had challenged the common judgment dated March 6, 2018, of the single bench allowing two petitions filed by Ali Muhammad Gujree and other wherein they had challenged a common order dated September 17, 2012, passed by the Joint Financial Commissioner (AR) in two revision petitions against mutations filed by the appellants.

While the appellants filed two revision petitions on July 25, 2005, before the Joint Financial Commissioner, challenging mutation Nos 164 and 192 of village Nagabal, Ganderbal, attested by Naib Tehsildar, Ganderbal, on August 14, 1993, and April 9, 1994, Gujree (who was respondent) filed two separate applications in the two revision petitions with the prayer that the revision petitions be dismissed as time-barred.

“Since the revision petitions against the mutations in question had been filed after almost 12-year delay and no application for condonation of delay was filed, nor any sufficient cause was shown for such delay, the revision petitions were not maintainable,” he said.

The Joint Financial Commissioner, by a common order dated September 17, 2012, dismissed the applications holding the revision petitions maintainable.

Aggrieved by the order passed by the Joint Financial Commissioner, Gujree filed two separate petitions for quashing the order.

Before the single bench, the point argued was whether revision petitions filed under Section 15 of the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act, 1996 BK (1939 AD) were governed by the relevant provision of the Limitation Act and whether an objection to the maintainability of the revision on the ground of latches could be taken at a belated stage.

The single judge held that the revision petitions were expressly barred by time, therefore, it was incumbent on the revision-petitioners to file applications for condonation of delay which, admittedly, had not been filed.

“It was necessary for the party invoking the jurisdiction of the Joint Financial Commissioner to plead and show that they had sufficient cause in filing the revisions after such a huge and inordinate delay of, approximately, 11 years,” the court had said.

Holding so, the single judge had set aside the common order dated September 17, 20123 passed by the Joint Financial Commissioner with a liberty to the respondents (appellants) to seek redress of their grievances, if any, before the competent forum, if available.

“Whether the remedy would or would not be barred by the law of limitation should be determined by that forum alone,” the court had said.

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