Supreme Court: Revenue Record is not a Document of Title

Chaini Parwani-

Published On: October 07, 2021 at 10:55 IST

The Supreme Court has noted in a Judgment that revenue record is not a document of title.

Further adding the Court highlighted a lessee would not be accredited to any right on the land only on the basis of an entry in the revenue record.

The Bench comprising of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian was hearing an appeal against the High Court’s order wherein the Court had set aside the order dated July 8, 2004, passed by the Deputy Director of Consolidation, Lucknow, wherein, the revenue entry of Khasra Nos. 1576 and 1738 was ordered to be corrected in the name of Department of Forest and the claim of rival claimants were set aside.

The claimants had declared rights over the forest land on the basis of entries in the revenue record.

The Court denied such claim noting as follows in the case Prabhagiya Van Adhikari Awadh Van Prabhag V. Arun Kumar Bhardwaj (Dead) Thr. Lrs .

Henceforth, even if the name of the lessee finds mention in the revenue record but such entry without any supporting documents of creation of lease contemplated under the Forest Act is insignificant and does not create any right, title or interest over 12 bighas of land claimed to be in possession of the lessee as a lessee of the Gaon Sabha.

Factual Background

The Governor in the exercise of powers under Section 117 of the UP Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950 had issued a notice on October 11, 1952, under Section 4 of the Act as per which 162 acres of area in Village Kasmandi Khurd was not to lodge with the Gaon Samaj.

On November 23, 1955 a notification was issued u/s 4 of the Forest Act, 1927 for inviting grievances in respect of the land that formed a part of the notification and pursuant to this a proclamation was carried out on April 28, 1968 u/s 6 of the Forest Act, 1927.

The Gaon Sabha (local management committee) on May 15, 1966, and on December 26, 1966 put lessee into possession of 7 bighas and 5 bighas of land respectively from Khasra No 1576.

The Forest Department challenged the grant of lease before the Sub Divisional Officer, Lucknow but remained ineffective vide order dated December 19, 1969.

The Department although succeeded before the Additional Commissioner, Lucknow on July 22, 1970.

Although the Board of Revenue dismissed the lessee’s revision but on July 22, 1970, it decided to take a fresh decision after prosecuting the local management committee who had granted lease to the lessee on Goan Sabha’s behalf.

When the six yearly Khatuni was prepared for the period 1380 fasli to 1388 fasli, the barren land which could be made cultivable including Khasra no. 1576 was recorded to be assigned name of Gaon Sabha village Kasmandi Khurd to Department of Forest.

When the six yearly khatauni for the fasli year 1395 to 1400 was issued Khasra no. 1576 was shifted to the forest as a protected forest.

Since the lessee’s name highlighted for the first time in khatauni prepared for the year 1407 fasli till 1412 fasli , for rectifying the revenue record from the lessee’s name to that of the Forest Department, the Forest Department initiated proceedings under the Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1934 which were dismissed on July 22, 1993

Authorised to the dismissal of an appeal against the order dated July 22, 1993, the Deputy Director Consolidation in revision directed for rectification of the revenue entry of Khasra Nos 1576 and 1738 in the name of Forest Department and set aside the case of rival claimants.

The Allahabad High Court on November 30, 2005, set aside the order dated July 8, 2004, passed by the Deputy Director of Consolidation.

Counsel(s) for the lessee’s and Gaon Sabha submitted that the details of the land in respect of which the notice u/s 4 of the Forest Act was presented were not mentioned.

It was also their claim that the notice u/s 4 was unclear since it did not comply with the conditions and Khasra No 1576 was only mentioned in the proclamation published u/s 6 of the Forest Act.

Supreme Court’s Observations

“There is no other requirement under Section 4 of the Forest Act. It is only Section 6 of the Forest Act which needs to specify the situation and limits of the proposed forest. In terms of such clause (a) of Section 6 of the Forest Act, the details of khasra numbers which were part of 162 acres find mention in the proclamation so published,” bench observed in its judgement reported by Justice Hemant Gupta while observing that the notification contended all the procedural requirements.

Case Title: Prabhagiya Van Adhikari Awadh Van Prabhag V. Arun Kumar Bhardwaj (Dead) Thr. Lrs. | Civil Appeal No 7017 of 2009

Coram: Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V Ramasubramanian

Citation : LL 2021 SC 544

Read Order

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