Citations: 1981 ALL LJ 940
Case Type: Civil (Second Appeal)
Case No: 1442 of 1974
Decided On: May 7, 1981
Appellant: Radha Krishna Chaube and anothers
Respondent: Ram Janam and anothers
Justice: S.J. Hyder
Statutes Referred: Constitution of India, 1950; U.P Tenancy Act, 1939; The Bengal Alluvion and Diluvion Regulation of 1825: U.P.Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act: Bihar and Uttar Pradesh(Alteration of Boundaries) Act, 1968
● The primary dispute in the case is that the plaintiff respondents that is Ram Janam and others demands a declaration from the court under Section 59/61 of the U.P. Tenancy Act, 1939 on the ground that they were in possession of the land for over 50 years and that they have a hereditary right therein.
● While the defendant appellants that is Radha Krishna Chaube and others claimed that the land in dispute was in their possession as Sir and khudkast land and objected to the relief sought by the plaintiff.
● The said land was subject to the fluvial action of the confluence of river Ganga and Ghagra which turns furious during rainy season. To the east of the confluence of these two rivers lies district of Shahabad and Saran falling in Bihar boundary. While to the west is the district of Ballia falling in Uttar Pradesh boundary.
● In 1901 due to heavy flood in these two rivers the land in dispute submerged under the water and after when the water receded it appeared on eastern bank of the river in the district of Shahabad and remained its part until 1959.
● Again due to heavy floods in 1959 the land once again submerged under water and due change in course of river the land re-formed and appeared on the western bank of the river that is in the district of the Ballia.
● The primary court and the appellate court decreed in favour of the plaintiff respondent.
● The learned counsel of the aggrieved party filed a second appeal on the ground that the suit of the plaintiff respondent under Section 59/61 of the U.P. Tenancy Act 1939 was not entertainable and the decree passed therein is without jurisdiction.
● Whether the Ballia court had the jurisdiction in passing the decree.
● Whether the suit of the plaintiff U/S 59/61 of the U.P. Tenancy Act was maintainable.
● whether the plaintiff acquired hereditary right in the disputed land.
Contentions advanced by the Appellant:
● Despite the land appeared on the western bank in the district of Ballia, it remained the part of district of Shahabad, Bihar. And therefore the suit cannot be instituted in the court of Judicial Magistrate, Ballia.
● Suit U/S 229-B of the U.P.Z.A and L.R. Act cannot be sustained.
● The High Court with regard to the jurisdiction of the case explicitly commented that if the tribunal or Court has not been conferred any power to pronounce over a particular dispute or claim then any such order or judgement passed, will be void.
● The Court or Tribunal never obtains jurisdiction by estoppel over matter in which they have no jurisdiction. “It is fundamental principle well established that a decree passed by a court without jurisdiction is a nullity and that its invalidity can be set up whenever and wherever it is sought to be enforced or relied upon even at the stage of execution and even in collateral proceedings.’’
● The Government of India Act 1919, failed to demarcate the boundaries of the provinces and consequently to satisfy the demands of the Indian people with regard to self-reliant government system the Government of India Act, 1935 was passed and remained in force until Constitution Act was adopted by the Parliament of India in 1950. Article 1 declares India as a Union of Sates.
● The territories of State of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are mentioned in item No. 3 and 13 respectively. And on reading those items the conclusion is assured that the land in dispute was governed by the State of Bihar and is a part of that State. The fluvial action of the stream of Ganga and Ghagra were ineffective since it took place in the year 1959.
● The U.P. Legislature amended the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act to treat any accretion of land due to action of river as the land belonging to Uttar Pradesh, Which was the clear indication to treat the land in dispute as its own. This was aftermath contested by the State of Bihar.
● As a result of which the Central Government appointed a one man commission to resolve the disputes between the States. Based on its report the Parliament passed the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh(Alteration of Boundaries)Act,1968. And because this act the land in dispute came under the de jure jurisdiction and control of Uttar Pradesh.
● But the High Court observed that the suit was instituted under the U.P. Tenancy Act, much before 1968 and no law of Uttar Pradesh was applicable to the accreted territories of Uttar Pradesh after 1959 until the appointment date under the Act of 1968.
● The high court also set aside the contentions of the plaintiff-respondent with regard to hereditary rights in the land because the land had submerged underwater even after the flood offset for around 4-5 months and that the submersion had the effect off re-storing the ownership to the original owner who had the constructive possession of the land in dispute.
● Article 1 of the constitution declares that the sovereign democratic Republic of India ‘shall be Union of States’. Further the territory of India includes State territories, Union territories and territories acquired by the Government of India. New territory acquired by India will be included in the definition of Union territories.
● Article 3 being a relevant Article in this case gives the Parliament the exclusive right to form a new state by separation or uniting of two or more state or by uniting any territories to a part of any state.
● The bill for this purpose can be introduced in the parliament only upon the recommendation of the President of India. And any bill affecting the boundaries of any state must also be referred to such state for expressing its views within such period as may be prescribed.
● Section 3 of the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh(Alteration of Boundaries)Act,1968 provided the principle for laying the boundaries between the States, by the authority appointed by the Central Government.
● The suit of the U/S 59/61 of the U.P. tenancy Act was held unmaintainable and was dismissed.
● The plaintiff could not save its suit U/S 229-B of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act as it failed to serve the notice U/S 80 of Code of Civil Procedure. Also no notice was served to Gaon Sabha U/S 106 of the Panchayat Raj Act.
● Based upon the statement of the prosecution witnesses the High Court dismissed the pray of the plaintiff-respondent to declare hereditary rights in the disputed land on account of continuing adverse possession for 50 years. As the land was underwater even when the flood receded, it had the effect of re-storing the ownership to its true owner.
● The High Court of Allahabad found no merit in plaintiff-respondents case and the second appeal was allowed and succeeded. The suit was dismissed with cost.
Shunning miscarriage of Justice is a difficult task which the Allahabad High Court performed evenly by interpreting the Constitution and the other statutes in a comprehensive manner, ensuring that the justice is delivered to the deserving.
Prepared by Kaushal Agarwal