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PANKAJ KUMAR AGARWAL versus UNION OF INDIA THRU' SECY. & ANOTHER

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Pankaj Kumar Agarwal v. Union Of India Thru' Secy. & Another - WRIT - C No. 27115 of 2004 [2004] RD-AH 336 (21 July 2004)

 

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HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

AFR

Court No. 21.

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.   27115   of   2004.

Pankaj Kumar Agarwal ........... Petitioner

                               Versus

Union of India and another ........... Respondents.

And

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.   27116   of   2004.

Manoj Kumar Agarwal ........... Petitioner

Versus

Union of India and another ........... Respondents.

:::::::::::

Hon'ble Ashok Bhushan, J.

Heard Sri A.K. Goyal appearing for the petitioners in both the writ petitions and Sri K.K. Rai appearing for the respondents.

By these two writ petitions, the petitioners have prayed for quashing the orders dated 4th March, 2004 passed by 11th Additional District Judge, Bareilly in Misc. Appeal No.90 of 1999 (Pankaj Kumar Agarwal Vs. Union of India) and Misc. Appeal No.91 of 1999 (Manoj Kumar Agarwal Vs. Union of India) as well as the order dated 17th August, 1999 passed by District Judge, Bareilly transferring the appeals for disposal to the Court of 11th Additional District Judge, Bareilly.

Notices under sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) were issued to the petitioners consequent to which proceedings were initiated before the Estate Officer. The Estate Officer passed orders directing for eviction of the petitioners on 29th June, 1999. The petitioners filed appeals against the said orders under Section 9 of the Act before the District Judge, Bareilly. The said appeals were registered as Public Premises Appeal Nos. 90 of 1991 and 91 of 1991 and proceeded for hearing. The appeals were proceeding in the Court of 11th Additional District Judge, Bareilly for disposal. It appears that applications were filed by the petitioners in the year 2004 praying that the 11th Additional District Judge, Bareilly has no jurisdiction to decide the matter. The said objection has been rejected by the 11th Additional District Judge, Bareilly by the impugned judgments dated 4th March, 2004 which have been challenged in the writ petitions.

Sri A.K. Goyal, challenging the orders, contended that under Section 9 of the Act, appeal can be decided only by the District Judge or by Additional District Judge having 10 years standing as Additional District Judge. He also placed reliance on a judgment of Punjab and Haryana High Court reported in 1980 AIR 69; Bawa Gopal Singh Vs. Union of India and others.

Learned counsel appearing for the respondents supported the impugned orders and contended that impugned orders have been passed by Additional District Judge who has more than 10 years standing as an judicial officer, hence there is no error in the orders passed by Additional District Judge.

I have considered the submissions and perused the record.

Section 9 of the Act provides that appeal shall lie from every order of the Estate Officer made in respect of any public premises to an appellate officer who shall be the District Judge of the district in which the public premises are situate or such other judicial officer in that district of not less than ten years' standing as the District Judge may designate. Section 9(1) of the Act, which is relevant in the present case, is extracted below:-

"9. Appeals-(1) An appeal shall lie from every order of the estate officer made in respect of any public premises under (Section 5 or Section 5-B) or Section 7 to an appellate officer who shall be the district judge of the district in which the public premises are situate or such other judicial officer in that district of not less than ten years' standing as the district judge may designate in this behalf."

The principal submission pressed by counsel for the petitioners is that under Section 9 of the Act appeal can be decided by only a District Judge or an officer having ten years standing as Additional District Judge. Section 9(1) of the Act is very explicit. The appellate officer, according to Section 9, shall be the District Judge or such other judicial officer in that district of not less than ten years' standing. The words used in the section are, "judicial officer in that district". The legislature is presumed to be aware of the meaning of words used in the section. The words, "judicial officer, district judge, additional district judge, civil judge" have definite connotation and meaning. The legislature has used the word "judicial officer" and not the word "Additional District Judge" in the section. The emphasis on the words not less than ten years standing as judicial officer. The object is clear that a judicial officer who is entrusted to decide the appeal should have substantive standing. Ten years standing as judicial officer has been thought to be sufficient to invest an officer to discharge the function of appellate officer. The submission of Sri Goyal that officer should have 10 years standing as an Additional District Judge cannot be read in Section 9 of the Act. It is golden rule of interpretation that word which is not used in a section should not be read nor the meaning of word should be altered by any interpretation and in absence of any ambiguity the plain and simple meaning of a Statute be adopted. Section 9 of the Act uses the words ''judicial officer of not less than 10 years standing which should be given plain and simple meaning. There is no dispute that 11th Additional District Judge who has passed the order, has 10 years standing as judicial officer.

The judgment relied by Sri Goyal in Bawa Gopal Singh's case (supra) also does not support his contention. In paragraph-3 of the said judgment it has been observed that Mr. Surinder Sarup, who heard the appeal as Additional District Judge, had not been acting as a Judge even for a year and therefore, unless he had 10 years' standing, he could not be authorised by the District Judge to hear the appeals.  It is not clear from the judgment whether he was not acting for a year as an Additional District Judge or judicial officer. In any view of the matter since the said issue has not been deliberated and decided, the said judgment cannot be said to be a precedent on the issue which is being sought to be raised in these writ petitions. Moreover, the appeals have been pending before the Additional District Judge since 1999 and the applications were filed by the petitioners only in January, 2004.

In view of the foregoing discussions, I do not find any substance in the submission raised by counsel for the petitioners.

The writ petition lacks merit and is dismissed summarily.

Dated 21.7.2004.

Rakesh


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