W.P. No. 26132 of 2011. Case: Lalitha Christian Vs Government of Andhra Pradesh and Ors.. High Court of Andhra Pradesh (India)

Case NumberW.P. No. 26132 of 2011
CounselFor Appellant: D. Prakash Reddy, Senior Counsel for P. Laxma Reddy, Counsel and For Respondents: B. Mahender Reddy, Special Government Pleader
JudgesM.S. Ramachandra Rao, J.
IssueAndhra Pradesh Escheats And Bona Vacantia Act, 1974 - Section 8; Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 - Section 54; Indian Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 68; Indian Succession Act, 1925 - Sections 2(i), 2(ii), 213, 213(2), 3, 5, 57, 63(c), 7, 8, 9
Judgement DateFebruary 22, 2017
CourtHigh Court of Andhra Pradesh (India)


M.S. Ramachandra Rao, J.

  1. This Writ Petition has been filed challenging the orders dt. 31.12.2010 of the 2nd respondent (the Joint Collector, Medak at Saga Reddy) in Case No. F3/7799/2006-F3/42/ROR/06 confirming the order dt. 15.07.2006 in Case No. A3/1734/2006 of the 3rd respondent (The Revenue Divisional Officer, Sangareddy, Medak district), canceling the pattedar pass books of petitioners. The petitioners are legal heirs of Dr. E.B. Christian alias Dr. Naidu.

  2. It is not in dispute that a registered sale deed was executed in favour of Dr. Naidu on 7th Ahaban 1345 Fasli [7th September, 1935 A.D.] in respect of Acs.34.23 guntas in Survey No. 326 and Acs.25.00 guntas in Survey No. 310 situated at Khasba Akhali, now known as Zaheerabad.

  3. Alleging that under a Will dt. 09.03.1960 executed by the said Dr. Naidu, they inherited the property, the petitioners applied to the 4th respondent for issuance of pattedar pass book and title deed under the A.P. Rights in Land and Pattedar Passbooks Act, 1971 (for short, 'the Act').

  4. The then Tahsildar, Zaheerabad Mandal, Medak district (the 4th respondent) issued pattedar pass books and title deeds to petitioners in 2004 vide orders dt. 15.10.2004 bearing Nos. 262439 to 262441.

  5. One year eight months later, the then Mandal Revenue Officer, Zaheerabad addressed a letter No. D/10260/05 on 12.06.2006 to the 3rd respondent that as per directions of the District Collector, Medak, he enquired the matter after assuming charge as Mandal Revenue Officer, Zaheerabad and found glaring mistakes committed by his predecessor; that petitioners played fraud upon the office of the Mandal Revenue Officer, produced forged documents, and without producing relevant records to show that they are connected or concerned with Dr. Naidu, obtained pattedar pass books and title deeds by misrepresentation; that this fraud was detected on 10.06.2006; and therefore, he was filing an appeal under the Act before the 3rd respondent under sub-rule (2) of Rule 21 of the Rules framed under the Act to cancel the mutation affected in the name of petitioners; that the said report be treated as an appeal against the orders passed by the then Mandal Revenue Officer, Zaheeerabad on 15.10.2004; and that the said Appeal is filed within time from the date of detection of fraud and mistake.

  6. On receipt of this report from the 4th respondent, the 3rd respondent treated it as an appeal under Rule 21(2) and issued notices to petitioners directing them to show on what basis they were claiming the properties in question when the lands were recorded in the name of Dr. Naidu as pattedar and possessor in the Revenue Records.

  7. Reply was filed to the said show-cause notice on 21.06.2006 by petitioners stating that Dr. Naidu was also called Dr. E.B. Christian and he had purchased the land from the Nizam Government in 1935 and was in possession since then. They questioned on what basis the Government was claiming the property when petitioners have become absolute owners and heirs and even by virtue of adverse possession. They relied on the Will dt. 09.03.1960 executed by Dr. E.B. Christian alias Dr. Naidu bequeathing the property to them.

  8. The counsel appearing for petitioners contended that the petitioners did not play any fraud on the office of the Mandal Revenue Officer, Zaheerabad to obtain the pattedar pass book and title deeds as alleged, and that there was no documentary evidence to show that the land belongs to the Government since the petitioners were in possession for a very long time. He stated that the then Mandal Revenue Officer, Zaheerabad after going through the records and scrutiny and verification issued the pattedar pass book and title deed to the petitioners and relied upon the Pahanies for the period 1960-61 to 2000-01, and sought dismissal of the appeal.

  9. By order dt, 15.07.2006, the 3rd respondent allowed the appeal, and set aside the orders passed by the Mandal Revenue Officer, Zaheerabad on 15.10.2004 as well as the Pattedar Pass Book and title deeds issued to petitioners by canceling them.

  10. The 3rd respondent held that the Vasool Baqui and the Sethwar showed that the subject land was Government land; that the Vasool Baqui is a crucial document to know classification of land, title and ownership; that the petitioners had not produced any documents in support of their plea that the land was purchased in 1935 from the Nizam Government; and that though the Khasra Pahani for the year 1954-55 showed the name of Dr. Naidu, as per a decision of this Court reported in S.A. Gyan Purshant Rao (died) and others v. Smt. Vijayamma 1988 (2) ALT 6, entries in Khasra Pahani do not create any title and that petitioners failed to establish their title over the subject land by providing evidence. He held that petitioners failed to establish that Dr. Naidu and Dr. E.B. Christian are one and the same person; that probate of a Will is mandatory as per the decision of this Court in S.A. Gyan Purshant Rao (supra); and since the petitioners did not get the Will probated for more than 40 years before the competent authority, the Will had no legal sanctity. He therefore, concluded that the Will on which the petitioners placed reliance was an invented document and cannot be believed. He further held that the Mandal Revenue Officer, Zaheerabad, who granted pattedar pass book and title deed to petitioners in 2004 did not give any speaking order and did not mention as to how the petitioners are entitled to pattedar pass books and title deeds over the land and that the said official should have insisted on a legal heir certificate issued by a Court of Law in support of claim of petitioners and he could not have relied upon a family member certificate issued by the Mandal Revenue Officer, Musheerabad, Hyderabad, showing that petitioners are family members of Late John Jaipal Christian, S/o. E.B. Christian, particularly when there was a dispute whether Dr. Naidu was also known as Dr. E.B. Christian, and that the said certificate itself stated that it was for the purpose of settlement of Bank accounts only and would not apply for claims to property.

  11. Assailing the same, the petitioners preferred a Revision before the 2nd respondent invoking Section V of the Act. The 2nd respondent by order dt. 31.12.2010 dismissed the Revision. He stated that 3rd respondent had elaborately discussed the merits and de-merits of the case and extracted the contents of the order of the 3rd respondent. He held that he did not find any merit in the Revision since there was no documentary evidence in support of the petitioners' contention contrary to the findings of the 3rd respondent.

  12. Challenging the same, the present Writ Petition is filed.

  13. On 19.09.2011, in WP. No. 32245 of 2011, this Court directed status quo as on that day with regard to possession shall be...

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