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CHAPTER VI Powers of revenue officers

251.Powers of revenue officers. There are five classes of revenue officers: the financial commissioner, the commissioner, the collector, the assistant collector of the 1st grade, and the assistant collector of the 2nd grade. The deputy commissioner of a district is by virtue of his office its collector a revenue officer who is transferred from one district to another retains the powers with which he was invested in the former district.

252.Powers of financial commissioner. There are many matters on which the financial commissioner is empowered by the land revenue and tenancy acts to make rules, but these do not take effect till they have been sanctioned by the local government. There are also a number of executive proceedings regarding which his special orders required. For example he fixes the amounts and dates of the installments by which land revenue is paid, and if, to recover an error, the extreme step of annulling the assessment of an estate or holding, or of selling it outright has to be taken his sanction must first be obtained.

253.Power of commissioner. While the land revenue and tendency acts confer ample powers of general control on commissioners, there is practically no particular matter which they can legally deal with on their own initiative, or for the very few exception is that sales of immovable property for the recovery of arrears are not complete will they have received their confirmation.

254.Powers of collector and assistant collection. The land revenue act declares that certain things must be done and certain orders must be passed by the collector and that other things may be done, and other orders may be passed, by “a revenue officer” there are but two cases in which any difference between the powers of the two grades of assistant collectors is mentioned in the act. Section 126 provides that proceedings relating to the partition of land must be taken an assistant collectors of the 2nd grade do not of compelling parties before them to submit certain matters to arbitration. But by section 10 the local government has power  ,where the act does not  expressly by what class of revenue officers any function to be discharged, to determine the matter by notification, and this was done soon after the enactment came into force. The class of revenue officer which can dispose of the enactment came into force. The class of revenue officer which can dispose of the various applications and proceedings which arise under the tenancy act is stated in its 76th section. It will be observed that in the distribution of business, there is given no distinction made between the powers of a collector and those if an assistant collector of the 1st grade. But the application of a landlord for leave to take an improvement on the holding of a tenant with a right of occupancy must be presented to the collector, and he alone can enhance the rent after the improvement has been made and reduce it again after it has ceased to exist.

255.Enquiries by subordinate officers. It would be absolutely impossible for superior revenue officers, and especially for the deputy commissioner, to dispose of the numerous matters on which their orders are required, if the proceedings from first to last had to be held before themselves. Provision has therefore  been made that “a revenue officer may refer any case which he is empowered to dispose of ….to another revenue officer for investigation and report, and may decide the case upon the report” this useful power must be exercised with discretion. In matters of any importance the parties who will be directly affected by an order should be present when it is passed, and should be head as far as is necessary. However unpalatable a decision may be to a man, it loses half its sting if he feels that his case has been fully understood and carefully considered.

256.Exclusion of jurisdiction of civil courts. Civil courts have no jurisdiction in respect of any matters of which revenue officers are empowered by the land revenue and tenancy acts to dispose of.

257.Execution by revenue officers of certain orders of civil courts. On the other hand, any order which a civil or criminal court issues for the attachment, sale, or delivery of land, must be executed through the collector or a revenue officer appointed by the collector for that purpose. The rules on the subject will be found in the financial commissioner’s standing order no. 64 and the rules and orders of the high court, volume 1, chapter xii-order xxi, civil procedure code. When the produce of land is attached no obstacle must be placed in the way of the person to whom it belongs reaping, gathering or storing it, and every care must  be taken for its preservation. As executing of the orders of civil and criminal courts the function of a revenue officer is purely ministerial. He is not concerned with the priority of the order passed. But if it is on the face it illegal, if, for example, it directs the collector to sell land belonging to a member of an agricultural tribe, he will be justified in pointing this out to the civil court and, if necessary, to the commissioner.

258.Functions of collector under section 72 of the civil procedure code. Under the provisions of section 72 of the civil procedure code (act v of 1908) a court may authorize the collector to arrange for the satisfaction of a decree by the temporary alienation or management of land belonging to a judgement-debtor. The rules on the subject are quoted in the financial commissioner’s standing order no. 64. Any alienation approved of would naturally take the form of one or other of the kinds of the mortgage allowed by act xiii of 1990. Where the judgement –debtor is deprived of cultivating occupancy of the transferred land enough should be excluded from the transfer to furnish at least a bare subsistence for himself and his family.

259.Procedure of revenue officers. The produce of revenue officers is mainly governed by sections 18-23, 127-135 and 152 of the land revenue act, and by a law rules issued under various sections of the land revenue and tenancy acts. Any number of tenants cultivating in the same estate may be made parties to proceedings under chapter iii of the tenancy act, but no order or decree must be made affecting any of them who has not had an opportunity of appearing being heard.

260.Arbitration. Sections 127-135 of the land revenue act relate to arbitration which may be employed with the consent of parties in any proceeding, and in a few proceeding without their consent. A revenue officer is not bound by the reward, but may modify it or reject it altogether. Whatever his decision may be, it is open to appeal, just as if there had been no arbitration. There are no provisions about arbitration in the tenancy act, but a rule under it has made the provisions on the subject in the land revenue act applicable to most of the proceedings under the tenancy act.

261.Legal practitioners. Legal practitioners may appear in proceedings before revenue officers, and law present applications on beheld of their clients. Through a person chooses to be represented by a pleader his own attendance may also be required, and no formal pleading will be head except in lambardari, zaildari, mafi, mutation, and partition cases. A revenue agent cannot, without the permission of the presiding officer, take any part in the examination of witness, or address to him any argument on behalf of his client. The fees of a legal practitioner are not allowed as costs in any proceeding without an express order of the revenue officer passed for reasons which he is bound to record. Legal practitioners cannot appear in proceedings under the Punjab alienation of land  Act. (xiii of 1990)

Hon'ble Revenue Minister

Hon'ble Minister-In-Charge
Shri. Gurpreet Singh Kangar

 


 

Special Chief Secretary, Department of Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Mangement
Shri. Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, IAS

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