(Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 1751 of 2004)
Dr. Arijit Pasayat, J
- Leave granted
Challenge in this appeal is to the
order passed by learned Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court
allowing the writ petition filed by respondent no.1.
Background facts as projected by
the appellant are as follows:
On 16.9.1983 the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Maharajganj allotted the
disputed plot No.1734 bearing area of 0.053 hectare in the name of
respondent no.1. The appellant, a co-villager, noticed that the land was
earlier being used as a passage to Kali Mandir and that respondent no.1
was not entitled to be allotted any land by the Government. The
procedure prescribed for allotment of land was not followed. As
respondent no.1 was not a landless person, the allotment in his favour
was illegal. Appellant filed a petition before the District Magistrate,
Maharajganj under Section 198(4) of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition Act,
1950 (in short the 'Act').
The District Magistrate on receiving
the complaint called for the allotment file and on examination found
that due procedure was not adopted and was done clandestinely. By order
dated 7.11.2002, the Collector cancelled the allotment and further
directed that the land be taken over by the Gaon Sabha. Aggrieved by the
said order respondent no.1 had filed a revision petition before the
Commissioner, Gorakhpur, in which the respondent no.1 took the plea that
order passed by the Collector, Maharajganj, is illegal as there was no
report called from the Lekhpal and no spot inspection was done. The
Commissioner dismissed the revision petition on the ground that the same
was not maintainable. In January 2003, the respondent no.1 filed a writ
petition No.1004/2003 before the High Court. The primary stand taken was
that there was delay in filing the application under Section 198 (4) of
the Act by the appellant. Initially the High Court issued notice.
Appellant filed his counter-affidavit. Learned Single Judge by order
dated 11.9.2003 by a practically non-reasoned order allowed the writ
petition. The said order is the subject-matter of challenge.
4. In support of the appeal, learned
counsel for the appellant submitted that since the order is non-reasoned
and no discussion has been made as to why the orders passed by the
Collector and the Commissioner were to be interfered with, the order
cannot be maintained.
5. Learned counsel for the
respondent no.1 on the other hand submitted that the order does not
suffer from any infirmity.
6. We find that the learned Single
Judge has not indicated any basis for interfering with the orders of the
Collector and the Commissioner. The only reason appears to be by
reference to the Annexure SA5 filed along with the supplementary
affidavit, which shows that the plot bearing no.735 does not connect in
any manner the road which goes to the Kali Mandir, rather it is on the
backside of the road.7. The basic question was about the eligibility of
the respondent no.1 for allotment of the land. The specific stand before
the authority was that respondent no.1 was not a landless person and,
therefore, he was not entitled to be allotted any land. There is no
reference to this aspect in the order.
8. Reasons introduce clarity in an
order. On plainest consideration of justice, the High Court ought to
have set forth its reasons, howsoever brief, in its order indicative of
an application of its mind, all the more when its order is amenable to
further avenue of challenge. The absence of reasons has rendered the
High Court's judgment not sustainable.
9. Even in respect of administrative
orders Lord Denning M.R. in Breen v. Amalgamated Engineering Union (1971
(1) All E.R. 1148) observed "The giving of reasons is one of the
fundamentals of good administration". In Alexander Machinery (Dudley)
Ltd. v. Crabtree (1974 LCR 120) it was observed: "Failure to give
reasons amounts to denial of justice". Reasons are live links between
the mind of the decision taker to the controversy in question and the
decision or conclusion arrived at". Reasons substitute subjectivity by
objectivity. The emphasis on recording reasons is that if the decision
reveals the "inscrutable face of the sphinx", it can, by its silence,
render it virtually impossible for the Courts to perform their appellate
function or exercise the power of judicial review in adjudging the
validity of the decision. Right to reasons is an indispensable part of a
sound judicial system, reasons at least sufficient to indicate an
application of mind to the matter before Court. Another rationale is
that the affected party can know why the decision has gone against him.
One of the salutary requirements of natural justice is spelling out
reasons for the order made, in other words, a speaking out. The
"inscrutable face of a sphinx" is ordinarily incongruous with a judicial
or quasi-judicial performance.
10. Above being the position, we set
aside the impugned order of the High Court, remit the matter to it for
fresh disposal. We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion
on the merits of the case. The appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent
with no order as to costs.
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