Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Dhiraj Singh Thakur, J., dismissed a writ petition filed against the order of Special Tribunal, whereby the Tribunal directed the appellate authority to adjudicate the appeal afresh keeping in mind Rule 52 of the Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Rules, 1977 (the Rules).

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether Rule 52 of the Rules would be applicable in the instant matter.

The Court observed that the petitioner had participated in the appeal proceedings for more than 2 years. This action on the part of the petitioner suggests that it had elected to accept the order of the Tribunal. The Court referred to the Supreme Court judgment of Joint Action Committee of Airline Pilots Association of India (ALPAI) v. Director General of Civil Aviation, (2011) 5 SCC 435, wherein it was held that in case if a party does not speak or protests in a matter where he should, then such a party is estopped from challenging the outcome of such a dispute, this doctrine is known as doctrine of election. The Court further observed that while deciding the issue of limitation in terms of Rule 52, the appellate authority must also consider the contents of the main appeal and only after that it should form an opinion if the case requires interference or not. The rule does not leave it to the discretion of the Appellate Authority to choose in which cases it may decide to go into the merits to decide whether it is a case for the exercise of revisional powers.

The Court held that in the instant case the appellate authority had only touched the issue of limitation without giving any consideration to the main merits of the case and without proceeding to the contents of the appeal, it was impossible to form an opinion in terms of Rule 52 of the Rules. Resultantly, the petition was dismissed and the order of the Tribunal was upheld.[Rano Devi v. State of J&K,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 836, order dated 16-11-2018]

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