Patna High Court: A Division bench comprising of Dr Ravi Ranjan and Madhuresh Prasad, JJ. while hearing a civil writ petition quashed the order of Gram Kutchery holding the same to be outside the scope of its jurisdiction.

Facts of the case were that the respondent filed an application before the Gram Kutchery, Mahui alleging that the petitioner had encroached upon Ram Janki temple land without having any right over it. The Gram Kutchery passed an order directing petitioner to vacate the said land. The order was carried in appeal before the first appellate authority – Full members of Gram Kutchery –which rejected the petitioner’s appeal. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner preferred the instant appeal.

Submission on behalf of the petitioner was that Gram Kutchery’s order had the effect of deciding right to possess the lands in question and such an adjudication touching upon the title of lands was beyond its competence. Whereas the respondent submitted that the petitioner had  wrongfully encroached upon the said land and therefore Gram Kutchery was well within its jurisdiction to pass the impugned order. 

The Court observed that the question as to whether the petitioner had any right to possess the subject land or whether his possession was illegal could only be decided by examining his right, title and interest vis-a-vis of the private respondent. Section 110 of the Panchayat Raj Act, 2006 did not contemplate such a jurisdiction on the Gram Kutchery. The power to remove encroachments did not vest in it. Even otherwise, scope of Section 110 of the Act did not include determination of complicated issues of law and title. 

In view of the above, the Court held that the Gram Kutchery’s exercise of jurisdiction under Section 110 of the Act was grossly illegal and without jurisdiction. The writ petition was allowed and impugned order was quashed.[Bhola Sah v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2030, decided on 06-11-2018]

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