Manipur High Court: In a writ petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India against the Order of the Presiding Officer, Revenue Tribunal, Manipur, whereby the revision petition of the mutation order passed by the Sub-Deputy Collector, Patsoi was dismissed, A. Guneshwar Sharma, J. dismissed the petition and upheld the decision of the Revenue Tribunal that the validity of the sale deed cannot be challenged before the Revenue Court, as it has no jurisdiction to examine the validity of the sale deed.
In the matter at hand, the petitioner is the absolute owner of the land in question. The petitioner borrowed a sum of Rs.2,00,000/- from the respondent for personal use in the month of October 2015 and the said agricultural land was mortgaged to the respondent as security for the amount borrowed by proper registration at the Register Office, Lamphelpat. The respondent took petitioner's signatures on a blank paper for the purpose of mortgaging. Subsequently, the petitioner came to know that the agricultural land was mutated in the name of the respondent in a mutation case. In the land record, the name of the respondent was entered by cancelling the name of the petitioner and therefore, the petitioner challenged the mutation order with respect to an area of .7225 Acres belonging to her under Section 95 of the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 (‘MLR and LR Act, 1960') before the Revenue Tribunal, Manipur. However, the revision petition was dismissed by the Revenue Tribunal, Manipur.
Analysis of the Issues
The Court explained the meaning of the term ‘mutation' on the basis of Section 46 of the MLR and LR Act, 1960, as ‘a procedure of recording the name of a person in the revenue record upon acquisition of title over the land'. The Court also referred to Black's Law Dictionary for further explaining the meaning of the term mutation, wherein it has been defined as ‘a significant and basic alteration; especially, in property law, the alteration of a thing's status, such as from separate property to community property'.
Further, on perusal of Section 46 of the MLR and LR Act, 1960, the Court said that it is clear that when a person acquires any right in land, he may apply for mutation of his name in the land record to the competent authority who shall give written intimations and call for objections from the interested parties and such objections shall be decided on the basis of possession. The Court also said that possession implies lawful possession and does not include a trespasser and acquisition of possession through mortgage or lease. It was also added that if the lawful possession of the applicant was proved and undisputed, it is incumbent upon the competent authority to mutate the applicant's name in the land record, however, before the mutation order is passed, the competent authority ought to hold a summary inquiry. The Court stated that “the acquisition of the right over the land is sine qua non for recording the name of a person in the land record.” The Court also said that at the time of mutation proceeding, the competent authority must examine the manner of acquisition of the title.
The Court noted that in the present case, the mutation was initiated on the basis of an application filed by the respondent by impleading the petitioner and another person from whom the petitioner had purchased the piece of land by a common sale deed. The Court also noted that the petitioner and other person also appeared in the mutation proceeding and signed in the order sheets and other papers and that the mutation was done on the basis of a registered sale deed. It was also noted that the signature of the petitioner could not be made on a blank paper as the same had to be signed on prescribed form as per MLR and LR Act and MLR and LR Rules. Thus, the Court said that it did not find any error in the reasoning given by the Revenue Tribunal in the impugned order to the effect that the mutation proceeding was conducted in compliance of the procedures laid down by Section 46 of MLR and LR Act, 1960 and MLR and LR Rules. The Court held that the mutation order was passed on the basis of acquisition of the title through a registered sale deed and in presence of the previous owners of the land.
2. Whether the Revenue Court can examine the validity of a duly executed registered sale deed?
The Court referred to Jamila Begum v. Shami Mohd., (2019) 2 SCC 727, wherein the Supreme Court held a registered document carries with it a presumption that it was validly executed and that it is for the party challenging the genuineness of the transaction to show that the transaction is not valid in law. Therefore, the Court said that it was clear that that there is a statutory presumption of validity of a duly executed registered deed and the onus is on the person who denies the same and it is to be proved in the proceedings of the original suit. Thus, the Cour concluded that a revenue Court has to presume the validity and genuineness of a duly registered sale deed. The Court relied on Asset Reconstruction Co. (India) Ltd. v. S.P. Velayutham, (2022) 8 SCC 210, wherein it was held that only Civil Court has jurisdiction to examine validity of a registered sale deed and if a party questions the very execution of a document or the right and title of a person to execute a document and present it for registration, his remedy will only be to go to the civil Court. Therefore, the Court reiterated that only the Civil Court has jurisdiction to decide the validity of a registered deed conferring title over a land to another person.
The Court viewed that the question of challenging the registered sale deed does not lie before a Revenue Court and the same has to be decided by a Civil Court of competent jurisdiction. The Court held that the Revenue Tribunal was right in rejecting the Revision Petition by holding that the validity of the sale deed cannot be challenged before the Revenue Court, as it has no jurisdiction to examine the validity of the sale deed. Therefore, the Court dismissed the petitioner's revision petition.
[Thokchom Tembi Devi v. Kangjam Inaobi Chanu, 2023 SCC OnLine Mani 214, Decided on: 27-07-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the petitioner: Advocate B. Prem Sharma