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DEPUTY COMMISSIONER TO HAVE JURISDICTION UNDER INAM ABOLITION ACTS

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JUSTICE B.P. SINGH & JUSTICE ARUN KUMAR of The Supreme Court in M.B. Ramachandran's case, AIR 2005 SC 2671, has considered the Mysore (Personal and Miscellaneous) Inams Abolition Act, 1954, the Mysore (Religious and Charitable) Inams Abolition Act, 1955 and the Karnataka Inams Abolition Laws (Amendment) Act, 1979. In paragraph 3 of its order, the Supreme Court notices that there were two Acts in the State of Karnataka, namely, the Mysore (Personal and Miscellaneous) Inams Abolition Act, 1954 (Act No. 1 of 1955), which related to abolition of personal inams and the Mysore (Religious and Charitable) Inams Abolition Act, 1955 (Act No. 18 of 1955), which related to the abolition of religious and charitable inams. The Karnataka Inams Abolition Laws (Amendment) Act, 1979 (Act No. 26 of 1979) was enacted by the Karnataka Legislature. Section 2 thereof amended some provisions of the Mysore Act 1 of 1955 relating to personal inams, and Section 3 whereof amended some of the provisions of the Mysore (Religious and Charitable) Inams Abolition Act, 1955 (Mysore Act 18 of 1955), which related to abolition of religious and charitable inams. The Supreme Court notices that in view of the amendments brought about, inter alia, the jurisdiction to determine occupancy rights was conferred on the "Tribunal" which was earlier conferred on the "Deputy Commissioner" under the unamended Acts. The Supreme Court notices of a writ petition having been filed by Sri Kudli Sringeri Maha Samsthanam, Kudli v. State of Karnataka , challenging the validity of the Amending Act. The High Court declared the entire Amendment Act of 1979 ultra vires in terms of its judgment. State preferred appeals. Appeals were dismissed by the Supreme Court in terms of the order dated 8-8-1996 without expressing any opinion on the validity of the Amendment Act, 1979. After noticing all these aspects, the Supreme Court would notice the arguments put forth before the High Court. Before the High Court, it was not disputed that the issues involved in the writ petition filed by Kudli Shringeri Maha Samsthanam were related to religious and charitable inams and not the abolition of personal inams, and that therefore, in that context, the provisions of the Amendment Act of 1979 relating to the amendment of Act 18 of 1955 relating to abolition of religious and charitable inams were challenged. It was further noticed that in the said writ petition filed by Kudli Shringeri Maha Samsthanam, validity of Mysore Act 1 of 1955 was not in question. However, the High Court declared the entire amendment Act ultra vires. The Supreme Court, in the light of this argument and in the light of the above referred facts, ultimately would say that the writ petition filed by Kudli Shringeri Maha Samsthanam did not concern with personal inams and related to only to the religious and charitable inams. In this view of the matter, the Supreme Court held that the High Court was in error in granting relief in such wide terms declaring the entire Karnataka Inams Abolition Laws (Amendment) Act, 1979 to be invalid, and consequently it set aside that part of the judgment and confined the declaration to the provisions of the Amendment Act of 1979 only to the extent it amended Mysore Act 18 of 1955. The Supreme Court also ruled that notwithstanding the fact that the said judgment was modified, it directed that if after 24-4-1992, the Deputy Commissioner had disposed of the matter under the Mysore Act 1 of 1955 which fell within his jurisdiction, the said orders would not be affected by that judgment and were saved, but that from then onwards, the jurisdiction shall be exercised by the Land Tribunal, including the matters pending before the Deputy Commissioner. A careful reading of the judgment of the Supreme Court it is clear to me that the Supreme Court confirms that the jurisdiction is still available to the Deputy Commissioner insofar as it exercises power under Act 1 of 1955. In the light of arguments in para 7 of the said judgment and in the light of the findings in paragraphs 9 to 11, what is clear to me is that the Supreme Court has confirmed the availability of the jurisdiction to the Special Deputy Commissioner insofar as the petition under Mysore (Religious and Charitable) Inams Abolition Act, 1955. The Supreme Court has ruled in unmistakable terms that Kudli Sringeri Maha Samsthanam's case would attract only the personal Inams Abolition Act, but it still has jurisdiction in the light of the Supreme Court holding that the Amendment Act 1 of 1955 was not in issue.

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