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Government has to exercise its powers to take corrective course within a reasonable period to change an order that has been secured by a beneficiary in a fraudulent manner, the Supreme Court has ruled.

It held as wrong the Andhra Pradesh Government order exercising its ‘revision power’ after nearly five decades to issue show cause notice to villagers as to why their entries in land records should not be cancelled and corrected as the transactions there were fraudulent.

The apex court held “if actions or transactions were to remain forever open to challenge, it will mean avoidable and endless uncertainty in human affairs, which is not the policy of law.”

A bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and C Nagappan dismissed the appeal filed by the Joint Collector of Ranga Reddy district against the order of the High Court saying that the revisional powers vested under the Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Land Revenue Act cannot be exercised 50 years after the making of the alleged fraudulent entries.

“The suo motu revision exercise undertaken after a long lapse of time, even in the absence of any period of limitation is arbitrary and opposed to the concept of rule of law,” it said.

Justice Nagappan, who wrote the judgement for the Bench, noted that if the impugned notice of December 31, 2004, invoking the suo motu revision power is allowed after five decades, “it would lead to anomalous position leading to uncertainty and complications seriously affecting the rights of the parties over immovable properties.” Observing that the rule of law “must run closely with the rule of life”, the bench said “absence of a stipulated period of limitation makes little or no difference in so far as the exercise of the power is concerned which ought to be allowed only when the power is invoked within a reasonable period.” Concurring with Justice Nagappan’s findings,

Justice Thakur separately added few lines in the judgement, saying “delayed exercise of revisional jurisdiction is frowned upon because if actions or transactions were to remain forever open to challenge, it will mean avoidable and endless uncertainty in human affairs, which is not the policy of law.”


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