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Bombay High Court
Govind Anantrao Upadhya And Ors. vs State Of Maharashtra And Ors. on 12 October, 2000
Equivalent citations: 2001 (3) BomCR 587
Author: V Barde
Bench: V Barde, R Deshpande


JUDGMENT

V.K. Barde, J.

1. The petitioners have contended that land Survey No. 157, now Block No. 371, situated at village Manjrath, Taluka Manjleaon, District Beed, was in the name of their father Anantrao Upadhya, who died in the year 1948. The said land was not a madad mash land or a service inam land, but it was a community service inam land. District Beed was the part of erstwhile Hyderabad State. The Hyderabad Abolition of Inams and Cash Grants Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as “the Inam Abolition Act”) came into force on its publication in Official Gazette on 28th July, 1955. The Inam Abolition Act had received the assent of the President of India on 16th July, 1955. The Inam Abolition Act was adopted by the Bombay (Hyderabad Area) Adoption of Laws (State and Concurrent Subjects) Order, 1956; it was further amended by the Bombay Act No. 64 of 1959, adopted and modified further by the Maharashtra Adoption of Laws (State and Concurrent Subjects) Order, 1960; and, now, it is having the title, “Hyderabad Abolition of Inams (and Cash Grants) Act, 1954. The petitioners have contended that there was a dispute with respect to the date of possession for grant of occupancy rights either in favour of the Inamdars or tenants or others; and ultimately, now, it is settled that the material date for declaration of occupancy rights is 1-7-1960.

2. For the declaration of occupancy rights, Inam Patrak, i.e., Appendix A, was prepared by the revenue office of the district and the occupancy rights were granted in favour of tenant or inamdar, if either of them was found in possession on the material date. It is the contention of the petitioners, however, that no inquiry was held before granting the occupancy rights. The petitioners have further contended that though the land held by them was community service inam land, the concerned revenue authorities without going into the merits and without giving proper opportunity to the petitioners of being heard, declared respondents Nos. 5 and 6 as the occupants on the land under the Inam Abolition Act. The petitioners have contended that no procedure for grant of occupancy rights is laid down in the Inam Abolition Act or the rules framed thereunder. If any person is claiming to be tenant of the land, the inquiry has to be held by the competent authorities. The declaration of status as tenant is to be decided by the Tahsildar under the Hyderabad Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1950 (hereinafter referred to as “the Tenancy Act”). However, the Deputy Collector (Inam) was entrusted with the powers to hold inquiry into the status of tenancy of a person and this was basically against the provisions of the Tenancy Act; and, therefore, the revenue authorities without having guidelines for holding inquiry declared respondents Nos. 5 and 6 as occupants.

3. When the petitioners came to know about the declaration of occupancy rights in favour of respondents Nos. 5 and 6, they filed objection petition before the Tahsildar, Manjlegaon. However, only on perusing the Jamabandi file of 1955-56, the Tahsildar came to the conclusion that the petitioners failed to prove that there was mortgage transaction between the petitioners and Respondents Nos. 5 and 6. The petitioners failed to prove the mortgage deed and, therefore, he rejected the objection petition of the petitioners on 19-11-1964. The petitioners preferred an appeal before the State Government as per the provisions of section 2A(3) of the Inam Abolition Act. However, the appeal was dismissed on the ground that it was barred by limitation as per the order dated 15th February, 1967.

4. Respondents Nos. 5 and 6 filed Regular Civil Suit No. 150 of 1967 for permanent injunction against the petitioners in the Court of the learned Civil Judge, Junior Division, Manjlegaon. The respondents thereafter amended the prayer clause of the said suit and sought the relief of possession. The suit of the respondents was dismissed by the learned Civil Judge, Junior Division, Manjlegaon, on 13th January, 1970. Respondents Nos. 5 and 6 preferred Regular Civil Appeal No. 49 of 1970 before the District Judge, Beed, and the same was allowed on 3-2-1971. The petitioners thereafter preferred Second Appeal before the Bombay High Court, bearing Second Appeal No. 355 of 1971; the said appeal was dismissed on 26-2-1974 and, therefore, respondents Nos. 5 and 6 got possession of the land, Block No. 371.

5. Thereafter, the petitioners preferred application under section 2-A of the Inam Abolition Act before the Deputy Collector, Land Reforms, Beed. The learned Deputy Collector observed that the basic record of Appendix A maintained for granting occupancy rights under the Inam Abolition Act was misplaced and was not available for verification. He also observed that it did not reveal from the record that an inquiry was held as regards the nature of inam and possession of respondents No. 5 and 6. He also observed that though there was mutation entry in revenue record in favour of respondents Nos. 5 and 6, being Mutation Entry No. 458, there was no date regarding certification of that entry. Thus, even after giving these findings in favour of the petitioners, he rejected the application on the ground of jurisdiction by his order dated 31-10-180. The petitioners then preferred Appeal No. 1981- WTN- APP- 340 before the Commissioner at Aurangabad. The Commissioner, Aurangabad, though agreed with the observations of the Deputy Collector, rejected the appeal on the ground of limitation. The Commissioner, Aurangabad, also observed that the Government had dismissed the previous appeal on the ground of limitation and, therefore, he could not interfere in the order passed by the Deputy Collector. He also observed that he had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter. The Commissioner, Aurangabad, respondent No. 2, did not try to cure the illegality in the matter. Basically, the declaration of the occupancy rights in favour of respondents Nos. 5 and 6 was void and illegal; and, therefore, respondent No. 2 should have interfered in the case and should have decided the matter on its own merits. The petitioners feeling aggrieved by this order of respondent No. 2 preferred Writ Petition No. 340 of 1984 before this Bench of Bombay High Court and the writ petition was dismissed in limine.

6. In the background of these number of previous litigations, now, the present writ petition is filed by the petitioners challenging the vires of the Inam Abolition Act, 1954. It is contended that the Inam Abolition Act does not fall within List III of Schedule VII of the Constitution of India. The Inam Abolition Act received the assent of the President of India on 16-7-1955. As the Act does not fall in the Concurrent List, the assent given by the President of India was without his powers. The Governor of the State, who had powers to enact the State laws if the subject of the Act is covered under the State List, he ought to have given assent to the Bill. It is also contended that Hyderabad State was not part of Territory of India when the Indian Constitution came into force. On 16-7-1955, Hyderabad State was not within the Territory of India. As Hyderabad State was not part of Indian Territory in the year 1955, the President of India had no control, either supervisory or legislative, over the enforcement of laws in Hyderabad State. The Hyderabad State merged in Bombay State in the year 1956 and it is the contention of the petitioners that because of these circumstances, the President of India was not competent to erect (sic enact) the Inam Abolition Act. The assent given for the Inam Abolition Act by the President of India was without his powers and, therefore, the Act is ultra vires the provisions of the Constitution of India.

7. The petitioners have further contended that section 2-A of the Inam Abolition Act authorises the competent authorities to go into the status of person as tenant, but no procedure is laid down as regards the inquiry under the Inam Abolition Act. If no procedure is laid down under the Inam Abolition Act, then the Tahsildar holding inquiry will be acting under the Tenancy Act and all the provisions of the Tenancy Act will be made applicable. The person, who claims to be a tenant of the land, will have to apply under section 8 of the Tenancy Act for declaration of his status as tenant. Under the Tenancy Act, appeal is provided to the Deputy Collector to challenge the order passed by the Tahsildar and then the further revision lies to the Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal. It is the contention of the petitioners that unless the status of tenancy is decided as per the provisions of the Tenancy Act, respondents Nos. 5 and 6 cannot be declared as occupant of the land.

8. It is also contended by the petitioners that distinction has to be made between the provisions of sections 5 and 6 of the Inam Abolition Act. Section 5 is applicable to the occupied land comprised in an inam, including community service inam or watan, which under the terms of the grant or commutation settlement was to continue in perpetuity and was alienable without permission of the competent authority. Section 6 has excluded the inam of the nature of community service, watan, and if the inam falls under section 6, the permission is necessary for alienation. As the record of Appendix A maintained by the revenue officers is misplaced, it cannot be ascertained and said that the land under dispute falls under section 5 or section 6 of the Inam Abolition Act. When this error was brought to the notice of respondents Nos. 1 to 4, respondent No. 2 ought to have exercised his revisional powers under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code and should have called for the record to make inquiry suo motu. For the exercise of revisional jurisdiction, no application of an aggrieved person is necessary. The appeal preferred by the petitioners before respondent No. 2 should have been treated as revision of the original case by respondent No. 2

9. It is the contention of the petitioners that if the powers of the President of India and the provisions of the Inam Abolition Act and Tenancy Act are considered together, it would be apparent that the proceedings which are taken since the enforcement of the Inam Abolition Act with respect to the petitioners’ land are illegal and void ab initio. This point regarding powers of the President was not advanced in previous proceedings. Even in Writ Petition No. 340 of 1984, which was dismissed in limine, this point was not pleaded and, therefore, that decision does not operate as res judicata and the petitioners have right to challenge the validity of the Inam Abolition Act, because they came to know about the powers of the President and the vires of the Act subsequent to the decisions in the previous cases.

10. The petitioners, therefore, have prayed that the Hyderabad Abolition of Inams and Cash Grants Act, 1954, be declared ultra vires the provisions of the Constitution of India. It also further be declared that the declaration of occupancy rights granted in favour of respondents Nos. 5 and 6 are bad in law.

11. The respondent State has filed affidavit in reply and has denied all the contentions raised by the petitioners.

12. Heard Shri Yevatekar, learned Counsel for the petitioners; Shri Deshmukh, learned Assistant Government Pleader, for respondents Nos. 1 to 4; Shri V.C. Solshe, learned Counsel holding for Shri C.G. Solshe, learned Counsel for respondents Nos. 5 and 6; and Shri Godhamgaonkar, learned Additional Standing Counsel, for respondent No. 7.

13. The petitioners have challenged the validity of the Inam Abolition Act on three grounds; first, that the State of Hyderabad was not part of Indian Territory in the year 1955 and, therefore, the President of India had no authority to give assent to any law passed by the Assembly of the State of hyderabad. The second ground of attack is that the Inam Abolition Act does not fall under the Concurrent List, but it falls under the State List and, therefore, it was not at all necessary to have the assent to the Act from the President of India. The third ground of attack is that no procedure is prescribed under the Inam Abolition Act for holding inquiry regarding occupancy rights and, therefore, the Inam Abolition Act is ultra vires the provisions of the Constitution of India.

14. Shri Yevatekar, learned Counsel for the petitioners, did not press for the first point that the State of Hyderabad was not part of Indian Territory in the year 1955, and rightly so. We need not dwell upon this aspect of the case any further, because there is no substance at all in this contention.

15. So far as the second ground of attack that as the Inam Abolition Act falls under the State List and not under the Concurrent List, it was not competent for the President to give assent to the Inam Abolition Act is concerned, has to be considered. The learned Counsel for the petitioners has argued that Article 200 of the Constitution of India provides for assent to the bills passed by the Legislative Assemblies to convert the Bill in an Act. Article 200 reads as follows:

“When a Bill has been passed by the Legislative Assembly of a State or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, has been passed by both Houses of the Legislative of the State, it shall be presented to the Governor and the Governor shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he withholds assent therefrom or that he reserves the Bill for the consideration of the President :

Provided that the Governor may, as soon as possible after the presentation to him of the Bill for assent, return the Bill if it is not a Money Bill together with a message requesting that the House or Houses will reconsider the Bill or any specified provisions thereof and, in particular, will consider the desirability of introducing any such amendments as he may recommend in his message and, when a Bill is so returned, the House or Houses shall reconsider the Bill accordingly, and if the Bill is passed again by the House or Houses with or without amendment and presented to the Governor for assent, the Governor shall not withhold assent therefrom :

Provided further that the Governor shall not assent to, but shall reserve for the consideration of the President, any Bill which in the opinion of the Governor would, if it became law, so derogate from the powers of the High Court as to endanger the position which that Court is by this Constitution designed to fill.”

16. The learned Counsel for the petitioners has argued that only when the Bill falls under the second proviso of Article 200, the Governor has to reserve the Bill for the assent from the President of India. In all other cases, the Governor and the Governor alone is the authority to give assent to the Bill.

17. This whole argument of the learned Counsel for the petitioners is misconceived. When a Bill is passed by the Legislative Assembly, or, if there is Legislative Council also, passed by both the Houses of the Legislature, it is to be presented to the Governor and then Governor can : (1) declare assent to the Bill; (2) withhold the assent therefrom; and (3) reserve the Bill for the consideration of the President. It is, therefore, within the discretion of the Governor to deal with the Bill in either of these three manners. It is not necessary that the Bill must be concerned with the matter under the Concurrent List and then only it should be reserved for the consideration of the President. The Bill may be within the matters of State List; and even then, it is the discretionary power of the Governor either to assent the Bill himself or to reserve it for the consideration of the President. Once such a Bill is reserved for consideration of the President, then the provisions of Article 201 of the Constitution of India come into play; and the President may either assent the Bill or withhold the assent therefrom, but if the President assents the Bill, then it is converted into a law.

18. The learned Counsel for the petitioners has argued that the Governor ought to have first given assent to the Bill and then it should have been referred for consideration of the President, for unless the Bill is assented to by the Governor, the Bill will not be converted into a law.

19. If the Governor has first to give his assent to the Bill, then it is converted into a law and then there is no purpose for reserving it for consideration of the President. The import of Article 200 is that a Bill to convert into a law first must be passed by the Assembly, or, if there are two Houses, then by both the Houses of the Legislature, and then it is to be submitted for assent to the Governor. If it falls under the Second Proviso to Article 200, then the Governor has no power to give assent to such a Bill and it must be placed before the President of India for consideration by the President of India. This sufficiently indicates that the Governor need not give assent to the Bill and has to place it for consideration of the President of India. Similarly, as pointed out above, the Governor has three options and he could exercise either of the options. If a Bill which is presented for assent to the Governor and the Governor, in his own discretion, thinks that such a Bill should be assented to by the President, then in his discretion, without giving assent to the Bill, he has to place it for consideration of the President; and once the President gives assent to the Bill, then the Bill is converted into law. It has also to be noted that the assent of the President is not justifiable. In this respect, we would like to refer to the observations of Their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of M/s. Hoechst Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and another etc. v. State of Bihar and others, . The relevant observations are in paragraph 89 (page 1048 of A.I.R.) and they are as under:

“There is no provision in the Constitution which lays down that a Bill which has been assented to by the President would be ineffective as an Act if there was no compelling necessity for the Governor to reserve it for the assent of the President. A Bill which attracts Article 254(2) or Article 304(b) where it is introduced or moved in the Legislative Assembly of a State without the previous sanction of the President or which attracted Art. 31(3) as it was then in force, or falling under the second proviso to Art. 200 has necessarily to be reserved for the consideration of the President. There may also be a Bill passed by the State Legislature where there may be a genuine doubt about the applicability of any of the provisions of the Constitution which require the assent of the President to be given to it in order that it may be effective as an Act. In such a case, it is for the Governor to exercise his discretion and to decide whether he should assent to the Bill or should reserve it for consideration of the President to avoid any future complication. Even if it ultimately turns out that there was no necessity for the Governor to have reserved a Bill for the consideration of the President, still he having done so and obtained the assent of the President, the Act so passed cannot be held to be unconstitutional on the ground of want of proper assent. This aspect of the matter, as the law now stands, is not open to scrutiny by the Courts. In the instant case, the Finance Bill which ultimately became the Act in question was a consolidating Act relating to different subjects and perhaps the Governor felt that it was necessary to reserve it for the assent of the President. We have no hesitation in holding that the assent of the President is not justifiable, and we cannot spell out any infirmity arising out of his decision to give such assent. ”

20. In this respect, we would also like to refer to the observations made by his Lordship, Patanjali Sastri, C.J., in the matter of The State of Bihar v. Sir Kameshwar Singh, . The relevant observations are in paragraph 17 (page 265 of A.I.R). They are as under:

“Mr. Somayya’s argument based on Clause (3) of Article 31, to which reference has been made earlier, is equally untenable. It is true that the ‘Legislature’ of a State includes the Governor, and that a bill passed by such Legislature cannot become a law until it receives the Governor’s assent. Article 200, however, contemplates one of three courses being adopted by the Governor when a bill is presented to him after it is passed by the House or Houses of Legislature: (1) to give his assent, or (2) to withhold assent, or (3) to reserve the Bill for the consideration of the President. The first proviso to that article deals with a situation where the Governor is bound to give his assent and has no relevance here. The second proviso makes reservation compulsory where the bill would, ‘if it became law’, derogate from the powers of the High Court, but such reservation, it is important to note, should be made without the Governor himself giving his assent to the bill. It is significant that the article does not contemplate the Governor giving his assent and thereafter, when the bill has become a full-fledged law, reserving it for the consideration of the President. Indeed, the Governor is prohibited from giving his assent where such reservation by him is made compulsory. The Constitution would thus seem to contemplate only ‘bills’ passed by the House or Houses of legislature being reserved for the consideration of the President and not ‘laws’ to which the Governor has already given his assent. It was said that Article 31(3) provides a special safeguard which, in order to ensure that no hasty or unjust expropriatory legislation is passed by a State Legislature, requires for such legislation the assent of both the Governor and President, and, to make this clear, the words ‘law’ and ‘legislature’ were deliberately used in Clause (3). I am unable to agree with this view. The term ‘legislature’ is not always used in the Constitution as including the Governor, though Article 168 makes him a component part of the State Legislature. In Article 173, for instance, the word is clearly used in the sense of the ‘house of legislature’ and excludes the Governor. There are other provisions also where the word is used in contexts which exclude the Governor. Similarly, the word ‘law’ is sometimes loosely used in referring to a bill. Article 31(4), for instance, speaks of a ‘bill’ being reserved for the President’s assent ‘after it has been passed’ by the ‘legislature of a State’ and of ‘the law so assented to.’ If the expression ‘passed by the legislature’ were to mean ‘passed by the houses of the legislature and assented to by the Governor’, as Mr. Somayya would have it understood, then, it would cease to be a ‘bill’ and could no longer be reserved as such. Nor is the phrase ‘law so assented to’ strictly accurate, as the previous portion of the clause makes it clear that what is reserved is a ‘bill’ and not a law. The phrase obviously refers to what has become a law after receiving the assent of the President. Similarly, Article 31(3) must, in my judgment, be understood as having reference to what, in historical sequence, having been passed by the House or Houses of the State Legislature and reserved by the Governor for the consideration of the President and assented to by the latter, has thus become a law. If it was intended that such a law should have the assent of both the Governor and the President, one would expect to find not only a more clear or explicit provision to that effect, but Governor’s power to reserve a measure for the consideration of the President after himself assenting to it. On the other hand, as we have seen, where reservation by the Governor is made obligatory, he is prohibited from giving his assent.”

21. It is, therefore, very clear that, even if the subject matter of the Bill is that falling within the State List, it is the discretion of the Governor to reserve it for the assent of the President, and, once he exercises that discretion, then the Bill will be converted into full-fledged law only after assent by the President; and once such assent is given by the President, it is not justiciable. In the present case, even if, for the sake of arguments, it is accepted that the Inam Abolition Act falls in the State List, no wrong was committed by the Governor by reserving it for the consideration of the President of India and because of Articles 200 and 201 of the Constitution, the President was still within his powers to give assent to the Bill and to convert it into full-fledged law.

22. The third ground of challenge is that no procedure is prescribed under the Inam Abolition Act for holding inquiry regarding on whom the occupancy rights should be conferred and the contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners is that in such circumstances, if any person claims to be a tenant on such land, then the provisions of the Tenancy Act would be applicable and inquiry should be held under the provisions of the Tenancy Act.

23. However, it is to be noted that, as per the provisions of section 3(1) of the Inam Abolition Act, when the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 1, or, of section 2-A of the Inam Abolition Act are made applicable to any land, then all inam lands, to which the said provisions are made applicable, are deemed to have vested in the State Government. In the present case, even if for the sake of arguments it is considered that the land, Block No. 371, was community service inam, it falls under Clause (iii) of section 2-A(1) of the Inam Abolition Act and, therefore, the Inam stood abolished and land vested in the State Government.

24. Section 102-A of the Tenancy Act provides for certain lands exempted from the operation of the Act; and Clause (a) provides for the lands leased or held by the Government, a local authority, a co-operative society or a University, established by law in the State. When inams stood abolished and lands vested in the State Government, it became the lands held by the State Government as described in section 102-A(a) of the Tenancy Act and the provisions of the Tenancy Act are, therefore, not applicable to such lands. Therefore, the inquiry as to whether a person is a tenant or not on such a land cannot and need not be held as per the provisions of the Tenancy Act. The first limb of the contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners that the inquiry ought to have been held under the Tenancy Act to find out whether respondents Nos. 5 and 6 were tenants on the land as on 1-7-1960 cannot, therefore, be accepted.

25. The learned Counsel for the petitioners has further argued that, if the provisions of the Tenancy Act are not applicable, then the provisions of the Inam Abolition Act are silent on the point as to what procedure should be adopted for holding such inquiry. But, here again, the learned Counsel for the petitioners is not correct. Clause (1) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Inam Abolition Act provides:

“Save as expressly provided by or under the provisions of this Act and with effect from the date of vesting, the following consequences shall ensure, namely:-

(a) the provisions of the Land Revenue Act, 1317 Fasli relating to Inams, and the provisions of the Hyderabad Atiyat Enquiries Act, 1952 and other enactments, rules, regulations and circulars in force in respect of Atiyat grants shall, to the extent they are repugnant to the provisions of this Act, not apply and the provisions of the Land Revenue Act, 1317 Fasli, relating to unalienated lands for purposes of land revenue, shall apply to the said inams;”

26. It, therefore, follows that the provisions of the Land Revenue Act, 1317 Fasli, would be applicable for holding any inquiry contemplated under the Inam Abolition Act to decide the occupancy rights of a person, whether he claims to be a tenant or claims rights otherwise. As indeed, the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966, has come in place of Land Revenue Act, 1317 Fasli, the inquiry will have to be held as per the procedure prescribed under the Land Revenue Code. Elaborate provisions are made about how the inquiry should be made under that Code. It also has to be noted that sub-section (2) of section 2-A of the Inam Abolition Act makes a provision regarding appeal against the order passed by the authorised officer and, thus, it cannot be said that there is no provision for procedure for holding inquiries under the Inam Abolition Act. So, the third ground of attack also fails.

27. The petitioners have also contended that the Additional Commissioner, Aurangabad, while considering Appeal No. 1981- WTN- APP- 340 decided on 14-12-1983, ought to have considered the illegalities pointed out on record and which were noted by the Deputy Collector, Beed, also in the matter, No. 79A -13 -Inam, in his order dated 31-10-1980. He should have taken up suo motu revision and ought to have decided the matter on merits. As the Additional Commissioner has failed to do so, the petitioners have not received justice at his hand.

28. It has to be noted that against the order of the Additional Commissioner, Writ Petition No. 340 of 1984 was filed before this Bench and that writ petition is dismissed in limine. So, now, the petitioners cannot take the stand with respect to the so-called procedural faults committed by the Additional Commissioner. It also has to be noted that the Additional Commissioner has specifically observed that when the occupancy rights were decided by the Tahsildar and then an appeal was filed against that order before the State Government, as provided under the Inam Abolition Act, that appeal was rejected on the ground of limitation; so, the order passed by the Tahsildar on 19-11-1964 had become final and the Additional Commissioner, therefore, had no jurisdiction to reconsider those issues. The appeal as per the provisions of Clause (iii) of section 2-A of the Inam Abolition Act has to be filed before the State Government and, definitely, if the finality is given by the State Government to that order, the Subordinate Officer, i.e., the Additional Commissioner cannot reconsider those points either in the appeal filed by the petitioners, or, by taking up suo motu revision. The Additional Commissioner had no such jurisdiction. So, this stand taken by the petitioners also is without any basis.

29. In view of this, Writ petition has to be dismissed. It is to be noted that the petitioners are filing proceedings after proceedings and putting the respondents in unnecessary expenses. In Writ Petition No. 340 of 1984, the petitioners could have taken the stand that the Inam Abolition Act is ultra vires the Constitution. They failed to take such a stand and so, filing separate writ petition to challenge the vires of the Inam Abolition Act is barred by constructive res judicata. The plea, which could have been taken and ought to have been taken, was not taken in Writ Petition No. 340 of 1984 by the petitioners and when that writ petition was dismissed in limine, they have indulged in filing this second petition taking the spacious stand that the vires of the Inam Abolition Act was not in issue in Writ Petition No. 340 of 1984; and, therefore, the present writ petition is not barred by the principles of res judicata. Such unnecessary litigation has to be stopped.

30. Hence, rule discharged. The petitioners are directed to pay costs of Rs. 2,000 to respondents Nos. 1 to 4 together and costs of Rs. 2,000 to respondents Nos. 5 and 6.


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