25.02.2022- Writ Is Maintainable Even If There Is Alternate Remedy In Case Of Failure Of Rules Of Natural Justice

The Hon’ble High court of Andhra Pradesh vide its order dated 03.02.2022 in the matter of Polu Venkata Lakshmamma & Ors.  V. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors.  in Writ Petition No. – 2644 of 2022 held that the Writ Petition is maintainable even if there is alternate remedy in case if there is failure of rules of natural justice.

The Petitioners preferred the Writ Petition seeking directions to the respondent to follow the mandatory procedure under the Andhra Pradesh Rights in Land and Pattadar Pass Books Act, 1971 in respect of application for mutation of names filed by the petitioner.

Facts:The Petitioners filed an application for mutation of names of a land purchased by the petitioners however the aforesaid application was rejected by the respondent without following the mandatory procedure under the Andhra Pradesh Rights in Land and Pattadar Pass Book Act.  It was also informed on behalf of the petitioners that impugned order dated 20.12.2020 was never communicated to them before 14.12.2021 and some other issues were raised.

Petitioner’s Plea:

  • The application for mutation of names has been wrongly rejected without following the mandatory procedure under the Andhra Pradesh Rights in Land and Pattar Pass Book Act.
  • Relying upon Section 5(3) of the Act, contended that before passing an order the petitioner should have been put on notice and heard accordingly.
  • The impugned order dated 20.12.2020 never communicated to them before 14.12.2021.

On the other hand, it was submitted on the behalf of the respondent that no further orders are warranted and the petitioner have to prefer an appeal against the impugned order dated 20.12.2020.

Held:

  • The legal submissions made on the behalf of the petitioners in respect of Section 5 of the Act are correct as the Act itself mandates a notice being issued and after giving an opportunity, order is passed.
  • Rule 18 (3) (b) of the Act also states the same as Section 5 however perusal of the order shows that no notice was issued to the petitioners and the order mentions of only two documents – a). mutation application, b). Enquiry report of the Mandal Revenue Inspector.
  • Once there is a failure of rules of natural justice, even if there is an alternate remedy, a writ is maintainable.

The Hon’ble High Court with the above findings set aside the impugned order dated 20.12.2020 and directed the respondent to conduct a de novo enquiry in the application filed by the petitioner in compliance with Section 5 of the Act within period of 2 months from the receipt of the order.  Further the respondent was directed to pass an order on merits after complying with procedure prescribed in the Act.

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