Supreme & Paige

Land under consolidation would be determined by the consolidation authorities


In the case of Ram Balak Singh Vs. State of Bihar & Anr., the Appellant, Ram Balak, instituted a suit for possession and confirmation of the possession over 0.32 decimal of land in the Village of Kishanpur, Bihar. Initially, the land belonged to Rambit Kuwer, who through a lease deed in 1341 fasli settled it in favour of Makhan Singh. Until his death, Makhan Singh continued in possession of the land, subsequently his adopted son, Ram Balak Singh, inherited the said land. During the process of consolidation under the Bihar Consolidation of Holdings and Prevention of Fragmentation Act, 1956, the name of Ram Balak, the adopted son of Makhan Singh was recorded as the owner of the said land by the Consolidation officer. However, thereafter, the State Authorities claimed whole of the land, inclusive of the suit land, as pond land and intervened with the possession of the Appellant. The Appellant instituted a suit against the State of Bihar and another party seeking the declaration of his title over the land and the confirmation of his possession. The trial court ruled the suit in favour of the Appellant, but the decision of the court was reversed by the First Appellate Court and asserted by the High Court. The Appellant in this case, appealed to the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Appellate Court.


Contentions/Submission of Appellants:

The primary argument advanced on behalf of the plaintiff appellant is that he or his predecessor-in-interest is in possession of the suit land ever since it was settled in favour of Makhan Singh by the ex-landlord Rambati Kuwer. During the consolidation proceedings, the rights of the plaintiff-appellant over the said land were accepted and vide order dated 12.11.1979, his name was directed to be recorded in the record-of-rights. In this way, the right and title of the plaintiff-appellant over the suit land stood crystalized. Therefore, the State of Bihar cannot in any way claim the said land and disturb his possession without following any procedure of law and payment of compensation. The appellate courts below have manifestly erred in law in reversing the decree of the court of first instance as the judgment and order of the Consolidation Officer is final and conclusive and cannot be overruled or brushed aside to record any findings contrary to it, more particularly when the plaintiff appellant has adduced sufficient evidence to establish his right and possession over the suit land.


Contentions/Submission of Respondent:

Learned Counsel for the State of Bihar set up the defence that the entire land of C.S.P. No. 332 is the pond land and it cannot be settled in favour of the plaintiff-appellant. He does not have any possession over the same. Secondly, in view of the bar imposed by Section 37 of the Consolidation Act, the civil suit as filed by the plaintiff-appellant itself was not maintainable and therefore the appellate courts below have not erred in reversing the order of the trial court and dismissing the suit.



The Consolidation Act specifically provides that all matters relating to changes and transfers affecting any rights or interests recorded in the register of land may be raised before the consolidation officer within the time prescribed and the disputes in this regard once decided cannot be re-opened on the publication of the register.



All rights in the land under consolidation, if any, would be determined by the consolidation authorities and the publication of the register of rights thereunder would be final and conclusive and cannot be disputed at any subsequent stage.



The court observed that the order of the Consolidation officer recognizing the rights of the Appellant over the land had attained finality and could not be ignored or reversed by the Civil court. Further, the court held that the suit instituted by the Appellant was not challenging any decision of the consolidation court but seeking the recognition of his rights over the land. Thus, court concluded that the suit instituted by the Appellant was not barred under Section 37 of Consolidation Act. The court allowed the appeal of the Appellant, seta side the judgements of the Appellate courts and restored the decree of the Trial court in favour of the Appellant.



Case title: Ram Balak Singh v. State of Bihar & Anr.

Case No.: 1627 of 2016



Vedant Dalvi

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