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The law of Limitation aims to prevent disturbance: High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

The entries of mutation by way of revision amount to undue delay and thereby the Financial Commissioner was not justified in overlooking the question of delay while filing the revision. The Hon’ble High Court Of Jammu & Kashmir And Ladakh before the Hon’ble Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul in the matter of Ghulam Qadir Bhat & Ors. vs. Financial Commissioner (Revenue) & Ors [LPAOW No. 33/2017]. 

The facts of the case were associated with a challenge under Letters Patent Appeal. Regarding two mutations, a controversy was raised in this appeal. Entry no. 156 dated 28 Fag, 1996 and other mutation entry 470 dated 10 August 1999. Mutation entry no. 156 was coincidentally held to be correct by all authorities and the Single Judge. Thus, the dispute remains with mutation no. 470. If the date of the said mutation was taken as 10.08.1999, then the controversy involved as if the challenge of revising the said entry after 70 years was reasonable or not. The learned advocate, Mr. Azhar-ul-Amin, representing the respondents, argued that the said mutation was attached on 10.08.1999 and no limitation for revision was provided. It was entertained after 5-6 years. 

Mutation no.470 was the estate left behind by Abdullah who died issueless. On his death, his share was mutated to his brother Qadir, in the name of Qadir vide mutation No. 470. Later the grandson of the deceased sister Mst. Khurshi, Mushtaq Ahmad Tantray filed a revision before the Settlement Commissioner by challenging mutation no.470. He stated that the personal property should have been divided into 2:1 and that the entire mutation of the personal property in the name of the said brother Qadir was not in accordance with Muslim Law. The petitioner-appellant challenged the order of the Settlement Commissioner while filing the writ petition dated 21.02.2011 and directed for the demarcation of the land on the basis of the modified mutation entry, in paragraph No. 7 of the petition categorically affirming that the mutation No. 470 is dated 10.08.1999. The petitioner submitted that none of the sons of the sister Mst. Khurshi, during their lifetime, objected to the mutation, therefore the grandson, Mushtaq Ahmad Tantray, after a gap of 70 years had no right to object. 

Furthermore, the original revenue documents were in ‘Urdu’ language. The said documents were read carefully by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul. After reading it was established that the mutation was attested on 10.08.1999 of Bikrami. Eventually, the land in question in the said mutation was attested on 10.08.1999, whereby the revision was filed after about 63/73 years. 

After evaluating all the facts, it was said the instant case was a case of a classic example of inordinate and unreasonable delay in the exercise of revisional power. The Hon’ble Court was of the view “In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, we are of the opinion that the writ court, as well as the revisional courts, have manifestly erred in law in exercising their power and in directing for the modification of the mutation entry No. 470 attested on 10th day of the 8th month of 1999 Bikrami Samvat. The judgment and order of the learned Single Judge dated 16th March 2017 passed in OWP No. 1302/2013 are hereby quashed and so are the orders of the Settlement Commissioner dated 10th February 2006 and the Financial Commissioner dated 21st February 2011 are quashed. The appeal is allowed with no order as to costs.”

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Judgment reviewed by Bipasha Kundu

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