The Chhattisgarh High Court quashed criminal proceedings against revenue officers holding that the said officers were a quasi-judicial body protected under Section 3 of the Judges (Protection) Act, 1985 (the Act).

The Bench held that the initiation of a criminal case against a revenue officer/Tahsildar for passing a mutation order, acting in the capacity of a Revenue Court under Section 178 of the Chhattisgarh Land Revenue Code, 1959 (Code), was fully protected by Sections 2 and 3 of the Act.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Rajani Dubey observed, “The petitioner may have mistaken or grossly mistaken in exercise of his quasi-judicial power and jurisdiction in passing orders on the said application and no action will lie against him and he is fully protected by Section 3 of the Act of 1985 as he acted as quasi-judicial authority / Revenue Court. It must be kept in mind that he being a quasi-judicial authority is always subject to judicial supervision in appeal or by this Court under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India.

Advocate Anil S. Pandey represented the petitioner, while AAG R.S.Marhas appeared for the respondents.

While discharging the duties of a Revenue Court, the Tahsildar, a Revenue Officer within the meaning of Section 11 of the Code, had ordered mutation of land in the name of purchasers as per the provisions contained in Sections 109 & 110 of the Code. Based on a complaint regarding the said order of mutation, an investigation was initiated by the trial court leading to the registration of an FIR against the Tahsildar.

As a well-settled position of law, the Court pointed out that no action was maintainable against a Judge for anything said or done by them in the exercise of a jurisdiction vested upon them.

Consequently, the Court held, “Under Section 1 of the Act of 1985, not only a Judge, Magistrate or Justice of Peace, a Collector or other person acting judicially are also protected against such civil action. The Judges (Protection) Act, 1985 goes a step ahead and provides additional protection to Judges against any civil or criminal proceeding against them for any act, thing or word committed, done or spoken by them when, or in the course of, acting or purporting to act in discharge of their official or judicial duty or function.

The Court noted that, as per Section 2 of the Act, the revenue officer was empowered to give definite judgment in revenue proceedings. Moreover, “the revenue officer at the relevant point of time was empowered to pass an order of mutation of subject land in the names of purchasers (co-accused) under Sections 178 and 110 of the Code respectively and he would fall within the meaning of person under Section 2(a) of the Act of 1985 who is empowered by law to give definitive judgment in revenue proceeding,” the Court added.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the petition.

Cause Title: Rajkumar Tamboli v. State of Chhattisgarh & Anr.


Petitioner: Advocates Anil S. Pandey and Anand Mohan Tiwari

Respondents: AAG R.S.Marhas

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