Can the District Magistrate Amend Family Register? Allahabad HC Judgment

The Allahabad High Court has held that the District Magistrate is no jurisdiction to amend the family register.

Background:

The Petitioner was the wife of late Sri Radhey Shyam. As per the family register annex along with the Writ Petition the name of the petitioner and six others were initially recorded in the family register.

Subsequently, the office of the District Magistrate issued a certificate dated 04.03.2020 titled as “Sansodhit Parivari Jan Praman Patra” by which he included the respondent nos. 5, 6 and 7 alongwith the petitioner and her family members. Accordingly, the names of the respondent nos. 5, 6 and 7 were entered in the family register by the Village Development Officer vide entry dated 18.03.2020.

Aggrieved with the aforesaid entry made in the family register relating to the petitioners family, the petitioner has filed the present writ petition

Contention

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that order dated 04.03.2020, passed by the office of the District Magistrate, Mainpuri, and the consequential entries made in the family register by the Additional Village Development Officer, dated 18.03.2020 are wholly without authority of law inasmuch as the provisions of the U.P. Panchayat Raj (Maintenance of Family Registers) Rules, 1970, do not empower the District Magistrate to pass such an order.

Decision

A Division Bench of Hon’ble Justice SP Kesarwania and Hon’ble Justice Anil Kumar Ojha observed that it is well settled that if the statute provides to do a thing in a particular manner, then that thing has to be done in that very manner.

The Court held that Rule 6 A provides for appeal. The appeal is creation of the Statute and once the power of appeal has been conferred upon the Sub Divisional Officer, that authority alone could exercise that power. The District Magistrate has no authority to pass an order as he is not even the Appellate Authority under the Rules 1970. The impugned order dated 04.03.2020, passed by the District Magistrate amounts to transgression of power.

Perusal of Rule 6 would reveal that any person whose name is not included in the family register may apply to the Assistant Development Officer (Panchayat) for the inclusion of his name and if the Assistant Development Officer (Panchayat) is satisfied, after such enquiry as he thinks fit; that the applicant is entitled to be registered in the register, he may direct to include the name of the applicant in the family register and thereupon the Secretary of the Gram Sabha shall include the name of the applicant accordingly. Rule 6-A provides for appeal within 30 days from the date of the order, before the Sub-Divisional Officer whose decision shall be final.

Consequently the Court found that the Order Impugned was without Jurisdiction and therefore quashed it.

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