The Collector is the pivot round which the district administration turns. Not only is he at the head of the Revenue Department in the district, but in so far as the needs and exigencies of the district administration are concerned he is expected to superintend the working of the offices of other departments.
Revenue: The Collector is most intimately connected with the operation of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966 (XLI of 1966). He is the custodian of Government property in land (including trees and water) wherever situated, and at the same time the guardian of the interests of members of the public in land in so far as the interests of the Government in land have been conceded to them. All land, wherever situated, whether applied to agricultural or other purposes, is liable to payment of land revenue, except in so far as it may be expressly exempted by a special contract (vide section 64, Land
Revenue Code). Such land revenue is of three kinds, viz., agricultural assessment, non-agricultural assessment and miscellaneous (e.g., rates for the use of water in respect of which no rate is leviable under the Bombay Irrigation Act (VII of 1879)).
The Collector's duties in respect of land revenue are: (1) fixation, (2) collection, and (3) accounting of all such land revenue. The assessment is fixed on each piece of land roughly in proportion to its productivity. Taluka-wise assessment is revised after every thirty years. A revision survey and settlement is carried out by the Land Records department before a revision is made and the Collector is expected to review the settlement reports with great care. The assessment is usually guaranteed against increase for a period of thirty years. Government may, however, grant suspensions and remissions in bad seasons as a matter of grace and the determination of the amount of these suspensions and remissions is in the hands of the Collector. As regards non-agricultural assessment, section 67 of the Code provides
for alteration of the agricultural assessment when agriculturally assessed land
is used for a non-agricultural purpose. In the same way, unassessed land used for a non-agricultural purpose is assessed at non-agricultural rates. All this has to be done by the Collector according to the provisions of the rules under the Land Revenue Code. Miscellaneous land revenue also has to be fixed by the Collector according to the circumstances of each case.
The Collector is also responsible for the collection of fees and taxes under various other Acts such as the Bombay Irrigation Act (VII of 1879), the Indian Forest Act (XVI of 1927), the Indian Stamp Act (II of 1899), the Indian Court Fees Act (VII of 1870), the Bombay Tolls on Roads and Bridges Act (III of 1875), the Bombay Entertainment Duty Act (I of 1923) and the Bombay Prohibition Act (XXV of 1949). There are also Acts which contain a provision that dues under them are recoverable as arrears of land revenue, and the Collector and his establishment have to undertake the recovery of such dues when necessary.
In regard to the administration of the Forest Act, the ultimate responsibility for the administration of the department, so far as his district is concerned lies with the Collector and the Divisional Forest Officer is his assistant for the purpose of that administration, except in matters relating to the technique of forestry.
As regards the Prohibition Act, the Collector has to issue personal permits to liquor and drug addicts and recover the assessment fees from shops permitted to sell liquor and drugs. In fact he is the agency through which the Director of Prohibition and Excise executes the policy of the department at the district level.
The administration of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands
Act (LXVII of 1948) in its proper spirit rests with the Collector. He is also an appellate authority to hear appeals under the various sections of the Act.
Inam: All inams and watans except the devasthan inams have been abolished under the Bombay Paragana and Kulkarni Watans Abolition Act, 1950 (applied to this district from 1st May 1951); the Bombay Saranjams, Jagirs and other Inams of Political Nature Resumption Rules, 1952 (1st November 1952); the Bombay
Personal Inams Abolition Act, 1952 (1st August 1953); the Bombay Service Inams (Useful to Community) Abolition Act, 1953 (1st April 1954): the Bombay Merged Territories and Areas (Jagirs) Abolition Act, 1953 (1st August 1954); the Bombay Merged Territories Miscellaneous Alienation Act, 1955 (1st August 1955); the Bombay Village Watans Abolition Act, 1958 (1st February 1959); and the Maharashtra Revenue Patels (Abolition of Office) Act, 1962 (1st January 1963).
Public utility: The Agriculturists Loans Act (XII of 1884) and the Land Improvement Loans Act (XIX of 1883) regulated the grant of loans to agriculturists at cheap rates for financing their agricultural operations. The Collector has to estimate the needs of his district in accordance with the policy of Government and, in the event of a bad season, to make further demands for as much money as can be usefully loaned for the purpose of tiding over the scarcity. He has to take necessary steps for the most advantageous distribution of the amount placed at his disposal and to see that the advances so made are recovered at the proper time and to delegate his power to see that the loans are not utilised for purposes other than for which the same were advanced.
The Collector of Ahmadnagar is the Court of Wards for the estates taken over under the Bombay Court of Wards Act (I of 1905).
Accounts: The treasury is under the charge of the Collector and he is personally responsible to the Government for its general administration, the due accounting of all moneys received and disbursed, the correctness of the treasury returns and the safe custody of the valuables which it contains. In matters of accounts and audit, the Collector (with the Treasury Officer under him) is responsible to the Accountant-General whose instructions he has to obey. He does not, however, take part in the daily routine of treasury business. For that work, the Treasury Officer is his delegate and representative.
Quasi-judicial functions in revenue matters: Among the quasi-judicial functions of the Collector on the revenue side, apart from hearing appeals from the Sub-Divisional Officers under the Land Revenue Code and various other Acts, may be mentioned:
(i) The revisional powers exercised under section 23 of the
Bombay Mamlatdar's Courts Act (II of 1906) in respect of
Mamlatdar's orders under the Act (this power is delegated to an Assistant or Deputy Collector);
(ii) Appellate powers under sections 53 and 67 of the Bombay Irrigation Act (VII of 1879), in regard to fixation of betterment charges on lands under the irrigable command of the canal;
(iii) The work which the Collector does in connection with the execution of civil court decrees; and
(iv) Proceedings and awards under section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act (I of 1894).
Officers of other departments: The officers of other departments stationed at district head-quarters can be divided into two groups:
(A) (i) the District and Sessions Judge;
(ii) the District Superintendent of Police; and
(iii) the Civil Surgeon.
(B) (i) the Superintendent of Prohibition and Excise;
(ii) the District Agricultural Officer; and
(iii) the Inspector of Sanitation and Vaccination.
(A) (i) The District Judge has a separate and independent sphere of
work, and as a Sessions Judge he exercises appellate powers over the
decisions of all judicial magistrates in the district. The Bombay
Separation of Judicial and Executive Functions Act (XXIII of 1951)
has separated the magistracy into judicial magistrates who are
subordinates of the District Magistrate. Before the enactment of this
legislation, the Sessions Judge used to exercise appellate powers over
the decisions of the District Magistrate and other first class magistrates
in criminal cases but the new legislation has withdrawn from the
executive magistrates practically all powers of trial of criminal cases,
and only in certain cases the Sessions Judge has the power to hear
appeals over the decisions of executive magistrates.
(ii) The District Superintendent of Police and the police force of the district are under the control of the District Magistrate.
(iii) The Civil Surgeon has also a separate and independent sphere of his own, but must place his professional and technical advice and assistance at the disposal of the general district administration whenever required.
(B) The Collector is the subordinate of the Director of Prohibition
and Excise in all matters pertaining to the Bombay Prohibition Act
(XXV of 1949). The Superintendent of Prohibition and Excise is his
subordinate, except in technical matters.
The other officers in this group are also of subordinate status. However, their services in their particular sphere can be requisitioned by the Collector, either directly in case of necessity if the matter is urgent or through their official superiors.
The following are some of the officers; of the district who have more
or less intimate contact with the Collector in matters relating to their departments and have to carry out his general instructions: -
(1) District Industries Officer;
(2) District Inspector of Land Records;
(3) Special District Inspector of Land Records for village site
(4) Consolidation Officer and Assistant Consolidation Officer,
(5) Marketing Officer;
(6) Assistant Director of Small Savings;
(7) Special Land Acquisition Officers; and
(8) The Regional Transport Officer whose work in the district
has to be conducted in consultation with the Collector.
District Magistrate: The Collector's duties as District Magistrate are mostly executive. He is at the head of all other executive magistrates in the district. As District Magistrate, besides the ordinary powers of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, he has the following powers: -
(i) power to hear appeals from orders requiring security for keeping the peace or good behaviour (section 406 of Criminal Procedure Code),
(ii) power to call for records from any subordinate Executive Magistrate (section 435),
(iii) power to issue commission for examination of witnesses (sections 503 and 506),
(iv) power to hear appeals from or revise orders passed by subordinate Executive Magistrates under section 514 and procedure on forfeiture of bond under section 515. When authorised by the State Government, the District Magistrate may invest any magistrate subordinate to him with-
(i) power to make orders prohibiting repetitions of nuisances (section 143),
(ii) power to make orders calculated to prevent apprehended danger to public peace (section 144), and
(iii) power to hold inquests (section 174).
Besides having control over the police in the district, the District Magistrate
has extensive powers under the Criminal Procedure Code, the Bombay Police Act
(XXII of 1951) and other Acts for the maintenance of law and order. It is his
duty to examine the records of police stations and out-posts in order that he
may gain an insight into the state of crime within their limits and satisfy
himself that cases are being promptly disposed of.
In his executive capacity, the District Magistrate is concerned with the issue of licences and permits under the Arms Act (II of 1878), the Petroleum Act (VIII of 1899), Explosives Act (IV of 1884) and the Poisons Act (I of 1904). He has also to supervise the general
administration of these Acts, to inspect factories and magazines and to perform various other supervisory functions.
District Registrar: As District Registrar, the Collector controls the administration of the Registration Department within his district.
Sanitation and public health: The duties of the Collector in the matter of sanitation are:
(a) to see that ordinary and special sanitary measures are initiated in cases of out-breaks of epidemic diseases,
(b) to watch and stimulate the efficiency of the sanitary administration of municipalities and other sanitary authorities, and
(c) to advise and encourage local bodies to improve the permanent sanitary conditions of the areas under them so far as the funds at their disposal will allow. He can freely requisition the advice and technical assistance of the District Health Officer.
Local self-government: In all cases in which the power of passing orders in matters affecting local bodies rests with the Commissioner or the Government, either the proposals are made by the Collector or they are received by the Commissioner with the Collector's remarks. There are, however, many matters in which the Collector can pass final orders. The control sections of the various Acts governing local bodies give authority to the Collector as the chief representative of the Government to supervise the action of local bodies and to give them advice.
Zilla Parishad: The Collector is the chairman of the district selection committee and acts as the representative of the Divisional Commissioner in respect of the Zilla Parishad.
District Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Board [Now known as the Zilla Sainik Board.] : The Collector is the chairman of the District Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Board. The duties of the Board are: (a) to maintain and promote a feeling of good-will between the civil and military classes, (b) generally to look after the family interests of serving soldiers, etc., and (c) to implement in detail the work of the State Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Board.
The Board at Ahmadnagar has under its control a rest-house for ex-servicemen and a Military Boys' Hostel. A maternity ward has also been constructed for the benefit of ex-servicemen's families at the Civil Hospital, Ahmadnagar.