GOVERNMENT OF PUNJAB DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE & REHABILITATION
( POLICY AND LEGAL BRANCH )
Shri Gajjan Singh son of Sh. Hira Singh made an application dated nil through his General Power of Attorney Mohar Singh son of Gajjan Singh on 28.2.1994 to the Managing Officer-cum-Tehsildar, Boundary Cell, Punjab, Chandigarh stating that Gajjan Singh was allotted land to the tune of 17 S.As 8¼ units in 1950 totalling 288 kanal 13 marlas in village Ghal Khurd, Tehsil and District Ferozepur in lieu of land abandoned by him in village Janjate, Tehsil and District Lahore in Pakistan. He further stated that out of this land the allotment of 7 S.As was cancelled and the same was allotted to someone else. He requested for verification of his entitlement and restoration of the cancelled area measuring 7 S.As in his favour. He also stated that he was willing to get the land allotted in some other village.
2. On 8.11.1995, the Managing Officer adjudged Gajjan Singh (stated to be deceased) as eligible for allotment of land measuring 7 S.As. Thereupon Mohar Singh made a submission before the Managing Officer through an affidavit dated 30.7.1996 that his father was still alive, but through a clerical error he had been shown dead and the mistake needed to be corrected. This was followed by another affidavit dated 15.12.1997 to the same effect. Accordingly, the Managing Officer passed an order on 16.12.1997 correcting the “error”. Ultimately, a Goshwara was prepared after getting clearance from the Govt. and despatched to M.O. on 4.2.1998. Even in this Goshwara allotment of 7 S.As was made to Gajjan Singh through the “legal heir” Mohar Singh resident of Bholuwala Road, District Faridkot.
For some inexplicable reason this Goshwara is not shown as having been despatched through registered post as was the prevalent practice and it was reported as lost by Tehsildar Ferozepur on 15.5.98, and a request was made by him for issuance of a duplicate Goshwara which was allowed on 17.7.1998. A duplicate Goshwara was prepared but remained unsigned for some mysterious reasons till the present Managing Officer discovered serious infirmities in the claim of Gajjan Singh and reported the matter to the Government. It is in this background that the matter has come up before me.
3. In order to give the applicant a fair opportunity of being heard before proceeding further in the matter he was called over for 9.1.2001. Sh. Mohar Singh appeared on behalf of Gajjan Singh and his statement was recorded. Sh. Mohar Singh merely stated that he was Power of Attorney holder of his father and was fully authorised to make a statement on his behalf. He stated that he had given an application dated 28.2.1994 to the Managing Officer for allotment of 7 SAs which had earlier been cancelled on 29.8.1953. He was not aware whether his father gave any application for restoration of the same after 29.8.1953 nor whether any appeal was filed thereafter and he had no proof or papers in respect of the same. His father was old and could not move about. He also stated that in respect of 7 SAs area which was cancelled there is a report of the patwari dated 22.9.94. He stated that he had no other proof in support of his claim other than the papers submitted in 1994 nor can he produce any other evidence.
4. I have carefully examined the papers on record, heard Sh. Mohar Singh and also read the contents of his statement dated 9.1.2001. In my opinion the Tehsildar Hadbast-cum-Managing Officer has fallen in grave error in passing the order dated 8.11.95 thereby adjudging the additional entitlement of Gajjan Singh for allotment of land to the tune of 7 S.As. The following serious infirmities have been found in the brief order of the Managing Officer which consists of virtually 15 lines:-
(i ) Gajjan Singh has been shown dead whereas nowhere it was claimed that he was dead – on Managing Officer’s file Gajjan Singh is shown to have signed a general power of attorney on 13.1.1994 in favour of his son Mohar Singh.
(ii) Gajjan Singh has been shown dead by Managing Officer but simultaneously Mohar Singh has been entertained as general power of attorney of a dead man.
(iii) In the event of Gajjan Singh being dead the proof of year of his death was required as also inquiry in relation to legal heirs as required under Section 9 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act.
(iv) The Managing Officer records that of the 17 S.As 8¼ units of land allotted to Gajjan Singh 7 S.As had been allotted “earlier” to someone else. Both the application of Mohar Singh and the patwari’s note dated 22.9.1994 state that allotment to the second party Harnam Kaur was made afterwards and not before.
Thus, the order of the Managing Officer is not only sketchy but is also based on wrong surmises and shows non-application of mind. The Managing Officer did not also go into the question of unexplained long delay of 41 years from 29.8.1953 to 28.2.1994 in filing of application on behalf of Gajjan Singh. The statement of Mohar Singh dated 9.1.2001 has done nothing to dispel the impression that the claim is without merit. Only Gajjan Singh himself could explain the aforesaid delay but he has not taken any active interest in prosecuting his claim.
5. The file on which the cancellation took place was not linked with the case pending with the Managing Officer. Rather, it was reported to the Managing Officer that it was not possible to trace it out in the absence of any material details. The Managing Officer, therefore, was swayed by solitary report on the 1-D dated 22.6.1995 prepared by Kuldip Singh, a Senior Assistant of the Rehabilitation Department and the office note of the very same Kuldip Singh dated 24.7.1995 on the Court File of Managing Officer. Both these reports have been found unreliable.
It is being admitted by the claimant that an allotment of 17 S.As 8¼ units was made in 1950 and possession of 288 kanal 13 marlas constituting this allotment was duly taken in 1952. The entries as reported by Kuldip Singh from a perusal of 1-D register showing allotment of only 10 SAs. with no evidence of cancellation, are incompatible with the admitted facts.
Again it is in the noting of Kuldip Singh dated 24.7.1998 that Gajjan Singh was projected as dead and also an impression was mischievously conveyed that cancellation of 7 S.As was made on account of the area having been allotted to Harnam Kaur. Managing Officer has blindly relied on Kuldip Singh while passing the order. Kuldip Singh, incidentally, had no locus standi to record notings on the Court File of the Managing Officer. It was unfair for the Managing Officer to act upon his note in performing his quasi-judicial functions.
6. The claim of Gajjan Singh as projected through Mohar Singh is seriously afflicted by laches. It has been admitted by him that the order of cancellation was not appealed against. The applicant has not come out with any plausible explanation to justify the delay. The mysterious silence spreading over a period of four decades especially from a man who was a migrant and an allottee and is still shown to be alive is all the more baffling as the cancelled area and the remaining area were located in the same village. In the application dated 1994, the reasons for cancellation were not mentioned and thereafter the old file was conveniently reported not traceable. The report that Harnam Kaur never took possession of the area cancelled from Gajjan Singh and the admission that some of this land was acquired for Rajasthan Feeder and Sirhind Feeder make the matter more complicated instead of helping the case of the petitioner.
7. In view of the facts and circumstances narrated above the claim of Gajjan Singh for an additional allotment of 7 S.As is absolutely without merit and accordingly the order of the Managing Officer dated 8.11.1995 as corrected vide corrigendum dated 16.12.1997 is set aside. Consequently, the clearance conveyed by Government vide letters dated 27.1.1998 and 17.7.1998 is also withdrawn. The Goshwara issued earlier and reported lost is ordered to be treated as cancelled. Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepur shall ensure that no land anywhere in the district is allotted against this Goshwara for which purpose he should obtain a certificate from the concerned Tehsildar. Departmental action against the Managing Officer who made the order dated 8.11.1995 be initiated for various lapses as aforestated.
Order to be conveyed to the applicant through registered post as well as through process.
( SHYAMA MANN )
Financial Commissioner Revenue,
the 3rd April, 2001. Punjab.