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Allotment case of Lakhpat

Government of Punjab Department of Revenue & Rehabilitation (Legal & Policy Branch)

                                                                               ORDER

The matter herein pertains to allotment of land to the legal representatives of Lakhpat s/o Nama, Sunder Dass s/o Nama and Dhanpat S/o Nama in lieu of land alleged to have been abandoned by them in village Kamalpur , Tehsil Kasur , District Lahore at the time of Partition of the country in 1947. Three separate applications dated 22.10.94 were made in this connection under signatures of Shri N.S.Aggarwal, Advocate. The application relating to claim of Lakhpat stated that Lakhpat had died since leaving behind three sons viz .Bant Lal, Jeet Lal and Roop Lal. It also mentioned that it was being filed under signatures of Roop Lal. In the application pertaining to claim of Dhanpat it was stated that Dhanpat had since died and was being represented by his only son Rattan Chand while in case of application pertaining to claim of Sunder Dass was stated that Sunder Dass had died issueless and Jeet Lal, Roop Lal and Bant Lal sons of Lakhpat and Rattan Chand son of Lakhpat were his legal heirs and present application was being filed under the signatures of Roop Lal s/o Lakhpat. None of these applications however bore signatures/thumb marks of any of the persons claiming to be legal heirs. As already stated they are carried signatures of Sh.N.S.Aggarwal, Advocate. Each application claimed an entitlement of 9¾ units on the basis of an undated and unsigned copy of chhant jamabandi, a copy of which was annexed to each application. In each application it was further stated that there was no need even to make an application in terms of the provisions of Rule 67-A of Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Rules, 1955 in view of the judgement of the Hon'ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana reported in 1992 PLJ 603.

2. All the applications were separately dealt with by Tehsildar Hadbandi- cum-Managing Officer, Rehabilitation Department, Chandigarh, who passed three separate orders on 27.1.1997 thereby accepting the entitlement of Lakhpat, Sunder Dass, and Dhanpat to the extent of 9¾ units each when the case was submitted to the Government for grant of clearance. The said Managing Officer was directed to keep in mind the area under mortgage at the time of issuing the goshwara. No such consideration was, however, taken into account by the said Managing Officer and he proceeded to prepare a goshwara in each case. For some inexplicable reason, however, these goshwaras were not despatched to the concerned quarters and the concerned Managing Officer was transferred. In the meantime a number of serious infirmities were detected by the present Managing Officer . That is how the matter is before me.

3. In order to give a fair opportunity to each of the applicants to justify the claim they were directed to present themselves for personal hearing on 8.1.2001. Only Roop Lal appeared in person on that date. It is noticed that even before the Managing Officer all the three claims were pursued by Roop Lal alone; none of the other alleged successors-in-interest of Lakhpat, Dhanpat and Sunder Dass ever appeared on the scene. The statement of Roop Lal was got recorded. He made a common statement in all the three claims. The original statement is being placed on the file relating to claim of Lakhpat while copies of the same have been kept on each of the other two files. Sh. Roop Lal has stated that he is a cloth merchant in Khem Karan and he is an attorney in all the three cases. He stated that he had submitted applications in all the three allotment cases. He admitted that his identity card showed his father's name as Lakhu Ram and not Lakhpat. He admitted that no application was submitted by him or any of his brothers prior to 1994. Though his brother Bant Lal had told him that he had given one application earlier. However, he admitted to having no proof in this connection. He stated that Sunder Dass, Lakhpat and Dhanpat had died well before partition of the country and he was not aware how much land they were having in Pakistan and with whom the land was mortgaged. He had heard that they had about 50 acres of land in Pakistan "Dasan Wale Dasde Han". The application was got prepared by him at the instance of one Wazir Chand, Petition Writer of Jalandhar .

4. I have carefully examined the record coupled with the common statement of Roop Lal recorded on 8.1.2001 in all the three cases. In my opinion the applicant has failed to establish the claim for allotment of land in lieu of land alleged to have been abandoned by his father and his two uncles in Pakistan at the time of Partition. The claim suffers from the following infirmities:-

(i) There is no plausible explanation for the delay of 47 years in filing the claim for allotment of land. The applications were filed for the first time in the last week of October, 1994 and were not even signed by Roop Lal

or any other 'legal representative' of the claimants by Sh. N.S.Aggarwal, Advocate. In these applications there is not even an oblique mention of the circumstances under which the submission of the claim was delayed for almost five decades. By virtue of provision of Rule 67 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 it is obligatory for the applicant to submit his claim before 31.12.63. His reliance upon the Judgement of the Hon'ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana reported as 1992 PLJ 603 to escape his obligation to make an application under the aforesaid statutory provision of Rule 67-A is wholly misconceived and untenable. The judgement has been quoted out of context. The applicant is not absolved of the liability to explain the reason for the delay more so which is of such a serious magnitude.

  • While passing the orders dated 27.1.1997 the Managing Officer placed unmerited reliance on the report of Sh.Kuldip Singh Asstt. Which was based on Register 1-D. By this time it is acknowledged as a notorious fact that entries in Register 1-D were not up-dated after the early sixties and they cannot form the basis for establishment of any claim without any further documentary evidence. In this case the entire claim was followed by one Roop Lal who does not even hold a power of attorney from other legal heirs. Chhant Jamabandi placed on record are unsigned and undated and not authenticated by anyone.
  • The applicant did not even indicate the date of death of Lakhpat, Dhanpat and Sunder Dass much less produce any documentary evidence regarding the same. The applications dated 22.10.94 vaguely state that all three of them have died "since", while Roop Lal in his statement before me states that they all died prior to partition the pedigree table and the chhant jamabandi shows them as being alive. If they have died well before partition their succession should have figured promptly in the chhant jamabandi.
  • The Managing Officer accepted the version of Roop Lal s/o Lakhu regarding the succession of Lakhpat, Dhanpat and Sunder Dass and failed to make any inquiries on the subject before passing the three orders. In this way he totally ignored the provisions of Section 9 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 for maintainability of the claim of the applicant for determination of the legal heirs of Lakhpat, Dhanpat & Sunder Dass.
  • It is eminently significant that as per chhant jamabandi each of the claimant had abandoned only 13 units of chahi/sailab land in Pakistan and it was mortgaged with one Lal Chand s/o Nand Lal and Om Parkash s/o Lal Chand but in the statement of Roop Lal recorded on 8.1.01 he pleaded ignorance in this respect. He also pleaded ignorance regarding the quantum of land left in Pakistan; However, in the next breath he turned around to state vaguely that he was told (Dasan Wale Dasde Han) that the land owned by them in Pakistan was 50 acres. It is not possible to reconcile the discrepancy regarding the area given in the chhant jamabandis with the area deposed to have been left in Pakistan as per statement recorded on 8.1.01. The ignorance of the claimant regarding the entire area being mortgaged to a third party and the omission of the Managing Officer in keeping this mortgage in view while passing the order cannot be passed over lightly. The Managing Officer Hari Singh did not heed the directives given by the Government in respect of the area under mortgage & proceeded to prepare a goshwara which he did not send to the concerned quarters for reasons best known to him.

5. The infirmities and contractions pointed out above establish the fact that there has been lack of application of mind on the part of the Managing Officer. It is quite evident that all the three claims have been prepared on the basis of photo copies obtained from DLRs Office, and unsigned and undated "chhant jamabandi". Roop Lal, who admits to being the spirit behind all the three claims. In the face of contradictions even regarding the date of death of the original claimants there is no merit in the claim of their alleged successors-in-interest and in exercise of powers vested in me under section 33 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation)Act the orders of the Managing Officer dated 27.1.1997 in all the three cases are accordingly set aside. A copy of these orders be placed on each of the files.

Orders to be communicated.

Chandigarh, dated

(SHYAMA MANN)

The 22nd March, 2001

Financial Commissioner Revenue,

Punjab.

Hon'ble Revenue Minister

Hon'ble Minister-In-Charge
Shri. Gurpreet Singh Kangar

 


 

Special Chief Secretary, Department of Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Mangement
Shri. Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, IAS

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