Government of Punjab Department of Revenue & Rehabilitation (Legal & Policy Branch)
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.
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.
The 22nd March, 2001
Financial Commissioner Revenue,