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M.R. No. 13/1996-97

IN THE COURT OF MRS. SHYAMA MANN, IAS, FINANCIAL COMMISSIONER REVENUE, PUNJAB, CHANDIGARH  

MR No.13 of 1996-97

Parduman Singh son of Late Sh. Jagjit Singh E.K. 232, Bhagat Singh Chowk, Jalandhar.

…..Petitioner.

Versus

1.Kartar Singh son of Basawa Singh resident of village Malowal Tehsil Baba Bakala C/o Dewan Chand EF. 279, Mani Road, Jalandhar.

2.Bakhshish Singh son of Gand Singh r/o Vasidpur, Tehsil Barnala C/o Dewan Chand.

3.Partap Singh son of Arur Singh village Salarpur, Tehsil Jalandhar C/o Dewan Chand.

4.Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Jalandhar.

5.Kashmir Singh, vendee of Bakhshish Singh;

6.Gurdeep Kaur Vendee of Kartar Singh;

7.Balbir Singh Vendee of Bakhshish Singh

all through Sh.Mohinder Singh, Mukhtiar-am, resident No.32, F.C.I. Colony, Jalandhar.

…..Respondents.

Present             Sh.K.S.Chhabra,Advocate, counsel for the petitioner.

during               Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate, counsel for Hazara Singh.

arguments         Sh. Balbir Singh, Senior State Counsel for the State.

on 14.12.99.

 

Present             Sh.K.S.Chhabra, Advocate, counsel for the petitioner.

During Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate, counsel for (Hazara Singh),

Arguments        Sh. H.S.Narula, Advocate, counsel for vendees.

On 8.8.2000.   Sh. Balbir Singh, Senior State Counsel for the State.

 

M.R.No.22 of 1996-97

 

Chief Khalsa Dewan (A Society registered under Societies Registration Act,1860) G.T.Road, G.T.Road, Amritsar through Sh.Inder Singh, General Secretary.

 

….Petitioner

 

Versus

1.The Central Government

2.The State of Punjab;

both respondent No.1 & 2 through Secretary Rehabilitation,Punjab, Chandigarh.

3.Kartar Singh son of Bishan Singh resident of village Melowal, Tehsil Baba Bakala District Amritsar.

4.Gurdeep Kaur vendee of Kartar Singh through Sh. Mohinder Singh, Mukhtiar-am, resident No.32, F.C.I. Colony, Jalandhar.

……Respondents.  

Present : During arguments on 14/12/1999

Sh.A.N.Sharma, Advocate, counsel for the petitioner.

Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate, counsel for Sh. Hazara Singh, Power of Attorney  of Kartar Singh, respondent No.1.

Sh. Balbir Singh,Senior State Counsel on behalf of State.

Present : During arguments on 14/12/1999                    

Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate, counsel for Sh. Hazara Singh, Power of Attorney of Kartar Singh, respondent No.1.

Sh. H.S.Narula, Advocate, counsel for the vendees.

Sh. Balbir Singh, Senior State Counsel for the State.

M.R.No.23 of 1996-97

Chief Khalsa Dewan (A Society registered under Societies Registration Act.,1860), G.T.Road, Amritsar, through Sh.Inder Singh, General Secretary.

……Petitioner.

Versus

1.The Central Government,

2.The State of Punjab,

both respondents No.1 and 2 through Secretary Rehabilitation, Punjab, Chandigarh.

3.Bakhshish Singh son of Ganda Singh resident of village Vazidpur, Tehsil Barnala, Distt. Sangrur.

4.Kashmir Singh,Vendee

5.Balbir Singh, Vendee

Both vendees through Sh.Mohinder Singh, Mukhtiar-am, resident No.32, F.C.I. Colony, Jalandhar.                      

…..Respondents.

Present : During arguments on 14/12/1999

Sh.A.N.Sharma, Advocate, counsel for the petitioner.

Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate, counsel for Sh. Hazara Singh, Power of Attorney  of Kartar Singh, respondent No.1.

Sh. Balbir Singh,Senior State Counsel on behalf of State.

Present : During arguments on 14/12/1999             

Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate, counsel for Sh. Hazara Singh, Power of Attorney of Kartar Singh, respondent No.1.

Sh. H.S.Narula, Advocate, counsel for the vendees.

Sh. Balbir Singh, Senior State Counsel for the State.

M.R.No. 24 of 1996-97

Chief Khalsa Dewan (A Society registered under Societies Registration Act.,1860), G.T.Road, Amritsar, through Sh.Inder Singh, General Secretary.

……Petitioner.

Versus

1.The Central Government,

2.The State of Punjab,

both respondents No.1 and 2 through Secretary Rehabilitation, Punjab, Chandigarh.

3.Partap Singh son of Amar Singh r/o village Salarpur Tehsil & Distt. Jalandhar.

……Respondents.

Present : During arguments on 14/12/1999

Sh.A.N.Sharma, Advocate, counsel for the petitioner.

Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate, counsel for Sh. Hazara Singh, Power of Attorney  of Kartar Singh, respondent No.1.

Sh. Balbir Singh,Senior State Counsel on behalf of State.

Present : During arguments on 14/12/1999           

Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate, counsel for Sh. Hazara Singh, Power of Attorney of Kartar Singh, respondent No.1.

Sh. H.S.Narula, Advocate, counsel for the vendees.

Sh. Balbir Singh, Senior State Counsel for the State.

 

                                                                                                 ORDER

1. All these 4 revision petitions u/s 33 of the Displaced Persons (C & R) Act, 1954 seek to set aside the order dated 29.11.1996 passed by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Jalandhar whereby he rejected the reference made by the Tehsildar (Sales) -cum-Managing Officer, Jalandhar for suo-motu action u/s 24 of the aforesaid Act.  Sh.Parduman Singh has filed single separate revision against Kartar Singh, Bakhshish Singh and Partap Singh, whereas Chief Khalsa Diwan filed separate revision petitions against them.  Since the subject-matter of all the four revision petitions is the same land, these are being disposed off through a single order, a copy of which shall be placed on each of the files.

2.As per allegations contained in the revision petition filed by Parduman Singh his father Sh.Jagjit Singh was allotted land including 8 SA 5 Units of land mentioned in head note of the petition in village Bulandpur District Jalandhar on his migration from Pakistan.Finding that the above mentioned land measuring 8 SA-5 Units had been allotted in excess of his entitlement, the allotment to that extent was cancelled in 1962.However, notwithstanding this cancellation he continued in possession of the said land under the management and cultivation of Parduman Singh petitioner till the former’sdeath in 1986, whereafter he, Parduman Singh, has been in sole cultivating possession of the said land and had invested huge amount to develop the same.

 The petitioner in his capacity as occupant of the land for over two decades, coupled with interest of unsatisfied rural land claimant Sh.Naveen Rattan son of Rattan Lal applied to the Tehsildar Sales, Jalandhar for allotment/transfer of the said land on 20.12.1988.  This request was declined on the ground that the land had come within the suburban area of Jalandhar Municipality and the same could not be allotted in view of the circular instructions P-IV/R-II(165)/Part-VII/193-238 dated 8.1.1988.  The petitioner has all along been continuing in possession and paying its rent to the Government. 

 The petitioner came to know that Tehsildar (Sales), Jalandhar, had subsequently allotted the said land to Kartar Singh, Bakhshish Singh and Partap Singh, respondents in satisfaction of their rural land claims on the application of their alleged agent Sh.Diwan Chand resident of Mandi Road, Jalandhar in violation of Govt. instructions as per details below:-

  1. Shri Kartar Singh son of Basawa Singh Khasra No.16/25/3 (1-13), 17/21/2 (4-0), 22/2 (4-0), 18/1 (8-0), 2(6-10), 9(4-11), 18//10(7-5), 11(8-0) & 12/2(3-10) totaling 47K-9M (3 SA & 11¼ units), Bulandpur, Tehsil Jalandhar.
  2. Shri Partap Singh son of Arur Singh Khasra No.19//6min(7-10), 7/1(3-0), 7/2 (3-1), 19//19/2(4-14), 11(7-12), 12 min (2-18) totaling 29K-18M (2SA-5¼ units) Bulandpur Tehsil Jalandhar. 
  3. Shri Bakhshish Singh son of Ganda Singh Khasra No.18//19(2-14), 18//20(8-0), 21(7-11), 22(1-4), 19//1/2(2-6), 5/2(6-16), 19//6 min (6-10) totaling 29K-1M (2 SA & 4½ units) Bulandpur, Tehsil and District Jalandhar.

Later on, the successor Tehsildar (Sales) made a reference to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Jalandhar u/s 24 of the Displaced Persons (C & R) Act, 1954 for the cancellation of the allotment, the possession of which had still not been handed over.  But this reference was rejected by the Chief Settlement Commissioner vide impugned order dated 29.11.1996, thereby confirming the allotment in favour of respondent No.1,2 and 3 without hearing the petitioner who had staked his claim to allotment much earlier on the basis of his continuous possession for more than two decades.  The petitioner was not impleaded as party in the proceedings culminating in the impugned order.  Accordingly, the present revision petition seeks to challenge the legality of order dated 29.11.1996 of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Sales Commissioner, Jalandhar.

3.In the three separate identical revision petitions filed by Chief Khalsa Diwan (a Society Registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860) G.T.Road, Amritsar, it has been averred that Sh.Jagjit Singh who was the original allottee of the land including the land in dispute created a Trust styled as "Akal Charitable Trust Jalandhar" and besides other properties he donated the property in dispute to the Trust and in the revenue records the area was reflected as owned and possessed by Akal Trust.Shri. Jagjit Singh, the said allottee was the Chairman of the Trust and cultivated and managed the area for the Trust.He died in 1988.On his death his heirs tried to undo the existence of the trust.The trustees of Akal Trust assigned the Trust properties to Chief Khalsa Diwan (petitioner herein) and handed over possession of the same to the petitioner.Sh.Diwan Chand son of Shanker Dass EF/279, Mandi Road, Jalandhar had an evil eye on the area.He was not an agriculturist and seemed to be a property dealer as his address shows his status as non-agriculturist.The said Deputy Commissioner contracted the then Tehsildar (Sales)-cum-Managing Officer, and both of them, in collusion with the field staff got the impugned allotment.The Tehsildar (Sales)-cum-Managing Officer, Shingara Singh was suspended for such an illegal act. All the 3 allotments in favour of the respondents Kartar Singh, Bakhshish Singh and Partap Singh were dated 10.12.1991.The petitioner was not offered any opportunity of being heard before making allotment to the respondents and at the time of rejection of the reference by the Chief Settlement Commissioner.It was further contended that the authorities below failed to take notice of the eminent fact that the three allottees were non-existent and they were represented by Diwan Chand son of Shankar Dass.The allotment was made by disregarding the settled policy of the Rehabilitation Department that no allotment shall be made to a displaced person unless he puts in his appearance personally before the allotment authorities and no Power of Attorney shall be recognized in the absence of personal appearance of the allottee.The object behind this policy is that the holders of Power of Attorney were generally purchasers of land claims or attorneys of dead persons/persons killed during partition and they defrauded the displaced persons and the Department as well.It was further asserted that the lower authorities failed to satisfy themselves regarding the authenticity and the legality of Power of Attorneys and also failed to take note of the fact as to how these allottees who hailed from different places came to Diwan Chand to appoint him as their attorney for allotment of areas in Jalandhar District.

4.Since the subject-matter of all the 4 revision petitions is the same land and they are directed against the same order these were bunched together for the purpose of service on the respondents and disposal.

5.Before proceedings further I would like to highlight the concerted efforts made to get the service of respondents without any fruitful results in procuring the personal appearance/presence of the respondents in the proceedings.  In the memo of revision petition the address of Kartar Singh, Bakshish Singh and Partap Singh respondents was given for the purpose of service as care of Diwan Chand son of Shankar Dass resident of EF-279, Mandi Road, Jalandhar.  Process Service of these persons at the villages indicated in the revision petition in 1997 itself elicited reports from each of the concerned Tehsildars that no persons of this name existed in these villages.  However, on 22.9.1997 Sh. G.S.Nagra, Advocate appeared with the Vakalatnama of Hazara Singh who represented himself to be the General Power of Attorney holder of Kartar Singh respondent No.1 of M.R.No.13 of 1996-97 Registered notices issued for the service of Bakshish Singh and Partap Singh C/o Diwan Chand for 9.2.1998 were received back undelivered.  Meanwhile, Sh.G.S.Nagra filed a 'Vakalatnama' purporting to be from Diwan Chand Special Attorney holder of Gurjit Kaur stated to be the daughter of Partap Singh, respondent.  He filed another Power of Attorney purporting to be signed by Diwan Chand as General Power of Attorney holder of Bakshish Singh, respondent.

6.In order to ensure the existence of the respondents and the genuineness of their claims, the counsel for the respondents Sh.G.S.Nagra was directed vide my order dated 17.8.1999 to produce Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Bakshish Singh respondents allottees in person in the Court and the case was fixed for 31.8.1999.  But on 31.8.1999 Sh.G.S.Nagra, Advocate appeared only for respondent No.1 namely Kartar Singh through Hazara Singh and informed the court by his statement at the bar that Diwan Chand, the General Power of Attorney Holder of Bakshish Singh and Partap Singh respondents had since died and Sh.Nagra had no knowledge regarding the whereabouts of Bakshiish Singh and Partap Singh.  At no earlier stage the death of Diwan Chand had been disclosed and Sh.Nagra had continued to appear for all the respondents.  Accordingly he was directed to state the date and place of death of Diwan Chand.  While taking further cognizance of the fact that Kartar Singh respondent was being represented by Sh.G.S.Nagra through the Vakalatnama of Hazara Singh, yet neither Hazara Singh nor Kartar Singh had been ever produced in the Court, he was directed to produce Kartar Singh in the court.  It was further directed that registered A.D. notices be sent again at the addresses of the parties given in the memo of the petition, as ordinary summons earlier sent in the name of the original allottees had been returned with the remarks that nobody with their names resided in the village.  Separate letters were directed to be sent to the three Tehsildars personally to go to the spot and enquire about the existence of the respondents alongwith report regarding the period for which they had been staying in the villages, their earlier addresses, their age and other details, if any, so that injustice may not be done to the parties.  The case was posted for 12.10.1999.   On 12.10.99 no progress was reported.  Vide my order dated 12.10.1999 Sh.G.S.Nagra, through his proxy Sh.G.K.Chawla, Advocate was once again directed to indicate the place and date of death of Diwan Chand.  He was further directed to produce Kartar Singh, Bakshish Singh and Partap Singh respondents alongwith Hazara Singh who was stated to be the General Attorney of Kartar Singh respondent.  Registered A.Ds. were directed to be addressed to the respondents and Hazara Singh returnable for 2.11.1999 and the petitioner was directed to file fresh registered envelops bearing the formal addresses of respondents.   D.O.letters were ordered to be addressed to the concerned Tehsildars with the direction that they would go to the spot and verify the existence and other details pertaining to the respondents as directed in the zimini order dated 31.8.1999. In pursuance of this order  D.O.letters were issued to Tehsildars for compliance of these orders.  In response a report dated 12.10.1999 was received from Tehsildars, Jalandhar that Partap Singh died 10-12 years back leaving behind a daughter Smt. Guro wife of Puran Singh resident of Mirzapur Tehsil and District Kapurthala.  It was further reported  that Diwan Chand died on 20.2.1999.  Satish Kumar son of Diwan Chand was residing in H.No.EF-279 since 1980 and Sh.Harkrishan Lal son of Diwan Chand died on 10.10.1998 at Delhi.  It was further reported that Hazara Singh, 91 years old was residing at H.No.360 Garha, Jalandhar.

7. The Tehsildar Barnala reported that there is no village Wazirpur in Tehsil Barnala and there are two villages Wazidke Kalan and Wazidke Khurd in Tehsil Barnala.  Thereafter in response to the orders dated 2.11.1999 Munadi was effected in villages Wazidke Kalan and Wazidke Khurd Tehsil Barnala and village Malowal Tehsil Baba Bakala but munadi did not fetch any response from any of the three respondents.

8. Lateron, it came to the notice of this Court that in the meanwhile some transactions/alienations on behalf of the allottees had taken place, which the parties have deliberately been concealing from the Court, as the petitioner Parduman Singh had consistently been claiming that the land in dispute was in his possession which position was found to be in conflict with the position emerging from the sale transactions made by the “allottees”.  Accordingly, it was considered to be in the interest of justice to give a fair chance to the alienees by giving notice to all the effected parties through proclamation.  Accordingly a proclamation was made by beat of drum in village Bulandpur (where the land is situated) to the effect that any person interested in the subject matter of these revision petitions should appear in this Court on 11.7.2000.  A notice was also directed to be published at Govt. expense in Daily 'Ajit', Jalandhar a newspaper of wide circulation.  In compliance with these orders a notice was published in the daily Ajit dated 15.6.2000 by giving complete description of the land in dispute and the case was listed for being put up for report regarding proclamation and publication on 4.7.2000 and for appearance of the parties on 11.7.2000.  On 4.7.2000 itself in response to notice of munadi & publication Kashmir Singh, Gurdip Kaur and Balbir Singh vendees who gave their address as Muktsar came up through Mohinder Singh Mukhtiar-e-Am  through Shri H.S.Narula, Advocate.  On 11.7.2000 when the case came up in the regular manner it was noted that Kashmir Singh had recorded in his application dated 4.7.2000 that he had purchased 8 kanals out of the disputed land from Bakshish Singh son of Ganda Singh through registered sale deed, Gurdeep Kaur wife of Balbir Singh had purchased 8 kanals out of disputed land from Kartar Singh son of Wasawa Singh and Balbir Singh son of Surjan Singh claimed to have purchased another 8 kanals from Bakshish Singh on the same date i.e. 25.4.97.  Despite the fact that they claimed to have purchased the land during the pendency of this petition in the interest of justice they were allowed to be arrayed as respondents.

9I have carefully examined the records and have heard the arguments of the parties and Sh.Balbir Singh, Senior State Counsel appearing for the State.   The following points arise for decision:-

(i)Whether Parduman Singh, petitioner is entitled to the allotment of land cancelled as being in excess of the entitlement of his father Jagjit Singh?

(ii)Whether Chief Khalsa Diwan, petitioner is entitled to the transfer of the said land?

(iii)Whether the allotment made in favour of Kartar Singh, Bakhshish Singh and Partap Singh is sustainable?

(iv)Whether the vendees from the allottees are entitled to the land purchased by them?

 

Point No.(i)

         In the revision petition filed by Parduman Singh, he has asserted that his father Jagjit Singh continued to be in cultivating possession of the land in dispute till his death in 1986, the allotment of which was cancelled in 1962 on the ground that he had been allotted land in excess of his entitlement.  Thereafter, Parduman Singh had been continuing in the cultivating possession of the same.  Thus according to him the allotment of land made to respondent No.1, 2 and 3 in satisfaction of their Rural Land claim on the applications of their alleged agent Diwan Chand is in violation of the instructions of Govt. issued from time to time.  According to the petitioner, the reference made by the Tehsildar (Sales) for cancellation of the allotment of land u/s 24 of the Displaced Persons (C & R)Act, 1954 has been wrongly rejected by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Sales Commissioner, Jalandhar vide his order dated 29.11.1996 without giving any notice to the petitioner who had been continuing in possession over the disputed land over two decades.

10.Sh.K.S.Chhabra, the learned counsel for the petitioner Parduman Singh vehemently argued that Sh.Jagjit Singh the original allottee had been continuing in cultivating possession of the suit land till his death in 1986 where after Parduman Singh entered into its possession and thus Parduman Singh was entitled to retain the possession.  According to him the Rehabilitation authorities were not justified in making the allotment in favour of the respondents through their agent Diwan Chand who was a professional land claims purchaser.  Sh. Chhabra further argued that under rule 4-A of the Punjab Package Deal Properties (Disposal) Rules, 1976 the land which has become suburban after Rabi 1976 may be transferred upto 3 ordinary acres inclusive of their own holdings, if any, to occupants who have undisputed cultivating possession of land since Rabi, 1978 and have applied for its transfer in accordance with the provisions of rule 3 on or before 31st Oct.,1980.  He further argued that by virtue of the provisions of rule 6 the lands which are suburban or are potential residential or commercial sites can be sold only by public auction.  On the other hand Sh.H.S.Narula who had earlier been appearing for the allottees in the lower courts and has put in appearance for vendees in this court argued with matching vehemence that the definition of "Rural Area" under Rule 2(f) of the Displaced Persons (C & R) Rules,1955 is the area which is not an Urban Area.  Whereas in Rule 2(h) Urban Area means an area within the limits of Corporation, Municipal Committee, Notified area Committee, a Town Area Committee and a Small Town Area Committee, Cantonment and any other area notified by the Central Govt.   According to Sh. Narula the allotment of land in favour of Partap Singh, Kartar Singh and Bakhshish Singh of even suburban land could be made by imposing some cut though there is no definition of Suburban land in the Displaced Persons (C & R) Rules, 1955.

11. In my opinion, there is no force in the arguments of Sh.K.S.Chhabra and there is no substance in the claim of Parduman Singh for retaining the land, the allotment of which was cancelled way back in 1962.  It is somewhat intriguing to note that despite the fact that Jagjit Singh father of Parduman Singh who continued in illegal possession of the disputed land upto his death (Parduman Singh has given the year of death of Jagjit Singh as 1986, whereas Chief Khalsa Dewan have given the year of death as 1988) right from the cancellation of the allotment in his name way back in 1962 did not at any stage of time stake his claim for restoration of his allotment.  Thereafter Parduman Singh also remained lulled into deep slumber till the suo-motu reference made against the re-allotment of land in favour of the respondents Kartar Singh etc.  was rejected by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Sales Commissioner, Jalandhar vide his order dated 29.11.1996 thereby confirming the allotment in favour of respondents No.1,2 and 3.  Sh. Jagjit Singh as also Sh.Parduman Singh continued to illegally enjoy the cultivating possession of the land in dispute for 35 long years without even obliquely coming forward to lay claim to the land in dispute.  Thanks to the callous inaction of the concerned Rehabilitation functionaries, who did not bother to take possession of the disputed land after its cancellation from the name of Jagjit Singh right from 1962 onwards, the petitioner and his father could thrive on its possession for all these years.  In fact it appears to be a case of active connivance rather than callous inaction by Rehabilitation authorities who did not bother to take any steps to retrieve the land.  This calls for explanation for disciplinary action against the erring officers and officials!

12.  It is well settled that a displaced person cannot insist that excess land be sold to him.  In this connection a reference may be made to a judgement of Apex Court in Chief Sales Commissioner Vs Ram Singh and others, AIR 1987 Supreme Court 1834 wherein it was ruled as follows:-

"The question as regards the true interpretation of R.73(2)(ii) is no more res-integra.  It has been concluded in favour of the appellants by a decision rendered by a Constitution Bench of this Court in Civil Appeal No.375 of 1963 (Mohinder Singh and others V. Chief Settlement Commissioner and another) rendered in the context of R.62 of the Displaced Persons(Compensation and Rehabilitation)Rules,1955 which is in pari-materia to the present rule, namely, Cl.(ii) of Sub r.(3) of R.73.  The constitution Bench has taken the view that the expression 'may' cannot be read as 'shall', the rule confers a discretion on the Settlement Commissioner, and that it does not create any legal right in favour of the persons to whom land has been allotted in excess of their entitlement to insist on the land being sold to them either against cash payment or by way of adjustment against their verified claims etc.  In our opinion the interpretation canvassed by the allottee would defeat the very purpose of the rules, for, in that event, those who have by mistake or otherwise secured allotment of agricultural lands in excess of their lawful entitlement would benefit at the cost of rightful claimants having verified claims whose claims may have to be denied for want of sufficient lands to allot to them.  Rightful claimants will not get the land as their claims can not be met, the lands which could have been allotted to them from the pool having been sold to those who secured excess allotment on account of mistake or otherwise.  An interpretation which would defeat the benign purpose to compensate those who have suffered on account of partition but would result in rewarding those who have gained undue advantage by mistake or otherwise and placing a premium on such mistakes, cannot be countenanced.  The judgement of the High Court on this point cannot, therefore, be sustained.  We may observe for the sake of record that the judgement of the High Court upholding the order of cancellation of the allotment to the allottees of excess area to the extent of 11 S.A. 2 Units by mistake remains undisturbed."    

13.  In a judgement of our own High Court in Smt. Krishnawanti Vs. Secretary Rehabilitation Haryana State and others 1976 PLJ 279 it was held that the allottee whose excess allotment is cancelled is not entitled to purchase the land which has been declared excess in his hands and the State Govt. is not bound to offer it to him for purchase at reserve price in view of the provisions of Rule 73 Sub Rule (3)(ii) of the Displaced Persons (C & R) Rules, 1953.

14 In another Division Bench judgement of our own High Court Jagmohan Singh Vs Union of India, A.I.R. 1965 Punjab 163 it was held that so far as the Displaced Persons (C & R) Act, 1954 and the Rules framed thereunder were concerned the fact of the matter was that the petitioners had no right to demand the transfer of excess allotment at a particular price as rule 56 and 62 did not apply to them.  They had no vested right in them to get the transfer of excess land.

15. In the light of the aforestated settled legal position coupled with the foregoing peculiar facts and circumstances, Sh.Parduman Singh has absolutely no right for the transfer of the disputed land in his favour.  Having unauthorisedly enjoyed the usufruct of the disputed land for more than 3 decades, the petitioner ill-deserves to take any benefit for the use of the same.

16. The claim of Parduman Sing is further shattered by provisions of Rule 4-B of the Punjab Package Deal Properties (Disposal) Rules, 1976 which inter-alia lays down that the land allotted to a displaced person in excess of his entitlement the allotment whereof has been cancelled may be transferred to such allottee or his successor-in-interest or his bonafide vendee(s) at a negotiated price if such an allottee is in continuous possession of the land.  However, such an allottee is further enjoined upon to make an application to the Tehsildar (Sales) concerned in whose jurisdiction the land falls within a period of 30 days from the date of cancellation of the allotment.  But in the present case the allotment was cancelled somewhere in 1962 and Jagjit Singh allottee did not bother to make any application within the prescribed period or even after coming into force of the aforesaid rules.  His son Parduman Singh also complacently enjoyed his usufruct by remaining in unauthorised cultivating possession and was activated only when the excess land, the allotment of which had been cancelled was allotted to Kartar Singh etc. and the reference made for the cancellation of their allotment was rejected vide order dated 29.11.1996 by the Chief Settlement Commissioner.  Therefore, the claim of Parduman Singh for allotment of land is also not legally tenable.

Point No. (ii)

17.The Chief Khalsa Diwan has filed 3 separate revision petitions against Kartar Singh, Bakshish Singh and Partap Singh in whose favour the land from the name of Jagjit Singh was allotted on 10.11.91 through Diwan Chand the alleged attorney of the said allottees.  The claim of Chief Khalsa Diwan is still more hollow and fragile.  It also derives its genesis from Jagjit Singh but through a different route. It is asserted that Jagjit Singh father of Parduman Singh had created Akal Charitable Trust, Jalandhar in 1981 and besides other properties he donated the property in dispute to the said Trust.  He remained in cultivating possession upto his death in 1986 whereafter the Trustees assigned the Trust property to the petitioner Chief Khalsa Diwan as the Trustees could not manage the affairs of the Trust property and they unanimously resolved and requested the petitioner to get the "Akal Charitable Trust" amalgamated in itself.  As a result of unanimous resolution the petitioner Trust came to occupy the place that the original allottee Jagjit Singh and his Trust, 'Akal Charitable Trust' occupied, and the properties of Akal Charitable Trust vested in the petitioner Chief Khalsa Diwan which came to be in possession of the suit land.  The petitioner moved a petition before the Chief Sales Commissioner to transfer the land to the petitioner by way of negotiations. It was also agitated before him that the allotments were bogus in nature. However, the application remained pending whereafter three references were received.  The petitioner applied for being impleaded in those references but the applications were rejected.  The allotment of land in favour of the respondents No.1,2 and 3 was challenged in this court on the ground that the said respondents were non-existent and never appeared personally before the allotting authorities.

18. Written arguments were filed on behalf of Chief Khalsa Diwan by S/Shri Sahib Singh Bhatia and Joginder Singh Bhatia, Advocates wherein it was further contended that long back the land in dispute is reflected as "Barai Khuda" and it seems to have been reserved for religious purposes.   

19. In my opinion the claim of the Chief Khalsa Diwan is not sustainable. A certified copy of the Trust Deed of “Akal Charitable Trust” indicates that the said Trust was created by Jagjit Singh on 19.11.1981 with one nominee from Chief Khalsa Diwan out of the 7 Trustees.  The land in dispute finds specific mention in para 3 of this Deed as Property of the rust.

20. The claim of the petitioner Chief Khalsa Diwan suffers from the following numerous infirmities:-

(i)Since the land in dispute had been cancelled from the name of Jagjit Singh in 1962.Therefore, he had no right title or interest in the same and thus could not donate the same to the Trust after 19 years in 1981.

(ii)The allegation regarding assigning the property of Akal Charitable Trust to Chief Khalsa Diwan in the absence of any registered document has no legal value.Assigning of any immovable property of the value of Rs.100/- or above can be made accepted by a Registered document as per the provisions of Section 17 of the Registration Act.

(iii)The plea regarding the property being entered as ‘Barai Khuda’ has not been taken in the petition and it has been taken only in the written arguments.As the very claim is without any foundation, the existence of such an entry, assuming the existence of the same, is of no consequence in favour of Chief Khalsa Diwan.

(iv)Last but not least, the claim of Chief Khalsa Diwan for transfer of disputed land is not covered by provisions of Displaced Persons (C & R) Act, 1954 and Package Deal Properties (Disposal) Act, 1976.

  Therefore, there is no merit in the petitions of Chief Khalsa Diwan and the same deserves to be dismissed.

Point No.(iii)

21. Now we proceed to consider the claim of the allottees.  I would like to make a brief survey of the suspicious circumstances surrounding this case regarding even the existence of the respondents namely Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Bakshish Singh who were allotted different parcels of land, which was found to be in excess with Jagjit Singh father of Parduman Singh (petitioner).  The Chief Khalsa Diwan has also staked its claim through Jagjit Singh in 3 separate revision petitions filed against Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Bakhshish Singh.

22.The case files of Managing Officer-cum-Tehsildar (Sales) Jalandhar have been thoroughly scrutinized.  Photostat copies of the documents available on the record reveal photo copy of a Registered General Power of Attorney dated 23.5.1990 purported to have been executed by one Kartar Singh in favour of Hazara Singh of Jalandhar and Rakesh Kumar of Amritsar to pursue his claim regarding allotment of land measuring     4 St.A. 2½ units.  Hazara Singh executed a Special Power of Attorney dated 11.7.1991 in favour of Diwan Chand authorising him to get the allotment and possession of the land and enter into an agreement for sale of the allotted land and receive the earnest money from the prospective buyers.   Synchronously Hazara Singh made a statement before the Managing Officer-cum-Tehsildar regarding his having authorised Diwan Chand to pursue the case regarding allotment of land in the name of Kartar Singh. In the General Power of Attorney executed by Kartar Singh in favour of Hazara Singh and Rakesh Kumar there was no recital regarding the authorisation of Hazara Singh and Rakesh Kumar to further sub-delegate their power to some body else.

23. A photocopy of the General Power of Attorney dated 25.9.1987 filed by Gurjit Kaur daughter of Partap Singh claiming to be the only daughter of Partap Singh gives the date of death of Partap Singh as 13.8.1985.  This General Power of Attorney was executed in favour of Surinder Nath son of Pirthi Nath for pursuing the claim for allotment of land measuring 2 St.A. 10 Units stated to have been allotted in village Salar District Jalandhar vide order dated 22.7.1987, with absolute power to deal with the land by alienation etc.  Sh. Surinder Nath, in turn, executed another Special Power of Attorney dated 29.10.1991 in favour of Diwan Chand and Satish Kumar son of Diwan Chand authorising them to obtain allotment of land, take possession of the same and enter into an agreement for sale of the land and receive earnest money in connection with the sale.

24.There is on record a photo copy of General Power of Attorney dated 3.8.1981 of Bakhshish Singh in favour of Diwan Chand and his sons Harikishan Lal jointly and separately.

25.A careful perusal of the aforestated chronology of ‘zimini’ orders detailed in the earlier part of this order regarding the service of the respondents unmistakably reveals that the respondents Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Bakhshish Singh are ghost allottees.  Very serious efforts were made to procure their personal presence in the Court but without any fruitful results.  All of them retired into oblivion and did not show up during the proceedings. The addresses given by them were found to be fake. Even Gurjit Kaur daughter of Partap Singh did not appear.  Eventually, Sh.Nagra, Advocate, who was representing the respondents through their General Power of Attorney holders expressed his inability to cause their presence before the Court.  It was on 31.8.1999 that he made a statement at the bar that Diwan Chand had since died.  Resultantly there was nobody to represent Partap Singh and Bakshish Singh as Diwan Chand had authorised Sh.G.S.Nagra who appeared on behalf of Gurjit Kaur daughter of Partap Singh (Respondent No.3) and Bakhshish Singh (respondent No.2).  From all this the only inescapable inference is that Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Bakhshish Singh were bogus allottees who were being propped up primarily by Diwan Chand who was the frontman of  the entire show.  The counsel for the petitioner rightly pointed out that even the very identity of Hazara Singh is shrouded by suspicion.  He invited my attention to the fact that the signatures of Hazara Singh appearing on different documents on the record are not at all matching even when glanced by naked eye.  In this connection my pointed attention was drawn to the alleged signatures of Hazara Singh appearing at pages 15, 35 and 39 of the allotment file of Managing Officer, Jalandhar (case No.142/DPA/94).  It is true that a court should not assume the role of document expert.  At the same time when glaring variation in the signatures is discernible by naked eye to a layman the Court should not shy away from its duty in noticing it and putting it on record.  On comparison of these signatures I find wide variation and I am inclined to accept the assertion of the learned counsel as quite convincing.  Unfortunately Sh. G.S.Nagra who initially appeared for all the allottees through Diwan Chand eventually withdrew when he expressed his inability to produce even Hazara Singh, although he had been representing Hazara Singh and was deprived of his right to appear for others on the death of Diwan Chand.

  1. It follows that the allotment of land made in favour of the aforesaid allottees through the agency of Diwan Chand was bogus.  If Kartar Singh, Bakhshish Singh and Partap Singh really existed there was no hurdle in their way to put in appearance in the court or for the counsel appearing on behalf of their attorney to give a clue to their whereabouts.  They never appeared on the scene when the actual allotment took place in 1991.  The entire process of allotment and possession was accomplished through the Power of Attorney and the so called allottees or anyone connected with them remained conspicuously absent at all stages.
  2. This conduct of the allottees goes a long way in establishing the veracity of the assertions of the Chief Khalsa Diwan that the allottees were non existent and the concerned Rehabilitation authorities failed to insist upon the personal appearance of the alleged allottees who seem to be the “Ghost Persons”.  

27.It is unfortunate that when it was brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner by the Chief Khalsa Diwan that the entire proceedings for allotment were bogus in nature he did not even allow them an opportunity of being heard.  Instead he went literally by the terms of reference which was obviously manipulated merely to confuse the issues and here also he fell into error as would be evident from the discussion below. 

28Now coming to the logic adduced by the Deputy Commissioner, Jalandhar for up holding the allotment of prime suburban land having commercial potential in lieu of claim for agricultural land vide his impugned order dated 29.11.1996, it is noticed that the Ld. Chief Settlement Commissioner had fallen in grave error by being swayed by the principle of law that the instructions have got no force of law.  His reliance on the judgement of Hon’ble High Court of Punjab in J.B.Mangaram & Co. Vs. Deputy Chief Settlement Commissioner 1962 PLR 922 in support of this view is wholly misplaced.  The said judgement is clearly distinguishable as in that judgement it was observed as follows:-

“The circulars do not have the force of statutory rules and at least two Benches of this Court have taken the view that the discretion of the authorities concerned cannot be fettered by executive or other instructions issued by the Department.  The State Vs. Mehar Singh (1959 PLR 68) and Bishan Singh Vs. The Central Govt. 1961 PLR 74.”

29. In the present case no instructions are sought to be invoked to fetter the jurisdiction of the authorities.  Moreover, it was held in a judgement of the Apex Court Surinder Singh V. Central Govt. and others AIR 1966 Supreme Court 2166 as follows:- 

“Where a statute confers powers on an authority to do certain acts or exercise power in respect of certain matters, subject to rules, the exercise of power conferred by the statute does not depend on the existence of Rules unless the statute expressly provides for the same. In other words framing of the rules is not condition precedent to the exercise of the power expressly and unconditionally conferred by the statute.  The expression “subject to the Rules” only means, in accordance with the rules, if any. If rules are framed, the powers so confirmed on authority could be exercised in accordance with these rules.  But if no rules are framed there is no void and the authority is not precluded from exercising the power conferred by the Statute.”

                        The Central Govt. had ample jurisdiction to issue administrative directions regulating the payment of compensation to the displaced persons by sale of the urban agricultural property.  It cannot be said that the Central Govt. had no authority in law to issue administrative directions providing for the transfer of the urban agricultural land by auction sale, merely because the rules as contemplated by the Act are not framed by the Central Govt. (1972) 74 Punj LR 749 Reversed. AIR 1961 Punjab 451 Overruled.”

 

30. Rather this case is covered by the provision of rule 6(2) of the Punjab Package Deal Properties (Disposal) rule which lays down as under:-

 

LAND TO BE SOLD BY PUBLIC AUCTION: The following categories of land shall be sold by public auction open to all:-

(i)lands which are sub-urban or are potential residential or commercial sites or are under garden or fall within garden colonies;

(ii)land equivalent to seventy-five percent of cultivable and fifty percent of Banjar and Ghair Mumkin; and

(iii)small fragments of land not exceeding one acre.”

 

Therefore, even without recourse to any executive instructions, the land in dispute attracts the aforestated classification and the same could not be allotted to Kartar Singh and others.  However, this discussion becomes academic once it is realised that the allottees are “Ghost persons”.

 

Point No. (iv) 

31. During the course of the proceedings it was discovered that some transactions of sale pertaining to the property is dispute have taken place through different sale deeds.  With a view to afford a fair chance to the vendees, if any, to represent their point of view a public notice was given through publication in the News paper ‘Ajit’ Jalandhar dated 15.6.2000 for 11.7.2000.  Simultaneously, a notice was also given through proclamation on the disputed land. 

 

32. In response to these notices, Kashmir Singh, Balbir Singh and Gurdip Kaur wife of Balbir Singh appeared through their General Power of Attorney holder Mohinder Singh who appeared through Sh.H.S.Narula, Advocate.  They were directed to be impleaded as respondents.  Neither the vendees nor their General Power of Attorney appeared in the Court.  Sh.H.S.Narula fairly submitted that in the lower Courts he had been representing the allottees and now he was representing the vendees through their General Attorney Mohinder Singh.  Eventually these vendees derived their title from Bakhshish Singh and Kartar Singh "allottees".  The sale deeds dated 24.4.1997 and 25.4.1997 in favour of Kashmir Singh, Balbir Singh and Gurdip Kaur revealed that two sale deeds on behalf of Bakhshish Singh were executed by Balwinder Singh as Special Attorney of Diwan Chand who was originally General attorney of Bakhshish Singh.  The third sale deed in favour of Gurdip Kaur was executed by Balwinder Singh as Special Attorney of Hazara Singh who in turn was General Attorney of Kartar Singh.  There is nothing to show that the original allottees ever existed, (and is so), if they were alive at the time of allotment and subsequent sales.   In fact the facts and circumstances of this case unmistakably demonstrate that this case revolves around the different attorneys through and through.  There are number of attorneys for attorneys and, therefore, the transaction of sale cannot withstand the test of judicial scrutiny.  In a division bench judgement of our own High Court in Har Kaur Vs. Chief Sales Commissioner, Punjab, Jalandhar (L.P.A.No.1213 of 1983) decided on 9.1.1991 it was held that when the allottee did not defend the allotment in his favour, the question of any notice to vendees did not arise.  It was further held that once the allotment was cancelled in favour of so called allottee, the Rehabilitation Authorities were justified in disposing of the same by auction without any notices to the vendees. 

 

33 However, in order to ensure that the vendees were not condemned unheard this Court had taken pains to publish a notice in a Daily of wide publication at Govt. expense in response to which three vendees, namely, Kashmir Singh, Balbir Singh and Gurdip Kaur who represent only 24 kanals out of the more than 100 kanals of disputed land appeared through Sh.H.S.Narula who, in turn, held Vakalatnama from the General Attorney of the vendees, namely Mohinder Singh.  Shri H.S.Narula conceded that he was counsel for allottees in the lower Courts which fact is self evident from the order of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Sales Commissioner, Jalandhar dated 24.11.96.  At the same time he pleaded complete ignorance about the whereabouts of the “allottees”.  This mischief arising out of the bogus allotment in favour of non-existent allottees is further perpetuated by the sale of the disputed land by bogus allottees to certain vendees who also felt shy of appearing in this Court. Rather three vendees who are being represented here executed General Power of Attorney in favour of Mohinder Singh authorising him to deal with their movable and immovable property with absolute power of sale, mortgage etc. etc., Sh.. H.S,.Narula appeared in this Court by obtaining Vakalatnama from Mohinder Singh and not from the vendees who also did not come present.  Inevitably, the vendors and the vendees have to swim and sink together.  The allottees having not been effectively identified and having been held to be bogus, the sale transactions stemming from them through their Attorneys are bound to be ignored as illegal and ineffective.

 

  • The vendees cannot invoke the protection of Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act in their favour to save their sale transactions.  They did not exercise the desired diligence to trace the origin of the allotment and the bona fides of the vendors.  Therefore from whatever angle the case of vendees is viewed, it continues to be devoid of all merits.  Therefore, the sale transactions are liable to be ignored confer no right, title or interest on the vendees on the land in dispute. 

 

  • To conclude, Parduman Singh petitioner has failed to justify his claim for transfer of land on the basis of his continuous possession after the cancellation of the excess allotment in the name of his father Jagjit Singh.

 

  • The Chief Khalsa Diwan who had filed 3 separate revision petitions against Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Bakhshish Singh allottees has also failed to substantiate its claim for transfer of land in dispute. 

 

  • The allottees Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Bakhshish Singh have never come forward to pursue their claim and it has been established beyond a shadow of any reasonable doubt that they are non-existent and Ghost allottees whose so called Power of Attorney Diwan Chand and Hazara Singh also failed to carry their claim to a logical end. Their allotments by Managing Officer, Jalandhar shall therefore be treated as cancelled and consequently the order of the Chief Settlement Commissioner-cum-Deputy Commissioner is also set aside.

 

  • With the failure of Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Bhakhshish Singh to prove the genuineness of their claim, the vendees are left with no right title or interest in the land purchased by them as they have failed to show that they are bonafide purchasers without notice.

 

39.In the light of the emerging position, while dis-allowing the petitions of Parduman Singh and Chief Khalsa Diwan for transfer of land in their favour, the Collector, Jalandhar is directed to take immediate steps for resuming the land. Effective steps be also taken by him for recovery of arrears of rent fallen due from the unauthorised occupants for the use and occupation of the land relatable to the period of their possession.

 

40 While concluding this order it would not be out of context to record here that this fraud which has been played on the Government would not have been possible without the active involvement of revenue functionaries at various levels.  The fact that the real “claimants” or their legal heirs were not appearing in any of the proceedings was obvious to all and sundry.  In case of Kartar Singh it is further found from record that his claim was in fact returned by the Chief Settlement Commissioner to the Managing Officer for re-examination vide order dated 2.2.1987.  Instead of examing it afresh the Managing Officer issued a Goshwara for allotment!  It is also quite evident now that even the suo motu reference was manipulated on totally irrelevant issues to divert attention from the main fact that the allottees were bogus entities.  The possession was reported to have been handed over in April, 1997 to the so called attorneys and the land was shown as sold immediately thereafter.  So sanguine were the various beneficiaries of this largesse that even before me when it had become quite obvious during proceedings that claimants were “ghost” entities the vendees appeared through only an attorney Mohinder Singh who in turn appeared through the same counsel who had represented the case of the “allottees” before the Chief Settlement Commissioner, Jalandhar.  It is quite evident that there was a well-organised gang of land grabbers working in Jalandhar district in close coordination with the officials of the Rehabilitation Department at the headquarters as also some private individuals and revenue officials in the field.  A detailed inquiry needs to be carried out to identify these people by name and quantify their responsibility and lapses so that there is a deterrent to such activities for the future.  A copy of this order be sent to Revenue Establishment-I Branch for initiating action in this respect. 

                        Announced.

                                                                                          (SHYAMA MANN)

Chandigarh, dated                                                   Financial Commissioner Revenue,

The 12th September, 2000.                                                         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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