IN THE COURT OF MRS. SHYAMA MANN, IAS, FINANCIAL COMMISSIONER, REVENUE, PUNJAB, CHANDIGARH.
M.R. No.42 of 1993-94
1, Harbhajan Singh
2. Gurbachan Singh
3. Gurcharan Singh / Sons of Narain Singh
4. Vir Kaur widow of Narain Singh
Daughters of Narain Singh son of Sawan Singh,
Claiming to be legal representatives of lshar Singh son of Jawahar Singh (allottee) through Shri Surjit Singh son of Arjan Singh, General Power Attorney holder on behalf of an the petitioners Residents of House No.499, Gali No.9, Field Ganj, Ludhiana.
The Chief Sales Commissioner (Deputy Commissioner), Ludhiana
M.R. 36 of 1998
3.Gurcharan Singh / Sons of lshar Singh son of Jawahar Singh
4. Veer Kaur widow of Ishar Singh
5. Lakhvinder Kaur
6. Charanjit Kaur
Daughters of Ishar Singh s/o Jawahar Singh
Claiming to be legal representatives of Ishar Singh son of Jawa11ar Singh Residents of Bonkar Kalan, Tehsil and District Patiala, through the General Attorney Surrogate Singh son of Arjan Singh, resident of 147, Model Town, Extension Ludhiana.
1.State of Punjab through Forest Department through Divisional Forest Officer, Ludhiana.
2.Chief Sales Commissioner-cum-Deputy Commissioner Ludhiana through Divisional Forest Officer, Ludhiana
3. Tehsildar (Sales) cum Managing Officer, Phagwara, District Kapurthala.
4. Tehsildar (Sales) cum Managing Officer, Ludhiana.
|Present during ) Arguments on ) 3-8-1999 )||Sh.P .C.Mehta, Advocate, counsel for the petitioner|
These two petitions under Section 33 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 are directed against the orders of the Chief Sales Commissioner-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana dated 4-3-1994 and 9-6-1998 respectively.
Detailed arguments in these cases were heard on 3-8-1999 and thereafter these cases were adjourned for orders which are being announced today the 30th of November, 1999. As common question of facts and law are involved these are being disposed of through a common order a copy of which shall be placed on each of the files.
2. The facts of the case as brought out on record are that a Goshwara for allotment of land measuring 13SA-14U was sent to Tehsildar (Mahal)-cum-Managing Officer, Ludhiana on 26-5-87 by the Tehsildar Headquarters-cum- Managing Officer, Chandigarh for making allotment in the name of Ishar Singh (deceased) s/o Jawahar Singh in Tehsil Ludhiana through his legal representatives, Gurbachan Singh, Gurcharan Singh Harbhajan Singh being his sons, Lakhvinder Kaur, Charanjit Kaur, being his daughters, and Narain Kaur widow of Narain Singh. Tehsildar (Mahal)-cum- Managing Officer, Ludhiana consequently made allotment of land measuring 4SA-7-1/2U in 3 villages, namely, Khera Bet/127, Burj Lambran/129 and Chuharwal, Tehsil and district Ludhiana in 1987. Thereafter Sh. H.S. Nawla. Advocate. moved an application dated 5-7-1989 to the Deputy Secretary-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Department of Rehabilitation, Punjab, Chandigarh for the transfer of the case of allotment of Ishar Singh from Tehsildar (Mahal)-cum-Managing Officer, Ludhiana to Tehsildar Headquarters, Chandigarh for providing the remaining balance area measuring 9SA-6-1/2U in Tehsil Ludhiana. He alleged in the application that "due to some oral secret instructions from the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana to Tehsildar concerned no land allotment is being provided to them". Further, that the applicants had genuine apprehension that land allotment would not be provided and justice would not be given; hence they had no faith in Tehsildar, Ludhiana. On this reference, without seeking comments of the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, the Chief Settlement Commissioner, Punjab, Chandigarh took upon himself to entrust the case for allotment of land measuring 9SA-6-1/2U to Ishar Singh as per his choice to Tehsildar Headquarters-cum- Managing Officer vide a formal order dated 18-3-1991. However, Tehsildar Headquarters vide his note dated 7-6-1991 returned the case with the request that since there were 46 Tehsildars posted on Mahal side in the State, this case be entrusted to anyone of them or be transferred to the Superintendent( General) of Head Office who was also holding the powers of Managing Officer. The Chief Settlement Commissioner, Punjab, Chandigarh thereafter transferred the case to the Tehsildar (Mahal)-cum- Managing Officer, Phagwara vide his note dated 5-7 -1991. Thereupon, Tehsildar(Mahal)-cum-Managing Officer, Phagwara vide his note dated 9- 7 -91 resubmitted the case to the Deputy Secretary, Rehabilitation, Punjab, Chandigarh seeking some guidance regarding allotment of Banjar land and also requested that this case may be transferred to any other Tehsildar as it would be difficult for him to go to Ludhiana for this case. However, the Deputy Secretary, Rehabilitation Punjab vide Memo.No. Rl (165)P-4/8254, dated 12-7-91 returned the case to the Tehsildar (Mahal)- cum-Managing Officer, Phagwara with the directions that allotment be made as per policy and instructions issued by the Govt. from time to time and also directed that no guidance may be sought in future in this regard. Thereafter, Tehsildar (Mahal)-cum-Managing Officer, Phagwara provided allotment of 1 and in vil1age Bagga Kalan of the value of O-12U measuring 15K-8M bearing khasra no. 36//16(7-8) and 17(8-0) and of the value of 8SA-60 land bearing khasra nos.29/ /16(8-0), 17(8-0), 18(8-0), 19(7-19), 22(8-0), 23(8-0),24(8-0), 25(8-0), 30//22(8-0), 23(8-0), 36//1 (8-0), 3(8-0), 8(8-0), 9(8- 7), 10(9-18), 37//2(8-0),3(8-0),4(8-0),5(8-0),6(8-13), 7(6-13),8(4-11),9(2-7) measuring 176K-6M in vi]1age Ta1wandi Kalan, Tehsil & district Ludhiana vide his order dated 25-7-1991. However, thereafter, he cancelled the allotment of khasra nos.30//22(8-0), 23(8-0),36//3(5-9), 8(2-0), measuring 23K-12M in village Talwandi Kalan and in lieu of this provided alternative allotment including the balance 5 units measuring 29K-12M bearing khasra no.29//21(7-14), 30//21(8-0),36//2(4-0), 37//1(8-0),25//20(0-16).
3. The Forest Department, Punjab and Northern Railways claimed that the land in dispute belonged to their department and that Tehsildar (Mahal)-cum-Managing Officer, Phagwara had wrongly made the allotment in favour of Ishar Singh. On this, a suo motu reference u/s 24 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 was made by the Joint Secretary to Government, Punjab, Revenue & Rehabilitation Department, Chandigarh vide memo. no. 3136/P-3 dated 22-4-1993 to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Ludhiana who was requested to decide the case on merit and in case the Managing Officer had wrongly made the allotment of land belonging to Forest Department and the Northern Railways then the same be set aside after giving reasonable opportunity to the concerned parties of being heard. Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Ludhiana vide his order dated 4.3.1994 accepted the suo motu reference and cancelled the allotment measuring 29K -12M comprising khasra nos.29//21, 30//21, 36//2, 37//1, 25//20. On another suo-moto reference he cancelled the allotment of land measuring 176K-6M bearing khasra Nos. 22//16-17-18-19-22-23-24-25,30//,22,23,36//1,3,8,9,10,37//2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 vide a separate order dated 9-6-98. While canceling these allotments the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner observed in each of the orders that the land in dispute is the ownership of Northern Railways and is also in their possession as well as in the possession of Forest Department and he held that since this area had been declared as protected Forest by the Pul1jab Govt. it could not be allotted against claim under Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954. The Chief Settlement Commissioner further observed that Tehsildar(Mahal)-cum-Managing Officer, Phagwara was not competent to allot this land as the area fen within Ludhiana district.
Hence the present petitions u/s 33 of the D.P.(C& R) Act, 1954.
4. I have heard the counsel for the parties and also gone through the record. In respect of the first ground, counsel for the petitioner, Surjeet Singh has argued that Ishar Singh, was a displaced person from West Pakistan and was holding land in village Manuwala, Tehsil and District Gujranwala and village Ladowal, Tehsil Wazirabad, District Gujranwala and he died before the partition of the country. The area allotted to the petitioner was cancelled by the Chief Sales Commissioner-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana vide the impugned order mainly on two grounds. Firstly, the land allotted to the petitioner was not evacuee property but was the property of Northern Railways and was in the possession of the Central Government having been declared protected forest by the Government. The second ground on which the allotment was cancelled was that the land in dispute was situated in village Talwandi Kalan, Tehsil & district Ludhiana where the Tehsildar ( sales )-cum- Managing Officer, Phagwara had no jurisdiction for allotment.
The counsel for the petitioner argued that Tehsildar(Mahal)-cum-Managing Officer had addressed a letter dated 22- 2-1991 to the Deputy Secretary, Punjab Government, Rehabilitation Department, Chandigarh, giving details of allotment made in the name of Ishar Singh in various villages. The counsel argued that a perusal of this letter would show that the Railways had failed to prove their ownership over the land in dispute and the Notification vide which the land has been declared as protected Forest did not cover the land in dispute; the Patwari circle had made a report dated 20-2-91 that Central Govt. was the owner of the land in dispute and the nature and kind of the land is 'Gair Mumkin' but on the spot the land comprised in khasra nos. 30//823 and 36//3 is being cultivated for the past many years and that this land had not been transferred by any notification in favour of the Railways Department or the Forest Deptt. The counsel for the petitioner further argued that the Railways Department has been shown to be lessee of the disputed land under Central Government but the land was lying vacant and was never put to use by the Railways Deptt. being far away from the railway track. He has further argued that the findings of the Chief Settlement Commissioner that the land in dispute is the ownership of the Northern Railways, and in possession of the Forest Department are belied by the entries recorded in the jamabandi for the year 1995-96. These entries show the petitioner in self cultivation of the disputed land. Coming to the second ground, the counsel for the petitioner argued that his stands nullified when viewed in the light of the letter of the Deputy Secretary to Govt. Punjab, Rehabilitation Department, Chandigarh dated 13-11-1991 vide which he informed the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana that the case for allotment of Ishar Singh was transferred to Tehsildar(M)-cum-M.O., Phagwara for making allotment as the petitioner apprehended that Tehsildar(M)-cum-MO, Ludhiana would not make the allotment to him. In doing so, the Deputy Secretary exercised powers vested in him u/s 28 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act,1954. He further argued that the C.S.C.-cum-D.C., Ludhiana did not afford an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner's attorney and has further argued that the land became evacuee property in the wake of the partition of the country.
5. When the matter came up for hearing before me on 6-4-1999, both the parties were directed to supply list of vendees and sub-vendees of the land in dispute if the land had been alienated. But the counsel for both the parties failed to provide any information in this regard. Thereafter, it was ordered on 27-4-99 that Munadi he made on the land in dispute at Government expense through Deputy Commissioner. On 20- 7 -1999 Tehsildar Sh. Ram Singh, who was present in the court was directed to made Munadi Chaspa (by pasting) again in village Talwandi Kalan. In response to that one Harjit Singh vendee of some land out of the disputed area while appearing through Sh.Kanwaljit Singh. Advocate. filed two sets of written arguments dated 19-8-1999 and 27-8-1999 in which he submitted that he had purchased a part of land vide sale deeds dated 31.8.92 which was duly registered in the office of Sub-Registrar Ludhiana on 23-10-1992 and a sale deed registered on 23-12-92. He further argued that the vendee had purchased the land after making inquiries regarding entries in the revenue record a11d that the revenue record did not show the land as being owned by the Northern Railways. It was argued that no notice was given to the vendees before passing the order; which the Chief Settlement Commissioner was required under the Act so that the vendee could present his case. He further argued that the vendee had taken reasonable care to ensure that the transferor was competent to make the transfer and he had thus acted bonafide like a prudent buyer. It is argued that Apex Court has held that where the vendee/transferee has taken due precautions as expected by a reasonable human being and has acted in good faith and he had no notice of such encumbrance, such a transferee/vendee deserves the shield of protection under Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act. The vendee had made inquiries in the revenue record, parcha allotment, Dakhal Roznamcha and Jamabandi etc. before purchasing this land and if there had been any illegality, it was the bounden duty of the Sub-Registrar to point out the same at the time of registration of the sale deed. As per law, it was also the duty of the Chief Settlement Commissioner to issue a notice to the answering vendee and grant an opportunity of hearing as provided u/s 24(3) of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 before passing the impugned order. Having not done so, an illegality has been committed by Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Sales Commissioner, Ludhiana.
6. The counsel for the Northern Railways and the representative of Forest Department argued that the land in question belongs to Central Government/Northern Railways and has been declared as Protected Forest under the management of Forest Department as per Punjab Government Notification No.1122-Ft.-58/1195, dated the 3rd May, 1958. As per Section 2 of Forest (Conservation) Act. 1980 no portion of the forest land can be used for any non-forestry purposes without prior permission of the Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests, New Delhi. This position stands highlighted in the Divisional Forest Officer's letter dated 2-1-92 addressed to the Deputy Secretary, Rehabilitation and a number of other subsequent communications. Tehsildar (M)-cum-Managing Officer, Phagwara had wrongly made the allotment in favour of Ishar Singh, petitioner for which he was not competent. They also drew my attention to the copies of the jamabandis for the year 1942-43 in which the Central Government is entered as owner of the land and the Northern Railways in its possession. My attention was also drawn to the entries in the khasra girdawaris from the year 1986 to 1991 according to which the land is in possession of the Railways Department as wen as Forest Department. Thus, they have concluded that the land in question had been wrongly allotted in the name of Ishar Singh. and the petition is liable to be dismissed in the light of the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in T.N.Godavarman Thirumulkpad etc. Versus Union of India and others in 1997(2) S.C. 297 in which the Hon'ble Court interpreted the word 'Forest'. It was further argued that description covers an statutorily recognized forests whether designated as Reserved Forest, Protected or otherwise for the purpose Section 2 of Forest( Conservation) Act and the land in question is a notified "Protected Forest."
7. 1 have heard arguments on behalf of both parties and also gone through the record. On perusal of the jamabandis for the year 1938-39, 1942-43, 1980-81 and 1990-91, it is found that the land in dispute was the property of the Central Government and in the possession of Northern Railways. Thus the land in question is not evacuee property. It however, seems that a conspiracy to grab this land had been brewing for quite some time because even prior to the actual allotment by Tehsildar, Phagwara. The District forest Officer. Ludhiana had vide his office letter No.1686 dated 10-1-1991 and the Northern Railways vide No.N/43 dated 9-1-1991 informed the Tehsildar (M)-cum-M.O. Ludhiana that the land in Talwandi Kalan near Sutlej river belonged to Central Government and was in possession of Northern Railways and Forest Department had planted trees in this area, and therefore, the same may not be allotted to anyone. Thus, .there was no occasion for its allotment in the name of Isher Singh in the face of such clear evidence against the land being evacuee properly. Although the counsel for the petitioner was at pains to defend the action of the Tehsildar and argue that the land was evacuee property, he failed to substantiate this contention by any documentary evidence. A mere note of the Patwari stating that the land was evacuee property was not sufficient to transfer the character of this property overnight without there being any documentary evidence to that effect. Even otherwise, having been forewarned by the Railways as also by' the Forest Department, the Tehsildar(M)-cum-M.O. Phagwara was duty bound to verify the facts and exercise due diligence and caution before taking a bold decision that the property was available for disposal as evacuee property.
8. The contention of the petitioner that the jamabandi for the year 1995-96 shows the petitioners in possession is not relevant for the purpose of deciding the present controversy. Herein we are determining the nature of the land as it existed at the time of allotment as the record proves conclusively that the land was in custody of the Railways since at least the year 1938. It is a matter of common knowledge that this land is close to the railway line which goes from Calcutta to Peshawar which means that the land belonged to the Railway Department many years prior to even the date for which Jamabandis have been made available. The action of the Tehsildar Phagwara in allotting this land as evacuee property in the face of such well established facts is a proof of his malafide intention.
9. 1 have also gone through the Jamabandis for the year 1995-96 of the revenue estate of Talwandi Kalan, Tehsil & District Ludhiana in which the entry regarding 'parchi' allotment of land to Ishar Singh has been incorporated. The name of Ishar Singh s/o Jawahar Singh was entered in the column of ownership against khewat No.96 but after cutting this entry, the names of Gurbachan Singh, Gurchanran Singh, Harbhajan Singh sons, Lakhwinder Kaur. Kulwinder Kaur. daughters and Vir Kaur widow of Narain Singh in equal shares through Ishar Singh s/o Jawahar Singh resident of Ludhiana have been inserted. This entry is wrong, illegal and without any base as the allotment of land was made in the name of lshar Singh s/o .Jawahar Singh and entry in the jamabandi could not be changed without first sanctioning of mutation of inheritance of Ishar Singh. Thus, this entry has been manipulated illegally to extend benefit to Surjit Singh, the alleged General Attorney of Gurbachan Singh etc.
10. Coming to the claim of Sh. Harjit Singh vendee, his counsel has alleged that he had purchased the disputed land vide sale deeds registered on 23-10-92 and 23-12-92 but in support of his claim he has not supplied any Copy of the sale deeds with his written reply. However, a photo copy of sale deed registered on 23-10-92 is available on the file. From the perusal of- this sale deed it is revealed that land measuring 24K comprising khasra Nos.36//2/3/8/9, 30//21 was sold by Harbhajan Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Gurbachan Singh, sons, Smt. Vir Kaur, widow, Lakhwinder Kaur, Kulwinder Kaur and Charanjit Kaur, daughter of. Narain Singh s/o Sawan Singh through Surjit Singh attorney whereas the land was allotted to Ishar Singh. Thus. Sh. Surjit Singh alleged General Attorney of Gurcharan Singh etc. had no authority to sell the land of Ishar Singh. Sh. Harjit Singh's plea of being bonafide vendee is also falsified by the very fact that the name of Harbhajan Singh, Gurcharan Singh etc. was entered by tempering the jamabandi and not by following the usual practice of getting the mutation inheritance approved for the purpose. The tempering was evident on the face of record it can not be presumed that this sale transaction took place without a look at this tempered jamabandi. He has not produced either the original sale deeds or certified copies thereof. The genuineness of the sale and plea of the vendee regarding being a bonafide purchaser is therefore of doubtful character particularly when it is found that no corresponding mutation took place in favour of Harjit Singh on the basis of the so caned sale. It also eludes logic why Surjit Singh petitioner should conceal this alienation if the transaction was bonafide.
11. The role of Tehsildar Phagwara has already been brought out in detail but it is quite evident that the Tehsildar was guided and abetted by none other than the Deputy Secretary Rehabilitation himself. On a mere application of Gurcharan Singh through his advocate, Sh. H.S. Nawla alleging malafides against the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, the Deputy Secretary, Rehabilitation hastened to transfer the case to Tehsildar(M)-cum-M.O., Phagwara without obtaining the comments of the former. Even if the competence of Deputy Secretary Rehabilitation-Cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner Headquarters to transfer the case u/s 28 of the DP (C&R) Act, 1954 is not questioned, it could not have ipso facto extended the jurisdiction of M.O. Phagwara to Ludhiana without a formal notification in the Government Gazette. Tehsildar (M)-cum-M.O. Phagwara could buy virtue of his designation function as revenue officer only within the territorial jurisdiction of Tehsil Phagwara and he could not allot land in Tehsil Ludhiana. When the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana pointed out the irregularity committed by Tehsildar Phagwara, the Deputy Secretary Rehabilitation dismissed the matter summarily stating that no irregularity had been committed. The pivotal role of the Deputy Secretary Rehabilitation in perpetuating this fraud is further evident from the fact that he left no trace of his orders and notings at the headquarters and sent down the same in original under single file to M.O. Phagwara. Presently these notings and orders constitute pages 117 to 121 of the allotment file of Ishar Singh. Even after the Forest Department repeatedly wrote to point out the correct position the pleas were brushed aside with contumacious disregard. It needed personal intervention of Secretary Forest though a demi-offcial letter addressed to FCR and the new Deputy Secretary Rehabilitation for things to move.
12. To conclude, it is quite evident that tile land under dispute was the property of the Central Government and was in possession of the Northern Railways since times immemorial property. It, is in close proximity to an important railway line. Moreover, it is covered by the definition of "Protected Forest" under the management of Forest Department as per Punjab Government Notification dated 3rd May 1958. It follows that the land was not "evacuee property" and could not be allotted for the satisfaction of claim of any displaced person lodged under the provisions of DP(C&R) Act. 1954. The allotment made by Tehsildar Phagwara has, therefore, been rightly set aside by the two impugned orders which stand challenged in the present petitions. These petitions are therefore dismissed as having no merit. It is observed that a clerical error has crept in order of C.S.C., Ludhiana dated 9-6-96 which deserves rectification. After rectifying this error has cancelled khasra numbers of the two petitions, revised allotment would together read as under :-
25/20min,29//16,17,18,19,21,22,23,24,25,30//21,36//1,2,3min,8min,9,10, 37//1,2.3, 4, 5, 6,7,8.9
13. The above facts unerringly establish that there was a well planned conspiracy to defraud both the Railways and the Forest Departments in which the pivotal and active role was played by Deputy Secretary, Rehabilitation at the Government level. The fabrication of the claim was masterminded by one Surjit Singh son of Arjun Singh who had filed both the revision petitions claiming to be the General Attorney. The credentials and designs of this General Power of Attorney are high1y and Unconscionably dubious as he is unable to decide what is the parentage of the so called allottees in M.R No 42 of 1993-94, he lists Harbhajan Singh. Gurbachan Singh, Gurcharan Singh, sons and Lakhvinder Kaur, Kulvinder Kaur, Charanjit Kaur daughters or Narain Singh son of Sawan Singh and Vir Kaur as widow of Narain Singh (claiming to be the legal heirs of Ishar Singh son of Jawahar Singh allottee) and in MR. No36 of' 1998 he represents Harbhajan Singh, Gurbachan Singh. Gurcharan Singh sons and Lakhvinder Kaur, Charanjit Kaur, daughters of Ishar Singh son of Jawahar Singh.; and Vir Kaur as widow of lshar Singh. On the other hand the Goshwara dated 19-5-87 issued in respect of Ishar Singh show Narain as widow of Narain Singh and it does not mention any daughter by the name of Kulwinder Kaur. It was unfortunate for the POA that although the two petitions under Section 33 were filed on dates wide apart they got linked up. Had this not happened the dubious character of this case would have escaped detection. In these circumstances no reliance can be placed on the person who is posing as the General Power of Attorney of the claimants.
14. These glaringly irreconcilable discrepancies per force led to the scrutiny of Goshwara file in which the claim on behalf of Ishar Singh was generated in the 1980's i.e. more than 30 years after the partition of the country. This file shows that the sole basis of Gurbachan Singh etc.'s claim is a mutation no. 1832 relating to revenue estate of Faridkot H.B No. 75 (District Faridkot) concerning the inheritance or Narain Singh. How Narain Singh stepped into the shoes of Ishar Singh is not reflected in this mutation. Rather this mutation is shown as sanctioned on 26-3-78 though Narain Singh had reportedly died on 12.12.73. The long delay of five years in entering and sanctioning the mutation has also not been explained. There is a note on the mutation on the left hand side in Punjabi which read as under:-
There is no separate mutation sanctioned regarding the land of Ishar Singh in favour of Narain Singh. The Goshwara File does not have any document on record which would make Narain Singh the sole legal heir of Ishar Singh. On the contrary, the so called claimant Gurcharn Singh admitted in his application submitted in the Nineteen eighties that Ishar Singh had a sister by the name of Kesar Kaur. No details as to how the succession of Ishar Singh was decided in favour of Narain Singh are available on the Goshwara file. The claim was initiated on the declaration of one Gurcharan Singh that Ishar Singh died prior to partition, whereas as per record the possession is recorded to have been handed over to Ishar Singh who made a thumb impression in Roznamcha at the relevant time. Moreover, the fact that Ishar Singh got allotment in Faridkot while Narain Singh got the allotment in Patiala goes a long way to demolish the assertion made at that time that a joint claim had been filed by Narain Singh. The practice prevalent at that time, when land was available in plenty was that joint claimants were given land at the same place. In this case even the Settlement Commissioner did not bother to ascertain whether there were any claimants beside Gurcharan Singh etc. A close and in-depth scrutiny of the Goshwara file shows that A.R(L)-cum-Managing Officer, Punjab, Jalandhar relied solely on the report prepared by the dealing hand of the office who requested that the facts be checked up.
The application dated 17-2-81 stated that Ishar Singh had died and the claim of land was presented by Narain Singh his brother. The M.O. did not bother to inquire as to how the land was acquired in two districts (viz. Patiala and Faridkot) not did he ascertain the correct successors-in-interest of Ishar Singh and he also failed to notice that Gurcharan Singh etc. claimed to be sons of Narain Singh who, in turn claimed to be son of Sawan Singh whereas Ishar Singh was son of Jawahar Singh. Even if the assertion that Ishar Singh was unmarried or issue less was to be taken at face value the applicants were admittedly not his first degree heirs. If at all any claim of Ishar Singh has been left unsatisfied, the 'Mutalba' claim was required to be, as per set practice, issued in favour of Ishar Singh; in the alternative the M.O. should have carried out a very detailed inquiry himself about all the legal claimants on the basis of cogent and convincing documents. The dealing hand clearly mentioned that there was no evidence regarding inheritance of Ishar Singh available which was absolutely necessary. The file shows that despite these incriminating observations by the dealing hand the M.O. did not bother the check any record not were any supporting documents placed on the Goshwara file by the interested party. Rather it was only after the initiative was seized by Surjit Singh son of Arjan Singh, and the so called claimants faded into oblivion, that the allotment process speeded up. The complicity between the revenue staff and the Power of Attorney is evident. It is now found that the same Surjit Singh s/o Arjan Singh is acting as attorney on behalf of a number of other claimants also and they specialize in filing belated allotment claims posing as partially unsatisfied claimants and have been getting these allotments on the basis of their links with the staff of Revenue and Rehabilitation Department.
15. It has been already stated in the opening paras of this order that on the basis of the said Goshwara allotment the petitioner managed to get land in five villages, namely Talwandi Kalan/94, Khera Bet/127, Chuharwal, Burj Lambran/129 and Bagha Kalan/122. The present case deals with the allotment in vil1age Talwandi Kalan only and this is being cancelled by the present orders. The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Ludhiana is directed to take up the case for cancellation of allotment in the remaining four villages, after giving due notice to the affected parties and also take action against revenue officers of his district involved in manipulating notings and tampering the record. Secretary Revenue may further examine if any action can be taken against the then Deputy Secretary Rehabilitation who has since retired. Action should also be taken against the then Tehsildar, Phagwara and Kanungo Phagwara for allotting railway land as evacuee property without proper scrutiny of the record.
The 30th November, 1999
Financial Commissioner, Revenue,