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M.R. No.124/1986-87

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

 

                                                                                    MR No. 124

1.Bachan Singh,

2.Daulat Singh.

3.Bawa Singh.

            Sons of late Sh.Kablu1 Singh son of Munshi Singh residents of village Takhar,   P.O. Sargondi, Tehsil Phillaur, District Jalandhar.

 

Versus

 

1.         Arur Singh Dhillon son or late Sh. Avtar Singl1 Dhillon, XEN. PSEB Grid Division. Model Town, Jalandhar.

2.         Smt. Nihal Kaur wd/o Late Sh.Avtar Singh C/o Sh.A.S. Dhillon, XEN, PSEB Model Town, Jalandhar.

3.         The State of Punjab.

 

Present : during arguments on 11.11.99

Sh. C.L. Gulati, Advocate alongwith Sh. Surjit Singh, petitioner in person

Sh. T.R. Vij, Advocate, alongwith Sh. Aroor Singh Dhillon respondents in person.

Sh. Balbir Singh Senior State counsel

 

ORDER

 

1.This revision petition U/S 33 of the Displaced Persons (C&R) 1954 is directed against the order dated 8.1.87 of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner. Jallandhar whereby he accepted the. revision petition of Arur Singh Dhillon, and Nihal Kaur, respondents No.1 and 2 and cancelled the allotment made in favour of the petitioners in respect of land measuring 18K-11M as fully described in para 2(infra).

 

2.Briefly stated, the facts of the case are that the Tehsildar (Sales)-cum-Managing Officer, Jalandhar by his order dated 24.12.84 allotted land measuring 49K-1M situated in village Nangal Salimpur to unsatisfied claimants namely Bachan Singh, Daulat Singh. and Bawa Singh (petitioners herein) sons of Kabul Singh. This allotment was challenged by Rur Singh Dhillon and his mother Nihal Kalli. son and widow respectively of Avtar Singh in an appeal before the SDO(C)-cum-Settlement Commissioner, Jalandhar on the ground that a part of land in dispute stood allotted to Avtar Singh in lieu of the land abandoned in Pakistan, by allotment order bearing No JL  1/205/1, dated 20.8.58 and possession of land measuring 18K-I1 M was delivered on 30.8.58 and P. rights were also conferred on the allottees.  The Settlement Commissioner, Jalandhar dismissed the appeal by his order dated 2.7.1985.Thereupon Rur Singh and Nihal Kaur, respondent nos. 1 and 2(herein) filed a revision petition before the Deputy Commissioner-cum-C.S.C. who accepted the revision petition vide impugned order dated 8.1.87 and set aside the allotment which had been made in favour of petitioners in respect of khasra no.6//14/1, 15/2, 24/1,  7//20, 17//12/3 and13/1.

 

3.Bachan Singh and others petitioners filed a revision petition before Sh.C.D.Cheema, the then Financial Commissioner (Appeals), Punjab, Chandigarh. The court of Sh. C.D.Cheema, sent registered letter to the petitioners and their attorney Surjit Singh which were received back with the report of the Postman that Bachan Singh did not meet him; Daulat Singh was out or India and Bawa Singh had since died.  A notice was sent to Surjit Singh, Attorney, by special1 messenger, which was received by one Randhir Singh on behalf of Surjit Singh, by that notice Surjit Singh was directed to appear on 3.10.91 but neither Surjit Singh nor his counsel attended his Court on the date fixed. Sh.C.D.Cheema dismissed the petition vide order dated 3.10.91 as infructuous and not maintainable on the ground that one of the petitioners namely Bawa had since died and no efforts had been made by the Attorney to bring his legal representatives on record coupled with the fact that non was appearing on behalf of the petitioners.

 

4.Aggrieved by the order of Sh. C.D. Cheema, the petitioners carried the matter to the Hon'ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana in C.W.P.No.4772 of 1995, whereon the Hon'ble High Court issued directions vide order dated 14.2.96 to decide the case afresh on merits in accordance with law after granting opportunity to the petitioner.The petitioners were also directed to pay Rs. 1000/-.The petition was dismissed by Sh. C.D. Cheema in default vide his order dated 27.8.1996.It was restored on 8.10.96.Sh. K.S. Janjua who then dealt with the petition and again dismissed the same vide his order dated 15.9.97 on account of non-payment of costs imposed by Hon'ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana coupled with the fact that none had appeared on behalf of the petitioners despite repeated calls.

  A review petition was filed on the following dated, i.e. on 16.9.1997.  The amount of Rs. 1000/- was deposited by the petitioners in the Court and the petition stood restored vide order dated 17.11.1997 by the Court of Sh. Janjua.  Then the matter came before this Court.

 

5. I have heard the arguments of the parties and have perused the written arguments filed by them.  I have also heard Sh. Balbir Singh, Senior State Counsel who appeared on behalf of the State.  The Learned counsel for the petitioners argued that the cancellation of land allotted in favour of the petitioner by the Chief Settlement Commissioner was not justified as the respondents had not produced any satisfactory and authentic documentary evidence in support of an earlier allotment of 18-KJ11M in their favour.   According to them there were a number of cuttings in the Sanad produced by the respondents on record.  It was accordingly asserted that the allotment made in favour of the respondents be cancelled  and the same be restored in favour of the petitioners.

 

6. In reply the Learned counsel for the respondents argued with matching vehemence that no suspicion surrounds the authenticity of the documents produced by them and thus no fault can be found with the orders of the Chief Settlement Commissioner regarding the cancellation of allotment of land which stood already made in favour of the respondents.

 

7.At this stage it may be pertinently mentioned that the conduct of the petitioners in the entire proceedings before this court was unconscionably unnatural and excites adverse inference regarding the hollowness of their  claim.  The original petitioner u/s 33 of the Displaced Persons (C&R) Act, 1954 was filed on 8.4.1987 by Sh. S.S. Toor, Advocate.  This petition was not signed by the petitioners and it was signed only by Sh.N.S.Gujral, Advocate and Sh. S.S.Toor, Advocate. It was returned for want of certified copies of some documents and was re-filed by Sh. S.S. Toor, Advocate on 22.5.1987. With this petition, inter alia photocopies of following General Powers of Attorney of the petitioners were annexed: -

(i)Bachan Singh dated 21.11.1984;

(ii)Bawa Singh dated 28.7.1983;

(iii)Daulat Singh dated 28.7.1983.

 

All these Powers of Attorney were in favour of Surjit Singh son of Arjan Singh. These Powers of Attorney relate to dates even earlier to the date of allotment. On 17.8.1999, in order to assure itself regarding the genuineness of claim of the petitioners, this court directed the petitioners to establish the locus standi of Surjit Singh as also Bachan Singh etc. before proceeding further with the matter. It was only on 31.8.1999 which was the next date fixed in the proceedings that Surjit Singh made an admission that Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh had since died and their Powers of Attorney were no longer effective. Accordingly, the counsel for the petitioners was directed to produce the details of the legal representatives of the deceased petitioners, namely, Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh alongwith their Death Certificates as also the correct address of the third petitioner Daulat Singh. On the next date i.e. 7.9.1999, the counsel for the petitioners failed to produce the desired documents. Surjit Singh, who appeared in person before this court, verbally stated that Bachan Singh died on 9.7.1996 and Bawa Singh died on 24.1.1991. He further claimed that both Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh executed Wills in "his" favour as a substitute for the Powers of Attorney in his favour. However, he did not produce the Wills either in original or their certified copies. He was accordingly directed to produce the relevant documents including the alleged Wills of deceased Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh in his favour as also the list of all the natural heirs of Kabal Singh and the natural heirs of two deceased, namely, Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh together with their addresses. The case was listed for 5.10.1999. On the next date, the counsel for the petitioners  failed to produce the documents as directed vide order dated 7.9.1999. He was again directed to produce the original Wills of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh of which only photostat copies had been produced. He was also directed to produce the Death Certificate of Bawa Singh who was stated to have died in Canada on 24.1.1991. On the next date the counsel produced on record the photocopy of Power of Attorney of Daulat Singh but he did not produce any other documents. He was again directed to produce original Wills of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh and original General Power of Attorney of Daulat Singh. He state that Daulat Singh had gone abroad. He was directed to produce documentary evidence in support of his assertion. Eventually the case was listed for arguments on 11.11.1999 on which date also the requisite documents were not produced. Arguments were heard on that day.

 

8. As already stated, it is noticed from the photocopies of the General Powers of Attorney in favour of Surjit Singh (who happens to be the king-pin of the entire show), that these were executed on 21.11.1984, 28.7.1983 and 28. 7.1983. During the proceedings Surjit Singh disclosed that Bawa Singh petitioner died on 24.1.1991 and Bachan Singh died on 9.7.1996. As a result of their death the General Powers of Attorney alleged to have been executed in favour of Surjit Singh were ipso-facto rendered ineffective. The counsel for the petitioners, as also Surjit Singh who claims to be holding the Powers of Attorney on behalf of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh earlier never bothered to intimate this court regarding the death of aforesaid two petitioners and consequential invalidation of then General Powers of Attorney claimed to be held by him. This petition was dealt with by my four predecessors for the period ranging from 1987 to 1998. But at no stage of time Surjit Singh or his counsel took to their head to bring to the notice of the Court the factum regarding the death of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh nor was any effort made to implead the L. Rs. of the deceased, Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh. Vide application dated 7.2.1999 Sh. C.L.Gulati, Advocate, made a prayer for impleading Surinder Pal Singh son of Joginder Singh as legal representative of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh on the basis of the 'Wills' alleged to have been executed by them in favour of Surinder Pal Singh on 2.12.1984 and "30.7.1984" respectively. This application was accompanied by the sworn affidavit from Surinder Pal Singh affirming that the Wills were executed by Bachan Singh on 2.12.1984 and Bawa Singh on "30.7.1984”.

 

9. In pursuance of the Zimine orders dated 7.9.1999 of this Court, a notice dated 22.9.1999 was issued by the office for production of documents desired by this Court as detailed above (in Para 7 supra).  In the reply to this notice filed on 4.10.1999 Sh. C.L.Gulati counsel for the petitioners submitted that Bawa Singh died in Canada on 24.1.1991 and the names and address of his natural legal heirs were not known but he left a Will dated "30.7.1983" in favour of Surinder Pal Singh son of Joginder Singh.  A copy of the Will was annexed.  As regards Bachan Singh he stated that he died on 9.7.96 at village Takhar, and his son Chuhar Singh had pre-deceased him on 30.6.1988.  At the same time Bachan Singh had executed a Will dated 2.12.1984 bequeathing his 1/3rd share in respect of his property in favour of Surinder Pal Singh.  Regarding Daulat Singh it was stated that he was alive and was residing in village Takhar District Jalandhar.

 

10.The afore-stated chronological narration of the proceedings of this court highlights the anxiety of this court to ensure that justice is done.  This case demonstratively represents manipulative professional skill of Surjit Singh, the so called General Attorney in deluding the court to beef up his false claim.  At the cost of repetition it may be stated that he had kept the death of Bachan Singh as a guarded secret and continued to proceed with this petition tenaciously before he made a dubious disclosure on 31.8.99 regarding the death of Bachan Singh, one of the petitioners.  Original death Certificates of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh have not been brought on the record.  The photocopy of death certificate of "Bawa Singh" records "Bawa Thakar Singh" without father's name.  Again the death certificate of "Bachan Singh" mentions the name as "Gurbachan Singh".  So these certificates are patently bogus and forged.  Thereafter he manipulated typed un-registered Wills dated 30.7.1983 and 2.12.1984 i.e. of dates prior to parcha allotment, purportedly from Bawa Singh and Bachan Singh petitioners in favour of Surinder Pal Singh son of Joginder Singh wherein it was recited that the executant had received full amount regarding their share of the claim from legatee, Surinder Pal Singh.  These Wills never saw the light of the day earlier to 4.10.1999.  If  Bawa Singh had died on 24.1.1991 and Bachan Singh had died on 9.7.1996, these Wills, if genuine should have been produced with desired promptitude.  The Wills set up herein were executed for consideration and do not satisfy the judicial conscience and have no meaning in the eyes of law.  Moreover, these Wills were clearly fabricated and are designed to fill in the void created by the reported deaths of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh.  These Wills were filed with the reply on 5.10.1999 when the counsel for the petitioners were repeatedly pressed to indicate the legal representatives of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh deceased.  It is interesting to note that with the application Dated 7.02.1999 for impleading the legal representatives of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh the dates of Will alleged to have been executed by Bawa Singh was mentioned as “30.7.1984” and not 30.7.1983. The same date was mentioned in the affidavit dated 7.2.1999 of Surinder Pal Singh who claims to be the legatee. However the photocopy of the Wills produced for Bawa Singh, is dated 30.7.1983. These are not entered anywhere, and have not been scribed by a registered Deed Writer. The name of the Scribe is conspicuously absent on these ‘Wills’. According to the reply dated 5.10.1999 to the notice issued by the Court, the whereabouts of legal heirs of Bawa Singh are not known. As regards Bachan Singh, it has been stated that his son Chuhar Singh pre-deceased him. In his reply it is mentioned that the third petitioner Daulat Singh is alive and is residing in village Takhar. He never appeared despite being alive. But on 26.10.1999, it was stated by the counsel for the petitioners that Daulat Singh had gone abroad.

 

11.From all this, the only irresistible conclusion is that Sh. Surjit Singh who claims to hold the Powers of Attorney for the three petitioners had fabricated and forged the Wills from Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh. The repeated orders of this Court for production of the original Wills did not fetch any positive response from Surjit Singh or his counsel. The Wills are stereotyped and purport to be for consideration in favour Surinderpal Singh who is not even remotely related to the petitioner. There is no satisfactory documentary evidence regarding the death of Bachan Singh and Bawa Singh as also regarding the whereabouts of Daulat Singh. Accordingly, this petition deserves to be thrown out on this sole ground being not competent and maintainable.

 

12.It is true that the controversy herein primarily revolves only around the land measuring 18K-11M out of the total area measuring 49K-1M which stood allotted to Bachan Singh etc. and it traces its origin to the order dated 8.1.97 of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Jalandhar whereby he accepted the revision petition of Rur Singh Dhillon and his mother Nihal Kaur, respondent No. 1 & 2 and cancelled the allotment of land to the extent of 18K-11M. But going by the circumstances detailed above afflicting the Powers of Attorney in favour of Sh. Surjit Singh on behalf of the petitioners, the matter assumes wider ramifications and this court being vested with plenary powers u/s 33 of the Displaced Persons (C&R) Act, 1954 would be failing in its duty in leaving the matter to be consigned to quiet burial in respect of entire claim of Bachan Singh etc. The Powers u/s 33 are of wide plenitude and are conferred to set right any illegal, unfair, unjust or plainly untenable order (U.O.I. Vs Avtar Singh 1985(1)-ILR-76). In my opinion the peculiar circumstances warrant reinvestigation of the entire claim of the petitioners. Accordingly, the Chief Settlement Commissioner Headquarters is directed to probe in entire claim arising out of the Goshwara allotment of the petitioners and if necessary, take suitable action for re-opening  the same for cancellation after affording reasonable opportunity of hearing to the affected parties.

 

13.At the same time, the dismissal of the petition of Bachan Singh etc. shall not ipso facto be construed as acceptance of the claim of respondents regarding land measuring 18K-11M, which also demands a through probe and investigation by the concerned authorities. The documents produced by the respondents in support of their claim, which found favour of Ld. Chief Settlement Commissioner in his order dated 8.1.1987, do not bear unimpeachable authenticity.  Accordingly, in case they fail to satisfy regarding the genuineness of their documents forming the foundation of their claim, the land in their possession be retrieved. Managing Officer Headquarter may make an inquiry into the matter.

                        Announced.

                                                                                                                                                                                           Sd/-

Chandigarh, dated                                               (SHYAMA MANN)

The 21st December, 1999                                   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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