In the Court of Sh.M.S.Banwait, PCS, Joint Secretary to Government, Punjab, Department of Revenue & Rehabilitation-cum-Settlement Commissioner, Punjab, Chandigarh.
Pritam Singh son of Dhanna Singh, Attorney of Harbhajan Singh son of Boota Singh through Prem Kaur, Legal heir of Dharam Singh son of Nand Singh, resident of 500/2, Model House, Jalandhar.
Tehsildar Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer, Revenue & Rehabilitation Department, Punjab, Chandigarh.
Present on the : Sh. Joginder Singh Bhatia, Advocate, counsel for the
date of arguments appellant.
Present on the date : None.
This is an appeal under Section 22 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 against the order dated 25.9.1997 of the Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer, Revenue & Rehabilitation Department, Punjab, Chandigarh vide which the application of the present appellant for allotment of land was rejected on the ground that he had already obtained possession of land in lieu of the land abandoned in Pakistan.
The record of the case of the Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer was summoned. On its receipt the case was fixed for arguments.
The brief history of the case is that Sh. Pritam Singh and Madan Mohan Singh sons of late Sh. Dhanna Singh, residents of 1443/12, Phase XI, S.A.S.Nagar, Mohali submitted an application dated 15.4.1996 that an area of 4 kanals and 10 marlas comprising khasra No.1107 Min Shumal was allotted in the name of Sh. Dharam Singh son of Nand Singh in village Kamalpur, Tehsil Sultanpur Lodhi, District Kapurthala in lieu of land abandoned by him in Pakistan and that the above said land was purchased by them through registered sale deed. As khasra No.1107 Min Shumal had since been allotted to some other person, alternative land may be allotted to both of them, in equal shares.
The above said application was considered by the Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer, Revenue & Rehabilitation Department, Punjab. The Managing Officer concluded that the applicants have not been able to produce evidence of cancellation of land allotted to them in lieu of land abandoned in Pakistan on the basis of which allotment of alternative land could be considered. In the absence of any solid evidence the application was filed by the Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer vide his order dated 22.7.1996.
Aggrieved by the above said order dated 22.7.1996 an appeal was filed in the name of Dharam Singh son of Nand Singh through Pritam Singh and Madan Mohan Singh claiming themselves to be the sole legal heirs of the deceased allottee. It was also averred that the possession of the land was obtained by them, however the allotment has been cancelled and disposed of at the spot. Further that there was no order of cancellation of allotment in the Rehabilitation Department.
The Settlement Commissioner found that the Managing Officer had not applied his mind and had not gone through the record. The appeal was accepted and the order dated 22.7.1996 of the Managing Officer was set aside and case remanded to Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer with the direction that the allottees be provided alternative land in Tehsil Sultanpur Lodhi in case the original allotted land was not available for restoration after going through the entire record, vide order dated 23.12.1996.
In pursuance of the order dated 23.12.1996, the case was again heard by the Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer and record verified. On production of copy of Rapat Roznamcha Wakiati dated 14.12.1984 by Sh. Pritam Singh, the Managing Officer found that the appellant had obtained possession of the land allotted to him in lieu of land abandoned in Pakistan through the Court, therefore, his application was rejected, vide order dated 25.9.1997.
Again aggrieved by the above said order dated 25.9.1997, the present appeal has been filed.
I have heard the arguments of the counsel for the appellant, who had earlier submitted written argument before my predecessor. The written arguments were reiterated and it has been argued that Sh. Dharam Singh (deceased) was allotted land measuring 4 kanals 10 marlas in village Kamalpur vide allotment order No.591. The possession of the allotted land was obtained by the allottee Dharam Singh at the time of general allotments and permanent rights conferred on 28.8.1956. Dharam Singh son of Nand Singh died bachelor and issueless. Sh. Harbhajan Singh son of Sh. Boota Singh who was real nephew of Dharam Singh deceased stepped into his shoes being the sole legal heir inheriting the land allotted to Dharam Singh. The land has been cancelled without any valid order of any competent authority. No kurah was formed in the name of Dharam Singh son of Nand Singh. The appellant as attorney of Harbhajan Singh (legal heir of Dharam Singh) applied for alternative land which has been declined by the Managing Officer by ignoring the directions given by the Settlement Commissioner vide order dated 23.12.1996. The counsel has vehemently maintained that the Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer has declined the allotment of alternative land on the ground that the appellant had taken the possession of land in village Kamalpur through the court though the possession obtained through the court relates to some other land belonging to Malawa Singh. Thus the Managing Officer has not gone into the merits of the case, therefore, the order dated 25.9.1997 of the Managing Officer be set aside and appellant be allotted land to the extent on 0-6 units.
I have considered the arguments of the counsel for the appellant and have carefully gone through the records on file. The whole of the case of the appellant is that Dharam Singh son of Sh. Nand Singh was allotted land in village Kamalpur in lieu of land abandoned by him in Pakistan and he had taken possession of that land. That thereafter the land was allotted to some other person therefore, he be allotted alternative land.
The record of the office of the Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer, Revenue & Rehabilitation Department reveals that an application dated 15.4.1996 was filed by Sh. Pritam Singh and Madan Mohan Singh sons of late Sh. Dhanna Singh residents of 1443/12, Phase XI, S.A.S.Nagar Mohali in which they had stated that they had purchased land measuring 4 kanals 10 marlas comprising khasra No.1107 Min Shumal in village Kamalpur, Tehsil Sultanpur Lodhi, District Kapurthala from Sh. Dharam Singh through a registered sale deed which he had been allotted in lieu of the land abandoned by him in Pakistan. They had further stated that the said land has been allotted to some other person therefore they be allotted alternative land. Though it was stated in the application that a copy of registered sale deed has been enclosed to this application but it is not on record. Neither the date of purchase of land has been mentioned in the application nor the date of alleged cancellation of allotment in the name of Dharam Singh has been mentioned. In any case it was for them to verify the ownership of land of Dharam Singh at the time of purchasing the said land. Therefore, there can be no case of allotment of alternative land to them by the Department of Rehabilitation. Besides this, no order of cancellation of allotment of land in the name of Sh. Dharam Singh has been placed on record as a consequence of which alternative allotment of land is being asked for. In the absence of such an order obviously there was no occasion even for making a request for alternative allotment of land. When their request was declined by the Tehsildar Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer vide his order dated 22.7.1996 on the ground that no cancellation order of allotment to Sh. Dharam Singh was available, they filed an appeal before the Settlement Commissioner stating that they were sole legal heir(s) of Dharam Singh son of Nand Singh and they had obtained possession of the land and the allotment has been cancelled and the land has been disposed of at the spot. It is somewhat interesting to point out here that in the initial application dated 15.4.1996 before Tehsildar Rehabilitation-cum-Managing Officer they had stated that they had purchased the land from Sh. Dharam Singh through a registered sale deed but in the aforesaid appeal filed on 1.10.1996 they have come out with entirely different version that they were legal heirs of Sh. Dharam Singh and because of the cancellation of allotment of land of Dharam Singh, they be allotted alternative land. The order of cancellation of allotment of land to Dharam Singh was still not produced.
After the case was remanded by the Settlement Commissioner, Punjab vide orders dated 23.12.1996 to the Tehsildar, Boundary Cell-cum-Managing Officer which was followed by rejection of their application by the Managing Officer vide his order dated 25.9.1997 the present appeal has been filed only by Sh.Pritam Singh son of Dhanna Singh and that too as attorney of Harbhajan Singh son of Buta Singh through Prem Kaur resident of 500/2, Model House, Jalandhar. No mention has been made of Sh. Madan Mohan Singh who had earlier requested for equal share of the land in question. Another aspect to be noted is that in the initial application dated 15.4.1996 before the Managing Officer Sh. Pritam Singh had stated that he had purchased the land from Sh. Dharam Singh and in the next appeal before the Settlement Commissioner stated that he was the sole legal heir and in the present appeal has approached this court as attorney of Smt. Prem Kaur claiming to be the general power of attorney of Harbhajan Singh who is stated to be real nephew of Dharam Singh. Interestingly, no valid document has been placed on the record as to how the inheritance of Dharam Singh has devolved upon Sh. Harbhajan Singh on whose power of attorney to the appellant-Pritam Singh. Only a plain paper which does not even bear signatures of any individual or authority has been attached in the file to show that Sh. Harbhajan Singh is descendant of Sh. Buta Singh who is descendant of Sh. Nand Singh. There are four other descendants of Sh. Nand Singh mentioned on that plain paper. In any case no reliance can be placed on this paper as it does not deserve any credence. Equally note worthy is an other aspect that the present appeal has been filed on the strength of photo copy of general power of attorney of Sh. Harbhajan Singh son of Sh. Buta Singh son of Sh. Nand Singh of village Kamalpur, Tehsil Sultanpur Lodhi, District Kapurthala. Without going to the validity of this power of attorney, it would be noted that the said power of attorney was given to Prem Kaur wife of Pritam Singh for special khasra numbers. But khasra number 1107, in lieu of which alternative land is being prayed, has not been mentioned in this power of attorney. Still further even if it is assumed, for argument sake, that this power of attorney also takes care of khasra number 1107 Shumal of village Kamalpur even then there is no order passed by any competent authority available on the file showing that the land in question had actually passed over to Sh. Harbhajan Singh through inheritance, as claimed. An opportunity was given to the appellant to show the locus standi of Sh. Harbhajan Singh in the present case but no document has been produced to show the ownership of the land in question to be that of Sh. Harbhajan Singh. Mere mention of Harbhajan Singh as nephew of Dharam Singh does not vest any right on the appellant to pursue the claim. Consequently, the power of attorney given by Harbhajan Singh to Prem Kaur and by Prem Kaur to Pritam Singh is of no value to the present case. On account of absence of locus standi of Harbhajan Singh this appeal is not even maintainable. Still further, cancellation of allotment of land of Dharam Singh is only a presumption. Only absence of the name of Dharam Singh from the index of Missal Haquiat of the year 1962-63 of village Kamalpur is being projected to partake the character of an order of cancellation which plea by no stretch of imagination is tenable. The long gap of 40 years from the issue of sanad i.e. 28.8.1956 to date of application for alternative land i.e. 15.4.1996 has not been explained. In these circumstances, the parties cannot be expected to take up such like belated claims. Thus the present claim is seriously afflicted malady of laches. Besides this, the date of death of Sh. Dharam Singh has also not been proved nor other legal heirs on that particular date have been impleaded.
12.The appellants have otherwise also maintained throughout that the possession of the land allotted to Dharam Singh in lieu of land abandoned by him in Pakistan was obtained by the allottee. The claim for alternative allotment falls even on this solitary ground because the claim of Dharam Singh stood satisfied on taking over possession of the land in question. The abandonment of possession has not been explained and atleast is not attributed to State action in specific terms. If the name of Dharam Singh did not figure after the consolidation of holdings, which is stated to have been completed in the year 1962-63, the remedy lay with the Department of Consolidation of Holdings and not under Section 22 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954.
13.The sequence of events as have been narrated above unmistakably show that there was absolutely no basis for setting up the claim for allotment of land by the appellant and his conduct as demonstrated in it borders on an attempt to cheat the State Government for grabbing land in an undeserved manner. The shifting stand taken by the appellant at different stages manifestly shows that he was determined to get the land by adopting any means.
14.Taking into consideration the cumulative effect of facts and circumstances as are apparent on the face of the record, I am of the firm view that there is no merit in the appeal and it deserves to be dismissed and I order accordingly.
Announced in the open court.
Chandigarh, dated Settlement Commissioner, Punjab,
the 4th May, 2000. Chandigarh.