IN THE COURT OF MRS. SHYAMA MANN,IAS, FINANCIAL COMMISSIONER REVENUE, PUNJAB, CHANDIGARH.
M.R.No. 2 of 1997-98
Gram Panchayat, Seota Tehsil and District Nawanshehr through Sarpanch.
Gram Panchayat, Seota has filed this petition u/s 33 of the Displaced Persons (C & R) Act, 1954 to challenge the order dated 31.3.97 passed by the Chief Settlement Commissioner, Nawanshehr, whereby he accepted the revision petition against the order dated 19.7.96 of the Settlement Commissioner and remanded the case to the Managing Officer for ascertaining whether the disputed land is an evacuee land and re-assess the value of the disputed land if it was allotable.
2. Briefly stated the facts of the case are that Tehsildar(S)-cum-Managing Officer, Nawanshehar vide his order dated 1.8.95 allotted 22K-6M of land in the revenue estate of Seota, H.B.No.228 Tehsil Nawanshehar to Guranditta as legal heir of Daulat son of Nihala through his (Guranditta’s ) General Attorney Amarjit Singh son of Arjan Singh of Ludhiana on the basis of Parcha claim and Farist Baqaya Raqba. Since the aforesaid land which was allotted to Guranditta had been recorded as ‘Banjar Qadim’ in the revenue record, its valuation was taken as 4 Annas. As per entries in the revenue record, the land belonged to “Shamlat Patti Gulam Hussain” and, therefore, the Tehsildar(S)-cum-Managing Officer treated it as evacuee property and made its allotment to the land claim holder. Aggrieved by the order of the Tehsildar(S)-cum-Managing Officer, the Gram Panchayat Seota filed appeal before the S.D.O.(C)-cum-Settlement Commissioner, Nawanshehar on various points. The S.D.O.(C )-cum-Settlement Commissioner, Nawanshehar accepted the appeal of the Gram Panchayat vide his order dated 19.7.96 and set aside the allotment order dated 1.8.95 of Tehsildar(S)-cum-Managing Officer, Nawanshehar and remanded the case to him for fresh decision after inquiring into the following points:-
3. The S.D.O.(C )-cum-Settlement Commissioner further mentioned in his order dated 19.7.96 that the area allotted by the Tehsildar (S)-cum-Managing Officer to Guranditta was not clearly established on the record to be evacuee property and allegedly the same being in possession of the Gram Panchayat it was required to be inquired into thoroughly as to whether the said area was evacuee property or Panchayat deh land.
4. Two separate revision petitions were filed by Guranditta on the one hand, and Sewa Singh son of Tarlok Singh on the other (who is vendee from Guranditta through his General Attorney Amarjit Singh) to assail the order dated 19.7.96 of the S.D.O.(C )-cum-Settlement Commissioner. While accepting the revision petitions vide impugned order dated 21.3.97 the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner modified the order of the S.D.O.(C )-cum-Settlement Commissioner, Nawanshehar and remanded the case to the Tehsildar(S) for ascertaining whether the disputed land is an evacuee property and in case it was found to be allotable, then he should re-assess the value of the disputed land. He found that the other points raised by Settlement Commissioner did not require any further probe. The present petition has been filed by the Gram Panchayat, Seota against the order dated 21.3.97 of the Chief Settlement Commissioner, Nawanshahr.
5. The petitioner has asserted that the land in dispute which was allotted to Guranditta as an evacuee property is Shamlat land vested in the Gram Panchayat and it was never found part of the compensation pool. Therefore, the land being not evacuee property could not be allotted in lieu of the land alleged to have been abandoned in Pakistan. As regards the observation of the Chief Settlement Commissioner to the effect that the genuineness of the Power of Attorney of Amarjit Singh having not been challenged even in the High Court, and the S.D.O.(C )-cum-Settlement Commissioner being not justified in directing a probe into the genuineness of the General Power of Attorney of Amarjit Singh, the petitioner has contended that there is no such person in the name of Guranditta in the village. It has further been asserted that Guranditta is a bogus person and Amarjit Singh who is a known claims purchaser never produced Guranditta at the time of allotment of the land, though it was obligatory for the original allottee to appear in person before the Tehsildar(S)-cum-Managing Officer at the time of allotment of land. Even the ‘Parchi’ allotment was issued through Amarjit Singh and the presence of Guranditta is nowhere visible. The name of Amarjit Singh figured on the ‘Parchi’ itself as an attorney of Guranditta.
6. I have carefully gone through the record and have heard the arguments of the learned counsel for the parties. At the outset it deserves to be pointedly noticed that during the course of proceedings of this revision petition all out serious efforts were initially made for the service of Guranditta and Amarjit Singh. When efforts to serve them through ordinary process became unfruitful, a notice was published in daily ‘Ajit’ in the issue dated 13.12.99. In response to this notice Amarjit Singh, General Power of Attorney of Guranditta appeared whereas Guranditta did not put in his personal appearance. Vide my order dated 1.2.2000 Amarjit Singh was directed to produce Guranditta and original Power of Attorney on next date of hearing i.e. 29.2.2000. But instead of complying with this order on the subsequent dates to which the case was adjourned even Amarjit Singh also disappeared from the proceedings whereas Guranditta did not appear at all. Since neither Amarjit Singh was himself appearing nor had he bothered to produce Guranditta or the General Power of Attorney in his favour, Sewa Singh, respondent No.2 who is vendee of the disputed land through Amarjit Singh General Attorney of Guranditta was asked vide my order dated 14.11.2000 to indicate the whereabouts of Guranditta but he stated that he had never seen Guranditta and had purchased the land only from Amarjit Singh as General Attorney of Guranditta. He did not know if Guranditta was alive or dead. Thus it was not clear if Guranditta was alive even at the time of sale of land by Amarjit Singh to Sewa Singh which had direct bearing on the validity or otherwise of Power of Attorney of Guranditta set up by Amarjit Singh in his favour. Therefore, the case was adjourned to 9.1.2001 with the direction to Sewa Singh to furnish information regarding Guranditta. He was directed to produce his death certificate in case he was dead, alongwith the original Power of Attorney in favour of Amarjit Singh from Guranditta. Sh. Sewa Singh did not bother to comply with these orders and to supply the required information and documents.
7. It is noticed from the record that originally the land was allotted to Daulat son of Nihalu on account of his having abandoned land in Pakistan. In the Parchi allotment Guranditta was reflected as legal heir of Daulat. Even the original allotment was obtained by none else than Amarjit Singh as General Attorney of Guranditta. It follows that Amarjit Singh is frontman (with no trace of Guranditta) for pursuing the case for allotment of land alleged to have been abandoned by Daulat in Pakistan. It is evident that the Chief Settlement Commissioner has erroneously placed unmerited reliance upon the judgement of the Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana in C.W.P.No.5613 of 1983
decided on 31.12.1991, in coming to the conclusion that since the genuineness of the Power of Attorney of Amarjit Singh having been recognized in the High Court, the S.D.O.(C )-cum-Settlement Commissioner, Nawanshahr was not justified in expressing his suspicion regarding the same. This conclusion is fallaciously unwarranted. In fact the question regarding the genuineness or otherwise of the Power of Attorney of Amarjit Singh neither was raised nor fell for determination by the Hon’ble High Court. It is evident that Amarjit Singh intentionally avoided service of notices sent through ordinary process. However, when he appeared in these proceedings only after publication of a notice in daily ‘Ajit’, he was directed to produce Guranditta in the Court alongwith the General Power of Attorney alleged to have been executed in his favour. But instead of complying with the orders of this Court he chose to flee from the proceedings. Thereafter, at no stage of time had he put in his appearance in this court again. The inescapable adverse inference arising out of this abnormal conduct of Amarjit Singh is that he was shy of facing the proceedings as he did not hold Power of Attorney of Guranditta and being a known lands claims purchaser he had illegally sold the land in dispute to Sewa Singh without any Power of Attorney in his favour from the real Guranditta in active connivance of the concerned Rehabilitation functionaries.
8. There is yet another malady to incurably afflict to the sale made by Amarjit Singh in favour of Sewa Singh. The land was allotted in favour of Daulat son of Nihalu. Guranditta who was projected to have succeeded Daulat as his son, did not at any stage of time obtain mutation in his favour as successor-in-interest of Daulat. In accordance with the prescribed procedure the mutation to the property of Daulat should have been entered and sanctioned in favour of Guranditta after due verification. When the mutation of the land in dispute had never been made in favour of Guranditta, the same could not be sold by Amarjit Singh to Sewa Singh as General Power of Attorney of Guranditta because Guranditta had no title or interest in the disputed land. In the absence of mutation in the name of Guranditta, the mutation in the name of Sewa Singh could not be entered and sanctioned as transferee from Guranditta through his so-called Attorney Amarjit Singh. Even at the time of allotment Guranditta never appeared before the Tehsildar-cum-Managing Officer. The Managing Officer never bothered to assure himself regarding the validity and genuineness of the Power of Attorney alleged to have been presented by Amarjit Singh, purporting to have been executed by Guranditta which was not produced in this Court. No effort was made to ascertain if Guranditta was dead or alive when the claim regarding allotment of land was set up by Amarjit Singh as the General Attorney of Guranditta. The undated affidavit purporting to have been sworn by Amarjit Singh which is available at page 157 of allotment file of Managing Officer, Nawanshahr declares that Daulat was still alive. If it is so, Guranditta was absolutely unauthorized to get the allotment of the land as legal heir of Daulat during his life time, nor could Guranditta authorize Amarjit Singh through a Power of Attorney to do any act pertaining to the land which should have been allotted to Daulat and not to Guranditta. Quit evidently, Amarjit Singh being a known claim purchaser had masterminded the entire exercise of illegal allotment as General Attorney of Guranditta.
9. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the claim set up by Amarjit Singh as General Attorney of Guranditta was bogus and being a known lands claims purchaser he manipulated the allotment with active connivance of the Tehsildar-cum-Managing Officer who was stationed at Nawanshahr on 1.8.95 and sold it soon after. It follows that Sewa Singh could not be said to be a bonafide purchaser commanding protection of Section 41 of the Transfer of Properties Act with any stretch of imagination as it was his statutory obligation to satisfy himself regarding the genuineness of the allotment of the disputed land in favour of Guranditta before entering into the transaction of sale with Amarjit Singh. It was also obligatory for him to satisfy himself regarding the existence, genuineness and validity of the Power of Attorney of Guranditta alleged to have been executed in favour of Amarjit Singh through whom he had purchased the land which had been illegally allotted in the name of Guranditta.
10. In the light of my above discussion the impugned order of the Chief Settlement Commissioner is set aside. The allotment made in this case being bogus the same is cancelled. In the event of possession being with Sewa Singh, the land in dispute is ordered to be retrieved and restored to the Gram Panchayat, Seota.
11. It is further noticed from the record that the same very Amarjit Singh, acting as General Attorney of Guranditta had obtained allotment of 36K-6M of land in village Shamajpur H.B.No.255 Tehsil Nawanshahr in satisfaction of the claim of Daulat son of Nihalu on the same day, i.e., 1.8.95 on which the allotment in village Seota had been obtained. It is possible that Amarjit Singh might have obtained some more allotments on behalf of Guranditta. The Managing Officer, Nawanshahr is directed to cancel all such allotments after giving appropriate notice to those who may be adversely affected consequent upon such cancellation of allotments.
12. The concerned officials who had committed serious illegalities in the allotment of land in satisfaction of the claim of Daulat son of Nihalu without proper investigation and verification deserve to be severely dealt with. Action be taken accordingly. The Registering Authority who had registered the sale deed in favour of Sewa Singh also cannot escape responsibility for departmental proceedings for dereliction of duty. The Tehsildar who had sanctioned the mutation also falls in the same category of officers who are guilty of misfeasance of their official duty. A copy of this order be sent to Secretary Revenue by Under Secretary-cum-Registrar for taking necessary action against the aforesaid officers. Secretary Revenue may then send a copy of the same to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Nawanshahr so that he is personally apprised of the position and can effectively ensure compliance of these orders.
To be communicated.
Chandigarh, dated (SHYAMA MANN)
the 24th July, 2001 Financial Commissioner Revenue,