GOVERNMENT OF PUNJAB DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE & REHABILITATION(LEGAL POLICY BRANCH)
All Deputy Commissioner in the State
& Director Land Records, Punjab, Jalandhar.
Memo. No. 20/1/2001/PL-II/260-61
Chandigarh, dated the 10/1/2001.
Subject: - Administration of D.P.(C&R) Act. – disposal of pending claims/cases.
Although Rule 67-A of D.P. (C&R) Rule 1955 places a bar on registration of fresh claims for compensation in lieu of property left in Pakistan after 31st December 1963 groups of land brokers operating in different districts in complicity with some officials of the department have devised a number of corrupt practices to circumvent the law. Most of these cases come in the garb of partially satisfied claims, in some cases the claimants admit to having received the possession of the land but claim fresh allotment on grounds of subsequent cancellation, or voluntary abandonment leading to its occupation by or allotment to someone else.
2. Some communications were addressed to you earlier also to prepare an inventory of Government lands including Compensation Pool Property and to guard against Government land passing into private hands through fake allotment letters and conveyance deeds presented for registration. Some Deputy Commissioners have evinced interest in the subject and made inquiries as to how to detect and tackle cases of fraudulent and repeat allotments and to retrieve the Government property. In this connection set of some selected orders passed by F.C.R., Chief Settlement Commissioners and other functionaries under the D.P. (C&R) Act, is being sent alongwith this letter. These orders though illustrative in nature, reflect various facets of the problems generated by false and repeat claims pressed before different forums. Some of these orders are under challenge while others have attained finality. Even if some decisions are set aside or cases are remanded by Courts, these would have served a useful purpose in revealing the modus operandi adopted for preparing fraudulent claims.
3. As we all know, majority of the claims of the migrants had been settled by 1960 and thereafter the Central Government through successive Package Deals commencing 1961 transferred the balance evacuee pool lands, rural as well as urban, to the State Government for such disposal, as it deemed fit. Consequently the State Govt. enacted the Package Deal Properties (Disposal) Act, 1976 and also framed rules thereunder. As the said Act recognizes the rights of unauthorised occupants and the Punjab Village Common Lands Acts 1961 provides for management of certain types of “Mutruka” shamlat properties by the Panchayats, a large number of the claims got locked in multiparty (multiple) litigation. Rather it is this phenomenon of rival claims that led to detection of fraudulent allotments in a number of cases. Since fresh claims were not being entertained under DP(C&R) Act., new practices emerged. In some cases lands were allotted on the basis of forged Goshwaras/parchis circulating in the field. That some of these were duly forwarded from the Headquarters seemingly as a matter of routine shows the extent of complicity and collusion. In 1993 the department was forced to even register cases against its own staff. Yet in other cases unauthenticated and undated entries were detected even in the record lying at Jalandhar showing cancellation of previous allotments. In a large number of cases, allotments were made by Managing Officers on the basis of such entries. In other cases, repeat allotments were made in different villages against the same claim after manoeuvring loss or destruction of previous record or clandestine removal of allotment parchies. As graded cut was applied to quantify land, attempts to downgrade the classification in order to get larger area are also discernible in quite a large number of cases. In some cases in genuine allottees took possession of the land quickly but avoided entry in the revenue record and sought repeat allotment even by removing parchies and noting from the files. Fake Powers of Attorneys were prepared mostly in the name of dead persons or persons killed during Partition by members of different property dealer groups. In a number of cases organised gangs of land brokers have been found to be holding a number of Power of Attorneys for more than one claimant. At the same time, a number of people have been found holding. Power of Attorney simultaneously on behalf of a single claimant without cancellation of the previous attorneys. There are a number of instances where a General Power of Attorney has appointed another Power of Attorney who in turn has appointed a General Power of Attorney or a Special Power of Attorney, although such attorneys have no legal right to represent the allottees. Since fake allotments are procured for making quick money, in many cases, these properties were disposed of almost immediately. At times these sales were made to unsuspecting vendees, at others they were made to frontmen/relatives of the fake allottees, solely with a view to generate multiplicity of litigation and confuse the matter by involving more people.
4. Another practice commonly followed was to apply to the Rehabilitation Authorities at Jalandhar (later on Director Land Records) for a copy of the jamabandi from Pakistan in the name of any particular claimant who had common name with one of the ancestors of the applicant. Since some officials of the D.L.R were party to the deal, they would readily oblige with a copy and help the applicant in filing a bogus claim in the name of his/her ancestor. Confirmatory endorsement to the claim was provided through report by another official of D.L.R. made on the basis of “no entry” in register I-D, which was a record of allotments, made to displaced persons. We all are aware that register I-D, which was prepared by Directory Organisation after physical verification of the quasi-permanent allotments was not updated after 1961-62 and this became the root cause of repeat allotments against the same claim. A number of bogus claims filed belatedly owe their origin to gaps in I-D registers. Easy access to directory Organisation after the initial rush of claims had subsided and after claims ceased to be settled in gatherings of affected people contributed to a number of fresh claims being generated in a clandestine manner. In fact most of the claims, allegedly partially satisfied, were fabricated belatedly on the basis of copies of record obtained from Rehabilitation Office, Jalandhar in the names of deceased allottees who could not contradict.
5. Apart from cases founded on misrepresentation and concealment of facts, you will find that, some allotments were made by misinterpreting Acts, rules and Govt. instructions. Besides, in a number of cases, various types of rights over the land left in Pakistan were involved e.g. the mortgager did not pay mortgage money nor did he get the land redeemed before partition from the Muslim mortgages who remained in Pakistan or unauthorized occupants applied for land posing as refugees, lessees or sub lessees and in some cases malguzars staked claim to alternative allotment at par with mortgagees or lessees. Complicated issues of law arising out of complex mixture of various rights over the land were not resolved before making allotment in order to give undue benefit to some parties. The orders passed by Managing Officers in such cases are cryptic and reveal more than they conceal.
6. The enclosed set of orders is illustrative of the techniques adopted for procuring fraudulent allotments. The various modus operandi listed above came out quite predominantly in some of these cases. It is, therefore, hoped that the real life situations which have been reflected in these orders will assist you in making proper appreciation of the claims pending in the field and would guide you and your field officers in taking a comprehensive view of the issues associated with these allotments and enable you to also appreciate why more than 50 years after Partition the matter is being kept alive. It will be evident that the bulk of the claims were generated on account of the fact that the Deputy Commissioners were kept completely out of picture although they enjoy vast revisional powers under Section 24 of the D.P. (C&R) Act. Their role was just peripheral and they had virtually no hand in determining the genuineness of the claim, this marginalisation of the Deputy Commissioners’ led to lack of supervision. It would be noted the bulk of the correspondence was carried on between the M.O. headquarters and the MOs in the field.
7. The main purpose in circulating this compilation of orders is to apprise you of the tactics adopted by groups/individuals indulging in illegal deals concerning rehabilitation lands. It is due to collusion between land dealers and undesirable elements in the Govt. that rehabilitation claims are alive in full or partial form even 53 years after the Partition of the country. This includes claims relating to transfer of land to lessees and sub lessees under Rule 34-D of the D.P. (C&R) Rules 1955, most of these cases had availed land limit long ago worth Rs. 15000/-. Instances have come to light where the forefathers of such lessees/sub-lessees had availed of this offer, but taking advantage of non linking of old record requests for transfer of some other chunk of land has been made belatedly by the alleged successors. In certain cases old record has been tampered with to show the claimant as a lessee/sub-lessees without supporting papers and without reason for delay for the omission.
8. You may therefore carry out a detailed review of the cases pending with various functionaries of your districts under D.P. (C&R) Act and have these thoroughly scrutinized to detect bogus and duplicate claims and to expedite settlement of genuine claims. Under DP(C&R) Act., 1954 (Section 4) and D.P.(C&R) Rules 1955 (Rule 4 refers), the applicants were required to provide a very detailed information before their claims were processed. This format must be kept in view by the Tehsildars-cum-M.O. and other functionaries while verifying the genuineness of the claim and veracity of the claimants. As you know jurisdiction of civil courts is barred. Therefore the relevant provision of the Act must be brought into notice of the subordinate Courts whenever necessary. At the same time there may be some cases where the Hon’ble High Court has given certain directions regarding their disposal. You may have such cases examined thoroughly to expedite the decisions and ensure compliance of Court orders. There are other cases which are pending in the High court where replies have still not been filed. In a number of cases favourable orders have been procured by non-existing claimants/their attorneys for the simple reason that no reply was filed.
9.With this objective in view the following action is advised : -
i)A comprehensive list of pending cases under the Displaced Persons (C&R) Act., 1954 including those relating to allotment on the basis of lease/sub-lease and disputes relating to auction as also miscellaneous applications, ostensibly filed under the said Act, be got prepared within a period of one week.Government had earlier also asked for such lists to be prepared but it did not receive the necessary attention.Hence the urgency!
It is in the knowledge of Deputy Commissioners that Sales Clerks/Kanungos have been posted in all the districts as also in the Tehsil headquarters. Some of them have been on these seats for years. There is no reason why the information should not be maintained up-to-date and provided to you in much lesser period.
( Satish Chandra )
Special Secretary to Govt. Punjab,