This is a petition under Section 33 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 against the order dated 13.5.1991 passed by Chief Settlement Commissioner, Punjab, Chandigarh.
2.The brief but complex facts of the case are that Sh.Harnam Singh son of Mula (fathter of the petitioner) was allotted 10SA 7-1/2 units of evacuee land in village Khichian, Tehsil and District Gurdaspur in lieu of the land abandoned by him in Pakistan. One Sh.Harnam Singh son of Ralla Ram made a complaint on 12.8.54 to the then Rehabilitation Minister alleging therein that Sh. Harnam Singh son of Mula had received excess allotment in village Khichian against his claim, which be cancelled and the area so retrieved be allotted to them to complete their entitlement as legal heirs of Rala Ram. On the basis of this complaint, the land account of Harnam Singh son of Mula (father of the petitioner) was re-checked and it was detected that due to wrong preparation of ‘Chhant’ and non-exclusion of share of occupancy tenants he was given excess allotment to the tune of 3SA 7-3/4 units which was cancelled by the then D.L.R.-cum-Deputy Custodian vide his order dated 23.3.55.
3.After this order Harnam Singh son of Mula tried to retain this excess allotment by adopting two ways: one by going in appeal and revision against the cancellation of the excess land, and the second by seeking allotment of the same land in the name of one Gandu son of Jawala who owned land in village Matta Hari, Tehsil Pasraur, district Sialkot. Harnam Singh s/o Mula requested that the excess area withdrawn from his allotment may be allotted in the name of Gandu who, he alleged, was an unsatisfied claimant. He also claimed himself to be the sole legal heir of Gandu.
4.It is pertinent to note here that Harnam Singh son of Mula made a request for allotment of share of Gandu to the authorities for the first time in the year 1955. His plea was that Gandu son of Jawala held land in village Khan Hari and Matta Hari, Tehsil Pasraur, district Sialkot (Pakistan). He was reported to be missing and unheard of for several years before partition of the country; mutation no.479 had been entered by the Patwari in respect of the land owned by him in village Matta Hari (Akhraj Gumshudgi) in favour of Harnam Singh son of Mula and Kartar Singh son of Sunder in equal shares. This mutation remained pending and could not be sanctioned before the Partition, as was evident from the un-attested copy of the mutation appended with the special jamabandi of village Matta Hari received from Pakistan. He further alleged that in lieu of land owned by him in village Khan Hari, Gandu son of Jawala was provided 3-9-3/4 SA of land in village Chander Bhan, Tehsil and district Gurdaspur under reserved category at the time of general allotment and this area being in possession of the legal heirs the claim was undisputed.
5.It was directed in the letter dated 2.5.55 of the then Deputy Custodian that out of the cancelled area (3-7-3/4 SA), area measuring 2-14-1/4SA should be allotted to the complainant (first informer) i.e. Harnam Singh s/o Ralla Ram if he so desired. Pursuantly, Harnam Singh son of Ralla Ram informer was heard on 7.5.55 and he gave his option for the allotment of the area (2-14-1/2 SA) out of the area proposed to be cancelled from the allotment of Harnam Singh s/o Mula. Originally, the entitlement of Gandu s/o Jawala was reckoned as 1.3 SA and the said Harnam Singh s/o Mula was to succeed the estate of Gandu in equal share with Kartar Singh as per mutation No.479. Harnam Singh s/o Mula was allowed to get 9-1/2 units, (i.e. one half of 1.3 SA ) allotted in the name of Gandu, out of the area to be cancelled from his allotment. The balance area of 2SA 14-1/4 units was to be allotted to the informer. There was no mention of Kartar Singh’s half share of 9-1/2 units. This proposal was approved by the then D.L.R. vide his order dated 15.5.55.
6.Separately, Harnam Singh s/o Mula had filed a revision petition before the Additional Custodian, Punjab, Jalandhar against the cancellation of excess allotment. The revision petition was dismissed by the Additional Custodian vide his order dated 4.11.55 being time-barred. It was, however, directed that the order dated 2.5.55 of the Deputy Custodian General should be implemented at an early date. Accordingly, 9-1/2 units area was allotted in the name of Gandu s/o Jawala whereas the balance was allotted in the name of Ralla Ram s/o Atra in village Khichian, Tehsil and district Gurdaspur, by the then A.R.-cum-M.O. vide his order dated 8.6.56.
On a separate file on 29.5.56, a duplicate Goshwara was manipulated by Harnam Singh s/o Mula in name of Gandu s/o Jawala for an area of 3SA 11-1/4 units. This was got done on the basis of an office note.
7.Thereafter, on 18.6.56 the then A.R.-cum-M.O. Jalandhar sought clarification from Deputy Registrar –cum- Deputy Custodian regarding the manner in which the order regarding allotment was to be implemented. The latter by his order dated 20.6.56 observed that the earlier order of the Deputy Registrar, Land Claims, dated 2.5.55, which was very clear should be implemented. This time, the entire area to the tune of 3SA 7-3/4 units which was cancelled from the allotment of Harnam Singh s/o Mula was allotted in the name of Gandu s/o Jawala, by the then Assistant Registrar-cum-M.O. vide his order dated 22.6.56, thereby resulting in cancellation of area of Harnam Singh s/o Ralla Ram. Although in this file also the eligibility of Gandu s/o Jawala was reckoned at 3SA 11-1/4 unit, the factum regarding preparation of duplicate Goshwara on 29.5.56 did not find any mention. This action of the A.R.-cum-M.O. gave a cause of grievance to the complainant-cum-informer, Harnam Singh son of Ralla Ram, as he had been deprived of his allotment. He challenged the same in appeal under Section 22 of the DP(C&R)Act, 1954, before the Settlement Commissioner. The appeal was accepted by the Additional Settlement Commissioner vide his order dated 5.10.56 and the original position was restored, meaning thereby that allotment to the tune of 9-1/2 units alone was allowed to remain intact in the name of Gandu s/o Jawala, while the balance area was to go to the complainant-appellant. The following portion of his order deserves pointed mention:-
“Harnam Singh s/o Ralla Ram was given an allotment for 2SA-14-1/2 units leaving 9-1/2 units with Harnam Singh s/o Mula Singh on behalf of Gandu on 8.6.56. On 11.6.56 i.e. only 3 days after the allotment had been made in the name of Gandu, it was reported by the office that Gandu was actually entitled to an allotment of 3SA 11-1/4 units instead of 1.3 SA half of which (9-1/2 units) had already been allotted to him. On 18.6.56 i.e. only 10 days after the allotment had been duly given to Harnam Singh son of Ralla Ram, the Deputy Registrar, Land Claims-cum-Settlement Officer directed vide his order dated 20.6.56 that Deputy Custodian’s order dated 2.5.56 should be implemented. The order was not very clear but on implementation thereof the area cancelled from Harnam Singh s/o Mulla Singh’s name was allotted in the name of Gandu which area was actually to be taken by Harnam Singh s/o Mulla Singh as latter’s legal heir. Harnam Singh s/o Ralla Ram complainant has filed this appeal against the said order.
I have gone through the record. It is very unfortunate that inspite of the fact that the complainant (appellant) had succeeded in detecting excess allotment made in the name of the respondent, he was not given the full benefit thereof as it should have been done according to the departmental instructions but was inflicted with various contradictory orders passed from to time and was ultimately deprived of the fruits of his labour altogether. In the first instance when the complaint filed by Harnam Singh son of Ralla Ram was found to be correct and area of 3SA-7-1/2 units was deducted from Harnam Singh son of Mula Singh’s allotment and the same was ordered to be allotted to the complainant by the Deputy Custodian on 23.3.55, his subsequent order dated 2.5.55 (again giving 9-1/2 units to Harnam Singh son of Mula Singh and 2SA 14-1/2 units to the complainant) was not only improper but incorrect legally also because as Deputy Custodian he was not competent to review his orders. Anyhow, as the Additional Custodian had also held in his order dated 4.11.55 that Deputy Custodian’s order dated 2.5.56 should be implemented, there should have been end of it and no further deduction should have been made from complainant’s allotment. The later action of the settlement authorities in allotting the entire area released from Harnam Singh to Gandu (in fact to Harnam Singh son of Mula Singh) and depriving the complainant of the whole area was highly unfair and improper.”
8.Dissatisfied with this order Harnam Singh s/o Mula went in appeal before Custodian General, Government of India, New Delhi against the order dated 5.10.56 of the Additional Settlement Commissioner. He appeared before the Tehsildar-cum-M.O., Gurdaspur on 11.1.57 and stated before him that he had filed an appeal before the higher authorities and pending decision of the same, he may not be allotted any area in any other village as a legal heir of Gandu s/o Jawala.
The Tehsildar, Gurdaspur, accordingly returned the allotment case to the Deputy Registrar, Land Claims, Jalandhar vide his endorsement no.126, dated 16.1.57. However, the appeal filed by Harnam Singh s/o Mula against the order dated 5.10.56 of the Additional Settlement Commissioner, under the provisions of the Displaced Persons (C&R)Act, 1954, was returned to the appellant, Harnam Singh s/o Mula, on 26.2.57 with the observation that it did not lie before him as he was functioning under Section 27 of the Administration of Evacuee Property Act, 1950 and it should be presented before the competent authority. A copy of the said order dated 26.2.57 alongwith the allotment case of Gandu s/o Jawala was forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, vide endorsement No.172/Cust.General dated 29.3.57. Then, Harnam Singh s/o Mula again appeared before the Managing Officer Gurdaspur on 12.7.57 and stated that he was interested to get the area due to Gandu allotted in village Khichian for which purpose he had filed an appeal. He undertook to inform the M.O. about the decision of his appeal and stated that he would give his option if he was to be accommodated in any other village because at that time no area was available for allotment in village Khichian. This statement was duly thumb marked by Harnam Singh s/o Mula. The case was accordingly kept pending as desired by the allottee.
9.Thereafter, Harnam Singh remained dormant for a period of 24 years and it was only on 25.5.81 that his son Swaran Singh awoke from his unconscionably long drawn out slumber and sought allotment of balance area on the ground that his case for alternative allotment had not been finalized, and had instead been consigned to the Record Room vide No.119 dated 11.1.65. This application was processed by the then A.R.-cum-M.O., who observed that the legal heirs of Gandu s/o Jawala had been pursuing the matter until 1965, when the case was consigned without providing additional allotment to them. He thus held them entitled for an additional area measuring 3SA 1-3/4 units of land in Tehsil Gurdaspur vide his order dated 29.3.1982. On 4.9.1990 a suo motu reference was made by the Superintendent Legal, Rehabilitation Department, Punjab, Chandigarh under Section 24 of the Displaced Persons (C&R)Act, 1954, in which the time barred nature of the claim was pointed out. This suo motu reference was accepted on 13.5.91. Hence the present petition.
10.I have gone through the record placed on the file. It stands proved that Harnam Singh s/o Mula had not submitted any claim for allotment of land to Gandu s/o Jawala upto the year 1955. In 1955, after Harnam Singh’s own allotment to the tune of 3SA-7-3/4 units was cancelled being in excess, he staked his claim for allotment as an heir of Gandu son of Jawala. His claim was based on an unattested mutation of “Akhrajnama Gumshudgi” of Gandu s/o Jawala found in the copy of jamabandi of village Matta Hari, Tehsil Pasraur, district Sialkot received from Pakistan, which was shown as entered in favour of Harnam Singh s/o Jawala and Kartar Singh s/o Inder in equal shares. There is no mention of any corresponding mutation having been found in the jamabandi of village Khan Hari received from Pakistan. Originally, in 1955 the entitlement of Gandu s/o Jawala in Matta Heri was reckoned as 1SA 3 units out of which share of Harnam Singh son of Mula was determined as 9-1/2 units only (as he and Kartar Singh son of Sunder were to share this area equally as per unattested mutation no.479). The remaining land was ordered to be allotted to the complainant/informer. Wishing to retain the entire land, Harnam Singh son of Mula filed a revision petition, which was dismissed on 4.11.1955 as being time barred. On 11.6.56, however, Harnam Singh son of Mula managed to get a report by office that Gandu was actually entitled to allotment of 3-11-1/4 units instead of 1-3 SAs.
11.The entire sequence of events brought out in the above paras show that the sole purpose of various appeals and revisions preferred by Harnam Singh s/o Mula was to retain the excess allotment cancelled from his name on 23.3.55. This, he managed by seeking allotment in the name of Gandu s/o Jawala in relation to land left by him in village Matta Hari, Tehsil Pasrur, district Sialkot and also filing repeated appeals against his own cancellation. Evidently obsessed by aggrandizement, he systematically rather fraudulently, went on inflating his claim till it encompassed not only the entire cancelled area but also exceeded it. Surprisingly, there was no mention of any unattested mutation of “Akhraj Gumshudgi” in respect of village Khan Hari – [it is stated by the petitioner that land allotted in the name of Gandu son of Jawala in village Chander Bhan, Tehsil Gurdaspur in lieu of land in village Khan Hari stands disposed of since!]
12.As to the inordinately long delay of 24 years between the time when Harnam Singh son of Mula made a request in 1957 for keeping his case pending, and his son appearing in 1981 to stake his claim on the basis of that request, no reasons could be given by the petitioner. In the petition u/s 33, Swaran Singh has stated that Gandu was not heard of for many years before Partition of the country, whereas the affidavit dated 25.7.99 submitted before this court states that Gandu son of Jawala had died during the riots in 1947. If this be so, the entry of mutation (though unattested) in the name of Harnam Singh s/o Mula and Kartar Singh s/o Inder Singh in a jamabandi received from Pakistan goes unexplained and eludes reconciliation. This glaring contradiction raises doubts regarding the genuineness of the claim of the petitioner. Again, Swaran Singh has repeatedly been giving the impression that first his father Harnam Singh s/o Mula, and now he, (Swaran Singh) is the sole surviving claimant to the inheritance of Gandu. When he was directed by the undersigned to give information regarding the surviving natural heirs of Gandu and the date of death of those who had since died, he has come out with a vague affidavit sworn on 25.10..99 which justifies an inference that Kartar Singh s/o Sunder Singh with whom he had claimed equal share vide alleged mutation no.479 is alive. It is mentioned in this affidavit that Kartar Singh had relinquished his share in favour of the deponent since long by accepting cash consideration for his share. As per the same affidavit dated 25.10.99 the petitioner has furnished the pedigree table depicting the relationship of Gandu, Kartar Singh and Harnam Singh as under:-
! ! !
(Died issueless) ! !
Kartar Singh Harnam Singh
No dates of death have been given.
As per pedigree table prepared on the mutation no.678 of inheritance of Gandu in village Chander Bhan, tehsil Gurdaspur, the relationship of the three is as under:-
! ! !
Lehna Jawala Sunder
Malla Gandu !
! Kartar Singh Kartar Kaur
Harnam Kaur Harnam Singh
Thus, in the pedigree table given by the petitioner, Harnam Singh and Kartar Singh are reflected as grandsons respectively of Gandu’s brothers, namely Lehna Singh and Malla Singh. But in the mutation of inheritance of Chander Bhan, Gandu has been shown as uncle of Harnam Singh but cousin of Kartar Singh. Interestingly, the pedigree table attached with the unattested mutation of village Matta Hari H.B. No.208, tehsil Pasrur, district Sialkot to which the claim relates is as under:-
! ! !
! ! !
Gandu Sunder Moola
Kartar Singh Harnam Singh
Thus in the fact of this hazy and blurred spectacle Swaran Singh has driven himself to limbo and has not been able to establish beyond doubt that he is an heir of Gandu and a sole surviving one at that. Such sort of fragile evidence cannot form the foundation for a claim of property.
13.On the contrary, a look at the old records shows that originally a parcha claim No.53 relating to allotment of land to Gandu s/o Jawala was issued in lieu of his land in village Matta Hari, tehsil Pasraur, district Sialkot as per D.I. register relating to the allotment to the owners who were holding land in village Mata Heri H.B.No.208. Gandu’s name has been mentioned at Sr.No.25 of the register and his entitlement was only 0SA14-1/4 units. In lieu of this he was allotted land in village Bassi Maggran H.B.No. 315 , tehsil and district Hoshiarpur. Thus, it is clear that petitioner’s father Harnam Singh manipulated duplicate parcha claim by playing a fraud with the connivance of the Rehabilitation officials/officers when the excess allotment of Harnam Singh was cancelled in 1955. Originally, the claim was prepared for a meagre area of 1SA-3 units of which Harnam Singh’s share was computed as 9-1/2 units. This duplicate parcha claim was prepared merely on the note of an official. The officers did not bother to check and verify the record before issuing the duplicate parcha claim and did not try to find whether Gandu had been allotted any land against parcha claim No.53 issued earlier.
14.In the ultimate analysis the petitioner has not only miserably failed to connect himself to Gandu as his sole surviving heir, but even his claim has been found to be baseless. Rather, there was no occasion for any allotment/conceding his claim at any stage and probably that is why Harnam Singh s/o Mula made a request for keeping his claim pending indefinitely. Had the revenue authorities shown sincerity in perusing the record, the lingering state of uncertainty would not have been perpetuated that long.
In the light of my above discussion I do not find any merit in this revision petition and the same is dismissed. In the sequel, it is quite evident that the petitioner is still undeservedly continuing in unauthorized possession of 9-1/2 units of excess allotment made in favour of Gandu which needs to be retrieved from him forthwith Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Settlement Commissioner, Gurdaspur is directed to do the needful at an early date.
Deputy Commissioner should also make an indepth inquiry regarding the allotment in the name of Gandu s/o Jawala in village Chander Bhan in lieu of land abandoned by him in village Khan Heri, tehsil Pasraur as the irreconcilably conflicting pedigree tables throw a flood of suspicion on the genuineness of the claim of the allottee. Action should also be taken against the officers of the Claim office who danced to the tune of Harnam Singh and increased or decreased the area at his bidding and postpone decisions as per his wishes.
Chandigarh, dated (Shyama Mann)
The 7th December, 1999 Financial Commissioner, Revenue,