M.R. Sharma, J.
1. In this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, it has been stated that the petitioner was a joint-owner in possession of land measuring 95 Kanals and 6 Marias situate in village Burj Mohar, tehsil Fazilka, district Ferozepore, and that by virtue of the decision of the Supreme Court, in Bhagat Ram v. State of Punjab, 69 Pun LR 287 : (AIR 1967 SC 927) the land which was reserved for the income of the Panchayat was- later on given to the right-holders of the village in accordance with their shares, From these facts a conclusion has been drawn which reads like this-- 'Thus, for all intents and purposes, the petitioner is the owner of the aforesaid land.' The grievance made is that the Gram Panchayat wrongly moved the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil), Fazilka, with powers of Collector, for recovery of rent amounting to Rs. 17,741 for the years 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74 and 1974-75 as arrears of land revenue under Section 7 of the Punjab Public Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Act. 1973, and that since the application of the Gram Panchayat for determining the rent or damages for use and occupation was still pending with respondent No. 1, it was not open to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer respondent No. 2 to make an attempt at recovering this amount by attaching the property belonging to the petitioner.
2. In the return filed on behalf of respondent No. 2 it has been stated that powers of the Collector exercisable under the Punjab Gram Panchayat Act, 1952 (hereinafter called the Act) have been delegated by the Collector to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer in exercise of powers under Section 95 (4) of the Act and that under Section 85 of the Act Collector has been empowered to recover any sum due under the Act except a sum due under a decree passed by the Gram Panchayat in exercise of its civil and criminal jurisdiction as if such sumswere arrears of land revenue. It is consequently urged that since arrears of lease money payable to a Panchayat constituted a sum payable under the Act, it was open to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, to whom the powers of the Collector had been delegated, to effect the recovery of this amount by attaching the property of the defaulter.
3. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties, we are of the view that the law at the present moment provides more than one remedy to a Panchayat to claim arrears of lease money from a person who obtains its land on lease. If such a lease is terminated by efflux of jtime it is open to a Panchayat to ap-proach the Collector with a prayer that the wrongful occupant be directed to vacate its land under the provisions of the Punjab Public Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Act, 1973, and also to claim compensation for use and occupation of land. If the Panchayat adopts' such a course, then of course the Collector or any other authority under the provisions of the Act cannot proceed to make a recovery unless and until those proceed--ings come to an end. We may also add that determination by the Collector un-der the Act is open to challenge in appeal before the District Judge of the area. The other remedy which has now been made available to a Panchayat appears to be more speedy, summary and effective. Section 85 of the Act entitles a Collector to recover the sums due under the Act as if they were arrears of and revenue. It cannot be disputed that the Collector of the District has validly delegated these powers to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer who has issued the warrants of attachment of the property belonging to the petitioner. The Supreme Court has overruled its decision in Northern India Caterers (P.) Ltd. v. State of Punjab, AIR 1967 SC 1581, in Maganlal Chhagganlal (P.) Ltd. v. Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay, AIR 1974 SC 2009, and now it cannot be contended with any justification that where two modes of recovery are provided the situation created offends against the right of a citizen as guaranteed to him under Article 14 of the Constitution. As laid down by the Supreme Court a Government forms a class by itself and a speedier and more effective procedure can be provided for the Government to take action against thewrongful occupants of its property. What is true about the Government is equally true about a Gram Panchayat which is a unit of local self government.
4. We would like to make it clear that in the written statement, it has been specifically averred that arrears of rent for the year 1972-73 alone were being recovered. The warrants of attachment shall be executed to the extent of rent payable for this period only. It shall, however, be open to the authority concerned to issue fresh warrants of attachment if the arrears for the subsequent years are found to be outstanding.
5. At this stage, we would also like to observe that the petitioner did not mention in the writ petition that he had come into possession of this property under a lease. It was so stated in the written statement and conceded by Mr. Bindra at the Bar, We regard this as a deliberate suppression of an important fact and would have dismissed the petition on this score alone but since the matter was likely to arise in a large number of cases we have passed a detailed order so as to clarify the legal position. With these observations, this petition is dismissed in limine.