1. This petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution has been pending since 1962 and has, for one reason or the other, not so far been disposed of. The facts briefly stated are that Karam Chand petitioner having been displaced from West Pakistan, where he is stated to have owned considerable area of agricultural land and other immovable property, was allotted on migration to India 119-3 1/4 standard acres of land in villages Abohar, Dwan Khera, Baluana Garden Colony etc. Major portion of the allotment was, however, in village Abohar Evacuee house No. 70 in Sukhere Basti, Abohar was allotted to him in due course vide allotmen! order dated 5-8-1951 The value of the house was at that time assessed by the Rehabilitation Authorities at Rs. 12,000. The value being less than Rs. 20,000, this house was declared as non-substantial house. In December. 1956. proprietary rights in respect of this house were also conferred on the petitioner According to the averments in the writ petition, after obtaining proprietary rights, the petitioner spent about Rs. 14,000 in improving this property. Sometime in 1957 this house was re-valued at Rs. 37,355 by a Committee consisting of Sub-Divisional Officer, Civil Sub Divisional Officer, P. W. D. and the Assistant Settlement Commissioner etc. This was done without any notice to the petitioner. On new valuation, a cut of 20 per cent was applied by the department The value was accordingly brought down to Rs. 29,884. After deducting Rs. 12,000, which was the original price, the petitioner was called upon by the Managing Officer. Jullundur to pay the difference amounting to Rs. 17.884. The petitioner objected to the notice, pleading, inter alia, that after the permanent transfer of the house, the authorities could neither raise the value nor cancel the proprietary rights. These objections were disallowed by an order dated 12-5-1962 made by the Chief Settlement Commissioner. It is against this order that the present writ petition has been preferred.
2. On behalf of the respondents, it has been pleaded that the value of the house was more than Rs. 20,000 and the Patwari, most probably with the connivance of the petitioner, had wrongly assessed it at Rs. 12,000. Proprietary rights were thus wrongly conferred on the petitioner. All the houses including that of the petitioner were re-valued by a Committee and this Committee assessed the value at Rs. 37,355. The house being substantially non-allottable, proprietary rights conferred on the petitioner were rightly set aside. It has been expressly pleaded that there was a general complaint that houses in Sukhere Basti had been under-valued and on enquiry, these complaints were found to be well-founded. All the houses were accordingly re-valued by a Committee consisting of responsible officers.
This suggested a fraud in the case. Reliance in the written statement has been placed on a decision by this Court in C. W. No. 496 of 1960 decided on 22-11-1960 (Punj) for the plea that the Chief Settlement Commissioner can cancel an allotment even when there is an implied finding of concealment of material facts.
3. Before me, the learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that no notice was given to him for fixing new valuation and that this violates the recognised rule of natural justice The petitioner is thus not bound by the re-valuation and. therefore, he cannot be called upon to pay any additional amount, leave alone the cancellation of his proprietary rights.
4. The respondents have submitted that on the record it is established that notice dated 13-7 1961 was personally served on the petitioner calling upon him to show cause why the allotment in his favour be not cancelled on account of fraud and in the alternative, why he should not be called upon to pay the difference between the value found and the amount paid after applying a cut of 20 per cent. The petitioner appeared before the Managing Officer, but on various pretexts, declined to adduce any evidence and finally was satisfied with merely addressing the arguments. The Managing Officer, after hearing the petitioner, forwarded his report to the Chief Settlement Commissioner who passed the impugned order According to this submission, the petitioner had ample opportunity of showing cause against the fresh valuation Though the petitioner's counsel submits that no opportunity was ever given in terms to adduce proof of the value of the property, on behalf of the respondents, Shri Sharma relies on the notice and submits that the implication of fraud was based on the low valuation in the first instance and. therefore, the cause to be shown against cancellation of the allotment quite clearly means that the petitioner had to show cause about the value of the property at the time of the allotment. The petitioner desires this Court to be confined only to the written statement, whereas the respondents' learned counsel submits that the records were got summoned by the petitioner, and if the records show that a proper notice was given to the petitioner and he did not care to adduce evidence, then this writ petition must be disallowed.
Reference at the bar has been made to a recent Bench decision of the Court in Balwant Singh v. Deputy Chief Settlement Commissioner, 1965 Cur LJ 655: (AIR 1965 Punj 484) and to two earlier decisions in Sodhi Harbakhsh Singh v. Central Government, 1962-64 Pun LR 629: (AIR 1964 Punj 137) and S. Karam Singh v. Chief Settlement Commissioner, C. W. No. 685 of 1960 decided on 25-4-1961 (Punj) by Mehar Singh, J., a Letters Patent Appeal against which was dismissed. Those decisions do not completely cover the present case and the point raised is of considerable importance. Since this writ petition has been pending for the last three vears, it is eminently a fit case which should be disposed of by a larger Bench within one month from today. Papers may accordingly be laid before my Lord the Chief Justice for passing suitable orders under Clause (xx) read with proviso (b), Chapter 3-B, High Court Rules and Orders, Vol. V.