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NaraIn Dass Vs. Union of India and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. Nos. 82 to 84, 1238 and 3670 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1979P& H99
ActsDisplaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 - Sections 19(4) and 19(5)
AppellantNaraIn Dass
RespondentUnion of India and ors.
Cases Referred(Som Parkash v. The Union of India
Excerpt:
.....counsel for the petitioners appears to be well-founded. the proviso to sub-sections (4) and (5) of section 19 of the act, clearly lays down that before passing an order under the said provisions, the managing officer is enjoined upon to give the person concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard......the notification of the haryana government has not laid down the principle for assessment of the rent/damages as postulated in sub-sections (4) and (5) of the act and that the rent/damages have been fixed arbitrarily whereby the whole income accruing to the petitioners from the property in dispute has been expropriated. it is claimed that the said notification infringes the fundamental rights of the petitioners as contained in articles 14 and 19(1)(f) of the constitution of india.4. after hearing the learned counsel for the parties, we do not find any merit in this contention. as is obvious, the evacuee land measuring in thousands of acres came to be occupied either unauthorisedly or the original occupation was legal in pursuance of the allotment or lease but subsequently the person.....
Judgment:

B.S. Dhillon, J.

1. This judgment will dispose of Writ Petition, Nos. 82, 83, 84, 1238 and 3670 of 1975. Since common question of law has been raised in these petitions, therefore they are being disposed of by this common judgment.

2. The petitioner in all the above-mentioned writ petitions are in possession of the evacuee property as unauthorised occupants. Under the provisions of sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 19 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), the Central Government has the power to lay down principles of assessment of rent and damages on which the Managing Officer may assess the rent or damages, as the case may be, in respect of evacuee property in occupation of the persons from whom the said rent or damages, as the case may be, have to he recovered. Sub-section (4) of Section 19 of the Act deals with cases where the person concerned is in possession by way of allotment or of lease of the evacuee property to which he is subsequently not found to be entitled., whereas sub-section (5) of this section deals with the cases where the evacuee property is in unauthorised possession of the person concerned. However, before passing an order either under sub-section (4) or sub-section (5) of this section, the person against whom the order is to be passed, has to be provided a reasonable opportunity of being heard. This is clear from the proviso to sub-section (4) and so also from the proviso to sub-section (5). Under Section 34 of the Act, the Central Government by notification In the official Gazette may direct that any power exercisable by it under this Act shall in such circumstances and under such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the direction, be exercisable also by the State Government or by the persons mentioned under the said section. In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of S. 34 of the Act, the Central Government vide notification dated 18th May, 1971 published in the Gazette of India, Part II, Section 3(ii), dated 10th July, 1971, delegated its powers under sub-sections (4) and (5) of S. 19 of the Act, to the State of Haryana, copy of which is Annexure P. 1 with CWP No. 3670, of 1975, for the purpose of specifying the principles of assessment of rent and damages in respect of the occupation partly or entirely without title or authority of agricultural land situated in rural and urban areas In the State of Haryana. The Haryana State Government while exercising the delegated powers of the Central Government referred to above, issued a notification copy of which is Annexure P. 2. with CWP No. 367O of 1975, thus laying down the principle as follows:--

(i) Rural Evacuee Agricultural Lands: Rent shall be assessed and recovered at 20 times the land revenue subject to a minimum of. Rs. 40/- per acre per harvest, whichever is higher.

(ii) Urban Evacuee Agricultural Lands: Rent shall be assessed and recovered at 100 times the land revenue or Rupees 400/- per acre per harvest, whichever is higher.

3. In pursuance of the said notification, the Tehsildar Panipat, acting as Managing Officer, issued demand against the petitioners for various amounts mentioned in the demand notices. The petitioners in these writ petitions, have challenged the notification of the Haryana Government, copy of which is Annexure P. 2 with C. W. P. No. 3670 of 1975, and consequential demand notices issued to the petitioners by the Managing Officer. It is contended that the notification of the Haryana Government has not laid down the principle for assessment of the rent/damages as postulated in sub-sections (4) and (5) of the Act and that the rent/damages have been fixed arbitrarily whereby the whole income accruing to the petitioners from the property in dispute has been expropriated. It is claimed that the said notification infringes the fundamental rights of the petitioners as contained in Articles 14 and 19(1)(f) of the Constitution of India.

4. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties, we do not find any merit in this contention. As is obvious, the evacuee land measuring in thousands of acres came to be occupied either unauthorisedly or the original occupation was legal in pursuance of the allotment or lease but subsequently the person concerned having not been found entitled to so much of allotment or lease, continued to occupy the same without any right, therefore, it was with a view to tackle such an enormous problem that the Legislature in its wisdom enacted the provisions of sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 19 of the Act, assessment of rent or damages, as the case may be, so as to provide guidelines to the Managing Officer to assess the rent/damages, as the case may be. It is not disputed that the Central Government has validly delegated its authority to the State Government of Haryana under Section 34 of the Act. It may be observed that the Central Government had also prescribed similar guidelines under sub-secs. (4) and (5) of Section 19 of the Act directing to recover six times of the land revenue per acre regarding the lands falling under the category of suburban lands. The income from the agricultural produce having risen enormously in view of the continued process of devaluation of Rupee, the State of Haryana taking into consideration a unit per acre and on the basis of the assessed land revenue, Prescribed the above-mentioned principles for the guidelines of the Managing officer. It cannot be successfully contended that the Managing Officer should in each case assess the actual damages or rent and only then he is to proceed to recover the said assessed rent or damages, as the case may be, as such a course would not be practicable because of enormous work involved in the process m it affects a large number of persons. The Legislature in its wisdom authorised the Central Government to lay down certain principles and in our considered opinion the said principles have been laid down by the Government in a reasonable manner with a view to achieve the object of the enactment and thus the principles have nexus with the objects to be achieved. A Division Bench of this court in Civil Writ No. 508 of 1963 (Som Parkash v. The Union of India), decided on 18-7-1966* upheld the earlier notification of the Government whereby the demand of rent was fixed six times the land revenue. It was held that the principles of assessment based an land revenue determined by the State cannot be held to be either arbitrary or whimsical or irrational. It would thus be seen that the said notification neither contravenes Art. 14 nor Art. 19(1)(f) of the Constitution and, therefore, the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioners in this regard fails.

5. As regards the challenge to the demand notice, the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners appears to be well-founded. The proviso to sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 19 of the Act, clearly lays down that before passing an order under the said provisions, the Managing officer is enjoined upon to give the person concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard. The learned Advocate General appearing on behalf of the respondents has made a statement before us during the course of arguments that the impugned demands be quashed and that the Managing officer will pass a fresh order after giving the petitioners an opportunity of being heard. We order accordingly and direct the petitioners through their counsel to appear before the Tehsildar-cum-Managing Officer, Panipat, on 20th November, 1978 at 10 A. M. in his office to plead their side of the case, if they so desire, and the Managing Officer shall then pass a fresh order in accordance with law. If the petitioners fall to appear before the Managing Officer as directed above, it will not be necessary for the Managing Officer to issue fresh notices to the petitioners as the petitioners' counsel have undertaken that the petitioners will appear before him on 20th November, 1978, at 10.00 A. M. in his office.

6. For the reasons recorded above, writ petitions Nos. 82, 83, 84, 1238 and 3670 of 1975, are disposed of as observed above.

S.S. Dewan, J.

7. I agree.

8. Order accordingly.


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