(1) The five petitioners, who are khewatdars of village Ghandoli in Kharar Tehsil, have challenged the order passed by Additional Director of Consolidation on 6th August 1963, reviewing the order of his predecessor passed on 5th October, 1962.
(2) An order was passed by the Consolidation Officer on 17th of September, 1960, on an application made before him under sub-section (2) of S. 21 of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948, in which the right of possession of Behari Lal Batra, the second respondent, was found to be ' undisputed ' and order for implementation were passed. In the foot-note to this order, it is mentioned that the respondent Behari Lal Batra 'has stated to forgo the interest in trees in old khasra No. 235 willingly which is accepted......Announced.' Subsequently, another petition was moved by Behari Lal Batra,the second respondent,under section 42 of the Act,the previous Khasra No. 235 had not been shown as his property in the revenue record during consolidation operations. The parties were heard by the Additional Director on 6th of June,1962. Orders were, however, pronounced on 5th of October, 1962, when the parties were not present and on grounds which were not urged at the time of hearing on 6th of June, 1962. It was observed by the Additional Director in the order of 5th of October,1962, that:
'I find from the record that the petitioner had sold the land in question vide registered deed dated 7th of March, 1961......... that mutation No.645 had also been entered and attested with respect to this transaction. The present petition was filed on 12th of March, 1962, it is obvious that the petition was filed by him (Behari Lal) when he was no longer a right-holder in this village. He,therefore,in my opinion had no locus standi to file this petition.'
Holding, therefore, that the petitioner had no locus standi the revision petition was dismissed.
(3)The Additional Director was moved once again to review the order which had been passed on the 5th of October, 1962. In the finding of the Additional Director recorded in the impugned order of the 6th of August, 1963 (Annexure C),
'the tree were never sold to the vendees, on the other hand the sale deed mentioned that 16 mango trees will be the property of the petitioner mango trees will be the property of the petitioner and will be removed by the petitioner......'
It has also been found that no mutation had been sanctioned regarding sale of this land which was the basis of the order passed on 5th October, 1962. After hearing both the parties, the Additional Director reached the conclusion that the Panchayat had not been able to make good its right to the mango trees and consequently allotted these to the second respondent.
(4) It is contended by Mr. Dalip Singh, the learned counsel for the petitioners, that the order passed by the Additional Director on 5th October 1962, would not have been reviewed by his successor-in-office under section 42 of the Act. Reliance is placed on a recent Full Bench decision of this Court in Deep Chand v. Addl. Director, Consolidation of Holdings, Punjab, ILR 1964 (1) Punj 665: (AIR 1964 Punj 249) (FB) in which it was held that a judicial or quasi-judicial tribunal has no inherent power to rehear, review, alter or vary any judgment or order after it has been entered to drawn up, on the ground that it is later considered to be erroneous on the merits. It is to be observed, however, that orders which are void are not subject to this inhibition at page 685, the specific case where parties had not been heard on a previous occasion is excepted from the general rule that orders passed on merits cannot be reviewed. In Shivdeo Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR 1963 SC 9109 G. D. Khosla J. has set aside the previous order in the interests of justice because the parties had not been heard and their Lordships of the Supreme Court upheld that order. This case had been relied upon in the Full Bench case and it has been observed that orders which are passed in absence of the parties may be reviewed.
(5) Realistically speaking, the order of 5th of October, 1962, was passed in absence of the parties. Though on the previous hearing the parties were present and were heard, the ground on which the petition was dismissed four months later was found by the Additional Director in the impugned order to be untenable. That ground was not raised by the parties at the time of hearing and seems to have been taken so motu by the Additional Direct himself.
(6) In these circumstances, I do not think that there is any ground for interference in this petition for revision which falls and is dismissed I would, however make no order as to costs.
(7) Petition dismissed.