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Gurbachan Singh Partap Singh Vs. Union of India (Uoi) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ No. 1569 of 1960
Judge
Reported inAIR1963P& H558
ActsDisplaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 - Sections 24
AppellantGurbachan Singh Partap Singh
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi) and ors.
Appellant Advocate H.S. Gujral, Adv.
Respondent Advocate H.S. Doabia, Addl. Adv. General and; K.S. Thapar, Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredCourt Satnani Singh v. Union of India
Excerpt:
.....of the constitution of india. in a writ application filed under articles 226 and 227 of constitution, if any order/judgment/decree is passed in exercise of jurisdiction under article 226, a writ appeal will lie. but, no writ appeal will lie against a judgment/order/decree passed by a single judge in exercising powers of superintendence under article 227 of the constitution. - 36293 dated the 6th august, 1959, recommended to the chief settlement commissioner that the transfer of house no. it was farther mentioned that at that time the kasturba sewa mandir had invested something like rs. 1, 2 and 4 it is pointed out that the allotment to the petitioner was ab initio void because under sub-section (i) of section 12 of the act this, property like other evacuee properties was acquired by..........the 18th april, 1960, ofshri c. p. sapra, settlement commissioner with,delegated powers of the chief settlement commissioner (respondent no. 2) whereby the transfer tothe petitioner of house no. 48-a, railway road,bhatinda, was set aside. the petitioner went upto the central government under section 33 of thedisplaced persons (compensation and rehabiltation)act, 1954 (act no. 44 of 1954), hereinafter to bereferred to as the act, and his application was rejected by the union of india (respondent no. 1 tothe petition) vide its letter no. 38 (888) /60-imp(a) dated the 3rd september, 1960 (copy annexure'a'). 2. the facts stated in the petition are as follows :the petitioner who is a displaced person from west pakistani was an occupant of house no. 48-a and it was allotted to him on quasi.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S.B. Capoor, J.

1. In this writ petition under Article 226of the Constitution of India Gurbachan Singh haschallenged the order dated the 18th April, 1960, ofShri C. P. Sapra, Settlement Commissioner with,delegated powers of the Chief Settlement Commissioner (respondent No. 2) whereby the transfer tothe petitioner of house No. 48-A, Railway Road,Bhatinda, was set aside. The petitioner went upto the Central Government under Section 33 of theDisplaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabiltation)Act, 1954 (Act No. 44 of 1954), hereinafter to bereferred to as the Act, and his application was rejected by the Union of India (respondent No. 1 tothe petition) vide its letter No. 38 (888) /60-IMP(A) dated the 3rd September, 1960 (copy Annexure'A').

2. The facts stated in the petition are as follows :The petitioner who is a displaced person from West Pakistani was an occupant of house No. 48-A and it was allotted to him on quasi permanent basis onthe 9th September, 1955, by the Assistant Custodian, Bhatinda District (vide his communication dated the 9th September, 1955, copy Annexure 'H'). The petitioner continued in possession as allottee ever since. The Managing Officer under Rules 22 and 25 of the Rules made under the Act offered the house to the petitioner for Rs. 3797/- (vide copy Annexure 'F'). The petitioner got Rs. 2565/- of the compensation due to him in respect of his verified claim adjusted op the 28th November, 1958, and the balance of Rs. 1232/- was paid by him oft the 26th January, 1959. The conveyance deed relating to this house was duly executed and completed on the 14th March, 1960, and the petitioner, therefore, claimed that he became absolute owner of this house.

3. It appears that across the street is house No. 48 which had been previously occupied by the District Judge, Bhatinda, and was thereafter allotted to Bibi Amtus Salam, Secretary Kasturba Sewa Mandir, Rajpura, as representing Khadi Gram Udyog Bhandar (respondent No. 3). Subsequently, this respondent made some applications to the Regional Settlement Commissioner, who vide his letter No. 36293 dated the 6th August, 1959, recommended to the Chief Settlement Commissioner that the transfer of house No. 48-A in favour of the petitioner be cancelled and the same be sold to respondent No. 3. This recommendation was turned down by the Chief Settlement Commissioner vide his order dated the 9th September, 1952, intimation of which was sent by his letter No. 111 (1089-576) PROF Camp saying that the property had already been transferred to the petitioner as a displaced person. A second representation was made by respondent No. 3 in this connection to the Chief Settlement Commissioner alleging that she had spent some money on the property. That officer again called for the report but vide his order dated the 20th February, 1960, he again turned down respondent No. 3's request for transfer of house No. 48-A. Then a third similar representation was made by respondent No. 3, upon which the Chief Settlement Commissioner issued a notice dated the 17th March, 1960, to the petitioner to show cause as to why the transfer relating to house No. 48-A be not cancelled, and it was then that the Chief Settlement Commissioner passed the impugned order dated the 18th April, 1960.

4. The fourth, respondent is the District Rent-cum-Managing Officer, Faridkot, in charge of Bhatinda district. Respondents Nos. 1, 2 and 4 have filed a written statement opposing the petition and were represented at the hearing by Mr. H. S. Doabia, Respondent No. 3 has also opposed the petition, the counsel being Mr. K. S. Thapar, Advocate.

5. In the impugned order it is'stated that on the 28th December, 1954, respondent No. 3 secured the allotment of house No. 48-A for the Khadi and Gram Udyog Bhandar. At that time one room of this property was in possession, of a displaced person, that is, Gurbachan Singh petitioner. It was further mentioned in the order that Gurpachan Singh was an unauthorised occupant and the proper course to be adopted at that time was to evict Gurbachan Singh and hand over the possession of that room also to respondent No. 3, but instead of doing that the property was allotted by the Assistant Custodian to Gurbachan Singh. It was farther mentioned that at that time the Kasturba Sewa Mandir had invested something like Rs. 2500/- to Rs. 3,000/- on the industries set up by them in that building and this amount had not been included in the valuation amounting to Rs. 3797/- and that this was again a vital mistake in dealing with the property. The conclusion was that since the initial allotment was wrong, the subsequent transfer to Gurbachan Singh could not be justified.

6. The main reliance by the petitioner is on the allotment letter (copy Annexure 'H') dated the 9th September, 1955, and reference is particularly made to paragraph 4 in which it is mentioned that all previous allotment orders passed in respect of the said premises were cancelled. In the return submitted by respondent No. 3 it is mentioned that the allotment made in favour of this respondent could not have been cancelled without notice and the respondent was not aware of the allotment in favour of the petitioner. The records have been sent for. The order dated the 9th September, 1955, by the Assistant Custodian of Evacuee Property (at pages 70 to 71 of the file) shows that when it was passed only the petitioner was present and that the allotment of house No. 48-A to respondent No. 3 was cancelled without notice to that respondent. The petitioner in the course of his petition has alleged that the property No. 48-A has never been allotted to respondent No. 3 but this is belied by the letter of the Assistant Custodian, Faridkot, to the District and Sessions Judge, Bhatinda, dated the 29th December, 1954 (copy Annexure R-II), according to which both the properties were allotted to respondent No. 3 under the orders of the Custodian of Evacuee Properties, Pepsu, Patiala. It is clear that the petitioner was in possession of only one room while the rest of the property was in possession of respondent No. 3, which had at some subsequent date set up certain industries in those premises. In the return on her half of respondents Nos. 1, 2 and 4 it is pointed out that the allotment to the petitioner was ab initio void because under Sub-section (i) of Section 12 of the Act this, property like other evacuee properties was acquired by the Central Government by general notification with effect from the 3rd June, 1955. This aspect of the matter was, however, not adverted to at ail in the impugned order and it would not be fair to take notice of it at this stage.

7. Mr. Gujral then contended that the conveyance deed in respect of the disputed property having been executed in the petitioner's favour, the Chief Settlement Commissioner was not competent to set aside the transfer in exercise of his revisional powers under Section 24 of the Act. A Division Bench of this Court in Bara Singh v. Joginder Singh, 61 Pun LR 127 : (AIR 1959 Punj 370) has held that in exercise of the revisional powers, the Chief Settlement Commissioner can reverse the order transferring proprietary rights to a claimant in respect of any property and thereby annul the transfer. These powers can be exercised even if some of the proprietary rights had been granted to the claimant because the Sanad or its grant being founded solely on the decision to transfer permanent ownership, that Sanad must necessarily fall with the reversal of the decision on which it is based. Mr. Harbans Singh Gujral, petitioner's I learned counsel, has attempted to canvass before me that this case has not been correctly decided and in this connection he has referred to Partumal v. Managing Officer, Jaipur, AIR 1962 Raj 112 (FB) in which the judgment of a Division Bench of this Court has been dissented. Sitting singly, I am bound to follow a decision of the Division Beech of this Court. Mr. Gujral also referred to certain Single Bench judgments of this Court in which according to him a view contrary to that of the Division Bench has been taken. One such case is Jhangi Ram v. Union of India, 63 Pun LR. 610. In this case D. K. Mahajan J. held that once an evacuee property is sold it no longer forms part of compensation pool and no order cancelling the sale can be passed once sale of the evacuee property has been effected without having resort to Rule 92-of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Rules. The attention of the learned Judge was not apparently drawn to 61 Pun LR. 127 : (AIR 1959 Punj 370). In Didar Singh v. The Chief Settlement Commissioner Civil Writ No. 785 of 1961 decided by Gurdev Singh J. on the 30th March, 1962 which is another case refers ed to by Mr. Gujral, 61 Pun LR 127 : (AIR 1959 Punj 370) was referred to and distinguished on the facts.

8. Following the decision of the Division Bench of this Court it must be held that the Chief Settlement Commissioner was competent in revision to set aside the transfer of the property in dispute in favour of the 'petitioner.

9. The last point urged by Mr. Gujral was that when the representations made by respondent No. 3 had been twice rejected by the Chief Settlement Commissioner, it would not be open to him on a third representation by respondent No. 3 to decide in favour of that respondent. It has been conceded in the return filed by respondents Nos. 1, 2 and 4 that the Chief Settlement Commissioner had on the two previous occasions rejected the representations made on behalf of respondent No. 3 for transfer of the property and the record also shows that the circumstance, as to respondent No. 3 having invested some money in the property, was taken into consideration when the representations made by that respondent were rejected. Under Sub-section (i) of Section 24 of the Act, which is relevant to the matter in hand, the Chief Settlement Commissioner may at any time call for the record of any proceeding under this Act in which any subordinate authority has passed an order for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the legality or propriety of any such order and may pass such order in relation thereto as he thinks fit. This does not mean that after the Chief Settlement Commissioner has once passed an order confirming the order of the subordinate authority, he can, on a subsequent occasion and without any fresh material being before him, make an entirely different order setting aside the order of the subordinate authority. A somewhat similar point under Section 42 of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act. 1948 (Act No. 50 of 1948) came up before a Division Bench of this Court in Jamadar Uttam Singh v. State, AIR 1960-Punj 230 and it was held that a Tribunal constituted by this Act has not been invested with the power to vacate an order passed by it and to re-place it by another order. It was further observed that even if an administrative tribunal has inherent power to review its own order, it cannot exercise this power arbitrarily and without reason. Section 42 of East Punjab Act No; 50 of 1948 was in almost the same terms as Sub-section (i) of Section 24 of Act No. 44 of 1954. In a recent judgment of this Court Satnani Singh v. Union of India, 64 'Pun LR 714 it was held that under Section 33 of the Act the Central Government may at any time call for the record of any proceeding under this Act and may pass such order in relation thereto as in its opinion, the circumstances of the case require, yet on the same facts and circumstances there cannot be repeated exercise of these residuary powers for reopening questions of fact which have already been decided. The same principle should, to my mind, be applied so far as the powers of revision of the Chief Settlement Commissioner under Section 24 of the Act are concerned. The second representation made on behalf of respondent No. 3 against the transfer of the property in dispute to the petitioner was turned down by the Chief Settlement Commissioner in February, 1960, and there was no fresh material to justify the issue to the petitioner of the notice (copy Annexure 'D' dated the 17th March, 1960, to show cause why the transfer in his favour be riot cancelled.

10. I am, therefore, of the view that the impugned order is without jurisdiction. The writ petition is allowed and that order quashed. The petitioner will have his costs from respondents Nos. 1, 1 and 4 Counsel fee Rs. 100/-.

Nothing in this order is to be taken as expressing any opinion on the question whether the price of the property paid by the petitioner includes, the value of the investment made by respondent No. 3 to which reference has been made by the Chief Settlement Commissioner in the impugned order.


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