Shamsher Bahadur, J.
1. This writ petition is at the instance of Malik Labhu Masih whose right to purchase land under Section 18 of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act 1953 (hereinafter called the Act) has been negatived by the Financial Commissioner in the exercise of his revisional jurisdiction.
2. The petitioner is a tenant under the second respondent who is a big land-owner. He applied for the purchase of 19 standard acres out of an area of 69 standard acres owned by the landlord. The application was made under Section 18 of the Act which empowers a tenant of a landowner other than a small landowner 'who has been in continuous occupation of the land comprised in his tenancy for a minimum period of six years' to purchase from the landowner the land so held by him but not included in the reserved area of the landowner.
All that is necessary for an application under Section 18 is that the tenant should have been in continuous occupation of land for a minimum period of six years under a landowner who is not a small landowner. This petition for purchase was allowed by order of the Assistant Collector passed on 15th of January, 1962 (Annexure A). A number of objections were raised by the landowner but they were all repelled and the petitioner was permitted to pay the total purchase price of Rs. 21007.88/- in ten equal six monthly instalments of Rs. 2100/-80 each.
On appeal to the Collector, the parties compromised and the price was raised from Rs. 21007.88/- to Rs. 23,133.53/-. The Commissioner, however, made a recommendation to the Financial Commissioner that the order of purchase should be rescinded on the ground that the landowner's application for ejectment of the petitioner had been accepted. It appears that an order was passed on the landowner's application that the petitioner should be ejected from his tenancy on 26th of June, 1961. It may be mentioned that the application for purchase was made actually on 26th of February, 1961, before the ejectment order was passed. All that is necessary to determine is to see whether the applicant-tenant, on the date of his application for purchase under Section 18(l)(i) had been continuous occupation for a minimum period of six years. It may be that proceedings for ejectment may have been taken before or after this application. If there is no ejectment order when the application was made, it means that the right of the applicant to purchase the land under Section 18(l)(i) subsists.
The tenant's right to purchase under Section 18(l)(i) is independent of the landlord's right to eject a tenant under Section 9. It may be that a tenant is liable to ejectment under Section 9 for being in arrears of rent, but so long as he is the tenant on the land his right to purchase cannot be denied or defeated. Reference may be made to a decision of Mahajan J. in Har Sarup v. Financial Commissioner, Revenue Punjab, 1965 Lah LT 157. In that case, an eviction application was filed on 13th January, 1959 and the application for purchase under Section 18 was made on 16th July, 1959.
It was observed by Mahajan J. that when, an application under Section 18 was filed, there was no subsisting order for eviction. The mere fact that the tenants had incurred the liability for eviction by reason of non-payment of rent did not put an end to the relationship of landlord and tenant and it was held that the application under Section 18 should be decided independently on merits and the order of eviction passed subsequent to the application under Section 18 was no bar.
I am in respectful agreement with the views expressed by the learned Judge and adopting the same I would allow this petition and quash the order of the Financial Commissioner passed on 9th of April, 1963. As there is no representation on behalf of the respondent, I would make no order as to costs.