1. The petitioners claim to have constructed Khokhas over a part of Khasra No. 175 measuring 7 Kanals 11 Marlas belonging to a Muslim and situate at Himayunpur (Sirhind), District Patiala. This land was mortgaged with a non-Muslim, who preferred a claim before the Competent Officer, who adjudged it for RS. 17841-9-3 vide order Dt. Oct. 18, 1963. A part of the Composite land was auctioned for the payment of the adjudged mortgage amount to the mortgagee. The remaining composite property was vested in the Custodian free from al encumbrances by the Competent Officer vide order Dt. June 13, 1973, (P. 10). The petitioners claim to have set up Khokhas over the land which was encumbrances. The petitioners approached the Rehabilitation authorities for the transfer of the land over which they had set up their Khokhas. The Sant Nirankari Mandal (hereinafter the Mandal) also approached the Rehabilitation Department for the transfer of urban evacuee land measuring 4 Kanals 18 Marlas our of Khasra No. 175. The Mandal out of Khasra No. 175. The Mandal was allowed the transfer of land on a negotiated price of Rupees 65575/- under R. 87 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Rules (hereinafter the Rules). The Rehabilitation Department issued the sanction vide Memo. Dt. July 1, 1974, and in pursuance thereof the Deputy Secretary to Government Punjab, Rehabilitation Department, vide Memo. Dt. July 24, 1974, (P. 12) offered 4 Kanals 18 Marlas our of Khasra NO. 175 to the Mandal for RS. 65575/- The Assistant Settlement Officer vide order Dt. Sept. 23, 1974, (P. 13) dismissed the applications of the petitioners for the transfer by them on the ground that the land had since been transferred to the Mandal. An intimation of such order was sent to Gain Singh petitioner vide letter Dt. Oct. 23, 1974, (P. 14). The petitioners have assailed P. 12 P. 13 and p. 14 in the present writ petition.
2. The learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that the petitioners (or some of them) had offered bids for the auction of the land in dispute conducted by the Competent Officer. They also deposited the earnest money but the land was not transferred in their favour and it has been illegally transferred in favour of the Mandal. The contention is rather misplaced. The Competent Officer did not petitioners. The land which the petitioners desired to purchase along with some other land was vested in the Custodian free from all encumbrances because it sale was not found necessary. The price of a part of the composite land already sod was found sufficient to satisfy the claim of the non-Muslim mortgagee. The petitioners have not assailed the order of the Competent Officer not confirming the bid in their favour and as such they cannot claim the transfer of the land in dispute from the Rehabilitation Authorities on the basis of the bid that they may have offered in the auction conducted by the Competent Officer.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioner s has argued that the petitioners had a right to purchase the urban evacuee land under the Khokhas set up by them under a press note issued by the Government and the Chief Settlement Commissioner could not direct the transfer of 4 Kanals 18 Marlas of land in favour of the Mandal under R. 87 of the Rules without first satisfying the claim of the petitioners. This contention is also without merit. A copy of the press note under which the petitioners claim the transfer of the urban evacuee land under the Khokhas set up by them has not been placed on the file. It can hardly be disputed that the press note (if any) could be issued under R. 87 of the Rules by the Chief Settlement Commissioner. The order (press note) issued by the Chief Settlement Commissioner under R. 87 of the Rules could be rescinded or modified by the same authority. It is admitted that the land measuring 4 Kanals 18 marlas including the land under the Khokhas set up by the petitioners which the latter wish to purchase on the negotiate price was allowed to be transferred to the Mandal by the Chief Settlement Commissioner under R. 87 of the Rules. There could thus be no legal bar for the Chief Settlement Commissioner to allow the transfer of the land measuring 4 Kanals 18 Marlas on the negotiated price to the Mandal during the pendency of the applications of the petitioners for the transfer of the and under the Khokhas set up by them.
4. The learned counsel for the petitioners has argued that the scheme of the Act and the Rules is suggestive that the evacuee properties are to be utilised for the benefit of the displaced persons. The petitioners are the displaced persons. The transfer of the land on the negotiated price to the Mandal is liable to be set aside on this ground. The contention is without merit. The Act and the Rules do provide for the transfer of the evacuee properties to the non-displaced persons. The learned counsel for the Mandal has contended that the Mandal is also an evacuee institution. This apart, the sale on the negotiated price of the land in dispute to the Mandal cannot be set aside on the ground that it could only be sold to displaced persons.
5. The last contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners is that R. 87 gives unguided and arbitrary power to the Chief Settlement Commissioner which is violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution. The impugned order of the Chief Settlement Commissioner under TR. 87 allowing the transfer of the land in favour of the Mandal is liable to be set aside on this ground. The contention is without force. Rule 87 of the Rules reads :--
'87. Mode of sale of property.--Any property forming part of the compensation pool may be sold by public auction or by inviting tenders or in such other manner as the Chief Settlement Commissioner may, by general or special order, direct.'
6. The text and tenor of R. 87 is suggestive that it has been incorporated to facilitate the best utilisation of the properties forming part of the compensation pool. The Act and the Rules do provide sufficient guidelines in the matter of exercise of discretion by the Chief Settlement Commissioner under this rule. This rule, arbitrariness and cannot be held ultra vires the Constitution. It may be added that challenge to R. 87 was made in Balwant Singh v. Financial Commr. (C. W. P. NO. 401 of 1974 de-decided on Sept. 1, 1982) : (reported in AIR 1983 Punj & Har 225) and the same was repelled.
7. In the result the writ petition fails and is dismissed with no order as to costs.
8. Petition dismissed.