1. Briefly the case of the petitioners is that they were small landowners and respondent No. 3 was a tenant under them on land measuring 51 Kanals 10 Marlas situate in village Bidhimal, District Faridkot. They made an application under Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953(hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') for ejectment of the said respondent before the Assistant Collector Ist Grade, Muktsar, who passed a conditional order on April 20, 1970 that he (respondent No. 3) be ejected subject to his settlement on surplus area.
2. It is alleged that respondent No. 3 failed to pay the rent regularly since Kharif, 1971 without sufficient cause and therefore the petitioners moved an application under Section 14-A (I) read with Section 9(ii) of the Act for the ejectment of respondent No. 3 from the above said land, before the Assistant Collector Ist Grade. He gave a finding that there was a relationship of landlord and tenant between the petitioners and respondent No 3 and the latter had failed to make payment of the rent without sufficient cause. Consequently he ordered ejectment of the latter vide order dated March 31, 1975. Having felt aggrieved against that order, respondent No.3 preferred an appeal before the collector, Faridkot, who dismissed the same on September 29, 1975 and upheld the order of the Assistant Collector Ist Grade. He filed a revision petitioner before the Commissioner, Ferozepore Division who held that relationship of landlord and tenant did not exist between the parties as an order of ejectment dated April 20, 1970 had already been passed against the tenant. According to him, in the aforesaid situation the tenant was not liable to ejectment on that ground. He consequently, made a recommendation to the Financial Commissioner for setting aside the order of the Collector dated September 29, 1975. The matter was finally decided by the Financial Commissioner as per order dated August 3, 1978. He accepted the recommendation and held that there was no relationship of landlord and tenant between the petitioners and respondent No. 3 consequently, he upset the order of the Collector ad dismissed the application for ejectment filed by the petitioners. They have challenged the legality and propriety of the said order through this writ petition.
3. The only question that arises for determination is an to whether the relationship of landlord and tenant exists between the petitioners and respondent No.3 after an order of ejectment having been passed against him under Section 9(1)(i) of the Act subject to the condition that he shall be dispossessed after he has been accommodation on surplus area, if he remains in possession of the land as surplus area for accommodating him is not available with the Collector. The learned Counsel for the petitioner has vehemently argued that if respondent No. 3 remains in possession of the property after the order of ejectment as surplus area is not available for accommodating him, he shall be deemed to be a statutory tenant on he property and liable to ejectment in case he fails to pay the rent regularly without sufficient cause. He, in support of his contention made a reference to Ram Phul v. Kabul Singh 1974 Pun LJ 281, and Pyare Lal v. Kamla Rani, 1976 LJ 334.
4. I have given due consideration to the argument of the learned counsel but regret my inability to accept the same. It has been settled by the Supreme Court, in Rikhi Ram v. Ram Kumar 1975 Pun LJ 331: (AIR 1975 SC 1869), that once an order of ejectment has been passed against a tenant under Section 9(1) of the Act he ceases to be a tenant even though he remains in possession of the land because of non-availability of surplus area for accommodating him. In that case some land was sold by one Smt. Shanti Respondent No. 3 to respondent nos. 1 and 2 in 1965. The plaintiffs appellants claimed the right of pre-emption in respect of the land on the ground that they were tenants under the vendors. The suit was resisted by the vendees inter alia on the ground that an order of ejectment had been passed under Section 9(1) of the Act against the appellants. The High Court took the view that since the appellants had ceased to be that tenants of the land prior to the passing of the decree of pre-emption by the trial court, they were no longer qualified to get such a decree. A contention was raised before the Supreme Court that the Assistant collector had ordered the ejectment of the petitioners forthwith from a portion of the land and their actual eviction from rest of the land was deferred till the allotment of the surplus land. According to the counsel the appellants were entitled to the right of pre-emption over that portion of the land, dispossession of which was deferred. Untwalia, J., speaking for the court, rejected the contention and observed as follows:--
'The third point urged on behalf of the appellants is also not fit to succeed. A copy of the order of eviction passed by the Asst. Collector was incorporated in the supplementary paper book and placed before us. The order shows that eviction was allowed from the entire land. The appellants were directed to be ejected forthwith from a portion and their actual eviction from the rest of the land was deferred till the allotment of the surplus land. We are, therefore, of the view that the appellant did not continue to be tenants of any portion of the land sold to respondent 1 and 2 on the date the decree for pre-emption was passed in their favour. Hence the decree was not sustainable in respect of any portion of the land.'
5. From a reading of the above observation it is evident that the ratio of the Supreme Court judgment is that when a decree for ejectment is passed under Section 9(1)(i) of the Act against a tenant, with a condition that he shall be dispossessed when he is accommodated on surplus area, the relationship of landlord and tenant comes to an end between the parties notwithstanding that the tenant has not been accommodated on surplus land.
6. In Ram Phul's case, 1974 Punj LJ 281(supra) a contrary view has been taken and it has been held that till a tenant against, whom an order of ejectment under Section 9(1)(i) has been passed, is settled on surplus land, it cannot be held that his tenancy comes to an end. An order of ejectment under that section being conditional does not come into operation at once and, therefore, the mere passing of an order does not render the tenant liable to eviction. It is further held that the status of the tenant therefore, continues to be that of a tenant till he is settled in terms of the ejectment order. While taking that view the learned Judge followed Hira Singh v. Haria, 1973 Punj LJ 70. Both the above cases were decided before the decision of the Supreme Court in Rikhi Rams case (AIR 1975 SC 1869)(supra). Therefore, in view of the Supreme Court judgment, the law laid down in the above cases can no longer be said to be a correct one. That view will be deemed to have been set aside impliedly by their Lordship of the Supreme Court. In Pyare Lal's case 91976 Punj LJ 334), which came up for hearing before me Ram Phul (1974 Pun LJ 281) and Hira Singh's case (1973 Punj LJ 760)(Supra) were referred and followed. However Rikhi Ram's case (AIR 1975 SC 1869) was not cited at the bar. Consequently, it was not noticed. For the same reason as mentioned above. I am of the view that the ratio in Pyare Lal's case is also not correct. After taking into consideration all the aforesaid facts I am of the opinion that the finding of the Financial Commissioner is correct and there is no scope for interference with the same.
7. For the aforesaid reason, I do not find any merit in this writ petition and dismiss the same with no order as to costs.
8. Petition dismissed.