1. The controversy need to be settled in these five civil revision petitions Nos. 1601, 1602, 1603, 1604 and 1605 of 1983 is the same and, thus, these are being disposed of together.
2. The prayer of the petitioners under Order 1, Rule 10, Civil P. C. to be impleaded as parties to the respective References now pending before the Land Acquisition Court, Faridkot has been declined by the said Court primarily on the grounds-
(i) that they had made no application under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act (for short, the Act) to the Collector and
(ii) there is no provision in the Act under which any land-owner can be impleaded as a party to a reference by the Court.
It may be pointed out here that the un-controverted case pleaded by the petitioners is that the acquired land was form their respective joint Khatas in which they were co-shares along with the persons who actually made the applications under Section 18 of the Act. They also maintain that though the individual co-sharers who had filed and signed those applications under Section 18 of the Act did so as their authorised agents, yet even in the absence of such an authorization they are entitled to the be joined, as parties to the litigation pending in the lower court. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties I find that the whole approach adopted by the lower court is fallacious and the common impugned order deserves to be set aside.
3. It has repeatedly been ruled by this Court that if the property acquired is joint and the co-owners have no distinct and specified shares therein then a reference under Section 18 of the Act by one of the co-owners for the enhancement of the compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Collector will tenure for the benefit of the other co-owners as well. In such a case it can safely be concluded that the co-owner who is wanting enhancement in the compensation was also acting on behalf of the other co-owners because their interest are joint and individual. Until the shares of the co-shares are specified the co-sharer filing the application under Section 18 of the Act will be deemed to be acting on behalf of all the co-owners in the property. Even an award passed as a result to such an application under Section 18 of the Act would ensure for the benefit of all the co-shares (See Clause Kehar Singh v. Union of India, AIR 1968 Punj 490, State of Haryana v. Bishan Singh 1981 Punj LJ 40 and Punjab State v. Globe Motors Ltd., 1981 Pun LJ 73). In the face of this settled legal petition, how can the petitioners who even in the absence of mentioning of their names in the Reference are entitled to all the benefits arising from the award itself be denied the right to be imploded as parties to the litigation at a stage prior to the passing of the said award. As per the observations in the above-noted judgments, the petitioners have virtually to be deemed to be parties to those References. Their innocuous prayer is only that their names be so mentioned. This cannot possibly be denied to them.
4. So far as the other aspect of the matter that in the absence of any specific provision in the Act, the petitioners cannot be added as parties to the References pending before the lower court is concerned, the same though hardly arises in the instant case in the light of the above-noted conclusion of mine yet I find that the lower court appears to be completely oblivious of the provision of Section 53 of the Act and also some of the pronouncements of this Court wherein it has been held that an application under Section 18 of the Act is to be equated with a suit, an applicant with a plaintiff and an award with a decree (See Phuman v. The State of Punjab ILR (1963) 2 Punj 442 C. M. No. 305-C-I 1981 in RFA No. 148/1980: Union Territory of Chandigarh through the Land Acquisition Collector, Chandigarh v. Sardara Singh decided on 29th May, 1981): (reported in AIR 1981 Punj & Har 354). Section 53 of the Act specifically attracts the applicability of the provisions of the Civil P.C. so far as these are not inconsistent with anything contained in the Act to all the proceedings before the Land Acquisition Court. Reference under Section 18 of the Act is undoubtedly a proceeding under the Act and, thus, in the light of Section 53, the provisions of the Civil P.C. would certainly apply to these proceedings. I am quite conscious of the fact that in some judgments, such as Manananda Roy v. Sarish Chandra Tewari, (1910) 7 Ind Cas 10, Md. Ibrahim Sahib v. Land Acquisition Officer, AIR1958 Andh Pra 226 and Municipality Nalgonda v. Hakim Mohiuddin, AIR 1964 Andh Pra 395, it has been held that a person whose name is not mentioned in the Reference made by the Collector cannot be added as a party to the proceedings before the Court, yet in a good number of other judgments, such as Kishen Chand v. Jagannath Parshad (1903) ILR 25 All 133, Padmanabha Menon v. Bhaskara Menon, 1963 Ker LJ 724 and Mt. Sakalbaso Kuer v. Brijendra Singh, AIR 1967 Pat 243, it has been ruled that in the Land Acquisition Act, there is nothing inconsistent with the provisions of Order 1, Rule 10 Civil P. C. and, thus the Land Acquisition Court in extensive of its power under the later-mentioned provision read with Section 53 of the Act can certainly add a person as a party if it appears to it just to do so or to effectual and completely adjudicate upon the questions involved in the case. Within this Court also it has been held in Phuman Singh's case (ILR (1963) 2 Punj 442) (supra) in the context of Order 22 of the Civil P.C. that there is no inconsistency between the provisions of this order and Sections 20, 21, 23 and 26 of the Act. On a parity of reasoning given in this judgment, the Land Acquisition Court can, to my mind, invoke its powers under Order 1, Rule 10, Civil P.C. to add a party to the proceedings pending before it. Otherwise also, I find in the light of the provision of Section 20 of the Act that if the Land Acquisition Court is required to cause a notice specifying the day on which it will proceed to determine the objection and directing all 'persons interested' to put in appearance to particular and which has been compulsorily acquired under the Act not come before the Court and claim such notice and be heard.
5. For the reasons recorded above, I set aside the impugned order and direct the lower court to implode the petitioners as applicants/claimants to their respective References now pending before it. I pass no order to costs.
6. Petition allowed.