1. In order to appreciate the point involved in this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, the facts may be shortly stated.
(2) One Ramditta Mal who owned some properties in Pakistan had a verified claim for Rs. 24,977/- and he was entitled to compensation to the extent of Rs. 7740/-. He had been allotted the premises in dispute together with Roshan Lal respondent in the year 1948. Ramditta mal died on 24th October 1956 leaving behind a widow who is the petitioner, three sons and a daughter. On the 4th of March 1958 substitution proceedings started consequent on the death of Ramditta Mal and while they were pending, on the 17th March, 1958, the Managing Officer declared that the petitioner was ineligible for allotment of the portion which was in occupation of Ramditta Mal but later on, on 30th April 1958, the allotment which stood in the name of Ramditta Mal was transferred to her by the Managing Officer.
This was after a statement had been made one 25th April 1958 by the sons and daughter of the petitioner relinquishing their rights in the verified claims of Ramditta Mal in favour of the petitioner. On 26th June 1958 an appeal which had been filed against the order of the Managing Officer declaring, the petitioner to be ineligible for allotment was dismissed. On revision the Deputy Chief Settlement Commissioner made an order on 30th August, 1958 in which he held that the petitioner was an heir of the deceased allottee and also an occupant within the meaning of Rule 30 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Rules, 1955 and that she was entitled to the transfer of the property under that Rule.
The respondent Roshan Lal preferred a revision petition to the Central Government which was disposed of on 20th January 1959 by Mr. Johnson, Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Rehabilitation. He seems to consider that the petitioner could not be said to be the sole successor-in-interest of Ramditta Mal and that the other heirs of the deceased could not by relinquishing their rights in her favour clothe her with a status by which she could claim allotment of the house in preference to Roshan Lal respondent. The order of the Deputy Chief Settlement Commissioner was set aside and it was directed that the house should be transferred to Roshan Lal, respondent.
(3) It has been contended on behalf of the petitioner but there is an error apparent in the order of Mr. Johnson inasmuch as he considered that the other heirs of Ramditta Mal could not relinquish their rights in favour of the petitioner and that she could not be treated as fulfilling the conditions laid down under Rule 30 for the purposes of the allotment of the property in question in preference to respondent Roshan Lal.
It is urged that Rule 30 contains no bar against relinquishment of claims by one set of heirs in favour of another and if the sons and the daughter of the deceased in the present case decided to relinquish their claim in favour of their mother, there was no reason or justification for not treating her as one who was holding a verified claim to the same extent as her deceased husband Ramditta Mal held. Mr. Johnson relied on Rule 19 but a reference to that Rule shows that it had no relevancy so far as the present case is concerned.
That Rule provides for computation of compensation with regard to claim relating to properties left by members of undivided Hindu family in West Pakistan and it is laid down that where on26th September 1955 (being the relevant date) the joint family consisted of two other members entitled to claim partition, the compensation payable to such family shall be computed by dividing the verified claim into two equal shares and calculating the compensation separately o n each such share and where the family consisted of four or more members the compensation shall be computed by dividing the verified claim into three equal shares and calculating the compensation separately on each such shares.
There can be no doubt that if the other heirs of Ramditta Mal had not relinquished their rights in favour of the petitioner the compensation would have been computed in accordance with Rule 19. But after the entire claim came to vest in the petitioner on the other heirs having relinquished their rights, Rule 19 would have no applicability at all. It does appear, therefore, that there is an error of an apparent nature in the order of Mr. Johnson who exercised the power of Government under Section 33 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954.
It has been contended on behalf of the respondent that the position that has to be seen is the one at the date of the allotment which is to be made under Rule 30 and that in the present case the Managing Officer had declared on 17th March 1958 that the petitioner was ineligible for allotment whereas the respondent Roshan Lal was entitled to it. It is significant, however, that on 30th April 1958, the Managing Officer had himself transferred the allotment which stood in the name of Ramditta mal deceased to the petitioner.
Moreover, the order of the Managing Officer dated 17th March 1958 was made while the substitution proceedings consequent on the death of Ramditta Mal where still pending and before the other heirs had made statements relinquishing their rights in the verified claims of Ramditta Mal. I find no force in the contention that has been raised on behalf of the respondent Roshan Lal.
(4) For the reasons given above, this petition is allowed and the order of Mr. Johnson dated 20th January 1959 is hereby quashed. Considering all the circumstances of the case I leave the parties to bear their own costs.
(5) Petition allowed.