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Didar Singh Cheeda Vs. Sohan Singh Ram Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection;Civil
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberF.A.F.O. No. 10-E of 1964
Judge
Reported inAIR1966P& H282
ActsRepresentation of the People Act, 1951 - Sections 128(3); Evidence Act, 1872 - Sections 35; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 6, Rule 2; Constitution of India - Article 341; Constitution (Schedule Castes) Order, 1950
AppellantDidar Singh Cheeda
RespondentSohan Singh Ram Singh and ors.
Appellant Advocate B.S. Bindra, Adv.
Respondent Advocate H.L. Sibal and; S.C. Sibal, Advs. for No. 1
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredBasavalingappa v. D. Munichinappa Civil Appeal No.
Excerpt:
- sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply.....inder dev dua, j.1. this appeal under section 116a of the representation of the people act. 1951 (hereinafter called the act) is directed against the order of the election tribunal dated 28-8-1904 by means of which the election petition filed by shri sohan singh challenging the election of shri didar singh was allowed and the impugned election set aside. before us the appellant has assailed the decision on issues nos. 1 and 4.2. in so far as issue no. 4 is concerned, the learned counsel for the respondent has very frankly expressed his inability to support the decision of the learned tribunal. this issue relates to the poster 'annexure h' which was admittedly published by shri ajit singh. the election agent of didar singh the returned candidate, and the only question centred round the.....
Judgment:

Inder Dev Dua, J.

1. This appeal under section 116A of the Representation of the People Act. 1951 (hereinafter called the Act) is directed against the order of the Election Tribunal dated 28-8-1904 by means of which the election petition filed by Shri Sohan Singh challenging the election of Shri Didar Singh was allowed and the impugned election set aside. Before us the appellant has assailed the decision on issues Nos. 1 and 4.

2. In so far as issue No. 4 is concerned, the learned counsel for the respondent has very frankly expressed his inability to support the decision of the learned Tribunal. This issue relates to the poster 'Annexure H' which was admittedly published by Shri Ajit Singh. the election agent of Didar Singh the returned candidate, and the only question centred round the contention that this poster contained an appeal to the voters hit by section 123(3) of the Act. The poster, which has been reproduced in the order of the learned Tribunal, merely emphasises that Didar Singh had joined the 16th Shahidi jatha during the Akali movement and had participated in the guru ka bagh morcha. After that according to the poster, Didar Singh joined as a volunteer in the jatha of Gangsar Jaito which was fired at, and for that act he courted imprisonment for one month. Later he joined Jathas which took possession of Gurdwra Khadur Sahib and Gurdwara Loh-garh Sahib. During the British regime, land revenue, payable by the farmers was increased and a Kisan morcha was arranged at Lahore in which Didar Singh took a prominent part in sympathy with the Kisans. Again, he helped the poor people and warrants of arrest were issued against him in that connection. He also issued against him in that connection. He was also imprisoned for one month for taking part in Punjabi Suba agitation. Didar Singh has in this poster been praised as a tried soldier and a candidate of the Communist party who had been rendering service to the people and would continue to do so. The learned Tribunal has, however, considered this poster to be objectionable because of the reference to Didar Singh having joined the 16th Shahidi jatha during the Akali movement and to have participated in the guru ka bagh morcha and also to have later joined as a volunteer in the jatha of Gangsar Jaito. This reference, according to the learned Tribunal, shows that by means of this poster an appeal was made to Sikh voters of the constituency to vote for Shri Didar Singh in consideration of his services to the Sikh religion. After referring to the history of the guru ka bagh agitation, the learned Tribunal has concluded that section 123(3) of the Act is attracted. In my opinion, the view of the learned Tribunal is contrary to the ratio of the Supreme Court decisions in Kultar Singh v. Mukhtian Singh, AIR 1965 SC 141, and Jagdev Singh Sidhanti v. Partap Singh. 1964 Cur LJ (SC) 231 : (AIR 1965 SC 183) Since the respondent has not attempted to support the conclusion of the learned Tribunal, it is un-necessary to say anything more on it. The decision on issue No. 4 is accordingly reversed and the poster Annexure 'H' held innocuous and unobjectionable.

3. Coming to issue No. 1, the question canvassed at the bar relates to the Qualification of Didar Singh as a member of the Scheduled Caste to contest the election in dispute in that capacity. In the election petition, it has been urged that Didar Singh is not a member of the Scheduled Caste as declared by the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950, and that he wrongly represented himself to be a Ramdasi or Ramdasia. In fact, so proceeds the election petition. Didar Singh belongs to Rehtia caste which has not been declared to be a Scheduled Caste. As the constituency in question is a reserved constituency Didar Singh had no right to contest the election from this constituency. We are at this stage not concerned with the other objection that the successful candidate's real name is Dalbar Singh and not Didar Singh because this allegation was repelled by the Tribunal and has not been agitated before us. The learned Tribunal has come to the conclusion that Didar Singh is a Rehtia by caste which is not a declared Scheduled Caste and, therefore, he was not qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Legislative Assembly reserved for Scheduled Castes.

4. At this stage, it may be noted that according to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 dated 10-8-1950, in so far as the Stale of Punjab is concerned among others, Chamar, Jatia Chamar, Rehgar, Raigar, Ramdasi or Ravidasi have been declared to be Scheduled Castes. The appellant has submitted that he is a Ramdasia by caste and is entitled to contest the election in question. According to him, even some of the election petitioner's witnesses have supported the appellant's case. Reference has been made to Nirvair Singh, P. W 4, who has in his cross-examination deposed that Rehtia Sikhs are Ramdasias who have taken amrit from Sikh religion. This witness is a Head Teacher, Government Primary School, Chida. Smt. Gurdip Kaur, P. W. 10, is also a Teacher. Government Primary School, at Khote who has in answer to a Court question deposed that by Rehtia Sikh, she understands Ramdasia Harijan. Gurba-chan Singh P. W. 13 has in his examination-in-chief deposed that Didar Singh is a Rehtia Sikh. This witness again appeared as R. W. 3, having been called by Didar Singh when he was confronted with Exhibits R. E. and R. F. Balwant Singh, brother of Didar Singh. was described in those documents as Ramdasia and those documents were attested by the witness. Referring to his own evidence, the appellant's learned counsel has, to begin with, drawn our attention to Exhibit R. D., a copy of an entry from the register of deaths Police Station Mahalpur, in which Charan Singh son of Gulab Singh, who died on 13-2-1911 has been described to be a Ramdasia Hindu by caste. Shri Jai Pal, Clerk of the office of Civil Surgeon Hoshiarpur. R W 1, has proved this copy to be correct. According to the original entry in the register. Charan Singh, it may be observed, is slated to be the lather of the appellant Didar Singh Kehar Singh R W 5, is a sarpanch of the Village Panchayal of Achharwal to which Didar Singh belongs. He has proved Charan Singh deceased to be the father of Didar Singh and Gulab Singh to be the father of Charan Singh. This witness had deposed that Didar Singh is Ramdasia by caste. Other members of this brotherhood are also residing in the witness's village. Labh Singh, R W 6, has also deposed about Didar Singh's father and grandfather being Charan Singh and Gulab Singh Gulab Singh and Jodh Singh were real brothers Jodh Singh, it may be pointed out, is the grandfather of Labh Singh witness. The witness claims himself to be a Ramdasia by caste. He had been employed in the Army and was discharged as per R W 6/A in which he is described as a Sikh Ramdasia. This discharge certificate has been produced in evidence Balbir Singh R W 15 has also deposed that Didar Singh belongs to Ramdasia caste and has been living in village Chida for the last about 30/35 years. Didar Singh himself has also appeared in his own favour and has deposed that he belongs originally to village Achharwal but has described himself to be a resident of village Chida. He has given his and Labh Singh's pedigree table according to which Sura Singh was their common ancestor. He has solemnly deposed that he is a Ramdasia by caste. According to him, a person who is a Chamar or Ramdasia is called a Rahtia on taking amrit. He had taken to Rehat in the year 1916-17. In cross-examination, he has been confronted with Exhibit P. G/1 which is form in which the caste of Jas-mail Singh his nephew is given as Ratia Sikh. The witness signed this form at the back in Gurmukhi and admitted that his nephew's caste is the same as his In cross-examination he was also questioned about the origin and meaning of Ramdasia and he deposed that Ramdasia is the follower of Bhagat Ramdas and not of the fourth Guru of the Sikhs According to him. Ramdasi and Ramdasia connotes the same thing. He has also been confronted with his written statement dated 3-12-1903 in which it is stated that 'Guru Ramdas followers are known as Ramdasias, sometimes spelled and pronounced as Ramdasi Ramdasi is a declared Scheduled Caste and the respondent is Ramdasi'

5. The learned Election Tribunal. Shri Sant Ram Garg. has in the impugned order virtually excluded Exhibit R D. from consideration with the observation that there is practically no evidence to connect the entry contained in this document with the father of Didar Singh Labh Singh. R W 6 having not deposed that he had seen Shri Gulab Singh. nor having deposed about the relationship on the basis of opinion expressed by conduct as contemplated by section 50. Indian Evidence Act. this document, in the opinion of the Tribunal, had not been properly proved. It has further been observed that there was no evidence as to who had dictated the entry relating to the death of Didar Singh's father. R W 6/A the discharge certificate of Labh Singh. R W 6. has also been ruled out by the Tribunal on the ground that the same has not been proved in accordance with law. There was no stamp or seal of the authority issuing it and the Tribunal, there-fore, considered its authenticity to be doubtful It has been added that merely because a Ratia takes into his head to describe himself as Ram dasia for securing some more concession, this would not necessarily indicate his true caste. The two documents mentioned above and other oral evidence, in the opinion of the Tribunal, are insufficient to rebut the appellant's admission and that of his brother Balwant Singh and of Bahwant Singh's daughter during 1955 to 1959 that they were Ratia Sikhs. The appellant's learned counsel has challenged this view of the Tribunal and has submitted that Exhibit R. D. and Exhibit R W 6/A are very strong pieces of evidence which go to establish affirmatively that the appellant is a Ramdasia by caste and that the admissions to which the Tribunal has referred in the impugned order do not disprove the appellant's caste to be Ramdasia. whether or not they can be held to show that Didar Singh. Balwant Singh and his daughter have also at times been described as Rahtias. The document, RW6/A according to the counsel, purporting, as it does, to be thirty years old and having been produced from proper custody, attracts the presumption under section 90, Indian Evidence Act; no reason having been shown as to why the presumption as to the authenticity of the signature of the officer concerned and of the other parts of the document be not raised and why the document should not be presumed to be in the handwriting of the officer in whose handwriting it purports to be. Absence of seal on the original document is according to the appellant's learned counsel, immaterial in these circumstances of the case, because it is not shown that such discharge certificates usually bear any such seal.

6. We have looked at the original document RW 6/A ourselves and we do not find anything suspicious about it and indeed no suspicious circumstance has been suggested even by the respondent's learned counsel The document has been produced from custody which we consider to be quite proper and the document itself, ancient as it is seems to us to be free from any reasonable suspicion as to its genuineness. On behalf of the respondent, no serious attempt has been made to show that such documents, as a rule, bear any stamp, as apparently assumed by the learned Tribunal. As a matter of fact the question of admissibility of this document has been disposed of by it in a some-what sketchy manner without devoting to it due attention. It is not understood why on the facts and circumstances Labh Singh's statement that this document is his discharge certificate should not be believed. The Tribunal below was in out opinion, wrong in excluding it from consideration and in not attaching to it the importance it deserves Exhibit R.D is a copy of an entry from the register of deaths, police station Mahalpur. dated 24-2-1911. and it shows that Charan Singh son of Gulab Singh of village Achharwal aged 50 years, caste Ramdasia Hindu, died on 13-2-1911. and the information reached the police station and was entered in the register on 24-2-1911. It is not disputed that this document falls within the purview of section 35, Indian Evidence Act. The question, however, is, does it relate to Charan Singh. father of the appellant Didar Singh? It is not suggested and is, indeed, nobody's case that there was any other Charan Singh. son of Gulab Singh. Ramdasia by caste of village Achharwal. to whom this entry might relate. It is also not shown by either side that Charan Singh. father of Didar Singh. died on some other date and. indeed no attempt has been made to produce an entry relating to his death from the register of deaths. In a village like Achharwal which is not shown to be big particularly in the year 1911, if there had been some other Charan Singh, son of Gulab Singh. Ramdasia by caste, then one would have expected the respondent to have adduced some evidence to that effect But. all these factors notwithstanding, it appears that mere production of a copy of this document would not, as a matter of law. connect the entry with the appellant's father, particularly when the appellant too has in his own statement as a witness, omitted, for reasons best known to him, to say anything about this entry. This document has, therefore, to be excluded from consideration.

7. It is helpful at this stage to advert to two documents, Exhibits, R.E. and R.F., produced by Shri Mit Singh, Headmaster, Government High School, Bambia Bhai, R.W 2. Exhibit R.E. is an application for fee-concession of Jasmel Singh son of Balwant Singh, in which he is described as belonging to Ramdasia Scheduled Caste, and exhibit R.F. is the supporting affidavit of Balwant Singh also describing himself as Ramdasia, which is stated to be a backward caste according to regulation 21 of the Education Code. Both Exhibits R.E. and R.F. are attested by Gurbachan Singh Sarpanch who was produced as PW 13 by Sohan Singh on 6-2-1964 when he stated that Didar Singh is Rehtia Sikh. In his cross-examination in answer to a direct question, he first categorically denied having attested any application by Jasmel Singh son of Balwant Singh, brother of Didar Singh, student of village Bambai Bhai, for remission of fee, in which it was assorted that the said Jasmel Singh was Ramdasia: but later after saying that he had himself not written any such thing the witness admitted having attested an application though denving that he had written on it that Jasmel Singh was a Ramdasia Sikh. Apparently, in an attempt to explain away his attestation of these two documents, the witness added that in cases of remission of fee he signs without going through the contents of the applications in order to help poor persons. He denied having ever met Sohan Singh. but he came to the Tribunal unsummoned to give evidence in this case on Sohan Singh's request, whom he admitted to have met at Moga a day previously. He denied the suggestion that he was politically opposed to Didar Singh. After the production of Exhibits R.E. and R.F. Gurbachan Singh was summoned by Didar Singh as K.W 3 for being confronted with his signatures on these documents, as also with the express mention in them that Jasmel Singh is a Ramdasia. He admitted his signatures, but explained that ordinarily he does not see the caste stated when recommending applications for exemption of fee. This explanation, unworthy as it is of a responsible person like a Sarpanch does not relied creditably on the way of working of the panchayal system, the success of which requires that Ranches and Sarpanches should possess firm moral character and adequate sense of responsibility. These documents appear to me to be of considerable value. The Tribunal has unfortunately disposed them of in a some what slipshod manner, which I find exceedingly difficult to appreciate or even to understand I may here quote the actual words of the Tribunal.

'The witness explained that his attestation was obtained without his knowledge of the contents of the documents because it was a simple application relating to exemption of fees of the son of Balwant Singh. The contents of these documents were not formally proved by the returned candidate and could not be read to say that they related to the nephew of the returned candidate.'

Now, Gurbachan Singh, whom Sohan Singh has produced as PW 18, and who has deposed against Didar Singh in the matter of publication of some posters and also about his alleged speeches in which he is alleged to have sought funds by appealing in the name of Sikh religion and Panjabi Suba, has, as R.W. 3, been constrained, when confronted with exhibits R.E. and R.F., to admit in unambiguous words that Balwant Singh, father of Jasmel Singh, is brother of Didar Singh. It is significant that as R.W 3 Gurbachan Singh has not been cross-examined at all on behalf of Sohan Singh. In face of the clear unequivocal testimony of Gurbachan Singh Sarpanch, it is not easy to understand the observations of the learned Tribunal that exhibits R.E. and R.E., to quote him 'could not be read to say that they related to the nephew of the returned candidate.' In my opinion, it is amply proved that these two documents relate to Didar Singh's nephew and in them Jasmel Singh was stated to be Ramdasia, a Scheduled Caste, and this was attested by Sarpanch Gurbachan Singh. These documents, which are of value, have apparently been ignored by the Tribunal on erroneous grounds. Before us, no serious attempt has been made on behalf of the respondent either to exclude these documents from consideration or to explain as to why the description of Jasmel Singh as Ramdasia in these documents should be considered to have been wrongly made. It is no doubt true that in exhibits P.G. and P.G./l to 4, three daughters and two sons of Balwant Singh have been described as Rehtia Sikhs and Harijans, profession weaving, but reading them along with exhibits R.E. and R.F., it would clearly suggest that. Rehtia and Ramdasia have both been used by this family. Reference at the bar has also been made to exhibit P.A., which is an affidavit of Didar Singh dated 27-1-1962, and exhibits P.B./l to 3, his nomination papers, in which he has declared himself to be Ramdasia but these documents, for obvious reasons, cannot possess much value.

8. Counsel at the bar have devoted some time in referring to certain dictionaries and other books of reference in support of their respective submissions on the question as to whether Rehtia is a distinct and separate caste from Ramdasia or whether it is an expression of general import, which merely connotes a person belonging to the so called Backward classes, who has taken amrit in other words, has become purified. The appellant has relied upon Kahan Singh's Shabda Katnakar Kosh at pp 760, 767, 768 and 775. where the meanings of Kahtia, Ramdasia and Ravidasia are given. Some of the remarks suggest that Rehtia is not a separate caste but it connotes a chamar converted to Sikhism. Punjabi-English Dictionary by Bhai Maya Singh, issued by the Language Department of Punjab in 1961, has been cited, in which Rahit has been described to be 'way of life' and Ramdasi, Ramdasia etc. have been staled to be disciples of Ram Das or chamar caste. In 'Punjab Castes' by Ibbetson, Rehtias have been described at p. 297 to be miscellaneous tribes of chamars. In Rose's Glossary of Tribes etc. of Punjab etc., it is emphasised, Rehtia is not referred at all. Reference on behalf of the appellant has lastly been made to Punjabi Dictionary by Bhai Bisham-bar Dass Prem (1922), in which Rehtia means mode of Sikh living and also chuhra or chamar converted to Sikhism. Ramdasi is stated to be a chela of Ram Das and also a chamar, and Ram Das is also stated to be the fourth Guru.

9. As against this, the respondent's learn-ed counsel has, in support of his contention that even Ramdasi and Ramdasia are different castes, referred us to the 'Manual of Election Law' at page 40, item No 16 relating to Rajas-than State, and page 16, item No. 14 relating to Himachal Pradesh. In regard to Rajasthan State, item No. 16 includes, inter alia, chamar. mochi, Raidas, and Ramdasia; and in regard to Himachal Pradesh. item No 14 mentions chamar. mochi Ramdasi. Ravidasi or Ramdasia. The counsel has also made a reference to the 'Punjab Castes' by Ibbetson (1916 edition), at page 300. where Rehtia is staled to be a Sikh chamar, who has taken to weaving and it is added that even a Mussulman may be a Rehtia. Reference has next been made to the 'Glossary of Tribes' by Maclagan. Volume II. al p 149. where under the heading 'Chamars'. Rehtias have been noticed in Ludhiana and even Mus-sulmans are mentioned as Rehtias. Some other books like 'History of Akali Movement' by Giani Dit Singh. etc to which Shri Sibbal has referred, are in my opinion, of little assistance because they can neither be considered to he authoritative books of reference nor do they contain any directly helpful material. Reference has been made to the 'Census of India 1891', Volume 19 in which chamars are said to include Rehtias. Ramdasias etc. On behalf of the respondent, an attempt has also been made to rely on Electoral Rolls (1950) of some constituencies for the purpose of showing that certain voters entered therein have been described to be Ramdasi Hindus. Ramdasia Sikhs or Rehtias and on some Electoral Rolls (1948-49) in which also Rehtia and Ramdasia voters appear. We have not been persuaded to consider these entries in these sets of Electoral Rolls, because they are not on the record and the appellant would clearly he prejudiced and taken by surprise by their production as evidence at this stage. As a matter of fact, no prayer for their admission as additional evidence was ever made in accordance with law. The value of the description of some voters in these Rolls also seems to me to be doubtful.

10. Insofar as the oral evidence on the record is concerned, the respondent's witnesses have slated that Didar Singh is a Rehtia and Rehtias are different from Ramdasias. whereas the appellant's witnesses have deposed that Didar Singh is a Ramdasia Shrimati Gurmail Kaur PW 5, Teacher. Government Primary School, Takhtupura has gone to the length of deposing that Rehtias and Ramdasia have no social dealings with each other and Shrimati Gurdip Kaur PW 10, also a Teacher, Government Primary School, Khote, has in her cross-examination stated that Balwant Singh is a Ramdasia Harijan. In answer to Court question, she has explained that by Rehlia Sikhs she under-stands Ramdasia Harijans. The learned Tribunal has observed in the order under appeal that the oral testimony of either side is partial and, therefore, not of much avail in proving the case of either party. It has for this reason mainly depended on exhibits P.G. and P.G./l to 4 for concluding against the appellant. This approach, as would be clear from the foregoing discussion, is not easy to appreciate and the conclusion thus reached difficult to uphold. The oral testimony led on behalf of the appellant appears to me to be distinctly of superior quality and more credible than led by the respondent and indeed, some of the respondent's witnesses could not successfuly stand the test of cross-examination.

11. Respondent's learned counsel being conscious of and faced with the above evidence on the record has tried to concentrate on the appellant's written statement in his attempt to persuade us that the evidence brought on the record should be ignored as being outside the pleadings Our attention has been drawn to para 9 of the written statement dated 31-7-1962. in which it is averred that Didar Singh is a Ramdasia and that there is no such caste as Rehtia Reference has then been made to Sohan Singh's applications dated 10-8-1962 and 10-10-1962 for amendment of the election petition and Didar Singh's replies thereto Finally reference has been made to the amended writ-ten statement, dated 3-12-1963, to the last amended election petition in which it is averred that Guru Ram Das's followers are known as Ramdasias. but this word is spelled and pronounced both as Ramdasi and Ramdasia Ramdasia is however, a declared Scheduled Caste and Didar Singh is a Ramdasi. In the background of these pleadings the teamed counsel has referred us to Didar Singh's statement as a witness, in which he has deposed that he is a Ramdasia by caste, that he had also taken Rehat in 1916-17 and that a chamar or Ramdasia. who has taken amrit is called a Rehtia. The counsel has very forcefully urged that Didar Singh should be pinned down to the position that he is a Ramdasi and the pleas taken in the amended written statements even though in answer to Sohan Singh's amended petition should be excluded from consideration. The contention is unsound and unacceptable No cogent ground has been shown for treating the amended written statements duly filed and accepted in answer to the amended election petitions as if they are not on the record. It is no doubt true that rules of pleadings are meant to help the Court in narrowing controversies, but it is equally true that pleadings in this country are not to be construed too technically and indeed, our attention has not been drawn to any rule justifying the course suggest-ed on behalf of the respondent. The object of pleadings is generally to see where the parties differ, so that each side may be fully alive to the questions in issue in order to be able to bring forward appropriate evidence. The appellant's pleadings do seem to serve this object without violating any rule of law or procedure. On the facts of this rase. I am unable to find it possible to accept the respondent's submission at this stage. Evidence it may be remembered has been led by both sides on the existing pleadings. Of course, in appreciating the evidence and in considering the whole case it would, indeed, be open to this Court, as it was to the Tribunal, to keep in view the variations in the pleadings of the parties at different stages.

12. In the light of the foregoing discussion, I entertain little doubt that on the evidence on the record it is difficult to hold that Didar Singh was not qualified to file his nomination papers and to contest the election, as urged by the respondent and found by the Tribunal. The oral evidence placed on the record by the parties discloses a clear preponderance in favour of Didar Singh a Ramdasi and the appreciation of this evidence by the learned Tribunal appears to me to be far front satisfactory. To brush it aside with the re-mark that it is partial does suggest that it has not been properly scrutinised. Exhibits R.E.. and R.F. also clearly support the appellant and the Tribunal seems to me to be in error in thinking that they do not relate to Didar Singh's nephew. Exhibit P W. 6/A too seems to have been wrongly excluded from consideration. Exhibits P G and P.G /1 to 4 do not appear to be inconsistent with Didar Singh being a Ramdasi, because on the material on the record it is not possible to hold that the expression Rehtia and Ramdasi necessarily ex-elude each other.

13. Coming now to the dictionaries and the publications like the 'Punjab Castes' by Ibbetson, 'Glossary of Tribes' and 'Census of India (1891) etc.. they do not seem to me to furnish sufficiently clear and cogent material for holding that Rehtia is a distinct and separate caste from Ramdasi in the sense that it is not possible to conceive of a Ramdasi being also called a Rehtia In this part of the country the position regarding the Backward Classes like chamars etc.. some of whom, not infrequently take to weaving and who may choose to take amrit in order to elevate their social status, seems to have been traditionally in a fluid state insofar as their description goes. The expressions Ramdasi. Ramdasia or Ruvida-sia also do not seem to possess or convey any clear-cut or crystallised distinctive characters-ties. The result of the researches apparently made by various authors does not seem to me to justify the submission that these expressions respectively carry precise, exact and distinctive meanings excluding the possibility of some individuals ultimately using any one of these epithets interchangeably. The distinction seems to me to have recently assumed importance in the eyes of the politically conscious individuals as a result of the special representations given to some castes under Article 341 of the Constitution. The publication to which reference has been made at the bar are accordingly of little assistance to the respondent: indeed, they only serve to fortify the view that the position has all along been somewhat confused and certainly un-precise.

14. There is one judgment of the Supreme Court, which requires to be noticed. The respondent's Iearned counsel has sought some support from the Supreme Court decision in Basavalingappa v. D. Munichinappa Civil Appeal No. 401 of 1964. D/- 23-9-1964 :(AIR 1965 SC 1269). and he has referred us to 1964 Supreme Court Notes. Case No. 242. at p. 178. I have secured a copy of the judgment from the Supreme Court and I am unable to find anything helpful to the respondent in this judgment. Even the passage reproduced in the Supreme Court Notes is, in the face of my conclusions, unhelpful to the respondent.

15. The result of the above discussion is that the decision of the learned Tribunal on issues Nos 1 and 4 must be reversed and allowing the appeal the election petition is dismissed with costs. We have been asked to assess costs in the Tribunal to be allowed to the appellant. We fix these costs at Rs. 500/-

16. There is also a connected appeal of Sohan Singh (F.A.O No. 11-E of 1964), in which the memorandum of appeal enumerates challenges to the order of the Tribunal on various issues and also claims the seat for himself. We have, however not been addressed at all in support of this appeal, perhaps advisedly, which, in any case, fails in view of the success of Didar Singh's appeal. This appeal is thus dismissed, but since costs have been allowed in the other appeal, we make no order as to costs in this appeal.

S.B. Capoor, J.


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