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Gram Panchayat Vs. Director Panchayats and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 4236 of 2005
Judge
Reported in(2005)141PLR54
ActsPunjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 - Sections 11; East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948 - Sections 42; East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Rules, 1948; Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulations) Rules, 1960; Constitution of India - Articles 226 and 227
AppellantGram Panchayat
RespondentDirector Panchayats and ors.
Advocates: Surjit Singh, Sr. Adv. and; Naresh Jain, J.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases Referred(S.C.) and Gram Panchayat Sidh v. Additional Director Consolidation of Holdings
Excerpt:
.....state or regional transport authority has not communicated the order of refusal passed to the persons concerned, the period of limitation for filing an appeal would commence from the date when the parties concerned acquire knowledge of passing of the said order. - - we have-tested the impugned order of the director of land records, punjab, against which writ petition was rejected by the high court, on the anvil of the punjab village common lands (regulations) act, 1960 and the rules framed thereunder as well as the east punjab holdings (consolidation and prevention of fragmentation) act, 1948 and the rules framed thereunder......and 4.2.2005, annexures p-6 and p-7 respectively, whereby an application, filed by the petitioner-gram panchayat, under section 11 of the punjab village common lands (regulation) act, 1961 (for short herein after referred to as 'the act'), has been dismissed.2. the respondent-proprietors filed a petition under section 42 of the east punjab holdings (consolidation and prevention of fragmentation) act, 1948 (for short herein after referred to as 'the act of 1948'), for partition of shamlat land. vide order dated 4.7.1991 (annexure p-2), the said application was dismissed as withdrawn. thereafter, the respondent-proprietors filed another application under section 42 of the act of 1948. vide order dated 4.2.1992 (annexure p-3), the director of land records, punjab jalandhar, exercising.....
Judgment:

Rajive Bhalla, J.

1. Prayer in the present writ petition, filed under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India, is for quashing the orders dated 9.11.2004 and 4.2.2005, Annexures P-6 and P-7 respectively, whereby an application, filed by the petitioner-Gram Panchayat, under Section 11 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 (for short herein after referred to as 'the Act'), has been dismissed.

2. The respondent-proprietors filed a petition under Section 42 of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948 (for short herein after referred to as 'the Act of 1948'), for partition of shamlat land. Vide order dated 4.7.1991 (Annexure P-2), the said application was dismissed as withdrawn. Thereafter, the respondent-proprietors filed another application under Section 42 of the Act of 1948. Vide order dated 4.2.1992 (Annexure P-3), the Director of Land Records, Punjab Jalandhar, exercising powers under Section 42 of the Act of 1948, accepted the application and directed partition of the shamlat land which, as per his findings, has been wrongly allotted to the Gram Panchayat by making an excessive cut in the land holdings of the proprietors. The said order, Annexure P-3, was challenged by the Gram Panchayat-petitioner by way of C.W.P. No. 5227 of 1992, which was dismissed by this Court, vide order dated 7.5.1992 (Annexure P-4), Civil Appeal No. 6584 of 1995, filed by the petitioner-Gram Panchayat against the order, Annexure P-3, was dismissed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, vide order dated 27.8.1998.

3. The petitioner-Gram Panchayat thereafter filed an application under Section 11 of the Act seeking a declaration of its title qua the land, which had been ordered to be partitioned by the consolidation authorities, contending therein that the order, passed by the Director of Land Records, was without jurisdiction and void. The question of title qua Shamlat den could only be decided by the Collector, exercising powers under Section 11 of the Act. The petitioner placed reliance upon judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court reported as Gram Panchayat Nurpur v. State of Punjab and Ors., (1997-2)116 P.L.R. 694 (S.C.) and Gram Panchayat Sidh v. Additional Director Consolidation of Holdings, Punjab and Ors., 1997(1) P.L.J. 313, wherein the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that the power to decide a question of title vis-a-vis shamlat land vests with the Collector under Section 11 of the Act and not the Director of Land Records under Section 42 of the Act of 1948. The Collector dismissed the application, filed by the Gram Panchayat holding that as the order of the Director had been affirmed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, on the basis of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 as also the Consolidation Act, the application under Section 11 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 was not maintainable. The appeal also met with the same fate,

4. Counsel for the petitioner contends that the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held in Gram Panchayat Nurpur 's case (supra) and Gram Panchayat Sidh's case (supra) that the Collector, exercising powers under Section 11 of the Act, is the sole authority to decide a question of title regarding shamlat land. The Director of Land Records, exercising powers under Section 42 of the Act of 1948, had no jurisdiction to decide as to whether, the land vested in the Gram Panchayat or not and, therefore, the order, passed by the consolidation authorities being void, the Collector, exercising the powers under Section 11 of the Act, should have accepted the Gram Panchayat's petition and proceeded to decide the same ignoring the order of the Director of Land Records, even though affirmed by this Court as also by the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

5. We have heard learned counsel for the petitioner and perused the pleadings, as also the impugned orders.

6. The Collector, as also the appellate authority have dismissed the petition, filed under Section 11 of the Act, primarily on the ground that the order of the Director Land Records, directing partition of shamlat land was upheld by this Court in C.W.P. No. 5227 of 1992, decided on 7.5.199, as also by the Hon'ble Supreme Court n Civil Appeal No. 6584 of 1995. The order passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, while dismissing the aforementioned Civil Appeal, filed by the petitioner-Gram Panchayat, reads as follows:-

'We have-tested the impugned order of the Director of Land Records, Punjab, against which writ petition was rejected by the High Court, on the anvil of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulations) Act, 1960 and the Rules framed thereunder as well as the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948 and the Rules framed thereunder. It is clear that the proprietorship of the land involved in the litigation could have never vested in the Panchayat. That is the view taken by the Director. There is no ground to take a different view. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed.'

A perusal of the aforementioned order reveals that the Hon'ble Supreme Court has considered the arguments, raised by the Gram Panchayat, not only on the basis of the provision of the Consolidation Act but also on the anvil of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961. The said order records a clear and categoric finding that the proprietorship of the land involved in the litigation could have never vested in the Panchayat setting at rest, the controversy raised in this petition.

7. The question of title having been settled inter parties up to the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Collector rightly dismissed the application under Section 11 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961. The Collector, as also the Commissioner rightly held that they had no jurisdiction to decide a question of title afresh, once such a plea had been settled by the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

In view of what has been stated above, we find no merit in the present writ petition and the same is dismissed in limine with no order as to costs.


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