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Shri 108 Swami Ganesh Dass Ji UdasIn Vs. Chief Settlement Commissioner and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 417 of 1969
Judge
Reported inILR1977Delhi171
ActsDisplaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 - Sections 2(1)
AppellantShri 108 Swami Ganesh Dass Ji Udasin
RespondentChief Settlement Commissioner and anr.
Advocates: N.N. Keshwani,; Ramesh Keshwani,; A.B. Saharia,;
Excerpt:
displaced persons (compensation & rehabilitation) act (1954) - sections 2(1)(e) & 7--trust property for a religious and charitable purpose--verified claim--whether entitled to a compensation under the act--suo-motu revision--power of the chief settlement commissioner--time within which it could be exercised.; in the instant case, the petitioner applied for the compensation under the displaced persons (compensation & rehabilitation) act with respect to a property received by him under a will from his guru. the petitioner also took out a probate with respect to that property, which was granted to him. the petitioner on the basis of a verified claim was held entitled to compensation under the displaced persons (compensation & rehabilitation) act. however, the chief.....prithvi raj, j.(1) by this writ petition, the petitioner prays that order dated 31st january, 1969, passed by respondent no. 1, chief settlement commissioner, ministry of labour, employment and rehabilitation, annexure 'u', be set aside and that an appropriate writ, direction or order be issued to the respondents asking them to carry out order dated 15th april, 1957, annexure 'j', passed by shri m. d. sharma. assistant custodian evacuee property-cum-settlement officer, whereby the petitioner was held entitled to receive the sum of rs. 1,31,992 as compensation in the shape of property out of the compensation pool against his verified claims. (2) facts necessary for the disposal of this petition may be recorded here. one swami harnam dass ji belonging to udasin sect of sadhus is alleged to.....
Judgment:

Prithvi Raj, J.

(1) By this writ petition, the petitioner prays that order dated 31st January, 1969, passed by respondent No. 1, Chief Settlement Commissioner, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Rehabilitation, Annexure 'U', be set aside and that an appropriate writ, direction or order be issued to the respondents asking them to carry out order dated 15th April, 1957, Annexure 'J', passed by Shri M. D. Sharma. Assistant Custodian Evacuee Property-cum-Settlement Officer, whereby the petitioner was held entitled to receive the sum of Rs. 1,31,992 as compensation in the shape of property out of the compensation pool against his verified claims.

(2) Facts necessary for the disposal of this petition may be recorded here. One Swami Harnam Dass Ji belonging to Udasin sect of Sadhus is alleged to have owned a large number of properties of his own in Sukkur (Sind) and at other places in West Pakistan, mentioned, in list, Annexure 'A'. According to the petitioner the Sadhus belonging to the sect of Udasin owned private properties of secular nature and the same descend from Mahant to Chela when adopted by the Mahant. The petitioner contends that the properties mentioned in Annexure 'A' were held by Swami Harnam Dass as full and exclusive owner and not in the capacity of trustee of properties in the nature of religious or charitable public trust. The case of the petitioner is that 38 years ago he was given to Swami Harnam Dass for adoption as 'Chela'. Thereupon he was adopted as a 'Chela' by Swamiji. It is further alleged that Swami Harnam Dass had several Chelas besides the petitioner. Swami Harnam Dass is stated to have bequeathed all his property solely in favor of the petitioner by a will dated 15-11-1947, English translation of which is Annexure 'B'.

(3) Swami Harnam Dass along with the petitioner in 1949 on account of civil disturbances migrated to India and resided in India till his death. It is alleged that Swami Harnam Dass died on 13th December, 1949 at Varanasi (U.P.) leaving the petitioner as his sole surviving heir and successor to all the properties mentioned in Annexure 'A'. The petitioner applied to the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad for the grant of probate of the said will. The High Court on 10th April, 1951, granted the probate, copy Annexure 'C'. The petitioner further alleges that he as a 'displaced person' applied for the registration and verification of his claims for all the properties mentioned in Annexure 'A', that the claims officers held necessary enquiries, took evidence, and examined the documents, and that accepting the petitioner as the owner of the properties verified the claims of the petitioner at an aggregate value of Rs. 8,63,100 vide orders, copies Exhibit D to I. The petitioner made an application for awarding to him compensation on the basis of his verified claim. The petitioner claims that an order dated 15th April, 1954, annexure J, was passed entitling him to receive Rs. 1.31,992 in the shape of properties out of the compensation pool anywhere in India holding that no dues were outstanding against him.

(4) The grievance of the petitioner is that subsequently a notice dated 15th December, 1958, (wrongly dated 15th December, 1959) copy Annexure K, issued by Assistant Settlement Commissioner was received by him informing him that orders dated 20th May, 1952, 23rd August, 1952 and 20th December, 1952, (Claims Index No. S/ SR-9/4227/C) passed in respect of his claims were sought to be revised and he was asked to show cause against it. Further, his grievance is that no notice was given to him in respect of the orders dated 5th July, 1952, and 6th January, 1953 by which orders his two other claims had been verified. Despite that omission, the petitioner contends, all his verified claims were consolidated and by a single order dated 24th January, 1959, copy Annexure L, the Additional Settlement Commissioner revised the above-said orders passed by the claims officers and set aside all the orders in toto by exercising the powers of revision suo motu. Feeling aggrieved by the aforesaid order e petitioner challenged the same before the Punjab High Court, Circuit Bench, Delhi, in a writ petition (No. 213-D of 1959). The High Court quashed the impungned order with a direction that the appropriate authority should decide the matter afresh by affording a proper opportunity to the petitioner, copy Annexure 'M'. On re-hearing the matter the appropriate authority, Additional Settlement Commissioner, (Shri K. L. Wason), by his order dated 4th February, 1964, copy Annexure 'P', holding that all the properties in respect of which the 'petitioner had filed his claim were properties of public trust, in the nature of religious and charitable properties remanded the case for necessary action by taking notice of section 2(l)(e) of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 (herein called 'the Compensation Act'). The petitioner challenged the above order in a writ petition which was dismissed by a learned Single Judge vide judgment dated 13th May, 1965, copy Annexure 'Q'. The petitioner filed an appeal against the above-said judgment under the Letters Patent in the Punjab High Court, Circuit Bench, Delhi. The appeal was accepted vide judgment, copy Annexure 'S', holding that Shri K, L. Wason, Additional Settlement Commissioner, being not invested with the powers of the Chief Settlement Commissioner was not competent to act and pass orders under Section 24 of the Compensation Act. It is alleged that thereafter a fresh notice was issued to the petitioner requiring him to show cause why the order of payments of compensation should not be set aside. On hearing the parties the respondent No. 1 Chief Settlement Commissioner, passed the order dated 31st January, 1969, copy Annexure 'U', which is impugned in the present writ petition, setting aside order dated 15th April, 1957, passed by the Settlement Officer.

(5) Shri A. G. Vaswani, Settlement Commissioner in his affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents traversing the allegations of the petitioner contends that Chief Settlement Commissioner was competent to set aside the order dated 15th April, 1957, which had been passed in ignorance of the fact that the properties were public trust properties of religious and charitable nature, the said order being contrary to the provisions of the Compensation Act. It is averred that for the purposes of the Displaced Persons (Claims) Act, 1950 (hereinafter called 'the Claims Act') the nature of the properties was not material and that the orders verifying the claims do not decide whether the petitioner was owner in his own right or as a 'Mahant'. That being so, Shri Vaswani contends that the matter was taken up in suo motu revision by the authorised Chief Settlement Commissioner and after giving full opportunity to the petitioner proper order in accordance with law has been passed in that the claims are verified under the Claim Act but compensation is paid under the Compensation Act under which no compensation is payable in respect of claims verified for trust properties of public and charitable nature. It is further contended that Swami Harnam Dass did not hold the properties shown in Exhibit 'A' as full and exclusive owner but as trustee Mahant of the Institution and that the petitioner succeeded to him not as heir but as a 'Mahant'. The execution of the will be late Swami Harnam Dass in favor of the petitioner is, however, admitted.

(6) Shri N. N. Keshwani, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, submits that the claims put in by the petitioner having been verified under the Claims Act vide Annexures to I and it having been, held that the petitioner was entitled to receive a net compensation in the sum of Rs. 1,31,992 vide annexure 'J' in accordance with Rule 16 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Rules, 1955, framed under the Compensation Act it was not open to the Chief Settlement Commissioner in the exercise of his suo motu power of revision contemplated by section 24 of the Compensation Act to revise the duly verified and sanctioned claims of the petitioner; more so when the above-noted verified claims of the petitioner were not open to revision under section 5(1)(b) of the Displaced Persons (Claims) Supplementary Act, 1954, (hereinafter called 'The supplementary Claims Act'). For this submission, Shri Keshwani places strong reliance on the judgment of Mehar Singh, J., in Civil Writ Petition No. 95-D of 1955 in regarding Bawa Karam Dass v. the Chief Settlement Commissioner, Delhi and another, decided on 12th November, 1957(1), copy Annexure 'V. Further, he contends that under section 24 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Chief Settlement Commissioner could only revise those orders which were passed under 'the Rehabilitation Act and not those orders which were passed either under the Claims Act or the Supplementary Claims Act.

(7) There is a fallacy in this submission. There can be no dispute that a verified claim is payable only under the provisions of the Compensation Act. It would, thereforee, be relevant to consider the provisions of law regarding the verification of claims filed by the displaced person or persons and the grant of compensation.

(8) The Claims Act (Act No. Xliv of 1950) was passed in 1950 to provide for the registration and verification of claims of displaced persons in respect of their immovable property in Pakistan. The Act contained 17 sections. Section I pertained to short title, extent and duration of the Act. Section 2 defined various terms, mentioned in the section-Section 3 of the Act enabled the Cen,tral Government, by notification in the official Gazette, to appoint as many Registering officers as may be necessary for the purpose of registering claims and every such officer was to exercise his functions in such area or areas as may be specified in the notification. Sub-section (2) of section 3 enabled the Registering officer to appoint as many Assistant Registering officers as may be considered necessary for the purpose of discharging his functions under the Act. Section 4 empowered the Central Government to appoint a Chief Claims Commissioner, a Joint or Deputy Chief Claims Commissioner and as many Claims Commissioners and Claims Officers as may be necessary for purpose of discharging the duties imposed on them by or under the Act. Section 5 provided for Registration of Claims by a displaced person or persons. Section 6 prescribed jurisdiction of claims officers to pass such orders as he thought fit in relation to the verification of the claim of a displaced person and the valuation of such claim. Section 7 provided for the powers of Claims officers. Section 8 enabled the Central Government or the Chief Claims Commissioner to transfer at any stage any case pending before a claims officer to another claims officer. Section 9 envisaged that all officers mentioned in the section shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 10 provided for bar of jurisdiction of civil courts. Section 11 provided protection to officers functioning under the Act from any civil, criminal or other legal proceedings in respect of action taken by them under the Act in good faith. Sections 12 and 13 prescribed penalties for the offences enumerated in the said sections. Section 14 prescribed for taking cognizance of offences under the Act by the Courts. Section 15 prescribed for delegation of its powers by the Central Government and the Chief Claims Commissioner to authorities mentioned in the section. Section 16 enabled the Central Government to frame rules in respect of the matters mentioned in the section. Section 17 repealed the Displaced Persons (Claims) Ordinance 1950 (V of 1950 earlier passed on 19th January 1950, to provide for the registration and verification of claims of displaced persons in respect of their immovable property in Pakistan. The provisions of the Ordinance were practically the same as the provisions of the Claims Act which replaced it). It would thereforee be seen that the Act only provided for the registration and verification of claims of displaced persons in respect of their immovable property in Pakistan but is silent about the payment of compensation to the displaced persons in respect of their verified claim. No provision is made in the Act for payment of compensation in respect of a verified claim of a displaced person.

(9) On the expiry of this act on 17th May, 1953, a small number of claims and some revision petitions were left undisposed of. Consequently (The) Displaced Persons (Claims) Supplementary Act, 1954 (Act No. Xii of 1954) was passed to provide for the disposal of certain proceedings pending under the claims Act and for matters connected therewith. This Act came into force on 18th March, 1954. The Supplementary Claims Act consists of 13 sections. Section 1 prescribes the title and extend of the Act. Section 2 defines the various terms mentioned in it. Section 3 pertains to the appointment of Chief Settlement Commissioner and other officials required to he appointed for the purpose of performing the functions assigned to them by or under the Act. Section 4 deals with the verification of claims. Section 5 confers special powers of revision on the Chief Settlement Commissioner in respect of cases under the Claims Act. Section 6 preseribes the powers of Settlement Officers. Section 7 empowers the Central Government or the Chief Settlement Commissioner to transfer any case pending at any stage before a Settlement Officer to another Settlement Officer. Section 8 prescribes that officers mentioned in the said section shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, while section 9 sets up bar of jurisdiction of Civil Courts. Section 10 empowers the Central Government and the Chief Settlement Commissioner to direct that any power exercisable by it or him under the Act shall be exercisable by the officers specified in the section subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified by the General or Special order delegating the A power. Section 11 validates certain proceeding mentioned in the section, section 12 empowers the Central Government to make rules while section 13 repealed Ordinance No. 3 of 1954. It is, thereforee, evident that even the supplementary Claims Act is silent with regard to the payment of compensation in respect of the verified claims and rightly so as the Act provides for the disposal of certain proceedings pending under the Claims Act and for matters connected therewith.

(10) For the first time compensation was made payable by the compensation Act which came into force with effect from 9th October, 1954. The reasons for this are apparent from the perusal of the statement of objects and reasons which led to the passing of the compensation Act. According to the objects and reasons negotiations had been in progress with the Government of Pakistan for more than six years with a view to arrive at an equitable solution of the problem of immovable evacuee property. The Government of India had all through been of the view that the immovable evacuee properties including agricultural land in India and Pakistan should be exchanged in lump on Government to Government basis, the debtor country paying to the creditor for the difference between the values of such properties in the two countries. The proposals made by the Government of India from time to time had, however, been turned down by Pakistan. It would, thereforee, be seen from the a'bove statement of objects and reasons that pending settlement with the Government of Pakistan to arrive at an equitable solution of the problem of immovable evacuee property the Government of India thought it fit to permit the displaced persons to register their claims with the appropriate authority in respect of their immovable property in Pakistan so as to finalise the verification of their claims with a view to obviate any further delay in the matter which was likely to be occasioned in case the verification of claims was done after a negotiated settlement was arrived at between the two Governments, viz., Government of India and the Government of Pakistan. That is why the claims Act and the Supplementary Claims Act provided only for the machinery for the registration of claims of displaced persons in respect of their immovable property in Pakistan and for the verification of such claims. With that object it appears no mention was made in the two Acts for payment of compensation, the basis and the method on which it was to be awarded was to be worked out on arriving at a negotiated settlement between the two Governments.

(11) It is further stated in the objects and reasons that negotiations having not borne fruit and in view of the fact that there had been a persistent demand from the displaced persons that these properties should be transferred to them in permanent ownership and the fact that the properties had been fast deteriorating and that many of them A had already been declared unfit for habitation or had crumbled down, to halt further deterioration and to facilitate the rehabilitation of displaced persons from West Pakistan it was provided that the right, title and interest of evacuees in evacuee properties in India should be acquired by Government. It was further provided to pay compensation to displaced persons by the utilisation of the acquired evacuee property in India as well as from the amount to be realised from Pakistan on account of the difference between the values of evacuee properties in the two countries. It is borne out from a perusal of the above extracted statement of object and reasons that payment of compensation to the Displaced Persons for the first time was provided under the Compensation Act and was to be paid on account a verified claim answering the definition of the term 'verified claim' envisaged by section 2(e) of the Compensation Act. If it was intended to cover claims registered and verified either under the Claims Act or the Supplementary Claims Act, it ought to have been so provided in the Compensation Act. The Compensation Act being silent in this respect the Act cannot be interpreted to include a claim other than a 'verified claim' within the meaning of section 2(e) for the purpose of paying compensation to a displaced person. To hold otherwise would not be in consonance with the well-established principles of interpreting a statute. Besides, as already noted in an earlier part of the judgment, the Claims Act and the Supplementary Claims Act only provided for the registration and verification of claims filed by displaced persons in respect of their immovable property in West Pakistan. The said Acts did not provide for payment of compensation in any form as negotiated settlement was yet to be arrived at between the Government of India and Government of Pakistan with a view to arrive at an equitable solution of the problem of immovable evacuee property. The period pending settlement was availed of in verifying the claims which the displaced persons registered with the authorities. Since the basis and the mode for payment of compensation was yet to be evolved all sorts of claims registered were verified disregarding the question whether the claim filed by a displaced person was in respect of his individual property or whether it was in respect of a trust property. What type of verifies claims were to be paid, to whom and in what manner remained to be decided. It was only when the negotiated settlement between the Government of India and Government of Pakistan could not materialise that the Government of India decided that the right, title and interest of evacuees in evacuee properties in India be acquired by the Government and that the compensation to be paid to displaced persons would be confined to the utilization of the acquired evacuee property in India as well as any amount realised from Pakistan on account of the difference, between the values of evacuee properties in the two A countries. For the said purpose Compensation Act was passed providing for the payment of compensation and rehabilitation grants to displaced persons and for matters connected therewith.

(12) It would not be out of context here to note the relevant provisions of the Claims Act, Supplementary Claims Act and the Compensation Act to appreciate the controversy between the parties.

(13) According to section 2(a) of the Claims Act, ''claim' means the assertion of a right to the ownership of, or to any interest, in (i) any immovable property in West Pakistan which is situate within an urban area of (ii) such class of property in any part of West Pakistan other than in any urban area as may be notified by the Central Government in that behalf in the Official Gazette. Section 5 of the Act envisaged for the registration of claims and reads as under :-

'REGISTRATIONof claims.-

(1)A displaced person may, within such time, in such form and on payment of such fee as may be prescribed, submit his claim to a Registering Officer in the prescribed manner for the registration of such claim.

(2)On receipt of a claim under sub-section (1) the registering officer shall register the claim in the prescribed manner and forward the relevant papers to the Central Government or to an officer designated by the Central Government for this purpose'.

(14) According to sub-section (2) of section 6 of the Act, a claims officer, shall hold a summary inquiry into the cases transferred to him and, after taking such evidence and examining such documents, as may be necessary, pass such orders as he thinks fit in relation to the verification of the claim and the valuation of such claim.

(15) Section 2(b) of the Supplementary Claims Act defines a claim as follows :-

'CLAIMmeans- (i) any claim registered under the Principal Act and pending on the appointed day; or (ii) any claim submitted to any authority under the Principal Act by any person migrating to India from any tribal area and pending on the appointed day ;'

and includes any application filed on or before the 12th December, 1952, for setting aside an ex parte order of a claims officer passed under the Principal Act and pending on the appointed day, if the A application was not, on the date on which it was filed, barred by limitation under the rules made under the Principal Act.

(16) 'APPOINTED day' according to section 2(a) means the 17th day of May, 1953. Verification of claims is provided in section 4 of the Act, the relevant provisions of which are as under :-

'4.Verification of claims.-(1) Subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, a Settlement Officer shall have jurisdiction to decide such claims or such class of claims as may, by general or special order, be transferred to him by the Chief Settlement Commissioner.

(17) Now according to section 2(e) of the Compensation Act 'verified claim' means any claim registered under the Displaced Persons (Claims) Act, 1950, in respect of which a final order has been passed under that Act or under the Displaced Persons (Claims) Supplementary Act, 1954, (and includes any claim registered on or before the 31st day of May, 1953, under the East Punjab Refugees (Registration of Land Claims) Act, 1948, or under the Patiala Refugees (Registration of land claims) Ordinance 2004 and verified by any authority appointed for the purpose by the Government of Punjab, the Government of Patiala, or the Government of Patiala and East Punjab States Union, as the case may be, which has not been satisfied wholly or partially by the allotment of any evacuee land under the relevant notification specified in section 10 of this Act, but does not include-

(I)any such claim registered in respect of property held in trust for a public purpose of a religious or charitable nature;

(II)except in the case of a banking company for the purpose of sub-clause (1) of clause (b) of sub-section (3) of section 6, only- (a) any such claim made by or on behalf of any company or association, whether incorporated or not; (b) any such claim made by a mortgagee or other person holding a charge or lien on immovable property belonging to a displaced person in West Pakistan.

(18) A careful perusal of the definition of the term 'verified claim' set out above as defined in the above-noted three Acts reveals without doubt that the definition of the term 'verified claim' in section 2(e) A of the Compensation Act is narrower than that in the Claims Act or the Supplementary Claims Act. That being so, any claim registered and verified under the Claims Act or Supplementary Claims Act would be outside the purview of the term 'claim' within the meaning of section 2(e) of the Compensation Act if it is in respect of a property 'held in trust for a public purpose or for a public purpose of religious or charitable nature.

(19) The Claims Act as noted in an earlier part of the judgment prescribed procedure for registration of claims by the displaced persons in respect of their properties left in West Pakistan. The claims were to be enquired by officers appointed under the Act. The officers were to pass such orders as they thought fit in relation to the verification of claims and the valuation of such claims. A careful perusal of the various provisions of the Act, which I have noted in an curlier part of the judgment, reveals that no provision had been made in the Act providing for any legal right that would attach to such claims. The preamble of the Act leaves no manner of doubt that the Act only provided for the registration of claims of displaced persons in respect of their immovable property in West Pakistan. It was only on enactment of compensation Act, that provisions were made for determination of the amount of compensation, the form and the manner of its payment to displaced persons. Section 4 of the Compensation Act enabled the displaced persons to make applications for payment of compensation in the prescribed form within a prescribed period to settlement officers. According to sub-section (3) of section 4 the application shall contain the particulars enumerated in the sub-section, one of it being the 'amount of the verified claim'. Since the application had to be made under the provisions of section 4 the amount of verified claim to be given in the application would without doubt be in respect of the verified claim as defined by section 2(e) of the Act. Section 7 of the Compensation Act provides for the determination of the amount of compensation. Sub-section (1) of section 7 envisages that on receipt of the application for payment of compensation together with the record of the case forwarded under section 5, the Settlement Commissioner shall make an enquiry in such manner as may be prescribed and having due regard to the prescribed scales of compensation, the nature of the verified claim and other circumstances of the case, shall ascertain the amount of compensation to which the applicant is entitled. Section 8 prescribes the form and manner of payment of compensation that was to be paid out of the compensation pool in accordance with such amount as is determined under section 7. It is beyond the pale of controversy that the Settlement Commissioner in ascertaining the amount of compensation to which an applicant may be found entitled among other requirement of section 7 had to keep in view 'the nature of the verified claim' before determining the net value of the amount of compensation payable to a displaced person. If the nature of the verified claim disclosed that the claim was registered in respect of property held in trust for a public purpose of a religious or charitable nature such a claim has to be excluded in view of the provisions of section 2(e).

(20) In the instant case determination of the net value of the amount of compensation was made under section 7 of the Compensation Act on 15th April, 1957, vide order copy, Annexure J, on the basis of the scale of compensation prescribed by Rule 16 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Rules, 1955. That being so, the verified claim of the petitioner under the Claims Act being in respect of property held in trust by him for a public purpose of a religious or charitable nature (which aspect I will advert to in a subsequent part of the judgment) was liable to be excluded. This having not been done by the Settlement Officer In passing order, Copy Annexure J, rendered the order nugatory because of the Consequent illegality having crept in the order, it was open to Chief Settlement Commissioner to revise it in pursuance of the power of revision exercisable by him under sub-section (1) of section 24 of the Compensation Act which envisages that, 'The Chief Settlement Commissioner may at any time call for the record of any proceeding under this Act in which a settlement Officer, an Assistant Settlement Officer, an Assistant Settlement Commissioner, an Additional Settlement Commissioner, a managing officer or a managing corporation has passed an order for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the legality or propriety of any such order and may pas? such an order in relation thereto as he thinks fit'. The order dated 15th April, 1957, copy Annexure 'J' being' invested with patent illegality was rightly revised by the impugned order dated 31st January, 1969, Annexure U. In this view of the matter there is no merit in the submission urged on behalf of the petitioner that by order dated 31st January, 1969, the Chief Settlement Commissioner sought to revise verified claims of the petitioner, copies Annexures D to I, under section 24(1) of the Compensation Act. There is equally no merit in the contention that orders Annexures D to I, could be revised by the Chief Settlement Commissioner only in pursuance of the provisions of sub-section 1 (b) of section 5 of the Supplementary Claims Act. The precise contention was that in pursuance of section 12 of the Supplementary Act the Central (government had framed the Displaced Persons (Verification of claims) Supplementary Rules, 1954, and that Rule 18 of the Rules provided for Special revision of verified claims under clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 5 of the Act. A It is urged that under Rule 18, the Chief Settlement Commissioner, while exercising the powers of special revision conferred on him by clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 5, may call for the record of any verified claim and pass any order, in revision in respect of such verified claim in such manner as he thinks fit, if he is satisfied that such order should be passed on one or the other of the following grounds, namely,

(I)the discovery of any new matter or documentary evidence which after the exercise of due diligence was not within the knowledge of, or could not be produced by, the claimant at the time when the claim was verified; or

(II)correction of any clerical or arithmetical mistake apparent on the face of the record; or

(III)gross or material irregularity or dispartity in the valuation of the claim; or

(IV)any other sufficient reason.

(21) Accordingly it is contended that a claim verified under the Claims Act could only be revised under section 5(1)(b) of the Supplementary Act if the special conditions envisaged by Rule 18 noted above were fulfillled and not in any other manner. This argument fails to take note of the fact that determination of the amount of compensation in respect of a verified claim had to be made having due regard to the nature of the verified claim and other circumstances of the case as enjoined under section 7 of the Compensation Act. The official passing order dated 15th April, 1957, copyAnnexure J, in losing right of this aspect of the matter passed the said order under the Compensation Act which suffered from illegality. The Chief Settlement Commissioner in revising the order dated 15th April, 1957, copy Annexure J, did not revise the verified claims but acted in accordance with the mandatory provisions of section 2(e) in not taking into consideration the claim of the petitioner in respect of the property held by him in trust for a public purpose of a religious or charitable nature in determining the amount of compensation payable in respect of the verified claims, copies Annexure D to I. In so doing, if it was found that no amount was payable, the petitioner cannot make a grievance that provisions of section 5(1)(b) of the Supplementary Act had been infringed. The impugned order, Annexure U, is tenable both in law and on facts of the case. The above noted contention of the petitioner being without merit, has to be rejected. The judgment of Mehar Singh J dated 12th November 1957, in Civil Writ No. 95-D of 1955 in case Bawa Karam Dass v. the Chief Settlement Commissioner and another, Copy Annexure V, having been passed in a wholly different context where the verified claim was sought to be revised in pursuance of the instructions issued by the Settlement Commissioner in a letter, which is not the position in the instant petition, is of no assistance to the petitioner.

(22) Shri Keshwani, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, next contends that the concept of the property held in trust for a public purpose of a religious or charitable nature was brought in for the first time under the Compensation Act. Earlier no distinction between a private property held by a displaced person or property held in trust was contemplated under the Claims Act. The petitioner had registered his claims under the Claims Act and they were verified under the said Act. That being so, it is urged the verified claims of the petitioner could not be ignored by importing the concept of trust property subsequently introduced by the Compensation Act. This argument has only to be noted to be rejected. Compensation was proposed to be given for the first time to a displaced person in respect of his property left in Pakistan under the Compensation Act. While determining the compensation under Section 7 of the Act nature of the property wherein held in person or in trust was to be kept in mind. The grievance of the petitioner is wholly misconceived and untenable in view of the provisions of sections 7 and 2(e) of the Compensation Act. It is then submitted that order Annexure J was passed on 15th April, 1957, it was not open to the Chief Settlement Commissioner to revise the above-said order after about twelve years on 31st January, 1969. The power of revision, goes the argument, should have been exercised in reasonable time and not after twelve years. There is no merit in this contention. Section 24(1) of the Compensation Act empowers the Chief Settlement Commissioner at any time to call for the record of the cases in which orders had been passed by the officers mentioned in the sub-section for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the legality or propriety of any such order and may pass such order in relation thereto as he thinks fit. No period of limitation has been prescribed for the exercise of power of revision by the Chief Settlement Commissioner. Besides, in the instant case the order 'dated 15th April, 1957, was revised by the Chief Settlement Commissioner in Suo motu revision on 5th January, 1959, i.e., within less than two years vide copy of the order, Annexure L. The said order as earlier noted had to be set aside on a technical ground and thereafter the case had a protracted history of litigation because of the measures taken by the appellant by way of filing various petitions, which proceedings had already been noticed in an earlier part of this judgment, to have the order dated 15th April, 1957, restored. In the premises it does not lic in the mouth of the petitioner to make a grievance that the impugned order Annexure U had not been passed within reasonable time.

(23) This brings me to the last contention, urged on behalf of the petitioner, namely, that the properties in question were not held by the petitioner in trust for a public purpose of a religious or charitable nature but were held by him in his own right as an absolute owner under the will for which a probate was granted by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. It is further submitted that the Chief Settlement Commissioner had no power under the Compensation Act to hold that the properties were charitable trust properties. Further that it was the nature of the property in Pakistan which would be relevant for determining compensation under section 7 of the Compensation Act. The argument appears to be specious, there is, however, no merit in it. The mere fact that probate in respect of the properties had been granted would not by itself be determinative of the nature of the properties. A bare perusal of the various clauses of the will, copy Annexure B, shows that life interest only was given to the petitioner as a Custodian of the properties. During the life time of the executor or after his death the petitioner had the right to adopt 'Chelas' but in case he adopted any chela (Male or female) he or she will have no right of succession to the Gadi of Shri Sadhbella Tirth, after the death of the petitioner, nor they were entitled to the 'Asthan'. The will succinctly lays down that the petitioner had 'been given only life interest'. Para 8 of the will categorically states that if the petitioner 'has no Chella of approved character, then the workers of the Sadh Bella Tirth Sukkur, at that time, viz., Kothari, Pujari, Pathshala wala and Kotwal will adopt a new 'Chela' of approved character and they will have the right to instal the said 'Chela' on the Gadi and that that person will be considered the 'Chela' of Bawa Ganesh Dass. He will be entitled to sit on the Gadi and to inherit the property mentioned above and no one will have any right to or interest therein'. A perusal of para 13 of the will above is enough to repel the contention that the petitioner was the owner of the property. The said para reads as follows, 'After my death no Gadi Nashin Mahant will have the right to alienate, lease or mortgage the immovable property of Sadhubella or that which might be acquired'. Besides, the probate, copy Annexure 'C', only the right to administer the property was granted on the petitioner making a full and true inventory of the properties and credits and file the same in the Court within six months of the grant of probate besides rendering to the Court a true account of the properties and credits within one year from the date of the grant or within such further time as may be allowed.

(24) The recitals in the will, extracted above, are enough to repel the contention that the petitioner was the owner of the properties. The Chief Settlement Commissioner has not adjudicated in any manner on the status of the petitioner or the properties, the subject-matter of the will but acting on the true content of the will rightly held that no compensation was payable in respect of the verified claims in computing the net value of the compensation payable under section 7 read with section 2(e) of the Compensation Act by taking note of the nature of the verified claims.

(25) The will clearly recites that all the property mentioned in the will belongs to 'Sri Sadhbella Tirath Asthan' which negatives the assertion of the testator of being the owner of the properties. At any rate the properties in question were held in trust by the petitioner in that he as Gaddi Nashin according to clause 11 of the will was to educate and maintain all the 'Chelas' of Sri Sadhbella Tirath Sukkuar then living or adopted. thereafter. Case Shamdas alias Atam Parkash Chela of Bawa Ram Dass and another v. Gurmukh Singh Ram Singh and another A.I.R. 1945 Sin 57, singly relied upon by the petitioner wherein it was held that there should be clear proof of a property having been dedicated to religious and charitable uses is of no assistance to the petitioner in that section 7 of the Compensation Act talks of the nature of the verified claim as defined in section 2(e) of the Act and not of the nature of the property. Even if it be assumed in favor of the petitioner, as was sought to be urged on his behalf, that the testator was the absolute owner of the property and that originally it was a free property, the testator could convert it into a trust property through the testamentary disposition and that is what he had done.

(26) In view of the above discussion on the various points, the petition fails and is hereby dismissed with costs. Lawyers fee Rs. 200.


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