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Siri Ram and anr. Vs. Gram Sabha of Village Khud and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberRegular Second Appeal No. 202 of 1967
Judge
Reported in6(1970)DLT390
ActsPunjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1953 - Sections 3
AppellantSiri Ram and anr.
RespondentGram Sabha of Village Khud and ors.
Advocates: D.N. Aggarwal,; Ramesh Chand,; R.C. Choudhary and;
Cases ReferredSmt. Shantabai v. State of Bombay and
Excerpt:
.....court of the subordinate judge at una for a permanent injunction against the gram sabha and the gram panchayat of village khud to restrain the defendants from either, obtaining produce from the mango trees or to prevent the plaintiffs from cutting the trees the suit was dismissed on april 8, 1964. against the decree of the subordinate judge, first class, una, an appeal was filed by the plaintiffs but they remained unsuccessful. by the same amending act a new section 14a was as well added, clause (b) whereof provided that nothing contained in the act or the shamilat law was to entitle or was to be deemed ever to have entitled panchayat or any other authority under the act or the shamilat law to exercise any rig' t to do any act in respect of any land in the hilly area vested or deemed..........khasra no. 3421. the land under the trees was considered by the courts below to have vested in the gram panchayat of village khud, tehsil una.(2) most of the land in village khud, which was recorded as shamilat deh, was partitioned by the village propriety body as long ago as in the year 1920. a portion of the shamilat deh was, however, kept undivided but according to siri kam and telu appellants the mango trees standing on the land of field khasranos. 3420 and 3421 were given to their predecessors in- interest at the time of the partition.(3) the gram panchayat nto only claimed that the shamilftt deh had vested in it in pursuance of the provisions of the shamilat -law but also asserted its right to the mar go trees and the produce there of. the dispute in respect of the trees between.....
Judgment:

Jagjit Singh, J.

(1) The dispate in this second appeal relates to six mango trees in village Khud. four of which are standing in field Khasra No. 3420 while the remaining two trees are in field Khasra No. 3421. The land under the trees was considered by the Courts below to have vested in the Gram Panchayat of village Khud, Tehsil Una.

(2) Most of the land in village Khud, which was recorded as shamilat deh, was partitioned by the village propriety body as long ago as in the year 1920. A portion of the shamilat deh was, however, kept undivided but according to Siri Kam and Telu appellants the mango trees standing on the land of field KhasraNos. 3420 and 3421 were given to their predecessors in- interest at the time of the partition.

(3) The Gram Panchayat nto only claimed that the shamilftt deh had vested in it in pursuance of the provisions of the shamilat -law but also asserted its right to the mar go trees and the produce there of. The dispute in respect of the trees between the appellants on one hand and the Gram Panchayat on the other at first came up for settlement before the revenue authorities. The Assistant Collector, First Grade, Una, by his order dated July 3, 1962 decided in favor of the Gram Panchayat. On an appeal the Collector, Hoshiarpur, by his order dated September 27, 1962 held that the trees in question belonged to the appellants whereas the land belonged to the Gram Panchayat. That order of the Collector was, however, set aside by the Commissioner on an appeal of the Gram Panchavat.

(4) On April 29, 1963 Siri Kam and Telu, sons of Dina Nath, instituted a suit, in the Court of the Subordinate Judge at Una for a permanent injunction against the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat of village Khud to restrain the defendants from either, obtaining produce from the mango trees or to prevent the plaintiffs from cutting the trees The suit was dismissed on April 8, 1964. Against the decree of the Subordinate Judge, First Class, Una, an appeal was filed by the plaintiffs but they remained unsuccessful. The Senior Subordinate Judge, Hoshiarpur, who heard the appeal, agreed with the view taken by the Subordinate Judge that the trees had also vested in the Gram Panchayat along with the land of shamilat deh

(5) Shri D.N.Aggarwal for the appellants contended that the view taken by the Courts below was nto correct. According to the learned counsel trees were distinguishable from the land and even though the land of shamilat deh, including that of Khasra Nos. 3420 and 3421, had vested in the Gram Panchayat still the mango trees remained the propriety of the appellants. Another submission made by the learned counsel was that the definition of 'hilly area' was inserted in the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 (Punjab Act No. 18 of 1961) by the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Amendment Act, 1931 (Punjab Act No, 19 of 1964) and the said definition was further amended by the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Amendment Act, 1965. The land on which mango trees are standing was stated to be part of Gagret Block and, thereforee, to be hilly area and outside the scope of the shamilat law.

(6) The later contention of the learned counsel for the appellants does nto appear to be consistent with the provisions of shamilat law. The Punjab Vilage Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1953 came into force on January 9, 1954. According to Section 3 of that Act all rights title and interest whatever in the land included in the shamilat deh of any village vested in the Panchayat having jurisdictioa over the village. The shamilat law was consolidated and amended by enactment of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961, which inter alta repealed the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1953, but provided that anything done or anything taken under the law so repealed was to be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions of the repealing Act. The new Act (Punjab Act No. 18 of 1961) also contained provisions, in Section 4 thereof, for the vesting of all rights, title and interest whatever in the land, which, is included in the shamilat deh of any village in the Panchayat constituted for such village. By the amending Punjab Act No It) of 1964 definition of ''hilly area' was added and Section 5 of the Act was also amended in order to provide that the third proviso to sub-section (1) of that section relating to use of certain lands vested in Panchavats was nto to apply to hilly areas. By the same amending Act a new Section 14A was as well added, clause (b) whereof provided that nothing contained in the Act or the shamilat law was to entitle or was to be deemed ever to have entitled Panchayat or any other authority under the Act or the shamilat law to exercise any rig' t to do any act in respect of any land in the hilly area vested or deemed to be vested in the Panchayat whether such !and has or has nto been declared as a protected forest under Section 29 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, in contravention of the provisions of that Act or the Rules made there under.

(7) There is thus no basis for the contention that hilly areas covered by the definition of shaamilat deh did nto vest in Panchayats. A reference was made to two unreported cases (Gram Panchayat v. Pnthi Chand K S. A. 107 of 1967 decided on 6th June, 1968. and Gram Sabha Bhogpur v. Radha Ram and another, R. S. A. 370 of 1967 decided on 26th September, 1968). Those cases were decided on their own facts and did nto lay down that hilly areas were excluded from the scope of the Punjab Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1901 for all purposes.

(8) It will be seen that the insertion of the definition of 'hilly area' and certain other provisions relating to hilly areas in Punjab Act No. 18 of 1961 did nto save the hilly areas, which are covered by the definition to shamilat deh' from being vested in the Panchayat concerned.

(9) The only point which, thereforee, requires consideration is whether on the vesting of the land of Khasra Nos. 3420 and 3421 the trees standing thereon could still remain the property of the appellants. The learned counsel for the appellants relied upon Narayan Das Khettry v. Jatindra Nath Roy Chowdhry and others and Bhagwana v. Gopi In the former case their Lordships of the Privy Council held that where land was sold under the Bengal Land Revenue Sales Act, 1859, it was the land so entered in the register which passed under the sale to the auction purchaser and nto the buildings on the laud. The case of Bhagwana was under the Punjab Alienation of Land Act. 1900 and a Full Bench of the Punjab High Court held that trees, whether fruit or otherwise, could nto be considered to be 'land' within the meaning of Section 2(3) of that Act. The above authorities can be of no help to the appellants. In the present case the question that arises for determination is nto whether trees can be consiaered to be 'land,' but the question involved is a different one and is whether trees are covered by the expression 'all rights, title and interest whatsoever in the land'. Section 3 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1953 as well as Section 4 of the Punjab Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 had the effect of vesting in the Panchayat all rights, title and interest whatever in the land which was included in the shamilut deh of any village The expression 'right, title and interest cf the landowner in the land,'asusedin Section 11 of the Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act, 1953 came up for interpretation before tfce Supreme Court in the case of the Divisional Forest Officer, Himachal Pradesh v. Daut and others. Sikri, J. while delivering the jndgmeat of the Court observed that the expression 'right, title and interest of the landowner in the land' is wide enough to include trees standing on the land. There is no resaon why the expression ''all rights, title and interest whatever in the land' should be interpreted differently. Some support for that view may also be had from the case of Smt. Shantabai v. State of Bombay and others In that case the right to enter, cut and appropriate all kinds of wood from the zamindari forest of a person, which he bee given to his wife in consideration of money, was considered to have come to an end on the zamindari estate vesting in the State as a result of issue of notification under Section 3 of the Madbya Pradesh Abolition of of Proprietary Rights (Estates, Mahals, Alienated Lands) Act 1950. With the vesting of all rights, title and interest whatever in the land included in the shamilal deh of village Khud in the Gram Panchayat of that village, the trees standing on a portion of the land of shmilal deh also vested in the Gram Panchayat. The view taken by Courts below was, in may opinion, correct. The appeal is, thereforee, dismissed with costs.


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