Skip to content


In the Matter Of: Mahadev Dayaram, (Andhra Pradesh) Vs. the Union of India and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 55D of 1955
Judge
Reported in9(1973)DLT346
ActsDisplaced Persons (Claims) Supplementary Act, 1954 - Sections 5(1) and 5(2)
AppellantIn the Matter Of: Mahadev Dayaram, (Andhra Pradesh)
RespondentThe Union of India and ors.
Advocates: A.F. Wodhwam and; R.K. Mehra, Advs
Excerpt:
.....- dispute with regard to his interest in properties left behind settled by high court of bombay - additional settlement commissioner reviewed verification of claim of petitioner suo motu and disallowed claim of petitioner after 11 years - chief settlement commissioner dismissed appeal as barred by limitation - petition against such order - claim of petitioner based on basis of decree of high court of bombay which was verified and accepted by claims officer and remained undisputed for a period of 11 years - officer while exercising legal powers to review order suo moto should convey petitioner grounds and information on which he wants to review order - impugned order quashed. - - (1) this writ petition is directed against the order of the chief settlament commissioner dated 17th..........of the office, the copy of the notice was not issued and according to the instructions, the claim filed were not open to inspection. it is further contended that the order had righty been passed by mr.wason ex parte on 24th march, 1964. emphasis has further been laid in the affidavit on the fact that the petitioner had been duly served and his denial in the writ petition was not correct. the copy of the acknowledgment receipt (annexure r-1) has been filed with the return. (6) mr. mehra, learned counsel for the respondents explains that there is evidently a mistake in the affidavit of mr. janki nath as the notice has really been served on the petitioner not on 17th march 1964 as he is deposed to by the deponent but on 9th march, 1964 as is stated in annexure r-1. there is another.....
Judgment:

B.C. Misra, J.

(1) This writ petition is directed against the order of the Chief Settlament Commissioner dated 17th August, 1964 (Annexture ' 6 ') as well as the order of the Addilional Setilement Commissioner dated 24th March, 1964 (^nnexture 4).

(2) The facts giving rise to the dispute are that the petitioner is a displaced person from West Pakistan. There was some dispute between him and his brothers with regard to their interest in the properties left bebind in Pakistan. This was settled by an award dated l5ih September, 1949 which was made a rule of the Court by the High Court of Bombay by judgment and decree dated 2nd February, 1951 (Annexure 1). This annexure gives the names of the parties along with their fathers names. The learned counsel for the petitioner urges that from this decree, it can, inter alias be inferred that Mahadev petitioner was the son of Day a Ram and agrandson of Mehta Ram and great grandson of Wadhu Mal and that the names of the other sharers can also be found. According to this decree, the petitioner submilted his claim for Verification under the Displaced Persons (Claims) Act of 1950. The same was verified by Mr. Chainrai Shewakram, Claims Officer, Delhi by order dated 4th December, 1952 (Annexure 2). This verification included the share of the petitioner in villages Deh Vasanki and Deh Sutiari to the extent specified in the order. This verification under the law became final and was not disputed by the parties or challenged by the parlies for a long time.

(3) It appears that some time in 1964, the authorities desired to review the verification of the claim of the petitioner suo motu in exercise of the powers under clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 5 of the Displaced Persona (Claims) Supplementary Act 12 of 1954 which came into force on 18th March, 1954 (and is hereinafter referred to as the Act- Mr. K..L. Wason, Additional Settlement Commissioner passed the impugned order dated 24th March, 1964 holding that a show cause notice has been issued to the petitioner which had been returned duly Signed by him, but the petitioner had not appeared and so basing his findings on the official revenue record received from Pakistan, he found that the land in dispute in the aforesaid two villages stood in the revenue record in the name of some person other than the petitioner or his father and consequently Mr. Wason refused the previous verification and disallowed the claim of the petilioner. the petitioner submitted that he bid not received either the notice to show cause or any intimation about this order, although its copy was directed to be issued to the claimant. He alleges that be 'came to know about it on 6th June, 1964 and applied for its copy on 11th June, 1964 which was supplied to him on 27th June, 1964 and he filed an appeal before the Chief Settlement Commissioner on 30th June, 1964. This appeal was dismissed as barred by time by the communication dated 14/17th August, 1964 signed by Krishan Lal for the Deputy Chief Settlement Commissioner. There was no provision for any other appeal or revision to the Central Government. Aggrieved by these orders, the petitioner has filed the present writ petition.

(4) The learned counsel for the petitioner has contended that the impugned orders of the Chief Settlement Commissioner as well as Additional Settlement Commissioner are without jurisdiction and contrary to the principles of natural justice and they suffer from an error of law apparent on the face of the record.

(5) The return has been filed by an affidavit swom by Shri Janki Nath, Settlement it Commissioner and Ex officio Under Secretary to the Government of India. Miterul allegations have been made in paragraphs 9 and 10 of the counter-affidavit. It is stated therein that subsequently revenue records of the villages had been received from Pakistan and the case of the petitioner was taken upsuo motu for review and a registered acknowledgment was issued to the petitioner at his Hyderabad address for 12th March, 1964 and the notice was duly served on him on 17th March, 1964 as is evident from the acknowledgment due receipt (copy of which is enclosed as Annexure 'R 1'). Further on, it is mentioned that the petitioner had applied for copies of the order and the notice issued t)yMr. Wason and the copy of the order was delivered, but regarding the copy of the notice, the counsel was verbally informed that original notice had been served on the petitioner and, as per practice of the office, the copy of the notice was not issued and according to the instructions, the claim filed were not open to inspection. It is further contended that the order had righty been passed by Mr.Wason ex parte on 24th March, 1964. Emphasis has further been laid in the affidavit on the fact that the petitioner had been duly served and his denial in the writ petition was not correct. The copy of the acknowledgment receipt (Annexure R-1) has been filed with the return.

(6) Mr. Mehra, learned counsel for the respondents explains that there is evidently a mistake in the affidavit of Mr. Janki Nath as the notice has really been served on the petitioner not on 17th March 1964 as he is deposed to by the deponent but on 9th March, 1964 as is stated in Annexure R-1. There is another date given there as 17th March, 1964. The original of Annexure R-l has not been filed 'and R-l is attested by Mr. B.M. Lall, Assistant Settlement Officer as on 16th June, 1970. This document Annexure R-1, thereforee, evidently did not form part of the affidavit' sworn by Mr. Janki Nath on 15th June, 1970 and the statement contained therein that it is evident from the acknowledgment due receipt (copy of which is enclosed as R'1) is apparently not correct.

(7) Assuming for the sake of argument that the notice had been served on the petitioner on 9th March, 1954 I find that the same is not at all satisfactory or valid. The notice had been issued for the hearing to take place on 12th March, 1964 This notice could hardly be sufficient for the petitioner to take steps to leave Hyderabad and appear in Delhi on the date of hearing. Section 5(2) of the Act provides that no order varying the decision of the Claims Officer or revising any verified claim which prejudicially affacts any person shall be made without giving him an opporiunity of being hears. Rule 6 framed under the Act provides that at least 15 days before the date of hearing of a claim, the Settlement Officer shall cause to be sent to the claimant a Bo '.ice informing him about the date of hearing. Whether or not in view of rule 16, the provisions of rule 6 in terms apply to the notice under section 5(2), the present notice of three days can scarcely be called sufficient opportunity to the petitioner to be head. It is true that the Additional Settlement Commissioner did not pass the order en 12th March, 1964. but he passed it on 24 h March, 1964, which is barely 15th days from the date of service, and the reason why he did not pass the order on 12th March, 1964 seem to be that the acknowledgment due receipt had itself not been receive in the offce of the settlement Commissioner. the respondents have also not filed copy of the notice that had been served on the petitioner, nor have they sup- plied its copy to the petitioner and it is surprising that they have taken up the plea that according to the instructions, the claim files are not open to inspection. In the absence of any material as to what the contents of the notice were and when it was dispatched and when it was served ana when it was received, it is impossible to hold that any proper notice has been served on the petitioner according to law. The impugned order, thereforee, is not sustainatble on this ground alone.

(8) There is another ground which has specifically not been taken by the petitioner, but which is apparent on the face of the record and bus been allowed to be argued The power of suo Motu revision under section 5 of the Act vests in the Chief Settlement Commissioner. The relevant provisions of the section read as follows :- '5. Special power of revision in respect ot' cases decided under Act 44 of 1950(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the pricipal Act, the Chief Settlement Commissioner- (b) may, on his own motion, but subject to any rules that may be made in this behalf, revise any verified claim and make such order in relation thereto as he thinks fit.' The power of revision can thereforee, be exercised only by the Chief Settlement Commissioner. Mr. Mehra, learned counsel for the respondents, urges that this power had been delegated to Mr. Wason, Additional Settlement Commissioner and he has not filed the notification, since this point had expressly not been taken. But whether or not this power had been conferred, the order of Mr. Wason (.Annexure 4) (the correctness and validity of which has not been denied by the respondents) does not purport to exercise any powers of the Chief Settlement Commissioner as his delegate. This is issued from the office of the Additional Settlement Commissioner, it is signed by him as Additional Settlement Commissioner and bears the seal of his office as Additional Settlement Commissioner. Mr. Wason was undoubtedly Additional Settlement Commissioner performing the functions as such under the Act. If he purported io exercise any further powers as a delegate of the Chief Settlement Conamissioner, it was incumbent upon him to make it plain on the face of the record. His failure to do so will make his order without jurisdiction.

(9) On the merits of the of case also,I find that the impugned order cannot be sustained. It cannot be forgotten that that the claim of the petitioner, based on the basis of the decree of the High Court of Bombay, had been verified and accepted by the Claims officer in 1952 and had remained undisputed for a period of about 11 years. If tbe officer wanted to exercise his legal powers to review the order suo motu, it was incumbent open him to clearly convey to the petitioner the grounds and the information on which he wanted to review the order and it could not be left to the whim or caprice of the officer to commence the review proceedings suomotu without any good reason. If the official revenue record received from Pakistan provided any basis for review, the petitioner was entitled to know what these records were and then explain to the satisfaction of the officer the correctness of his own case and show cause as to why the revision should not be made. As mentioned above, the stand of the department is that the claim files are not open to inspection and the noiice issued to the petioner has not been filed and apparently does not give any indication as to what was contained in the revenue records on the basis of which the review was sought to be made suo-motu. Apart from informing the petitioner, the Additional Settlement Commissioner himself is not clear about the grounds on which he was reviewing the claim. He has not stated in the order ai all as to what were the entiries contained in the official revenue record and for which year they related and whether they contained the names of any ancestors of the petitioner. He has only mentioned that the perusal of the Parcha Chhants shows that neither the claimant, nor his father was entered as owner of the land in dispute and in the absence of the claimant, it could not be established how he was entitled to claim the land standing in the name of some other person. the learned Additional Settlement Commissioner is secretive about the information of the name and status of the other person in whose name the land stands. The learned counsel for the petitioner suggests that the name in the revenue record might be of his grand, father Metha Ram and his great grandfather Wadhu Mal as the property was the Joint Hindu family coparcenary property and it might as well contain the names of his uncles or grand uncles. If this information had been given to the petitioner, the learned counsel submits he could easily explain as to how be had claimed the share in the property through his ancestors and that the revenue records had not been brought up-to-date. In my opinion, the impugned order is extremely vague and is based on entirely in sufficient grounds. The order of the Additional Settlement Commissioner will, thereforee, have to be quashed. Nor has the Additional Settlement Commissioner given any reason as to why the decree between the parties mentioned above does not settle the rights of the claimant and form the basis of the verifica- corporation of the claim.

(10) With regard to the order of the Deputy Chief Settlement Commissioner dated l4/l7th August. 1964, the petitioner urges that he did not know of the order of the Additional Settlement Commissioner and iis copy had been ordered to be supplied to him. but he had received it only on 27th June, 1904 and had filed this appeal on 30th June, 1964 and it was not barred by time. The learned counsel for the respondents explains that there is no provision for any appeal or revision against the order of the Additional Settlement Commissioner passed under section 5 of the Act. But he that as it may, the order of 14/l7th August, 1964 does not stand in the way of the petitioner and the same is, thereforee, quashed

(11) As a result. I allow the writ petition and quash the impugned orders dated 14/l7th August, 1964 and 24th March 1964. The order passed by the Claims Officer on 4th Decmber, 1932 and acted upon for a long time is scarcely the subject of suo motu revision in 1973, but if the rehabilitation authorities feel that they want to do so in exercise of any powers conferred upon them by law, they are free to take such action as they think fit in accordance with law and the principles of a natural justice. The petitioner will have costs of the writ petition.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //