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Gian Singh Vs. Chief Settlement Commissioner - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetter Patent Appeal No. 33 of 1969
Judge
Reported in17(1980)DLT349
ActsDisplaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation)Rules, 1955 - Rule 64
AppellantGian Singh
RespondentChief Settlement Commissioner
Advocates: Jasbir Singh,; Ravinder Sethi and; Rakesh Kumar, Advs
Excerpt:
.....is available for being allotted in punjab. - - provided that any person who surrendered any land allotted to him in the state of punjab or patiala and east punjab state union before the 31st december, 1955, may, on production of a certificate issued by the authorised officer of the government of punjab or patiala and east punjab state union, as the case may be, evidencing such surrender, be allowed to retain the land allotted to him in the district of ganganagar in the state of rajasthan on condition that if he is in possession of any area in excess of that which should have been allotted to him in the state of punjab or east punjab state union, he shall either surrender such excess area or pay the price thereforee at the rate mentioned in rule 56. (b) if such person had been..........of claims) act, 1948 (east punjab act viii of 1948) or under the patiala refugees (registration of land claims) ordinance, 2004 b.k. (ordinance no. x of 2004 bk) and who has been allotted land outside the states of punjab and patiala and east punjab state union shall be governed by the provisions hereinafter contained in this rule : (a) if such person had refused allotment of land made to him in the state of punjab or the patiala and east punjab states union, he shall be treated as a displaced person having no claim in respect of agricultural land and accordingly the provisions of rules 62 and 63 shall apply to him. provided that any person who surrendered any land allotted to him in the state of punjab or patiala and east punjab state union before the 31st december, 1955, may, on.....
Judgment:

V.S. Deshpande, C.J.

(1) The appellant before us had filed a writ petition for quashing the order dated 11th January, 1963 passed by Mr. Gulab L. Ajwani, Additional Settlement Commissioner, (with delegated powers of the Chief Settlement Commissioner) purporting to reject the claim of the appellant for allotment of agricultural land in Delhi, on the ground that the appellant was of Punjabi extraction (an agriculturist from Sindh as also West Punjab now in Pakistan), and was not entitled to allotment of agricultural land non the basis of a verified claim in Delhi under rule 64 (a) of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Reha.bilitation) Rules, 1955. The writ petition was dismissed by the learned Single Judge. Hence this appeal. Rule 64 is as below : 'Any land owner whose claim was registered under the East Punjab Refugees (Registration of Claims) Act, 1948 (East Punjab Act Viii of 1948) or under the Patiala Refugees (Registration of Land Claims) Ordinance, 2004 B.K. (Ordinance No. X of 2004 BK) and who has been allotted land outside the States of Punjab and Patiala and East Punjab State Union shall be governed by the provisions hereinafter contained in this rule : (a) If such person had refused allotment of land made to him in the State of Punjab or the Patiala and East Punjab States Union, he shall be treated as a displaced person having no claim in respect of agricultural land and accordingly the provisions of rules 62 and 63 shall apply to him. Provided that any person who surrendered any land allotted to him in the State of Punjab or Patiala and East Punjab State Union before the 31st December, 1955, may, on production of a certificate issued by the authorised officer of the Government of Punjab or Patiala and East Punjab State Union, as the case may be, evidencing such surrender, be allowed to retain the land allotted to him in the district of Ganganagar in the State of Rajasthan on condition that if he is in possession of any area in excess of that which should have been allotted to him in the State of Punjab or East Punjab State Union, he shall either surrender such excess area or pay the price thereforee at the rate mentioned in rule 56. (b) If such person had been allotted land in the State of Punjab or Patiala and East Punjab States Union as well as in any other State, he shall be allowed to retain the land allotted to him in the State of Punjab or Patiala and East Punjab State Union and shall be required to surrender the land allotted to him in any other State. '(c) If such person had not been offered allotment of any land in the State of Punjab or Patiala and East Punjab State Union, he may be allowed to retain the allotment of agricultural land, other than a grove, in any other State and any area in excess of that which should have been allotted to him in the State of Punjab or Patiala and East Punjab State Union, shall be surrendered by him, or any deficiency, as the case may be, shall be made good : (d) If such person had been allotted land in the area which on and from 1st November, 1956 is comprised in the Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh or Delhi, after surrendering his claim for allotment of land in the territory which formed part of the State of Punjab or Patiala and East Punjab State Union as it existed on 31st October, 1956, lie may be allowed to retain the land allotted to him in the said area on condition that if the extent of land allotted to him in the said area on condition that if the extent of land in his possession in the said area is in excess of that which should have been allotted to him in the said part, he surrenders such extent in excess : Provided that any such person may be permitted to retain the excess area if he pays the price thereforee at the rate mentioned in rule 56. Explanationn :-A displaced person whose allotment of agricultural land outside the State of Punjab or Patiala and East Punjab State Union has been cancelled and who has not been allotted any land in any of those States, may, subject to the availability of land, be allotted agricultural land in either of those States.'

(2) The appellant held agricultural lands in Sindh as also in West Punjab. On the basis of a claim for compensation which was verified under the provisions of the Displaced Persons (Claims) Act, 1950, in 1952 the appellant was temporarily allotted certain lands in the village Kilokari (Delhi) on 2.8.1948. This allotment was subsequently varied by orders passed in 1951 and 1955. The appellant was moving the authorities under the Displaced Persons (Claims) Act for enhancing the extent of his claim. An order in his favor in this respect was passed by Shri H.A. Mahtani, Special Claims Officer, on 19th December, 1952. Subsequently, on 31st March, 1953, however, Shri Anant Ram Malhotra, Claims Commissioner (Add), dismissed an application of the present appellant for improvement of his claim. It was at this stage that Shri Gulab L. Ajwani purported to act by way of suo motu revision. A notice was issued to the appellant to show cause why the order of Shri Anant Ram Malhotra be not revised suo motu. When the appellant appeared in response to this notice he was told by Shri Ajwani (apparently orally) that under Rule 64 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Rules, 1955 the appellant was not entitled to any allotment as he had no valid claim for allotment of land in Delhi. After hearing the appellant the impugned order was passed by Shri Ajwani taking the view that by the letter of 15th July, 1955 the appellant had refused allotment of land in the Punjab as compensation for the claim held by him and, thereforee, his case fell under Rule 64 (a) and he was not entitled to have any claim to the allotment of any agricultural land in Delhi.

(3) While disposing of the writ petition the learned single Judge did not expressly approve of the view expressed by Shri Ajwani. The learned Judge, however, stressed the fact that under Rule 64(d) the Government had the discretion to allow the appellant to retain the land allotted to him in Delhi, but the appellant did not have any substantive right to the allotment of such land in Delhi and that under Article 226 of the Constitution the court did not have the power to order the Government to allot the land to the petitioner in Delhi and, thereforee, the court was unable to quash the order. This appeal is against the dismissal of the writ petition that ground.

(4) In the counter-affidavit filed by Shri Ajwani for the Government in the writ petition, it is stated that the power of suo motu revision exercised by him was not under Section 24 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, but rather under Section 5(b) of the Displaced Persons (Claims) Supplementary Act, 1954. The said section empowers the Chief Settlement Commissioner of his own motion to revise any verified claim and make such order in relation thereto as he thinks fit. It is thus seen that the powers under Section 24 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 as also the power under Section 5 of the Displaced Persons (Claims) Supplementary Act, 1954 are exercisable by the Chief Settlement Commissioner. Since Mr. Ajwani exercised the powers of the Chief Settlement Commissioner he could exercise the powers under either of these provisions. It is perhaps a combination of both these powers which had to be exercised in the peculiar facts of the present case. For, while on the one hand the allotments of land made to the appellant one after the other were still temporary and had not been confirmed, on the other hand, the proceedings in which the impugned order was passed related to the verification of the claim rather than the mating of allotment of land. Rule 64 is made for purposes of allotting lands. But the effect of holding there under that the appellant was not entitled to allotment of land in Delhi after the appellant had already surrendered his claim to allotment of land in the Punjab is almost that the appellant had no claim to the allotment of land at all and may have to be compensated in some other way. We are of the view, thereforee, that in spite of the fact that the proceedings related to the verification of the claim and the notice to show-cause issued to the appellant was also in respect of an order made regarding the verification of a claim, the discretion exercised by the Chief Settlement Commissioner that the appellant could not have any claim for allotment of land in Delhi justified him in issuing show cause notice to the appellant and passing ihe impugned order in exercise of the combined powers under both these provisions of Jaw.

(5) The only facts which are material for the decision of this appeal are not the allotment of land, even on temporary basis was made in favor of the appellant prior to 1.7.1955 when he intimated that he did not want allotment of land in the Punjab. It is this Act of the appellant which, in our view can be called 'surrendering his claim for allotment of land in the territory which formed part of the State of Punjab' within the meaning of Rule 64(d). A plain reading of Rule b4(d) shows that such a surrender has to occur before the allotment of land in Delhi. For, the words are' if such person had been allotted land in the area which on and from 1st November, 1956 is comprised in the Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh or Delhi, after surrendering his claim for allotment of land in the territory which formed part of the State of Punjab'. The allotment in Delhi had to be after the surrender of the appellant's claim to the allotment of land in the Punjab, if the petitioner-appellant were entitled to the benefit of Rule 64(d). Since in the present case the surrender of the appellant of his claim to allotment of land in the Punjab took place after he had already been allotted land in Delhi, Rule 64(d) does not apply to him in terms. This would have been sufficient ordinarily to dispose of the appeal.

(6) The learned counsel for the appellant has, however, drawn our attention to the Explanationn to Rule 64. He has also shown how unfortunate the appellant has been. When he surrendered his claim to the allotment of land in the Punjab he did not know that subsequently the authorities would find that he had no claim to allotment of land in Delhi. The appellant cannot be blamed for declining to accept the allotment of land in the Punjab since it was but natural that he should prefer to keep the existing allotment of land in Delhi rather than abandon it and accept subsequent allotment of land in the Punjab. The surrender of his claim to allotment of land in the Punjab should not thus be construed against the appellant because it was based on his honest belief that the land allotted to him in Delhi would be permanently allotted to him. It was really unexpected for the appellant that Shri Ajwani by suo motu revision should come to the conclusion that on the facts of this case the appellant was not really entitled to allotment of land in Delhi. Since the appellant cannot successfully impugn the reasoning that the benefit of Rule 64(d) cannot be claimed by him and since the appellant has already lost his claim to allotment of land in the Punjab, the appellant is now faced with a most unenviable situation. A small part of his land originally allotted to him in Delhi is still left with him according to the oral submission made by the appellant. He is afraid that even that allotment may be cancelled and the land may be taken away from him in view of the impunged order in which it is held that the appellant has no claim to the allotment of land in Delhi.

(7) We are strongly of the view that for no fault of the appellant the appellant should not be landed in a situation now after so many years to find that no land at all can be allotted to him in Delhi after he had surrendered his claim for allotment of land in the Punjab or even in Delhi. To be entitled merely to monetary compensation after so many years of it being held out to him that he was entitled to the allotment of land in Delhi would be very inequitable and unjust to the appellant.

(8) We are, thereforee, of the view that in terms of the Explanationn the claim of the appellant to the allotment of suitable area of land in the Punjab should be even now considered by the authorities who have ample discretion to do so. In fact, the Government is under a duty under the Explanationn to consider the claim of the appellant for allotment of the land in the Punjab. The words 'may, subject to the availability of land, be allotted agricultural land' in the Explanationn mean that the Government is under a duty to allot such land to the appellant subject only to the condition that suitable land is available for being allotted to him.

(9) The appeal is thus disposed of and the claim of the appellant to the allotment of land in the Punjab is left to the authorities to be dealt with in the light of the Explanationn to Rule 64 and the observations made above. No order as to costs.


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