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JHANDU versus JOINT DEVELOPMENT COMMISSIONER (IRD), PU

High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh

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Jhandu v. Joint Development Commissioner (IRD), Pu - CWP-3116-2005 [2006] RD-P&H 3131 (15 May 2006)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

1) C.W.P.No.3116 OF 2005

DATE OF DECISION : 28.4.2006

Jhandu

..... Petitioner

Vs.

Joint Development Commissioner (IRD), Punjab & ors.

....Respondents

2) C.W.P.No.3125 OF 2005

DATE OF DECISION : .4.2006

Surjit Singh & Others

..... Petitioners

Vs.

Joint Development Commissioner (IRD), Punjab & ors.

....Respondents

CORAM : HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA
HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE MAHESH GROVER

.......

Present : Mr. K.S.Dadwal,Advocate , for the petitioners.

Mr. C.M.Munjal, Sr.Addl.A.G., Punjab, for respondents No.1 and 2.

Mr. Manohar Dadwal, Advocate, for respondent No.3.

...

MAHESH GROVER,J.

By way of this common judgment two civil writ petitions bearing Nos.3116 of 2005 and 3125 of 2005 are being disposed of as these involve common question of fact and law.

The challenge in these two writ petitions is to the orders dated 29.5.2001 (Annexure P.15) and dated 8.12.2004 (Annexsure P.18) passed by the competent authorities while determining the rights of the petitioners under the provisions of Section 11(2) of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act"). By virtue of the impugned orders the claims of the petitioners have been dismissed.

The petitioners had filed a petition under Section 11(2) of the Act for declaration that they be declared owners in possession of land measuring 29 kanals 4 marlas and that they are owners as per their respective shares as reflected in the revenue record and they are also in physical possession of the land much before the commencement of the Act.

It was pleaded that their forefathers were in actual physical cultivating possession of the land and that the present petitioners had inherited the land from them and since then they have been in continuous cultivating possession of the disputed land. The Gram Panchayat had no concern with the land. The revenue entries in favour of the Gram Panchayat were wrong and and incorrect and even if it is assumed for the sake of arguments that the Gram Panchayat had some concern with the land, it was pleaded that the petitioners had become owners on the basis of possession which is undisturbed since the year 1940.

The Gram Panchayat had also initiated proceedings under Section 7 of the Act and claimed that the land was Shamilat Deh.

The Gram Panchayat while entering upon their defence and setting up their case had stated that the land belonged to the Gram Panchayat and that the petitioners had no right, title or interest in the same and that the Panchayat was paying land revenue to the State and a proper mutation had also been sanctioned in the name of Gram Panchayat in the year 1968. The claim of the petitioners was also hopelessly barred by time as the petition under Section 11(2) of the Act was filed much after the period of limitation as provided in the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964 (hereinafter referred to as "the Rules"). The Additional Deputy Commissioner (Dev.), Hoshiarpur dismissed the application of the petitioners vide his order dated 29.5.2001 against which the petitioners went up in appeal before the Joint Development Commissioner (IRD), Punjab, exercising the powers of the Commissioner.

The said appeal was also dismissed vide order of the Commissioner dated 18.12.2004. The present petitions have been filed against these two orders and the petitioners have prayed for the setting aside of these two orders.

Mr. K.S.Dadwal, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners submitted that the petitioners have been in continuous possession of the land much prior to the coming into the existence of the Act. Earlier their forefathers were in possession of the land and then they continued to be in possession. He further submitted that the revenue record shows that the land was recorded as Shamilat Deh Hasab Rasad Khewat in the jamabandi for the year 1911-12 and similarly in the jamabandi for the year 1941-42 the same entries were recorded. He submitted that by mistake a stray entry had cropped up in the year 1967-68 in which the Gram Panchayat had been shown as the owner and that all entries prior to the coming into the force of the Act showed that the land was recorded as Shamilat Deh Hasab Rasad Khewat and, therefore, no weight could be given to the entry of 1967-68 which was in favour of the Gram Panchayat.

It was also submitted by him that the land is not covered by the provisions of Section 2(g) of the Act as the petitioners are in possession of the land prior to 1950.

Mr. Manohar Dadwal, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Gram Panchayat submitted that the petitioners are in unauthorised occupation of the land. The Gram Panchayat was recorded as the owner in the jamabandi for the year 1967-68 and that even in the jamabandi for the year 1994-95 Gram Panchayat was recorded as the owner. It was further submitted by him that the petitioners have failed to prove before the competent authorities as to how they were the owners in possession of the land and the present khasra numbers after consolidation proceedings have not been connected with the khasra numbers of the jamabandis on which reliance has been placed by the petitioners and which pertain to entries prior to the consolidation proceedings which took place in 1962.

We have heard the learned counsel at length. A perusal of the record shows that way back in the year 1967-68 the Gram Panchayat was recorded as the owner of the disputed land and the entries of 1994-95 are also to the similar effect. In the column of the cultivator the names of the petitioners find mention. Be that as it may, the question is as to how the petitioners claim their ownership in the land in question. Nothing has been shown before the authorities below, and even before this Court the petitioners have failed to demonstrate as to how they became the owners of the land in question when the Gram Panchayat itself was recorded as owner in the year 1967-68. The contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners that these are stray entries and can be ignored cannot be accepted in view of the fact that even in the year 1994-95 the Gram Panchayat was recorded as the owner. A perusal of the jamabandis attached as Annexures P.1 to P.3 shows that the land has been recorded as Shamilat Deh Hasad Rasad Khewat. These are the jamabandis pertaining to the years 1911-12, 1941-42 and 1950-51 and in the column of cultivation the petitioners allege that their forefathers have been recorded as being in possession as co- sharers.

'Hasab Rasad Khewat' is a term which implies "according to area in khewat holding". The term is used as applied to Shamilat to mean "as per area of Khewat" and in some cases as to mean "according to the revenue assessed on the basis of holding and in the villages subject to river action, since the revenue assessed, is fluctuating, and the khewat holding includes the submersed land, therefore, the term 'Hasab Rasad Khewat' means "according to the area of the khewat holding" at the time of settlement. This word has also been used in the revenue record in reference to the partition of revenue area which always meant "according to the revenue assessed on the holding"

The consolidation proceedings in this village are stated to have taken place in the year 1962. The petitioners have not made available any record to show that what was the status of this land subsequent to the consolidation proceedings and whether the land was ever partitioned. There is also no record immediately after the consolidation up to the year 1967-68.

In the jamabandi for the year 1967-68 the Gram Panchayat is recorded as the owner and to the similar effect is the jamabandi for the year 1994-95. In the absence of any proof regarding the identity of land, we find it difficult to accept the claim of the petitioners.

Apart from this, the petitioners chose to agitate the matter at a belated stage in the year 2000. The earlier entry in favour of the Gram Panchayat is reflected in the jamabandi for the year 1967-68. According to the Rules, a petition by which a person can claim right, title or interest in any land vested or deemed to have been vested in the Panchayat can file a petition within thirty days from the date of accrual of the cause of action before the Collector. Rule 21-A which is relevant rule is reproduced below :

"21-A. Decision of claim of right, title or interest in Shamilar Deh. - (1) Any person claiming a right, title or interest in any land vested or deemed to have been vested in the Panchayat may submit an application in the form of a statement duly signed and verified in the manner provided in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, supported by a copy of the revenue record within thirty days from the date of accrual of cause of action to the Collector.

(2) The Collector shall, after receiving the application, send notice to the Panchayat concerned alongwith the copy of the application directing it to appear before him on the date fixed for the purpose. The Collector shall decide the matter, after affording a reasonable opportunity to the parties to substantiate their respective claims."

Section 11 of the Act is also reproduced as under : "11. Decision of claims of right, title or interest in shamilat deh. -

(1) Any person or a Panchayat claiming right, title or interest in any land, vested or deemed to have been vested in a panchayat under this Act or claiming that any land has not so vested in a Panchayat, may submit to the Collector, within such time, as may be prescribed, a statement of his claim in writing and signed and verified in the prescribed manner and the Collector shall have jurisdiction to decide such claim in such manner as may be prescribed.

(2) Any person or a Panchayat aggrieved by an order of the Collector made under sub-section (1) may, within sixty days from the date of the order, prefer an appeal to the Commissioner in such form and manner as may be prescribed and the Commissioner may after hearing the appeal confirm, vary or reverse the order appealed from and may pass such order as he deems fit."

A perusal of the aforementioned provisions of law shows that the petitioners could have filed an application within thirty days of the accrual of the cause of action. We could have appreciated it even if the petitioners had come within a reasonable time for pressing their claim, but in the instant case the petition under Section 11 was filed in the year 1990 which was a highly belated claim and no explanation worth the name has been given by the petitioners to explain as to why they remained silent for all these years. The conduct of the petitioners is in consonance with the general tendency of the people to grab public land and utilise the same for endless period and then come up with the plea of having acquired ownership on the basis of possession. We are afraid we cannot be a party to such nefarious designs of such unscrupulous persons.

Learned counsel for the petitioners had laid much stress on the issue that according to the Full Bench judgment of this Hon'ble Court in Jai Singh and others v. State of Haryana 2003(1) PLJ 429, the land recorded as Jumla Mustarka Malkan Wa Digar Haqdaran Hasab Rasad Arazi Khewat could not have vested in the Gram Panchayat and, therefore, the entire claim of the Gram Panchayat is vitiated on this score alone.

We are afraid we cannot accept this plea of the petitioners as even as per the saying of the petitioners there are no records produced before this Court after 1954. The records also do not connect the land with the disputed land. The jamabandis for the year 1967-68 and 1994-95 show the land to be Barani and Banjar Kadim and in the column of ownership Gram Panchayat is recorded as the owner. The record produced by the petitioners is prior to the consolidation and there is nothing on record to show that the identity of the land in the earlier jamabandis is the same and coinciding with the record of the land subsequent to the consolidation. The petitioners have not produced on record any jamabandi from 1962 to 1967.

In the absence of such record and in view of the peculiar facts of the case, we hold that the judgment of the Full Bench is not attracted in the circumstances of the case.

No other point has been urged before us.

Consequently, we dismiss these petitions with no order as to costs.

(MAHESH GROVER)

JUDGE

April 28, 2006 (ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA)

JUDGE

dss

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

C.W.P.No.3125 OF 2005

DATE OF DECISION : .4.2006

Surjit Singh & Others

..... Petitioners

Vs.

Joint Development Commissioner (IRD), Punjab & ors.

....Respondents

CORAM : HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA
HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE MAHESH GROVER

.......

Present : Mr. K.S.Dadwal,Advocate , for the petitioners.

Mr. C.M.Munjal, Sr.Addl.A.G., Punjab, for respondents No.1 and 2.

Mr. Manohar Dadwal, Advocate, for respondent No.3.

...

For orders, see C.W.P.No.3116 of 2005 (Jhandu v. Joint Development Commissioner (IRD), Punjab & ors.).

(MAHESH GROVER)

JUDGE

April 28, 2006 (ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA)

JUDGE

dss


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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