High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
Case Law Search
Smt.Karmjit Kaur v. State of Punjab & Ors - CWP-9753-2004  RD-P&H 3689 (4 July 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH.
Case No. : C.W.P.No.9753 of 2004
Date of Decision : May 02, 2006.
Smt.Karmjit Kaur ..... Petitioner
State of Punjab and others ..... Respondents Coram : Hon'ble Mr.Justice J.S.Khehar
Hon'ble Mr.Justice P.S.Patwalia
* * *
Present : Mr.B.S.Walia, Advocate
for the petitioner.
Mr.Ashok Aggarwal, Addl.A.G., Punjab
for the respondents.
for Mr.Ajay Tiwari, Advocate
for respondent no.3.
* * *
P.S.Patwalia, J. :
This writ petition came up for preliminary motion hearing on 8.7.2004 when the following order was passed :- "We have heard the learned counsel for the petitioner at length.
C.W.P.No.9753 of 2004 2
We put it to the learned counsel as to whether there is any rule which authorises a person, such as the petitioner, to hold on to the premises even after her husband, who was a Government employee had gone missing. The learned counsel very fairly stated that there was no such rule but has referred to Annexure P- 14, a decision of the House Allotment Committee in the case of some other claimant. We are of the opinion, however, that Annexure P-14, cannot by any stretch of imagination form any basis for decision herein in the light of the fact that there is no rule/instruction in favour of the petitioner.
Mr.Walia, however, prays that the petitioner be permitted three months' time to stay on in the premises and undertakes on her behalf to vacate the same without any further delay thereafter.
On a consideration of the matter, we permit the petitioner to hold on the accommodation till 15.10.2004 on which date she will vacate the premises.
We, however, issue notice of motion for 3.8.2004 on the question as to whether the petitioner is liable to pay penal rent for the year 2002-03.
In the meanwhile, in view of the undertaking given by the learned counsel on behalf of the petitioner that she would vacate the accommodation by 15.10.2004, we stay her eviction therefrom till that date.
C.W.P.No.9753 of 2004 3
A reading of the above order would show that notice of motion was confined to the question as to whether the petitioner was liable to pay the penal rent for retaining residential accommodation allotted to her husband in the year 2002-03. The facts relevant to this controversy may now be noticed.
The petitioner's husband was working as a Joint Director in the Department of Local Funds Account, Punjab, Chandigarh. He had been allotted government accommodation being House No.3910 in Sector 22-D, Chandigarh where he was residing along with his family. Unfortunately, the petitioner's husband went missing and was untraceable from 5.8.2000. A D.D.R was lodged by the petitioner with the local police on 8.8.2000. In spite of the fact that the petitioner's husband could not be traced out and ultimately the police closed the case by submission of an `Untraced' report, the petitioner continued to reside in house no.3910, Sector 22-D, Chandigarh and at the same time, claimed terminal benefits due to her husband as also compassionate job for her son. Ultimately, an order was issued on 1.8.2003, directing the petitioner to vacate the residential house on 14.9.2003, which is in the following terms :- "Memo No.2(851) Vol.3/3289.
Subject : Regarding the recovery of licence fee of the House allotted by Chandigarh
According to the decision taken by House Allotment Committee, Chandigarh Administration, Assistant Controller (F&A)'s letter No. S.O. (R.I.) C.W.P.No.9753 of 2004 4
P5/1/776, dated 16.7.2003, you have been allowed to retain the Ho.No.3910, Sector 22-D, Chandigarh as under :
1. From 15.11.2002 to 14.3.2003 Four Months Normal.
2. From 15.3.2003 to 14.6.2003 For Three Months 20% of the Normal Licence Fee.
3. 15.6.2003 to 14.9.2003 for Three Months 30% of the Normal L.Fee.
For possessing the said house, you are
requested to either deposit Rs.21,061/- or give an authority letter that the amount may be deducted from gratuity, so that ACCOUNTANT GENERAL (Pb.) could be asked to release Gratuity to the family of S.Gurdev Singh, J.D.(Missing) by submitting them `No Due Certificate'. You are requested to vacate the house from 15.9.2003 so that you don't have to pay Rs.5,006/- per month. You are clearly told that in case the said amount is not deposited, then the office will not be responsible for any delay in releasing of Gratuity.
Local Funds Accounts (Punjab),
However, subsequently by an order dated 13.8.2003, the Secretary, House Allotment Committee passed yet another order whereby the allotment of the house granted in favour of the petitioner's husband was C.W.P.No.9753 of 2004 5
cancelled with retrospective effect from 8.6.2001. The petitioner was also made liable to pay licence fee at penal rent of Rs.5,000/- per month, from that date till she actually handed over the possession of the house. It is this order which has been impugned by the petitioner in the writ petition.
Two separate written statements have been filed. A short affidavit has been filed on behalf of the State of Punjab wherein it has been stated that the question regarding payment of penal rent is a subject matter of U.T. Administration and does not relate to the State of Punjab. On behalf of the U.T. Administration, a written statement has been filed by the Secretary, House Allotment Committee, Chandigarh. Therein, it has been stated that the request of the petitioner for retention of the house was placed before the House Allotment Committee (Lower) in its meeting held on 9.4.2003, wherein the following decision was taken :- "In view of the communication received from the Jt.Director, Local Funds Accounts, Punjab, that the family of Sh.Gurdev Singh has been paid leave encashment and G.I.S. etc. the pension case and the DCRG has been sent to A.G., Punjab for approval, it was decided that Secretary, House Allotment Committee may ascertain from the department concerned as to from which date the pension has been sent to A.G. Punjab for sanction. After the receipt of the said information and presuming the said date of retirement, the allotment of the house be cancelled after allowing them benefit of retention of 4 months on payment of normal licence fee and further 3 months on payment of twenty times the C.W.P.No.9753 of 2004 6
normal licence and further 3 months on payment of thirty times the normal licence fee. Secretary, House Allotment Committee to issue notice to the family of Sh.Gurdev Singh, as per rules."
It has further been stated in the reply that pension case of the petitioner's husband was sent to the Accountant General, Punjab for sanctioning the family pension with effect from 8.8.2000 vide letter dated 15.11.2002. It has been explained therefore that while the order Annexure P-6 was passed, taking the date on which the proposal was sent to the Accountant General, Punjab while the order Annexure P-9 has been passed on the premises that since the pension was actually allowed from 8.8.2000, the period has to be calculated from that date.
Having heard learned counsel for the parties and gone through the record of the case, we are of the opinion that the order dated 13.8.2003 can not be sustained. A reading of the decision of the House Allotment Committee (Lower) shows that the Committee had decided that the allotment should be cancelled after allowing the benefit of 11 months of normal/enhanced licence fee from the date when the proposal for sanction of pension was actually sent. As per this decision, order dated 1.8.2003 was rightfully passed taking 15.11.2002 as the date, which actually was the date on which the proposal was sent. The order dated 1.8.2003 therefore is in terms of the decision of the House Allotment Committee (Lower). It has wrongly been revoked by the order dated 13.8.2003.
The matter can be examined from another angle also. The facts as pleaded in the petition would show that the petitioner right from the year 2000, had been running from pillar to post seeking terminal dues of her husband and also compassionate appointment for her son. The Administration lingered over the matter and it was only in November 2002 C.W.P.No.9753 of 2004 7
that the proposal for pension was sent. During this period, the petitioner who had no other source of income, had no option but to reside in the house allotted to her husband. Since the delay in release of the pension can not be attributed to the petitioner, it would be wholly iniquitous to further penalize the petitioner by asking her to pay market rent for this period. We are therefore of the opinion that House Allotment Committee took a reasonable decision in taking the date of submission of proposal to be the starting point for allowing 11 months grace at normal licence fee/20/30% enhanced licence fee. Consequently, we set aside the order dated 13.8.2003 and direct that the petitioner shall be charged the licence fee in terms of the order dated 1.8.2003.
Before parting with this case, however, it is necessary to notice that the petitioner had continued to occupy the house till 15.10.2004 i.e.
almost an year beyond 14.9.2003. Out of this period, three months' time had been granted by this Court while issuing notice of motion in this writ petition on 8.7.2004. The facts of this case further bear out that it was only on 1.8.2003 that the petitioner's case for the amount of licence fee payable by her, was decided by the U.T. Administration but subsequently even that order was set aside on 13.8.2003. The petitioner agitated against the said order by filing representation. Ultimately she approached this court in July
2004. In this petition, on her undertaking to vacate the house within three months, she was granted the aforesaid period by this Court. In view of these peculiar facts, we direct the respondents no.2 to 4 to take an appropriate decision regarding the licence fee payable by the petitioner, from the period 15.9.2003 to 15.10.2004 or the date on which the house was actually vacated by the petitioner.
The writ petition stands disposed of in the aforementioned C.W.P.No.9753 of 2004 8
terms. In the circumstances of the case, however, there shall be no order as to costs.
( P.S.Patwalia )
May 02, 2006 ( J.S.Khehar )
Double Click on any word for its dictionary meaning or to get reference material on it.