The Regional Settlement Commissioner Vs.
Sunderdas Bhasin  INSC 169 (27 April 1962)
27/04/1962 WANCHOO, K.N.
AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR
P.(CJ) GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B.
AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA
CITATION: 1963 AIR 181 1963 SCR (2) 534
Rehabilitation of Displaced
persons-Compensation for rural buildings-Not payable for rural building valued
at less than Rs. 10,000-More than one rural building each valued as less than
Rs. 10,000-Whether value can be added up to reach total of Rs 10,000-Displaced
Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation), Rules, r. 65.
The respondent, a displaced person, had
agricultural land as well as houses in the rural area in what is now West
Pakistan. Each house was valued at less than Rs. 10,000/.
but the total value of all the houses was
more than Rs. 10,600/He was allowed 2-1/2 acres of land in lieu of the
agricultural land left by him. He applied for compensation for the rural
houses. This claim was rejected on the ground that it was barred by r. 65
Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Rules. Rule 65(2) provided
that any person to whom less than 4 acres of agricultural land had been
allotted shall not be entitled to receive compensation separately in respect of
any rural building the assessed value of which was less than Rs. 1O,000/-. The
respondent contended that in order to determine the limit of Rs. 10,000 in r.
65(2) the value of all the rural buildings should be added up.
Held, that r. 65(2) applied to the case- and
the respondent was not entitled to compensation for the rural houses left by
him in Pakistan. When r. 65(2) speaks of any building the assessed value of
which is Rs. 10,000/- it refers to each building being of less than that value;
does not 535 contemplate the adding up of the value of more than one building.
The complaint that no compensation had been provided for buildings valued at
less than Rs. 10,000 was not correct. For such cases r. 57 provided for the
allotment of a house or a site with building grant in addition to the
agricultural land. Under the Inter-Dominion Agreement it was decided to treat
buildings of a certain value as substantial and buildings of lower value as
mere appendages to agricultural land, the Rules give effect to that agreement.
Chanapdas Mukhi v. Union of India, I.L.R.
(1960) 1 Punj.
Totaram Teckchand v. H. K. Choudhary, A. I.R.
528, not approved.
Makhanlal Malhotra v. Union of India (1961) 2
S.C.R. 120, referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 294 of 1960.
Appeals by special leave from the judgment
and order dated October 3, 1958, of Rajasthan High Court in D.B. Civil Writ
Case No. 39 of 1957.
H. N. Sanglal, Additional Solicitor General
of India, M. S. Bindra and P. D. Menon, for the appellants.
Naunit LaL, for the respondent.
N. N. Keswani, for the intervener.
1962. April 27. The Judgment of the Court was
delivered by WANCHOOO, J.-The short question raised in this appeal by special
leave is whether it is possible to add up the value of more than one rural
building, each of which is less than Rs.10,000/- or Rs.20,000/in order to reach
the total of Rs.
10,000/- or Rs. 20,000/- for the purpose of
taking the case for compensation for rural buildings out of the ambit of r.65
of the Rules framed under the Displaced Persons (Compensation and
Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 536 (44 of 1954) (hereinafter referred to as the
Act). The brief facts necessary for this purpose are these. The respondent is a
displaced person who migrated from what is now part of West Pakistan to India.
It appears that he had agricultural land as well as houses in the rural area in
the place from where he migrated. He was allowed 2-1/2 acres of land in the
Punjab in lieu of the agricultural land left by him in what is now Pakistan. In
addition he also left behind a house and a shop. He claimed Rs. 12,000/for the
house and Rs. 8,000/- for the shop as compensation. The Additional Settlement
Commissioner allowed his claim to the extent of Rs. 6,674/- for the house and
Rs. 6,120/- for the shop, the total thus coming to Rs. 12,796/-. This was
adjudged in March 1955. Thereafter, the respondent made an application to the
Settlement Officer Jaipur in March 1956 for compensation under the Act. This
claim of his was however rejected. by the Assistant Settlement Officer Jaipur
on the ground that it could not be entertained in view of r. 65 of the Rules,
as he was allotted agricultural land to the extent of 2-1/2 acres. The
respondent then appealed to the Regional Settlement Commissioner who upheld the
order of the Assistant Settlement Officer. Thereafter the respondent filed a
writ petition before the High Court of Rajasthan and the main contention raised
by him there was that in order to determine the limit of Rs. 10,000/- provided
in r. 65(2) the value of all the rural buildings left by him in Pakistan should
be added, up and if the total is more than Rs. 10,000/- he is entitled to
compensation. This contention has been accepted by the High Court which
directed that the respondent should be paid compensation to which he was
entitled under the Rules for the rural buildings left by him the value of which
collectively was more than Rs. 10,000/-.
It is this order of the High Court which is
challenged before us in the present appeal.
537 It may be mentioned that this question
has been raised in three High Courts. The Punjab High Court, by a Full Bench
decision in Chanan das Mukhi v. the Union of India (1) held that in order that
a person may be entitled to compensation for rural buildings left in Pakistan
and thus take the case out of the ambit or r. 65 it is necessary that the rural
buildings left by him should each be of the value of Rs. 10,000/- or Rs.
20,000/- or more, as the case may be, and that a displaced person is not
entitled to compensation if he has left more than one rural building, the value
of each being less than Rs. 10,000/- or Rs. 20,000/-, though the total value of
such buildings left by him may be more than Rs. 10,000/- or Rs. 20,000/-, as
the ease may be. The Bombay High Court on the other hand where a similar
question was raised has taken the same view as the Rajasthan High Court in
Totaram Teckchand v. H.K. Choudhari (2). What we have to determine therefore is
which of these two views is correct.
Rule 65 is in these terms "65. Separate
compensation for rural building not to be paid in certain cases.
(1) Any person to whom four acres or more of
agricultural land have been allotted shall not be entitled to receive
compensation separately in respect of his verified claim for any rural building
the assessed value of which is less than Rs. 20,000/- (2) Any person to whom
less than four acres of agricultural land have been allotted, shall not be
entitled to receive compensation separately in respect of his verified claim
for any rural building the assessed value of which is less than Rs. 10,000/-.
(1) I.L.R.  1 Punj. 153.
(2) A.T. R.  Bom. 528.
538 Though the point in dispute in the
present appeal arises on r. 65 (2), it is clear that what we say about r. 65
(2) will equally apply to r. 65 (1), the only difference between the two
sub-rules being that in one case the value of the rural building, is
Rs.20,000/while in the other it is Rs. 10,000/- and in one case the allotment
of agricultural land is four or more acres and in the other case of less than
It is urged on behalf of the appellant that r.
65 was framed primarily in pursuance of an inter Dominion agreement by which it
was agreed that no compensation should be payable for a rural building where
its value is less than Rs.20,000/-. It is further urged that the reason for
this rule was that a rural building worth less than Rs.20,000/ was treated as
an adjunct to the agricultural land left by a displaced person in Pakistan and
it was decided to give compensation for any rural building which was less than
Rs 20,000/- in value by other ways and not as compensation.
This other way is provided in r. 57 of the
Rules. Rule 57 provides that a displaced person having a verified claim in
respect of agricultural land who has settled in a rural area and to whom
agricultural land has been allotted, may be allotted a house in addition to
such land. The rule further provides that where no house is available for
allotment in the village in which the land is allotted, the allottee may be
granted, if he has been allotted agricultural land not exceeding ten standard
acres, a site measuring 400 square yards and a building grant of Rs.400/-, and
if he has been allotted agricultural land exceeding ten standard acres but not
exceeding 50 standard acres, a site measuring 400 square yards and a building
grant of Rs. 600/- and if he has been allotted agricultural land exceeding ten
standard acres but not exceeding 50 standard acres, a site measuring 600 square
yards and a building grant of Rs. 600/-. It is said that r.
57 thus provides 539 for compensation where a
building left by a displaced person in Pakistan is less than Rs.20,000/or Rs.
10,000/- in value as the case may be. Further, it is pointed out that there is
another provision in the Rules, namely r. 97, which deals with certain
contingencies where the allottee has refused the allotment of agricultural land
or where such allotment has been cancelled. It is therefore urged that when r.
65 provides that no compensation would be given for any rural building which
was worth less than Rs.20,000/- or Rs.10,000/- it referred to the value of each
building and the case could not be taken out of the ambit of r. 65 if a
displaced person bad left more than one rural building and the value of all
such buildings was more than Rs.10,000/- or Rs.20,000/- taken together. The
reason for this, according to the appellant, is the provision in r. 57.
On the other hand, it is urged on behalf of
the respondent that if r. 65 is not unambiguous on this point and can have two
meanings, it should be so interpreted as to favour the displaced person so that
he may get some compensation for the rural buildings left by him in Pakistan,
It is urged further that the words "any rural building" in r. 65
though in singular, can be read in plural also in view of s. 13 of the General
Clauses Act, and that they should be so read in order to help the displaced
person in getting compensation.
In order to decide between the two rival
contentions we have to see the background in which r. 65 came to be framed, for
it is that background which will help in determining one way or the other its
proper interpretation. Rule 65 came up for consideration in this Court once
before, when it was challenged as ultra vires on the ground that it made a
discrimination between rural building for which compensation was payable only
if they were 540 above certain value and urban buildings for which compensation
was payable, if they were of any value. The constitutionality of r. 65 was
upheld by this Court in Makhanlal Malhotra v. The Union of India (1). In that,
case this Court went into the background which was responsible for the apparent
discrimination between rural buildings and urban buildings. At an
inter-Dominion Conference between the Governments of India and Pakistan held at
Karachi between January 10 and 13, 1949, a permanent inter-Dominion Commission
was set up to consider the question of administration, sale and transfer of
evacuee property in both the Dominions. In persuance of this decision the
question in respect of shops and houses in rural areas was considered by the
Commission at New Delhi on March II and 13, 1949. It was recommended at this
meeting that buildings in rural areas of value of Rs. 20,000/- or more should
be considered to be substantial buildings and the buildings which were of
lesser value than that were to be treated as appendages of agriculture land and
as such were to be treated as "agricultural properties". This shows
that the basis for purposes of value was the build. ing and the ownership of
the building had nothing to do with this limit.
It is this agreement which in substance is
the basis of r. 65 though the rigor of this agreement has been softened by
making provisions of two kinds one for those to whom four acres or more were
allotted and the other for those to whom less than four acres were allotted and
the limit was kept at Rs. 20,000/- in the case of the former while it was
reduced to Rs. 10,000/-in the case of the latter. But it is clear from the
agreement of March 1949 that compensation was to be provided for an individual
buildings worth Rs. 20,000/-or more and other buildings of less value were to
be treated as appendages to the agricultural land owned by a displaced person
(1) (1961) 2 S.C.R. 120.
541 The intention behind the agreement
obviously was to treat only buildings which were individually more than Rs.
20,000/- as substantial buildings for which
compensation would be granted while other buildings each of which was less than
that value would not be considered substantial buildings but would be treated
as merely appendages to agricultural properties. This value of Rs. 20,000/- has
been reduced to Rs. 10,000/- in r. 65 for those to whom less than four acres
was allotted, but this change is subject to the same limitation i. e., where an
individual building worth either Rs. 10,000 in one case or Rs. 20,000/- in the
other was left in Pakistan compensation would be payable for that building as
such: but where an individual building left in Pakistan was less than Rs.
20,000/- or Rs 10,000/as the case may be, no compensation would be payable for
it separately even though more than one such building may have been left behind
by the same displaced person That seems to be the scheme which was evolved
under the Act for giving compensation to displaced person. The general rules for
payment of compensation are to be found in Chapters IV, V and VI of the Rules.
Further, r. 44 in Chapter VII provides for allotment of acquired evacuee houses
in rural areas in lieu of compensation Rule 47 then provides for payment of
compensation under Chap. VII subject to the provisions of r. 65. It is clear
therefore that the scheme of compensation provided under the Rules is that
where a person has left both agricultural land and rural buildings in Pakistan
he was to be allotted agricultural land and for any rural building which he
might have left and each of which might be less than Rs. 10,000/-or Rs.
20,000/- in value he was to get what is provided by r. 57. But where anyone
rural building left by him was worth more than Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/- as
the case may be, he would get compensation separately. The argument therefore
on behalf of the respondent which 542 to have impressed the High Court that no
compensation was given to displaced persons for buildings less '-)ban
Rs.20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/ , as the case may be, is not borne out by the Rules.
We have already referred to r. 57 in this connection and reading that with r.
65 it seems clear that in view of the inter Dominion agreement, the scheme was
that where an individual building was worth more than Rs.20,000/ or Rs.10,000/-
as the case may be, compensation would be payable separately under Chapters IV,
V and VI of the Rules. Further, under Chap. VII required evacuee houses in
rural areas may be allowed in lieu of compensation. But if each individual
building left by a displaced person was less than Rs.20,000/- or Rs.10,000/- as
the case may be, though he may have left more than one he would be compensated
by allotment of a house or site with building grant in addition to agricultural
land as contemplated in r. 57. The complaint therefore that no compensation has
been provided for a displaced person where each building left by him was less
than Rs.20,000/-or Rs, 10,000/- as the case may be, is not correct, though it
may be that in the case of each building worth less than Rs.20,000/or Rs.
10,000/- the compensation may not be as in the case of each building worth more
than Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/- as the case May be.
The Problem however raised by the migration
from that is now West Pakistan to India. was so vast that it required all the
strength and ingenuity on behalf of the Government of Punjab and the Government
of India to meet it and the various taken steps for that purpose are to be
found in Chap. 1 of "Land Settlement Manual" by Tarlok Singh, which
is a book of undoubted authenticity and value in this respect. It is in that
background and with the inter-Dominion agreement of March 1949 in view that we
have to approach the inter- pretation of r.65. It is clear in that background
543 that when r. 65 speaks of any rural building the assessed value of which is
less than Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/- it speaks of each building being of that
value and,does not contemplate to talling up of the value of a number of
buildings which a displaced person might have left behind and the total value
of which might be Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/as the case may be. As was pointed
by the Full Bench of the Punjab High Court it is not correct to say that a
person owning a building in a nonurban area worth less than the minimum
mentioned in the rule receives no compensation, and the fact is that every
displaced person owning houses or buildings in a rural area has been
compensated under r. 57 and the only buildings left out of consideration were
those each of which was worth Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/-.
Reference in this connection may be made to
Chap, IX of the "land settlement Manual" by Tarlok Singh, where this
matter has been explained in detail. Therefore r. 57 having provided for
compensation for each building worth less than Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/- as
the case may be, r. 65 specifically prohibits separate compensation for such
buildings. Therefore, when r. 65 speaks of any building the assessed value of
which is Rs. 20,000/-or Rs. 10,000/- it refers to each building being less than
that value, as the case may be.
So far as the respondent is concerned, he
would also, if he so desired, have been allotted either a house or a site under
r. 57 if he had decided to settle down in the village in which he had been
allotted agricultural land. It seems however that he did not settle in that
village and therefore could not get the advantage of r. 57. That was however
his choice and he cannot complain that he is not made it impossible for an
allotment under r. 57 being made to him by not setting down in the village in
which agricultural land was allotted to him. We cannot however give a meaning
544 to r. 65 inconsistent with the scheme which has been evolved for meeting
this vast problem simply because the respondent (or those like him) did not
chose to settle down in the village in which he had been allotted agricultural
land. If he did not do so and in consequence he has suffered some loss, the
loss is of his own choice; and that is no reason for interpreting r. 65 in such
a way as to benefit persons (like the respondent) who by their own choice did
not avail of the benefit which they would have got under r. 57.
Reading r. 65 in the background in which it
came to be prescribed there Can be no doubt that when it speaks of any rural
building the assessed value of which is Rs. 10,000/or Rs. 20,000/- as the case
may be, it speaks of each individual building worth that much; it does not
provide for totaling up the value where a displaced person may have left more than
one building in West Pakistan. In the circumstances s. 13 of the General
Clauses Act would not apply. That section specifically lays down that the
singular would include the plural unless there is anything repugnant in the
subject or context. What we have said above would clearly show that considering
the subject in this case and the context in which the word "building"
has been used, it is the building that has to be taken into account in
determining the limits in r, 65 and not the owne reship of the building. Where
the building itself is worth Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/- or more, as the case
may be, the case would be, taken out of r. 65. But there is in our opinion no
warrant in the context for building that the ownership has to be taken into
account and if an owner has a number of buildings, each less than the
prescribed limit, the value of such buildings can be totalled up and
compensation claimed if the total is above the prescribed limit. We are
therefore of opinion that the view taken by the High Court is incorrect and 545
this appeal must be allowed. We therefore allow the appeal and set aside the
order of the High Court and dismiss the writ petition. The High Court allowed
no costs to the respondent. We think in the- circumstances that the parties
should bear their own costs.