Financial Commissioner (Taxation) Punjab & Ors Vs. Harbhajan Singh  INSC
441 (22 March 1996)
K.Ramaswamy, K.G.B. Pattanaik (J)
JT 1996 (4) 326 1996 SCALE (3)561
O R D
have heard learned counsel on both the sides.
appeal relates to the grant of 11 kanals 7 marlas of land in revenue estate of Karbara
in Ludhiana District.
respondent and his brother Jawahar Singh, s/o Gurdit Singh being displaced
persons, his brother had applied for transfer of 7 kanals 15 marlas. It was
accordingly granted to him and it became final by proceedings dated August 17, 1966. Thereafter, in the collusion with
the revenue officials the respondent got his name mutated in the records with
regard to the land in the year 1967 and asked for assignment of the same under
the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 (for short,
the 'Act'). One Mr. J.S. Quami, Settlement Officer granted assignment to the
respondent on August
29, 1969. Thereafter,
when it was noticed that the mutation was obtained by playing fraud, the
self-same officer as Settlement Commissioner, by proceedings dated 16.9.1971,
set aside the order. It came to be challenged by filing of a revision under
Section 33 of the Act. The Financial Commissioner (Taxation), Government of Punjab upheld the cancellation by his
proceedings dated November
25, 1971. When the
respondent filed the writ petition, the learned single Judge by order dated January 12, 1983, dismissed the writ petition. The
Division Bench by judgment and order dated January 12, 1989 in LPA No.526/82
has set aside the order on the finding that J.S. Qaumi having exercised the
power as Settlement Officer has no jurisdiction to sit over the same order as
appellate authority as Chief Settlement Commissioner. Therefore, the order is
vitiated by error of law.
question is: whether the order passed by J.S. Qaumi as Settlement Officer could
be corrected by the Financial Commissioner (Taxation) under Section 33 of the
Act? Section 33 reads as under:
The Central Government may at any time call for the record of any proceeding
under this Act and may pass such order in relation thereto as in its opinion
the circumstances of the case require and as is not inconsistent with any of
the provisions contained in this Act or the rules made thereunder.' A reading
thereof would clearly indicate that the Financial Commissioner (Taxation) as a
delegate of the Central Government has power to revise any order after calling
for record in relation thereto and if in his opinion the circumstances of the
case require and the order passed is not inconsistent with the provisions of
the Act and rules made thereunder, he has got power to correct the same. It is
true, as rightly contended by the learned counsel for the respondent, that J.S.
Qaumi having granted assignment as Settlement Officer, could not have sit over
his order as Chief Settlement Commissioner. This is the settled legal position
and needs no reiteration. This Court in Gulab Ajwani & Ors. vs. Saraswati Bai
[(1977) 3 SCC 581] had laid the law. But the question is not resolved with the
above finding alone. As stated earlier, the Financial Commissioner (Taxation)
as a delegate of the Central Government has been invested with the power under
Section 33 to revise any orders. All the authorities have half that after his
brother Jawhar Singh had been granted assignment granted to them, the
respondent in collusion with lower level revenue officials hat played fraud and
obtained another assignment.
Commissioner under Section 33, therefore, has power to correct the same in his revisional
jurisdiction though it was brought to his notice by way of revision by the
respondent himself treating it to be a suo review. Under these circumstances,
the High Court was not justified in quashing the orders.
appeal is accordingly allowed. The order of the Division bench is set aside and
that of the single judge and the authorities upheld. No costs.