Rajinder Singh Vs.
State of Jammu & Kashmir & Ors.  INSC 1100 (11 July 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5269 OF 2003 RAJINDER
SINGH ... APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF JAMMU & KASHMIR & ORS. ...
C.K. THAKKER, J.
appeal is directed against the judgment and order passed by the Division Bench
of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir on July 29, 2002 in Letters Patent
Appeal No. 621 of 1999. By the said order, the Division Bench of the High Court
allowed the appeal filed by respondent No. 2 herein and set aside the order
passed by the single Judge dated November 12, 1998 in Writ Petition No. 457 of
stated the facts of the case are that one Makhan Singh was a Displaced Person
in the year 1947 who settled down in India in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir had taken a policy decision in the year
1954 to allot agricultural land with a view to rehabilitate displaced families
who were forced to leave the other side of the border (now Pakistan) in 1947 in
the wake of partition and who were holding land in that area.
Government, in pursuance of the said policy, passed an order being Government
Order No. 254 of 1965 conferring ownership right upon Makhan Singh. The said
order reads thus:
hereby grant proprietary rights on the State lands in favour of the displaced
persons from non-liberated areas of the State who in pursuance of Cabinet order
No. 578-C of 1954 or any other order issued prior to the CO No. 578-C of 1954
about allotments in favour of such displaced persons, have been settled on such
lands and partly on evacuee 3 lands subject to the condition that the
allottees have continuously been holding the land from the date of the allotment
and have been so recorded. The grantees shall be liable to the payment of land
revenue assessed at village rates according to the class of soil which the land
belonged to or has assumed on being cultivated or if there is no village rate
available, to such land revenue as may be fixed by the Collector with regard to
the assessment of similar land in the assessment circle in which such land is
situated and also to the payment of ceases and other dues payable under any
land for the time being in force."
15-B(2) of the Cabinet Order No. 578-C of 1954 conferred right on the allottee
as also to the family members. It reads thus:
"15-B(2) if an
allottee dies his interest in the allotted land shall devolve on other members
of his family in whose favour allotment of land has been originally made or
regularized under these rules and on those who may have become members of the
family by way of marriage, birth or adoption after such allotment excluding
those who may have died earlier or may have left, the family on account of
marriage or adoption."
appears that Makhan Singh was cultivating the land and was the registered owner
of the property. He was conferred proprietary rights. His name had been entered
in the Jamabandi of 1966-67. It was Mutation No. 291 of Village Tariara, Tehsil
Kathua. Makhan Singh was shown as the original allottee.
the year 1981, Makhan Singh died leaving behind him his sons and daughters. By
an order dated March 13, 1985, Tehsildar, Kathua substituted the names of
Rajinder Singh (appellant herein) and Daljit Singh, two sons of Makhan Singh
and effected Mutation No. 428 in Revenue Record.
aggrieved by the said entry in Revenue Record, Kuldip Kaur and Balbir Kaur
(daughters of deceased Makhan Singh) preferred appeal before the Divisional
Commissioner, Jammu, inter alia, contending that mutation made in favour of
Rajinder Singh and Daljit Singh (sons) was illegal and the appellants who 5
were daughters of deceased Makhan Singh were also entitled to the share in the
property of their deceased father. The Divisional Commissioner, however,
dismissed the appeal by an order dated January 29, 1990 observing that the
succession devolved on two sons Rajinder Singh and Daljit Singh and daughters
had no share.
Kaur preferred revision petition before the Financial Commissioner against the
order passed by the Divisional Commissioner. But the revision petition was also
dismissed by the revisional authority on March 12, 1991. The review against the
said order also met with the same fate.
Kaur, therefore, filed a Writ Petition No. 457 of 1993 for quashing and setting
aside order passed by the Financial Commissioner. A prayer was made to allow
the writ petition and to cancel mutation effected in favour of sons of deceased
Makhan Singh by declaring mutation entry null and void. The 6 learned single
Judge, however, dismissed the writ petition.
order passed by the learned Single Judge was challenged by filing a Letters
Patent Appeal and as observed above, the appeal was allowed by the Division
Bench setting aside all orders. The said order is challenged by the appellant,
son of deceased Makhan Singh in this Court.
was issued by this Court on December 13, 2002 and interim stay was also granted
on the order of the Division Bench of the High Court. Leave was granted on July
25, 2005 and interim relief was ordered to continue.
April 11, 2008, as per order of Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India, the matter
was ordered to be placed for final hearing during summer vacation and that is
how the matter has been placed before us.
learned counsel for the appellant contended that the Division Bench of the
High 7 Court was wholly wrong in allowing the Letters Patent Appeal and
setting aside the orders passed by the Authorities as also by the learned
single Judge. It was submitted that the Division Bench of the High Court was
wrong in applying the provisions of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 ignoring the
relevant provisions of law i.e. the Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Succession Act,
1956 as also the Jammu and Kashmir Tenancy Act, 1980. It was also contended
that the view taken by the Division Bench was not in consonance with Section
3-A of the Agrarian Reforms Act, Section 67 of the Jammu and Kashmir Tenancy
Act as also Rule 15-B(2) of Cabinet Order No. 578-C/1954.
was urged that the contesting respondent herein was the daughter of Makhan
Singh, who had already got married. She, therefore, could not be said to be a
`member' of Makhan Singh's family and was not entitled to inherit the property
under the Jammu and Kashmir Act. According to the counsel, the 8 action taken
by the Authorities under the Tenancy Act and the order passed by the learned
Single Judge were legal, valid and in accordance with law and could not have
been interfered with in Letters Patent Appeal. It was, therefore, submitted
that the impugned order deserved to be set aside by restoring the orders passed
by the Authorities and confirmed by the learned Single Judge.
learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, supported the order
passed by the Division Bench of the High Court and submitted that it was right
in allowing the Letters Patent Appeal and in making the order. This Court in
exercise of the power under Article 136 of the Constitution may not interfere
with the order.
heard the learned counsel for the parties, in our opinion, the High Court was
not justified in entering into larger question in view the controversy before
the Authorities under the Tenancy Act. From the facts stated 9 above, it is
clear that land was allotted to Makhan Singh as a Displaced Person and in
Jamabandi 1966-67, his name was entered. Mutation was made in his favour by
Entry No. 291 on October 19, 1966. After death of Makhan Singh in 1981,
Tehsildar of Kathua entered names of sons of deceased Makhan Singh vide
Mutation No. 428. The said action was challenged by respondent No. 2 herein
(one of the daughters of Makhan Singh) and her sister Kuldeep Kaur. Their case
was that being daughters, they were also entitled to inherit the property. The
Authorities, in our opinion, unnecessarily entered into question of rights of
parties as to title to the property.
is well settled that Revenue Records confer no title on the party. It has been
recently held by this Court in Suraj Bhan & Ors. v. Financial Commissioner
& Ors., (2007) 6 SCC 186, that such entries are relevant only for
"fiscal purpose" and substantive rights of title and of ownership of
contesting claimants 1 can be decided only by a competent civil Court in appropriate
is clear from the record that grievance of respondent No. 2 daughter related to
Mutation entry. If the Authorities under the Tenancy Act felt that the action
was in consonance with law, it could have retained the entry. The inquiry,
however, was limited to the entry in Revenue Records and nothing more. It had
no bearing whatsoever as to right of ownership, inheritance or title to the
property. In our opinion, therefore, neither the Authorities under the Tenancy
Act nor the High Court could have entered into question of ownership, title or
inheritance in the present proceedings and they ought to have decided the
controversy limited to mutation entry in the Revenue Records.
present appeal, therefore, deserves to be disposed of by leaving all the
parties to take appropriate proceedings in 1 accordance with law in a
competent civil Court so far as substantive rights of ownership, title or
inheritance are concerned. In view of the fact, however, that certain
observations have been made and questions have been considered with regard to
rights of sons and daughters in the property of father under the Hindu
Succession Act as also under the Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Succession Act, we
clarify that all those observations which were not relevant in view of the
limited question before the Revenue Authorities, would have no effect in the
proceedings before the Civil Court if such proceedings have been initiated in a
therefore, dispose of this appeal by granting liberty to the parties to take
appropriate proceedings in a competent Civil Court by making it clear that the
observations made in the orders of Revenue Authorities as also by the High
Court will not come in the way of the parties in a suit as and when 1
proceedings have been initiated for the purpose of determination of substantive
rights of ownership.
the aforesaid reasons, the appeal deserves to be allowed and is accordingly
allowed by setting aside the order passed by the Division Bench and by granting
liberty to the parties to take appropriate proceedings.
On the facts and in
the circumstances of the case, there is no order as to costs.