Bharoo Mal & Ors Vs. Custodian
General, Evacuee Property  INSC 86 (10 March 1961)
CITATION: 1961 AIR 1283 1962 SCR (1) 246
Evacuee Property--Custodian, Powers of--Whether
can determine and recover rent in summary manner--Administration of Evacuee
Property Act, 1950 (31 of 1950)S. 10--Administration of Evacuee Property
(Central) Rules, 1950, r. 10.
The appellants exchanged their property in
Pakistan with the property of an evacuee in India. They applied for confirmation
of the transaction which was granted by the Deputy Custodian. Later, the
Custodian revised the order and set aside the confirmation and ordered the
ejectment of the appellants from the properties which were the subject of
exchange. He further ordered that they should render accounts of the rents and
profits realised by them from this property. The appellants contended that the
Custodian bad no jurisdiction to pass any order requiring them to render
accounts of the rents and profits.
Held, that the Custodian bad no power under
the Administration of Evacuee Property Act to direct a person in unauthorised
possession of evacuee property to render accounts of rents and profits thereof
without resorting to the ordinary remedy provided by law, that is, by way of
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeals
Nos. 7 to 9 of 1959.
Appeals by special leave from the judgment
and order dated June 25,1955, in cases Nos. 0551-R CG/ 54, 0602-R/CG/54 and
0503-R/CG/54 of 1954.
Achhru Ram and B. R. L. Ayengar, for the
Gopal Singh and T. M. Sen, for the
1961. March 10. The Judgment of the Court was
delivered MUDHOLKAR, J.-These are appeals by special leave from three orders
against an order passed on March 12, 1954 by the Custodian General, Evacuee
Property, disposing of three revision petitions, two of which were preferred by
one Bharoo Mal (since deceased) 247 and one by his wife, and now widow, Padma
Devi. Even though a common order was passed by the Custodian-General, three
appeals have been preferred before this Court.
The facts leading upto the appeals are
briefly as follows:
An agreement was entered into between
Bharoomal and one Nanan Begum on April 11, 1948 for the exchange of Bharoomal's
properties,at Sukkar in Sind, Pakistan for Nanan Begum's properties at Lucknow.
Prior to that, on April 7, 1948 a similar-agreement was entered into between
Padma Devi and one Tahir Ali. It is common ground that in pursuance of the agreement
Bharoomal and Padma Devi entered into possession of the properties obtained by
them in exchange from Nanan Begum and Tahir Ali respectively and the latter
entered into possession of the. properties belonging to the former situated in
Sukkar. The deed of exchange was to be executed within two years of the date of
agreement; but in fact it was never executed. Consequently in the year 1950
Bharoomlal and Padma Devi instituted three suits for specific performance.
These suits were decreed and sale deeds conveying certain properties to
Bharoomal and certain properties to Padma Devi were executed by the Court in
In October, 1949 the U. P. Administration of
Evacuee Property Ordinance, 1949 (1 of 1949) was promulgated and shortly
thereafter the Administration of Evacuee Property (Chief Commissioners
Provinces) Ordinance, 1949 (12 of 1949), promulgated by the Central Government,
was extended to the United Provinces replacing U. P. Ordinance 1 of 1949.
Nanan Begum and Tahir Ali having migrated to
Pakistan, Bharoomal and Padma Devi made three applications under cl. 25(2) of
the Central Ordinance for confirmation of the exchanges in their favour. These
applications were granted by the Deputy Custodian of Evacuee Property in the
year 1950. Sometime in the year 1951 the Custodian of Evacuee Property suo motu
revised the orders of the Deputy Custodian passed in the year 1950 on the
ground that the agreements on the basis 248 of which the applications for
confirmation were made by Bharoomal and Padma Devi do not amount to transfers
and that consequently they could not be, confirmed. He also held that the,
deeds of transfer obtained by Bharoomal and Padma Devi from the court were not
confirmed by the Custodian and that, therefore, the possession of Bharoonal and
Padma Devi over the properties in question which wore admittedly evacuee
properties was unauthorised. He, therefore, ordered that possession of the
properties be taken back from Bharoomal and Padma Devi and that they should be
required to account for the rent& and profits realised by them from these
properties. These persons preferred applications for revision before the
Custodian-General of Evacuee Property.
Their applications were, as already stated,
rejected by him.
In the appeal to this Court the only ground
pressed is that the Custodian had no jurisdiction to pass an order requiring
the appellants to render accounts of the rents and profits from the properties
in their possession. Mr. Achhruram, who appears for them, accepts the position
that the orders of the Deputy Custodian of Evacuee Property passed in the year
1950 confirming the transfers were rightly set aside by the Custodian in
revision. Therefore, only a short question falls to be determined by us and
that is whether the Custodian was right in further ordering the appellants to
render accounts of rents and profits from the properties in their possession.
We asked Mr. Gopal Singh, who appears for the
CustodianGeneral, to show us any provision in the Act or in the rules which
authorises the Custodian of Evacuee Property to direct a person who is alleged
to be in unauthorised possession of evacuee property to render accounts for
rents and profits of those properties without resorting to the ordinary remedy
provided by law, that is by way of suit.
Mr. Gopal Singh contends that as soon as
Nanan Begum and Tahir Ali migrated to Pakistan their property in India
automatically vested in the Custodian of Evacuee Property under cl. 5(1) of the
U. P. Ordinance 1 of 1949 and continued to vest under Central 249 Ordinance No.
XII of 1949 which replaced the U. P.
Ordinance. By virtue of sub-s. (2) of s. 8 of
the Administration of Evacuee Property Act, 1950 (XXXI of 1950) which came into
force on April 18, 1950, the property which is vested in the Custodian under
any law repealed by the Act shall be deed to be evacuee property within the
meaning of the Act and shall be deemed to have vested in the Custodian
appointed under that Act. The Central 1 Ordinance XII of 1949 was one of the
laws repealed by the Act. He then referred to s. 10 and contended that there
under the Custodian has the power to recover from an unauthorised occupant of
evacuee property the rents and profits realised by him during the period of his
Sub-section (1) of s. 10 reads thus:
"Subject to the provisions of any rules
that may be made in this behalf, the Custodian may take such measures as lie
considers necessary or expedient for the purposes of securing, administering,
preserving and managing any evacuee property and generally for the purpose of
enabling him satisfactorily to discharge any of the duties imposed on him by or
under this Act and may, for any such purpose as aforesaid, do all acts and
incur all expenses necessary or incidental thereto." According to him the
words "for the purposes of securing, administering, preserving and
managing any evacuee property" effectively confer on the Custodian power
to recover rents and profits of the property from the person in possession.
There is nothing in the words relied on from which a power of the kind
contended for by learned counsel can be deduced. Sub-section (2) of s. 10
specifically enumerates some of the powers of the Custodian. Learned counsel
was not able to point to anything in the sub-section which confers power on the
Custodian to recover rents and profits from a person in unlawful possession of
the properties. Learned counsel then referred to r. 10 and said that this rule
would entitle the Custodian to determine and recover rents and profits from unauthorised
occupants of evacuee property. Sub-rule 1 32 250 of r. 10 undoubtedly
authorises the Custodian to recover possession of property from the evacuee or
from a person whether holding on behalf of, or under the evacuee or otherwise
and not having a lawful title to possession thereof as against the Custodian.
There is nothing in this sub-rule which further entitles the Custodian to
determine and recover rents and profits from an unauthorised occupant of
evacuee property. Sub-rule 2 of r. 10 empowers the Custodian to issue a notice
to a tenant or a licensee in possession of evacuee property whom the Custodian
cannot eject or does not want to eject. For one thing this sub rule cannot
apply to a person who :Is alleged to be in unauthorised occupation of evacuee
property. Then again it does not confer any power on the Custodian to determine
rents and profits or to recover rent in a summary manner.
In the circumstances we must hold that this
provision also does not help the respondent. Such being the legal position, we
must quash and set aside that portion of the order of the Custodian, confirmed
by the Custodian General, which requires the appellants to pay rents and
profits in respect of properties of Nanan Begum and Tahir Ali in their
possession. Both parties will, however, be at liberty to take such steps is may
be open to them at law for establishing or enforcing their respective claims.
Costs of the appeal will be borne by the
respondents. As the appeals were argued together there will be only one hearing