Vs. Union of India & Ors  Insc 149
(19 March 2002)
Raju & Ashokk Bhan Bhan,J.
appeal is directed against the judgment of a Division Bench of Punjab & Haryana
High Court wherein the Division Bench has dismissed the writ petition filed by
brief facts of the case are as follows:
agricultural land measuring 22 kanals 2 marlas comprised in Khasra Nos. 737,
738, 740 & 741 situated in the revenue estate, Jalandhar was put to auction
by the Rehabilitation department of the Government of India on 31st July, 1959
in which Rameshwari Dass, husband of Respondent No.4 offered the highest bid of
Rs.13,600/-. The sale was confirmed on 24th September, 1959.
Singh claiming to be the lessee of the land, challenged the aforesaid sale in
the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in Civil Writ Petition No.24 of 1960.
The writ petition was accepted and the concerned press note and the circular in
pursuance thereof and the auction were set aside on 17.3.1961 on the ground
that the press notes issued by the Central Government had no legal force. It is
a matter of Central Government & Ors., AIR 1986 SC 2166, held such
procedure to be valid.
appellant herein, claiming to be the sub-lessee of the land applied for
transfer of Khasra No. 737 (5 kanals 10 marlas), Khasra No.738 (15 kanals 6 marlas)
to the Managing Officer of the Central Government. During the pendency of his
application, the land was again scheduled for auction for the 4th June, 1969. The appellant filed an application
before the Settlement Commissioner to stay the auction. The Settlement
Commissioner by his order dated 3rd June, 1969 stayed the auction. Ultimately the appeal filed by the
appellant was accepted by the Settlement Commissioner on 19th January, 1970 and
it was directed that application submitted by him for the transfer of the land
as a sub-lessee should be disposed of according to the instructions issued by
the department. It is pertinent to mention here that Rameshwari Dass was not made
a party in the appeal or in the remand proceedings before the Managing Officer.
On 3rd June 1971 Rameshwari Dass submitted an
application to the Settlement commissioner for finalisation of the sale in his favour
in the light of instructions issued by the Government of India to the effect
that after satisfying the claim of the lessee/sub-lessee, the balance area may
be offered to the so called defeated auction purchaser. His request was
accepted and after he had deposited the entire amount, the Managing Officer
issued a Sale Certificate in favour of the auction purchaser on 21st August, 1972. On an objection raised by Karam Chand,
appellant herein, Rameshwari Dass approached the department for issuing a
Conveyance Deed instead of the sale certificate. The Managing Officer by his
order dated 19th
directed that a conveyance deed be issued in favour of Rameshwari Dass.
year 1977, Rameshwari Dass filed a Civil Suit for possession against the
appellant and obtained an ex-parte decree on 31st May, 1977 for possession as well as mesne profits. The appellant on
learning about the aforesaid decree, applied for setting aside of the ex-parte
decree. His application was allowed on 25th November, 1978. Meanwhile, Rameshwari Dass sold
the land, in dispute, in favour of one Mehnga Ram, respondent no.6 herein. This
sale was challenged by the appellant and in which ultimately it was held by the
Punjab & Haryana High Court by its
order dated 3rd
September, 1981 that Mehnga
Ram was not a bonafide purchaser.
with this judgment, the appellant preferred a revision petition before the
Chief Settlement Commissioner under section 24 of the Displaced Persons
(Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 (for short 'the act') against the
finalisation of the sale of the land in dispute in favour of Rameshwari Dass.
His main contention was that during the pendency of the remand order dated 19th January, 1970 passed by the Settlement
Commissioner neither the Sale Certificate dated 21st September, 1972 nor the Conveyance Deed dated 20th December, 1977 could have been issued in favour of
Chief Settlement Commissioner accepted the revision petition of the appellant
and remanded the case to the Tehsildar(Sales)-cum-Managing Officer to determine
the eligibility of the appellant as a sub-lessee in compliance with the remand
order of the Settlement Commissioner dated 19th January, 1970. During this period Rameshwari Dass
died. His wife Kailash Wati and his daughter Kaushalya Devi and Mehnga Ram
filed a revision before the notified Authority for exercising power under
section 33 of the Act.
Financial Commissioner(Revenue) and Secretary to the Government of Punjab, as a
delegatee of the Central Government heard the revision petition. The order of
the Chief Settlement Commissioner was set aside. It was held that the appellant
had failed to establish that the appellant was in the cultivating possession of
the land as a sub-lessee prior to 1.1.1956. That the record showed that in the
year 1955-56 the land in dispute had been in possession of Mehar Chand. The
appellant had applied for transfer in his favour for the first time on 15th
April, 1967.In the Jamabandi for the year 1960-61, one Jagir Singh had been
shown in unauthorised occupation of the land. The alleged transfer application
filed by the appellant for the transfer of the land in dispute as a sub-lessee
in the year 1967 was also not forthcoming on the record.
a finding was recorded on merits by the Financial Commissioner that the
appellant's application for transfer of the land in his favour was not
maintainable. Another point on which the revision petition was accepted by the
Financial Commissioner was that the revision petition filed by the appellant in
the year 1983 challenging the conveyance deed dated 19th December, 1977 before
the Chief Settlement Commissioner was delayed by a period of five and half
years and therefore barred by time. The Chief Settlement Commissioner had
failed to take cognizance of the above fact. The revision petition was not
accompanied by any application for condonation of delay. No affidavit
explaining the delay had also been filed.
against the order of the Financial Commissioner, the appellant filed the writ
petition, which has been dismissed by the High Court by the judgment impugned
agree with the counsel for the appellant that the Division Bench of the High
Court has not given much reasons for dismissing the writ petition. The only
reason given for not interfering in the matter by the Division Bench is that
the litigation should be put to an end; at least at some stage.
litigation between the parties is going on for the last nearly 40 years,
instead of remanding the case back to the High Court for decision on merits, we
propose to dispose it of ourselves.
not find any infirmity in the order passed by the Financial Commissioner
exercising the revisional powers under section 33 of the Act. The finding
recorded by the Financial Commissioner that the appellant had failed to prove
his continuous possession of the land as a sub-lessee from 1.1.1956 is a
finding on fact. Counsel for the appellant failed to show before us with
reference to any documentary evidence placed on record at any stage before the
Authorities below or the High Court that the appellant had been in continuance
possession of the land before or after 1st January, 1956.
further agree with the finding of the Financial Commissioner that the revision
petition filed by the appellant before the Chief Settlement Commissioner was
hopelessly barred by time. The revision petition was not accompanied by an
application under section 5 of the Limitation Act for condonation of delay. No
explanation was offered for the delay in filing the revision petition. It may
be noticed that the appellant was all through aware of the fact that a
conveyance deed had been executed in favour of Rameshwari Dass in the year
1977. No cause much less sufficient cause has been shown by the appellant to
condone the inordinate delay of five & half years in filing the revision
petition before the Chief Settlement Commissioner under Section 24 of the Act.
the reasons stated above, we do not find any merit in this appeal and dismiss
the same with no order as to costs.