Ram Vs. Financial Commissioner & Ors  Insc 6 (8 January 2003)
V.N. Khare & Arun Kumar.
WITH CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3633 of 1996 ARUN KUMAR, J.
Appeal No. 3632 of 1996 : In this appeal, the appellant claims possession of a
piece of land comprising 5 biswas, that is, 250 square yards. The claim is
based on alleged occupation as a tresspaser of 10 biswas of agricultural land
in village Sanoth within the revenue estate of Delhi. Briefly the facts are that consolidation scheme in village
Sanoth was prepared and confirmed in the year 1975-76 under Sections 19 and 20
of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation)
Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act'). The respondents admittedly
owned and possessed lands in the said village. The appellant claimed that his
predecessor had trespassed on a portion of the land belonging to the
respondents and had been carrying on cultivation activity thereon. In the
scheme, no encumbrance as alleged by the appellant was mentioned. The
appellant, however, relied on a list dated 3rd July, 1982 for substantiating his claim. The
Scheme of consolidation and re-partition had been completed by the year 1982.
The record of consolidation and re-partition had been consigned in the year
1982 after finalization of consolidation proceedings. The appellant made an
application on 16th
February, 1993 for
being put in possession of the 5 biswas of land to which he claimed to be
entitled to an encumbrancer. The Consolidation Officer however dismissed the
application of the appellant vide order dated 10th November, 1993. The Financial Commissioner dismissed the Revision
Petition against the said order on 4th March, 1994. The appellant challenged these
orders of the revenue authorities in the High Court of Delhi by way of a Writ
Petition bearing No.1488/94.
said petition was also dismissed in limine on 6th April, 1994 which has given rise to the present appeal.
learned counsel for the appellant contended that the appellant was making a
claim on the basis of the fact that his predecessor was recognized as an encumbrancer
and an encumbrancer in a scheme of consolidation is entitled to allotment of
land on repartition. The name of his predecessor was found place as an
unauthorized occupant in a list dated 3rd July, 1982 and therefore it is submitted that
the rejection of the application of the appellant for being put in possession
of land by the Consolidation Officer was wrong. We are unable to find any merit
in this submission made on behalf of the appellant. On the other hand the
submission made on behalf of the respondents that a mere trespasser could not
be treated as an encumbrancer as envisaged in the scheme of the Act has force.
The word "encumbrancer" has to be read in the sense of a legal
encumbrance like a lease or a mortgage and a mere trespasser cannot be elevated
to the position of an encumbrancer in the context of the statute. Therefore,
merely on the basis of being a trespasser, the appellant cannot succeed.
this appeal must fail on account of long delay and laches on the part of the
appellant in approaching the authorities for relief. The consolidation
proceedings in the village admittedly concluded in the year 1982. The appellant
himself relies on a list dated 3rd July, 1982
for purposes of basing his claim to a piece of land. The application for
delivery of possession of land in question was made by the appellant only on 16th February, 1993, that is, after almost 11 years.
The appellant has tried to explain this delay on the basis of some legal
proceedings said to have taken place at the instance of another party. In our
view, the appellant cannot get away by relying on proceedings in some other
case. The appellant has to stand on his own feet. If he was interested in
obtaining possession of the land in question, he should have taken steps within
time and not after a lapse of nearly 11 years. The Consolidation Officer
rejected the application of the appellant on the ground of long delay and laches.
We are unable to find any fault with the decision of the Consolidation Officer
in this behalf.
learned counsel for the appellant tried to argue that in case of another party,
the same Consolidation Officer ordered delivery of possession of land while the
application of the appellant was rejected.
argument is again misplaced as it is factually not correct. In that other case
of Chander etc., they had been allotted land in the consolidation proceedings.
Delivery of possession was held up because of legal proceedings involving that
very case. Thus, the facts of the two cases are entirely different.
from another angle one gets an impression that the appellant has set up a false
case. The appellant is claiming a piece of land comprising an area of 250
square yards, that is, 5 biswas. Such a small piece of land could hardly be
said to be land meant for cultivation. Even if his predecessor had trespassed
on a piece of land comprising 10 biswas, that is approximately 500 square
yards, the situation remains the same. Such a small piece of land cannot be
said to be land meant for cultivation. The case of the appellant seen from
every angle appears to be totally without any merit.
result, the appeal fails and is dismissed.
APPEAL NO. 3633 OF 1996 : In view of the reasoning given in the above appeal,
this appeal is also dismissed.