(2016) 2 LawHerald 963 : (2016) 2 PLJ 557 : (2016) 2 RCR(Civil) 872

PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT

DIVISION BENCH

RAM PARKASH (THROUGH LRS) & ORS. — Appellant

Vs.

JOINT DIRECTOR, PANCHAYATS, PUNJAB & ORS. — Respondent

( Before : Surya Kant; P.B. Bajanthri, JJ. )

CWP No. 12161 of 1989 (O&M)

Decided on : 02-02-2016

  • Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 — Section 11, 2(g), 7

Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961, S.7 & S.11-Eviction-Question
of title-As per entry in Wazib-ul-Arz the land was reserved for the income of Gram
Panchayat therefore, Gram Panchayat held entitle to maintain eviction suit-
However, there are entries in the revenue record which surely makes out a triable
case for the petitioners for determination of ownership/title qua the suit land
under Section 11 of the 1961 Act, as has been pleaded by them in the eviction
proceedings-Petitioner directed to initiate the declaratory proceedings u/s 11 of
the Act                                                                                                                               (Para 9 & 10)

Counsel for Appearing Parties

Sanjay Majithia, Senior Advocate with Rajesh Kumar, Advocate, for the Appellant; K.K. Gupta, Addl. AG Punjab, K.S. Cheema, Advocate, for the Respondent

Cases Referred

  • Rajdev Singh Vs. Joint Development Commissioner, Punjab, (2012-1) Vol. CLXV PLR 392

JUDGMENT

Surya Kant, J. (Oral) – The petitioners are residents of village Bhatta Dhua, Tehsil Jagraon, District Ludhiana. They have laid challenge to the order dated 23.06.1988 (P2) passed by the Joint Director, Panchayats-cum-Appellate Authority under the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulations) Act, 1961 whereby the appeal preferred by respondent-Gram Panchayat against the order of the Collector dated 25.07.1986 was allowed and eviction petition of the Gram Panchayat has been decreed.

  1. Suffice it to mention here that the Gram Panchayat in its petition under Section 3, 5 and 7 of the Act claimed that the management of the land measuring 134 kanal 17 marla, a part of which was in possession of the petitioners or their predecessors, was “under its control” and that the petitioners or the private respondents had no concern with the same. The petitioners (their predecessors) contested the claim of the Gram Panchayat on the plea that the land was owned by shamlat patti and since it was not reserved for any ‘common purpose’, it did not fall within the ambit of Section 2(g)(v) of the Act.
  2. The Collector dismissed the Gram Panchayat’s petition observing that land was owned by shamlat patti and it already been partitioned amongst the proprietors before 1945-46 as could be seen from the entries made in the jamabandi for that year. It was further observed that the land was never used for common purposes.
  3. In appeal, the Joint Director, Panchayats exercising the powers of the Commissioner under the Act reversed the findings and held that as per Wazib-ul-Arz, the land was reserved for income of the Gram Panchayat which is a ‘common purpose’ hence the status of the land is not to be seen with reference to the Section 2(g)(v) rather it falls within the ambit of Section 2(g)(3) of the Act. The Appellate authority further held that as per the jamabandis for the year 1976-77 and 1981-82, the Gram Panchayat is leasing out the land on Chakota hence it cannot be said to have been partitioned amongst the proprietors – the shareholders.
  4. To appreciate the point in issue, it is useful to reproduce Section 2(g)(3) as well as the exclusion Clause (v) of the 1961 Act which are to the following effect:-

2.(g) “shamilat deh” includes –

(1) xxxx

(2) xxxx

(3) lands described in the revenue records as shamilat, Tarafs, Pattis, Pannas, and Thola and used according to revenue records for the benefit of the village community or a part thereof or for common purposes of the village;”

xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx

xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx

“but does not include land which

(i) xxxx

(ii) xxxx

(ii-a)xxxx

(iii) xxxx

(iv) xxxx

(v) is described in the revenue records as Shamilat, Taraf, Pattis, Pannas, and Thola and not used; according to revenue records for the benefit of the village community or a part thereof or for common purposes of the village;”

  1. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and gone through the entries in the revenue record especially the Wazib-ul-Arz (R3) as well as the jamabandis for several years starting from 1945-46 onwards.
  2. It may be seen from the revenue record that the nature of the land varies from khewat to khewat and even from khasra No. to khasra Nos. within the same khewat. A part of the land is chahi (cultivable) while there are khewats recorded as banjir kadim (noncultivable). A part of the land is recorded as Rosli (good quality soil with sand) and Bhuda (soil of inferior quality) also. Similarly, there are few khewats which are meant for common purposes like sar-e-aam (public passage), kabristan and charand etc.
  3. The relevant entry in the Wazib-ul-Arz reads as follows:-

“(i) In our village there is no shamilat deh area. The area is of shamilat pattis which is impartible. Out of the Jumla Malkan there is some area reserved as common, which is impartible.

(ii) Whatever income from the trees and other cultivable area belonging to shamilat patties or jumla Malkan shall be managed by the Gram Panchayat and the income derived therefrom shall be spent for the betterment of the villagers…..

  1. (i) There is no land belonging to shamilat deh village. There is land belonging to shamilat. There may be trees in the land belonging to jumla malkan. The management thereof and the income derived therefrom shall be spent by the Gram Panchayat for betterment of the villagers.”
  2. Taking into consideration the above-stated entry coupled with the view taken in Rajdev Singh and Anr. v. Joint Development Commissioner, Punjab and Ors., (2012-1) Vol. CLXV PLR 392; and Charanjit Singh v. The Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab and Ors. CWP No. 15604 of 2014) decided on 03.12.2015, it is difficult to hold that the eviction proceedings initiated by the Gram Panchayat were not maintainable. At the same time, there are entries in the revenue record which surely makes out a triable case for the petitioners for determination of ownership/title qua the suit land under Section 11 of the 1961 Act, as has been pleaded by them in the eviction proceedings. It is, however, not expedient or desirable for this Court to express any final views in relation to the claim or counter-claim lest it prejudices rights of either party.
  3. Suffice it would be to direct that in case the petitioners initiate the declaratory proceedings under Section 11 of the Act, the Collector shall make an endeavour to decide the same as early as possible but not later than one year. Needless to say that the entire revenue record would be kept in view while deciding such dispute.
  4. The findings or observations made by the Appellate Authority in these summary proceedings under Section 7 shall have no bearing on the title dispute to be adjudicated in the petition that may be filed by the petitioner(s).
  5. Status quo as on date re: possession and alienation and/or creation of third party rights shall be maintained by both the parties for a period of two months.
  6. Disposed of.