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Bishan Dass vs Financial Commissioner Etc on 20 July, 2009

Punjab-Haryana High Court
Bishan Dass vs Financial Commissioner Etc on 20 July, 2009
CWP No. 10560 of 2009                                                                1


    IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH


                              CWP No. 10560 of 2009



                                             Date of decision: July 20, 2009



Bishan Dass
                                                          .... Petitioner

                    Versus


Financial Commissioner etc.
                                                          .... Respondents


Present:      Mr. Manohar Dadwal, Advocate for the petitioner.


                                ***

S.S. SARON, J.

The petitioner aggrieved against the order dated 21.1.2009 (Annexure

P7) passed by the learned Financial Commissioner (Appeals II) Punjab, Chandigarh

affirming the appointment of Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) as Lambardar has filed

the present petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India for setting

aside the orders dated 21.1.2009 (Annexure P7), 5.12.2005 (Annexure P5) and

25.11.2002 (Annexure P1) passed by respondents No.1 to 3 respectively.

On the death of Sh. Shankar Dass, Lambardar of village Talwara, Tehsil

Mukerian, Distt. Hoshiarpur, the said post became vacant from amongst the members

of the Scheduled Castes. Proceedings were initiated for filling up the post of

Lambardar. In all, five applications were received. The Assistant Collector, Grade I,

Talwara recommended the name of Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) for the post of

Lambardar of the village. The Naib Tehsildar, Talwara also agreed to the said report

and forwarded the same to the SDM Mukerian. The matter was considered by the
CWP No. 10560 of 2009 2

District Collector, Hoshiarpur (respondent No.3) and the case of three candidates

who were left namely Bishan Dass (petitioner), Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) and

one Raj Kumar were considered. It was observed that Chaman Lal (respondent No.4)

and Bishan Dass (petitioner) were working. The applicant Raj Kumar was a

shopkeeper. Accordingly, it was observed that Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) was a

graduate and son of the deceased Lambardar. Therefore, he was a better candidate

and his name was recommended by Naib Tehsildar, Talwara, Tehsildar Mukerian and

Sub-Divisional Magistrate-cum-Assistant Collector, Ist Grade, Mukerian.

Accordingly, Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) was appointed as Lambardar. The

Commissioner (Appeals), Jalandhar (respondent No.2) vide order dated 28.5.2003

(Annexure P3) set aside the order of the Collector as the process to fill up the

vacancy of Lambardar amongst the members of the Scheduled Castes had been

initiated without the explicit order of the District Collector, Hoshiarpur. Against the

order dated 28.5.2003 (Annexure P3) passed by the Commissioner (Appeals),

Jalandhar Division, Jalandhar, Bishan Dass (petitioner) and Chaman Lal (respondent

No.4) filed revision petitions before the learned Financial Commissioner (Taxation)

Punjab, Chandigarh who vide order dated 3.8.2004 (Annexure P4) set aside the order

of the Commissioner (Appeals), Jalandhar Division, Jalandhar and remanded the case

back to the Commissioner. The Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, Jalandhar vide

order dated 5.12.2005 (Annexure P5) found Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) to be

more suitable. He was younger in age, he was more educated; inasmuch as he was a

graduate, whereas Bishan Dass (petitioner) was only matriculate. Besides, Chaman

Lal (respondent No.4) owned land in the village and he was son of the deceased

Lambardar. There was no complaint against him. It was observed that though

Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) remains busy but being a Government employee, it

was held to be no disqualification. Moreover, his name had been recommended by

all the four revenue authorities. The petitioner aggrieved against the order dated
CWP No. 10560 of 2009 3

5.12.2005 (Annexure P5) passed by the Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, Jalandhar

filed a revision petition before the learned Financial Commissioner (Appeals II),

Punjab, Chandigarh, who vide order dated 21.1.2009 (Annexure P7) has upheld the

appointment of Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) as Lambardar.

Learned counsel for the petitioner has contended that in fact Chaman Lal

(respondent No.4) is a Government employee and he would not be available in the

village to perform the function of Lambdar. It is submitted that the petitioner though

was also employed in Government, however, he has retired in the Year 2007.

Therefore, he can devote more time for performing duties as a Lambardar. In the

circumstances, it is submitted that the appointment of Chaman Lal (respondent No.4)

as a Lambardar is liable to be set aside.

After giving my thoughtful consideration to the matter, it may be noticed

that the choice of Lambardar is primarily the prerogative and administrative act of the

District Collector. His selection is normally not to be undone unless and until it is

shown that the same suffers from gross irregularity, perversity or there is some patent

error in his appointment. This Court in exercise of its supervisory writ jurisdiction

under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India does not sit in appeal over the

conclusions reached at by the revenue authorities in the choice of Lambardar. This

Court is not to re-appreciate the evidence and material on record and thereby re-

determine as to who would be the better choice for the post of Lambardar. Review

of the quasi-judicial orders to that extent is limited. Even otherwise, it is admitted

case that mere employment in the State Government or any of its instrumentalities is

not per se a disqualification for appointment of village Lambardar. A Division

Bench of this Court in Amarjeet Singh v. Financial Commissioner, Appeal-II,

2001 (1) RCR (Civil), 449 held that mere factum of an employment with the State

Government is not a disqualification for appointment as Lambardar. In the

circumstances, the revenue authorities having held Chaman Lal (respondent No.4) to
CWP No. 10560 of 2009 4

be more suitable and his mere service as Government employee not to be a

disqualification, the choice of revenue authorities is not liable to be interfered with.

Accordingly, there is no merit in this petition and the same is dismissed.

(S.S. SARON)
JUDGE
July 20, 2009
amit

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