Mandir Darbari Lal Ji vs Financial Commissioner And Ors. on 28 November, 1996

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Punjab-Haryana High Court
Mandir Darbari Lal Ji vs Financial Commissioner And Ors. on 28 November, 1996
Equivalent citations: (1997) 115 PLR 827
Author: V Bali
Bench: V Bali


V.K. Bali, J.

1. Challenge herein is to the orders passed by respondents 1 to 4, Annexure P-2, P-4 and P-6, vide which the application for ejectment preferred by petitioner-Mandir Darbari Lal Ji through Shri Satya Dev was dismissed and the appeal and revision carried against the said order remained unsuccessful.

2. Brief facts of the case reveal that the petitioner Mandir Darbari Lal Ji is a Dholidar in respect of land measuring 22 bighas 13 biswas comprised in Khasra Nos. 1629 to 1636 situated in the revenue estate of village Bhaini Chander Paul, Tehsil Maham, District Rohtak. Satya Dev Gupta is the Mohtmim and Muntzim of the petitioner-Mandir. The petitioner filed an application under Section 14-A(ii) of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953 (for short the Act) for eviction of respondent-tenants, Ram Sarups, Satbir and Chander Singh, who were in cultivating possession of the khasra numbers, referred to above, on payment of 1/3rd batai. It was stated in the application aforesaid that the respondent-tenants were in arrears of rent from Rabi 1981 to Kharif 1983. As per the nature of cultivation as examined from the revenue record, an amount of Rs. 43, 251.25 ps. was assessed as value of the crops of the period in question i.e. the period for which the tenants were in arrears of rent. The petitioner was entitled to an amount of Rs. 14,410.62 ps. as rent. The Assistant Collector, however, consigned the file to the records by mentioning in his order that he was not competent to deal with the matters beyond pecuniary limit of Rs. 2000/-. Against the orders aforesaid dated March 13, 1985, petitioner filed an appeal before the Collector which was accepted and the case was remanded as, in view of the Collector, the Assistant Collector was not to pass decree and in case he was to come to the conclusion that the tenants had not paid the rent, only an order for their eviction from the land in dispute was to be passed. When the matter came for reconsideration before the Assistant Collector, he issued notice to the tenants in Forms M and N. Since the tenants pleaded that they were not required to pay the rent, the matter proceed further and after resultant trial the Assistant Collector held that the matter was being raked up in the Civil Court and since the decision of the Civil Court is to prevail, the conclusion of the petition should be postponed till the civil Court had actually passed some final orders. This order was passed by the Assistant Collector on March 19, 1987. Aggrieved, the petitioner filed an appeal which came to be disposed of by Shri K.K. Gupta, Collector, Rohtak on July 19, 1989. After giving some details of the facts, the Collector remanded the case to the Assistant Collector II Grade with an order that the tenants be directed to deposit an amount representing 1/3rd of the produce in the court of Assistant Collector II Grade and the party that was successful before the Civil Court, would be entitled to take the same. However, if the tenants were to refuse to deposit the amount, they were directed to be dispossessed from the land in dispute. This order was agitated by the respondent-tenants before the Commissioner. The matter came up for final disposal before the commissioner, on March 20, 1991. Agreeing with the argument advanced by the learned counsel for the appellants, it was held that on failure of the tenant to pay rent, if he was to be dispossessed, relationship of landlord and tenant had to be established as also that Dohlidar is an agent and is not competent under law to file an application for eviction of the tenant. It was also held that the proceedings under Section 14-A(ii) of the Act were summary in nature and can not continue. In the copy of order that has been placed on records as Annexure P-4, it appears that it has been wrongly mentioned that the appeal was dismissed, as in view of the findings, reference whereof has been given above, the appeal ought to have been allowed. Aggrieved, the petitioner filed revision before the Financial Commissioner which came up for decision on August 6, 1991. The decision of the Courts below that the issue needs to be settled by the Civil Court was upheld and, therefore, revision was dismissed in limine. It is against the orders, referred to above, excepting, of course, order that was passed in favour of the petitioner, that the present writ has been filed.

3. Before the matter might proceed any further, it requires to be mentioned that on an earlier occasion when the matter came up for hearing before me, the petitioner was directed to place on records copy of judgment and decree passed in the civil suit, reference whereof had been made in various paragraphs of the writ petition as also in the impugned orders. The case was adjourned to November 21, 1996. The petitioner has brought on records the order passed by the Civil court dated April 15, 1996 vide which the suit brought about by the plaintiffs, in the said suit, namely, Kailash and Vinod Kumar and others was dismissed in default. This suit was for declaration with consequential relief of permanent injunction. The statement of Satya Dev as Mohtmim and Muntzim of Mandir Darbari Jai was challenged in the said suit. The plaintiffs claimed that they were entitled to manage the properties attached to the Mandir. In the ultimate analysis, relief asked for was that defendant No. 1 Satya Dev be declared not to be Mohtmim or Muntzim of the Mandir and a decree for permanent injunction be passed against defendant No. 1 restraining him from styling himself as Mohtmim and Muntzim of the Mandir Darbari Lal Ji. An injunction was also asked against defendants 2 to 6, who were tenants, restraining them from paying rent to defendant No. 1. It appears that the Courts below were of the view that till such time Satya Dev is proved to be Mohtmim and Muntzim of the petitioner Mandir, eviction proceedings should not proceed. However, as mentioned above, on asking of the Court, order passed by the Civil Court has been produced on records which shows that the suit was dismissed in default way back in the year 1986. Mr. Mittal, learned Senior Advocate, on the instructions given to him, state that no application for restoration of this suit was filed nor any appeal was carried against the same.

4. Civil suit, reference whereof has been given in the impugned orders, having attained finality, only question that needs determination in the present writ is as to whether a Dholidar is a landowner and is entitled to rent from the tenants inducted by him or that, as is the view taken by the Courts below, there is no relationship of landlord and tenant between a Dholidar and his tenants? The matter is not res-integra as Division Bench of this Court in Baba Badri Dass v. Sh. Dharma and Ors., 1981 P.L.J. 447, after considering the entire case law on the matter as also relevant provisions of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act and Punjab Tenancy Act, held that “Dohli tenure is an instance of Malik Kabza and neither a perpetual tenancy nor covered by concept of tenancy. Dohlidar though not an owner of land, yet otherwise a landowner because he is in possession of land and responsible for payment of land revenue”. The facts of the case aforesaid reveal that Baba Badri Dass, petitioner in the said case, was a Dholidar of agricultural land measuring 134 kanals 14 marlas. Vide registered deed, he leased out the aforesaid parcel of land to respondents 1 and 2, in the said case, for a period of ten years. The rent was required to be paid by 15th May of each year. Since rent was not paid regularly, he filed a petition for ejectment of the lessees/tenants under Section 9 of the Act on Form ‘L’. The tenants resisted the claim of the petitioner, inter-alia, on the ground that the petitioner was not a land-owner as defined in the Act and, therefore, petition for ejectment was not competent. Assistant Collector I Grade, Rohtak allowed the petition and ordered ejectment of the tenants. The tenants’ appeal before the Collector failed. The Commissioner as well declined reference in the revision filed by them. The Financial Commissioner in a further revision filed by the tenants, dismissed the ejectment application. It is the order of the Financial Commissioner that was agitated in the Civil Writ Petition culminating into decision in Baba Badri Dass’s case (supra). Civil Writ Petition filed on behalf of Baba Badri Dass was allowed and the impugned order of the Financial Commissioner was quashed. Following the decision rendered in Baba Badri Dass’s case (supra) it is held that the petitioner, even though Dohlidar, was a landowner and was entitled to recover rent from the tenants inducted and if the tenants had failed to pay the same nor had shown sufficient cause for non-payment thereof, they were liable to be evicted from the land in dispute.

5. Mr. Gur Rattan Pal Singh, learned counsel appearing for the respondent-tenants, confronted with Division bench judgment of this Court in Baba Badri Dass case (supra) had hardly anything to state but for to half heartedly contend that the tenants were poor person and they had been in possession for a long time and, therefore, no order of eviction may be passed against them as also that the tenants were prepared to pay rent by way of instalments. None of the grounds that have been pressed into service can possibly come to the rescue of the respondent-tenants. They have enjoyed possession of the land for a number of years without paying any rent. It may be mentioned here that it is not only the rent of the crops in question that was not paid but subsequently also, rent, details whereof have been brought on records of the case by way of Civil Misc. application, has also not been paid. There can not be any sympathy in favour of respondent-tenants, who have harvested rich crops for long years without payment of even a penny towards rent to the landowner. They are also not entitled to any sympathy for the added reasons that they disclaimed the title of their land-owner.

6. For the reasons recorded above, this petition is allowed. Impugned orders, Annexures P-2, P-4 and P-6 passed by the Assistant Collector, Commissioner and Financial Commissioner respectively are quashed and the respondent-tenants are directed to be evicted from the land in dispute-This petition is allowed with costs quantified at Rs. 3000/- to be paid by respondents 5 to 7.

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