Friday, November 22, 2013

JUSTICE KULDIP SINGH SPECIAL TRIBUNAL REPORT PART -VII: Punjab Land Grab - Special Courts mooted to resolve 30-year disputes in Mullanpur

Continuing with the series, The Tribune today reproduces the operative portions of the report pertaining to Villages Mullanpur Garib Dass and Pallanpur

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 15

The Special Tribunal headed by Justice Kuldip Singh has recommended that all 476 petitions relating to village common lands (Shamlat Deh) in Mullanpur Garib Dass pending before quasi-judicial authorities for more than 30 years should be transferred to Special Courts as and when created by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It observed that a large number of multi-nationals had taken up lands in and around the strategically situated village for constructing flats.

The Special Tribunal has stated that, “as per jamabandi of the year 1944-45, land measuring 2,295 bigha 15 biswa is Shamlat Deh. The entry shows the land as “Shamlat Deh Hassab Rasad Khewat” and the column of cultivation shows “Makbooza Malkan”...... On 5.11.1981, a petition u/s 7(1) of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961, was filed by the Gram Panchayat of village Mullanpur Garib Dass against the Choe Reclamation Society, alias Anjuman Choe, Mullanpur Garib Dass, which was the sole respondent. The petition was for the eviction from the Shamlat Deh land measuring 2,295 bigha 15 biswa. The petition was filed before the District Development and Panchayat Officer exercising the powers of Collector, Roop Nagar. The petition was dismissed by the order dated 31.3.1989, holding that the land did not vest in the Gram Panchayat.

“The Gram Panchayat filed an appeal before the Additional Director, Panchayats, Punjab, exercising the powers of Commissioner, who passed an order dated 12.8.1992, setting aside the order of the DDPO-cum-Collector. Against the said order, the Choe Reclamation Society filed Civil Writ Petition No 5270 of 1994 in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana which was allowed by order dated 5.11.2001 upholding the order of the DDPO-cum-Collector.

“The Gram Panchayat filed Letters Patent Appeal No 972 of 2002 in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which was dismissed on 15.7.2008. Thereafter, the Gram Panchayat, village Mullanpur Garib Dass, filed Special Leave Petition (Civil No. 30254/ 2008/ Civil Appeal No. 833/ 2011) in the Supreme Court. The said appeal was allowed by the Supreme Court vide its order dated 28.9.2011 and all the orders i.e. passed by the Collector, Commissioner, Single Judge, and the LPA Bench of the High Court were set aside and the application of the Gram Panchayat u/s 7(1) of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 was also dismissed as not maintainable for non impleadment of the proprietors of the village.

“However, it was made clear that both the parties, namely Gram Panchayat of the village Mullanpur Garib Dass and its proprietors may avail their remedies and when it is done, the matter would be decided by the concerned authority in accordance with the law.

“Thereafter, about 476 petitions u/s 11 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulations) Act, 1961 were filed by certain proprietors of the village against the Gram Panchayat of village Mullanpur Garib Dass before the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) exercising the powers of Collector at Mohali, and those petitions are being contested by the Gram Panchayat of Village Mullanpur Garib Dass.

“Sarpanch, Diwan Singh being very old, deputed Krishan Pal, Member Panchayat of village Mullanpur Garib Dass. As per his averment, he is actively contesting all the above petitions at Mohali. According to him, after getting the above 476 cases scrutinised, 425 cases were found to have been filed in the names of persons already dead and as per the information given by him, the above cases are now pending before the Additional Deputy Commissioner-Cum-Collector, Mohali.

“Moreover, according to the relevant entries in the jamabandi since 1945-46, the entire Shamlat Deh is recorded in the name of Shamlat Deh Hasab Rasad Khewat in possession of Makbuza Malkan. It seems that these entries were later on changed in favour of Gram Panchayat vide mutation no. 2901 dated 5.4.1965, but thereafter the entries regarding ownership from 1971-72 till 2001-02 again came into existence in favour of Shamlat Deh.

“The main averment of the proprietors in their petitions u/s 11 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulations) Act, 1961, is that there was partition of Shamlat Deh prior to 26.1.1950 when the Shamlat Deh was brought under cultivation by individual land owners. However, there is nothing on the record to show that the Shamlat Deh was ever partitioned in any manner or it was brought under individual cultivation in view of any partition.

“It is significant that it is one joint ‘khewat’ regarding which the ownership in the jamabandi is recorded as of Shamlat Deh Hasab Rasad Khewat and it is in possession of the joint land owners and no individual cultivation.

“Thus, as per the provision of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulations) Act, 1961, the entire Shamlat Deh of Village Mullanpur Garib Dass vests in the Gram Panchayat of the above village and it is its ownership and not of the proprietors of the village.

“However, the question of title regarding the above land is still to be decided by Qusi Judicial Authority, namely Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) - cum- Collector, Mohali, before whom many cases have been filed by the proprietors of the village against the Gram Panchayat and are pending adjudication.

“Village Mullanpur Garib Dass is very strategically situated village and has acquired considerable importance. The above narrated litigation regarding Shamlat Deh land is pending for the last more than 30 years.

“It must come to an end. It is requested that the Honourable High Court may transfer this case to one of the Special Courts, as and when created. A large number of multi-nationals have taken up lands in and around this village and are in the process of constructing flats, etc. We are investigating and scrutinising the status of land in and around this village and would submit further details for the consideration of the High Court”.

The Special Tribunal has commented that in Pallanpur village and surrounding areas, it had got information that the area had been the exploit of politicians, who own large chunks of land either in their names or benami. The panel stated that it was investigating the matter and would submit the report in due course.

The Tribunal stated, “The total land in village Pallanpur is 6,673 kanal and 17 marlas. The area comprises Gair Mumkim (4,897 kanals), Chahi (805 kanal 14 marla), Barani (952 kanal- 9 marla), Bagh Barani (13 kanal 17 marla) Banjar Kadeem (2 kanal 1 marla) and Banjar Jadid (2 kanal and 16 marla).

“Consolidation proceedings in the village were held in 1960-61. According to Patwari Balraj Singh, there is no un-authorised occupant in the village. He stated that the status of the land is as it was shown in the Misl Haqait in the year 1960-61 and it still continues.

“We also called the record of village Pallanpur from the District Forest Office. The record shows that 23 kanal 16 marla of land comprised in 16/11 (6-18), 12 (6-18), 20 (8-0) and 21 (2-0) is entered in the name of Nek Ram s/o Chinta in the revenue record. Eco-Resorts and Taj Travels Limited (H.No. 430, 100 ft Road, Near Baggu Road, Bathinda) wants to set up an Eco Forest Resort at this place. ...“Eco Resorts applied to the Forest Department for setting up a resort in the area. According to the record of Forest Department, permission was granted on 19.11.2011. According to the Forest Officials, no resort has as yet come up.”

Copyright : The Tribune Trust, 2012

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