Monday, December 30, 2013

Sultan Singh v. Gram Panchayat village Hari Pur, RSA No.4392 of 2000, Date of Decision : 21.12.2013

Case Summary:

This case is in the form of a second appeal filed in the High Court. The brief facts of the case are that Sultan Singh, resident of a village within the Gram Panchayat Haripur filed a suit for permanent injunction to restrain Gram Panchayat Haripur, Tehsil and District Panchkula from interfering in his possession over a plot alleging the same to be his for the last 100 or more years. The Gram Panchayat denied the claim stating that the property vests in the Gram Panchayat, being 'Samlat vacant abadi land' reserved for common use of the villagers. 

The Hon'ble court upheld the decision of the lower Court, and held that possession has been taken from Sultan Singh in due course of law as per decree of the lower Court and the relief of injunction is no more available to him or can be allowed. The report of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer and the proceedings of delivery of possession, placed on file, depict that Gram Panchayat has been put in possession of the suit land under the orders of Collector. Though, the Sultan Singh claims that he is still in possession of the suit property, the remedy available to him is to approach the competent authorities who have ordered his dispossession. 

Reference was made to the Jagpal Singh judgement and the plea for injuction was dismissed.


*********************************************************************************
IN THE PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT AT

CHANDIGARH

RSA No.4392 of 2000

Date of Decision : 21.12.2013

Sultan Singh                                      .......... Appellant

Versus

Gram Panchayat village Hari Pur, Tehsil and District Panchkula            ...... Respondent

*****


CORAM : HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SURINDER GUPTA

Present : 
Mr. Sherry K. Singla, Advocate                                  - for the appellant.

Mr. Ramesh Sharma, Advocate                                   - for the respondents.

****


SURINDER GUPTA , J.


The following substantial question of law arises for determination in this appeal :-

“Whether in the facts and circumstances of the case, the first appellate Court was justified in dismissing the suit for injunction even after holding that the plaintiff was in possession of the property?"

2. Recapitulating briefly, the facts of the case are that Sultan Singh-plaintiff/appellant filed a suit for permanent injunction to restrain Gram Panchayat Haripur, Tehsil and District Panchkula and other defendants from interfering in his possession over a plot shown as ABCD in the site plan (Ex. P-1) alleging the same to be his bara (Courtyard). The plaintiff claimed his possession over this bara for the last more than 100 years, pleading that earlier it was in possession of his forefathers and the defendants were threatening to interfere in his possession in a forcible manner. Defendants No.1 & 2 denied the claim of plaintiff in the written statement inter alia pleading that the suit property vests in Gram Panchayat being 'Shamlat vacant Abadi land'. The plaintiff, his brothers and their wives wanted to forcibly encroach upon the suit land and the matter was brought to the notice of Sub Divisional Magistrate, Naraingarh, DDPO and SHO, Raipur Rani through repeated representations and resolutions of Gram Panchayat. Being vacant 'Shamlat Abadi land' reserved for common use of the villagers, the previous Panchayat reserved it for construction of Dharamsala and foundation of a hall measuring 39'x12' was laid down and the remaining vacant plot was bounded by a boundary wall . The bricks for construction of Dharamsala were lying in the Courtyard. The possession of the plaintiff over any part of the suit land was denied.

3. Pleadings of the parties led to the framing of following issues :-

“1. Whether the plaintiff is owner in possession over the suit property?OPP

2. Whether this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the present suit?OPD

3. Whether plaintiff has no cause of action to file the present suit ?OPD

4. Relief.”

4. The trial Court found the plaintiff in possession of the suit property and recorded findings on issues No. 1 and 3 in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants. Suit of the plaintiff was accordingly decreed and defendants were 'restrained from dispossessing the plaintiff from the suit land except in due course of law'.

5. The first Appellate Court affirmed the finding of the trial Court regarding possession of plaintiff over the suit land but declined to allow him the relief of injunction on the ground that he was in unauthorised possession of the land which belonged to Gram Panchayat.

6. Not satisfied, the plaintiff -appellant has come up with the present appeal.

7. Counsel for the parties have been heard and record perused.

8. At the very outset learned counsel for the respondent-Gram Panchayat village Haripur has submitted that there was no injunction order in favour of the appellant during the pendency of the appeal and under the orders of the competent authority i.e. Collector, Panchkula dated 11.03.2013, possession of the disputed site has been delivered to the Gram Panchayat vide report dated 21.03.2013 by Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Raipur Rani.

9. Learned counsel for the appellant has refuted the report of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Raipur Rani and has alleged that though the proceedings to take possession were conducted at the spot by B.D.P.O., Raipur Rani but still the appellant is in possession of the suit property.

10. He has further argued that the suit land remained in possession of the plaintiff from the time of his forefathers. It is situated within the Lal Lakir and there was no document to prove the title of the plaintiff over the suit land.

11. Learned counsel for the respondent has argued that the statement of plaintiff and his witness are sufficient to prove on file that the suit land was the land of Gram Panchayat. It was reserved for Dharamsala. The plaintiff took the benefit of its location adjoining his house and occupied it. As the Gram Panchayat was owner of this plot, no injunction could be allowed to the appellant. Even otherwise, possession has been taken from the appellant in due course of law as per decree of the trial Court in favour of appellant and the relief of injunction is no more available to him or can be allowed.

12. The report of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Raipur Rani dated 21.3.2013 and the proceedings of delivery of possession, placed on file, depict that Gram Panchayat has been put in possession of the suit land under the orders of Collector, Panchkula dated 11.03.2013. Though, the appellant claims that he is still in possession of the suit property, the remedy available to him is to approach the competent authorities who have ordered his dispossession.

13. Even on merit, the appellant has no case to seek injunction. My above observation is based on the testimony of the appellant and his witness recorded by the trial Court:

(i) The appellant while appearing as PW1, had admitted that the disputed property was reserved for Dharamsala when the Adhoc Sarpanch wanted to take forcible possession of this site.

(ii) Itwari Lal, PW-2 had stated certain very relevant facts which seal the plea of plaintiff claiming title over the suit property. He has stated as follows :-

(a) The residents of the village laid the foundation of Dharamsala in the suit land.

(b) It is correct that disputed site is the vacant plot owned by Shamlat.

14. Statement of plaintiff and his witness formed the basis for the first Appellate Court to decline the relief of injunction to the appellant and rightly so.

15. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Jagpal Singh and others vs. State of Punjab and others, AIR 2011 (SC) 1123 has issued directions to the State Governments in the country to remove all unauthorized occupants over the land of Gram Panchayat. The directions given in para No.22 of the judgment are as follows :-

“22. Before parting with this case we give directions to all the State Governments in the country that they should prepare schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/Poramboke/Shamlat land and these must be restored to the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat for the common use of villagers of the village. For this purpose the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments/Union Territories in India are directed to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments. The said scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show cause notice and a brief hearing. Long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession. Regularization should only be permitted in exceptional cases e.g. where lease has been granted under some Government notification to landless labourers or members of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, or where there is already a school, dispensary or other public utility on the land.”

16. The plaintiff is not entitled to the relief of injunction as prayed for. The substantial question of law, as framed in this appeal, is decided in favour of the respondent.

17. There is no merit in this appeal and the same is dismissed with costs.

(SURINDER GUPTA)

JUDGE
21.12.2013








Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Probe ordered into Anand pastoral land-grabbing case

Aditi Raja
Anand (Gujarat), Dec 24 2013

The Anand District Development Office (DDO) has initiated an inquiry into allegations of illegal sale of gauchar (pastoral) land by the sarpanch of Umeta village to prominent people of Vadodara to build farmhouses. The villagers of Umeta are fighting to regain control of their pastoral lands, spread across an area of approximately 100 acres near Mahisagar river. The land, they allege, has been illegally sold off to private parties — mostly prominent personalities of Vadodara by the village sarpanch, Bhagwansinh Maheda. After a series of applications and protests, the villagers have finally got the district administration to initiate a probe into the case.


Roughly 100 acres of pastoral lands in Umeta have got encroached upon in the last few years. Resorts and luxurious farmhouses have replaced the pastures that were a means of livelihood for about 4,000 farmers of the village. The villagers, who have sought intervention from the district administration to claim their lands back, say the deals with influential parties from Vadodara have been struck by the village sarpanch, who has been misusing his powers.


Sheetal Goswami, deputy DDO of Anand, has ordered the taluka officers to look into the revenue records of the lands. Goswami said, "The villagers have written to me saying that the sarpanch has misused his power to give away pastoral lands for private constructions and I have accordingly ordered my officers to conduct a thorough land record check and get back to me. I will be able to comment on the matter only after ten days." In line with Goswami's order, Umeta taluka circle inspector and revenue officers visited the village to measure the areas of the pastoral lands. The officers, however, refused to comment on their findings.


Yuvrajsinh Rana, one of the 250 farmers who have signed the petition submitted to the Anand district collectorate, says, "The sarpanch of the village has been instrumental in selling off the pastoral lands to private parties for extensions of their lawns or for their farmhouses. About 20 acres of pastoral land is in possession of the sarpanch's son, who runs a resort there without even having the title of the lands with survey number 11 12/1 and 12/2."


The government land records (The Indian Express has a copy) identifies the lands as government pastoral lands. Rana has appealed to the district administration to probe Maheda's underhand dealings and the misuse of power as far as allotting pastoral village lands to private parties is concerned. Villagers say the cases of pastoral land-grabbing are common, but in Umeta, protesting villagers have been assaulted.


"There have been at least five FIRs against Maheda because he has assaulted villagers who have protested his deals with private parties," says Ranveersinh Padhiyar, an advocate.

Illegal farmhouses have also blocked the single road that leads to the only crematorium in the village — a contention that results into an ugly spat every time there is a death in the village. Rana says, "The bungalow built on the path to the crematorium is totally illegal."


The said bungalow is allegedly owned by a prominent businessman from Vadodara. Sarpanch Bhagwansinh Maheda, however, refuted all allegations. He said, "It is a complete lie that I have sold the pastoral lands to private parties. I have not become a sarpanch to earn money. I have been a sarpanch for 25 years. The truth will be out after the probe."


Copyright © 2013 The Indian Express ltd.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Residence Welfare Association Ekta Enclave v. State (NCT) of Delhi & Ors., W.P. (C) 4437/2013 & CM No. 10260/2013

Case Summary: A writ Petition was filed n public interest seeking that action be taken against encroachers of johads, ponds, lakes and water bodies in villages. Under the provisions of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act 1948, certain water bodies belonging to the Gaon Sabha had been allotted to persons to make good the deficiencies in allotment of land during the consolidation process. The principle issue in the case was whether such water bodies can be allotted to make good the deficiencies in allotment of land during the consolidation process?

The Hon'ble Court held that water bodies/johads/water tanks/lakes/water ponds are community assets and help in preserving and improving the environment. The Court ordered all Deputy Secretaries to ensure that the possession of all such water bodies allotted to a villager during the consolidation process be taken back and revived; and that no such water bodies be allotted in future to make good such aforementioned deficiencies.



IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

W.P. (C) 4437/2013 & CM No. 10260/2013

Residence Welfare Association Ekta Enclave...............Petitioner

Through : Mr. B.S. Chowdhary, Adv.

Vs.

State (NCT) of Delhi & Ors. ................Respondents

Through : Ms. Zubdea Begum and Ms. Jayendra, Advs. for R-1 to 5

Date of Decision: 31.10.2013

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana, C.J. and Manmohan, J.

JUDGMENT
Manmohan, J.

1. The present writ petition has been filed in public interest seeking a direction to the respondents to take strong action against encroachers of johads, ponds, lakes and water bodies in villages. 

2. In the counter affidavit, the stand taken by the respondent-State is that water bodies/johads, belonging to the Gaon Sabha had been allotted to persons in accordance with the orders of the Financial Commissioner under Section 42 of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948 to make good the deficiencies in allotment of land during consolidation proceedings.

3. Today, a Status Report has been handed over by the learned counsel for the respondents. The said Status Report reads as under:


“It is respectfully submitted that Sh. Deepak Tyagi, Sh. Rahul Tyagi and Sh. Rajeev Tyagi all sons of Sh. Rajvans was allotted 02 Bigha 08 Biswa land and Ram Kishan S/o Sh. Nathu was allotted 01 Bigha 04 Biswa land out of 28 Bigha 02 Biswa land bearing Khasra No. 149/2/2 Village Burari which was earmarked for Johad (Pond/Water Body) as per the order of Financial Commissioner, Delhi to make good deficiencies to them.

Hon'ble Supreme Court vide order dated 28.1.2011 has passed order in civil appeal in the matter of Jaspal Singh & Ors. v/s. State of Punjab and others that "State Govt. in the country should prepare schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/Poramboke/Shamlat land and these must be restored to the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat for the common use of villagers of the village....The said scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show cause notice and brief hearing

In view of the above case it is submitted that we will take action to evict the said allottee/occupants of Johad/Pond, Gram Sabha Land in pursuance of the Hon'ble Supreme Court orders.”


4. The aforesaid Status Report is taken on record and the respondent is held bound by the same. In any event, we have perused the order dated 19th August, 1997 passed by the Financial Commissioner and are of the opinion that the said order does not stipulate that water bodies/johads/lakes are to be allotted to villagers who have been allotted land less than their entitlement during consolidation proceedings.

5. In our opinion, water bodies/johads/lakes/water tanks are not only community assets, but also help in preserving and improving the environment. Article 48A of the Constitution stipulates that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment. Further, the Supreme Court in Jagpal Singh and Ors. Vs. State of Punjab and Ors., (2011) 11 SCC 396 has held as under:


“13. We find no merit in this appeal. The Appellants herein were trespassers who illegally encroached on to the Gram Panchayat land by using muscle power/money power and in collusion with the officials and even with the Gram Panchayat. We are of the opinion that such kind of blatant illegalities must not be condoned. Even if the Appellants have built houses on the land in question they must be ordered to remove their constructions, and possession of the land in question must be handed back to the Gram Panchayat. Regularizing such illegalities must not be permitted because it is Gram Sabha land which must be kept for the common use of villagers of the village.

14. The letter dated 26.9.2007 of the Government of Punjab permitting regularization of possession of these unauthorized occupants is not valid. We are of the opinion that such letters are wholly illegal and without jurisdiction. In our opinion such illegalities cannot be regularized. We cannot allow the common interest of the villagers to suffer merely because the unauthorized occupation has subsisted for many years.
xxx

17. In many states Government orders have been issued by the State Government permitting allotment of Gram Sabha land to private persons and commercial enterprises on payment of some money. In our opinion all such Government orders are illegal, and should be ignored.

xxx

23. Before parting with this case we give directions to all the State Governments in the country that they should prepare schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/Poramboke/Shamlat land and these must be restored to the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat for the common use of villagers of the village. For this purpose the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments/Union Territories in India are directed to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments. The said scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show cause notice and a brief hearing. Long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession. Regularization should only be permitted in exceptional cases e.g. where lease has been granted under some Government notification to landless labourers or members of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, or where there is already a school, dispensary or other public utility on the land.”


6. Consequently, all Deputy Commissioners are directed to ensure that none of the water bodies/johads/water tanks/lakes/water ponds are encroached or allotted in future to make good the deficiency of land during consolidation proceedings. If any water bodies/water tanks/johads/lakes have been allotted in the past to a villager during consolidation proceedings and no permanent structure has been constructed thereon, the Deputy Commissioners are directed to ensure that possession of the said bodies is taken back after giving them alternative land. Deputy Commissioners are also directed to ensure that water bodies/johads/water tanks/lakes/water ponds are maintained, developed as well as kept clean and if necessary, the same be revived.

7. With the aforesaid directions, the present writ petition and application stand disposed of.

Manmohan, J

Chief Justice
October 31, 2013





http://lobis.nic.in/dhc/MMH/judgement/01-11-2013/MMH31102013CW44372013.pdf

Monday, December 9, 2013

HC stays transfer of ‘shamlat land’ to charitable group

Marouf Ahmad Parray
8 December 2013
Srinagar 

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has stayed a government order about the transfer of over 30 kanals of ‘shamlat’ land to a charitable trust for the construction of educational institute in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

Hearing a petition filed by the residents of Gogo, a village in the Budgam district, a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also issued notice to government returnable within four weeks. 

“The government order (dated December 13, 2012) shall remain stayed till next date of hearing before the bench,” the court said.
  
The court issued the directions after counsel for villagers through Abdul Ahad Beigh and others submitted that as per the provisions of law and also directions by Supreme Court, the state cannot utilize the land other than the one for which the land has been earmarked.

Referring to Supreme Court judgment in Jagpal Singh Vs state of Punjab, the counsel submitted the apex court has directed all the Chief Secretaries of all the states to protect ‘shamlat’ land.

Residents of Gogo have challenged the government whereby sanction has been accorded to transfer of 30 kanals and 5 marlas of ‘shamlat’ land in favour of charitable trust.

The government had transferred the land for construction of higher secondary institute and college/welfare education institute with a rider that if it was used for purposes other than educational and welfare purpose it shall be taken over by it.

“In case of violation, the land as well as structures constructed, if any, shall be taken over by government without paying any compensation,” reads the order as per counsel for the petitioners.

In 2011, the Supreme Court had directed all the state governments through Chief Secretaries to prepare a schemes for eviction of illegal or unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, Poramboke and shamlat land and these must be restored for the common use of villagers of the village.

For this purpose, the court had directed the Chief Secretaries to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the governments.

“The scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show cause notice and a brief hearing,” the court had said. “Long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession.”

Regularization, the apex court had said, should only be permitted in exceptional cases “e.g. where lease has been granted under some government notification to landless labourers or members of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, or where there is already a school, dispensary or other public utility on the land.”



© Copyright 2010 - 2013 Kashmir Reader


Thursday, December 5, 2013

'Disputed land' in Tuem industrial estate inspected

TNN, Tuem, Goa
Nov 23, 2013

Panchayat minister Laxmikant Parsekar, along with officials from the PWD, forest, Goa Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (GAPL) and others inspected land that is in dispute in the Tuem industrial estate on Friday.

Sources told TOI that since the estate's boundaries are not properly fenced over 50 illegal houses have encroached on the land, while more are under construction. They further pointed out that 3,000 sq m of land belonging to Goa industrial development corporation (GIDC) was recently encroached on by a private builder who has constructed a compound wall.

GAPL officials brought to Parsekar's notice that about 40 illegal constructions have come up in land given to the company and that the firm has filed complaints which are being heard in court.

While the former sarpanch of the Tuem village panchayat, Prajakta Kannaik, has urged the government to regularize the houses and provide them with road and other government facilities, Parsekar said illegal houses on government land cannot be regularized as the law does not permit the same. He said he will try to work out an amicable solution.

"I will place the matter before the chief minister and the revenue minister to seek an amicable solution to the problem," Parsekar said after the inspection.


© 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.

Monday, December 2, 2013

KULDIP SINGH Vs. STATE OF PUNJAB, CRM No. 23125 of 2011 [Punjab & Haryana High Court] on May 29, 2012

CRM No. 23125 of 2011 in/and CRM No. M-49595 of 2007; and CWP Nos. 1973, 3536, 3537, 3538 and 3539 of 2010

Present:

Amicus Curiae:                                                 Mr. Arun Jain, Sr. Advocate with
Mr. Amit Jain, Advocate,
Mr. M.L. Sarin, Sr. Advocate with
Mr. Hemant Sarin, Advocate,

For the petitioner(s):                                         Mr. P.S. Bhangu, Advocate,

For the respondents(s):                                     Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, A.G. Punjab with
Ms. Reeta Kohli, Addl. A.G. Punjab
Mr. Puneet Bali, Sr. Advocate with
Mr. Shaurya Sharma, Advocate
Mr. Maharaj Kumar, Advocate,
Mr. S.N. Saini, Advocate.

M.M. KUMAR, Acq. C.J.

1. This bunch of petitions have brought to the fore the issue of sale/purchase of various types of public land which is described in the revenue record as 'Jumla Mlishtarka Malkan·. 'shamlat deh', forest land and 'Nazulland' etc. In the order dated 27-03-2012, passed by this Court a detailed reference was made to the transaction in respect of one village Mubarikpur and it has been indicated that the public property described in the revenue record as 'Jumla Mushtarka Malkan Wa Digar Haqdararn, could not be subjected to sale because its management and control vested in the Gram Panchayal. However, the sale deeds were executed by the so called proprietor on the basis of determination of holding of vendors. It has been pointed out that the Registrar of Documents and the Deputy Commissioner didn’t bother to protect public property and permitted the execution of sale deed in respect thereof.

2. It would be profitable to read various orders passed at different stages of hearing of these cases. When notice of motion was issued on 5-2-20 I0, the Division Bench has passed the following order:

"Counsel for the petitioners submits that the land in dispute is recorded as Jumla Mushtarka Malkan. As per Rule 16 (ii) of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Rules, 1949, (hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules'), land which is earmarked and reserved for common purposes, after imposing a cut from the holding of proprietors is described as Jumla Mushtarka Malkan. Rules 16 (ii) further states that such land shall belong to the proprietors but vests in the Gram Panchayat for the purpose of management and control. As a consequence, a proprietor cannot sell any portion of Jumla Mushtarka Malkan land and the authorities have no jurisdiction to register a sale deed or record a mutation in favour of a vendee. It is submitted that despite this legal impediment, respondent NO.5 to 3I have executed and registered a sale deed of their alleged share in Jumla Mushtarka Malkan land of village Mubarikpur in favour of respondent No.32. Despite the petitioners having brought this illegal sale deed to the notice of the concerned authorities, the Collector, the Commissioner and the Financial Commissioner have ignored this fraud with mala fide intent."

I have heard counsel for the petitioners and perused the paper book.

It appears that Jumla Mushtarka Malkan land situated within the revenue estate of village Mubarikpur is being sold with impunity and with the active connivance of revenue authorities. At the oral request of counsel for the petitioners, the Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar Mohali is impleaded as respondent No. 33 and the Gram Panchayat, Mubarikpur is impleaded as respondent No. 34. Office is directed to carry out necessary corrections in the Memorandum of Parties. Notice to show cause to the respondents for 15-2-2010 why the sale deed and the mutation be not cancelled being null, void and contrary to the provisions of law. The Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali, is directed to appear in person on the next date of hearing along with the relevant record of the Jumla Mushtarka Malkan land, situated in village Mubarikpur and file his personal affidavit. It is made clear that the respondents shall not alienate the land in dispute of create any third party interest therein. At the asking of the Court, Mr. S.S. Sahu, AAG, Punjab accepts notice on behalf of the respondent No. I to 4 and the Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali and prays for time to seek instructions. A copy of this order be handed over to Mr. S.S.Sahu, AAG, Punjab under signatures of the Special Secretary of this Court."

3. In pursuance to the aforesaid order, the Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali filed reply on 15- 2-2010 and the following order was passed:

"Mr. Prabhjot Singh Mand, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, SAS Nagar, Mohali, is present in Court and has filed a short reply by way of affidavit dated 15-2-2010, which is taken on record. The Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali is directed to examine the transfer of land and sale deeds etc. and furnish the entire report to this Court.
Respondents No.5 to 32 and 34 are not served for want of process fee.
Let fresh notice be issued for effecting service upon respondents No.5 to 32 and 34, returnable on 10-03-2010.
Process dasti only. "

4. On 23-02-2012, after hearing the parties, the Division Bench proceeded to pass the following order:

"The case in hand, relates to sale of public property, viz., land, admittedly, described, in the revenue record, as Jumla Mushtarka Malkan Wa Digar Haqdaran. Rule 16 (ii) of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Rules, 1949, prescribes that though ownership of such land vests in proprietors, its management and control lies with the Gram Panchayat. The sale deeds in the present case were executed, by the so called proprietors, on the basis of dubious determinations of shareholdings of venders. The Registrar of documents and the then Deputy Commissioner have not bothered to protect public property and permitted sale of panchayat property. Pursuant to an earlier order, we had sought a response from the Deputy Commissioner. The reply filed by the then Deputy Commissioner reveals a stand that proprietors have only sold possessory rights. 

The reply has been filed by ignoring Rule 16 (ii) of the Rules, as possessory rights of such a land as well as its management and control vest with the Gram Panchayat. The Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S.Nagar, Mohali, who is present in person, is directed to take a decision in the matter, preferably, before the next date of hearing. The Deputy Commissioner shall also file an affidavit setting out the number of sale deeds relating to, Samilat Deh and Jumla Mllshtarka Malkan in Zirakpur, Derabassi, Mubarikpur, Bhankarpur snd Majri.

It is made clear that this order shall not be construed to be our final opinion in the matter.

To come up on 07-3-2012.

A photocopy of this order be placed on the files of other connected cases."

5. A significant stage came when the Deputy Commissioner filed affidavit in pursuance of order dated 07-03-2012 disclosing colossal violation of law and the same reads as under:

"On 07-03-2012, another order was passed directing the Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali, to file an affidavit with respect to sale ofShamilat deh and Jumla Mushtarim Malkan land in District S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali. The Deputy Commissioner has filed an affidavit, in Court today, setting our details of sale deeds of Shamilat deh and Jumla Mushtarka Malkan land in the district. The Deputy Commissioner has directed a total of 858 sale deeds pertaining to Shamilat deh and Jumla Mushtarka Malkan land, registered upto 2012 in District S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali. A perusal of the affidavit reveals a shocking state of affairs as approximately 1953 acres of Shamilat Deh/Jumla Mushtarka land, prima facie, belonging to Gram Panchayat, have been sold in and around the periphery of Chandigarh and in the District of S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali.

We are of the firm opinion that a monumental fraud has been played on the rights of the Gram Panchayat and public property, held by Gram Panchayats, has been misappropriated by unscrupulous proprietors, in league with vendors, a large number of whom appear to be property dealers, builders and property developers. We, however, do not express any final opinion as to the right of the parties, but would require the Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali, to file a detailed affidavit by 30-03-2012, giving the steps he proposes to take against the vendors, the vendees, the person who allowed registration of the sale deeds and the Gram Panchayats who did not raise any plea with respect to their title.

Adjourned to 30-03-2012.

At this stage, Shri Som Nath Saini, Advocate, states that the petitioners are in unauthorized occupation of 4 acres of panchayat land. The petitioners are directed to file an affidavit whether this fact is true?
We request Shri M. L. Sarin, Senior Advocate, who is present in the Court to assist the Court as an Amicus Curiae, in this case. A copy"of the paper book along with the affidavits and the interim orders passed by this Court be handed over to Shri M.L. Sarin, Senior Advocate.

A copy of this order be handed over to Mr. Amit Chaudhary, DAG, Punjab, under signatures of the Court Secretary of this Court."

6. The aforesaid proceedings were in progress before the Division Bench headed by Rajiv Bhalla, J. And on the request made by Shri M.L.Sarin, Sr. Advocate who was amicus curiae before that Bench and keeping in view the similarity of issue pending before this Court, we directed listing of those cases before us.

7. In the proceedings which have been in progress before this Court including CRM No. 23125 of 2011, a number of orders have been passed by this court. It is also appropriate to refer to Rule 12 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964 (as applicable to Punjab) [for brevity, 'the Rules'), which regulates the sale of land -described in the revenue record as 'shamlat deh '. There are limited purposes for which the land could be sold with the previous approval of the State Government as specified in Rule 12 of the Rules. Likewise, Rule 12-A also permits 'transfer of land' to the instrumentality of the State for a public purpose. There is no provision either in the Rules or in the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 (for brevity, 'the Act') permitting sale of land described as 'shamlat deh' or the land known as 'Nazul land' or 'Jumla Mushtarka Malkan' by the private individuals to other private bodies or individuals. We would not like to make any observations on this issue at this stage. However, we would make a reference to the principles enunciated by their Lordships of Hon'ble the Supreme Court highlighting the discharge of higher burden by all public men holding high public office and position. In that regard we place reliance on the judgment of Hon'ble the Supreme Court rendered in the cases of Hinch Lal Tewari v. Kamla Devi (2001) 6 SCC 496 and Jagpal Singh and others v. State of Punjab (2011) 11 SCC 396. In Jagpal Singh's case (supra), their Lordships of Hon 'ble the Supreme Coun has noted the concern for village common land by placing reliance on the observations made in the earlier judgment in the case of Chiqurupati Venkata Subbayya v Paladuge Anjayya. [1972 (1) SCC 521]. We feel that observations made in para 3, 4 and 5 would put the whole issue in its perspective which reads thus:

"3. Since time immemorial there have been common lands inhering in the village communities in India, variously called gram sabha land, gram panchayatland, (in many Nonh Indian States), shamlat deh (in Punjab etc.), mandaveli and poramboke land (in South India), Kalam, Maidan, etc. Depending on the nature of user. These public utility lands in the villages were for centuries used for the common benefit of the villagers of the village such as ponds for various purposes e.g. fortheir cattle to drink and bathe, for storing their harvested grain, as grazing ground for the cattle, threshing floor, maidan for playing by children, carnivals, circuses, ramlila cart stands, water bodies, passages, cremation ground or graveyards, etc. These lands stood vested through local laws in the State, which handed over their management to Gram SabhasiGram Panchayats. They were generally treated as inalienable in order that their status as community land be preserved. There were no doubt some exceptions to this rule which permitted the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat to lease out some of this land to landless labourers and members of the Scheduled CastslTribes, but this was only to be done in exceptional cases.

4. The protection of commons rights of the villagers were so zealously protected that some legislation expressly mentioned that even the vesting of the property with the Stale did not mean thaI the common rights of villagers were lost by such vesting. Thus, Chiqurupati Venkata Subbayya v Paladuge Anjayya, 1972 (1) SCC 521 (529) this Court observed:

"It is true that the suit lands in view of Section 3 of the Estates Abolition Act did vest in the Government. That by itself does not mean that the rights of the community over it were taken away. Our attention has not been invited to any provision of law under which the rights of the community over those lands can be said to have been taken away. The rights of the community over the suit lands were not created by the landholder. Hence those rights cannot be said to have been abrogated by Section 3 of the Estates Abolition Act."

5. What we have witnessed since independence, however, is that in large parts of the country this common village land has been grabbed by unscrupulous persons using muscle power, money power or political clout, and in many States now there is not an inch of such land left for the common use of the people of the village, though it may exist on paper. People with power and pelf operating in villages all over India systematically encroached upon commonal lands and put them to uses totally inconsistent with its original character, for personal aggrandizement at the cost of the village community. This was done with active connivance of the State authorities and local powerful vested interests and goondas. This appeal is glaring example of this lamentable state of affairs."

8. The State Government is under obligation and is bound to comply with the directions issued by their Lordships of Hon'ble the Supreme Court in para 22 of this judgment.

9. In Crl. Misc.No. 23125 of 2011 in CRM No. M-49595 of2007, various orders have been passed, which culminated in the disclosure that the land is in possession of such 60 influential persons and the names of those persons have been mentioned in the annexure referred in para 4 of the affidavit dated 20-04-2012 filed by the Chief Secretary. A glance on the list of influential persons would indicate that the land has been transferred in the names of Chief Minister, numerous Ministers, DGP and various other police officers. To avoid burdening of this order a copy of the list is added to this order which may read its part. Some of the important names are: S/ Sh. V.K. Khanna, IAS (Retd) (21 Acres), Ajit Singh Chatha, lAS (Retd.) (9 Acres) Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister (5 Acres); Surinder Singh Kairon and family members (58/60 Acres),Abhay Singh Jagat, DGP(Retd.) (2.5 Acres); Guizar Singh, Ex-Minister(1 2 Acres); Dr. Col. Kanwaljit Singh and family (65 Acres) and Jagmohan Singh Kang (5/6 Acres).

10. Another affidavit dated 16-5-2012, was filed by the Chief Secretary to Government of Punjab, disclosing that in compliance with the order dated 1-5-2012 passed by this Court in Crl. Misc. No. 23125 of 2011, a committee was constituted comprising Financial Commissioner Revenue; Financial Commissioner Rural Development and Panchayats; Director Local Government; Principal Chief Conservator of Forests; and Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, to report whether the land in possession of 60 influential persons had at any stage been Government/Public land. The aforementioned Committee held various meetings on 4-5-2012, 7-5-2012 and 9-5-2012 and submitted its report on 15-5-2012, which is annexed as Annexure' A' with the affidavit dated 16-5-2012. The conclusion arrived at by the Committee has been summed up in para 4 of the affidavit dated 16-5-2012, which reads as under:

"4. That the committee has concluded as under :-

(a) that except in the 7 cases as mentioned below, the land in the possession of all other individuals was never government/public land:-

Sr.No.              Sr. No. As Per Report                Name of Owner/Occupant
1                      9                                              Smt. Surjit Kaur w/o S. Navtej Singh
2                      18                                            S. Baldev Singh, S.P. (Retd.) U.T. Chandigarh
3                      21                                            S. Gurcharan Singh S/o S. Lal Singh
4                      30                                            S. Gurmeet Singh & S. Mukhtiar Singh
5                      31                                            S. Jagbir Singh
6                      32                                            S. Daljit Singh Dhillon S/o S. Lal Singh
7                      39                                            S. Surjit Singh

a (i) However, as regard Entry No. 50, the entries in Column No.7 and 8 are as under :-

"In Khasra No. 90119 (6-16), 12/1/1 (0-13), 1012 (7-19), 11/1 (1-17), Y, (2-10),2 (5-13), 91116/2/17 (3-4), 15/1/2.(0-15) Total 29 Bighas 7 Biaswa, Dinesh Singh and Sumedh Singh sons of Ramesh Chander Singh are equal Co-sharers as per Jamabandi 2005-06 Kh/Kh. 452/480, 453/489, 454/490. The whole of this area, vide Mutation No. 15525 is entered in the name ofPUDA. However, the decision regarding this mutation is pending till date."

"As per the Revenue record, this land has never vested in the ownership of Forest/ Nazool/ Shamlat/ Municipal/ Government Land."

b) That in the case of three persons i.e. Sh. Sumedh Singh Saini, Sh. Shivinder Singh Brar and S. Harjinder Singh (mentioned at Sr. No. 49 and 51 of the list) the land in question was Jumala Mushtarka Malkan Hasab Rasad Rakba Khewat created at the time of consolidation in 1971 by imposing a pro rata cut on the land owners. Thereafter, vide order dated 16-1-1986 of the Consolidation Onicer, Ropar the Khewat was dismantled and shares were apportioned to the individual proprietors. The three persons mentioned above have purchases the land from the original land owners. Further, as reported in the detailed report at Sr. No. 49 and 51, these properties as per revenue record were never vested in the ownership of Forest! Nazool/Shamlat/Municipal/ Government land. The report of the committee so constituted submitted vide diary No. 93 I, dated 15-05-2012 is enclosed herewith as Anneuxre-A."

II. After perusing the list of60 influential persons along with the affidavit of Chief Secretary dated 20-04-2012 and 16-05-2012, we were fortified in our belief that the matter requires to be probed by an independent Tribunal which should be presided over by an eminent judge of either Supreme Court or from this Court. A perusal of some orders would show that thinking process. We were convinced with the idea of setting up an independent tribunal for the simple reason that those who are at the helm of affairs would not be able to judge their own cause which is common to the cause of thousands of other people as has been pointed out by the affidavit filed by the Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali. If a committee of Officers' is appointed by the Government they may not be able to act fairly for the reason that creature cannot be greater than the creator.

12. It is in the backdrop of aforesaid situation that we are compelled to proceed with the idea of setting up a Tribunal and for that purpose we requested Mr.M.L. Sarin and Mr. Arun Jain, learned Senior counsel and amicus curiae, to finalize the terms of reference. A draft of terms of reference was handed over to Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, learned Advocate General, Punjab who has vehemently opposed the idea of setting up of any Tribunal by stating that the report of Shri Chander Sekhar, IPS, is available and the Tribunal would not be able to do function any better as the record is already before this Court. Mr. Aggarwal further submits that in some cases the matters are already pending before the statutory authorities, including the High Court as well as Hon'ble the Supreme Court. The argument seems to be that the 'Special Tribunal', which is proposed to be constituted, would not serve any public purpose.

13. On the other hand, learned Amicus Curiae have highlighted the usefulness of the constitution of a 'Special Tribunal' particularly, in the light of the fact that once the top bureaucrats, police officials and the top most political personalities of the State are the beneficiaries, then to opine adversely against persons similarly situated would also not be possible as the same could be cited as a precedence for deciding their own cases. In other words, if a case of ordinary citizen is to be decided by the statutory authorities, it would not be possible for them decide against even thousands of others because it would ultimately adversely affect the cases of influential persons. It is seen from the affidavit filed by the Deputy Commissioner that thousands of sale deeds only from6 villages all over India systematically encroached upon common lands and put them to uses totally inconsistent with its original character, for personal aggrandizement at the cost of the village community. This was done with active connivance of the State authorities and local powerful vested interests and goondas. This appeal is glaring example of this lamentable state of affairs."

8. The State Government is under obligation and is bound to comply with the directions issued by their Lordships of Hon'ble the Supreme Court in para 22 of this judgment.

9. In Crl. Misc.No. 23125 of2011 in CRM No. M-49595 of2007, various orders have been passed, which culminated in the disclosure that the land is in possession of such 60 influential persons and the names of those persons have been mentioned in the annexure referred in para 4 of the affidavit dated 20-04-2012 filed by the Chief Secretary. A glance on the list of influential persons would indicate that ihe land has been transferred in the names of Chief Minister, numerous Ministers, DGP and various other police officers. To avoid burdening of this order a copy of the list is added to this order which may read its part. Some of the important names are: S/Sh. V.K. Khanna, lAS (Retd) (21 Acres), Ajit Singh Chatha, lAS (Retd.) (9 Acres) Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister (5 Acres); Surinder Singh Kairon and family members (58/60 Acres), Abhay Singh Jagat, DGP (Retd.) (2.5 Acres); Guizar Singh, Ex-Minister( 12Acres); Dr. Col. Kanwaljit Singh and family (65 Acres) and Jagmohan Singh Kang (5/6 Acres).

10. Another affidavit dated 16-5-2012, was filed by the Chief Secretary to Government of Punjab, disclosing that in compliance with the order dated 1-5-2012 passed by this Court in Crl. Misc. No. 23125 of 2011, a committee was constituted comprising Financial Commissioner Revenue; Financial Commissioner Rural Development and Panchayats; Director Local Government; Principal Chief Conservator of Forests; and Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, to report whether the land in possession of 60 influential persons had at any stage been Government/Public land. The aforementioned Committee held various meetings on 4-5-2012, 7-5-2012 and 9-5-2012 and submitted its report on 15-5-2012, which is annexed as Annexure 'A' with the affidavit dated 16-5-2012. The conclusion arrived at by the Committee has been summed up in para 4 of the affidavit dated 16-5-2012, which reads as under:

"4. That the committee has concluded as under :-

(a) that except in the 7 cases as mentioned below, the land in the possession of all other individuals was never government/public land:-
Sr.No.              Sr. No. As Per Report                Name of Owner/Occupant
1                      9                                              Smt. Surjit Kaur w/o S. Navtej Singh
2                      18                                            S. Baldev Singh, S.P. (Retd.) U.T. Chandigarh
3                      21                                            S. Gurcharan Singh S/o S. Lal Singh
4                      30                                            S. Gurmeet Singh & S. Mukhtiar Singh
5                      31                                            S. Jagbir Singh
6                      32                                            S. Daljit Singh Dhillon S/o S. Lal Singh
7                      39                                            S. Surjit Singh

a (i) However, as regard Entry No. 50, the entries in Column No.7 and 8 are as under :-
"In Khasra No. 90//9 (6-16), 12/1/1 (0-13), 10/2 (7-19), 11/1 (1-17), It, (2-10),2 (5-13), 91//612/17 (3-4), 15/1/2 (0-15) Total 29 Bighas 7 Biaswa, Dinesh Singh and Sumedh Singh sons of Ramesh Chander Singh are equal Co-sharers as per Jamabandi 2005-06 KhlKh. 452/480, 453/489, 454/490. The whole of this area, vide Mutation No. 15525 is entered in the name of PUDA. However, the decision regarding this mutation is pending till date."

"As per the Revenue record, this land has never vested in the ownership of Forest/ Nazool/Shamlat/ Municipal/ Govemment Land."

b) That in the case of three persons i.e. Sh. Sumed Singh Saini, Sh. Shivinder Singh Brar and S. Harjinder Singh (mentioned at Sr. No. 49 and 51 ofthe list) the land in question was Jumala Mushtarka Malkan Hasab Rasad Rakba Khewat created at the time of consolidation in 1971 by imposing a pro rata cut on the land owners. Thereafter, vide order dated 16-1-1986 of the Consolidation Officer, Ropar the Khewat was dismantled and shares were apportioned to the individual proprietors. The three persons mentioned above have purchases the land from the original land owners. Further, as reported in the detailed report at Sr. No. 49 and 51, these properties as per revenue record were never vested in the ownership of Forest/ Nazool/Shamlat/Municipal/ Govemment land. The report of the committee so constituted submitted vide diary No. 93 I, dated 15-05-2012 is enclosed herewith as Annexure-A."

II. After perusing the list of 60 influential persons along with the affidavit of Chief Secretary dated 20-04-2012 and 16-05-2012, we were fortified in our belief that the matter requires to be probed by an independent Tribunal which should be presided over by an eminent judge of either Supreme Court or from this Court. A perusal of some orders would show that thinking process. We were convinced with the idea of setting up an independent tribunal for the simple reason that those who are at the helm of afTairs would not be able to judge their own cause which is common to the cause of thousands of other people as has been pointed out by the affidavit filed by the Deputy Commissioner, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali. If a committee of Officers' is appointed by the Government they may not be able to act fairly for the reason that creature cannot be greater than the creator.

12. It is in the backdrop of aforesaid situation that we are compelled to proceed with the idea of setting up a Tribunal and for that purpose we requested Mr.M.L. Sarin and Mr. Arun Jain, leamed Senior counsel and amicus curiae, to finalize the terms of reference. A draft of terms of reference was handed over to Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, learned Advocate General, Punjab who has vehemently opposed the idea of setting up of any Tribunal by stating that the report of Shri Chander Sekhar, IPS, is available and the Tribunal would not be able to do function any better as the record is already before this Court. Mr. Aggarwal further submits that in some cases the matters are already pending before the statutory authorities, including the High Court as well as Hon'ble the Supreme Court. The argument seems to be that the 'Special Tribunal', which is proposed to be constituted, would not serve any public purpose.

13. On the other hand, learned Amicus Curiae have highlighted the usefulness of the constitution of a 'Special Tribunal' particularly, in the light of the fact that once the top bureaucrats, police officials and the top most political personalities of the State are the beneficiaries, then to opine adversely against persons similarly situated would also not be possible as the same could be cited as a precedence for deciding their own cases. In other words, if a case of ordinary citizen is to be decided by the statutory authorities, it would not be possible for them decide against even thousands of others because it would ultimately adversely affect the cases of influential persons. It is seen from the affidavit filed by the Deputy Commissioner that thousands of sale deeds only from one district have been executed. Therefore, there is ample justification for a probe by an independent body like the Special Tribunal, which is proposed by this Court in various orders. It has also been highlighted that Crl. Misc. No. 49595-M of 2007 is pending before this Court since the year 2007 wherein the report of Shri Chander Sekhar, IAS, has been attached and no effective steps have been taken by the State either to adopt the report as an official document or to initiate proceedings against anyone named in the report. Therefore, it has become necessary in the larger public interest to set up a Special Tribunal. We approve the aforesaid line of argument and accept that there is dire necessity of setting up an independent Tribunal.

14. During the course of the proceedings before this Court the name of a Former judge of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Hon'ble Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh was suggested and we have been informed that his Lordship has readily agreed to function as the Chairman of the Tribunal. Two names of the Members of the Bar, namely, Shri P.N. Aggarwal and Shri Babu Ram Gupta have also been suggested. They have also readily agreed to function as Members of the Tribunal. Accordingly, we direct that there shall be two members Tribunal. Hon'ble Mr Justice Kuldip Singh, Former Judge of Hon'ble the Supreme Court shall function as the Chairman of the Tribunal along with Sh. P.N. Aggarwal, Advocate who would function as Member. We make it clear that opinion of the Chairman shall be final. Shri Babu Ram Gupta, Advocate, would assist the Tribunal by presenting the revenue record divulging the nature of the land. The Tribunal shall suggest ways and means for retrieving 'shamlat deh' land, 'lunda mllshlarka malkan' land and various other types of land such as 'Nazul land', 'Forest land' etc. in and around the periphery ofChandigarh and other parts of the State of Punjab as directed by 'Hon'ble the Supreme Court in Jagpal Singh's case (supra). The Tribunal shall send suggestions to initiate criminal action against the violators.

15. Keeping in view the aforesaid, we proceed to set out the following terms of reference:

(A) A Tribunal is hereby constituted comprising Hon'ble Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh, a former Judge of the Supreme Court and Sh. P. N. Aggarwal, Advocate, which is hereby appointed with the power of Special Tribunal. The Tribunal shall have the powers to summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses, including the parties interested or any of them and to compel the production of documents by the same means and so far as may be in the same manner as is provided in the case of Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

(B) The Tribunal may take assistance of Departments of Revenue Punjab, Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, Forest Department, Punjab and D.OP. Punjab to scrutinize the old records and submit village wise fact finding report in respect of above land in and around the periphery of Chandigarh and other parts of the State 9fPunjab. Sh. B.R. Gupta, a Former District & sessions Judge shall assist and aid the Tribunal. It should also suggest effective steps which need to be taken to get free the land from encroachers in and around the periphery of Chandigarh falling in the area of Punjab and other parts of the Punjab.

(C) The Tribunal shall utilize the services of Special Qaunungos/ Patwari Moharrirs to prepare excerpts village wise showing kind of government land/ shamlat land/ forest land/ Nazul land in and around periphery of Chandigarh and other parts of Punjab and the basis on which ownership of such land came to be vested in favour of individuals (s).The Tribunal shall suggest measures for retrieving such government land /shamlat land/forest land/Nazul land in and around the periphery of Chandigarh and other parts of Punjab as per the judgment of Jagpal Singh's case (supra).

(D) It has also been noticed that some matters are pending before the authorities under the Punjab9 Village Common Lands (Regulation)Act 1961, East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948, the Public Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Act, 1973 and the Punjab Gram Panchayat (Common Purposes Land) Eviction and Rent Recovery Act, 1976 as well as civil suits, the Special Tribunal would suggest the mechanism for early disposal of these proceedings so that the matter is no unduly delayed.

(E) The Special Tribunal shall also suggest what civil/criminal proceedings may be taken against the officials and parties who facilitated such transfers from government/public land to private ownership. The Special Tribunal would also suggest the steps which may prevent such transfers of government/ public land in future.

(F) The Tribunal shall keep this Court informed of all major developments by filling quarterly status reports and may, if so desired, take special orders from this Court.

(G) All organs, agencies, departments and agents of the State shall extend all cooperation necessary for the effective functioning of the Tribunal.

(H) The State Government is directed to provide all facilities to conduct inquiry in its fullest measure by the Tribunal so constituted by extending all necessary official and legal assistance.

(I) Besides the State of Punjab shall provide necessary office infrastructure and requisite staff for the Tribunal within 30 days.

(J) The Presiding Officer of the Tribunal so constituted shall be assisted by serving or retired District and Session Judge who will be well conversant with Punjabi language. Accordingly, we appoint Sh. Babu Ram Gupta who shall assist and aid the Tribunal.

(K) The Tribunal so constituted shall be entitled to remuneration, allowances, perks and facilities as admissible to a judge of the Supreme Court. Whereas S/Sh. P.N. Aggarwal, and Babu Ram Gupta, shall be entitled to a lump sum amount ofRs. 1,25,000/- plus a Corrola or Honda City Car or equivalent amount along with a driver.

16. We further issue the following directions:

(a) The Registrar of documents in the State of Punjab shall not entertain any document from now onwards for registration nor registered any document which proposes the sale, lease, transfer of any Shamlat land, Jumla Mushtarka Malkan, Nazool land etc. and any other government land with whatever name it might be called. Necessary instructions in that regard be issued by the concerned department within one week.

(b) No dispute in respect of such lands as mentioned in para (a) shall be entertained by the statutory authorities under the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Act, 1961 and East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948. No Civil court shall entertain any civil suit nor grant any interim order even in pending cases till further orders of this Court.

(c) No mutation shall be entered by the revenue officers from now onwards on the basis of sale deeds involving any such land as referred to in para (a) above.

17. The respondent State is directed to comply with the direction within a period of two weeks.The office for functioning of the Tribunal shall be given along with Secretarial staff as is indicated in the term of reference within a period of two weeks preferably at the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Punjab. The other directions which have been reproduced in the preceding para shall also be compiled with and the Tribunal may exercise all such powers which have been mentioned in the preceding para. Open area for functioning the Tribunal be provided preferably at the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh. The initial tenure of the Tribunal shall be four months from the date it starts functioning. If some more time is required then appropriate request be sent to the Court.

18. We place on record our thanks to the Amicus Curiae Shri M.L. Sarin, Senior Advocate and Shr. Jain, Senior Advocate as well as Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, learned Advocate General, Punjab for rendering able assistance to the Bench.

19. Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, learned Advocate General, Punjab, states that similar Writ Petition Nos. 3389 of 2012 and 23456 of 2011 are pending before this Court, which are listed for hearing on 17-08-2012 and 23-07-2012 respectively, and the same may also be tagged with this bunch of petitions. We direct the Registry to list these two writ petitions on 31-05-2012 after informing the date of pre ponement of hearing of these cases to the learned counsel for both the parties.

20. The Registry is directed that photocopies of each of the petition and all the interlocutory orders of every paper book be sent to the Tribunal including the order which has been passed today

21. A copy of this order be given dasti to the learned counsel for the parties on payment of usual charges.

Sd/-
ALOK SINGH
JUDGE

Sd/-
M.M. KUMAR
ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE


0153/02-2013/Pb. Govt. Press. S.A.S. Nagar