Decided on September 16,1954

Letters Patent Appeal Appellant


- (1.) These two appeals raise the question whether costs payable by Government in respect of a plot of land acquired by it before the partition of the Punjab are a liability of the East Punjab Government or that of the West Punjab Government. The facts of the case are simple and not in dispute. On the 6th December 1938 the Government of the united Punjab acquired two plots of land belonging to Mahant Bishambar Das respondent and situate at Hoshiarpur for the construction of a hospital. The owner declined to accept the compensation awarded by the Collector and the matter was accordingly referred to the Court under section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. On the 18th August 1941 the Senior Sub-Judge of Hoshiarpur passed two decrees in favour of the respondent and on the 13th October 1944, these decrees were confirmed by the High Court at Lahore.
(2.) On the 31st March, 1948 the respondent presented two applications for recovery of costs amounting to a sum of Rs. 362/8/0 in one case and Rs. 143/6 in the other and impleaded both the East Punjab Government and the West Punjab Government as parties. He later asked for permission to give up the West Punjab Government and on the 31st May 1948, the executing Court permitted him to do so on the ground that in view of the provisions of the Punjab Partition (Contracts) Order, 1947, the liability for payment of costs of the litigation was of the East Punjab Government. The order passed by the executing Court was confirmed by a learned Judge of this Court and the East Punjab Government has accordingly presented these appeals under clause 10 of the Letters Patent.
(3.) In exercise of the powers conferred by the Indian Independence Act, 1947, the Governor-General promulgated a number of Orders among others being the Indian Independence (Rights, Property and Liabilities) Order, 1947, and the Punjab Partition (Contracts) Order, 1947. The relevant portion of Article 9 of the first Order runs as follows :- "9. All liabilities in respect of such loans, guarantees and other financial obligations of the Governor General in Council or of a Province as are outstanding immediately before the appointed days shall, as from that day :- (a) * * * * * * * * (b) * * * * * * * * (c) in the case of liabilities of the Province of the Punjab, be liabilities of the Province of West Punjab, and (d) * * * * * * *";

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