SURJAN SINGH Vs. EAST PUNJAB GOVERNMENT
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
EAST PUNJAB GOVERNMENT
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(1.) DURING the Second World war the Military Authorities required lands near ferozepore for the purposes of an aerodrome and a landing ground. . The defence co-ordination Department had by notification dated the 25th of April, 1942 delegated its powers under Rule 75-A made unler the Defence of India Act to the collector, Ferozepore, who by notification dated the 18th of December, 1942, requisitioned a considerable area of land lying in a number of villages near ferozepore for this purpose, and then by notification dated the 2nd of September, 1943, he acquired 21. 12 acres for the purposes of approach road and 926/97 acres for landing ground. This area was acquired on behalf of the Central Government for securing defence of India and for efficient prosecution of the War. Out of this area 162. 83 acres were situated in village Ghiniwala, and 123. 47 acres out of the acquired area in this village belonged; to Surjan Singh and his real brother Bachan Singh. The land acquired in this village also contained five tube-wells vide R. W. 1/12. Out of these five wells Surjan Singh and Bachan Singh owned four wells. The Collector by his order dated the 12th of March 1945 classified the acquired land in this village as irrigated and unirrigated (71. 13 acres were held to be irrigated and 81. 70 acres were held to be unirrigated land) and offered compensation at Rs. 250/-per acre for the former and Rs. 125/- per acre for the latter type of land. He also offered Rs. 1000/- for each of the tube-wells. Surjari Singh and Bachan singh refused this offer though some other proprietors in the village accepted it. On the 14th of January, 1946, Shri Ram Narain was appointed arbitrator under the defence of India Act. The two brothers in a joint claim dated the 29th May 1946 required compensation to be fixed for the entire area at about Rs. 1,600/-per acre and at Rs. 2,000/- for each well. They also claimed compensation for serverance and loss of business etc. The arbitrator called upon the claimants to file separate claims. Accordingly, the brothers filed separate claim on the 31st of May, 1946. In these claims they alleged that by private partition Surjan Singh was the owner of 114. 5 acres of the acquired land while Bachan Singh was the owner of 17 acres and the discrepancy was explained by the allegation that the Government took possession of 131. 5 acres although only 123. 47 acres were acquired under the notification. Both the brothers valued the wells at Rs. 2000/-each and out of this amount Rs. 1,333/5/4 were claimed by Bachan Singh and the balance was claimed by Surjan singh. Bachan Singh claimed an uspecified sum while Surjan Singh claimed Rs. 20,000/- for severance and loss of business etc. After recording some evidence shri Ram Narain retired and in his place Shri Mohindar Singh was appointed arbitrator on the 12th of March, 1947, who after recording the entire evidence gave his separate awards on the 8th of December, 1948. The arbitrator held that the brothers were entitled to get compensation only for the area acquired, i. e. , 123. 47 acres. He allowed compensation at the rate of Rs. 500/- per acre for irrigated land and maintained the offer of the Collector in other respects. The claim of 15 per cent as compensation for severance and loss of business and for interest was disallowed. Claimants being dissatisfied with the awards have filed Regular First Appeals Nos. 17 and 18 of 1949 in this Court to get the amount of compensation further enhanced while the Government has also filed Regular First Appeals Nos. 49 and 50 of 1949 to get the offer made by the Collector restored. It would be convenient to decide these four appeals by this judgment.
(2.) THE Advocate-General has raised a preliminary objection to the hearing of these appeals. He has urged that these appeals have abated as the law under which these appeals were filed has expired by efflux of time. His contention is this. The land in question was acquired under the Defence of India Act of 1939 and rules and orders made thereunder. The Act has expired by efflux of time and as there is no effective saving clause relating to pending proceedings including appeals (particularly since the time that our Constitution came into force in 1950) the relief sought by the claimants cannot now be granted although the award was given and the appeals were filed before the 26th of January, 1950. It is necessary to decide this question before taking up the appeals on merits.
(3.) ON the commencement of the Second World War the Defence of India Act was enacted which came into force on the 29th of September, 1930. Under Section 1 (4) the Act was to remain in force during the continuance of the War and for a period of six months thereafter. Under Section 19 of the Act when any property was acquired compensation was payable ' to the claimants in accordance with the principles and procedure laid down in this section. Rule 75-A was inserted by notification dated the 25th of April 1942, in the rules made under the Defence of india Act laying down the procedure for requisitioning and acquiring movable and immovable property and for payment of compensation for immovable properties so requisitioned or acquired. By Ordinance No. 12 of 1946 dated the 30th of March, 19 (sic), additions were made to Section 1 (4) of the Act whereby in substance principles of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act were incorporated in this section. The result was that after the 30th of March, 1946, the expiry of the Act would not affect the applicability of the provisions of the Act to pending cases. Officially the Second World War was declared to have terminated on the 1st of April, 1946, and the Act expired on the 30th of September, 1946. As the Act then stood the proceedings under the Act and the rules and orders made thereunder could continue even after the 30th of september, 1946, by virtue of additions to Section 1 (4), on the 30th of March, 1946. The legislature enacted an Amending and Repealing Act II of 1948 which came into force on the 5th of January, 1948. The purpose of this Act as stated in the preamble is to expressly and specifically repeal enactments specified in the schedule attached to the Act which are spent or have otherwise become unnecessary or have ceased to be in force otherwise than by expressed specific repeal. This Act purported to repeal the Defence of India Act as well as Ordinance no. 12 of 1946. It appears that the Legislature intended by enacting this Act to make Section 6 of the General Clauses Act applicable to the expired Defence of india Act and to repeal the Ordinance as unnecessary. Our Constitution came into force on the 26th of January, 1950. Article 395 of the constitution repealed the Government of India Act and Article 372 laid down that all laws in force immediately before the commencement of the Constitution continued to remain in force with the exception inter alia of temporary Acts which were to expire in accordance with the tenure of those Acts. These provisions of law, however, did not have the effect of making Section 6 of the General Clauses act applicable to the Defence of India Act and to the rules and orders made thereunder, nor did the additions to Section 1 (4) made by Ordinance No. 12 of 1946 remain effective, vide the State of Uttar Pradesh v. Seth Jagamander Das, air 1954 S. C. 683 (A ). It is well settled that after a temporary Act has expired no proceedings can be taken upon it and it ceases to have any further effect. In Jagamgndar Das's case (A) their Lordships of the Supreme Court quashed criminal proceedings because they had been started after the Defence of India Act had expired although the offence was alleged to have been committed prior to the expiry of the Act. The learned Advocate-General basing his argument on this decision of the Supreme court has urged that with the expiry of the Act the appeals filed thereunder have also abated as now no relief can be granted under the expired enactment.;
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