HIGH COURT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
UNION OF INDIA
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C.B. Capoor, J.C. -
(1.) This appeal and Miscellaneous Second Appeal No. 16 of 1961 have been made by the Union of India and the same question of law arises in both of them and in order to facilitate matters I propose to deal with them together.
(2.) The respondent to this appeal and the respondent to the other appeal filed separate applications under Section 11 of the Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act, 1953, hereinafter to be referred as 'the Act', for the acquisition of proprietary rights in the land held by them as tenants.
(3.) The applications were directed against the Union of India and the main pleas in defence put forward were that the respondents were not tenants, that no relationship of landlord and tenant subsisted between the parties, that the disputed land formed part of the protected forest under the Indian Forest Act 1927 and that in any case proprietary rights could not be granted in respect of the trees. Those objections did not find favour with the Compensation Officer and the applications were allowed. Those orders were challenged in appeal and one of the contentions raised was that the Union of India was not bound by the provisions of the Act and the applications did not lie in respect of Government land. The learned District Judge treated the contention as a belated one and held that it was not open to the appellant to raise it at the appellate stage. He, however, also expressed the opinion that the contention was not tenable and dismissed the appeals. Aggrieved by the aforesaid orders, the present appeals have been filed.;
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