HIGH COURT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
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(1.) This miscellaneous second appeal arises out of the application made by the respondent Smt. Santi for acquiring the interest of the land -owner in the disputed land under section 11 of the Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act, 1953 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). It is not in dispute that the respondent petitioner Smt. Santi was the tenant of the land in question.
(2.) The original land -owner of the land was one Ram Devi. This Ram Devi had two sons Sukh Ram and Bhagat Ram. Sukh Ram and Bhagat Ram gifted this land in favour of Ram Devi and Ram Devi in her turn willed away this land by will dated 10th April 1961 and bequeathed the same in favour of her two grand -sons Sada Ram and Shankar Singh who are respectively the sons of her two sons Sukh Ram and Bhagat Ram. When this application under Sec. 11 of the Act was made by respondent Santi, the two minors Sada Ram and Shankar Singh were owners by virtue of the above referred bequest made by Ram Devi as per her will of 1961. The question which, therefore, arose before the Compensation Officer was whether in view of the provisions contained in sub -section (2) of section 11 of the Act the application made by Santi was maintainable or not. Section 11 (1) provides that on an application made to the Compensation Officer at any time after the commencement of the Act a tenant shall be entitled to acquire on payment of compensation the right, title and interest of the land -owner in the land of tenancy held by him under the land -owner. But sub -section (2) works as a proviso. This sub -section (2) is as under: "(2) Nothing contained in sub -section (1) shall apply to a landlord if he has no ether means of livelihood and is a minor, widow or a person suffering from physical or mental disability incapable of earning his livelihood. In case of a minor, sub -section (1) shall not apply during his minority and in other cases for his lifetime." Since Sada Ram and Shankar Singh were minors when this application was made by Smt. Santi, a contention was raised that sub -section (2) of section 11 applies and, therefore, the application made by Santi under section 11 of the Act was not maintainable.
(3.) From the order of the Compensation Officer it appears that the present appellants tried to delay the proceedings before the Compensation Officer. The two minors Sada Ram and Shankar Singh were first represented by a guardian ad litem appointed by the court, but that guardian ad litem was removed and subsequently Sada Ramas father Sukh Ram was appointed guardian ad litem for both the minors. But it appears that even he subsequently did not appear on the last date of hearing with the result that the Compensation Officer proceeded to decide the case on merits Though the Compensation officer has not recorded his finding very clearly, it appears from his order that he was of the view that that the two sons of Ram Devi named Sukh Ram and Bhagat Ram had gifted away the property in favour of Ram Devi with a view to circumvent the provisions of the Act, and it was as a result of this plan of theirs that Ram Devi ultimately willed away the disputed land in favour of the minors. This aspect of the matter is not of much significance at this stage as will be subsequently seen. The point to be noted, however, is that the Compensation Officer allowed the application of Santi under section 11 of the Act.;
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