Decided on April 24,2006



- (1.)This appeal is by the contesting respondents in C.W. No.3786 of 1992 on the file of the High Court of Delhi. The Rehabilitation Ministry Employees Cooperative Group Housing Society Limited (for short "the society"), respondent No.1 herein, filed the said writ petition challenging an order of the Appellate Officer under the Evacuee Interest (Separation) Act, 1951 (for short "the Separation Act") by which the Appellate Officer allowed an appeal filed by the contesting respondents under Section 14 of that Act and set aside the order of the competent officer rejecting an application made by the contesting respondents under Section 10 of the Act. The Appellate Officer had set aside the order of the competent officer dated 30.05.1986 and remanded the matter back to the competent officer for deciding the claim of the contesting respondents afresh in accordance with law. The High Court allowed the writ petition filed by the first respondent-society and set aside the order of the Appellate Officer dated 4.8.1992, by holding that the society was a lessee of the land in question and the contesting respondents before it, the appellants herein, have no right, title or interest in the land in question except a right to receive compensation under the Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act, 1948, hereinafter called "the Acquisition Act". The possession of the writ petitioner society was also upheld. The contesting respondents were restrained from interfering with the possession of the society. Feeling aggrieved by the said decision, this appeal is filed by the contesting respondents before the High Court, hereinafter referred to as "the appellants".
(2.)It is claimed by the appellants that their predecessor in interest one Gopal Dass had purchased the land in question, being two bighas in Khasra No.167 Village Begampur, Delhi from one Mohd. Sharauddin by means of a registered sale deed dated 07.05.1955 pursuant to which possession was delivered over to Gopal Dass. According to them, the rights that Gopal Dass thus acquired still survive and they were entitled to have the right and possession of Gopal Dass and of themselves as his successors in interest recognized and upheld. This claim is resisted on the plea that the land in question stood vested in the Government in the year 1949 itself much before the alleged sale deed was taken by Gopal Dass from Sharauddin; that the said deed conferred no right on Gopal Dass or on his successors and that the appellants have no claim, right or possession over the property. The land had subsequently been leased to the Society and the Society was in possession thereof. This defence was upheld by the High Court which held that the appellants had only a right to receive compensation for the acquisition and it is the correctness thereof that is in question in this appeal.
(3.)The land in question, according to the appellants, was held in co-ownership by one Mohd. Sharauddin and others. The co-owners migrated to Pakistan on partition. But Mohd. Sharauddin continued to be a non-evacuee. On 13.09.1948, a Notification under Section 3 of the Acquisition Act was issued, which took in Khasra No. 167, the property involved herein. It is the appellants' case that no further action was taken pursuant to that Notification, no notice has been issued to the owner Sharauddin and possession was never taken by the acquiring authority. It was while so that the property was sold to Gopal Dass, the predecessor of the appellant by deed of sale dated 7.5.1955. In the year 1958, the custodian of Evacuee Property laid information before the competent officer under the Separation Act with a claim that one out of three shares in the composite property belonged to the non-evacuee. The competent officer after directing issue of notice to all interested persons including the non-evacuee, by order dated 29.5.1958, declared that the entire land had vested in the custodian free from all encumbrances and liabilities. On 12.07.1958, Najmuddin, Mohinuddin and Wahabuddin, the sons of Sharauddin filed a claim before the competent officer pleading that their father Sharauddin was a co-owner of the land in question; that Sharauddin had died on 15.04.1958; that the order dated 29.05.1958 be set aside and their claim be allowed. The competent officer by his order dated 10.10.1958 held that one-third of the properties involved, including Khasra No. 167, belong to the heirs of Sharauddin and the two-third was evacuee share and framed a partition scheme and subsequently adopted it by order dated 26.02.1959. According to the appellants, on 4.4.1964, Gopal Dass sold one-fourth share in Khasra No. 167 to one Ved Prakash and on 19.5.1964 another one-fourth share to one Giyan Chand. It is the claim of the appellants that mutation in respect of the land was effected in favour of Dr. Gopal Dass on 30.05.1972.

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