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THE REGIONAL SETTLEMENT COMMISSIONER vs SUNDERDAS BHASIN On 1962-04-27

HEADNOTE

It is further urged that the reason for thisrule was that a rural building worth less than Rs.20,000/was treated as an adjunct to the agricultural land left by adisplaced person in Pakistan and it was decided to givecompensation for any rural building which was less than Rs20,000/- in value by other ways and not as compensation.This other way is provided in r. 57 of the Rules.The rule furtherprovides that where no house is available for allotment inthe village in which the land is allotted, the allottee maybe granted, if he has been allotted agricultural land notexceeding ten standard acres, a site measuring 400 squareyards and a building grant of Rs.400/-, and if he has beenallotted agricultural land exceeding ten standard acres butnot exceeding 50 standard acres, a site measuring 400 squareIt is therefore urged that when r. 65provides that no compensation would be given for any ruralbuilding which was worth less than Rs.20,000/- orRs.10,000/- it referred to the value of each building andthe case could not be taken out of the ambit of r. 65 if adisplaced person bad left more than one rural building andthe value of all such buildings was more than Rs.10,000/- orRs.20,000/- taken together.The reason for this, accordingto the appellant, is the provision in r. 57.On the other hand, it is urged on behalf of the respondentthat if r. 65 is not unambiguous on this point and can havetwo meanings, it should be so interpreted as to
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It is further urged that the reason for thisrule was that a rural building worth less than Rs.20,000/was treated as an adjunct to the agricultural land left by adisplaced person in Pakistan and it was decided to givecompensation for any rural building which was less than Rs20,000/- in value by other ways and not as compensation.This other way is provided in r. 57 of the Rules.The rule furtherprovides that where no house is available for allotment inthe village in which the land is allotted, the allottee maybe granted, if he has been allotted agricultural land notexceeding ten standard acres, a site measuring 400 squareyards and a building grant of Rs.400/-, and if he has beenallotted agricultural land exceeding ten standard acres butnot exceeding 50 standard acres, a site measuring 400 squareIt is therefore urged that when r. 65provides that no compensation would be given for any ruralbuilding which was worth less than Rs.20,000/- orRs.10,000/- it referred to the value of each building andthe case could not be taken out of the ambit of r. 65 if adisplaced person bad left more than one rural building andthe value of all such buildings was more than Rs.10,000/- orRs.20,000/- taken together.The reason for this, accordingto the appellant, is the provision in r. 57.On the other hand, it is urged on behalf of the respondentthat if r. 65 is not unambiguous on this point and can havetwo meanings, it should be so interpreted as to favour thedisplaced person so that he may get some compensation forthe rural buildings left by him in Pakistan, It is urgedfurther that the words "any rural building" in r. 65 thoughin singular, can be read in plural also in view of s. 13 ofthe General Clauses Act, and that they should be so read inorder to help the displaced person in getting compensation.In order to decide between the two rival contentions we haveto see the background in which r. 65 came to be framed, forit is that background which will help in determining one wayor the other its proper interpretation.Ifhe did not do so and in consequence he has suffered someloss, the loss is of his own choice; and that is no reasonfor interpreting r. 65 in such a way as to benefit persons(like the respondent) who by their own choice did not availof the benefit which they would have got under r. 57.Reading r. 65 in the background in which it came to beprescribed there Can be no doubt that when it speaks of anyrural building the assessed value of which is Rs.
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SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT

1 of 7 PETITIONER: THE REGIONAL SETTLEMENT COMMISSIONER Vs.RESPONDENT: SUNDERDAS BHASIN DATE OFJUDGMENT: 27/04/1962 BENCH: WANCHOO, K.N.BENCH:WANCHOO, K.N.AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMASINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ)GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B.AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA CITATION: 1963 AIR 181 1963 SCR (2) 534 ACT: Rehabilitation of Displaced persons-Compensation for ruralbuildings-Not payable for rural building valued at less thanRs. 10,000-More than one rural building each valued as lessthan Rs. 10,000-Whether value can be added up to reach totalof Rs 10,000-Displaced Persons (Compenssation andRehabilitation), Rules, r. 65. HEADNOTE: The respondent, a displaced person, had agricultural land aswell as houses in the rural area in what is now WestPakistan. Each house was valued at less than Rs. 10,000/.but the total value of all the houses was more than Rs.10,600/He was allowed 2-1/2 acres of land in lieu of theagricultural land left by him. He applied for compensationfor the rural houses. This claim was rejected on the groundthat it was barred by r. 65 Displaced Persons (Compensationand Rehabilitation) Rules. Rule 65(2) provided that anyperson to whom less than 4 acres of agricultural land hadbeen allotted shall not be entitled to receive compensationseparately in respect of any rural building the assessedvalue of which was less than Rs. 1O,000/-. The respondentcontended that in order to determine the limit of Rs. 10,000in r. 65(2)
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PETITIONER: THE REGIONAL SETTLEMENT COMMISSIONER Vs.
RESPONDENT: SUNDERDAS BHASIN
DATE OF
JUDGMENT: 27/04/1962
BENCH:
WANCHOO, K.N.
BENCH:
WANCHOO, K.N.AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMASINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ)GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B.AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA
CITATION:
1963 AIR 181 1963 SCR (2) 534
ACT:
Rehabilitation of Displaced persons-Compensation for ruralbuildings-Not payable for rural building valued at less thanRs. 10,000-More than one rural building each valued as lessthan Rs. 10,000-Whether value can be added up to reach totalof Rs 10,000-Displaced Persons (Compenssation andRehabilitation), Rules, r. 65.
HEADNOTE:
The respondent, a displaced person, had agricultural land aswell as houses in the rural area in what is now WestPakistan. Each house was valued at less than Rs. 10,000/.but the total value of all the houses was more than Rs.10,600/He was allowed 2-1/2 acres of land in lieu of theagricultural land left by him. He applied for compensationfor the rural houses. This claim was rejected on the groundthat it was barred by r. 65 Displaced Persons (Compensationand Rehabilitation) Rules. Rule 65(2) provided that anyperson to whom less than 4 acres of agricultural land hadbeen allotted shall not be entitled to receive compensationseparately in respect of any rural building the assessedvalue of which was less than Rs. 1O,000/-. The respondentcontended that in order to determine the limit of Rs. 10,000in r. 65(2) the value of all the rural buildings should beadded up.Held, that r. 65(2) applied to the case- and the respondentwas not entitled to compensation for the rural houses leftby him in Pakistan. When r. 65(2) speaks of any buildingthe assessed value of which is Rs. 10,000/- it refers toeach building being of less than that value; does not 535contemplate the adding up of the value of more than onebuilding. The complaint that no compensation had beenprovided for buildings valued at less than Rs. 10,000 wasnot correct. For such cases r. 57 provided for theallotment of a house or a site with building grant inaddition to the agricultural land. Under the Inter-DominionAgreement it was decided to treat buildings of a certainvalue as substantial and buildings of lower value as mere

Page 2 of 7 appendages to agricultural land,
The judgement of the court was delivered by
WANCHOOO, J.-The short question raised in this appeal byspecial leave is whether it is possible to add up the valueof more than one rural building, each of which is less thanRs.10,000/- or Rs.20,000/in order to reach the total of Rs.10,000/- or Rs. 20,000/- for the purpose of taking the casefor compensation for rural buildings out of the ambit ofr.65 of the Rules framed under the Displaced Persons(Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954536(44 of 1954) (hereinafter referred to as the Act). Thebrief facts necessary for this purpose are these. Therespondent is a displaced person who migrated from what isnow part of West Pakistan to India. It appears that he hadagricultural land as well as houses in the rural area in theplace from where he migrated. He was allowed 2-1/2 acres ofland in the Punjab in lieu of the agricultural land left byhim in what is now Pakistan. In addition he also leftbehind a house and a shop. He claimed Rs. 12,000/for thehouse and Rs. 8,000/- for the shop as compensation. TheAdditional Settlement Commissioner allowed his claim to theextent of Rs. 6,674/- for the house and Rs. 6,120/- for theshop, the total thus coming to Rs. 12,796/-. This wasadjudged in March 1955. Thereafter, the respondent made anapplication to the Settlement Officer Jaipur in March 1956for compensation under the Act. This claim of his washowever rejected. by the Assistant Settlement Officer Jaipuron the ground that it could not be entertained in view of r.65 of the Rules, as he was allotted agricultural land to theextent of 2-1/2 acres. The respondent then appealed to theRegional Settlement Commissioner who upheld the order of theAssistant Settlement Officer. Thereafter the respondentfiled a writ petition before the High Court of Rajasthan andthe main contention raised by him there was that in order todetermine the limit of Rs. 10,000/- provided in r. 65(2) thevalue of all the rural buildings left by him in Pakistanshould be added, up and if the total is more than Rs.10,000/- he is entitled to compensation. This contentionhas been accepted by the High Court which directed that therespondent should be paid compensation to which he wasentitled under the Rules for the rural buildings left by himthe value of which collectively was more than Rs. 1O,000/-.It is this order of the High Court which is challengedbefore us in the present appeal. 537

Page 3 of 7 It may be mentioned that this question has been raised in three High Courts. The Punjab High Court, by a Full Benchdecision in Chanan das Mukhi v. the Union of India (1) heldthat in order that a person may be entitled to compensationfor rural buildings left in Pakistan and thus take the caseout of the ambit or r. 65 it is necessary that the ruralbuildings left by him should each be of the value of Rs.10,000/- or Rs. 20,000/- or more, as the case may be, andthat a displaced person is not entitled to compensation ifhe has left more than one rural building, the value of eachbeing less than Rs. 10,000/- or Rs. 20,000/-, though thetotal value of such buildings left by him may be more thanRs. 10,000/- or Rs. 20,000/-, as the ease may be. TheBombay High Court on the other hand where a similar questionwas raised has taken the same view as the Rajasthan HighCourt in Totaram Teckchand v. H.K. Choudhari (2). What wehave to determine therefore is which of these two views iscorrect. Rule 65 is in these terms "65. Separate compensation for rural building not to be paid in certain cases. (1) Any person to whom four acres or more of agricultural land have been allotted shall not be entitled to receive compensation separately in respect of his verified claim for any rural building the assessed value of which is less than Rs. 20,000/- (2) Any person to whom less than four acres of agricultural land have been allotted, shall not be entitled to receive compensation separately in respect of his verified claim for any rural building the assessed value of which is less than Rs. 10,000/-. (1) I.L.R. [1960] 1 Punj. 153. (2) A.T. R. [1960] Bom. 528. 538Though the point in dispute in the present appeal arises onr. 65 (2), it is clear that what we say about r. 65 (2) willequally apply to r. 65 (1), the only difference between thetwo sub-rules being that in one case the value of the ruralbuilding, is Rs.20,000/while in the other it is Rs. 10,000/-and in one case the allotment of agricultural land is fouror more acres and in the other case of less than four acres.It is urged on behalf of the appellant that r. 65 was framedprimarily in pursuance of an inter Dominion agreement bywhich it was agreed that no compensation should be payablefor a rural building where its value is less thanRs.20,000/-. It is further urged that the reason for thisrule was that a rural building worth less than Rs.20,000/was treated as an adjunct to the agricultural land left by adisplaced person in Pakistan and it was decided to givecompensation for any rural building which was less than Rs20,000/- in value by other ways and not as compensation.This other way is provided in r. 57 of the Rules. Rule 57provides that a displaced person having a verified claim inrespect of agricultural land who has settled in a rural areaand to whom agricultural land has been allotted, may beallotted a house in addition to such land. The rule furtherprovides that where no house is available for allotment inthe village in which the land is allotted, the allottee maybe granted, if he has been allotted agricultural land notexceeding ten standard acres, a site measuring 400 squareyards and a building grant of Rs.400/-, and if he has beenallotted agricultural land exceeding ten standard acres butnot exceeding 50 standard acres, a site measuring 400 square

Page 4 of 7 yards and a building grant of Rs. 600/- and if he has been allotted agricultural land exceeding ten standard acres butnot exceeding 50 standard acres, a site measuring 600 squareyards and a building grant of Rs. 600/-. It is said that r.57 thus provides 539for compensation where a building left by a displaced personin Pakistan is less than Rs.20,000/or Rs. 10,000/- in valueas the case may be. Further, it is pointed out that thereis another provision in the Rules, namely r. 97, which dealswith certain contingencies where the allottee has refusedthe allotment of agricultural land or where such allotmenthas been cancelled. It is therefore urged that when r. 65provides that no compensation would be given for any ruralbuilding which was worth less than Rs.20,000/- orRs.10,000/- it referred to the value of each building andthe case could not be taken out of the ambit of r. 65 if adisplaced person bad left more than one rural building andthe value of all such buildings was more than Rs.10,000/- orRs.20,000/- taken together. The reason for this, accordingto the appellant, is the provision in r. 57.On the other hand, it is urged on behalf of the respondentthat if r. 65 is not unambiguous on this point and can havetwo meanings, it should be so interpreted as to favour thedisplaced person so that he may get some compensation forthe rural buildings left by him in Pakistan, It is urgedfurther that the words "any rural building" in r. 65 thoughin singular, can be read in plural also in view of s. 13 ofthe General Clauses Act, and that they should be so read inorder to help the displaced person in getting compensation.In order to decide between the two rival contentions we haveto see the background in which r. 65 came to be framed, forit is that background which will help in determining one wayor the other its proper interpretation. Rule 65 came up forconsideration in this Court once before, when it waschallenged as ultra vires on the ground that it made adiscrimination between rural building for which compensationwas payable only if they were540above certain value and urban buildings for whichcompensation was payable, if they were of any value. Theconstitutionality of r. 65 was upheld by this Court inMakhanlal Malhotra v. The Union of India (1). In that, casethis Court went into the background which was responsiblefor the apparent discrimination between rural buildings andurban buildings. At an inter-Dominion Conference betweenthe Governments of India and Pakistan held at Karachibetween January 10 and 13, 1949, a permanent inter-DominionCommission was set up to consider the question ofadministration, sale and transfer of evacuee property inboth the Dominions. In persuance of this decision thequestion in respect of shops and houses in rural areas wasconsidered by the Commission at New Delhi on March II and13, 1949. It was recommended at this meeting that buildingsin rural areas of value of Rs. 20,000/- or more should beconsidered to be substantial buildings and the buildingswhich were of lesser value than that were to be treated asappendages of agriculture land and as such were to betreated as "agricultural properties". This shows that thebasis for purposes of value was the build. ing and theownership of the building had nothing to do with this limit.It is this agreement which in substance is the basis of r.65 though the rigor of this agreement has been softened bymaking provisions of two kinds one for those to whom fouracres or more were allotted and the other for those to whom

Page 5 of 7 less than four acres were allotted and the limit was kept at Rs. 20,000/- in the case of the former while it was reducedto Rs. 10,000/-in the case of the latter. But it is clearfrom the agreement of March 1949 that compensation was to beprovided for an individual buildings worth Rs. 20,000/-ormore and other buildings of less value were to be treated asappendages to the agricultural land owned by a displacedperson in Pakistan.(1) (1961) 2 S.C.R. 120. 541The intention behind the agreement obviously was to treatonly buildings which were individually more than Rs.20,000/- as substantial buildings for which compensationwould be granted while other buildings each of which wasless than that value would not be considered substantialbuildings but would be treated as merely appendages toagricultural properties. This value of Rs. 20,000/- hasbeen reduced to Rs. 10,000/- in r. 65 for those to whom lessthan four acres was allotted, but this change is subject tothe same limitation i. e., where an individual buildingworth either Rs. 10,000 in one case or Rs. 20,000/- in theother was left in Pakistan compensation would be payable forthat building as such: but where an individual building leftin Pakistan was less than Rs. 20,000/- or Rs 10,000/as thecase may be, no compensation would be payable for itseparately even though more than one such building may havebeen left behind by the same displaced person That seems tobe the scheme which was evolved under the Act for givingcompensation to displaced person. The general rules forpayment of compensation are to be found in Chapters IV, Vand VI of the Rules. Further, r. 44 in Chapter VII providesfor allotment of acquired evacuee houses in rural areas inlieu of compensation Rule 47 then provides for payment ofcompensation under Chap. VII subject to the provisions ofr. 65. It is clear therefore that the scheme ofcompensation provided under the Rules is that where a personhas left both agricultural land and rural buildings inPakistan he was to be allotted agricultural land and for anyrural building which he might have left and each of whichmight be less than Rs. 10,000/-or Rs. 20,000/- in value hewas to get what is provided by r. 57. But where any onerural building left by him was worth more than Rs. 20,000/-or Rs. 10,000/- as the case may be, he would getcompensation separately. The argument therefore on behalfof the respondent which542to have impressed the High Court that no compensation wasgiven to displaced persons for buildings less '-)banRs.20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/ , as the case may be, is notborne out by the Rules. We have already referred to r. 57in this connection and reading that with r. 65 it seemsclear that in view of the inter Dominion agreement, thescheme was that where an individual building was worth morethan Rs.20,000/ or Rs.10,000/- as the case may be,compensation would be payable separately under Chapters IV,V and VI of the Rules. Further, under Chap. VII requiredevacuee houses in rural areas may be allowed in lieu ofcompensation. But if each individual building left by adisplaced person was less than Rs.20,000/- or Rs.10,000/- asthe case may be, though he may have left more than one hewould be compensated by allotment of a house or site withbuilding grant in addition to agricultural land ascontemplated in r. 57. The complaint therefore that nocompensation has been provided for a displaced person whereeach building left by him was less than Rs.20,000/-or Rs,

Page 6 of 7 10,000/- as the case may be, is not correct, though it may be that in the case of each building worth less thanRs.20,000/or Rs. 10,000/- the compensation may not be as inthe case of each building worth more than Rs. 20,000/- orRs. 10,000/- as the case May be.The Problem however raised by the migration from that is nowWest Pakistan to India. was so vast that it required all thestrength and ingenuity on behalf of the Government of Punjaband the Government of India to meet it and the various takensteps for that purpose are to be found in Chap. 1 of "LandSettlement Manual" by Tarlok Singh, which is a book ofundoubted authenticity and value in this respect. It is inthat background and with the inter-Dominion agreement ofMarch 1949 in view that we have to approach the inter-pretation of r.65. It is clear in that background543that when r. 65 speaks of any rural building the assessedvalue of which is less than Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/- itspeaks of each building being of that value and,does notcontemplate to talling up of the value of a number ofbuildings which a displaced person might have left behindand the total value of which might be Rs. 20,000/- or Rs.10,000/as the case may be. As was pointed by the Full Benchof the Punjab High Court it is not correct to say that aperson owning a building in a nonurban area worth less thanthe minimum mentioned in the rule receives no compensation,and the fact is that every displaced person owning houses orbuildings in a rural area has been compensated under r. 57and the only buildings left out of consideration were thoseeach of which was worth Rs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/-.Reference in this connection may be made to Chap, IX of the"land settlement Manual" by Tarlok Singh, where this matterhas been explained in detail. Therefore r. 57 havingprovided for compensation for each building worth less thanRs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/- as the case may be, r. 65specifically prohibits separate compensation for suchbuildings. Therefore, when r. 65 speaks of any building theassessed value of which is Rs. 20,000/-or Rs. 10,000/- itrefers to each building being less than that value, as thecase may be.So far as the respondent is concerned, he would also, if heso desired, have been allotted either a house or a siteunder r. 57 if he had decided to settle down in the villagein which he had been allotted agricultural land. It seemshowever that he did not settle in that village and thereforecould not get the advantage of r. 57. That was however hischoice and he cannot complain that he is not made itimpossible for an allotment under r. 57 being made to him bynot setting down in the village in which agricultural landwas allotted to him. We cannot however give a meaning544to r. 65 inconsistent with the scheme which has been evolvedfor meeting this vast problem simply because the respondent(or those like him) did not chose to settle down in thevillage in which he had been allotted agricultural land. Ifhe did not do so and in consequence he has suffered someloss, the loss is of his own choice; and that is no reasonfor interpreting r. 65 in such a way as to benefit persons(like the respondent) who by their own choice did not availof the benefit which they would have got under r. 57.Reading r. 65 in the background in which it came to beprescribed there Can be no doubt that when it speaks of anyrural building the assessed value of which is Rs. 10,000/orRs. 20,000/- as the case may be, it speaks of eachindividual building worth that much; it does not provide for

Page 7 of 7 totaling up the value where a displaced person may have left more than one building in West Pakistan. In thecircumstances s. 13 of the General Clauses Act would notapply. That section specifically lays down that thesingular would include the plural unless there is anythingrepugnant in the subject or context. What we have saidabove would clearly show that considering the subject inthis case and the context in which the word "building" hasbeen used, it is the building that has to be taken intoaccount in determining the limits in r, 65 and not the ownereship of the building. Where the building itself is worthRs. 20,000/- or Rs. 10,000/- or more, as the case may be,the case would be, taken out of r. 65. But there is in ouropinion no warrant in the context for building that theownership has to be taken into account and if an owner has anumber of buildings, each less than the prescribed limit,the value of such buildings can be totalled up andcompensation claimed if the total is above the prescribedlimit. We are therefore of opinion that the view taken bythe High Court is incorrect and 545this appeal must be allowed. We therefore allow the appealand set aside the order of the High Court and dismiss thewrit petition. The High Court allowed no costs to therespondent. We think in the- circumstances that the partiesshould bear their own costs.Appeal allowed.

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Judgement Profile

Case Number Appeal (civil) 294 of 1960

Judgment Date 27-04-1962

Bench SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ),GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B.,WANCHOO, K.N.,AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA,AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA

CITED SECTIONS

  • Section.10 of of the Rules framed under the Displaced PersonsCompensation and Rehabilitation Act 1954

CITED KEYWORDS