26 July 1996
Supreme Court


Bench: BHARUCHA S.P. (J)
Case number: W.P.(C) No.-000439-000439 / 1992
Diary number: 62247 / 1991
Advocates: S. JANANI Vs






DATE OF JUDGMENT:       26/07/1996


CITATION:  JT 1996 (7)    79        1996 SCALE  (5)452



JUDGMENT:                       J U D G M E N T      BHARUCHA, J.      This is  a writ  petition seeking  the  quashing  of  a notification dated  12th March, 1992, issued by the State of Rajasthan, amending  the Rajasthan  Colonisation  (Allotment and Sale  of Government  Land to  Pong Dam Qustees and their transferees in  the Indira  Gandhi Canal Colony Area) Rules, 1972. The  writ petition  also seeks directions to the State of Rajasthan to recognise allottees of land allotted to them as khatedars immediately on the expiry of ten years from the date of  original allotment; to withdraw the cancellation of allotments where  allotments had already been cancelled; and to allot land to oustees who had not yet been allotted any.      Construction work  on the  Pong Dam  on the  river Beas commenced in  the year  1960. The land whose acquisition was requisite for  the purpose  then fell  within the  State  of Punjab. After  the reorganisation of State boundaries on 1st November, 1966, that land fell within the territorial limits of the  State  of  Himachal  Pradesh.  Although  the  waters impounded by  the Pong  Dam within  the  State  of  Himachal Pradesh, the benefit thereof accrued to a dominant extent to the State of Rajasthan.      The problems  thrown up  by the acquisition of the land were considered  first between  representatives 1962,  at  a meeting with  the then  Union Secretary  for Irrigation  and Power and  the representatives  of these  two States, it was agreed that  oustees of  the Pong  Dem, the Rajasthan Feeder and the  Beas Sutlej Link would be eligible for allotment of land in  the Rajasthan  Canal area,  i.e., in  the State  of Rajasthan. Meetings  were then  held between representatives of Union  Ministry of Irrigation & Power and representatives of the States of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh from time to time. The  Government of  Himachal Pradesh estimated in 1969 that a  total number  of 20722  persons would  be ousted  by reason of  the acquisition  and  gave  this  figure  to  the committee of  Secretaries. It  was accepted by the committee



and placed  before the  committee  of  the  concerned  Chief Ministers.  These   figures  were   not  questioned  by  the Rajasthan Government. There were some difficulties that then arose between  the two States. The concerned Chief Ministers decided that  the matter  be finally  left  to  the  Cabinet Secretary.  The  main  points  of  dispute  related  to  the eligibility for  allotment of  land for resettlement and the eligibility of  successors to  land holders who had lawfully inherited land  owning rights  after 1961. The definition of oustee had  been  mutually  agreed  to  be,  so  far  as  is relevant, this :      "For the  purposes of  resettlement      of  and   ’oustee’  from  the  Beas      Project area,  one must be a person      residing  permanently   within  the      area acquired  for the construction      of the  Beas  Project  either  with      effect from  or, earlier  than  the      31st March, 1961, whether as a land      owner, tenant, landless labourer or      an artisan."      At a  meeting held  on 3/4  September, 1970,  the Chief Ministers had  agreed that,  irrespective of the extent land acquired from  an oustee, an oustee family would be given an allotment of  15.625 acres.  This was based upon the view of the  Planning  Commission  about  viable  holdings  for  the purposes  of   agriculture.  On  14th  December,  1968,  the concerned Chief  Ministers agreed  that artisans, labourers, landless tenants, etc. would be given house sites within the abadi areas but no land as such, and the abadi areas were to be included in the total of 3.25 lakhs acres to be set apart for oustees in the Rajasthan Canal Project area. The oustees were tn  pay a  concessional price  for the land allotted to them, the  basis  being  the  price  payable  by  Rajasthani landless labour  allotted land  in the  area. The  Rajasthan Colonisation Department  was expected  to  provide  housing, roads, water  supply, etc.  for the  houses that  were to be paid for by the oustees. It was agreed on 3rd/4th September, 1970 by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, at a meeting of the  Chief  Ministers  of  the  concerned  States,  that, although the  total requirement  of land  on  the  basis  of 15.625 acres  for 20722  oustee families  would be 3.25 lakh acres, he would be content with a maximum of 2.25 lakh acres and compensate  allottees left  out within  Himachal Pradesh itself. Pong  Dam oustees  certified as such by the Himachal Pradesh Government on the application of the criteria agreed between  the  Chief  Ministers  of  Rajasthan  and  Himachal Pradesh would  be entitled  to allotment  as aforestated. It was  agreed  that  each  oustee  would  cultivate  the  land personally and the entire holding would be brought under the plough within  a the  time to be specified under Rules; that he would  not sub-let  the holding or any part thereof; that he would  reside in  the chak  abadi; that  he would  not be entitled to  transfer the land in any way for a period of 10 years from  the date  of allotment; and, in the event of any breach of these conditions, the land alloted would revert to the State.  In his note dated 3rd July, 1972 wherein he made his recommendations  upon the  points left  to his decision, the Cabinet  Secretary, with  great prescience, observed, "I would wish  to emphasise that this is an unique case of land acquisition oustees being rehabilitated in a State different from the  one in which the land is acquired. There can be no rules  and   regulations  in   regard  to   such  an   adhoc arrangement. The  matter can  be governed purely by goodwill between the  reservoir land  donor State  and the irrigat on



beneficiary State and by humanitarian considerations".      On 15th  September, 1972,  based upon what has been set out above,  the Government  of Rajasthan  made the Rajasthan Colonisation (Allotment  of  Government  land  to  Pong  Dam Oustees in  the Rajasthan  Canal Colony)  Rules,  1972.  The Rules stated that the Government of Rajasthan "shall reserve land  in  specific  areas  of  Rajasthan  Canal  Colony  for allotment to  oustees and  the allotment  under these  rules shall be made only out of this land. For our purposes, Rules 3, 4 and 6 are relevant, and they read thus:      "(3)   An    Oustee   land    owner      fulfilling   the    conditions   of      eligibility specified in such rules      (1) and  (2), may  be allotted  for      himself and  his family one square,      i.e., 15.625  acres, of  land under      these  pules   by   the   Allotting      Authority.      (4) An Oustee who is only a tenant,      landless  labourer  or  an  artisan      shall not  be entitled to allotment      of  any   agricultural  land  under      these  rules   and  he   shall   be      entitled only  to  allotment  of  a      house site  for the  rehabilitation      of the Oustees.      (6)   Terms   and   conditions   of      allotment :      Allotments of land made under these      rules shall  be made  and shall  be      deemed to  have been made under the      following terms and condltions :      1. The  allottee shall  pay to  the      State Government  the price for the      allotted land  of such scale and in      such manner  as laid down in rule 7      of these rules.      2.  Subject   to   the   provisions      contained  in   these   rules   the      Rajasthan   Colonisation   (General      Colony)   cnndition,   1855   shall      apply.      3. Initially  an allotment shall be      on ghair- khatedari tenure only and      to the allottee no khatedari rights      shall  accrue   in  any   land   so      allotted till  the expiry  20 years      from the date of allotment and till      the full price of the land together      with all  other dues  of the  State      Government, if  any,  he  has  been      paid   by    him   to   the   State      Government.      4.  During   the  period  of  ghair      Khatedari  tenure,  allottee  shall      nat   have    any   alienable   and      transferable rights in the land and      shall not  transfer or alienate the      land to  any other  person  in  any      way, e.g., by sale, mortgage, gift,      transfer, lease  or  otherwise.  No      transfer or alienation of land even      in   the    form   of    Nokarnama,      Muktiarnama,  Tabliknama,  Ikranama      or the like shall be permissible.



    Provided that  after the  expiry of      10 years  from the  date of  taking      over possession by the allottee and      subject to allottee having paid the      full price of land allotted to him,      the Colonisation  Commissioner may,      on the  application of the allottee      after  satisfying   the  hard   and      exceptional  circumstances   exist,      allow the  allottee  to  relinquish      the land  allotted to him in favour      of the State ; Government on refund      of the  price paid  by him  for the      said land.      Provided  further   that  no  order      under the  first  proviso  allowing      relinquishment shall  be passed  by      the    Colonisation    Commissioner      without  obtaining   the   previous      approval of  the State  Government.      In  case   the   State   Government      refuses to  give such approval, the      Colonisation Commissioner may allow      the allottee  to transfer  the land      in favour of any other person.      5.   Within six  months of the date      of possession  the  allottee  shall      have to start living permanently in      Chak Abadi of the allotted land.      6. The allottee shall cultivate the      allotted land  personally and  this      personal cultivation  shall exclude      any  other   means  of  cultivation      except by  means of  own labour, or      by the  labour of  any other member      of one’s  family or by hired labour      under  one’s  family  or  by  hired      labour under  one’s or one’s family      members  personal  supervision  and      presence.      Provided that  in  the  case  of  a      person who  is widow  or a minor or      subject to  any physical  or mental      disability or  is a  member of  the      Armed Forces  of India or who being      a   student   of   an   educational      institution recognised by the State      Government, is  below the age of 25      years, land  shall be  deemed to be      cultivated personally  even in  the      absence    or     such     personal      supervision.      7. The  allottee  shall  bring  the      entire  culturable   allotted  land      under plough  within a  period of 6      months of the date of allotment and      shall fully  utilise the irrigation      water for  cultivation of  allotted      land.      8. Except  where the  allottee is a      member  of   the  Armed  Forces  of      India, he or a member of his family      shall remain  personally present on      the allotted  land at  the time  of      every  annual   inspection   during



    Girdawari.      9. The  allottee has to produce his      identity card on demand as and when      demanded  by  the  Colonisation  or      Revenue Authorities of the area.      9 (a).  An allottee,  possession of      whose acquired  land had  not  been      taken before  the allotment of land      to him  under  these  rules,  small      have   to    produce   before   the      Allotting authority  a  certificate      from the  Land Acquisition  Officer      of  Himachal   Pradesh   Government      regarding  handing   over  of   the      possession by  him of  the acquired      land within  a period of the months      of  the   harvesting  of  the  crop      standing at  the time  of issue  of      the certificate  by the  Certifying      Authority.      10. In  case of  any breach  of any      terms   and   conditions   by   the      allottee the allotment of land made      to  him   shall  be  liable  to  be      cancelled    by    the    allotting      authority or  by the  Collector and      the land  shall revert to the State      Government    free     from     all      encumbrances   and    without   any      liability     of     payment     of      compensation. He  shall be  neither      liable to  any action  which may be      taken under  the provisions  of the      Act and  the Rajasthan Colonisation      (General Colony) condition, 1955."      On  2nd,  3rd  and  12th  September,  1981,  the  Chief Ministers of  Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh met and arrived at a  Memorandum of Understanding. They reviewed the case of the 9169 Pong Dam oustees who had been allotted lands in the Rajasthan Canal  Project area  in the  light of the problems experienced by them. As a result of detailed examination and consideration,  it   was  found  that  2594  allottees  were continuing to  cultivate the  allotted land  but their  main problem was with regard to the provision of infra-structural facilities and  amenities. The  Chief Minister  of Rajasthan assured his  counterpart that  every effort would be made to provide essential  basic amenities.  There were  689 oustees who had  been  allotted  land  but  had  sold  or  otherwise transferred it;  it was agreed that these were not fit cases for review.  In  regard  to  the  remaining  cases  of  5886 allottees, it  was agreed  that Rule  6(7) of the 1972 Rules would be  amended to  provide for  the cultivation of 50% of the irrigated  land in  the first year after commencement of irrigation and  the balance 50% before the end of the second year, while  the allotted unirrigated land should be brought under  cultivation   before  the  end  of  the  third  year. According to  this Rule, oustees who were allotted land were required to  take over physical possession within 45 days of receipt of  the notice  of  allotment,  but  2289  allotment orders had bean cancelled because the oustees could not take possession within  that period.  It was  decided that  these cases would  be reviewed  and the  Rules would be amended to increase the  period from 45 to 90 days and that a period of 60 days from the date of publication of the amended Rules in the Gazette  would be provided to eligible persons to submit



their applications.  Rule 6  prescribed various  alternative methods through which the allotted lands could be cultivated by the  allottees but the allottee was not permitted to have the land cultivated by servants, on wages payable in cash or kind, manager  or agent. It was agreed that Rule 6(6) should be amended  to include  the methods  of cultivation provided for in Section 4(vi) of the Rajasthan Coloniation Act and to review cases in which allotment orders had been cancelled on this account.  In relation  to Rule  6(3), and  this is very relevant, it  was agreed  that the period for acquisition of khatedari rights  would be reduced from 20 years to 10 years provided that,  before the  acquisition of these rights, all dues  payable   to  the  State  Government  had  been  fully discharged and the right to sell the allotted land would not accrue before  the expiry  of 20  years  from  the  date  of allotment. There  were cases  in which  the lands originally allotted to  the oustees  were not  situated in  the command area of  Rajasthan Canal  Project or, being situated in that area, were  not irrigable and cancellations of allotment had been made.  Those cases  were  agreed  to  be  reviewed  and cancellation orders  withdrawn.  It  was  also  agreed  that before allotment  orders were  issued, encroachments  on the allotted lands  should first be removed. These amendments to the 1972  Rules, it  was agreed,  would be made within three months. The  amendments were  duly carried  out and  on 22nd April,  1982,   the  Rejasthan  Colonisation  (Allotment  of Government Land  to Pong  Dam Oustees in the Rajasthan Canal Colony) Amendment Rules, 1782, were published.      On   12th   March,   1992,   the   impugned   Rajasthan Colonisation (Allotment  and Sale of Government Land to Pong Dam Oustees and their transferees in the Indira Gandhi Canal Colony Area)  Rules, 1992, were published. Section 3 thereof amended sub rule 3 of Rule 6 and in the proviso thereto, for the expression  "20 years",  the expression  "25 years"  was substituted. Section 4 introduced a new rule, Rule 6-A. Sub- clause (1) thereof may be reproduced :      (1) Notwithstanding anything to the      contrary contained  in these rules,      the  land  reverted  to  the  State      Government  under  sub-rule  10  of      rule 6  as a  result of transfer or      alienation of  the allotted land in      breach of sub-rule (4) of rule 6 of      the rules,  may be  sold by  way of      special allotment  to the purported      transferee who  has been a bonafide      resident of  Rajasthan and  has not      been   involved   in   antinational      activities,  and  who  is  also  in      possession of  the land  as on 31st      December, 1991  and continues to be      in  possession  till  the  date  of      reversion,   after   holding   such      enquiry  as   the  Collector  deems      proper, subject to the ceiling area      applicable   to    the,   purported      transferee  under   the   Rajasthan      Imposition    of     ceiling     on      Agricultural  Holding   Act,   1973      (Rajasthan Act 11 of 1973).      It will be remembered that under the proviso to Rule 6, as it  read after amendment on 22nd April, 1985, pursuant to the agreement  between the  Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh  at their  meetings in  September 1981, the allottee had  no right  to sell  the land  allotted  to  him



before the  expiry of  20 years  from the date of allotment. Ten years  later the  proviso was  unilaterally  amended  to increase the  period of  20 years from the date of allotment to 25  years. The  introduction of  Section 6-A entitled the Rajasthan Government  to sell  "by way of special allotment" lands which had reverted to the State Government as a result of transfer  or alienation  in breach  of Rule  6(4) to  the purported transferees  if they,  were bonafide  residents of Rajasthan and in possession of the reverted land.      Put shortly,  the principal ground of the writ petition is that  the State of Rajasthan, having obtained the benefit of the  waters impounded  in the  Pong Dam,  reneges on  its obligations  to  the  Pong  Dam  oustees  and  discriminates against them  and in  favour of the Rajasthanis. The case is supported to  the hilt by the affidavit in reply to the writ petition made  on behalf of the State of Himachal Pradesh on 20th August, 1992.      The  affidavit   states  that   on   account   of   the construction of  the Pong  Dam  a  total  area  of  69932.32 hectares was  acquired and  approximately  30,000  families, scattered in  339 tikkas,  were,  uprooted.  Out  of  these, 16,100 families  were considered  eligible of land allotment in Rajasthan.  The affidavit recites the history of meetings between  representatives   of  the  States  of  Rajasthan  & Himachal Pradesh  and records  that 9195 allotments had been made upto  the year 1980 but, at the time when the affidavit was filed,  "only 2537 allotments remained in-tact while the remaining 6658  allotments were  cancelled by  the allotting authorities of  Rajasthan under the harsh application of the allotment rules,  1972". Meetings  were held  by  the  Chief Ministers of  Rajasthan & Himachal Pradesh in September 1981 and  a  Memorandum  of  Understanding  was  signed  on  13th September,  1981,   which  incorporated  various  steps  and measures that were required to be initiated by the Rajasthan Government in  the form  of amendment  of the  1972 Rules in order to  facilitate the  resettlement  of  the  oustees  in Rajasthan and,  accordingly, the  1982 amendment was carried out pursuant  to the  1992 amendment of the Rules, which was impugned in  the writ  petition, the  Allotting  Department, Rajasthan,  had   started  to   issue  notices  upon  oustee allottees to appear in the court of S.D.M.R., Raisingh Nagar and Suratgarh  in District  Ganganagar.  Approximately  4000 oustees had  appeared accordingly.  556 morabbas  alloted to the oustee allotees had been cancelled for violation of Rule 6(5), 6(6)  and 6(7) and in 1373 cases reversion proceedings in favour  of the  Rajasthan Government  had been started to enable sale  of the lands to the purported transferees. At a Monitoring Sub-Commitee  meeting held  at New  Delhi on 30th October, 1991,  it was  decided that  the cases  of  illegal transactions should  be verified by joint survey, inspection or   verification   by   the   Tehsildar,   Resettlement   & Rehabilitation,  Anupgarh,   and  the   Revenue   Tehsildar, Rajasthan, and  lands becoming  available upon  cancellation thereafter should  be allotted only to Pong Dam oustees "but the allotting  authority Rajasthan  has conducted  one sided survey ".  An extract of the aforesaid meeting is reproduced in the affidavit and is instructive :      "After discussion,  it was  decided      that  the   cancellation  of   land      should  be   proceeded  with  after      joint inspection/  verification  by      the Tehsildar,  Anupgarh under  the      DCR&R   and    the   Tehsildar   of      Rajasthan Government. The land thus      available may  be allotted  only to



    the  Pong   Dam  Oustees   and  its      physical  possession  delivered  to      the genuine  oustees  authenticated      by the  DCR&R, SDM  Raisingh  Nagar      informed  that  it  would  only  be      possible after the ban was lifted."      The 1972  rules being  "very harsh  to the  allottees", their amendment  had been  agreed to  in the  Memorandum  of Understanding   signed    by   the    Chief   Minsters    as aforementioned. The affidavit states,      "Therefore  the  insertion/addition      of new  rule 6(A)  in the aforesaid      rules unilaterally by the Rajasthan      Government is  prejudicial  to  the      interest of  the Pong  Dam Oustees.      Moreover,   detailed   enquiry   as      agreed to  in the  meeting  of  the      Chief Ministers  of both the States      held at  New Delhi  on  9th  April,      1992 has  not  been  held  and  the      oustee  allottees   have  not  been      afforded   due    opportunity    of      hearing. A notice was issued in the      Daily  Newspaper  "Jansatta"  dated      14th  April,  1992  requiring  1980      Oustees to  present  themselves  in      the court of SDM, Raisingh Nagar on      30th April,  1992. The notices were      not  personally   served  upon  the      oustees."      The affidavit states that      "out   of   the   30,000   uprooted      families   and    16,100   eligible      oustees families, 9196 oustees were      allotted morabbas in Rajasthan upto      the year  1980. Out  of these  6658      allotment  were  cancelled  by  the      allotting Department  Rajasthan  on      the pretext  of  violation  of  one      rule or  the other of the allotment      rules 1972 and only 2537 allotments      remained intact when on the hue and      cry of the Pong Dam Oustees and the      intervention of  the  Beas  Project      Admn. and  the  H.P.  Government  a      Memorandum of  Chief  Ministers  on      13th September,  1981 in  which  it      was, inter alia, decided to restore      all the  cancelled Morabbas  of the      Pong Dam Oustees."      The affidavit also states,      "Under the  provisions  of  amended      rules,  1982,   4734  oustees  came      forward  for   the  restoration  of      their cancelled  Morabbas.  Out  of      these, 4510 cases were accepted for      restoration   of    the   cancelled      Morabbas and  224  cases  rejacted.      Out of  these 4510  accepted cases,      the possessions  in 3151 cases have      been oelivered upto 30th June, 1992      while the  possessions in remaining      1359 cases  are pending  on account      of the  reasons viz.  the  allotted      Morabbas    are    under    illegal



    encroachments  of  the  miscreants,      under stay orders of various courts      of Rajasthan,  under dispute  where      same Morabbas  has been allotted to      two different  oustees, for want of      exchange where  the uncommand  land      has been  allotted, for  review  of      cancellations and possessions under      phase I  and II where the allotting      department has allotted morabbas in      papers only but the possessions are      still to be delivered".      In regard to the impugned 1992 amendment, the affidavit states,      "The   Rajasthan   Government   has      amended   the    allotment    Rules      unilaterally which  is  prejudicial      to the  interest of  the  Pong  Dam      Oustees which aims at reverting the      allotted  lands  to  the  Rajasthan      Government and  its subsequent sale      to the purported transferee against      the payment  of  Rs.3.00  lacs  for      command land  and Rs.1.00  lac  for      uncommand land......  Th  amendment      in proviso  to sub rule 3 of rule 6      of  the   allotment  rules  in  the      aforesaid    notification     dated      12.3.1992    by    the    Rajasthan      Government under  which the  period      of   Khatedari   right   has   been      increased from 20 years to 25 years      has been  done with  a view to gain      time for  cancelling the  remaining      morabbas on  some  pretext  because      the  oustees   have  fulfilled  the      conditions of  the  existing  rules      6(3)  and  was  due  for  khatedari      rights".      The affidavit  states in  regard to the manner in which the newly introduced Rule 6-A was being implemented :      "Even the  minimum  requirement  of      natural justice are being denied by      the allotting  authorities and much      irreparable loss  has already  been      incurred to the Pong Dam Oustees in      respect of the following :      (i) That  the allottees  inspite of      applications,   are    not    being      supplied copies  of  the  documents      which  the   purported  transferees      have   attached    alongwith    the      application  in  support  of  their      possession of land.      (ii) The preliminary survey has not      been  conducted   jointly  but  one      sided  survey  has  been  conducted      ignoring the earlier commitments of      joint  survey,   inspite   of   the      girdawri  entries  and  deposit  of      regular    instalments    by    the      allottee.      (iii)  That  no  statement  of  the      allottee challenging  the  comments      have been  recorded  nor  they  are



    allowed  to  produce  witnesses  to      contradict   shown   the   wrongful      possession of the tresspassers.      (iv) The  allottees have  not  been      govem  the  copy  of  the  judgment      passed over  the reversion  of  the      land for  going in appeal under the      provisions  of   Rule  10   of  the      Allotment Rules, 1972.      c)  The  allotting  Department  has      started cancellation  on fictitious      grounds in  several cases where the      oustees are living in Rajasthan for      the   last    25   years,   getting      education  to   their  children  in      primary/middle schools,  have their      ration cards, their names appearing      in  the   voter  lists,   contested      panchayat elections,  given  prizes      to       apprehend       Pakisthani      infiltrators,   even   then   their      Murabbas have been cancelled."      The affidavit states,      "...... the allottees have incurred      heavy    expenditure     for    the      development   of    the    allotted      murabbas  and   in  paying  regular      instalments along  with other  dues      to  the  Rajasthan  Government  and      acquired     Khatedari      rights.      Therefore, they  cannot be debarred      under the provisions of new rule".      The affidavit concludes,      "The rights of the allottees cannot      be   ignored    taking   unilateral      decision  because   the  allotments      fall in the category of inter-state      settlement and  the consent  of the      Government of  India and  the  H.P.      Government for  making new rules is      absolutely necessary."      The affidavit  in reply  to the writ petition on behalf of the  State of Rajasthan was made on 18th September, 1992. It claims that the petitioners had:      "made false  suggestions  and  have      tried   to    create   malice   and      prejudice  against  the  respondent      no.3, State  of Rajasthan  and have      also tried  to mislead this Hon’ble      Court......  The  respondent  no.3,      State of  Rajasthan do  not dispute      the entitlement  of  the  Pong  Dam      Oustees for  allotment of land, but      under  the   1972  Rules   all  the      eligible  and   entitled  Pong  Dam      Oustees were  granted lands  almost      two decades  back i.e. during 1973-      75. The  respondent no.3,  State of      Rajasthan; do  not wish  or propose      to  oust   any  of   the   original      allottee from his legal entitlement      to which  the State of Rajasthan is      legally  and   morally  bound.  The      State of  Rajasthan is  seeking and      is making  sincere efforts  to oust



    and/or  regularise   the  lands  in      possession of persons who have been      transferred lands  from the oustees      in     clear      violation     and      contravention to  the provision  of      the 1972 Rules. Most of the present      incumbents  are  persons  who  have      taken over  lands from the original      Pong Dam Oustees".      This is  the burden  of the  song. The affidavit states that a  survey conducted in December 1991 showed that out of 5076 allotees  only 549  were  in  possession  of  the  land alloted, 212  allotments were lying vacant and 4315 allotees had transferred  their lands to persons who were not oustees and these persons were in possession. The affidavit adds,      "As  in   majority  of   the  cases      persons who  had taken  lands  from      the  original   allottees  were  in      possession and their eviction would      have raised  another hue and cry, a      policy decision  was taken  by  the      State of  Rajasthan that instead of      physically evicting  these persons,      who had obtained valid transfers in      their  favours  from  the  original      allottees, it  would be reasonable,      just and proper to regularise these      invalid transfers". (Sic).      The   affidavit   states   that   representations   and grievances were  made to  the State  of Rajasthan  regarding irregularities in  the regularisations  made pursuant to the notification dated  12th March,  1992, that is, the impugned notification. With a view to meet these grievances the State of Rajasthan,  by a  notification dated 3rd September, 1992, which was  issued pursuant  to a decision taken in a meeting between the  Revenue Minister  of Himachal  Pradesh and  the Chief Minister  of Rajasthan,  issued  directions  that  the allotting  authorities   will  review   all   the   previous cancellations and  pass  fresh  orders  after  providing  an opportunity of hearing to all the allottees.      The notification  of 3rd September, 1992, is annexed to the affidavit, and makes interesting reading. The minutes of the meeting pursuant to which this notification is stated to have been  issued are  not annexed to the affidavit ant went not available at the hearing.      The  notification   of  3rd   September,  1992,   makes amendments to the Rajasthan Colonisation (Allotment and Sale of Government Land to Pong Dam Oustees and their transferees in the  Indira Gandhi  Canal Colony  Area) Rules,  1992, and inserts a new Rule 8-AAA therein, which reads thus :      "8--AAA  Review   of   Cancellation      order on  account of breach of Rule      6(4), 6(5)  or 6(6)  and  allotment      order under Rule 6-A :-      (1)    Notwithstanding     anything      contained in  these rules,  all the      orders of cancellation of allotment      on account  of breach  of  sub-rule      (4)  of   Rule  (6),  except  those      orders  which   were  passed  after      hearing the allotted in person, and      the allotment  order under Rule 6-A      has been  passed before  the coming      into force  of this  rule shall  be      reviewed suo  moto by the Allotting



    Authority and  a fresh  order shall      be passed, after making due enquiry      with regard  to the  genuineness or      otherwise  of   the  documents  and      other  relevant   matters,   either      confirming     the     order     of      cancellation under  rule 6(10)  and      the allotment  order under rule 6-A      or cancelling  the allotment  under      Rule 6-A and restoring the original      allotment made  under these  rules.      No order shall be passed under this      sub-rule   without   affording   an      opportunity of  being heard  to the      original allottee and the purported      transferee.      (2)    Notwithstanding     anything      contained in these rules, the order      of  cancellation  of  allotment  on      account of  breach of sub-rule (4),      (5)  or  sub-rule  (6)  of  Rule  6      passed before the coming into force      of this  rule and no order has been      passed  in   rule  6-A   shall   be      reviewed and after due enquiry, the      cancellation order may be withdrawn      and an  order-of restoretion of the      original allotment may be passed by      the  Allotting   Authority  on   an      application  presented   within  60      days from  the date  of coming into      force of the Rajasthan Colonisation      (Allotment of  Government  Land  to      Pong   Dam    Oustees   and   their      transferee  in  the  Indira  Gandhi      Canal  Colony)  (Amendment)  Rules,      1992,   by   a   person   who   was      previously  allotted   land   under      these rules."      Rule 8-AAA,  therefore, itself acknowledges that orders had been  passed cancelling  allotments to oustees under the provisions of  Rules  6(4)  without  hearing  the  concerned allottee oustees  and without due enquiry where, thereafter, allotment orders  had been  made under  Rule 6-A  in  favour Rajasthani citizens.  It must  necessarily follow  that this was also  the position  where there  was no  such subsequent order under  Rule 6-A  and also  where the  cancellation  of allotment was  for purported  breach of  Rule 6(5)  or 6(6). Where, after  cancellation of  allotments under  Rule  6(4), allotment orders  had been made under Rule 6-A or cancelling allotments under  Rule 6-A  and restoring  allotments to the original allotees,  the review  under Rule- 8AAA is required to be  made  suo  moto.  Where,  however,  cancellations  of allotments to  oustees had been made on account of breach of Rule 6(4),  6(5) or  4(6) and no order had been passed under Rule 6-A,  the review  is required  to be  made only  if the allottee oustee  presents an application within 60 days from the date of coming into force of the Rule 8AAA.      The writ  petition came  up before  this Court  on  7th September, 1993,  when counsel  for the  States of Rajasthan and Himachal  Pradesh submitted  that a body would be set up by the  Governments concerned  so that  grievances of  high- handed  action   against  oustee  allotees  could  first  be considered  by  that  body  and  adequate  protection  given wherever necessary.  The writ  petition  was  adjourned  for



eight weeks to enable the Union of India and the Governments of Rajasthan  and Himachal  Pradesh to  evolve a  scheme and submit the same to the Court.      The  writ   petition  next   reached  hearing  on  22nd February, 1996. It was submitted then that a scheme had been drawn but  it had not been considered by the Court. Pursuant to that  scheme committees had been constituted at State and District levels  and they  were looking into grievances. The Court directed  the States of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh to state  on affidavit  that the  scheme had,  in fact, been implemented and  State and District level committees formed. The affidavits  had stated  that  District  Level  Committee meetings had been held but gave no details. The second  affidavit on  behalf of  the State  of  Himachal Pradesh made  reference to  the earlier affidavit dated 10th April, 1996 and stated.      "The assurances  and decisions made      by  the   Rajasthan  Government  as      indicated in  Paras 3  implemented.      The matter  stated in paras 5 the 7      of the  affidavit dated  10th April      1996 requires  basic amendments  in      Rajasthan Colonisation Rules, 1972,      but no  such amendments  have  been      incorporated in  the  Rules  as  no      copy of  the Notification/Amendment      has been  supplied to  the State of      Himachal Pradesh  by the  Rajasthan      Government.  In   addition  to  the      facts stated  in paras  3 and  4 of      the affidavit, it is submitted that      the basic  amenities,  like  roads,      drinking water,  school  etc.  have      not been  provided in  most of  the      areas where  allotments  have  been      made of  the Pong  Dam  Oustees  in      Phase II by Rajasthan Government."      There were, the affidavit stated,:      "1935 cases  of 8-AAA (I) category,      out of  which only  694 cases  were      disposed of  before 16.10.1993  but      thereafter only 142 cases have been      decided ad  1,099 cases  are  still      pending    with    the    Rajasthan      Government. There were 381 cases of      8-AAA (II)  category, out  of which      31 were  disposed  of  before  16th      October, 1993,  but  thereafter  69      cases  had  been  decided  and  291      cases are  still pending.  Most  of      the oustees  against whom the cases      were  previously   decided  by  the      Revenue courts  of Rajasthan  under      Rule 6-A  have filed  Review/Appeal      applications   in   the   competent      courts of Rajasthan which are still      pending for  decision. The Pong Dam      Oustees   are   attending   various      courts for getting justice and they      have attended  these  courts  12/15      times for  the last  two and a half      years which  has caused  a also  to      state what  work had  been done  by      the    committees    since    their      constitution.



    Pursuant to  the order  dated 22nd  February, 1996, the State of  Himachal Pradesh  filed two  affidavits, the first dated 10th  April, 96,  and the second dated 30th May, 1996. In the  first affidavit  it was  stated that  a State  Level Committee meeting  had been  held to provide basic amenities like roads,  drinking water,  schools, dispensaries, etc. in the areas  where oustees  had been  allotted morabbas in the manner provided  to residents of Rajasthan. It was agreed to re-examine such  cases of  cancellations as had been decided on the  basis of  forged documents.  It-was  agreed  not  to cancel allotments  based upon the provision relating to self cultivation or  residence where  the legal heirs of deceased allottees serving  in the  State or Central Governments were involved and  to review  such cases  where morabbas had been cancelled. The  Rajasthan Government  had agreed  that  the, period of  cultivation  would  commence  only  after  making provision for  irrigation in the areas where allotments were made.  There   were  1559   fresh  applications  of  oustees according  to   the  Memorandum  of  Understanding  of  12th September,  1981.   The  Himachal   Pradesh  Government  had scrutinised these  applications  and  965  applications  had forwarded to the Rajasthan Government for consideration. The remaining 594 applications were under process. lot of running expenditure and harassment too. The Rajasthan Government, thus,  is not seriously interested in the speedy disposal of  such cases.  On the  basis of  the above facts, there is  an urgent  need for the Government of Rajasthan to speed up  disposal of  the pending cases so that the oustees do not face further harassment.      xxx                      xxx                 xxx      That   there    are   1,559   fresh      applications  of   the   Pong   Dam      oustees pending  for  allotment  of      land in Rajasthan Canal area. Under      Rule 3(1)  of the  Rajasthan  Canal      Colony  Rules,  the  Government  of      Rajasthan is  required  to  reserve      land for  allotment, but  till date      to land  has been  reserved by  the      Government of Rajasthan despite the      assurances given in the inter-State      Meeting held  on 13.10.1995  at New      Delhi. The  Government of Rajasthan      is  thus   not  adhering   to   the      mandatory provisions  as laid under      the Rules.      That the  Rajasthan  Government  is      charging higher rate of Rs.52,500/-      per square of land measuring 15.625      acres  in   Phase   II   from   the      allottees  in   whose  favour   the      alternative  allotments  have  been      made on  review  of  their  earlier      decision  of  cancellation  of  the      land under  Rule 8-A   and  such  a      higher charging of the price is not      justified."      The State  of Rajasthan  filed an  affidavit date  15th April, 1996.  Pursuant to the order of this Court dated 22nd February, 1996.  In para  6 of the affidavit, with reference to the  work done  by  the  District  Level  Committee,  Sri Ganganagar, it was stated :      "There are  total 1935  cases  wore      pending under  Section 8AAA  (1) of      1954 Act,  in which cases allottees



    transferred the  land by  agreement      to sale.  The  Competent  Authority      had  taken   up  1935   cases   for      reviewing the  cases suo  moto  and      conduct inquiry  with reward to the      genuineness  of  such  transfer  of      land by the allottees. Til 16.10.93      total  number  of  694  cases  were      disposed of  and during  the period      of 17.10.93  to 31.03.96, 142 cases      were disposed  of.  Remaining  1099      cases  are   still   pending   with      Competent Authority  in  which  the      inquiries are going on. A direction      has also  issued  by  the  District      Level   Committee    to   Competent      Authorities    to    dispose    the      aforesaid    pending    cases    as      expeditiously as possible.      (ii) The  Competent  Authority  had      received  381   applications  under      Section 8AAA  of 1954  Act in which      cases allotments  to the allotments      were cancelled  due to violation of      the Allotment  Rules.  Out  of  381      cases till 16.10.193, 31 cases were      disposed of  and from 17.10.93 till      31.03.96, 69  cases were  disposed.      Remaining 281  cases  were  pending      for disposal  before the  competent      authority.   The   District   Level      Committee had  also given  specific      direction    to    the    Competent      Authority  to  dispose  of  pending      cases expeditiously.      xxx          xxx              xxx      There  were  total  number  of  302      cases  pending   before   Competent      Authority for  given possession  of      the land  to  the  allottees  which      could not  be  given  due  to  non-      availability of  command area, etc.      Out  of   these  302   cases   till      16.10.93, possession has been given      to persons  and from  17.10.93 till      31.03.96,  11  persons  were  given      possession of  land by re-allotment      in the  commend area.  The District      Level Committee had given direction      to  the   Competent  Authority  for      verification of  the  command  land      and for  giving earliest possession      of the remaining 286 allottees."      With reference  to the  work done by the District Level Committee, Bikaner  and Jaisalmer,  it was  stated that  886 oustees had  been allotted lands. Out of these, in 158 cases re-allotments  were   made  as   there  were  no  irrigation facilities in  the lands originally allotted and in 31 cases the matter  of re-allotment  of land  was pending before the Competent  Authority.   The  State   Level  Committee,   the affidavit stated,  had taken  a  decision  to  give  to  the families of  oustees, in  the second  phase,  the  following facilities      (i) Free ration for two years;      (ii) A  grant  of  Rs  8,000/-  per



    hectar other  their loan  would  be      given  to   each  family  for  land      leveling      (iii) A  grant of  Rs 8,400/- would      be given  for making houses to each      Oustees family      (iv)  Interest   free  loan  of  Rs      5,000/- in  two instalment would be      given to each Oustees family."      It may  be noted  that the  State of  Rajasthan has not controverted  the   allegations  made   against  it  in  the affidavits of  the State of Himachal Pradesh in reply to the writ petition and pursuant so the order dated 22nd February, 1996.      Mr Aruneshwar  Gupta, learned  counsel for the State of Rajasthan, submitted  that the  Beas waters  would have been lost to  the country  had the  Pong Dam not been constructed the submission  appears to  us to  be a  non-sequitur in the context of  the writ  petition. The  dam need  not have been built,  but  it  was  to  The  State  of  Rajasthan  is  the predominant  beneficiery  of  the  waters  impounded  by  it Residents of  the State of Himachal Pradesh were ousted from their lands  by the  impounding of  the waters. The State of Rajasthan agreed  with the  State of Himachal Pradesh to re- settle them.  Twenty-four  years  later  they  are  not  all settled.  Irrigable   land,  water,   roads,   schools   and dispensaries are  not available to all oustees allotted land in the  State of  Rajasthan. Small wonder that some may have deserted their allotments and some may have transferred them for such  compensation as  they could  get and  returned  to their native  State.  This  really  answers  Mr.  Aruneshwar Gupta’s principal  argument that  the oustee  allottees were found to have invalidly transferred their allotments or left them vacant,  but we  shall presently have more to say about it. Mr.  Aruneshwar Gupta submitted that the averment in the affidavit of  the State  of Rajasthan  in reply  to the writ petition that all eligible oustees had been allotted land in 1973-1975  had   not  been   denied.  Mr.  Aruneshwar  Gupta overlooks the  averments in  the affidavit  of the  State of Rajasthan itself,  made in  reply to the court’s order dated 22nd February,  1996. It  is stated in that affidavit, which is dated 15th April, 1996, that 302 cases were pending where possession of  land to  allottees "could not be given due to non-availability of  the command ares, etc. Out of these 302 cases till  16.10.93 possession  has been given to 5 persons and  from  17.10.99  till  31.3.96  11  persons  were  given possession of  land by re-allotment in the command area". It is also  stated in  that affidavit  that out  of  189  other court, re-allotment  had   to be  made in 158 cases as there were no  irrigation facilities  on the  allowed land and the remaining 31 cases were still pending re-allotment,      Allotment of  the lands  took place in 1973-75; this is the State  of Rajasthan’s case. That the allottees would not be able to sell the land allotted to them for a period of 20 years after  allotment was  a stipulation  agreed to between the States  of Rajasthan  and Himachal  Pradesh, It was upon that stapulation  that the  allottes were  allotted the land and paid  its price.  When the  20 years  period was nearing completion in  1992  the  State  of  Rajasthan  unilaterally increased the  period by  5 years by amending the proviso to Rule  6(3).   The  State   of  Rajasthan  could  not  change unilaterally  what   was  the   subject  of   agreement   as aforestated; besides,  the right  to sell  the land after 20 years vested  in the  allottee and could not be divested. As will become  clear, there  is substance  in the  plea of the



State of Himachal Pradesh that the period had been increased with a view to gain time to cancel allotments on the pretext that the  oustees had  breached one  or other  condition  of allotment and  that the amendment is a mala fide exercise of power. Rule  6-A, newly  introduced in  1992,  needs  to  be considered in a wider context. Suffice it to say now that it is bad  because the  land reserved  for oustees  must go, on reversion to  the State  of Rajasthan,  to such  oustees  as remained un-settled.      That the  provisions of  Rules 8(4),  (5) and  (6) have been mis-used has been indicated in Rule 8-AAA itself and in the affidavit  of the  State of  Rajasthan filed pursuant to the order  of 22nd  February, 1996;  Rule 8-AAA provides for the review  of all  order of  cancellation under  Rule  6(8) where, subsequently, orders under Rule 8-AAA had been issued "except those  orders which  were passed  after hearing  the allotee in  person". It  had been  decided in  1992, as  the affidavit of the State of Rajasthan shows, to regularise the possession of  the Rajasthanis  who were  in  possession  of lands allotted  to oustees.  It was  for that  purpose  that Section 6-A  was then  incorporated. Rule 8-AAA was required to be  introduced within a few months thereafter because the State of  Himachal Pradesh  complained of its blatant misuse and a  review of  cancellations was  agreed to.  Rule  8-AAA states, as already noted, that a review was required because the oustee  allottees had  been deprived  of  allotments  in breach of  the provisions  of natural justice. The number of cases where  this happened because of alleged breach of Rule 6(4) and subsequent application of Rule 6-A was 1935. Out of these, 836  cases had  been disposed  of by 1st March, 1996. What the  consequence of  such disposal was is not stated in the affidavit  of the  State of  Rajasthan.  Mr.  Aruneshwar Gupta could  not tell  us either,  but, according to him, no oustee allottee  could heve  been  put  back  in  possession because of  a judgment  of the  Rajasthan High Court. He did not cite  the judgment  nor give  the number or title of the case. For  alleged breaches  of  Rules  6(5)  and  6(6)  the position is  similar. The  affidavit of the petitioner dated 28th June,  1996, states that 2063 allotments were cancelled upon the  insertion into  the Rules  of Rule  6A; that, upon review, 843  cancellation orders  were affirmed  and only 94 cases were  decided in  favour of oustee allottees; and that in 1126 cases review is pending.      Moreover, where  Rule 6-A  was applied and a Rajasthani was in  possession, the  review under  Rule 8-AAA  was to be made  suo   motu;  otherwise,   the  oustee  allottee  whose allotment had  been cancelled  by the  application of  Rules 6(4), (5)  and (6)  was required  to make an application for review within 60 days of Rule 8-AAA coming into force. It is reasonable to  assume that  upon  dispossession  the  oustee allottee  would  have  retreated  to  his  native  State  of Himachal Pradesh.  It is  manifestly absurd to expect him to read the  Rajasthan Gazette  and make  a review  application under the  provisions of  Rule 8-AAA  within 60  days of its publication. The  provision for  review n  Rule 8-AAA  where Rule 6-A  has not  been applied  is illusory:  the agreement between the States of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh in this behalf is not honoured.      This is  not to suggest that an allottee would not have transferred the  allotted land.  He may have, but such cases need inquiry  because the  possibility of trespass, coercion and intimidation, as suggested by the affidavit of the State of Himachal  Pradesh, cannot  be ruled out. Having regard to their track  record, the  revenue authorities  of  Rajasthan cannot be entrusted with the task.



    We have  drawn attention  to the  broad  sweep  of  the prayers of  the writ petition. Mr. Aruneshwar Gupta has also invited us  to give  appropriate directions.  We think  that directions are  necessary if  the oustees  are to  get their due; we are left in no doubt that the State of Rajasthan has disfavoured them  and favoured  the Rajasthani  and has made rules and implemented them with that in mind.      The notification  dated 12th  March, 1992  amending the Rajasthan Colonisation (Allotment of Government Land to Pong Dam Oustees  in the Indira Gandhi Canal Colony) Rules, 1972, and, consequently, the substitution of 25 years for 20 years in the proviso to Rule 6(3) and the introduction of Rule 6-A are quashed and set aside.      The Chief  Justice of  the Rajasthan  High Court  shall nominate, within 6 weeks of receipt of a copy of this order, one or more District judges for the purpose now set out. The notion of  regularising the  Rajasthanis  in  occupation  of lands allotted  tn oustees saw the light of the day in 1992. Therefore, the  cases of  all cancellations of allotments to oustees subsequent  to 1st  January, 1992, shall be reviewed by the  District Judge.  Notice that  he shall  be so  doing shall be given to the oustee allottees concerned personally, by registered  post a the last known address and through the agency of the Himachal Pradesh Government Public notice that all such  cases are  to be  reviewed by  the District  Judge shall  be   published  in  two  newspapers  printed  in  the vernacular  and  having  circulation  in  Himachal  Pradesh, particularly in  the kangra  region; also  in two newspapers printed  in  Hindi  and  having  circulation  in  Rajasthan, particularly in  the Indira  Gandhi Canal Colony area. Costs in regard  to the  individual and  public notices  shall  be borne by  the State  of Rajasthan.  For the  purpose of such review the  State of  Rajasthan  shall  produce  before  the District Judge  the entire  record pertaining  to each  such allotment and  cancellation. Even though the oustee allottee concerned may  not appear,  the District  Judge shall review his case.  Where the  District Judge  finds that  an  oustee allottee has  committed a breach that invites the forfeiture of his  land, he  shall so  record. Where the District Judge finds to  the contrary,  whether or  not the oustee allottee appears, he  shall so  record. The District Judge shall also record, should  he so  find, that  the oustse  allottee  was forced to  leave the  land because  of lack of irrigetion or other essential facilities such as water, roads, schools and medical assistance  and/or because of Coercion, intimidation or trespass.  The District  Judge shall  send his reports to the committee  now mentioned.  The reports  shall be binding upon the  oustee allottees  and the  State of Rajasthan. The District Judge  shall complete  the task  allotted to him as soon as  is reasonably possible and, in any event, within 18 months of begining it.      A committee  shall be constituted by the Union of India (the 1st  respondent) within 6 weeks of receipt of a copy of this order which shall have the Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources,  Union   of  India,   as  its  Chairman  and  the Secretaries of  the appropriate  Ministries in the States of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh as its members. The committee shall be  responsible for the settlement in the command area of the  Indira Gandhi  Canal  Colony  in  Rajasthan  of  all oustees who have secured certificates of eligibility in that behalf from the State of Himachal Pradesh, except those who, having been  allotted land,  have been found by the District Judge aforementioned  to have  forfeited it,  provided  that they were  not farced  to leave  the land because of lack of irrigation or  other essential  facilities  such  as  water,



roads, schools  and medical  assistance  and/or  because  of coercion, intamidation  or trespass.  Such land  only  shall revert to  the State  of Rajasthan  and it shall be utilised for the purpose of allotment to oustees not yet settled. The committee shall  ensure  that  the  recommendations  of  the District Judge  are carried  out and,  where so recommended, the original oustee allottee shall be put back in possession of the  land allotted  to him.  In the  event that  for some supervening reason  this cannot  be done,  it shall  be  the obligation of  the State  of Rajasthan  to make available an equivalent extent of irrigable land in the said command area for being  allotted to him. The oustee allottee shall not be liable to  make any  additional  payment  in  either  event. Where, on  re-settlement of  oustees, additional monies have already been collected by the State of Rajasthan, they shall be refunded.  The  committee  shall  ensure  that  essential facilities such  as water,  roads, schools  and dispensaries are available to the oustee allottees. The directions of the committee in  regard to  all matters entrusted by this order to it  and all  its consequential  or incidental  directions shall be binding on the State of Rajasthan.      We do  not presume  to  impose  a  time  limit  on  the committee, for  its members  will share cur dismay that some 24 years on many oustees remain unsettled.      In its  affidavit dated 18th September, 1992, the State of Rajasthan  has stated  that it  had apprehended a hue and cry  if  the  Rajasthanis  who  had  taken  lands  from  the allottees were  evicted. Whatever the hue and cry that might arise as  a result  of having to dispossess Rajasthanis from lands allotted to oustees shall be the direct consequence of the deeds  of the  State of  Rajasthan upon  which  we  have adversely commented.  It shall  be the  duty of the State of Rajasthan to enforce the law, maintain order and ensure that the oustee  allottee, his  family and his belongings are un- harmed.      The writ  petition is allowed accordingly. The State of Rajasthan shall pay to the petitioners the costs of the writ petition  quantified  at  Rs.25,000/-  (Rupees  twenty  five thousand).