STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A Division Bench of State High Court comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice M.K Hanjura on Monday quashed the recommendations passed by State Accountability Commission against two Deputy Commissioners namely Ashok Parmar and Atul Dullo; Basant Ram, the then Tehsildar; Om Prakash the then Girdawar; Saleem Bandey, the then Patwari.
The Commission in its report dated May 30, 2008, inter alia, held that transfer of any title or interest in immovable property on the basis of an unregistered deed cannot vest the land or any rights in the transferee. Thus, the transfer was made in violation of provisions of Transfer of Property Act. It was also held that Basant Ram, the then Tehsildar, without giving an opportunity of hearing to the complainant and in stark contravention of Section 28-A(2) of J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, attested the mutation to divest the complainant of his rights in the property. Thus, the Tehsildar acted in hot haste and his action amounts to ‘allegation’, as defined in Section 2(3) of the Accountability Commission Act (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act). It was further held that the Act does not bar Commission’s jurisdiction to consider a complaint in respect of quasi-judicial order. It was also held that Girdawar acted in violation of Section 138 of Transfer of Property Act, as he changed the entry on the basis of unregistered deed. The Patwari also recorded mutation in the Mutation Register notwithstanding the fact that lease was not registered. It was held that Tehsildar, Girdawar and Patwari, therefore, deserve punishment in accordance with Rule 30 of Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1956. Accordingly, recommendations were made to terminate services of Basant Ram, the then Tehsildar; Om Prakash the then Girdawar; Saleem Bandey, the then Patwari and in respect of two Deputy Commissioners, namely Ashok Parmar and Atal Duloo, who did not take any action for a period of two years, it was held that they owe an explanation to the State Government and the same will be well advised to look into the matter and to take necessary steps.
Against this order of State Accountability Commission, present bunch of petitions were filed.
After hearing Senior Advocates D.C Raina, P.N Raina, Advocates Rahul Pant, Adarsh Sharma, Manik Mahey, J.A Hamal for the petitioners whereas Senior Advocate K.S Johal with Advocate R.S Jamwal for the complainant whereas Advocate Parnav Kohli for the SAC, the DB observed that from perusal of the contents of the perpetual lease deed, it is axiomatic that complainant Mangotam Dass had transferred his rights in the land measuring 3 kanals 10 marlas and had duly sworn in an affidavit, which shows that the possession of the land was handed over to Jeet Singh in the year 1987. Mangotam Dass in the affidavit has stated that entry in revenue records may be effected in favour of Jeet Singh and he has no objection to the same. Therefore, Basant Ram, the then Tehsildar, on the basis of the report submitted by the Patwari, which was endorsed by the Girdawar, was required to attest the mutation in view of Section 28-A of the J&K Agrarian Reforms Act. It is also pertinent to mention here that the order of attestation of mutation dated May 14, 2002 was upheld by the appellate authority vide order dated February 27, 2002 and on a revision being preferred before the J&K Special Tribunal, the matter was remanded to the Tehsildar for further enquiry on the ground that no opportunity of hearing was afforded to the complainant. It is also pertinent to mention here that the Deputy Commissioner, Udhampur on the basis of the report dated February 4, 2003 had directed the Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) to put up the draft charge-sheet against the delinquent officials and, therefore, the finding of the Commission that no action was taken by the Deputy Commissioners is perverse. “Some erroneous interpretation of provisions of law could not have brought the action of the delinquent officials within the purview of the expression ‘allegations’ as defined under Section 2(3) of the Act”, the DB observed adding that Commission has not recorded any finding in its recommendations that the delinquent officials, namely, the petitioners are either guilty of corruption, favouritism, nepotism or lack of integrity or the orders were passed for improper or corrupt motive. In other words, the findings recorded by the Commission do not bring the action of the petitioners within the meaning of the expression ‘allegations’ as defined under Section 2(3) of the Act. In any case, the misinterpretation of a statutory provision could not have been treated as misconduct and on the aforesaid basis, it could not have been concluded in law by the Commission that the petitioners are liable for disciplinary action under Rule 30 of the J&K Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1956. It is pertinent to mention here that the petitioners in OWP No.552/2008 have superannuated in the year 2007, therefore, in the peculiar facts of the case, we have dealt with the issue on merits, the court observed. With these observations, Division Bench allowed the petition and quashed the report submitted by the State Accountability Commission dated May 30, 2008.
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