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Suresh Kumar v/s Collector, Rohtak

    Civil Writ Petition No. 750 of 1999

    Decided On, 03 August 2000

    At, High Court of Punjab and Haryana


    For the Appearing Parties: J.B. Tacoria, Advocate.

Judgment Text

Jawahar Lal Gupta, J.Oral:1. On July 30, 19993 the Gram Panchayat village Rithal Phogat auctioned ponds in an area of 12 acres for fish farming at the rate of Rs. 2,500/ per year. The petitioner being the highest bidder was given a lease for 10 years. The action of the panchayat was challenged by respondent No. 3. It was pleaded that the ponds had been given at a very low rate. The Assistant Collector, Ist Grade, examined the matter. In exercise of his power under Section 10A of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 he found that the panchayat had not given proper notice and that the auction was not for the full value of the property. Thus, the lease was cancelled vide order dated August, 13, 1998. A copy of this order has been placed on the record as Annexure P3. The petitioner felt aggrieved. He filed an appeal. Vide order dated November 24, 1998 the Collector has dismissed the appeal. Hence this writ petition.2. The petitioner prays that the orders passed by the Assistant Collector and the Collector, copies of which have been produced as Annexures P3 and P5 respectively, be quashed.3. Written statements have been filed on behalf of the for respondents to controvert the claim made by the petitioner.4. Mr. Tacoria, learned counsel for the petitioner, states that the lease rights had been given in an open auction. The lease was for a period of 10 years. On the faith of the representation made by the respondentPanchayat the petitioner has spent a substantial amount of money. He had installed two tubewells. As a result, the water in the pond had increased and the yield has improved. It was on account of this reason that a petition for cancellation of the lease had been filed after a lapse of more than three years after the initial auction.5. Mr. D.P. Singh, appearing for respondent Nos. 1, 2 and 5 and Mr. Hooda, appearing for respondent No. 4, state that if the petitioner pays Rs. 50,000/ per year, he can be allowed to retain possession for the full term which ends in the year 2003. Mr. Tacoria, on instructions from the petitioner who is present in Court, accepts the offer and states that the petitioner shall pay Rs. 50,000/ per year for the remaining term of three years. He says the period of three years shall commence from September 2000 and that the lease would end on July 31, 2003.6. Counsel for the petitioner and respondent Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 accept this position. So far as counsel for respondent No. 3 is concerned, he states that there should be a fresh auction. However, the highest offer made by him on behalf of the third respondent was for Rs. 35,000/. Still further, we cannot lose sight of the fact that he had filed the petition under Section 10A after a lapse of 3 years. There is no explanation for this delay. In this situation, the contention raised by the counsel for the petitioner that the yield had improved on account of the installation of two tubewells does not appear to be without merit. Furthermore, we are also of the view that a petition under Section 10A should be filed at the earliest. In a case where there is delay, the authority should refuse to interfere unless there is a satisfactory explanation for the delay. In the present case, there is none.7. In the circumstances of the case, we think that the offer made on behalf of the Panchayat and the other official re

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spondents has been rightly accepted by the counsel for the petitioner.8. Resultantly, the writ petition is disposed of with the direction that the petitioner shall be allowed to retain possession till July 31, 2003. This would, however, be subject to his paying the amount at the agreed rate of Rs. 50,000/ per year. In the circumstances, thee will be no order as to costs.