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Man moves HC after 63-year wait for partition land… now awaits Punjab Govt’s reply

For over six decades,Col (Retd) Pritam Bhullar has been fighting a legal battle against the Punjab government.

First the denial,then the delay.

Such is the insensitivity of the Punjab government towards a retired Army officer that after having denied a piece of land which,as claimed by Col (Retd) Pritam Bhullar,belonged to his grandfather for over six decades,the state has not even filed a reply for over a year in response to a petition filed by the 84-year-old in Court. For over six decades,Col (Retd) Pritam Bhullar has been fighting a legal battle against the Punjab government. After the case was prolonged for decades and an “erroneous” decision passed,the 84-year-old had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court in September last.

Much to his regret,despite notices issued to the state,the Punjab government has been seeking adjournments and is yet to respond to the petition filed by Bhullar. It was on September 29 last that notices were issued to Financial Commissioner and Claims Commissioner,Revenue and Rehabilitation Department,Punjab.

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According to Col Bhullar who hails from Lyallpur (now Faisalabad,Pakistan),his grandfather Sunder Singh Bhullar left over 878 acres of land,717 acres in Sindh and 161 acres at Lyallpur in west Punjab. But after Partition,they had to leave their property behind. The then government of east Punjab,after making several “cuts”,however,allowed him over 635 acres of land. But after the imposition of the “Punjab cut”,he was left with a little more than 140 acres. Of this,134 acres were allotted to him in Punjab in 1961.

The remaining nearly six acres of land,which is now in Mohali,is yet to be reclaimed by Bhullar and his family.

In 1983,the Punjab government allotted the remaining land to Bhullar at Chappar Chari Kalan village in Ropar (now Mohali). But the allotment was not final. The possession of this piece of land was handed over to Bhullar’s elder brother,B S Bhullar,who is no more,on March 9,1983. In 1986 it came to light that the land was nadi or panchayat land,which according to government policy should not have been allotted by the tehsildar. The Chappar Chari Kalan panchayat objected to this allotment and the family knocked on the doors of the tehsildar of Kharar,the deputy commissioner of Mohali and also moved the lower court for a legal transfer of the land,but to no avail.

In 2002,Bhullar approached a Mohali court. In 2005,the Punjab government closed its Rehabilitation Department at Jalandhar and stopped any further allotment to displaced persons. But on March 24,2009,the state passed the Punjab Package Deal Properties (Disposal) Amendment Act,2009,according to which displaced persons who were not allotted land or property could apply to the Financial Commissioner (Revenue) or the Claims Commission.

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Bhullar approached the Claims Commissioner for alternative land but the appeal was dismissed on the ground that the petitioners (Bhullar and his family members) did not make the demand within a “reasonable period”. The appeal against the said order was dismissed by the Financial Commissioner (Revenue),Punjab,in February last on the same ground.

Aggrieved,Bhullar moved the High Court in September 2010. Since then the case has come up for hearing thrice but the Punjab government has not responded till date.

“What more classic example can there be of injustice than this. It took them five decades to allot us land which eventually turned out to be panchayat land. Even after moving the Court,the Punjab government has not bothered to respond,” rued Col Bhullar.

First published on: 03-08-2011 at 01:10:50 am
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