Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Whether revenue record entry can be challenged on ground that it was made fraudulently or surreptitiously?

When in a record operation
order is passed for deleting the name of Amar Singh
from possession over the land in question, Amar Singh

cannot be held to be recorded occupant within the
meaning of Section 10(e).
12. The High Court has dealt with the above aspect of
the matter and has held that continuous of entry
after the order of deletion of the name of Amar Singh
cannot confer any right. The judgment of this Court
in Vishwa Vijay Bharati vs. Fakhrul Hassan and
others, (1976) 3 SCC 642, has rightly been referred
to and relied by the High court. This Court in
paragraph 14 of the judgment was laid down following:
“14. It is true that the entries in the
revenue record ought, generally, to be
accepted at their face value and courts
should not embark upon an appellate inquiry
into their correctness. But the presumption
of correctness can apply only to genuine,
not forged or fraudulent, entries. The
distinction may be fine but it is real. The
distinction is that one cannot challenge
the correctness of what the entry in the
revenue record states but the entry is open
to the attack that it was made fraudulently
or surreptitiously. Fraud and forgery rob a
document of all its legal effect and cannot
found a claim to possessory title.”
13. The order of A.R.O. directing the deletion of the
name of Amar Singh was passed on the report of Record
Operation Officials in which report it was mentioned
that the name of Amar Singh has been surreptitiously

recorded. The report was accepted and the direction
was issued to delete the name. We, thus, are of the
clear opinion that Asami right could not have been
obtained by Amar Singh.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.516 OF 2009

DHARAM SINGH Vs. PREM SINGH 

Dated:February 05, 2019.

ASHOK BHUSHAN, J.

This appeal has been filed challenging the
judgment dated 28.07.2006 of High Court of
Uttarakhand by the appellants, who were the
plaintiffs in suit No. 9 of 1992. The High Court by
its judgment has allowed the first appeal filed by
the defendants-respondents setting aside the judgment
and decree dated 13.08.1996 of the District Judge in
Suit No. 9 of 1992.
2. The brief facts of the case necessary to be
noticed for deciding this appeal are:
2.1 One Badri Aswal was the owner of agricultural
land in Khata/Khatauni No. 46 of Village

Gyansu, District Uttar Kashi (earlier part
of Tehri Garhwal) measuring a total of 62
Nali and 1 muthi. The said Badri had no
issue. He married one Tulsa Devi. It is
claimed that Tulsa Devi adopted one Bhopalu
as her son after death of her husband but
Bhopalu’s name could never be mutated in the
Revenue records. Tulsa Devi died much
before independence. One Amar Singh,
predecessor-in-interest of appellants claimed
to be looking after the affairs of Bhopalu
and paying land revenue on his behalf.
Bhopalu also died before independence and
after death of Bhopalu, Amar Singh continued
to be in possession of land belonging to
Tulsa Devi. Tulsa Devi’s name continued in
revenue records. Amar Singh claimed to be in
possession of the land. According to law as
was in force in Tehri Garhwal at that time
that when a tenant/owner dies without an
heir, the land is escheated to State. For
the reason, Tulsa Devi died without an heir,

the entire land was treated to be State
property.
2.2 The Collector, Tehri Garhwal passed an order
on 17.04.1956 and ordered that property of
Tulsa Devi be got released from the
possession of Amar Singh. However, Amar
Singh was allowed to remain in possession of
the land where his house, Gaushala and
Sagwara was situated with the condition that
total areas shall not exceed 4 Nali. A
document was written on 14.05.1956 (paper
No.23Gha/2) which recorded that Amar Singh
has handed over possession of the entire land
of Tulsa Devi except 4 Nali 1 muthi. The
plots covering that area of 4 Nali and 1
muthi was also mentioned in the said
document. The Government required land for
construction of buildings for District Uttar
Kashi, with regard to which land in Village
Gyansu was acquired. Instead of paying
compensation to tenure holders whose land was
acquired, the Government ordered to give land

in exchange of the land, which earlier was
recorded in the name of Tulsa Devi, which
stood escheated to the State. An exchange
document was recorded in this context where
various plots were given in exchange to
different tenant holders whose land was
acquired. The record operations in the
village in question continued from 1952 to
1963 (as has been noted by the High Court).
2.3 The name of Amar Singh was shown in
possession with regard to few plots, which
were the plots recorded in the name of Tulsa
Devi. The A.R.O. passed an order dated
06.05.1961 directing that name of Amar Singh,
who was recorded in possession be deleted.
The said order was based on a report that
name of Amar Singh has been recorded
surreptitiously by the record officials.
2.4 In area where the land in question was
situated, the Kumaon and Uttarakhand
Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act,

1960 (hereinafter referred to as “1960 Act”)
was enforced. In accordance with the
provisions of the 1960 Act, Section 10
provides that every person who on the date
immediately preceding the appointed date was
recorded as occupants of land held by a
hissedar or a khaikar was held to be asamis.
The Patwari of the village referring to a
Government order dated 19.12.1973 made an
entry in Khata/Khatauni firstly in the Fasli
year 1979-1985 making entries as per the
above Government order. The status of asamis
w.e.f. 01.01.1974 and right of sirdar of
Khasra No. 641, 719 and 697 was entered
against the name of Amar Singh by the
Patwari. Amar Singh died in or about the
Year 1985. The appellants, who are sons of
Lt. Amar Singh filed Civil Suit No. 9 of 1992
against the defendants-respondents praying
for permanent injunction. Following reliefs
were claimed in para No. 11 of the plaint:-
a) to pass a permanent
injunction restraining the
defendant his family

members, agents and
labourers from forceful,
fraudulent interference in
the land in Khata Khatoni
No.195/35-K field No.719
admeasuring 2 Nali, 11 Muthi
land of village Gyansu,
Patti Barahat, Uttarkashi;
b) the cost of the case be
awarded in favour of the
plaintiffs and against the
defendant, as this Hon’ble
Court deems fit and proper
in the facts and
circumstances of the case.
2.5 The case of the plaintiff was that father of
plaintiff got sirdari rights w.e.f.
01.01.1974. Father of the plaintiffs
remained in possession till his death and
thereafter the appellants are in possession
of plot No. 719 area – 2 Nali and 1 muthi on
which they have shown mustard crops. It was
pleaded that on 27.11.1991, the defendants
damaged the mustard crops. Consequently, the
suit was filed.
2.6 The defendants in their written statements
denied the plaint allegations. Defendants’
case was that plot No. 719 and other plots

were recorded in the name of Tulsa Devi, who
died before the present settlement leaving no
heir, therefore, the properties of Tulsa Devi
escheated to State and vested in the State of
Uttar Pradesh. In the year 1956-57, State
needed the properties in Mauza Barahat for
construction of PWD houses, the Government
acquired property but instead of paying
compensation, the owners were given plots of
Tulsa Devi in exchange. The grandfather of
defendant Mor Singh was Maurusidar, who was
owner of plot No. 611 area of 3 Nali 2 muthi,
which was acquired by the State and in
exchange of said plots Mor Singh was given
plot Nos. 366,335, 336 and 364 corresponding
to new Plot Nos. 641, 719 and 657. After the
death of Mor Singh, partition took place and
the plots came in the kura of Narain Singh,
father of the defendants.
2.7 Narain Singh partitioned the property and
since 24.03.1969, it is the defendants, who
are the owners of the plot. Narain Singh
7
died in 1974. It was pleaded that District
Magistrate, Tehri Garhwal ordered that the
property of Tulsa Devi be got released from
the possession of Amar Singh and allowed him
to own only 4 Nali 1 muthi land. The land,
which was left with Amar Singh did not
include Plot No. 719 and with connivance of
revenue officials, he got forged entries made
with regard to Plot No. 719 and 641. It was
alleged that at the present settlement, the
Assistant Record officer ordered for striking
off the name of Amar Singh by order dated
06.05.1961 but even after directing for
deletion of his name from Plot No. 641, 749,
it continued in the Revenue records on the
basis of which Amar Singh claimed that he has
become sirdar.
2.8 It was alleged that plaintiffs are not in
possession of the plot Nos. 641 and 719 and
it is the defendants, who are in possession
and the suit is liable to be dismissed.

2.9 Trial court framed several issues and by
order dated 13.08.1996 decreed the suit for
injunction of the plaintiffs. Trial court
further noticed that an order was passed by
the Assistant Record Officer and in the
order, he directed for deletion of the name
of Amar Singh, the order was only in papers
and there is no proof, which has been filed
on the record to prove that actual possession
of the plot was taken from Amar Singh.
Consequently, the entries of possession
continued in favour of Amar Singh.
2.10 With regard to the case of the defendants
that possession was taken from Amar Singh of
the plot belonging to Tulsa Devi and in
exchange the plot No. 719 was given to the
predecessors-in-interest of the plaintiffs,
the trial court held that even though
document 23C indicate that plots were taken
from Amar Singh and given in supurdagi of
Malguzar but there is no proof that actual
possession was taken from Amar Singh. The

entries in the name of Amar Singh cannot be
held to be forged (farzi).
2.11 The defendants aggrieved by the judgment of
trial court dated 13.08.1996 filed an appeal
in the High Court. The High Court vide its
judgment dated 28.07.2006 has allowed the
first appeal and set aside the judgment of
the trial court dated 13.08.1996. High Court
held that in the record operation, there
being order passed by Assistant Record
Officer in the year 1961 directing the
deletion of entry in the name of Amar Singh,
no right can be claimed by Amar Singh on the
basis of such possession entry. High Court
further held that the entry made by the
Patwari(Lekhpal) in 1379-1385 Fasli, that
Amar Singh has become asamis and sirdar was
without authority. Patwari(Lekhpal) was not
competent to declare asami/sirdari rights and
it was only Assistant Collector, who could
have passed any such order. No order having
been passed by the competent authority giving

asamis/sirdari rights to Amar Singh, on the
strength of unauthorised entry made by
Patwari, Amar Singh cannot claim any right.
2.12 High Court further noticed that Amar Singh
himself in his statement, as has been
extracted, in the document dated 14.05.1956,
admitted to release the land of Tulsa Devi
from his possession except area of 4 Nali,
which was given to him under the order of
Collector, Tehri Garhwal, where his house,
Gaushala and Sagwara were situated. Amar
Singh thereafter cannot claim possession or
right with regard to any land except those 4
Nalis land, which was given to him in the
year 1956.
2.13 High Court held that although correctness of
entries in the revenue records cannot be
challenged but entries are open to attack on
the ground that it was made fraudulently or
surreptitiously. High Court held that
defendants’ case is fortified by the document
21-Ga, which indicate that the land in

question had been given in exchange to the
predecessor of defendants. On the aforesaid
findings, the appeal was allowed setting
aside the judgment of the trial court. The
appellants aggrieved by the judgment of the
High Court has come up in this appeal.
3. Shri A.S. Rawat, learned senior counsel appearing
for the appellants contends that High Court erred in
setting aside the decree of trial court. He submits
that Amar Singh’s name being recorded in the revenue
records as in possession of plot in question, he
become asamis by virtue of provisions of 1960 Act and
the entry made by Patwari in Khasra “1979-1385” was
on the strength of statutory provision and Government
order issued therein. He submits that Amar Singh was
never dispossessed from plot in question. He submits
that the plot No. 719 being a very small piece of
land measuring 2 Nali 1 muthi land, which was in
possession of Amar Singh, the trial court has
correctly decreed the suit holding the Amar Singh to
have become asamis/sirdars and bhumidars. He submits

that entry made in favour of Amar Singh as asamis
cannot be held to be forged.
4. Learned counsel for the respondents refuting the
submissions of the learned counsel for the appellants
contends that the plot in question was given in
exchange to the predecessor-in-interest of the
respondents in lieu of acquisition of land of
predecessor-in-interest. It is submitted that in the
exchange, plot No.719 – 2 Nali 1 muthi was given to
the defendants, which is reflected in records, Amar
Singh had no right to claim the land, which was
recorded in the name of Tulsa Devi. Tulsa Devi
having died issueless, the entire land was escheated
to State. He submits that entry of possession in the
name of Amar Singh was directed to be deleted by
competent officer in the record operation. On the
mere fact that name continued on record no rights can
be claimed by Amar Singh thereafter. There are
material on record where Amar Singh himself admitted
that he has handed over the possession of all plots
including 719 except 4 Nali 1 muthi land, which was
permitted to be retained by him. The appellants name

not being recorded as occupants, he cannot claim any
rights under Section 10 of the 1960 Act. learned
counsel for the respondent submits that High Court
has rightly allowed the appeal.
5. We have considered the submissions made by the
learned counsel for the parties and perused the
records.
6. Amar Singh, the father of the appellant, claimed
Asami/Sirdari right on Plot No.719 in the suit on the
ground that he was recorded in possession. We have
already noticed above that Plot No.719 along with
other plots was recorded in the name of Smt. Tulsa
Devi, last tenure holder. Smt. Tulsa Devi having died
without leaving any legal heirs her land escheated to
State. The Collector has also passed an order for
taking possession of land of Smt. Tulsa Devi from the
possession of Amar Singh except leaving 4 Nali one
Muthi land in the possession of Amar Singh. A
document dated 14.05.1956 was recorded in this
respect which was signed by Amar Singh. Plot No.719
was not included in 4 Nali which was left with Amar
Singh.

7. The right of Amar Singh was sought to be claimed
in accordance with Section 10 sub-clause (e) of the
Act, 1960. Section 10 of the Act is as follows:
“Section 10.Sirtans to be Asamis.—Every
person who, on the date immediately
preceding the appointed date, was-
(a) a sirtan holding from aissedar; or
(b) a sirtan holding from a khaikar; or
(c) a mortgagee in actual possession of
land mentioned in Section 8; or
(d) a lessee of the rights of a hissedar
in non-khaikari land and a lessee or
sub-lessee mentioned in Section 34
of the Tehri-Garhwal Bhumi-Sambandhi
Adhikar Niyams, 1941 of the rights
of a khaikar or those of a
maurusidar in non-khaikari land
having any land in his personal
cultivation as such; or
(e) recorded as occupant of land held by
a hissedar or a khaikar as such in
the last revision of records made
under Chapter IV of the U.P. Land
Revenue Act, 1901;
shall be called asami of the land and
shall, subject to the provisions of this
Act, be entitled to take or retain
possession thereof.”
8. Every person, who on the date immediately
preceding the appointed date, was recorded as
occupant of the land held by a hissedar or a khaikar
as such in the last revision of records made under
Chapter IV of the U.P. Land Revenue Act, 1901 shall
be called Asami of land and entitled to take or
15
retain possession thereof. For acquiring right under
Section 10 sub-clause (e) it has to be established
that person claiming Asami right was recorded as
occupant of land. The High Court in its judgment
noticed that the record operation in village in
question was undertaken between the period from 1952
to 1963. In the record operation it was noticed that
the name of Amar Singh was recorded in possession on
some plots including Plot No.719. A report was
submitted that the name of Amar Singh had been
recorded surreptitiously by the Record Operation
Officials. The report further mentioned that
possession of land has already been taken over and
handed over to the Malguzar. The Assistant Record
Officer passed an order dated 01.05.1963 English
translation of which order has been extracted by the
High Court which is to the following effect:
“The new No.719 showing Amar Singh. The
Amin has shown forged entries as is evident
from the report of S.N.T. dated 06.05.1961.
For the time being delete the possession
from these numbers and enter into the
Maurusi record of the deceased.” It was
further directed that the revenue record
may be corrected accordingly. In pursuance
of the said order the settlement record was
corrected and that document is paper No.23
Ga/2 on record.”
16
9. When during record operation competent authority
has passed an order for deleting the name of Amar
Singh from possession whether Amar Singh can be still
treated as recorded occupant in the record so as to
acquire benefit of Asami is the question to be
answered.
10. The trial court in its order decreeing the suit
has noticed the order of A.R.O. directing for
deletion the name of Amar Singh from record. The
trial court, however, has observed that the order
passed by the A.R.O. having not given effect in the
record and name of Amar Singh having continued in the
record he is entitled to be treated as Sirdar. The
trial court in the above context has made following
observation in its judgment:
“Ex.1 is the copy of order of A.R.O. in
present settlement by which he had passed
order for striking the name of Amar Singh
from some of the plots but again there is
nothing on record to show that this order
was complied with. The learned counsel for
the defendant contended that paper No.18-C
is another copy of paper No.12-Ka(Ex.1)
which shows that Amar Singh was present at
the time of order. However, the presence of
Amar Singh and his signature on the said
order does not prove that Amar Singh
delivered possessions of the said plots and

further as earlier stated that Smt. Tulasa
was not alive and possession could not be
delivered to her, therefore, even if the
entries were held forged in 1961 and in
spite of the order the entries were not
corrected by the revenue authorities, this
could not be held as forgery and fraud on
the part of plaintiff or his father and
further even there was no evidence that in
compliance of the order Amar Singh was ever
dispossessed and in spite of the said
orders, Amar Singh was in actual possession
and, therefore, he was recorded as Sirdar
on the basis of actual possession.”
11. The statute confers Asami right to a person
recorded as occupant in the last revision of records
which were undertaken between 1952 to 1962. In the
said revision order was passed deleting the name of
Amar Singh from the record which is a fact not
disputed by any of the parties. The trial court
decreed the suit observing that even if the order was
passed there was nothing on record to show that said
order of A.R.O. was complied. The trial court further
held that it is not proved that Amar Singh was even
dispossessed in spite of the order passed by the
A.R.O. The statute conferred the benefit on a person
recorded as occupant. When in a record operation
order is passed for deleting the name of Amar Singh
from possession over the land in question, Amar Singh

cannot be held to be recorded occupant within the
meaning of Section 10(e).
12. The High Court has dealt with the above aspect of
the matter and has held that continuous of entry
after the order of deletion of the name of Amar Singh
cannot confer any right. The judgment of this Court
in Vishwa Vijay Bharati vs. Fakhrul Hassan and
others, (1976) 3 SCC 642, has rightly been referred
to and relied by the High court. This Court in
paragraph 14 of the judgment was laid down following:
“14. It is true that the entries in the
revenue record ought, generally, to be
accepted at their face value and courts
should not embark upon an appellate inquiry
into their correctness. But the presumption
of correctness can apply only to genuine,
not forged or fraudulent, entries. The
distinction may be fine but it is real. The
distinction is that one cannot challenge
the correctness of what the entry in the
revenue record states but the entry is open
to the attack that it was made fraudulently
or surreptitiously. Fraud and forgery rob a
document of all its legal effect and cannot
found a claim to possessory title.”
13. The order of A.R.O. directing the deletion of the
name of Amar Singh was passed on the report of Record
Operation Officials in which report it was mentioned
that the name of Amar Singh has been surreptitiously

recorded. The report was accepted and the direction
was issued to delete the name. We, thus, are of the
clear opinion that Asami right could not have been
obtained by Amar Singh.
14. Learned counsel for the appellant has placed much
emphasis on the entry made by Patwari in 1379-1385,
Annexure-P/8. The entry made by Patwari with respect
to Amar Singh is as follows:
“The Government order No.291/1-4(3)/73
Revenue dated 19.12.73 a status Aasami
w.e.f. 1 January, 1974 and right of Sirdar
of Khasara No.641, 719, 720 total 6 Nali 10
Muthi at the rate of Rs.3.15 per annuam.
Sd/- Illegible
Patwari.”
15. As per the provisions of the Act, 1960 those
persons who had acquired Asami right under the Act
were treated to be Sirdar w.e.f. 1st January, 1974.
The entry made by Patwari as noted above is to the
above effect. Amar Singh being not recorded occupant,
when could not acquire Asami right no question arises
of he getting Sirdari right. More so entry made by
Patwari as clear from the entry itself, as noted
above, was not consequent to any order passed by any

competent officer. Patwari (Lekhpal) was not
authorised to enter the name of any person or confer
any right. The High Court has held that Lekhpal
(Patwari) was not entitled to make entry in Khata
Khatauni of 1379-1385. We fully endorse the aforesaid
view of the High court; no right was acquired on the
strength of the aforesaid entry.
16. One more aspect of the matter further needs to be
noted. As noted above, land of various persons was
acquired for construction of Government buildings in
which one of the persons whose land was acquired was
Mor Singh, the predecessor-in-interest of respondent.
The Government utilised the land of Tulsa Devi which
was escheated to State by giving the said land in
exchange to those persons whose land was acquired.
The order pertaining to exchange is dated 05.09.1960
which was brought on the record as Annexure-P4. In
the said order it was noticed that Amar Singh was in
possession of Plot No.719. Plot No.719 was given in
exchange to person whose land was acquired by the
State.

17. The High Court has also relied on the document
paper No.23 Ga/2 which was written on 14.05.1956 in
which it is indicated that Amar Singh has handed over
the possession of the entire land of Smt. Tulsa Devi
except 4 Nali. In paragraph 17 of the judgment of the
High Court the statement of Amar Singh has been noted
to the following effect:
“17. “I Amar Singh, adopted son of
Bhopalu, Village Gyansu, Patti Brahat,
state that the escheat land of Maurasi
Tulsa, which is in my possession, will be
released from my possession and I will not
interfere in that land from today onwards
and I will be in possession of the land
which is ordered to be given to me for the
purpose of Goshala, Courtyard, Sagwara and
for Water Ponds. The number of those Plots
are Plot No.339 Sagwara, 240 Goishala, 244
House, 245, 246 Sagwara, 247, 248, 249
Sagwara and 619 Ka which is 1 Nali 15 Muthi
and total area of 4 Nali which has been
given to me.”
18. Amar Singh himself clearly stated that the land
of Tulsa Devi which is escheated to the State will be
released from his possession and he shall not
interfere and he shall be in possession of only 4
Nali which has been given to him. Plot No.719 was not
given to him and was not included in the said 4 Nali
land which was left with him. This makes it clear

that he could not claim any right on Plot No.719
belonging to Tulsa Devi which was escheated to the
State and was given in exchange to predecessor-ininterest
of the defendant on 05.09.1960. The claim of
the plaintiff that by virtue of entry made by Patwari
as noted above, he became Sirdar cannot be accepted.
The High Court after considering entire evidence on
record has rightly set aside the order passed by the
Trial Court.
19. We do not find any error in the judgment of the
High Court. There being no merit in the appeal, the
appeal is dismissed.
......................J.
( ASHOK BHUSHAN )
......................J.
( K.M. JOSEPH )
New Delhi,
February 05, 2019.

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