Chandigarh, September 15, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed an appeal against an order directing eviction of the appellant and his two brothers from the disputed land with the observation that avoiding service of process entails fatal consequences.
Herein, an ejectment petition was filed by one of the respondents under Section 9 (i) (ii) of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953, for eviction of the appellant-Daulat Ram and his two brothers namely Dharampal and Ghanshyam Dass due to non-payment of rent regularly. Ejectment proceedings were initiated by the contesting respondent/landlord for recovery of rent of Rs. 3,562 for the rented land.
The appellant and his two brothers were proceeded against ex-parte and thereafter, order of eviction was passed by the Assistant Collector, First Grade, Bhiwani directing eviction of the appellant and his two brothers from the disputed land .
The said order was challenged by appellant by way of an appeal. The said appeal had been dismissed by the Collector and the revision filed against the aforesaid order had also been dismissed by the Commissioner. The aforesaid orders were impugned in the writ petition filed by the appellant which had also been dismissed by an order passed by the Single Judge of this Court.
The Division Bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma observed that a perusal of the record showed that number of attempts were made to serve the tenants but they deliberately avoided and evaded the service. The Assistant Collector tried to serve again.
According to the Division Bench, service was completed when Dharampal, brother of the appellant refused to sign and receive the summons which was apparent from the order passed by the Assistant Collector.
Furthermore, a perusal of the summons received in the Court of Assistant Collector showed that one of the brothers of the appellant , Dharampal, refused to take summons and as such, it would be deemed to be a proper service as per Section 90 (1) (c) of the Act which provides that service can be effected upon adult member of his family who is residing with him and it was not disputed that tenant-Dharmapal is not adult.
Thus, once tenant-Dharmpal had been duly served in the year 1999, it would be deemed to be service upon all, in view of Section 90 (3) of the Act, added the Court.
Also, a perusal of the order passed by the Assistant Collector showed that summons had been duly served. One copy had been affixed on the house of appellant-tenant and the other respondents-tenants, but none of them appeared and as such the Assistant Collector also complied with the provisions of Section 90 (2) which provides that summons may be served by pasting a copy at the residence of the person to whom it is addressed whereby summons were affixed at the residence of the tenants.
Later, the Assistant Collector proceeded ex-parte against the tenants after making effort for six continuous years to serve the appellant tenant and his brothers and after about 11 years, the ejectment order dated December 3, 2009 was passed by him.
While observing that the appellant tried to adopt dilatory tactics in order to avoid and evade service and prolong the proceedings of eviction on one pretext or the other, the Court held that he cannot be permitted to take advantage of that evasion.
Avoiding service of process entails fatal consequences. In the present case, service had been duly effected as per the provisions of the Act. Thus, there was no reason for the Court to interfere with the orders passed by the Revenue Courts as also the Single Judge.