Recently, the High Court of Manipur allowed a writ petition WP(C) NO.725 of 2010 in Shri. Lungkhothang Singson v. The State of Manipur & Ors. The Bench consisting of HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE M.V. MURALIDARAN allowed the writ petition filed by the petitioner to quash the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner in which the petitioner claimed that he was the authorised Chief of Lungthulien Village.

FACTS OF THE CASE

The third respondent, Mr. Paukhomaw, who is the resident of Renkai village and the grandson of former Chief of Senvon village filed a petition before the Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur challenging the order of recording the name of the petitioner as Chief of the Lungthulien village. The Petitioner has been functioning as the Chief of Lungthulien village without any interruption and his name has also been recorded as the Chief of the village by the Sub Divisional Officer vide order dated 11.02.2010. Mr. Paukhomaw, the third respondent obtained an order in his favour dated on 30.06.2010. This writ petition was originally filed by the petitioner Lungkhothang Singson seeking to quash the order dated 30.6.2010.

Pending writ petition, Lungkhuthang Singson died and Kamminlun Singson who is the grandson of the petitioner was added as the second petitioner. The Second Petitioner claiming the title by way of inheritance through his father and grandfather by way of deed of transfer of Chiefship on 03.10.2016, is proceeding with the writ petition.

CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTY

Contentions of the Petitioner

The learned counsel for the second petitioner contended that the second petitioner inherited the Chiefship of Lungthulien village from his late grandfather through his father Sehkholal Singh who due to his ill-health was incapable of being the Chief of Lungthulien village, and that by customary law, the right and title of Chiefship was inherited in the family through the male lineage. The Counsel also contended that the right and title of the Chiefship of Lungthulien village has been transferred by sehkholal Singson to the second petitioner by way of deed of transfer of Chiefship dated 03.10.2016.

The learned counsel further submitted that the third respondent is a stranger to the Lungthulien village and he has no right or interest whatsoever in the Chiefship of Lungthulien village and that the third respondent obtained the impugned order of stay behind the back of the grandfather of the second petitioner and therefore, the impugned order is not sustainable in the eye of law and the same is liable to be set aside and that the right and title of the Chiefship of second petitioner in respect of Lungthulien village has to be confirmed.

Contentions of the Respondent

However, per contra, the learned counsel for the third respondent submitted that the second petitioner never inherited the Chiefship of Lungthulien village from his grandfather and that it was recognized and recorded that the third respondent is the Chief of Senvon village by competent authorities. He further submitted that Lungthulien village being one of the machet villages of Senvon, there was no any Chief except the third respondent himself.

The learned counsel for the third respondent further submitted that both the father and son cannot be a Chief at the same period of time and that the question of the second petitioner claiming to be the Chief of Lungthulien village has no basis at all.

OBSERVATIONS OF THE COURT

The Hon’ble High Court considered the submissions made by the learned counsel for parties and also perused the materials available on record. The Court observed writ petition was originally filed by Lungkhothang singson challenging the order dated 30.6.2010 passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur, thereby staying the transfer of Chiefship of Lungthulien village in favour of Lungkhothang Singson dated 11.2.2010 of the SDO, Tipaimukh. The Court also observed that the order dated 30.6.2010 impugned in the writ petition, passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur was given without a notice to the original writ petitioner Lungkhothang Singson.

The Court further observed that all the five villages are under the high administrative control, supervision of the Chief of Senvon village. Since the third respondent claims that Lungthulien village is one of the machet village of Senvon and the third respondent is the Chief of Senvon village and also there is no Chief of Lungthulien village, the said disputed question of fact, cannot be decided in this writ petition and that when the second petitioner claims that he is the Chiefship of Lungthulien village and the third respondent is a stranger to Lungthulien village, it would be appropriate to remit the matter to the SDO concerned to decide the factual aspects of the matter in detail upon hearing the parties afresh. It also observed that it would be appropriate to direct the matter to be heard by the SDO, Tipaimukh and pass appropriate order in this regard, as two parties claim Chiefship of Lungthulien village.

ORDER ISSUED

The writ petition was allowed and the stay order dated 30.06.2010 passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur District in Hill Revision Case No. 2 of 2010 and the order dated 11.2.2010 passed by the SDO, Tipaimukh were set aside and the matter was remitted to the SDO, Tipaimukh.

The SDO, Tipaimukh was directed to issue notice to both the second writ petitioner and third respondent calling upon them to establish their case of Chiefship of Lungthulien village and upon hearing both parties and upon affording opportunity of hearing to both sides, the SDO, Tipaimukh was directed to pass appropriate orders in accordance with law.  Such an exercise shall be done within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.

This news article has been written by Abey Thomas.

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