1. Through this petition under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, the petitioner has sought direction to the respondents for refund of Rs.10,40,000/- (rupees ten lac and forty thousand only).
2. Succinctly, the facts, as encapsulated in this petition, are that the petitioner, being owner of agricultural land measuring 39 Kanals and 12½ Marlas, situated within the revenue estate of Mauza Kotli Sahian, Tehsil Wazirabad, District Gujranwala, entered into an agreement to sell with Muhammad Asim Butt and Robina Asim Butt against a consideration of Rs.5,20,00,000/-. To complete the sale transaction, the petitioner deposited Rs.10,40,000/- in the State Bank of Pakistan, Gujranwala Branch, Gujranwala, through Challan No.628 dated 27.06.2011 for issuance of Stamp Papers. The Treasurer, Saddar Gujranwala issued requisite Stamp Papers to the petitioner against Sr. No.33298 dated 27.06.2011 (hereinafter to be referred as the Misplaced Stamp Papers). On 28.06.2011, the petitioner got prepared sale deed in favour of above named vendees from Mr. Faisal Majeed, Stamp Vendor/Deed Writer. On 29.06.2011, when the petitioner, along-with above named Stamp Vendor, were on their way to Wazirabad to present the sale deed before the Sub-Registrar concerned for registration, the original sale deed was lost.
As the petitioner was not able to lay hands on the lost original sale deed, he lodged complaint in Police Station, Model Town, Gujranwala, vide Diary No.24 dated 29.06.2011. In addition thereto, he also got published a proclamation in newspaper “Daily Smaj” dated 30.06.2011 regarding the missing of his original sale deed. When all efforts of the petitioner went abortive, the aforementioned Stamp Vendor submitted an application before District Accounts Officer (respondent No.7) on 05.07.2011 regarding verification of issuance of Stamp Papers worth Rs.10,40,000/- in favour of the petitioner whereupon, requisite verification certificate was issued in favour of the petitioner. The petitioner with a view to complete the sale deed before the cut off date, got issued fresh Stamp Papers against Sr. No.1454 dated 18.07.2011 of the same denomination whereupon he executed sale deed which was registered in favour of the above named vendees. After completion of sale deed, the petitioner submitted an application before the Collector Gujranwala (respondent No.6) on 20.07.2011 for refund of amount deposited by him for issuance of Misplaced Stamp Papers who referred the matter to the Commissioner, Gujranwala Division, Gujranwala (respondent No.4), but the same was not finalized. Moreover, the case of the petitioner was also forwarded to the Chief Inspector of Stamps, Board of Revenue, Lahore (respondent No.3) but without any concrete result. After having failed to get refund of the amount claimed by him, the petitioner has filed the instant petition.
3. The legal formulations, advanced by learned counsel for the petitioner, can be summed up in the words that when the petitioner did not use the Misplaced Stamp Papers, he is entitled for refund of amount of Rs.10,40,000/-; that the deposit of aforesaid amount and issuance of Misplaced Stamp Papers in lieu thereof has been admitted by all the relevant Authorities thus he cannot be deprived of the refund of said amount; that admittedly after loss of Misplaced Stamp Papers, the petitioner got issued another set of Stamp Papers of the same denomination after deposit of said amount afresh thus the Misplaced Stamp Papers could not be used by the petitioner for any other purpose; that bona fide of the petitioner is apparent from the fact that after coming to know about the loss of Misplaced Stamp Papers, he not only reported the matter to the Police with promptitude but also got published a proclamation in “Daily Smaj” just to apprise the public-at-large about the loss of the Misplaced Stamp Papers; that though all the authorities are admitting the claim of the petitioner but they are not willing to refund the amount against Misplaced Stamp Papers and that in case the amount claimed by the petitioner is not refunded, he would suffer colossal loss.
4. Learned Additional Advocate General, while controverting the contentions urged by learned counsel for the petitioner, submits that to claim refund against un-used or spoiled Stamp Papers, the person concerned is bound to present the same in original in any shape; that to ensure safe custody of the Stamp Papers, they are kept in double lock as currency notes; that the refund of Stamp Papers is issued on the analogy of the spoiled currency notes which do not remain useful for any reason and in case of loss, the State Bank does not issue fresh notes until and unless the original are produced before it; that there is no provision regarding refund against the lost Stamp papers seemingly for the reason that the parties on the one hand succeed to get refund from the Government and on the other use them for any other purpose; that when the petitioner himself opted to purchase new Stamp Papers to complete sale deed in favour of the vendees, he could not claim refund against the Misplaced Stamp Papers and that in case respondents start to issue refund on the basis of copy of Challan Forms, there would be a flood gate of such claims by unscrupulous persons which would not only be embarrassing for them but would also result into considerable loss to the national exchequer.
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