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Commissioner's Role

History of the office

Appointment The Commissioner is a senior member of the Indian Administrative Service (previously known as Indian Civil Service).

The Commissioners of the Regulation Provinces were first appointed in 1829 during the administration of Lord William Bentick.

First Commissioner of JalandharThe office of the Commissioner of Jalandhar was established on 1st March,1846, when John Lawrence was appointed Commissioner of Jalandhar by Sir Henry Hardinge. Since then 139 appointments have been made and 95 persons have held this office for one or more terms. The list of Commissioners since 1846 is as under:

Organisation of the Commissioners Office In his day to day working, the Commissioner of the Division is assisted by a Principal Staff Officer, a Superintendent Grade-I, two or three Superintendents Grade-II. The present strength of the Commissioner's office is as under:

  • Principal Staff Officer - 1
  • Superintendent Grade-I - 1
  • Superintendent Grade-II - 3
  • P.A. to Commissioner - 1
  • and other staff including clerks - 37
  • & Assistants

The work is distributed among the branches of the Commissioner's office in the following manner subject to variations as the Commissioner may, in his best judgment deem fit:

  1. General Branch:- deals with cases of general nature particularly pertaining to law and order, Arms Act, collection and disbursement of funds, natural calamities, encamping grounds, political sufferers, nazool cases, recovery of land revenue, budget and development cases etc.

  2. Accounts Branch:- deals with establishment, nazarat, library, mutations, agrarian reforms, Re-organisation of Districts, creation of Tehsils and Sub-Tehsils etc.

  3. Revenue and Judicial Branch:- deals with peshi work, control on vernacular record and copying agency, inspection work of subordinate offices/courts, touring of revenue officers, land administration report, etc.

  4. Arbitration Branch:- deals with Arbitration Cases, etc.


The Commissioner of Jalandhar plays an important role in the task of general as well as revenue administration. Apart from exercising general supervision over the administrative agencies, he exercises certain statutory powers under the land revenue and tenancy laws. In matters relating to land administration and law and order the Commissioner is the Representative of the Government in the Government Machinery at the Division level. He is the first man on the Divisional staff in the warrant of precedence. The post of Commissioner is administrative as well as Statutory. Sir John Strachey, while describing the powers and functions of Commissioner had written, "Nothing of Importance can happen without his knowledge, because all communications between the district officers and the Government pass through his hands." His powers may be divided under the following heads:

  1. Revenue:In the earlier days land revenue and abiana were major source of revenue and the timely collection of Land Revenue & Abiana is one of his major responsibility.
  2. Appellate Powers: He is the appellate as well as the revisional authority under the Punjab Land Revenue Act, the Punjab Tenancy Act and several other acts and rules. The Commissioner has appelate power under the various acts. The act-wise position is discussued as below:
  3. Northern India Canal & Drainage Act,1873 :- appeal lies under section 9 of the Act.

    The Punjab Land Revenue Act,1887:- Appeals of Partition, Mutations, Correction of Khasra Girdawari and Lambardari etc. lies under section 13 and revision petition lies under section 16 of the Act.

    Indian Stamp Act,1899:- As per Financial Commissioner's Ruling PLR 1970 page 438 an appeal lies.

    The Punjab Tenancy Act,1887:- Appeals of recovery of rent and ejectment lie under section 80 and revision petition lie u/s 84 of the Act.

    East Punjab Refugees Rehabilitation Building and Building Sites Act,1948:- An appeal lies under section 12 of the Act.

    East Punjab Utilisation of Lands Act, 1949:- Under section 13 of the Act an appeal lies.

    Punjab Security Of Land Tenures Act,1953:- Under Section 24 of the Act an appeal lies.

    Punjab Tenancy and Agriculture Lands Act,1956:- Under section 39 at appeal/revision lies.

    Indian Arms Act,1959:- Under Section 18 of the Arms Act, 1959 an appeal lies.

    New Mandi Townships Act,1960:- An appeal lies under section 15 of the Act.

    Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act,1961:- Under Section 7 (2) of the Act an appeal lies.

    Punjab Land Reforms Act,1972:- Under Section 18 of the Punjab Land Reforms Act, an appeal lies

    Punjab Public Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Act,1973:- An appeal lies under section 9 of the Act.

    Punjab Municipal Corporation Act,1976:- Appeal lies under section 146 of the Act, in House-Tax/ Octroi-Tax cases.

    Punjab Package Deal:- Properties (Disposal) Act,1976. Petition under sections 10 (4) and 15 (2) of the Act lie.

    Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulations) Act, 1976:- Under section 33 of the Act an appeal lies in respect of orders passed u/s 26, 12 (4) and 30 (2) of the Act, before Commissioner as Tribunal.

    Nazul Land Rules:- Under rule 3 (1) as amended to Notification dated 9.6.1986 an appeal lies.

    Inferior Evacuee Lands Rules:- As per Govt.letter No.7841-JR 4/IV/61/2699, dated 29.8.1961 an appeal lies.

    Punjab Document Writers Licencing Rules,1961:- Under Rule 16 of the Rules an appeal lies.

    Service Appeals:- Under rule 15 of the Punjab punishment and Appeal Rules,1970, an appeal lies.

    Chaukidara Rules,1965:- An appeal lies as per ruling 1982 PLJ page 454.

    Arbitration Act, 1940:-References under section 20 of the Act are entertained by the Commissioner as Arbitrator.

    The Punjab Panchayat Samiti & Zila Parishad:- Services, Rules,1964. An appeal lies under rule 7 (2) of the Panchayat Simiti & Zila Parishad Service Rules, 1964.

    Under section 13 of the Punjab Land Revenue Act, he enjoys the right to hear appeals against the orders of the Deputy Commissioner.

    Under section 15, he has the right to review the decisions of the Deputy Commissioners.

    Under section 16, he has been given the power to call for examination any document and review the proceedings before any revenue officer of the division.

    Appeals can be filed in the court of Financial Commissioners against the orders of the Commissioner.

  4. Development Functions or Activities: Since the inauguration of five year plans, the attention of Central and State Governments are directed to the activities for the development in the various fields. Thus in the recent years, the powers and the functions of the Commissioner have been greatly increased. The Commissioner is expected to play a very important role in this sphere. He sees to it that various organisations and departments which have been entrusted with the execution and completion of certain projects carry out their part of the work in the specified time with due efficiency and proper care. He supervises those works which have been started under the Community Development Programme or National Extension Schemes. Since five year plans have become a very essential part of the socio-economic life of the Indian people, the work of Commissioner in this field has become very vital.
  5. Municipal and Local Administrative Powers: The Commissioner exercises administrative powers under the various acts i.e. the Punjab Municipal Act, Punjab Zila Prishads & Panchayat Samities Act, etc. He makes efforts for the successful functioning of panchayats under the Panchayati Raj Scheme. He also takes steps for the coordination of the work of elected representatives and the Govt. Officers. He makes efforts for the successful and fruitful working of Local Self, Govt. Institutions.

  6. According to the Punjab State Municipal Act he has to perform many functions. Some of these may be mentioned here:-

    1. He gives sanction to the election of the Chairman of the second and third class (categories) Municipalities. He also grants sanction to the list of other members.
    2. He gives sanction for the expenditure of money for those areas, which are beyond municipal limits.
    3. In case a municipality does not accept the decision of a Deputy Commissioner and decides to file an appeal against this decision to the Commissioner, then he hears their appeal and gives his decision.
    4. If there is a dispute between two municipalities of two different districts, he gives his decision.
    5. His sanction is necessary for the various appointments made by the municipalities in his Division.
    6. He gives sanction to the budget of the Municipalities of A category (Class).


In order to maintain the efficiency of the administration, he regularly inspects offices of the Deputy Commissioners, various(a) Sub-Divisions, (b) Tehsils/Sub-Tehsils (c) Treasury (d) Panchayat Raj Institutions and (e) other District Offices. Through his inspection, he gets an opportunity to point out some of their shortcomings and is able to give them suitable suggestions for improvement. Indirectly this makes them more efficient and effective.

Maintenance of Law and Order.The Commissioner is responsible for the maintenance of peace and order in his Division. For this purpose, he gives directions to the District Administration. Under the Police rules, the Commissioner has the right to call reports from the District Magistrate and Police Superintendents for crimes and disorders. In some cases, he can call for the following kinds of reports:-

  • Seeks reports from Superintendent of Police and Roznamchas(daily reports)
  • Monthly Crime Reports.
  • Annual Police Reports.

Supervision of District Administration

Although the control and supervision of the District Administration is vested with the State Government, yet in reality owing to over involvement and over burden of the state government, no effective control is possible. Therefore, actual effective control is exercised by the Commissioner and he acts as a liason between the State and the District.

Work of Co-ordination. A large number of departments and agencies are working in each District. The Commissioner very tactfully and cleverly coordinates their work and tries to solve departmental or personal differences and clashes. He makes them work for the best interest of the State. Sometimes there are some differences between the Deputy Commissioners or other departmental heads of the adjoining districts. He tries to coordinate their activities.

Departmental Coordination. The Commissioner has been given the duty of coordinating the work of various departments, so that he can properly supervise the work of the various departments. Although technically the departmental heads are free and exercise their powers without any restraint, but in general matters the Commissioner exercises control and supervision over them. If there is a dispute between the District Authorities and the departmental heads, the Commissioner gives his decision. For example, if there is a dispute between Deputy Commissioner and Divisional Canal Officer about the role of flow of water, then the decision is given by the Commissioner.

As Liason Officer Between the Punjab State and Local Military. The Commissioner, Jalandhar Division also functions as a State Liason Officer for the Punjab to keep liason between the army and the Civil Administration. He has to deal with special problems relating to the India-Pakistan border. During emergency(war), he has to work round the clock with a view to mobilising the entire civil administration machinery, creating confidence among the public and boosting the defence effort in the division.

Ex-offico Chairman. The Commissioner is also the President of jalandhar GymKhana Club, Jalandhar and House Allotment Committee which allots houses to the various Officers.

Miscellaneous Functions

In addition to the above functions, a Commissioner performs some other functions. Amongst these, some may be enumerated here:

  • He writes confidential reports of Deputy Commissioners, Sub Divisional Officers, Tehsildars. He gives his views about their efficiency, conduct and character.
  • At the time of natural calamities like floods, famines, earthquakes and fires, he leads and helps the Deputy Commissioners.
  • In land acquisition cases, the Commissioner is empowered to accord sanction upto Rs. 15 lacs of the award and in Collector's rate upto Rs. one crore.

Thus it appears from the above survey that the Commissioner of a Division plays an important role in the administrative structure of the Division. He enjoys revenue powers and is a court of appeal and revision in revenue cases. He coordinates the work of the different functionaries. He is responsible for maintaining proper law and order in the Division. He controls and guides local Govt. institutions. In case of war, he performs many functions during the emergency. He takes an active part in the execution of various developmental projects.

Principal Staff Officer to the Commissioner is overall incharge of the staff in the office and assists the Commissioner in all spheres of work. Generally a senior officer of the Punjab Civil Service is appointed as Principal Staff Officer.

The Office Superintendent is responsible for the proper supervision and disposal of work of the office. He has also delegated power of Drawing & Disbursing Officer.