Displaced Persons (Land Settlement) Act 1958

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DISPLACED PERSONS (LAND SETTLEMENT) ACT, 1958

ACT XLVII OF 1958

[26^th^, March, 1958]

An Act to provide for the permanent settlement of displaced persons on land and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith

No. F. 32 (7)/58-Legis. 23rd September 1958, (Gazette, Extraordinary, 23rd September 1958).-The following Act passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on the 8th September 1958, received the assent of the President on the 23rd September 1958, and was published for general information in the Gazettes.

Whereas it is expedient to provide for the permanent settlement of dis placed persons on land in order to compensate them for the losses suffered by them on account of expropriation by the Government of India of their rights in property in India or in any area occupied by India, and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith ;

It is hereby enacted as follows :-

1. Short title, extent and commencement.-(I) This Act may be called the Displaced Persons (Land Settlement) Act, 1958.

(2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

(3) It shall come into force at once.

2. Definitions.-In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,-

(1) "allotment" means an allotment of agricultural land made to a dis placed person under this Act or under any scheme, in lieu of any claim registered and verified, or deemed to have been registered and verified, under any of the following enactments, namely :-

(i) The West Punjab Refugees (Registration of Land Claims) Act, 1949 (W. P. Act V of 1949) ;

(ii) The Refugees (Registration of Land Claims (Capital of the Federa tion) Ordinance, 1949 (XII of 1949) ;

(iii) The North-West Frontier Province Refugees (Registration of Land Claims) Act, 1949 (N.-W. F. P. Act X of 1949) ;

(iv) The Bahawalpur State Refugees (Registration of Land Claims) Act No. 14 of 1949 ;

(v) The Sind Refugees (Registration of Land Claims) Act, 1950 (Sind Act 11 of 1950)

(vi) The Khairpur State Refugees (Registration of Land Claims) Ordi nance No. 4 of 1952 ;

(vii) The Refugees (Registration of Land Claims) (Baluchistan) Regula tion, 1950 (III of 1950) ; and

(viii) The Registration of Claims (Displaced Persons) Act, 1956 (III of 1956) ;

(2) "Displaced person" means any person who, on account of the setting up of the Dominions of Pakistan and India, or on account of civil distur bances or the fear of such disturbances in any area now forming part of or occupied by India, has, on or after the first day of March 1947, left, or been displaced from, his place of residence in such area and has subsequently become a citizen of Pakistan, or is residing therein, and includes any person who, being a resident of any territory outside India, is for that reason unable to manage, supervise, or control any property belonging to him in India or in any area occupied by India, and also includes the successor-in-interest of any such person;

(3) "land" means evacuee property consisting of land held for agri cultural purposes or for purposes subservient to agriculture or for pasture including gardens, unsurveyed land and trees or buildings and other structures standing thereon and includes all rights of evacuees in such land, but doe not include---

(a) property as defined in sub-clause (b) of clause (2) of section 2 of the Registration of Claims (Displaced Persons) Act, 1956 (III of 1956) ; or iq sub-clause (d) thereof; or

(b) such evacuee land as may be declared by the Chief Settlement Commissioner as a building site ;

(4) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act ;

(5) "'Rehabilitation Authority" means a Rehabilitation Commissioner, or an Additional Rehabilitation Commissioner or a Deputy Rehabilitation Commissioner or an Assistant Rehabilitation Commissioner appointed or deemed to have been appointed under the Pakistan Rehabilitation Act, 1956 (XLII of 1956) ;

(6) "Settlement Authority" means the Chief Settlement Commis sioner, or a Settlement Commissioner, or an Additional Settlement Commissioner, or a Deputy, Settlement Commissioner or an Assistant Settlement Commissioner appointed under this Act, or any other officer appointed under any other law for the time being in force relating to the settlement of displaced persons on land ;

(7) "scheme" means a Rehabilitation Settlement Scheme prepared under subsection (1) of section 6 of the Pakistan Rehabilitation Act, 1956 (XLII of 1956) or section 7 of the Baluchistan (Rehabilitation) Regulation, 1950 (11 of 1950) ;

(8) "settlement" means conferment ;on a displaced person of any permanent right in, or title to, any land under this Act, whether such right or title be proprietary, occupancy, tenancy or of any other kind ; '

(9) "verified" means, as respects claims registered under the Registration of Claims (Displaced Persons) Act, 1956 (IIl of 1956), verified under that Act and, as respects claims registered under any of the enactments mentioned in clause (1), verified in accordance with the provisions of that enactment ; and

(10) all other words and expressions used but not defined in this Act and defined in the Registration of Claims (Displaced Persons) Act, 1956 (III of 1956), the Pakistan Rehabilitation Act, 1956 (XLII of 1956), the Pakistan (Administration of Evacuee Property) Act, 1957 (XII of 1957), or the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1958 (XXVIII of1958), shall have the same meaning as assigned to them in those Acts.

3. Information relating to certain land to be furnished.-(I) As soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, but not later than ninety days therefrom, every person who is in possession, supervision .or management of any land which he knows or has reason to believe to be concealed evacuee property shall submit to the Rehabilitation Authority, or the Settlement Authority -of the area concerned full information relating to such land, including the date since when, or the period for which, he has been in possession, supervision or management thereof.

(2) Any such property as is referred to in subsection (1) shall, notwith standing the provisions of section 3 of the . Pakistan (Administration of Evacuee Property) Act, 1957, be treated as evacuee property, and shall vest and be deemed to have vested in the Custodian in accordance with the provisions of subsection (I) of section 7 of that Act.

4. Power to acquire land.-(1) The Central Government may, for any of the purposes of this Act, by notification in the Official Gazette, acquire any land within the Federal Capital.

(2) As and when so required by the Central Government, the Government pf West Pakistan shall, for any of the purposes of this Act, by notification in the official Gazette, acquire such land situated in the Province (excluding the Federal Capital) as the Central Government may deem it necessary to acquire.

(3) On the publication of a notification under subsection (1) or sub section (2), the right, title and interest of any evacuee or persons claiming through him in the land specified in the notification shall, with effect from the date of such publication, be extinguished and the land shall vest wholly and absolutely in the Central Government free from all encumbrances.

(4) The Central Government shall prescribe the cases or class of cases in which, and the period within which any charge created by a Custodian on any land acquired under subsection (1) or subsection (2), or any decree granted by a civil or revenue Court against such land, shall be satisfied or such compensation as is determined by the High Court under subsection (3) of section 43-A of the Pakistan (Administration of Evacuee Property) Act, 1957 (XII of 1957), shall be paid, and the manner in which it shall be satisfied or paid.

(5) Notifications under subsection (1) and subsection (2) may be issued from time to time and may relate to-

(a) all land generally ; or

(b) any class of land ; or

(c) all land situated in a specified area ; or

(d) any particular land.

5. Compensation pools.-For the purpose of granting compensation to displaced persons whose claims have been verified, one or more compensation pools consisting of the following shall be constituted, that is to say,-

(a) land which has been acquired under section 4, including the proceeds of sale by auction or otherwise of such land ;

(b) sale proceeds of any land lying with the Custodian, compensation paid or payable to the Custodian by the Central or Provincial Government on the acquisition of land under any other law for the time being in force, and consideration money paid or payable to him on confirmation of the sale of land ;

(c) Government land allotted for rehabilitation purposes and exchanged with land with the consent of the Government concerned ;

(d) rents realised from land ;

(e) all profits and income derived from any land lying with the Custodian, the Central or Provincial Government or any other authority ;

(f ) any other amount received or recoverable in respect of land ; and

(g) sale proceeds referred to in clause (b) of section 13;

Provided that land attached to charitable, religious or educational trusts or institutions shall not form part of any pool constituted under this section.

6. Exemption of the compensation pools from processes.-Nothing which forms part of any of the compensation pools constituted under section 5 shall be liable to be proceeded against for any claim in any manner whatso ever in execution. of any decree or order by any process of Court or other authority.

7. Management of the compensation pools. -For the effective utilization of the compensation pools in pursuance of the provisions of this Actor the rules made thereunder, the Central Government may take such steps for the custody, management and disposal of the pools as it considers necessary.

8. Recovery of arrears.-Any amount due to the Custodian in respect of land acquired under this Act for any period prior to the date of its acquisition, or to the Central Government in respect of any land in any of the pools shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue.

9. Appointment of Chief -Settlement Commissioner, etc.-(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint a Chief Settlement Commissioner and such number of Settlement Commis sioners, Additional Settlement Commissioners, Deputy Settlement Commissioners and Assistant Settlement Commissioners as may be necessary for the performance of duties and functions assigned to them by or under this Act, and may, by general or special order, provide for the distribution or allocation of work to be performed by them.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Chief Settlement Commissioner shall discharge his functions and perform his duties under the general superintendence and control of the Central Government.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Act and to such orders as may, from time to time, be made by the Central Government in this behalf, the Settlement Commissioners; the Additional Settlement Commissioners, the Deputy Settlement Commissioners and the Assistant Settlement Commis sioners shall perform the duties and exercise the functions assigned to them by or under this Act, under the general superintendence and control of the Chief Settlement Commissioner.

(4) Pending the appointment of the Chief Settlement Commissioner, the Central Government may appoint any officer to discharge such functions and perform such duties of the Chief Settlement Commissioner as the Central Government may from time to time specify.

**10. Power of Chief Settlement Commissioner to cancel allotment.-**If the Chief Settlement Commissioner is satisfied that an allotment has been obtained by any person by means of fraud or false representation then without prejudice to any other penalty to which such person may be liable, the Chief Settlement Commissioner may pass an order cancelling the allotment, or reducing the area of the land allotted or such other order as he may deem fit;

Provided that no order under this section shall be passed by the Chief Settlement Commissioner without giving the person affected thereby a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

11. Powers of Chief Settlement Commissioner to cancel or terminate allotment or to amend or vary terms of allotment.-(I) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force or in any contract, but subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder, the Chief Settlement Commissioner may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, cancel or terminate any allotment or lease made under a scheme or under this Act, or amend or vary the terms of any such allotment or lease;

Provided that no order under this subsection shall be passed by the Chief Settlement Commissioner without giving the person affected thereby a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

(2) If any allottee, lessee, holder or occupant of any land acquired under this Act by reason of lack of a valid allotment order or lease or on account of an order made under subsection (1) is not, or ceases to be, entitled to the possession of such land, he shall, when so required by the Chief Settlement Commissioner, surrender the possession thereof to the Chief Settlement Commissioner, or to any person authorised by the Chief Settlement Commissioner in this behalf.

(3) If any person required under subsection (2) to surrender possession of land fails to do so, the Chief Settlement Commissioner, or any person authorized by the Chief Settlement Commissioner in this behalf, may, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, eject such person and take possession of the land, and may use or cause to be used such force as may be necessary for the purpose.

12. Power to transfer land, etc., from Compensation pools.-Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder, the Chief Settle ment Commissioner may transfer or dispose of any land or other property out of the compensation pools-

(a) by settlement of land on a displaced person ; or

(b) by auction of land ; or

(c) by disposal of property other than land in such manner as may be prescribed. '

13. Disposal of buildingsites .-Any evacuee land declared by the Chief Settlement Commissioner to be a building site in pursuance of sub clause *(b)*of clause (3) of section 2 shall be disposed of in an unrestricted public auction, and-

*(a)*in case the land is situated within the limits of a Municipal Corporation, a Municipal Committee, a Town Area Committee, a Small Town Committee, a Sanitary Committee or a Cantonment, as such limits exist on the commencement of this Act, the sale proceeds thereof shall be credited to the Compensation Pool constituted under section 4 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1958 (XXVIII of 1958) ; and

*(b)*in other cases, the sale proceeds shall be credited to one or more of the Compensation Pools constituted under section 5.

14. Allotment and disposal of land.-(I) Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder, the Chief Settlement Commissioner, or any other officer specially empowered by the Central Government in this behalf, shall prepare one or more Schemes for allotment to displaced persons against their verified claims of land in the Compensation Pools constituted under section 5.

(2) The Chief Settlement Commissioner, or any other officer specially empowered by the Central Government in this behalf, shall prepare one or more Schemes for the disposal of land attached to charitable, religious or educational trusts or institutions, referred to in the proviso to section 5, and notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any law for the time being in force, or in any instrument of trust or other document, such Schemes may provide-

(a) for the appointment of new trustees on fresh terms and conditions if necessary ; or

(b) for the transfer of such land to suitable institution ; or

(c) for the transfer to Government or to any local authority of such land for any charitable, religious or educational purpose.

(3) Any scheme prepared under subsection (1) or subsection (2) shall be subject to approval in writing of the Central Government, and if such approval is neither refused not communicated to the Chief Settlement Commissioner within two months of the receipt of the Scheme by the Central Government, it shall be presumed to have been duly communi cated.

(4) On the approval of the Central Government being communicated or presumed to have been communicated under subsection (3), the Schemes shall be executed by the Chief Settlement Commissioner.

15. Permanent settlement on lands.-(1) A Settlement Authority specially empowered by the Chief Settlement Commissioner in this' behalf, shall in respect of such verified claims against which no allotment has been made before the commencement of this Act, proceed to make an allotment to the displaced person concerned in accordance with any of the schemes- executed under section 14.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of section 11, an allotment to a displaced person under subsection (1) shall be made on the basis of his entitlement as determined under this Act or the rules made thereunder.

(3) A displaced person to whom any land has been allotted by a Rehabilitation Authority before the commencement of this Act under a scheme as defined in clause (7) of section 2, or by a Settlement Authority under subsection (1), shall be settled permanently on that land in such manner and subject to such terms and conditions and payment of such fees as may be prescribed by the Central Government;

Provided that no order of settlement shall be passed in cases where-

(a.) the land held by the allottee concerned is the subject matter of 'an appeal, revision or review before a Rehabilitation Authority ; or

(b) the land has been allotted in lieu of rights as a mortgagor or mortgagee and the allottee has not fulfilled the prescribed terms and condi tions ; or

(c) the land has been allotted provisionally on the basis of inconclusive data;

16. Title of displaced person on land.-Every person who is permanently settled on any land under this Act shall, subject to the general laws appli cable to the area in which the land is situated, be entitled to hold and enjoy the rights and title conferred on him and to transfer or alienate the same.

17. Debts or dues outstanding against evacuee owners.-No person who is permanently settled on any land under this Act shall be liable to pay any debt or dues outstanding against the evacuee owner of the land.

18. Appeals.-(1) Any person aggrieved by an order under this Act may prefer an appeal to-

(a) the Deputy Settlement Commissioner where an order has been passed by an Assistant Settlement Commissioner ;

(b) the Additional Settlement Commissioner where an order, not being an order, passed in appeal under clause (a), has been passed by the Deputy Settlement Commissioner;

(c) the Settlement Commissioner where an order, not being an order passed in appeal under clause (b) or in revision under subsection (3) of section 19, has been passed by an Additional Settlement Commissioner; and

(d) the Chief Settlement Commissioner, where an order, not being an order passed in appeal under clause (c) or in revision under subsection (2) of section 19, has been passed by a Settlement Commissioner.

(2) The appeal shall be presented within sixty days of the date of the order appealed against, in such form and manner as may be prescribed.

19. Revision.-(1) The Chief Settlement Commissioner may of his own motion within nine months, or on an application made in that behalf within sixty days, call for the record of any case or proceeding under this Act in which a Settlement Commissioner or an Additional Settlement Commissioner or a Deputy Settlement Commissioner , or an Assistant Settlement Commissioner has passed an order, for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of such order, and may pass such order in relation thereto as he thinks fit;

Provided that in the case of an application under this subsection, no petition for revision shall be entertained unless accompanied by a certificate from the Settlement Commissioner or the Additional Settlement Commis sioner concerned that the case involves a question of law.

(2) A Settlement Commissioner specially empowered in this behalf by the Chief Settlement Commissioner may of his own motion within nine months, or on an application made in that behalf within sixty days, call for the record o: any case or proceeding under this Act in which an Additional Settlement Commissioner or a Deputy Settlement Commissioner or an Assistant Settlement Commissioner under his jurisdiction has passed an order, for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of such order and may pass such order, in relation thereto as he thinks fit.

(3) An Additional Settlement Commissioner specially empowered in this behalf by the Chief Settlement Commissioner may on an application made in that behalf within sixty days, call for the record of any case or proceeding under this Act in which a Deputy Settlement Commissioner or an Assistant Settlement Commissioner under his jurisdiction has passed an order, for the purpose of satisfying himself, as to the correctness, legality or propriety of such order and may pass such order in relation thereto as he thinks fit.

(4) The Chief Settlement Commissioner or a Settlement Commissioner or an Additional Settlement Commissioner shall not pass an order under this section revising or modifying any order affecting any person without giving such person an opportunity of being heard.

20. Review.-(1) The Chief Settlement Commissioner or a Settlement Commissioner or an Additional Settlement Commissioner or a Deputy Settlement Commissioner may of his own motion within nine months, or on an application made in that behalf, within sixty days, review, and on so reviewing modify, reverse or confirm an order passed by himself or by any of his predecessors in office;

Provided that-.

(a) (i), a Settlement Commissioner shall not review an order passed by his predecessor in office without first obtaining the sanction of the Chief Settlement Commissioner;

(ii) an Additional Settlement Commissioner shall not review an order passed by his predecessor in office without first obtaining the sanction of the Settlement Commissioner of the area concerned-;

(iii) a Deputy Settlement Commissioner shall not review an order whether passed by himself or by his predecessor in office without first obtaining the sanction of the Additional Settlement Commissioner of the area concerned ;

(b) an order shall not be modified or reversed unless reasonable notice has been given to the parties affected thereby to appear and be heard ; and

(c) an order against which an appeal or a petition for revision has been preferred shall not be reviewed.

(2) An appeal shall not lie from an order refusing to review or confirming on review a previous order.

(3) Clerical or arithmetical mistakes in any order passed by an office or authority under this Act or errors arising therein from any accidental slip or omission may at any time, be corrected by such officer or authority or his successor-in-office.

21. Power of revision by the High Court--(1) Any person aggrieved by an order of the Chief Settlement Commissioner involving a question of law may, within sixty days of the order, file a petition for revision to the High Court.

(2) A petition filed under subsection (t) shall be heard by a Bench of not less than two Judges of the High Court, and in respect of such petition the provisions of section 98 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908) shall, so far as may be, apply.

CHAPTER VI

APPEAL, REVISION AND REVIEW

22. Finality of orders.-Subject to the foregoing provisions of this Chapter, any order made under this Act shall be final, and save as provided in section 21, shall not be called in question in any civil or revenue Court.

23. Powers of Settlement Authority as Civil Court.-(I) Every officer appointed under this Act shall for the purpose of making any enquiry of hearing any appeal under this Act have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Coup under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908); when trying a suit, in respect of the following matters, namely :-

(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath ;

(b) requiring the discovery and production of any document ;

(c) requisitioning any public record from any Court or office ;

(d) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses ;

(e) appointing guardians or next friends of persons who are minors or o unsound mind;

(f) adding legal representatives of deceased applicants or claimants ;

(g) restoration of cases dismissed for default ;

(h) substituting the names of the rightful claimants ;

(i) consolidation of cases ;

(j) any other matter which may be prescribed. .

(2) Every officer appointed under this Act shall be deemed to be Civil Court for the purposes of sections 480 and 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898), and any proceeding before any such officer shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) and for the purposes of sections 196, 199 and 200 thereof.

24. Officers appointed under the Act to be public servants.-Every officer appointed under this Act shall he deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of section 21 of Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860)_

25. Bar of jurisdiction.-Save: as otherwise provided in this Act, no civil or revenue Court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any matter which the Central Government or an officer appointed under this Act is empowered by or under this Act to determine, and no injunction or process or order shall be granted by any Court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in exercise of any power conferred by or under this Act.

26. Protection of action taken in good faith.-No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Central Government or a Provincial Government or any person appointed under this Act, in respect of anything which in good faith is done or is intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or of any rules or orders made thereunder.

27. Penalty for misrepresentation, etc.-Any person,-

(a) who, in an application for allotment of land under section 14 or in any proceeding under this Act furnishes, or abets the furnishing of, any information which he knows to be false, or does not believe to he true, or fraudulently conceals or misrepresents facts, or abets such conceal ment or misrepresentation, or

(b) who makes or abets the making of application to more than one Settlement Authority for settlement or for allotment of land in lieu of the same property, or

(c) who does not comply with the provisions of section 3,

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

28. Penalty for unauthorised alterations in records etc.-Any person who, with intent to evade the provisions of this Acct, conceals, destroys, mutilates, defaces or alters any book, record or other document relating to land, or knowingly allows such concealment, destruction, mutilation defacement or alteration, to be caused, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

29. Cognizance of offences by Courts.-No Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act save upon a complaint in writing made by an officer appointed under this Act.

30. Delegation of powers.-- (1) The Central Government may, by noti fication in the official Gazette delegate any of its powers under this Act to a Provincial Government or the Chief Settlement Commissioner, subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the notification.

(2) The Chief Settlement Commissioner may by general or special order and subject to such conditions as may be laid down in the order, delegate all -or any of his functions under this Act to any other Settlement Authority except the powers specified in Chapter VI of the Act.

31. Power to transfer cases. -The Chief Settlement Commissioner may; at **any stage,**by order in writing, transfer any case pending before 4 Settlement Commissioner or an Additional, Deputy or Assistant Settlement Commissioner to another Settlement Commissioner or another Additional, Deputy or Assistant Settlement Commissioner as the case may be, and the officer to whom the case is so transferred may, subject to any special dir ections in the order of transfer, proceed from the stage at which it was so transferred.

32. Fees payable to Settlement authority.-(1) The Central Govern ment may prescribe the fees payable to the Chief Settlement Commissioner for things done or services rendered in respect of land allotted to displaced persons or disposed of otherwise under this Act;

Provided that any fees levied and paid under section 22 of the Pakistan Rehabilitation Act, 1956 (XLII of 1956), shall be deducted from the amount payable under this section;

Provided further that the total amount of the fees payable by a dis placed person as settlement fees in connection with the settlement of his entire claim for land shall not exceed one-half per cent. of the value of the land to be determined in such manner as may be prescribed.

(2) Such fees shall be a charge on such land and shall notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, have priority over all other charges on the land.

33. Appearance by Counsel or Agent.-Any person who is entitled or required to attend before the Chief Settlement Commissioner or any other authority in connection with any proceedings under this Act, otherwise than when called upon to attend personally for examination on oath or affirma tion, may attend or be represented by his duly authorised agent, and any application, or memorandum in appeal, review or revision or otherwise, may be presented by a counsel or such agent.

Explanation.-In this section "counsel" means an advocate or pleader or any person entitled or allowed to plead in any civil Court.

34. Power to make rules.-(1) The Central Government may, by noti fication in the official Gazette, make rules to carry out the purposes of this Act.

(2) Rules made under this section shall be laid before the National Assembly held next after the publication of the notification under sub section (1).

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