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Arvind Singh S/O Late Haridwar Singh, Proprietor of Puja Tent House Vs. State of U.P. (Through Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Govt. of U.P. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Property
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petition No. 49269 of 2004
Judge
Reported in2005(3)AWC2440
ActsIndian Easement Act, 1882 - Sections 60; Constitution of India - Articles 14, 226 and 298
AppellantArvind Singh S/O Late Haridwar Singh, Proprietor of Puja Tent House
RespondentState of U.P. (Through Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Govt. of U.P. and ors.
Appellant AdvocateAshok Trivedi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateC.P. Srivastava and ;Shamir Sharma Advs. and S.C.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases Referred(Narsingh Das and Ors. v. Mian Safiullah Sha
Excerpt:
.....called by this court, the petitioner is unable to show any document which clearly indicates that the period of purported license was extended upto the year 2007 or at least upto the year 2005 to which the learned counsel for the petitioner conceded. we are of the firm opinion that the petitioner failed to succeed in the prima facie test. hence the best course is to invoke civil jurisdiction for appropriate relief. precisely, we have entered into the arena of dispute and then found logically that such dispute can only be resolved by way of suit not by way of writ. it is well settled that there can be 'malice in law'.existence of such 'malice in law' is part of the critical apparatus of a particular action in administrative law. indeed 'malice in law' is part of the dimension of..........whereof the petitioner's right to carry out business has been seriously affected. he invoked the writ jurisdiction to allow him to book such place for holding functions of the third parties. applications dated 24.5.2002 and 6.6.2002 are made for the purpose. further prayed not to allow the respondents to interfere with the possession of the petitioner.2. on the other hand the respondent contended that the petitioner is not at all a licensee under the authority concern. he can, at best, be called as booking agent for the purpose of allowing third party to occupy the premises temporarily but not more than 15 days period for the purpose of holding marriage ceremony etc., under the permission/license/contract exists in between them and the petitioner up to 31st december 2002. if any, third.....
Judgment:

Amitava Lal, J.

1. According to the writ petitioner, he is a licensee in respect of plot of land under the U.P. State Road Transport Corporation. Such license was time to time extended. Last of such extension will be ending on 31st December, 2007. The land was uneven and covered with bushes and trees etc. It was totally unfit for use. Since the request of the petitioner to provide certain basic facilities, amenities/regarding water supply, electricity etc., was not entertained, the same was developed by the petitioner himself at his cost and expenses. The petitioner normally booking such place from third parties for providing them to use the place for ceremonial functions. Several bookings between the periods from 22nd November 2004 and 27th June, 2005 are already existing. Since the petitioner occupied the uneven land which was subsequently converted to a habitable property for making ceremonial programmes etc. with all facilities and amenities, the petitioner accrued right of land under Section 60 of Indian Easement Act 1882. The petitioner accepted all the terms and conditions put by the respondent authorities and deposited increased rental charges etc., and also ready to give further security, if any, in spite of investment of Rs. 8 lacs which is either to be refunded or adjusted. But without any show cause notice or opportunity of, hearing, the respondent No. 5 suddenly put padlock on the gate of the premises in question. As a result whereof the petitioner's right to carry out business has been seriously affected. He invoked the writ jurisdiction to allow him to book such place for holding functions of the third parties. Applications dated 24.5.2002 and 6.6.2002 are made for the purpose. Further prayed not to allow the respondents to interfere with the possession of the petitioner.

2. On the other hand the respondent contended that the petitioner is not at all a licensee under the authority concern. He can, at best, be called as booking agent for the purpose of allowing third party to occupy the premises temporarily but not more than 15 days period for the purpose of holding marriage ceremony etc., under the permission/license/contract exists in between them and the petitioner up to 31st December 2002. If any, third party agreement is executed or any arrangement is made to occupy such premises beyond the period, the same is at the risk and responsibility of the petitioner. The authority is not responsible for the same. Moreover, this particular land is yearmarked for setting up 'Model Training Institute on Driving and Research' of the Stale. Both the Central and State Governments are eager to install the same by the side of the High way as per the approved project report of the Government of India, Ministry of Transport Road Transport and High Ways (Safety Cell). He further contended that the nature of the dispute does not prescribe that the same will be adjudicated by the writ court.

3. We have carefully considered the arguments advanced by the learned counsels appearing for the parties last couple of days. According to us in a conflict between public and private necessities, public necessity is to be declared superior to private by applying the test of Necessitas publica major est quam privata. We are definite that there are sufficient materials to meet the requirement of public necessity. From the annexures to the Supplementary affidavit of the respondents not only we find site map, plan for driving centre etc. but also the entire project report for setting up 'Model Training Institute on Driving and Research' approved by the appropriate ministry of Government of India. Those annexures possess several materials in coming to an appropriate conclusion in favour of public necessity or likelihood thereof. Therefore, the first question would be whether petitioner's case can override the case of the respondents as regards public necessity or not? From the writ petition we are unable to come such conclusion. No express agreement for license is available to satisfy the prima facie test. Annexed copies of documents in the writ petition and rejoinder neither impress us about existence of valid license agreement between the parties nor for construction of promissory estoppel. Element of legitimate expectation, if any, is so insignificant that the same cannot override the public necessity at all.

4. Moreover, it is well known that the writ court has no mechanism to evaluate and adjudge the evidential value of disputed question of fact. In other words it is not a fact finding court. Yet upon a cursory look we can not draw a conclusion about existence of an agreement in between the parties after 31st December, 2002. Mere application for enhancement of period ipso facto, can not give an impression about the extension of period of license. Upon being repeatedly called by this court, the petitioner is unable to show any document which clearly indicates that the period of purported license was extended upto the year 2007 or at least upto the year 2005 to which the learned counsel for the petitioner conceded. We are of the firm opinion that the petitioner failed to succeed in the prima facie test. Documentation does not tally with the possessory right, title and interest if any. Hence the best course is to invoke civil jurisdiction for appropriate relief. Declaration if any, can not be made by the writ court in the manner as proposed by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner. We do not find any exception to override the public necessities of the State. In further the respondent/s never recognized the petitioner as its licensee but agent. The respondent is disclosed principal. The right of the agent, if any, as against the principal cannot also be determined by the writ court. In further the nature or relief under Section 60 of the Indian Easement Act 1882 can also be granted by a fact finding court. A decree of such court will establish the title to the petitioner. In any event very foundation of Section 60 of the Indian Easement Act is also under challenge.

5. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner relied upon various judgments in support of his case basically on two points. The first one is that in spite of having alternative remedy, the writ court is not debarred from taking cognizance of any matter and the second one is about applicability of Section 60 of the Act in an appropriate case.

6. On the first point learned counsel appearing for the petitioner cited AIR 1963 Punjab 76 (State of Punjab and Ors. v. Raghunath Dass) to satisfy that when alternative remedy by way of suit for damages held inadequate, action of Government in not issuing any formal license instead of re-auctioning the same without giving any reason can be entertained by the writ court. We are sorry to say for the fitness of the fact that such test is fact matter inapplicable herein. Thereafter he relied upon several Supreme Court Judgments in a row i.e. AIR 1970 S.C. 802 (Sm. Gunwant Kaur. and Ors. v. Municipal Committee, Bhatinda and Ors.), 1971 (3) S.C.C.792 (Om Parkash v. The State of Haryana and Ors.). AIR 1971 S.C. 1021 (Century Spinning & . and Anr. v. The Ulhasnagar Municipal Council and Anr.) and A.I.R. 1986 S.C. 1527 (Shri Harminder Singh Arora v. Union of India and Ors.). Comprehensive principle laid down therein is that the High Court is not to be deprived of its jurisdiction in entertaining a writ petition under Article 226 of the constitution of India merely because in considering the petitioner's right to relief questions of fact may fall to be determined. In a petition under Article 226, the High Court has jurisdiction to try issues both of fact and law. There is no rule that the High Court will not try issues of fact in a writ petition. If a party is claiming aggrieved by the action of a public body or authority on the plea that the action is unlawful, highhanded, arbitrary or unjust, is entitled to hearing of its petition on the merits. It is true that the Government may enter into a contract with any person but in so doing the State or its instrumentalities cannot act arbitrarily.

7. We are very much concerned about those judgments. We are not for a moment going to say that writ jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is so powerless that it can not interfere with the fact at all. Precisely, we have entered into the arena of dispute and then found logically that such dispute can only be resolved by way of suit not by way of writ. But it is to be clarified that much water flown by the river between the period when such concept was adopted and by now. In fact interference with the contractual obligations by the writ court had seen the proper light of the day in the judgement reported in A.I.R. 1990 S.C.1031 (Mahabir Auto Stores and Ors. v. Indian Oil Corporation and Ors.). There the Supreme Court held that the State acts in its executive power under Article 298 of the Constitution in entering or not entering in contracts with individual parties. Article 14 of the Constitution would be applicable to those exercise of power. Therefore, the action of State organ can be checked under Article 14. Every action of the State executive authority must be subject to rule of law and must be informed by reason. So, whatever be the activity of the public authority, it should meet the test of Article 14 of the Constitution. If a Government action even in the matters of entering or not entering into contracts, fails to satisfy the rest of reasonableness, the same would be unreasonable. Rule of reason and rule against arbitrariness and discrimination, rules of fair play and natural justice are part of the rule of law applicable in situation or action by State instrumentality in dealing with citizens. Even though the rights of the citizens are in the nature of contractual rights, the manner, the method and motive of a decision of entering or not entering into a contract, are subject to judicial review on the touchstone of relevance and reasonableness, fair play, natural justice, equality and non-discrimination. It is well settled that there can be 'malice in law'. Existence of such 'malice in law' is part of the critical apparatus of a particular action in administrative law. Indeed 'malice in law' is part of the dimension of the rule of relevance and reason as well as the rule of fair play in action. In private law field there was no scope for applying the doctrine of arbitrariness or mala fides. A plea of arbitrariness, mala fides as being so gross can not shift a matter falling in private law field to public law field. To permit otherwise would result in anomalous situation that whenever State is involved it would always be public law field, this would mean all redress against the State would fall in the writ jurisdiction and not in suits before Civil Courts. Whether public law or private law rights are involved, in a case, depends upon the facts and circumstances of the case. The dichotomy between rights and remedies cannot be obliterated by any strait jacket formula. It has to be examined in each particular case. In 1999 (4) SCC 43 (State of H.P. v. Raja Mahendra Pal and Ors.) the Supreme Court itself held that the High Court would not ordinarily entertain a writ petition under Article 226 to enforce a contractual right particularly when an efficacious alternative remedy is available. The powers conferred upon the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution are discretionary in nature which can be invoked for the enforcement of fundamental right or legal right but not for mere contractual right arising out of the agreement particularly in view of the existence of an efficacious alternative remedy. The constitutional court should insist upon the party to avail of the same instead of invoking extraordinary writ jurisdictional of the court. This judgment does not however debar the court for granting appropriate relief to a citizen under peculiar and special fact notwithstanding the existence of alternative efficacious remedy. The existence of special circumstances are required to be noticed before issuance of the directions by the High Court while invoking the jurisdiction under the said Article. In 1998 (8) SCC 1 (Whirlpool Corporation v. Registrar of Trade Marks, Mumbai and Ors.) the Supreme Court indicated when the High Court will entertain the writ petition in spite of having alternative remedy. Such power, although plenary in nature and not limited, the Supreme Court said that there is no escape from passing an order at least in respect of few contingencies i.e., (a) when enforcement of fundamental right requires; (b) when case of violation of principle of natural justice occurs; (c) when proceeding is wholly without jurisdiction and (d) where vires of the Act has been challenged. In A.I.R. 1999 S.C. 753 (U.P. State Co-operative Land Development Bank Ltd., v. Chandra Bhan Dubey and Ors.) again Supreme Court held that the plenary jurisdiction of the High Court can not be curtailed.

8. Therefore, what would be the laying down principle at present is to be understood by the court. According to us plenary jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 should be untouched. But High Court in its wisdom follow the restrictions. Contractual matter should be avoided unless, of course, reasonableness, fair play, natural justice, equity and discrimination is questioned. That is the touchstone of understanding of the writ jurisdiction of the High Court. Factual foundation of this case does not lead the mental process of the court towards any special circumstance. Not being so, we are not keen to interfere in the same.

9. So far as the second point is concerned learned counsel for the, petitioner repeatedly harped upon determination of the question as regards applicability of Section 60 of Indian Easement Act 1882 by this Court but neither of the Division Bench judgments of this court reported in A.I.R.1934 Allahabad 517 (Mathuri v. Bhola Nath and Ors.) and A.I.R.1954 Allahabad 773 (Narsingh Das and Ors. v. Mian Safiullah Sha) arose out of writ proceedings. Those are the appeals arisen out of the suits. Therefore, those cases, as cited before this Court can not be held to be applicable hereunder when the court itself observed that the suit is the proper proceeding for the purpose of determination of relevant questions.

10. Therefore, in totality we are of the view that no relief can be granted in favour of the petitioner. The writ petition ought to be dismissed and accordingly dismissed here under. Interim order if any stands vacated. However, no order is passed as to costs.


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