A.P. Ravani, J.
1. Democracy shuns and abhors privileges. Privileged treatment to any particular class of people is not the normal democratic way of functioning. If not total absence of privileges, least possible privileges to a class of people defined on rational basis; and equal treatment to all to the utmost possible extent is the essence of democracy. These ideals are basic to our Constitution. Then how can the claim made by the petitioners who are Government employees to get the premises occupied by them on hire-purchase basis, to the exclusion of others, be accepted? Basically this question requires to be answered in this petition.
2. The petitioner No. 1 is an Association known as Old Government Quarters Employees' Cultural Association. The petitioners Nos. 2 to 57 are Government employees who are occupying Government Quarters situated at Rajkot. The quarters are known as 96 Clerks Quarters. The petitioners pray that the Government be directed to transfer the quarters to the petitioners and other similarly situated occupants of the quarters on hire purchase basis. This is the main prayer. Other ancillary prayer is that the respondents be restrained from making further construction over the existing quarters and from taking proceedings under the provisions of Gujarat Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1972.
3. It is contended that the structure of the quarters is 36 years old and the total life of the building is for a period of 60 years only. That the petitioners are in occupation of these premises for all these years and they have paid rent for all these years and that they have no other house and, therefore, they should be allotted these quarters on hire purchase basis.
4. The aforesaid contention is not factually correct. The details are given in the Annexure-A (Page-23) to the petition to show which of the petitioners is occupying the premises since when. There is not a single occupant of the premises who is occupying the quarter for last about 36 years. However, as per this annexure one Miss H.M. Madhani who occupies the Quarter No. D-36 is in the occupation (as shown in Annexure-A) of the premises since the year 1948. But this statement also does not appear to be correct. The learned Counsel for the petitioners has not been able to explain by giving further particulars with regard to the age of said Miss Madhani and as to when she occupied the premises in question and when she joined the services. In absence of these particulars and in view of the fact that no satisfactory explanation is given by the learned Counsel for the petitioners, the statement that she is occupying the premises since the year 1948 cannot be believed. Therefore, the contention based on the ground that petitioners are in actual occupation of the premises for last about 36 years is factually wrong and no weight whatsoever can be given to this aspect. As a matter of fact, it appears that number of petitioners have entered in the Government premises in question in the year 1981, 1982, 1984 and so on. Of course, some of them are in occupation of the premises since the year 1961 or thereabout. But the submission that the petitioners are occupying the premises for last about 36 years is not correct. These being Government Quarters, the rent which is paid by the employees concerned is only Rs. 44/-, 35/- and Rs. 25/-per month in respect of the premises of C, D & E categories of quarters respectively. If the petitioners have paid the rent, it is no ground for claiming that the houses should be allotted to them on hire purchase basis. In fact what they have paid would not even cover the maintenance charges. Payment of lent for any number of years does not give right to claim that the premises be allotted on hire purchase basis to the occupants. Therefore, on this, ground no claim for allotment of the quarters on hire purchase basis can be entertained.
5. The petitioners next contend that in the City of Ahmedabad, the Government has disposed of quarters occupied by the Govt. employees, Housing Board employees and by the members of public who were not the employees of either the Government or the Housing Board. The quaters have been allotted to the occupant on hire purchase basis. Therefore, it is contended that similarly on the line of disposal of quarters of H & L Colonies, the petitioners also should be given the benefit. The contention cannot be accepted for the simple reason that the houses of H & L Colonies were constructed by Bombay Housing Board in the year 1959-60. The aforesaid houses were leased out to the employees of Government of Gujarat, employees of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation and to the employees of the Office of the Accountant General.
6. In respect of these houses, the situation was entirely different. Those houses were built by the Housing Board and they were meant to be disposed of on hire purchase basis. They were not the quarters built up by the Government for providing accommodation to its employees while in service. Therefore, the contention based on the ground that the Government has already disposed of the quarters of H & L Colonies on hire purchase basis and the same have been allotted to the occupants thereof has no merits whatsoever and on this ground, it cannot be said that the Government should be asked to allot the quarters in question to the petitioners on hire purchase basis.
7. It is also contended that the houses in question situated at Rajkot have been constructed by the Government under a scheme known as 'Low Income Group Housing Loans To Local Bodies etc.' In respect of the scheme referred to by the petitioners, a Circular dated August, 22, 1955 has been issued by the Government of Bombay. A copy of the Circular is produced on the record of the case. This Circular incorporates 'Low Income Group Housing Scheme' framed by the Government of India. The scheme appears to have been framed some time in the year 1954. Clause (1) thereof gives introduction and Clause (2) narrates the scope of the scheme. Both these clauses are reproduced herein below:
1. INTRODUCTION: This scheme deals essentially with the disbursement of loans by the Central Government to State Governments for the purpose of enabling persons in the low income groups to build and own their houses. The State Governments in their turn, are expected to pass on the loans to individuals or a co-operative housing society belonging to the low income groups. They can also if they so desire, loan the money to a Housing Finance Corporation for the entire State which will provide all the facilities to the low income groups for the constitution of houses.
2. Scope of the Scheme:
Aid under this scheme is envisaged primarily for persons who do not already own a house and whose income does not exceed Rs. 6000/- per annum. There will, however, be no objection to a State Government advancing a loan to an individual if he owned a house already provided that the additional house is needed for his bona fide residential purpose.
8. From the reading of the aforesaid clauses, it is very clear that the scheme does not apply to the buildings constructed by the Government for providing accommodation to its employees while they are in service. The scheme is a general one and it envisages to advance loan particularly to the local bodies for enabling them to construct houses for the low income group people. Under the scheme, the Central Government has decided to earmark some funds as loan to the State Government and the State Government, in its turn is expected to pass it on to individual or to cooperative society belonging to the low income group people. As mentioned in clause (2) of the scheme, the scheme is aimed at aiding persons who do not already own a house or whose income does not exceed Rs. 6,000/- per annum. It is very clear that the scheme is not in respect of the houses that may be constructed by the Government and allotted to its employees to occupy the same while in service. Hence, the reliance placed on this scheme is totally misconceived and the same cannot be taken into consideration.
9. The argument that the Municipal Corporation, Ahmedabad and the Government have disposed of some other quarters situated at Ahmedabad on the similar line and, therefore, the Government be directed to dispose of the quarters in question on that basis has also no merit whatsoever. As mentioned in the petition itself, the quarters of 'F' Colony at Shahalam was constructed under the scheme of Low Income Group for industrial workers in the year 1960. As stated in the petition itself, the houses were handed over to the Government for use of Govt, employees. Thus, here also, it is clear that the houses were not built by the Government, but the houses were built under scheme of aiding the low income group people and for the industrial workers. Therefore, the argument based on the analogy of the quarters of 'F' colony cannot be accepted.
10. The question requires to be examined from another angle also. The quarters built by the Government for the purposes of providing accommodation to its employees while in service, are ultimately the wealth of the nation the Government is the owner of this property as trustee. This property can be administered and disposed of by the Government for the benefit of the people of nation at large. It cannot be disposed of or administered for the exclusive benefit of a group of individuals, except on rational grounds. In the instant case, the classification sought to be made by the petitioners and privilege claimed on that basis is not intelligible at all. On what basis the Government servants can be given preference over other millions of citizens of the country who are totally without roof and shelter? Moreover, on what basis the petitioners, who are occupying the premises, can be separated from other Government employees who have not been fortunate enough to get the Government accommodation? Simply because the employees happen to be in Government service at a particular point of time and happen to be occupying a particular quarter at a particular place, they cannot claim any right to purchase that particular premises to the exclusion of others. Occupation of particular premises belonging to the Government at a particular point of time and place is only a fortuitous circumstance. On the basis of such fortuitous circumstance, no such benefit as claimed by the petitioners can be granted.
11. Such a decision if at all taken by the Government would be purely discriminatory and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. I am afraid if the decision taken by the Government in respect of 'H' & 'L' colonies and other quarters is challenged on this ground, the decision may not be sustained by the Court. At least, the learned Counsel for the petitioners has not been able to show me or at any rate has not advanced any argument on the basis of which it can be said that there is any rational ground on the basis of which the Government Servants can be given preference over other citizens and the Government servants occupying Government premises at a particular place and time can be favored or preferred to the exclusion of all other Government employees. Be it noted that there will be mini classification even amongst the Government employees. The Government employees who will be in occupation of the premises at a particular point of time and place only will be entitled to purchase houses on hire purchase basis. As stated at the bar, in respect of quarters of 'H' & 'L' colonies, two petitions have been filed by some persons wherein the criteria of allotment of quarter of 'H' & 'L' colonies has been challenged. Be that as it may. In this petition, I am not concerned with the legality or otherwise of the decision of the Government regarding the permanent disposal of the quarters of 'H' & 'L' colony.
12. On the aforesaid basis, it has got to be said that if the Government has taken some decision which is on the face of it discriminatory and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, it will not give any right to others to claim that similar wrongful benefit may be extended to them also. It may be that Government may not be in a position to set right the things and may not be in a position to withstand the consequences which follow from overturning the wrongful decision i.e., disposal of quarters on hire purchase basis in the colonies referred to above. But inability on the part of the Government to set right the things cannot be advanced as a ground under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and the Government cannot be directed to commit further wrong and to perpetuate the wrong already committed. At least, the High Court exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India would in its discretion not grant any such reliefs.
It is stated in the petition that at least 22 petitioners have already retired and they are in unauthorised occupation of the premises. Writ jurisdiction of this Court cannot the exercised in favour of persons who act unlawfully. These persons are admittedly in wrongful possession of the premises. Hence in the facts circumstances of the case the petition at their instance cannot he entertained.
13. The Government Quarters are meant for giving facilities to the Government employees while they are in service. Government servants are liable to be transferred. They are bound to retire when they reach superannuation age. Either on account of transfer or on account of termination of services or on the ground of superannuation or resignation of an employee, new employees have got to be replaced in their place. They are also required to be accommodated. If the petitioners are allowed to occupy the premises, it would mean denial to other Government employees of their legitimate claim of getting residential accommodation at a reasonable rate of rent. If this petition is allowed, number of Government employees will be denied their legitimate right to claim residential accommodation while in service for no fault on their part. Therefore, also, the petition cannot be entertained. In affidavit-in-reply, filed by the Executive Engineer, R. & B., Rajkot, it is clearly stated that the contention that the houses have become dilapidated and that it is not possible to make further construction is not correct. There is no reason to disbelieve the affidavit filed by the Executive Engineer who on the contrary should be considered to be the proper authority to say about the structure and foundation of the buildings in question. As stated in the affidavit-in-reply, detailed plan and estimate for construction has already been approved and technical sanction for Rs. 18,32,450/- has also been obtained as far back as on December, 11, 1985. If the petition is entertained and the request made by the petitioners is granted, it would further mean that there should not be any superstructure over the standing structure at present. This would amount to wastage of national resources. This also ordinarily will not be done by the High Court while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
In above view of the matter, the petition is rejected. Notice discharged.