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Bhanwar Lal Vs. Urban Improvement Trust - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberD.B. Civil Special Appeal No. 15 of 1976
Judge
Reported in1984WLN(UC)472
AppellantBhanwar Lal
RespondentUrban Improvement Trust
DispositionAppeal allowed
Cases ReferredBishandas v. State of Punjab
Excerpt:
urban improvement trusts act, 1959 - cancellation of allotment--validity disputed between parties--held, trust cannot dispossess appellant without hearing appellant.;since the validity of the order of cancellation of allotment is still in dispute between the parties, the trust could not straightaway dispossess the appellant without giving him an opportunity of hearing in the matter.;appeal allowed - .....no. 8 situated in surajpole-delhi gate scheme at udaipur was purchased by the appellant from the urban improvement trust, udaipur at a public auction on december 11, 1961 for a sum of rs. 19,000/-. the appellant's bid being highest was accepted by the trust by its order dated february 13, 1962 and he was directed to deposit the balance of sale price within one month from the date of the receipt of the allotment letter. it may be mentioned here that the appellant had already deposited 25% of the sale price of the said plot, amounting to rs. 4,750/- and as such he was directed to pay the remaining 3/4th of the sale-price within one month. it was also stipulated in clause (1) of the order of allotment dated february 13, 1962 that in case the balance of the sale-price was not deposited.....
Judgment:

Dwarka Prasad Gupta, J.

1. This appeal has been filed against the order passed by a learned Single Judge of this Court on February 4, 1976. The writ petition filed by the appellant was dismissed on the ground that he had adequate alternative remedy and it would not be proper to exercise the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of this Court in such circumstances.

2. The facts which have given rise to the appeal may be briefly stated. A plote of land bearing No. 8 situated in Surajpole-Delhi Gate Scheme at Udaipur was purchased by the appellant from the Urban Improvement Trust, Udaipur at a public auction on December 11, 1961 for a sum of Rs. 19,000/-. The appellant's bid being highest was accepted by the Trust by its order dated February 13, 1962 and he was directed to deposit the balance of sale price within one month from the date of the receipt of the allotment letter. It may be mentioned here that the appellant had already deposited 25% of the sale price of the said plot, amounting to Rs. 4,750/- and as such he was directed to pay the remaining 3/4th of the sale-price within one month. It was also stipulated in Clause (1) of the order of allotment dated February 13, 1962 that in case the balance of the sale-price was not deposited within the stipulated time, the allotment shall be cancelled by the Trust. It is not disputed that the appellant did not deposit the balance amount of the sale-price of the plot within a period of one month, but he sought adjustment thereof against same amount which he allegedly had to receive from the Trust in respect of some contract. It appears that negotiations went on between the parties in this respect and ultimately the Trust allowed an indulgence to the appellant in case he made payment of the balance amount of the sale-price together with interest thereon at the rate of 6% per annum. The appellant apparently accepted the concession allowed to him by the Urban Improvement Trust and deposited a sum of Rs. 3250/- or some such amount towards interest, besides making payment of the balance amount of the sale-price. After the aforesaid amount was paid, the Urban Improvement Trust handed over possession of the plot of land in dispute to the appellant on October 25, 1969.

3. The Urban Improvement Trust, however, on April 8, 1970 passed an order cancelling the allotment made in favour of the appellant on the alleged ground that the conditions specified in the order of allotment dated February 13, 1962 were not complied with by him. The appellant filed a suit for permanent injunction which was decreed on November 12, 1975 by the Additional Civil Judge, Udaipur and a permanent injunction was issued against the Urban Improvement Trust restraining it from dispossessing the appellant forcibly from the plot of land in dispute, without taking proceedings in accordance with law. The appellant also filed another suit on July 6, 1970 for refund of amount of interest deposited by him on the ground that there was no contract for payment of interest. That suit was dismissed by the trial court on September 26, 1970, but on appeal learned District Judge Udaipur decreed the suit on May 18, 1976 and directed the Urban Improvement Trust to refund a sum of Rs. 4465.73 to the appellant together with interest thereon at the rate of 6 per cent per annum. It was stated at the Bar that a second appeal against the aforesaid decree for refund of the amount of interest is pending before this Court. We may also point out here that the decree passed by the learned Additional Civil Judge, Udaipur dated November 12, 1975 was also set aside on appeal and a second appeal in that matter is also said to be pending before this Court.

4. After the first suit filed by the appellant was decreed by the Additional Civil Judge, Udaipur granting a permanent injunction, the Urban Improvement Trust gave a notice to the appellant on December 29, 1975 a copy of which has been produced on the record as Ex. A/9 wherein the appellant was directed to handover possession of the plot of land in dispute to the Trust within 24 hours, failing which the appellant was informed that the Trust would take over possession of the said plot of land. As the appellant did not hand over possession, it is alleged that the Trust forcibly took over possession of the plot of land in dispute on December 13, 1975. The appellant thereupon filed a writ petition in this Court on January 4, 1976 alleging that he was unlawfully dispossessed from the plot of land in question and that the Trust may be directed to restore possession of the same back to the appellant. It was also submitted by the appellant in the writ petition that the order of cancellation of allotment dated April 8, 1970 may be declared to be illegal and ineffective. In its return, the Urban Improvement Trust admitted that it had shown an indulgence to the appellant and waived the default subject to his depositing the balance amount of sale-price together with interest due thereon, but the Trust alleged that the appellant deposited the amount of interest under protest and he did not comply with the conditions specified by the Trust in its letter dated October 13, 1969. Reference was also made to two suits about which we have already mentioned above. The learned Single Judge by this order dated February 4, 1976, after referring to the various litigations pending between the parties as also to the fact that some interpolation was alleged to have been made in the order dated October 25, 1969 (Ex.3) for delivery of possession, declined to say anything regarding the conduct of the appellant or his right in respect of the land in question as they were subject matter of litigation between the parties More over the learned Single Judge refused to give any relief to the appellant on the ground that the appellant had adequate alternative remedy available to him and as such the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution should not be invoked in such a matter.

5. The main submission which has been canvassed before us in this appeal is that even without going into the question of validity of the order of cancellation, this Court can still consider the question that the Urban Improvement Trust had no authority under the law to dispossess the appellant without affording an opportunity of hearing and it was urged that the notice Ex. A 3 dated December 29, 1975 was contrary to the principles of natural justice. Although we are reluctant to go into the question of validity of the order for cancellation dated April 8, 1970 in these proceedings, as the same question has been or can be raised in various litigations pending between the parties or even before the Urban Improvement Trust, yet it cannot be decided that the Trust cannot dispossess the appellant by force without giving him an opportunity of hearing in the matter of dispossession.

6. Learned Counsel appearing for the Trust relied upon the provisions of Section 203 of the Municipalities Act, which have also been made applicable to the Urban Improvement Trusts. Even if the matter is governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Municipalities Act, in our view it was necessary that the persons who are alleged to have made any encroachment over the land belonging to the Trust must have been afforded an opportunity of hearing before the order of dispossession was passed. In Kanhaiyalal and Anr. v. State of Rajasthan and Ors. 1977 WLN (UC) 63, A.P. Sen, Acting Chief Justice as he then was, in similar circumstances held that even assuming that the Urban Improvement Trust had the power of removal of encroachments under Section 203 of the Municipalities Act and even if it be held that such power was of administrative nature, yet the order of dispossession could not have been passed without affording the person in possession an opportunity of hearing. It was observed by the learned Judge in the aforesaid case that the body entrusted with an administrative power must act in conformity with the rules of natural justice. The same view was taken by Agrawal, J. in Chandra and Co. v. State of Rajasthan 1881, RLW 19 following the decision of their lordships of the Supreme Court in Bishandas v. State of Punjab : [1962]2SCR69 . It was held in the last mentioned Case that a Government functioning in a society governed by a constitution, which guarantees to its citizens against arbitrary invasion by the executive of peaceful possession of property, cannot be permitted to take the law into their own hands and dispossess a person by display of force callous disregard of the normal requirements of the rule of law. In Chandra and Co.'s case 1981 RLW 19, Agrawal, J. held that such a person if dispossessed without being afforded an opportunity of hearing is entitled to seek relief under Article 226 of the Constitution against the arbitrary and illegal interference with his right to remain in occupation of the disputed land. Since the validity of the order of allotment is still in dispute between the parties, the Trust could not straight away dispossess the appellant without, giving him an opportunity of hearing in the matter.

7. We therefore, allow the appeal, set aside the order passed by the learned Single Judge dated February 4, 1976 and direct the Urban Improvement Trust, Udaipur to restore the possession of plot of land in question to the appellant. The Urban Improvement Trust, Udaipur shall be free to take proceedings for dispossession of the appellant in accordance with law, after giving him an opportunity of hearing. The parties shall bear their own costs of the proceedings in this Court.


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