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Delhi High CourtIndian Cases

Chander Bose vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Ors. on 20 October 2003

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Delhi High Court
Chander Bose vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Ors. on 20 October, 2003
Equivalent citations: 2003VIIIAD(DELHI)157, 107(2003)DLT604, 2003(71)DRJ647
Author: Sanjay Kishan Kaul
Bench: Sanjay Kishan Kaul
JUDGMENT

Sanjay Kishan Kaul, J.

1. The writ petition has been filed by the petitioner seeking allotment of an alternative plot as a consequence of the acquisition of the land of Shri Bhikan, grand-father of the petitioner under the scheme for alternative allotment of plot against large scale acquisition of land.

2. The factual matrix is not in dispute to the extent that late Shri Bhikan owned an agricultural land in Shakarpur and a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was issued on 3.9.1957. Award No.1179 was issued was made on 7.8.1961. The payment of the compensation was received on 27.9.1961 by Shri Khem Chand, son of late Shri Bhikan. Shri Bhikan was survived by four sons – Ami Chand, Tek Chand, Deep Chand and Khem Chand. Shri Ami Chand died in 1962 and is survived by his son Prahlad. Shri Khem Chand, who also passed away, is survived by the present petitioner since the brothers of the petitioner have executed a Deed of Relinquishment dated 28.07.1998 in his favor.

3. The petitioner herein made an application on 15.12.1986 for allotment of the alternative plot on the basis of the authorisation received from all the land-owners. This application was rejected on 10.6.1988. The said letter states as under:

“Your case for allotment of alternative plot was put up before the Jt. Secretary (L&B) and I am directed to state that following observations had been made with regard to your case:-
1. The copy of LR-4 submitted by you is in the name of Shri Bigan which shows that he is the owner of 9.12 bigas of land and copy of mutation submitted by you is in favor of Shri Ami Chand, Deep Chand, Khem Chand, Tek Chand. The mutation done in favor of Chander Bose s/o Shri Khem Chand has not been submitted so far. Moreover, the compensation has been received by Shri Khem Chand.
2. The policy of this Deptt. with regard to allotment of alternative plot is this that land acquired for Planned Development of Delhi between 1st Jan. 1961 & 15th Nov., 1963, the application should have been received by 15th Dec., 1983. Sufficient press coverage was given regarding this decision and since our application received on 15.12.1986, the same is time-barred and even compensation has been received on 27.9.61. Therefore, we have no option but to close the case.”
4. The writ petition challenging the aforesaid letter of rejection was filed by the petitioner on 17.9.1999.

5. The defense raised by learned counsel for respondent No.1 is that there is inordinate and unexplained delay on the part of the petitioner in first making the application and thereafter in filing the present writ petition.

6. A reading of the impugned letter dated 10.6.1988 shows that in so far as the issue of delay is concerned, it has been stated that the application should have been received by 15.12.1963 and sufficient press coverage was given for the said purpose. In this behalf, learned counsel has relied upon the judgment of the learned single Judge of this court in Smt. Sundari Bala v. Lt. Governor & Ors., . In the said case also, the land of the petitioner therein was acquired and award was passed on 16.5.1961 and the petitioner received the compensation in April, 1969. The application for allotment of alternative land was filed by the petitioner in 1982. A reference has been made to the Public Notice issued by the respondents in which application from persons whose land was acquired between the period from 1.1.1961 to 15.11.1963 were called for consideration and were required to be submitted by 15.12.1963.

7. It was held that there was inordinate delay in making the application for which no explanation was forthcoming. It was also noticed that in view of the Full Bench judgment of this court in Ramanand v. Union of India, AIR 1994 Delhi 29, it has been held that there is no absolute right for allotment of such a plot but the eligible persons are liable to be considered for allotment of a plot. This is so as the party receives compensation for the acquisition of the land and the alternative plot is an additional measure of rehabilitation.

8. Learned counsel for the respondent has also relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Rajasthan & Ors. v. D.R. Laxmi & Ors., to contend that in case of delay and laches even a void order need not be set at naught if the party does not approach the court within a reasonable period of time.

9. Learned counsel for the petitioner, on the other hand, has relied upon an order of the Division Bench of this court in Civil Writ Petition 3121/1991 Smt. Kapoori Devi v. Union of India decided on 24.4.1995 wherein application after a lapse of 17 years of alternative plot was entertained. This order was relied upon in another order of the Division Bench in Jawahar Singh Vs. Union of India & Others LPA 251-252/1996 decided on 6.5.1998.

10. I have considered the submissions advanced by learned counsel for the parties.

11. A reference to the orders relied upon by learned counsel for the petitioner would show that in so far as the Smt. Kapoori Devi’s case (supra) is concerned, the same was based on a concession made on an affidavit filed by the respondent. It is also to be noticed that in the said case the application of the petitioner therein was rejected on 04.07.1991 and the said decision was impugned in the same very year. There was thus at least no delay in approaching the Court for redressal of the grievance even though there was delay in making the application from the date of receipt of compensation.

12. The order in Jawahar Singh’s case (supra) only states that the writ petition is also disposed of in terms of the order passed in Smt. Kapoori Devi’s case (supra). Not only this the award therein was made on 07.08.1996 and compensation was paid on 02.09.1996. The possession was taken over on 16.10.1996 and the writ petition was filed in the same very year. Thus there was no real delay taking the date of payment of compensation.

13. In the present case, there is initially a delay from1961 to 1986 of about 25 years in making the application. No reasons have been disclosed for the same. Similarly there is a further delay from the rejection of the application on 10.06.1988 to filing of the writ petition in 1999 of 11 years. This delay is also unexplained. The only averment made is that the petitioner was unaware of the policy. This can hardly be a ground made out for the condensation of delay in either of the two situations.

14. It is not as if in all cases of delay the application must be rejected. It is always open to an applicant to explain the delay and if the said delay is satisfactorily explained, it will not preclude the case of the petitioner from being considered for allotment. In fact this view has been taken by this Court in C.W.P. No. 4834/1999 Smt. Vidyawati Vs. DDA & Another decided on 01.09.2003. However, in the present case there is no valid reason given for the delay in making the application.

15. The petitioner has not even chosen to challenge the impugned order for a period of 11 years. In both he orders of the Division Bench relied upon by the petitioner, there was admittedly no delay in challenging the order.

16. No sufficient cause has been shown why the petitioner should not have approached this Court expeditiously.

17. There is one more aspect to be considered which is relevant for the present controversy.

18. One of the sons of Late Shri Bhikan, Shri Deep Chand, who has also given the attorney to the petitioner had independently filed a writ petition bearing CWP No. 476/1989 Deep Chand v. Lieutenant Governor. The said writ petition was dismissed on 23.02.1989 by the Division Bench with the following order :

“Admittedly the land of the petitioner was acquired in 1957 and there was no policy for allotment of alternative plots at that point of time. In any case the petitioner has filed the claim as late as in December, 1986. We find no reason to interfere. Dismissed.”
19. Thus the Division Bench has held that at the stage petitioner’s land was acquired in 1957, there was no policy for alternative plot. It has also been held the claim filed as late as in 1986 is belated and requires no interference. Thus one of the co-owners of the land who had filed an independent petition has already failed to succeed as far back as in 1989. In such a situation for the petitioner to contend that he was unaware of the policy cannot also be believed, though the same is hardly a defense to the plea of delay and laches.

20. In view of the aforesaid, I find no merit in the writ petition.

21. Dismissed.