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Delhi High CourtIndian Cases

St. Thomas Educational Society (Regd.) vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Ors. on 22 May 2004

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Delhi High Court
St. Thomas Educational Society (Regd.) vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Ors. on 22 May, 2004
Equivalent citations: 112(2004)DLT795, 2004(76)DRJ54
Author: Mukul Mudgal
Bench: Mukul Mudgal
JUDGMENT

Mukul Mudgal, J.

1. Rule.

2. With consent of Counsel for the parties, the petition is taken up for final hearing.

3. The petitioner herein claims to be a registered educational society which was allotted land measuring about 4980 sq. yds. bearing Khasra Nos. 420 and 532 situated at village Neb Sarai, New Delhi by respondent No. 4 on behalf of respondent Nos. 2 and 3. The petitioner’s case is that they had been running a educational institution in the said premises and after inspection by CBSE and Directorate of Education-respondent No. 2, the school was recognised and affiliated by respondent No. 2 and CBSE and was also upgraded. The petitioner asserts that it was complying with all the terms and conditions of the lease agreement and all of a sudden on 29.12.2000, the said lease was cancelled without issuing any show cause notice. It is also stated that apart from the petitioner not having been issued any show cause notice, the impugned order did not also refer to any reason of any kind for cancellation of the lease. The relevant Clause 8 of the lease agreement which forms the basis of impugned action is extracted herein. It reads as under:

“That the Lesser reserves the right to cancel the lease at any time if the land is required for any other public purpose or on account of breach of any of the terms and conditions of the lease and St. Mary’s Public School i.e. lessee will have to surrender the possession peacefully, in that case, the lessee will not be entitled to any concession. In case of any dispute the matter will be referred to the Development Commissioner, Delhi and his decision will be final and binding on both parties i.e. the Lesser and the lessee.”
4. The relevant paragraph in the impugned order is para 6 which reads as under:

Now, that the Lt. Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi having examined the issue of allotment of kind on lease to the said school in exercise of powers conferred on him under the Delhi Panchayat Raj Act, 1954 (3 of 1955) and rules framed there under, has ordered that the allotment be cancelled by invoking Clause 8 of the allotment order dated the 27th June, 2000 and the amount of Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakhs only), collected as lease money and ground rent be returned to the said school (lessee) forthwith.”
5. The stand now taken by the respondents is that original allotment of the land was contrary to the policy of the Lt. Governor, Government of NCT of Delhi and the land was allotted by an Authority not authorised to do so. It was also stated that no Gaon Sabha land could be allotted to any private party.

6. The learned Counsel for the petitioner Mr. Rajan Saluja, has relied upon a judgment of the learned Single Judge in Autoyard (Petrol Pump) and Ors. v. Lt. Governor of Delhi and Ors., (C.W.P. No. 3692/2001) dated 27th February, 2003 wherein in similar circumstances a lease for petrol pump was cancelled by the respondents without issuing any show cause notice to the petitioner. The relevant portion of the judgment of the learned Single Judge reads as follows:

“It was the argument of the learned Counsel for the petitioner as noted above that it was a policy matter not to grant lease in such circumstances. However, lease is not cancelled on the ground that was wrong by given in the first instance. If this was the reason for cancellation of the lease there should have been specific mention thereof in the impugned order. Moreover, if this is the ground projected by the respondents, it was all more necessary for the respondents. To comply with principles of natural justice by giving show cause notice to the petitioner and making out a case that lease granted to the petitioner was erroneous or impossible. It is stated at the cost of repetition that the grounds mentioned is not covered by Clause 12 and therefore on the alleged ground on which cancellation is tried to be justified now mandated the respondents to observe the principles of natural justice before taking such action. I may hasten to add here that Mr. Sethi had argued that even the purported ground of public policy was a bogey raised by the respondent and the decision of the L.G, extracted above taken in the year 2000 did not apply to the petitioner case as lease had been granted much earlier and further as per the Rule 178 of Delhi Panchayat Raj Rules, no such sanction of L.G. was required because sanction was needed only when the lease is granted for a term exceeding 30 years. However it is not necessary for me to go into this aspect in these proceedings.”
7. The reasons cited for cancellation of allotment though not found in the impugned order but in the counter-affidavit are also found reflected in similar circumstance in the above judgment. Ms. Gita Luthra, the learned Counsel who appears on behalf of respondents submitted in addition that it was a part of land scam and a vigilance inquiry was consequently initiated.

8.1 am in entire agreement with the view taken by the learned Single Judge in Autoyard’s case (supra), that the action impugned in the present case could not have been taken without issuing any show cause notice so as to comply with principles of natural justice. I am in entire agreement with the view taken by the learned Single Judge in the above judgment. No show cause notice was issued to the petitioner in the present case also and the stand of respondents that allotment of the land was in violation of any Government policy was not reflected in the impugned order. The plea that the allotment was the part of a land scam was not even part of the counter affidavit and therefore cannot sustain the impugned order.

9. Accordingly, a writ of mandamus will issue, quashing and setting aside the order dated 29.12.2000 (Annexure A-3). However, it will be open to the respondents to act in accordance with law to take any further action as may be available to it.