Delhi Development Authority Vs. Skipper
Construction & Anr  INSC 759 (29 November 1995)
Reddy, B.P. (J) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J) Majmudar S.B. (J)
1996 AIR 715 1996 SCC (1) 272 JT 1995 (8) 352 1995 SCALE (6)648
O R D
Order dated November 29, 1994, a Bench of this Court (P.B. Sawant, S. Mohan,
JJ. and one of us, B.P. Jeevan Reddy, J.) requested Mr. Justice O. Chinnappa
Reddy, former Judge of this Court "to investigate into the conduct of the
officials of the D.D.A. including its ex-officio Chairman at the relevant time,
in handing over the possession of the suit-land in M/s. Skipper Construction Pvt.Ltd.
before receiving the auction amount in full and also in conniving at the
construction thereon as well as at the advertisements given by it for booking
the premises in the building in question." The learned Judge was also
asked to "look into the legality and property of the order dt. 4.10.1988
passed by the then ex-officio Chairman of the D.D.A. and the directions given
by the Central Government under Section 41 of the Delhi Development Authority
Act." The context in which the said Order was made is explained in the
judgment dated January
25, 1995 rendered by
the said Bench. Pursuant to the said request, Mr. Justice Chinnappa Reddy held
an enquiry and has submitted his report dated July 7, 1995.
receipt of the report, notice was given to the parties before us to assist us
in the matter of passing appropriate orders on the basis of the said report. In
particular, we requested Sri Raju Ramachandran, Advocate, to assist us in
formulating the appropriate directions in the matter. Copies of the report were
made available to all the learned counsel concerned herein. We heard them on November 17, 1995.
59 of the Report contains a summary of the conclusions arrived at by the
learned Judge. So far as the period January, 1981 to March, 1982 is concerned,
the learned Judge found Sri S.C. Dikshit, Director (C.L.) and Sri V.S. Ailawadi,
Vice-Chairman, responsible for several irregularities. The learned Judge stated
that both of them sacrificed the interest of D.D.A. and went on recommending
and granting extensions for which there was absolutely no justification. The
learned Judge also found that such repeated extensions were in violation of the
terms and conditions of auction and unauthorised by any statutory power or
resolution of the D.D.A. So far as the period March, 1982 to May, 1982 is
concerned, the learned Judge found that Sri K.S.Baidwan, Secretary to the Lt.
Governor, Sri V.S. Ailawadi, Vice-Chairman and Sri Virender Nath, Commissioner
colluded together and stalled the implementation of the order of the Lt.
Governor, Sri S.L. Khurana directing cancellation of the bid and thereby
facilitated M/s. Skipper Construction Company to obtain an order of stay from
the Civil Court. The learned Judge further found
that though the D.D.A. did adopt a resolution as far back as May 14, 1984
accepting the recommendations of the Committee (appointed by it) devising a
scheme for recovering the balance amount due from Skipper in instalments in
view of the subsequent developments, Sri R.S. Sethi, Commissioner (Lands)
designedly delayed the execution of the agreement thereby enabling Skipper to
dupe the innocent members of the public by selling the same space in the
proposed building to more than one person. The learned Judge also found that
Sri Prem Kumar, Vice-Chairman, was a silent accessory to the role played by Sri
Sethi. The learned Judge held that the process of recovery of the balance bid
amount was stalled in the first instance by repeated extensions granted by Sri Ailawadi
and Sri Dikshit and next by the actions of S/Sri Ailwadi, Baidwan and Virender Nath
which facilitated Skipper to obtain stay from the Court. The learned Judge
recorded further that the process of recovery was stalled finally "by the
turn about taken by Sri H.L. Kapur, Lt. Governor and Sri Om Kumar,
Vice-Chairman who twisted the issue by linking the question of payment with and
subjecting the same to the sanctioning of the building plans by the order
embodied in the letter dated October 14, 1988". The learned Judge characterised
the action of Sri H.L.Kapur and Sri Om Kumar as unjustified, uncalled for and
in violation of the original terms and conditions of auction as well as the
stipulations contained in the agreement, licence deed and the bank guarantee.
The said action was found to be detrimental to the interests of the D.D.A.
not mentioned in the summary, we find that the learned Judge has also reported
against Sri K.S. Bains, Vice-Chairman in the body of the Report. He has found
him responsible for the failure to encash the bank guarantee furnished by
Skipper immediately, atleast in regard to the payment of third and fourth instalments.
same time, however, we must take note of a particular circumstance mentioned in
the Report. In February, 1982, the C.B.I. had received information regarding
alleged favours shown by the D.D.A. authorities to Skipper. They prepared a
note and forwarded it to the Lt. Governor, Sri S.L. Khurana, for appropriate
action. The Lt. Governor opined that the matter required deeper probe and
handed over the case to C.B.I. for further enquiries and necessary action. His
letter was registered as a F.I.R. by the C.B.I. against Sri V.S.Ailawadi,
Vice-Chairman, Sri K.L.Bhatia, Commissioner (Lands), Sri S.C. Dikshit, Director
(C.L.) and Sri Jagdish Chander, Programme Supervisor. The C.B.I. examined
several officers of D.D.A. during the course of investigations and came to the
conclusion finally that though there were several irregularities, no malafides
can be attributed to any of the said officers. The file was thereupon closed.
In its Report, the C.B.I. had also made certain recommendations including the
may be pointed out that the prevailing practice in the D.D.A. to grant frequent
extensions to private parties to enable them to deposit the premium amount,
appears to be arbitrary, and chances cannot be ruled out, when the private
parties can offer heavy amount as illegal gratification to the persons in
Authority only to allow them extension against the terms and conditions of the
auction sale. In order to prevent the scope of malpractice, it is also proposed
that the DDA should either delete the conditions in the auction sale notice
whereby time limit is prescribed for depositing the balance premium amount
within 90 days or some effective checks should be imposed to curb the practice
of unlimited discretion for allowing extension of time by the DDA officers to
the private parties.
necessary to point out that the enquiry by C.B.I. was confined to the period upto
March, 1982 only.
going through the Report of Justice Chinnappa Reddy, we find that the learned
Judge has taken great pains and extreme care in coming to the conclusions which
he did. The conclusions arrived at by the learned Judge are entitled to great
weight and constitute, in our opinion, sufficient basis for initiating
disciplinary action against the officers concerned. The Report points out how the
several officers of the D.D.A. flouted the orders of the Lt.
acted against the interest of D.D.A. and how they, by their several acts,
helped Skipper in achieving its nefarious design to defraud both the D.D.A. and
the innocent members of the public. It is a different matter that ultimately
Skipper's designs came to nought so far as D.D.A.is concerned but that was only
because of this Court's orders. So far as the members of the public are
concerned, they lost heavily because they believed in and acted upon the
several advertisements and proclamations made by Skipper. The members of the
public, it appears, have lost more than Rs. 20 to 30 crores in the bargain.
This could not have happened but for the active connivance and collusion of
some of the officers of the D.D.a. The interest of justice demand that the
officers found indulging in such acts be proceeded against and dealt with
sternly so that it may serve as a lesson to others. A democratic Government
does not mean a lax Government. The rules of procedure and/or principles of
natural justice are not meant to enable the guilty to delay and defeat the just
retribution. The wheels of justice may appear to grind slowly but it is the
duty of all of us to ensure that they do grind steadily and grind well and truely.
The justice system cannot be allowed to become soft, supine and spineless.
Hence, the following directions with respect to each of the officers concerned:
Sri V.S. Ailawadi, I.A.S.: We are told that he has retired recently from the post
of Additional Secretary, Ministry of Welfare, Government of India, on May 31,
Government of India (Department of Personnel) is directed to institute
appropriate disciplinary proceedings against him for the irregularities and
illegalities committed by him as Vice-Chairman of the D.D.A. as borne out by
the Report of Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy and the material gathered by the
learned Judge in his enquiry. Since Sri Ailawadi has retired from service, it
is obvious that the proceedings taken against him will be directed against his
pension and other terminal benefits in accordance with the rules.
Sri K.S.Baidwan, I.A.S.: He is stated to be holding the post of the Home
Secretary in the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi at present.
Disciplinary action shall be taken against him by the Government of India
(Department of Personnel) for imposing a major penalty for the irregularities
and illegalities committed by him as Secretary to the Lt. Governor. The Report
of and the material gathered by Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy shall constitute the
basis for taking such action.
Sri Virender nath, I.A.S.: He is stated to be holding the post of Commissioner
and Secretary of Tourism and Mines, Government of Haryana, Chandigarh at present. For the irregularities
committed by him as the Commissioner (Lands), D.D.A., disciplinary proceedings
for imposing major punishment shall be taken against him by the Government of
India (Department of Personnel). The Report of and the material gathered by Justice
O. Chinnappa Reddy shall constitute the basis for taking such action.
Sri R.S. Sethi, I.A.S.: He is stated to be holding the post of Joint Secretary
in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India at present. In respect of
irregularities committed by him as the Commissioner (Lands), D.D.A., Government
of India (Department of Personnel) shall take disciplinary proceedings against
him for imposing a major penalty. The Report of and the material gathered by
Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy shall constitute the basis for taking such action.
Sri Om Kumar, I.A.S.: He is stated to be holding the post of Joint Secretary
(Ordinance) in the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. It is brought to
our notice that he was brought to the D.D.A. as Vice-Chairman to set right the
mess which the D.D.A. had become under Sri Prem Kumar, Vice-Chairman. We take
note of the fact that by that time the matter relating to sale of the said plot
to Skipper had become sufficiently complicated. Having regard to these facts, we
direct that disciplinary proceedings for a minor penalty be taken by the
Government of India (Department of Personnel) against him for the
irregularities committed by him as the Vice-Chairman of the D.D.A. The Report
of and the material gathered by Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy shall constitute the
basis for taking such action.
are not directing any disciplinary proceedings against Sri S.C. Dikshit in view
of the Report of the C.B.I.mentioned supra. It may be noticed that Sri S.C. Dikshit's
role is referred to by Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy only for the period upto
March, 1982 and the Report of the C.B.I.covers this period.
is directed that no court or authority shall be competent to interdict or
otherwise interfere with the disciplinary or other proceedings that may be
taken against the aforesaid authorities pursuant to this Order. Any further
directions necessary in that behalf can be sought for from this Court. The
disciplinary proceedings shall be commenced within three months from this date
and shall be concluded within one year.
of the report of Sri Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy along with a copy of the
evidence/material gathered by the learned Judge shall be sent to the Government
of India (Department of Personnel). The cost of making copies shall be paid by
the D.D.A. on a bill being served upon its counsel.
Government of India (Department of Personnel) shall submit a report of the
progress of the disciplinary proceedings at intervals of every three months to
of Rs.5,000/- shall be paid by the D.D.A. to Sri Raju Ramachandran, Advocate,
towards his fee in this matter.
will be separately passed with respect to the recommendations made by Justice Chinnappa
Reddy with regard to the working of the D.D.A.