Vs. Chandigarh Administration & Ors  Insc
17 (23 January 2003)
Kumar & H.K.Sema.
out of S.L.P. No.15555 of 2002) Brijesh Kumar, J.
appellant is aggrieved by the order passed by the Division Bench of the Punjab
and Haryana High Court, dismissing the writ petition preferred by the appellant
and refusing to interfere with the order passed in revision by the Advisor to
the Administrator, upholding the demand of the interest from the appellant @
24% on the amount of delayed payment of instalments.
the appellant with others purchased SCO Site No.130-131 Sector 34, City Centre,
Chandigarh in an auction held on 22.2.1987 on leasehold basis at a premium of
the requirement the appellant paid 25% of the amount of premium. In pursuance
thereof a letter of allotment was issued in favour of the appellant on
13.4.1987. The balance amount of 75% of the premium was required to be paid in instalments
by the year 1990. It was not paid and a dispute arose.
objection of the appellant has been that necessary development of the area was
not done nor the amenities as required were being provided. Ultimately, after
some opportunities were provided to him to make the payment of the amount, the
lease in favour of the appellant was cancelled by the Estate Officer by order
dated 7.3.1989. Interest @24% was levied as per amended sub-rule (3) of Rule 12
of the Chandigarh Leasehold of Sites and Buildings Rules, 1973. Earlier,
namely, prior to 1993 the rate of interest on the delayed payment of instatlment
was @ 12%.
appears that a penalty to the extent of 10% was also imposed.
appellant challenged the order by filing an appeal before the Chief
Administrator, Chandigarh sometime in 1992. It came to be
decided on 12.9.2001. The lease was restored subject to the appellant clearing
all the outstanding dues by December 31, 2001.
appellant preferred a revision petition 202 of 2001 before the Advisor to the
Administrator, Chandigarh objecting to levy of interest @24%.
The revisional authority upheld the demand of interest @24%. It however, found
that levy of penalty @10% was exhorbitant since the interest @ 24% was being
charged. Hence, the penalty was reduced to 1% only. The appellant was directed
to deposit the amount by 31.3.2002. The review petition preferred by the
appellant was also rejected but it appears that in the meantime in compliance
with the orders passed by the authorities, the appellant had been depositing
the amounts due from time to time.
however, also preferred a writ petition challenging the order passed by the revisional
authority. As indicated earlier, the High Court refused to interfere in the
matter of charging interest @24%.
counsel for the appellant has vehemently urged that the rate of interest on
delayed payment of instalments could be only @12% as per the conditions of the
transaction as prevailing in 1987. It is also submitted that all the amount due
has been deposited including the amount of interest @12%. Learned counsel
appearing for the respondent submits that the appellant had been withholding
the payment of the substantial amount of premium for a sufficiently long time
on flimsy grounds. He had been enjoying the property merely on payment of 25%
of the premium amount. The appellant has also constructed a building complex
over the land and he has been earning out of it by way of income from rent. It
is submitted that despite repeated opportunities provided to the appellant he
failed to make the deposits. The fact that the appellant has raised the
construction and has rental income out of the same is not denied. The
submission of the appellant, however, is that the appellant is not at fault as
the proceedings initiated by him in the matter took a long time to finalise.
to the terms governing the transaction the full payment should have been made
by the year 1990. These payments have, however, been made in instalments during
2001- 02. The possession of the property remained with the appellant
throughout. The litigation which the appellant started though has taken a long
time but the fact remains that on deposit of 1/4th of the amount of the premium
he had throughout been enjoying the property for more than a decade. The rate
of interest was in the meantime raised to 24% on the delayed payment of instalments.
counsel for the respondent has drawn our attention to an order of this Court
dated 12.1.2000 passed by a bench of three learned Judges in the matter of M/s.Patiala
Inds.Investment Co. Pvt. Ltd. v. Union
of India & Anr. From a perusal of the order it transpires that as per the
amended rule, interest @ 24% was levied on delayed payment which was upheld by
the High Court. It also appears that in view of the concession made by the learned
Solicitor General the enhanced rate of interest at 24% was held to be
chargeable only with effect from 22.7.1993 and not for the period prior to the
said date. This Court thus refused to interfere in the matter otherwise.
Learned counsel appearing for the respondents submit that in the present case
too the interest @24% is being charged only with effect from the date of
amendment in the rule and not for the period prior to the amendment enhancing
the rate of interest. It is, therefore, submitted that there would be no
occasion to interfere in the order passed by the revisional authority as also
upheld by the High Court in the matter of charging interest @ 24%.
vehemently urged that the appeal is simply deserves to be dismissed without any
indulgence to be shown to the appellant providing any time to deposit the
balance amount on account of interest @ 24%, as prayed.
all the facts and circumstances of the case as indicated above, we do not think
that it is a case in which any interference is called for in the matter. But we
feel that since total amount of premium as well as the amount of interest @12%
stands deposited as stated on behalf of the appellant, it would not be just and
appropriate that the appellant be disallowed the opportunity of depositing the
difference in amount on account of enhanced rate of interest i.e. @ 24%.
result, we dismiss the appeal with costs but allow the appellant six weeks time
to deposit the balance amount of difference in interest @24% as per demand of