Punjab Urban Planning & Dev. Authority Vs. Gurmail Singh & Ors  INSC 527
(27 March 2008)
R V Raveendran & P. Sathasivam Non Reportable SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (Civil) NO.2426 OF 2007
The petitioner (Punjab Urban Planning & Development Authority 'PUPDA'
for short) allotted Site No.SCF 83 in Mohali in favour of the respondents, on
acceptance of their bid of Rs.15,10,000/- for the said site at an auction held
on 10th August, 1994. The letter of allotment dated 29.5.1995 took note of payment
of Rs.3,77,500/- (payment of 25% of the price) and permitted the respondents to
pay the balance of Rs.1132500/- towards price and Rs.283125/- towards interest
upto 10.8.1998 at 10% per annum, in four equated instalments on 10.8.1995,
10.8.1996, 10.8.1997 and 10.8.1998. The letter of allotment required PUPDA to
deliver the possession of the site to the allottee within three months.
2. The Estate Officer of PUPDA made an order dated 21.7.1997 resuming the
site on the ground that the respondents had failed to pay the instalments. The
respondents challenged the order of resumption before the Appellate Authority
contending that they could not pay the instalments, as PUPDA had not delivered
possession of the site. To show their bona fides they sought the permission of
the Appellate authority to deposit Rs.1415625/- being the balance of price and
interest, in terms of the letter of allotment. On such permission being
granted, the respondents deposited the said amount on 16.8.2001. The Appellate
Authority by order dated 13.12.2001 set aside the resumption order and restored
the allotment of the site in favour of the respondents and directed the Estate
Officer to inform them about the amount of interest/penalty payable in respect
of the delayed payments.
3. The respondents challenged the order of Appellate Authority in revision.
The Revisional Authority by order dated 26.8.2003 held that the respondents
were not liable to pay any interest/penalty for the period when possession was
not delivered. He directed the Estate Officer to deliver the site to the
respondent and reschedule the instalments from the date when possession was
handed over. In pursuance of the said order, possession was delivered to the
respondents on 6.1.2004. The said order was belatedly challenged by the PUPDA
before the High Court in the year 2006. The High Court has rejected the writ
petition as having no merit.
4. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the resumption order
was quashed on a wrong assumption that the site in question was under some
dispute with a Gurudwara and PUPDA was not in a position to deliver the site as
per letter of allotment; that the dispute with the Gurudwara was sorted out
prior to the auction sale and as on the date of the auction sale and the due
date for delivery of possession, there was no pending dispute and no impediment
for delivery and the non-delivery was only on account of respondents failing to
take possession; and that long thereafter there was some encroachment which was
solely on account of respondents not taking possession and committing breach;
and that therefore there was no infirmity in the order for resumption.
5. We find no merit in the contention of the petitioner. The appellate
authority had also set aside the cancellation of allotment and had directed
restoration of the site to the respondents and that order was not challenged by
PUPDA and attained finality. It was respondents who challenged the order of the
appellate authority before the revisional authority, being aggrieved by the direction
for payment of interest and penalty. We do not propose to interfere with the
concurrent finding of the appellate authority, revisional authority and the
High Court directing restoration of the site to the respondents.
6. Learned counsel for the petitioner next contended that the authority is
entitled to interest at 10% P.A. and penalty from 11.8.1998 up to the date of
payment. It was submitted that interest was paid only up to 10.9.1998 and
interest for the balance period that is 11.8.1998 to 16.8.2001 (date of
payment) was not paid. On the other hand learned counsel for the respondents
submitted that the respondents had paid the full price as also Rs.2,83,125/-
towards interest on 16.8.2001 itself, even though the possession of the site
was delivered to them only on 6.1.2004; and that as per the order of the
revisional authority, affirmed by the High Court, the respondents are not
liable to pay interest or penalty for the period during which possession was
not handed over to them, and as possession was delivered only on 6.1.2004 long
after full payment on 16.8.2001, PUPDA was itself liable to refund the amount
paid by Respondents towards the interest and also pay interest to respondents
on the value of the site from 16.8.2001 to 6.1.2004. But the learned counsel
for respondents submitted on instructions, that the respondents were not
interested in seeking refund of any amount from PUPDA and were only interested
in the long pending issue being closed.
7. In view of the above, it is unnecessary to examine the claim regarding
interest. The petition is disposed of by recording the submission of the
respondents that they will not press for refund of any part of amount paid
towards interest or otherwise from PUPDA. It is needless to say that PUPDA
shall convey the allotted site to the respondents on fulfillment of the
required formalities. Parties to bear respective costs.