Baljit Singh Vs.
Improvement Trust Ludhiana & ANR.  INSC 8 (6 January 2009)
JURISDICTION Civil Appeal No. 9 of 2009 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition
(Civil) NO.6979 of 2006) Baljit Singh ...Appellant Improvement Trust Ludhiana
& Anr. ...Respondents
a person who is a transferee of a plot of land allotted to the transferor by
the Improvement Trust, Ludhiana, claim a right to 2 continue with such
allotment even after the same is cancelled, particularly when such transfer was
effected with the approval of the Trust, is the question for consideration in
the instant appeal.
is no dispute that on 28th October, 1982, one Smt. Shammi Verma was allotted
plot No.94-D in the Development Scheme of 256 Acres at Balmik Nagar, Ludhiana,
under Memo No.9913 dated 26th October, 1982 issued by the Improvement Trust,
Ludhiana. Although, Smt. Verma deposited the amounts which were required to be
paid against such allotment, she was informed by the respondent No.1 by its
letter dated 2nd January, 1989, that the Trust was unable to make over
possession of the plot to her. Subsequently, Smt. Verma was allotted another
plot, being No.91-B and an agreement to sell was also executed in her favour.
11th May, 1989, the appellant herein acquired the said plot No.91-B from Smt.
Verma and such transfer was also permitted by the Trust. Surprisingly, however,
three months later on 14th August, 1989, when the appellant applied for
approval of the site plan submitted by him, he came to learn that the allotment
of plot No.91-B in favour of Smt. Shammi Verma had been cancelled on the ground
that such allotment had been made by one Shri S.S. Mann, who was not competent
to make such allotment.
allegedly made various representations to the respondent Trust and also to the
Government and on consideration thereof the Trust was directed by the
Government to restore the plot in question to the appellant and consequently
the allotment in favour of Smt. Verma stood restored. It is the case of the
appellant that since the interest of Smt. Verma devolved upon him as her
approved transferee, possession of plot No.91-B ought to have been made over to
since the appellant was unable to obtain any relief from the respondents, he
filed Civil Writ Petition No.17103 of 2003 before the High Court seeking
directions upon the respondents to allot any alternative plot to the appellant
in lieu of plot No.94-D in Balmik Nagar, Ludhiana. While disposing of the writ
petition on 31st October, 2003, the High Court directed the respondents to pass
an appropriate speaking order on the appellant's representation within four
months from the date of the order upon production of a certified copy thereof.
Pursuant to the said directions, the Chairman of the Trust heard the appellant
on 11th February, 2004, but rejected his claim on the ground that although the
plot in question had been allotted to Smt. Shammi Verma as a Local Displaced
Person, she was not the owner of any portion of the land acquired by the Trust
and was not a Displaced Person, which was the eligibility criteria for coming
under 5 the Scheme. Even the subsequent change in the allotment was effected
by an officer who was neither authorized nor entitled to do so.
decision of the Chairman of the Trust was challenged by the appellant in Writ
Petition No.11844 of 2004, wherein various reliefs were prayed for and in
particular for restoration of plot No.91-B, Rajguru Nagar, Ludhiana. On being
served with notice, the respondents herein filed their written statement on 23rd
December, 2005, claiming that since the predecessor-in-interest of the
appellant was ineligible for allotment of the plot in her name, the appellant
could not get a better right than she enjoyed in respect of plot No.91-B
subsequently offered to her in lieu of plot No.94-D.
High Court dismissed the writ petition by holding that the appellant did not
have any independent right in the plot and as a transferee his fortunes
depended on the fortunes of the transferor. The High Court having dismissed the
civil writ petition, any claim made by the appellant either over plot No.94-D
or plot No.94-B also stood rejected.
However, according to
the appellant, since a mistake had been committed by the respondents themselves
at the initial stage and various transactions had already taken place in
respect of the plot in question, the cancellation of the allotment which stood
transferred to the appellant with the permission of the Trust and its
authorities, was unacceptable. However, as indicated hereinbefore, the said
argument did not find favour with the High Court, which dismissed the writ
petition, which has given rise to the present appeal.
behalf of the appellant it was urged that the transfer effected in his favour
with the approval of the Trust created an interest in 7 the plot in his favour
which was independent of and not dependent on the allotment made in favour of
Smt. Shammi Verma. It was urged that after the transfer was effected in his
name on 11th May, 1989, a fresh right accrued in the appellant's favour and
Smt. Verma ceased to have any interest in the plot thereafter and, in any
event, she had no subsisting right in the plot on 14th August, 1989, when the
allotment was cancelled.
was also urged that the amounts deposited for allotment of the plot had yet to
be refunded and if the respondents were determined to re-allot the plot on
fresh terms, the appellant was willing to pay any additional amount that might
be imposed to retain the plot or even for a fresh allotment in his name, in the
special facts of the case.
submissions made on behalf of the appellant were vehemently opposed on behalf
of the 8 respondents and on their behalf it was maintained that since the
predecessor-in- interest of the appellant, Smt. Shammi Verma, was not eligible
for allotment of any plot under the Scheme, the allotment had been rightly
terminated and the appellant could not derive any right thereto on account of
the transfer made in his favour. According to the respondents, the appellant
would have to sink or swim with the fortunes of his transferor as no
independent right had been acquired by him by virtue of such transfer.
considered the submissions made on behalf of the respective parties and the
materials on record, we are unable to accept the case as made out on behalf of
the appellant. We agree with the Chairman of the Trust that notwithstanding the
fact that the transfer of the plot in favour of the appellant had been duly
approved by the Trust, the appellant did not acquire any independent right in
the plot and he only acquired whatever rights the transferor or the original
allottee had therein. The position may have been different if after the
transfer a fresh allotment had been made in favour of the appellant. The defect
in the allotment made in Smt. Shammi Verma's favour, on account of her
ineligibility to avail of the Scheme for rehabilitation of Locally Displaced
Persons, was inherited by the appellant as her transferee. The view taken by
the Chairman of the Trust in his order dated 11th February, 2004 and affirmed
by the High Court, cannot be faulted. However, since the transfer was affected
in the appellant's favour with the approval of the Trust before the allotment
was cancelled, the appellant's case could have been treated differently in the
special facts thereof. While the allotment of the plot was made in Smt. Verma's
favour on 28th October, 1982, it was after almost seven years that the order of
cancellation of such allotment was 10 passed by the Trust, during which period
not only had the allotment been altered from one plot to another plot, but even
the transfer in favour of the appellant had taken place.
accordingly, dispose of the appeal by modifying the judgment and order of the
High Court dated 30th January, 2006, and the order of the Chairman, Improvement
Trust, Ludhiana dated 11th February, 2004, and directing the said Chairman to
reconsider the case of the appellant in the light of the submissions made on
his behalf that he was willing to pay such additional amount as may be levied
for a fresh allotment of the plot in question in his favour, after giving the
appellant a reasonable opportunity of being heard, in the event the said plot
has not been re-allotted in the meantime. Such consideration must be completed
by the Chairman of the Trust within two months from the date of communication
of this order and in the event the plot in question has not been re- allotted,
the same shall not be re-allotted until a decision is arrived at in terms of
the directions given in this order.
the facts of the case, the parties will bear their own costs.