Maharashtra & Ors. Vs. M/S. Narmada Estates Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.  INSC
165 (15 January 2010)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 474 OF
2010 [Arising out of SLP [C] No.7290 of 2006] State of Maharashtra & Ors.
... Appellants M/s. Narmada Estates Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. ... Respondents
O R D E R
Leave granted. Heard learned counsel.
First respondent claims to be the owner of property bearing
No.1300-1303, Village Yerawada, Pune District.
respondent claims that the said property bearing Nos.1300-1303 as also
adjoining property bearing Nos.1304-1305 were requisitioned by the State
Government from the then owners on 20.9.1942. Thereafter the properties were
allotted and handed over to Yerawada Mental Hospital on 1.4.1945.
The Yerawada Mental Hospital found the area insufficient and
shifted to a larger premises in or about 1990. Ever since then, property
bearing No.1300-1303 is not in use. In fact the state government
de-requisitioned and surrendered back the adjoining premises No.1304-1305 2 to
its owners. On 27.2.1994, the first respondent purchased premises No.1300-1303
from the previous owners.
respondent filed W.P.No.2310/1996 praying for a direction to the state
government to derequisition the said property. However, the said writ petition
was withdrawn on 23.7.1996 with liberty to file a suit.
the first respondent filed a civil suit (No.40 of 1997) in the Court of Small
Causes Court, Pune, for possession against (i) the State Government, (ii) Dy.
of Health Services, (iii) Yerawada Mental Hospital, and (iv) the Collector of
Pune. The legal heirs of previous owners were also impleaded as defendants 5(a)
to (f) and 6(a) to (e). The said suit is still pending.
On 13.2.2004, the first respondent filed another writ petition (WP
No.2206/2004) seeking a direction to the appellants to delivery back possession
of property bearing Nos.1300 to 1303. There was however no prayer for
derequisitioning the property. A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court
allowed the said writ petition by the impugned order dated 17.2.2005 directing
the appellants herein to issue an order of derequisition on or before 3.12.2005
and hand over possession of the property to the first respondent. The said
order is challenged in this appeal by special leave.
The Appellants contend that the proceedings for eviction initiated
by the first respondent are still pending and therefore, a writ petition for
possession was not maintainable. It is submitted that having regard to Section
27 of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, on the date of coming into force
of the Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging Houses Rates Control, Bombay Land
Requisition and Bombay Government Premises (Eviction) Amendment Act, 1996, that
is on 7.12.1996, the State Government or the Government allottee (in cases
where the requisitioned premises was allotted to someone) was deemed to have
become the tenant of the landlord for the purposes of the Rent Control Act and
therefore, the remedy of the owners of such property was to seek eviction under
the Rent Control Act; and that in the absence of any prayer in the writ
petition for derequisition of the property, and the withdrawal of the earlier
writ petition for derequisition, the High Court could not have directed
derequisition nor issue a consequential direction for delivery of the requisitioned
The first respondent on the other hand contended that the premises
is not being put to any use from 1990 and therefore, there was no justification
for the appellants to continue in possession; that on account of non-occupation
and neglect, the premises has become dilapidated and some portions have even
been unauthorisedly encroached; and that in spite of these facts, the
appellants were unreasonably refusing to release and deliver back the property
to the owner. It was alleged that the adjoining premises No.1304-1305 had been
derequisitioned/released and therefore there was absolutely no justification
for not derequisitioning/ vacating the premises No.1300-1303 belonging to the
first respondent. It was also contended that Section 27 of the Rent Control Act
was inapplicable to the said property.
submitted that the prayer for possession in the writ petition necessarily
includes a prayer for de- requisition.
On a careful consideration of the averments in the writ petition
(W.P.No.2206 of 2004) and the prayers therein, we find that the impugned order
of the High Court cannot be sustained. The High Court assumed that the petition
was for derequisitioning the property and has directed derequisitioning even
though there was no prayer for derequisitioning. In the absence of such a
prayer, the appellants did not have an opportunity to meet any claim for
derequisition. The High Court did not also consider the effect of withdrawal of
earlier writ petition for derequisitioning and the pendency of the civil court
for possession. The impugned order of the 5 High Court did not also deal with
several contentions of the first respondent including the contention based on
release of premises Nos.1304-1305, presumably because it was allowing the writ
petition. There is a need for dealing with those contentions also. The impugned
order therefore calls for interference.
In view of the above, we allow this appeal, set aside the impugned
order dated 17.2.2005 and consequently writ petition will stand restored to
file of the High Court. The High Court may grant an opportunity to the parties
to amend their pleadings, if necessary, and then decide the matter in
accordance with law. Having regard to the fact that the matter relates to a
requisition made in 1942 and the submission that from 1990, the property has
not been used and that the property is in a very dilapidated condition, we
request the High Court to dispose of the matter expeditiously. All contentions
are left open.
___________________J.(R V Raveendran)