Ritesh Tewari & ANR.
Vs. State of U.P.& Ors.  INSC 760 (21 September 2010)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.8178/2010 (Arising out of
S.L.P.(C) NO. 2786/2009) Ritesh Tewari & Anr. .. Appellants Versus State of
U.P. & Ors. ...Respondents
Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.
appeal has been preferred against the judgment and order dated 20th January,
2009, passed by the High Court of judicature at Allahabad in Civil Misc. Writ
Petition No. 45169 of 2008 by which the prayer of the appellants to quash
certain inter-departmental communications has been rejected.
Mawasi, resident of Saraivega Hemlet of village Kakratha, Tehsil and District
Agra, had two sons, namely, Sukha and Shyama. has only one son namely, Rammo.
Descendents of Sukha have been Ballo, Radhe Ram, Babu and Sohan Singh. They
were having certain land in Gata Nos. 870, 258, 192, 258/2 and 258/5 measuring
9 Bighas 14 Biswas situate in the revenue estate of Village Kakratha Pragana,
Tehsil and District Agra. The Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976
(hereinafter called `the Act 1976') came into force in the State of Uttar
Pradesh with effect from 17th of February, 1976. The aforesaid tenure holders
were subjected to the provisions of the aforesaid Act 1976. They had filed
their respective declaration as required under the Act 1976, however, the
record reveals that ex-parte assessment orders had been passed against all of
them under Section 8(4) of the Act 1976 on 30th January, 1981, 31st January,
1981, 30th March, 1981, 8th May, 1981 and 25th May, 1981, declaring an area of
land as surplus.
original tenure holders did not challenge the said assessment orders in appeal
or writ jurisdiction, thus they attained finality. It is stated that the said
tenure holders transferred the major part of land so declared as surplus with
them on 20th April, 1982 in favour of Mayur Sahkari Awas Samiti. The
authorities under the Act 1976 proceeded against those tenure holders under
Section 10 (3) publishing a Notification dated 6.7.1993 which effectuated the
deemed vesting of such land in the State. Notices under Section 10(5) were
issued on 31st March, 1993; 13th September, 1993; and 18th February, 1994,
directing the said tenure holders to hand over the possession to the statutory
authority, however, there is nothing on record to show that actual physical
possession was taken by the statutory authorities in exercise of their power
under Section 10(6) of the Act of 1976.
pleadings in this appeal reveal that certain members of Mayur Sahkari Awas
Samiti had sold their land to M/s Savy Homes (P) Ltd. who in turn further sold
the land to the present appellants vide sale deed dated 15th June, 2006.
Appellants further claim to have applied for sanction of plan for construction
of buildings and the same was accorded by the statutory authorities under the
Municipal Law. Appellants also claim to have developed the land.
Act 1976 was repealed with effect from 18th March, 1999 vide Urban Land
(Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act, 1999 (hereinafter called the Act 1999).
The appellants apprehended that they could be dispossessed by the authorities
in view of certain inter-departmental communications contained in letters dated
30th June, 2008 and 18th July, 2008, and thus, preferred Civil Miscellaneous
Writ Petition No. 45169 of 2008 before the High Court of Judicature at
Allahabad for quashing of the same and for a direction restraining the respondents
to interfere with the actual and physical possession of the land of the
appellants. The said writ petition has been dismissed by the impugned judgment
and order dated 20th January, 2009. Hence, this appeal.
Rival claims of the
Jayant Bhushan, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants, has
submitted that the authorities under the Act 1976 have never exercised the
power under Section 10(6) of the Act 1976 and, thus, possession of the land in
dispute had never been taken by the State and after commencement of the Act
1999, the proceedings stood abated. Therefore, the question of interference
with the land in dispute does not arise. The High Court erred in taking into
consideration the locus-standi of the appellants and holding that the transfer
in favour of the appellants was consequential to the void transaction in favour
of Mayur Sahkari Awas Samiti. Hence, the appeal deserves to be allowed.
the contrary, Shri S.R. Singh, learned senior counsel appearing for the
respondents, has vehemently opposed the appeal contending that once the
assessment had been made under Section 8(4) of the Act 1976, against the
original tenure holders, the sale in favour of Mayur Sahkari Awas Samiti was
void. Further, the transfer in favour of M/s Savy Homes (P) Ltd. and the
subsequent transfer in favour of the appellants being consequential remained
inexecutable and unenforceable, thus, a nullity. Once an order in inception is
bad, it cannot have sanctity at a subsequent stage by other subsequent
orders/developments. The original tenure holders are nowhere involved and none
of them has been impleaded in these proceedings. No evidence has been placed on
record to show that the sale deed in favour of Mayur Sahkari Awas Samiti was
genuine. More so, the writ petition was filed for quashing the
inter-departmental communications, thus, the writ petition itself was not
maintainable. The appellants had never received any show cause notice from the
statutory authorities. No proceedings have ever been initiated against them or
their predecessors-in- interest. The appeal lacks merit and is liable to be
have considered the rival submissions made by the learned counsel for the
parties and perused the record.
Case on merits:
appellants had not approached the High Court for quashing an order passed by
the authority under the Act 1976. The relevant reliefs claimed by the
appellants-writ petitioners have been as under :
"(i) to issue a
suitable writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus directing the
respondents not to interfere in the actual physical peaceful possession and
construction of the petitioners' multi storied building known as `Ganpat Green
Apartment' situated at Khasra Plot No. 258, Village Kakraitha, Tehsil Sadar,
(ii) To issue a
suitable writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari and to quash the
directions contained in the letters dated 30th June, 2008 and 18th July, 2008
(Annexures 19 & 20 to the writ petition).
(iii) To issue
suitable writ, order or direction constituting an enquiry committee to enquire
into the role of and to fix responsibility on the erring respondents for the
illegal and undue harassment of the petitioners in respect of the construction
in question as also for the publication of the press reports dated 26.08.2008
(Annexure 21 to the writ petition) damaging irredeemably the business,
reputation as well as goodwill of the petitioners and to direct such authority
found responsible for the said illegal acts to compensate the petitioners for
the aforesaid damage caused to their business, reputation and goodwill."
letters referred to hereinabove are part of the record. The said letters are
communications from the Deputy Collector (Sadar), Agra to Additional District
Collector, (A), Prescribed Authority, Urban Land, Agra dated 30th June, 2008;
and from Additional District Collector, (A), Prescribed Authority, Urban Land,
Agra to Secretary, Agra Development Authority dated 18th July, 2008.
We fail to understand
as to how the contents of such a communication between two officers of the
departments of the government can be the subject matter of the writ petition.
The appellants could not have approached the High Court for the aforesaid
relief sought by them. The writ petition was certainly not maintainable.
that as it may, in view of the fact that the High Court has decided the case on
merit and we have also heard the case on merit, the issue of the
maintainability of writ petition remains merely academic. Shri Jayant Bhushan,
learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants has submitted that as the
State Government had not taken possession of the land in exercise of its powers
under Section 10(6) of the Act 1976, on commencement of the Act 1999 into force,
the proceedings stood abated and the respondents have no business to interfere
with the peaceful possession and enjoyment of the property.
find full force in the submissions so made by Shri Jayant Bhushan to a certain
extent, and hold that all proceedings pending before any court/authority under
the Act 1976, stood abated automatically on com- mencement of the Act 1999 in
force, provided the possession of the land in- volved in a particular case had
not been taken by the State. Such a view is in consonance with the law laid
down by this court in Pt. Madan Swaroop Transport & Ors., JT (2010)C 298.
aforesaid conclusion leads us further to the question as to whether the
appellants have any justifiable cause to approach the court. Firstly, no
proceedings had ever been initiated against the appellants by the authorities
under the Act 1976. Secondly, the State authorities, the respondent herein,
failed miserably to perform their statutory duties and it appears that they
could not muster the courage to take the actual physical possession of the land
in dispute in spite of issuance of notice under Section 10(5) of the Act 1976
in the year 1993. More so, the so-called authorities could issue notices under
Section 10 of the Act 1976 after a lapse of twelve years as the assessment of
surplus land became final in 1981 itself. Such an indifferent attitude on the
part of the authorities is not worth commendable rather it is condemnable, but
that does not mean that court should decide only the effect of repealing Act
1999 in these proceedings at the behest of the appellants in absence of the
original tenure holders and subsequent transferees inasmuch as in the
fact-situation of this case where the appellants, for the reasons best known to
them, did not consider it proper to place either of the sale deeds on record.
ex-parte orders of assessment of surplus land against the original tenure
holders have been placed on record. Admittedly, the said assessment orders had
not been challenged by them and attained finality. In view of provisions of
Sections 5 and 10 of the Act of 1976, transfer of such land by them in favour
of anyone was not only prohibited but null and void. Section 5 (1) of the Act
1976 provided that transfer of vacant land in excess of the ceiling limit at
any time during the period commencing on the appointed day and ending with the
commencement of this Act, by way of sale, mortgage gift, lease or otherwise,
the extent of the land so transferred shall also be taken into account in
calculating the extent of vacant land held by such person.
Section 5(3) provided
that transfer of vacant land or part thereof effected by a recorded tenure
holder having land in excess of the ceiling limit subsequent to the
commencement of Act of 1976 by way of sale, mortgage or lease until he had
furnished a statement under Section 6, and a Notification under Section 10(1)
has been published would be deemed to be null and void.
10 (4) of the Act 1976 reads as follows:
of vacant land in excess of ceiling limit.
(4) During the period
commencing on the date of publication of the Notification under sub-section (1)
and ending with the date specified in the declaration made under sub-section
(i) no person shall
transfer by way of sale, mortgage, gift, lease or otherwise any excess vacant
land (including any part thereof) specified in the Notification aforesaid and
any such transfer made in contravention of this provision shall be deemed to be
null and void; and 9 (ii) no person shall after or cause to be altered the use
of such excess vacant land." (Emphasis added)
High Court after considering the said statutory provisions and taking note of
the fact that the appellants did not disclose the date of notification under
Section 10(1) of the Act 1976, nor annexed the copy of the same and further
presuming that the said notice must have preceded the notice under Section
10(3) of the Act 1976, reached the conclusion that the transfer which had been
effected by the recorded tenure holders in favour of Mayur Sahkari Awas Samiti
on 20th April, 1982 was deemed to be null and void by operation of law under
Sections 5(3) and 10(4) of the Act 1976. We do not see any cogent reason to
take a contrary view. More so, a further examination of the correctness of the
aforesaid finding at the behest of the appellants is not desirable for the
reasons that they did not disclose even the date of notification issued under
Section 10(1) of the Act 1976. More so, the user of the land could not be
changed in view of the provisions of Section 10(4) of the Act 1976. The alleged
transfer by the recorded tenure holders in favour of Mayur Sahkari Awas Samiti
for the purpose of construction of residential houses was totally illegal.
sale deed in favour of Mayur Sahkari Awas Samiti dated 20th April, 1982 is not
on record. There is nothing to establish whether the sale deed was a genuine,
forged or fabricated document. Merely making a statement that it was a
registered sale deed and, therefore, it was genuine, cannot be accepted. There
is no such presumption in law. There is nothing to ascertain who had been the
transferors and who were the transferees therein. None of the subsequent sale
deeds is on record. Therefore, the genuineness of either of the alleged sale
deeds can be tested. There are no pleadings as under what circumstances the
sale deeds have been executed and as to whether the original tenure holders
have received any consideration.
is a settled proposition of law that a party has to plead the case and
produce/adduce sufficient evidence to substantiate his submissions made in the
petition and in case the pleadings are not complete, the Court is State of
Haryana & Ors., AIR 1988 SC 2181, this Court has observed as under:-
"In our opinion, when a point, which is ostensibly a point of law is
required to be substantiated by facts, the party raising the point, if he is
the writ petitioner, must plead and prove such facts by evidence which must
appear from the writ petition and if he is the respondent, from the counter
affidavit. If the facts are not pleaded or the evidence in support of such
facts is not annexed to the writ petition or the counter-affidavit, as the case
may be, the Court will not entertain the point. There is a distinction between
a hearing under the Code of Civil Procedure and a writ petition or a counter-
affidavit. While in a pleading, i.e. a plaint or 1 written statement, the
facts and not the evidence are required to be pleaded. In a writ petition or in
the counter affidavit, not only the facts but also the evidence in proof of
such facts have to be pleaded and annexed to it." (Emphasis added)
Vimalabai Prabhulal & Ors., (2005) 8 SCC 252; and Rajasthan Pradesh 2221).
The present appeal
definitely does not contain pleadings required for proper adjudication of the
case. A party is bound to plead and prove the facts properly. In absence of the
same, the court should not entertain the point.
power under Article 226 of the Constitution is discretionary and supervisory in
nature. It is not issued merely because it is lawful to do so.
power in writ jurisdiction does not exist to set right mere errors of law which
do not occasion any substantial injustice. A writ can be issued only in case of
a grave miscarriage of justice or where there has been a flagrant violation of
law. The writ court has not only to protect a person from being subjected to a
violation of law but also to advance justice and not to thwart it. The
Constitution does not place any fetter on the power of the extraordinary
jurisdiction but leaves it to the discretion of the court.
However, being that
the power is discretionary, the court has to balance competing interests,
keeping in mind that the interests of justice and public interest are coalesce
generally. A court of equity, when exercising its equitable jurisdiction must
act so as to prevent perpetration of a legal fraud and promote good faith and
equity. An order in equity is one which is equitable to all the parties concerned.
Petition can be entertained only after being fully satisfied about the factual
statements and not in a casual and Income Tax, West Bengal & Ors., AIR 1970
SC 645; Chimajirao Kanhojirao Shrike & Anr. v. Oriental Fire and General
Insurance Co. Ltd., AIR 2000 SC 2532; LIC of India v. Smt. Asha Goel &
Anr., AIR 2001 SC 549; The State Financial Corporation & Anr. v. M/s.
Jagdamba Oil Mills & Anr., AIR 2002 SC 834; Chandra Singh v. State of
Rajasthan & Anr., AIR 2003 SC 2889; and Punjab Roadways, Moga through its
General Manager v. Punja Sahib Bus and Transport Co. & Ors, (2010) 5 SCC
a party's claim is not founded on valid grounds, the party cannot claim equity.
A party that claims equity must come before the court with clean hands as equities
have to be properly worked out between parties to ensure that no one is allowed
to have their pound of flesh vis-`-vis the others unjustly. (vide: Sikkim Subba
Associates v. State of Sikkim (2001) 5 SCC 629).
Andhra Pradesh State Financial Corporation v. M/s. GAR Re- Rolling Mills &
Anr., AIR 1994 SC 2151, this Court observed:- "Equity is always known to
defend the law from clefty evasions and new subtelities invented to evade
M.P. Mittal v. State of Haryana & Ors., AIR 1984 SC, 1888, this Court held:
open to the High Court to consider whether, in the exercise of its undoubted
discretionary jurisdiction, it should decline relief to such petitioner if the
grant of relief would defeat the interests of justice. The Court always has
power to refuse relief where the petitioner seeks to invoke its writ
jurisdiction in order to secure a dishonest advantage or perpetrate an unjust
Court in State of Maharashtra & Ors. v. Prabhu, (1994) 2 SCC 481 considered
the scope of equity jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the
Constitution and pointed out as follows:
"It is the
responsibility of the High Court as custodian of the Constitution to maintain
the social balance by interfering where necessary for sake of justice and
refusing to interfere where it is against the social interest and public
present appeal does not present any special feature warranting exercise of
equitable discretionary jurisdiction in favour of the appellants.
jurisdiction is exercised to promote honesty and not to frustrate the
legitimate rights of the other parties.
is settled legal proposition that if an order is bad in its inception, it does
not get sanctified at a later stage. A subsequent action/development cannot
validate an action which was not lawful at its inception, for the reason that
the illegality strikes at the root of the order.
would be beyond the competence of any authority to validate such an order. It
would be ironical to permit a person to rely upon a law, in violation of which
he has Tewari, (2006) 1 SCC 530).
Court held that a right in law exists only and only when it has a lawful
Mishra (dead) by LRs.
& Ors., (2005) 3 SCC 422, this Court held that if an order at the initial
stage is bad in law, then all further proceedings consequent thereto will be
non-est and have to be necessarily set aside.
the instant case, as we have observed that the alleged sale deed dated 20th
April, 1982 in favour of Mayur Sahkari Avas Samiti has been a void transaction,
all subsequent transactions have merely to be ignored.
hearing this appeal, we made a futile exercise to ascertain the true facts and
find out the bona fides of the appellants. For that purpose, we put certain
questions to the learned counsel for the appellants. Shri Jayant Bhushan,
learned Senior counsel persistently answered that the facts, the court wanted
to ascertain were not in issue.
Section 165 of the
Evidence Act, 1872 empowers the Court to ask questions relevant, irrelevant,
related or unrelated to the case to the party to ascertain the true facts. The
party may not answer the question but it is not permitted to tell the Court
that the question put to him is irrelevant or the facts the court wants to
ascertain are not in issue. Exercise of such a power is necessary for the
reason that the judgment of the court is to be based on relevant facts which
have been duly proved. A court in any case cannot admit illegal or inadmissible
evidence for basing its decision. It is an extraordinary power conferred upon
the court to elicit the truth and to act in the interest of justice. A wide
discretion has been conferred on the court to act as the exigencies of justice
require. Thus, in order to discover or obtain proper proof of the relevant
facts, the court can ask the question to the parties concerned at any time and
in any form. "Every trial is voyage of discovery in which truth is the
quest". Therefore, power is to be exercised with an object to subserve the
cause of justice and public interest, and for getting the evidence in aid of a
just decision and to uphold the truth. The purpose being to secure justice by
full discovery of truth and an accurate knowledge of facts, the court can put
questions to the parties, except those which fall within exceptions contained
in the said provision itself. (Vide : (2004) 4 SCC 158.
the instant case, in spite of all our sincere efforts, we could not succeed in
eliciting the true facts.
view of above, we do not find any force in the appeal on merit and it is,
accordingly, dismissed. No order as to costs.