Delhi Development Act 1957

When in contractual matters involving the state or its instrumentality writ interference can be resorted

(2006) 88 DRJ 421

DELHI HIGH COURT

SINGLE BENCH

( Before : Pradeep Nandrajog, J )

VISHVE RAJ SAXENA — Appellant

Vs.

D.D.A. AND ANOTHER — Respondent

Writ Petition (C) No. 4969 of 2005

Decided on : 06-03-2006

Cases Referred

ABL International Ltd. and Another Vs. Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd. and Others, (2004) 118 CompCas 213 : (2004) 1 CTLJ 1 : (2003) 10 JT 300 : (2003) 10 SCALE 81 : (2004) 3 SCC 553
Dimpy Fashions (India) Vs. Delhi Development Authority, (1992) 46 DLT 176 : (1992) RLR 92
Reliable Laboratories P. Ltd. and Another Vs. Delhi Development Authority and Another, (1991) 43 DLT 312
G. Ram Vs. Delhi Development Authority, (2002) 7 AD 241 : AIR 2003 Delhi 120 : (2002) 98 DLT 800 : (2002) 64 DRJ 140

Counsel for Appearing Parties

Suman Kapoor and Puja, for the Appellant; Amrit Kaur Oberoi, Shishir Singh and Ashwini Bhardwaj, for the Respondent

JUDGMENT

Pradeep Nandrajog, J.—In the year 1981, DDA invited applications for allotment of, plots in Rohini. Applicants were informed that land had yet to be acquired. They were informed that as and when, post acquisition, land was placed at the disposal of DDA and was developed, plots would be allotted by means, of draw of lots.

2. Responding to the advertisement, on 30.3.1981 petitioner sought registration in the LIG category.

3. In the year 1986, a plot bearing No. 121, Pocket 8, Sector 24 was allotted to the petitioner at a premium of Rs. 75,040.

4. After giving benefit of the sum deposited by the petitioner at the time of registration and interest thereon and after including some miscellaneous charges net balance to be paid by the petitioner was Rs. 70,983.85.

5. Demand-cum-allotment letter having block dates 22.8.1996 to 29.8.1996 was issued to the petitioner. He was informed about the allotment of the plot. He was told to pay Rs. 70,983.85 in three installments as under:

(i) Rs. 26,264…. within 30 days from the date of issue of the demand-cum-allotment letter.

(ii) Rs. 37,520…. within 90 days from the date of issue of demand-cum-allotment letter.

(iii) Rs. 7,199.85 within two months from date of receipt of communication offering possession.

6. In terms of the letter of allotment, first installment had to be paid by 29.9.1996. Second installment had to be paid by 29.11.1996. The said two installments were deposited by the petitioner on 31.3.1997 and 3.4.1997 respectively.

7. On his own, petitioner deposited the third installment on 15.6.1998.

8. Para 3(i) of the demand-cum-allotment letter stipulated as under:

3(i) If any installment of the amounts mentioned above is not paid within prescribed period of the due date, allotment shall stand cancelled automatically and no., request for restoration of allotment of plot shall be entertained on any ground whatsoever.

9. Since DDA did not receive any intimation that the first two installments were paid within 30 and 90 days respectively and lest petitioner may have deposited the amount but intimation thereof was not with DDA, as a matter of precaution, on 11.3.1997 DDA wrote a letter to the petitioner to inform whether he had complied with the terms of the demand-cum-allotment letter having block dates 22-29.8.1996.

10. It is obvious that rather than submitting proof that he had complied with the terms on the demand-cum-allotment letter, petitioner chose to make the two deposits on 31.3.1997 & 3.4.1997.

11. Correspondence was exchanged between the petitioner and DDA. Petitioner stated that he had made the requisite deposits. DDA was not prepared to give effects to the allotment because the deposits were made belatedly and because of the fact that under the terms of the demand-cum-allotment letter, there was an automatic cancellation if the payment was not made within time.

12. On 20.3.2003, DDA informed the petitioner that the chapter was closed. Petitioner was requested to intimate his bank account number so that refund could be directly deposited in his account.

13. Petitioner continued sending letters to DDA. He even approached the Minister of Urban Development. He wrote letters to the President of India.

14. On 24.8.2004, DDA framed a policy as per which delay upto 180 days could be condoned as under:

Rohini Residential Scheme

1. In case of delay beyond 180 days Principal Commissioner should have the powers up to 270 days (inclusive of 180 days). This regularization will be done on payment of restoration charges and penal rate of interest @ 15% per annum. However, if the fault is of the department then restoration irrespective of the period of delay would be at PDR of the year of allotment + interest at 5% annually.

2. Beyond 1 year no regularization should be entertained unless on extremely deserving grounds where the power should lie with Hon’ble L.G. Delhi.

3. Within the above scheme, if the deficient amount involved in only up to 10% of demanded amount or Rs. 25,000 whichever is less than the power to restore the delay would vest with Commissioner (LD) irrespective of the period of delay.

15. Petitioner latched on to the said policy resolution. He sought condonation of delay under the aforesaid policy decision.

16. Getting no meaningful response present petition was filed praying that since petitioner has paid for the plot, DDA be directed to accept interest or penalty and thereafter hand over possession of the same to the petitioner.

17. Sh. Suman Kapoor, learned Counsel for the petitioner stated that even prior to the policy decision, DDA had been granting extension of time to various individuals. Counsel urged that by not extending the time for making payment to the petitioner, DDA was adopting a discriminatory attitude. Counsel urged that DDA was extending time selectively and denying extension of time to a few which fact was noted in the following decisions of this Court:

(i) Reliable Laboratories P. Ltd. and Another Vs. Delhi Development Authority and Another,

(ii) Dimpy Fashions (India) Vs. Delhi Development Authority,

(iii) G. Ram Vs. Delhi Development Authority, and

(iv) The unreported decisions of S.K. Kaul, J. in WP (C) No. 7103/99 Ashok Kumar Kanojia v. DDA.

18. Ms. Amrit Kaur Oberoi, learned Counsel for DDA urged that the policy decision relied upon was framed in the year 2004. Cancellation took place in the year 1997 itself when petitioner did not comply with the terms of the demand-cum-allotment letter. Cancellation was automatic under Clause 3(i) of the demand-cum-allotment letter DDA closed the chapter on 20.3.2003 by finally and firmly intimating the petitioner that there was no need for the continued correspondence as allotment stood cancelled due to non-payment of the premium charged within the stipulated period. Counsel distinguished the first two and the fourth authority cited by the counsel for the petitioner. Qua the third authority counsel urged that the same supported DDA.

19. Factual narration aforesaid reveals that the first and second installments deposited by the petitioner were belated by 183 days and 125 days respectively.

20. Neither are there any pleadings to the effect nor any documents have been filed by the petitioner to show that he ever sought extension of time. The documents filed by the petitioner show that after DDA wrote a letter dated 11.3.1997 he himself went and deposited two installments and thereafter started calming that he has a right to the plot. I am afraid, petitioner cannot claim any right in his favour for the reason parties are within the realm of a contract. Of course, being a statutory authority created under the Delhi Development Act, 1957 and having monopoly over land in Delhi, even in relation to contractual matters, DDA would be bound by the rules of reasonableness and wherever it is found that acts of DDA are contrary to public good and public interest or where it is found that DDA is acting unfairly, unjustly and unreasonably, even in contractual matters, appropriate relief can be granted. Judicial pronouncements on the issues as to when in contractual matters involving the state or its instrumentality writ interference can be resorted to have been noted and followed in the latest judicial pronouncements on the subject by their Lordships of the Supreme Court reported as ABL International Ltd. and Another Vs. Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd. and Others,

21. Decision of the Division Bench of this Court in M/s. Dimpy Fashions case (Supra) is on its own facts. The writ petitioner was a riot victim during the unfortunate anti Sikh riots which took place in Delhi in the month of November, 1984. Petitioner had applied for extension of time. Extension was not granted. Division Bench noted that petitioner had sought extension of time and that in view of the anti-Sikh riots, Government of India had recommended extension of time for making deposits which recommendatory directions of the Central Government was not taken into account by DDA. Noting twin facts i.e. petitioner having sought extension of time and Central Government’s recommendatory direction that in view of the anti Sikh riots, victims be granted extension of time, Division Bench held in favour of the petitioner.

22. Decision in Reliable Laboratories case (Supra) also shows that the writ petitioner had sought extension of time and had additionally pointed out specific instances where individuals were granted extension of time.

23. Unreported decision in Ashok Kumar Kanojia’s Case (Supra) shows that the writ petitioner therein had also sought extension of.

24. I may note that the decision in Ashok Kumar Kanojia’s case (supra) as also Reliable Laboratories case (supra) and even the decision in Dimpy Fashions Case deal with extension of time for making deposits in auction sales.

25. Decision of Division Bench in G. Ram’s case (supra) applies to the facts of the present case. Though said case also pertained to an auction sale, but while declining relief it was specifically noted in Para 16 & 17 of the report as under:

16. The appellant did not ask for any extension for depositing the amount. Although an allegation has been made by him to the effect that he had consulted the authorities of the respondent and was advised to deposit the balance amount with interest pursuant whereto he did so, no proof in this behalf has been furnished.

17. No document has been annexed by the petitioner to show that at any point of time any such assurance, as has been alleged in para 9 of the writ petition, had been made by any officer of the respondent who had the requisite authority therefore .

26. As noted above, neither is there any pleading nor any document has been annexed to show that the petitioner sought extension of time. Averments in the writ petition that officers verbally assured the petitioner the time would be extended is neither here nor there for the reason a Government and its instrumentality cannot act on verbal assurances of their offices. Government and its instrumentalities must speak in writing and not verbally.

27. Policy decision taken on 24.8.2004 cannot help the petitioner for the reason it came into being on 24.8.2004. Petitioners suffered a cancellation much earlier.

28. One more factor lean against the petitioner. The same is pertaining to delay. DDA categorically and firmly informed the petitioner on 20.3.2003 that under no circumstances could the pot be restored, Petitioner continued to make non-statutory representation and filed the present petition on 11th March, 2005 i.e. after a delay of nearly two years.

29. It is not a case where the petitioner in the writ petition has raised issued involving public law character. Petitioner has not been able to make out a case that DDA has acted unreasonably, arbitrarily or unfairly.

30. It has to be noted that DDA functions through public funds and if cash flow is impeded functioning of DDA gets derailed. Acquisition, development and sale are all planned and money is rotated. If post development when land is allotted to a third party, DDA does not receive payment within time, in turn DDA is not able to acquire further lands and develop the same for allotment to other registrants. This is the essence which required timely payment to be made by the allottees to DDA. Of course, there may exist exceptional cases where time needs to be extended, but then, the allottee must seek extension of time from DDA. Present petitioner never sought extension of time when he received the demand-cum-allotment letter. He chose to be a defaulter. On his own he made the deposits. Deposits were belated. They were made after the allotment stood cancelled in terms of Clause 3(i) of the letter of allotment.

31. There is not merit in the writ petition. The rule is discharged. Petition dismissed.

32. No costs.

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