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Delhi Development Authority v/s Golcha Theatres and Others

    L.P.A. No. 55 of 1983

    Decided On, 07 December 1990

    At, High Court of Delhi


    For the Appearing Parties : A.K. Sikri, Daljit Singh, M.S. Vinayak, Aaila Nair, Advocates.

Judgment Text


M/s. Golcha Theatres and its three partners are the owners of the property bearing Nos. 1252/1148, and 1253/1148, situated at Gurdwara Road, Karol Bagh, New Delhi. They purchased this built-up property sometime in the year 1962 for the purpose of constructing a cinema after demolishing the existing structure. They moved an application seeking permission therefore but it was declined by the Delhi Development Authority. Thereafter, the petitioner wrote to the Municipal Corporation of the Delhi for allowing them to put the property to commercial use. This permission was also refused on the short ground that the draft Zonal Development Plan of this area has not yet been published.

2. On 10.7.65, the Delhi Development Authority, published the draft Zonal Plan for Karol Bagh Zone. In t

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he said plan, the land use of the property in question was shown as commercial upto a depth of 30 ft. of the plot. As the petitioner had no grievance against the draft Zonal Plan, they did not file any objection under Section 10 (3) of the Delhi Development Act, 1957.

3. Later on, the Lt. Governor of Delhi on 14.9.67 issued a preliminary Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act stating therein that the property of the petitioner was likely to be needed for a public purpose, namely, "planned development of Delhi". It was so done on the recommendation of the Board constituted under Rule 8 of the Delhi Development (Master Plan and Zonal Development Plan) Rules framed under Section 56 of the Act. Even though the Notification under Section 4 did not specifically state the particular public purpose for which the land was required, the petitioner, however, came to know that the land in question was being acquired for the construction of a bus terminal. The petitioner filed objections to the Notification under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act.

4. The Lt. Governor then issued Notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act on 7.8.69. Thereafter, notices under Sections 9 and 10 of the Land Acquisition Act were sent to the petitioner informing that the Government intends to take possession of the property and that the claims to compensation be made by all interested persons.

5. At this stage, the petitioner challenged the acquisition proceedings on a variety of grounds by filing the writ petition on 12.12.70 under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against the Notification dated 7.8.69 issued by the Delhi Administration under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act and the notices issued under Section 9 and 10 of the said Act, being invalid, illegal, mala fide and ultra vires. On being heard, the petition was accepted by Avadh Behari, J. on 18.11.82. The Notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act dated 23.7.69 published on 7.8.69 and the notices issued under Section 9 and 10 were quashed, leaving the parties to bear their own costs.

6. Aggrieved from the said order, the Delhi Development Authority has filed the present Letter's Patent Appeal on various grounds praying for the setting aside of the impugned judgment dated 18.11.82

7. Before the start of the hearing of the appeal, learned Counsel for the respondent M/s Golcha Theatres raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the appeal by the Delhi Development Authority. His contention is that the land in dispute was acquired by the Lieutenant Governor, Delhi for and on behalf of the Central Government for the planned development of Delhi. The Central Government has not filed any appeal against the judgment of Avadh Behari, J. dt. 18.11.82 whereby the Notification under Section 6 and the notices under Sections 9 and 10 were quashed. The Delhi Development Authority is neither a person aggrieved nor have they suffered any legal injury. The appeal on its behalf thus merits dismissal on this ground alone.

8. The submission of the learned Counsel for the appellant is that the land in dispute was acquired for the purpose of construction of a bus terminal which purpose is also mentioned in the Zonal Development Plan issued by the DDA. Ultimately the possession of the land was meant to be delivered to the DDA and as such the appellant is very much interested in the land in question. The appellant is thus an aggrieved person and as such has the right to maintain the appeal.

9. In our opinion, the preliminary objection of the respondent has force. It is not disputed that after the issuance of the Notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act the Central Government has not taken possession of the land nor has it been delivered to the DDA. Section 15 of the Delhi Development Act lays down:

Compulsory Acquisition of Land

1. "If in the opinion of the Central Government, any land is required for the purpose of development or for any other purpose, under this Act, the Central Government may acquire such land under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1) of 1894.

2. Where any land has been acquired by the Central Government, that Government may, after it has taken possession of the land, transfer the land to the Development or any local authority for the purpose for which the land has been acquired on the payment by the authority or the local authority of the compensation awarded under that Act and all the charges incurred by the Government in connection with the acquisition."

10. It is the common case of the parties that till date, the Central Government has neither taken possession of the land nor has it been transferred to the Delhi Development Authority or any other local authority. It is not clear from the pleadings of the parties that after acquiring the property in dispute the intention of the Central Government was to hand it over to the DDA only, or to any other local authority including the Municipal Corporation of Delhi or to NDMC. So long as possession of the land is not delivered to the DDA, it cannot be said to have any control over the land. Merely because the DDA feels disappointed with the result of the writ petition, it cannot come within the definition of aggrieved person. The impugned order has neither caused to the DDA a legal injury nor has it wrongfully deprived it of any property. In fact the DDA does not come into the picture at all. No right or interest in the land has accrued in its favour.

11. It may be that the in the writ petition the DDA was arrayed as one of the respondents, but ultimately no relief was claimed or granted against this respondent. It was only a proforma respondent and was not a party to the lis. It was only on that account that the DDA in its counter to the writ petition, raised the preliminary objection that as no specific relief had been claimed against it, the petition merits dismissal against them.

12. That may be so. However, the fact remains that the Central Government whose orders of acquisition have been quashed, did not challenge the impugned order. The third party who has no interest in the land cannot be allowed to continue to pursue the remedy, for and on behalf of the aggrieved party i.e., the Central Government.

13. A similar situation arose in the case reported as 1959 (1) QB 384, wherein the local planning authority feeling aggrieved from an order of the summary Court filed an appeal. Their locus standi to file an appeal was questioned:

"Accordingly, I am satisfied that a mere annoyance that what was thought to be a breach of planning control turned out not to be a breach of planning control and, equally, the mere fact that this authority, charged with certain duties under the Act, has been frustrated in the performance of what it though was its public duty, are not, of themselves considerations sufficient to make the local planning authority an aggrieved person".

14. This judgment deals with a situation similar to the present situation and its ratio suggests that the stand of the DDA is untenable. We, therefore, hold that the DDA has no locus standi to file and maintain the present appeal.

15. In the result, we dismiss the appeal, leaving parties to bear there own costs