(Prayer: Writ Appeal as against the order dated 12.07.2012 passed in W.P. No. 19209 of 2008.)
N. Kirubakaran, J.
A person claiming to be a social worker, who got allotment as early as on 18.08.2004 to an extent of 5254 sq.ft of commercial plot under Tiruchengode Neighbourhood Scheme, Koottapalli, Phase II approached this Court challenging the cancellation of allotment order dated 31.12.2007 by way of W.P. No. 19209 of 2008 and the said writ petition was dismissed by order dated 12.07.2012. Hence, the present appeal.
2. According to the learned counsel for the appellant, the appellant is a social worker and she was allotted an extent of 5254 sq.ft of commercial plot bearing No.10 by virtue of G.O.(2D) No. 196 Housing and Urban Development Department dated 18.08.2004 and a lease cum sale agreement was executed in favour of the appellant. Before the Housing Board fixed the cost of the plot, the appellant had paid a sum of Rs.1 lakh voluntarily on 18.04.2005. Subsequently, without giving any reason, the allotment made in favour of the appellant was cancelled by the respondents on 31.12.2007 and subsequently, one Mr.P.Viswanathan was allotted the same plot by virtue of G.O.(D) No. 191 dated 09.07.2007 under discretionary quota. The said allotment in favour of the said Viswanathan was also cancelled and one Mr.S. Muralidharan finally got allotment of the said plot on 02.01.2008. Aggrieved over the cancellation of the allotment order in favour of the appellant, she had approached this Court by filing a writ petition. As already stated, the said writ petition was dismissed by the learned Single Judge against which the present appeal has been filed.
3. The learned counsel for the appellant would submit that the appellant has proved that she is a social worker by producing a certificate dated 02.10.2004 and based on that only, the allotment order was passed in her favour. But, in the year 2007, without any rhyme or reason, the allotment was cancelled eventhough the appellant had paid a sum of Rs. 1 lakh on 18.04.2005. Once the allotment had been made in favour of the appellant towards which a sum of Rs.1 lakh had also been paid by the appellant, right got accrued to the appellant and therefore, the cancellation of allotment has to be set aside, learned counsel would argue.
4. However, Dr.R. Gouri, learned counsel for respondents 2 and 3 would submit that the allotment made in favour of the appellant was cancelled as the final cost of the land allotted to the appellant was not fixed. Moreover, the discretionary quota, which was hitherto available was subsequently dispensed with by the Government. Therefore, she would submit that not only the allotment made in favour of the appellant was cancelled, but also the allotment made in favour of P. Viswanathan and subsequently in favour of S. Muralidharan was cancelled in public interest. As on date, the plot is in possession of the Housing Board which would be sold in public auction and the appellant, if she wishes, can participate and become a successful bidder provided she quotes the highest amount.
5. Eventhough the appellant claims to be a social worker, there is no document to substantiate the same except a social service certificate allegedly given by the Rotary Club of Thiruchengode without giving the details of social service done by her. Even in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, the details of social service alleged to have been done by the appellant have not been disclosed. Similarly, no such details have been filed even in the application for allotment. When such is the position, the appellant could not be termed as a social worker and she is not entitled to allotment of commercial plot under discretionary quota, which is a valuable land measuring about 5254 sq.ft.
6. The cost of the land should have been fixed at the time of allotment itself. But, no such fixation had been done and that itself would go to show that, in a hurry, due to some compulsion, the allotment had been made in favour of the appellant. The learned Single Judge rightly dismissed the writ petition upholding the cancellation on the ground of non-fixation of final cost. The learned Single Judge rightly observed that it is not as if the appellant got the allotment by participating in public auction and it was only under discretionary quota and it had been made in a clandestine manner. Therefore, the cancellation order passed by the Board, not only in respect of the appellant but also in respect of P. Viswanathan and S. Muralidharan have to be upheld.
7. The said P. Viswanathan, in whose favour, the allotment was made subsequent to the cancellation of the allotment made in favour of the appellant, filed a writ petition before this Court in W.P. No.2064 of 2008 and the said writ petition was dismissed and the writ appeal filed challenging the same was also withdrawn unconditionally by him on 29.06.2017. Therefore, the issue has already attained finality.
8. It is brought to the notice of this Court that the Housing Board has also returned the sum of Rs.1 lakh paid by the appellant unilaterally by issuance of a cheque dated 12.11.2012 and therefore, no right got accrued to the appellant.
7. A Division Bench of this Court, by judgment dated 08.06.2009, while dismissing W.A. Nos. 634 to 642 of 2009 held that the allottees have got no right over the property and it is only an issue between the Government and the Housing Board and the writ petitions are premature. The relevant portion of the said order at paragraph No.4 is usefully extracted as follows:
“4. The second submission of Mr.Thiagarajan is that the appellants were not heard nor were they given any notice. As far as this aspect is concerned, all that has happened is that the State Government has authorised the Housing Board to allot certain parcel of land and subsequently, on forming an opinion that this will result in a loss of revenue, has decided to cancel/withdraw their earlier G.O. The appellants were not required to do anything in pursuant to that G.O. They were not required to pay a single rupee to the Government. It cannot be said that they have acted to their prejudice in any manner to claim some kind of promissory estoppel against the State Government. It is a matter between the State Government and the Housing Board at that stage. No rights were created in favour of the persons whose names appeared in that G.O. and, therefore, in the totality of the circumstances, if the Governmemnt formed an opinion that there was going to be a loss of revenue, it was entitled to issue the second order withdrawing/cancelling the G.O. which was issued earlier. In our view, there was no question of providing any hearing to the persons concerned at that stage. We do not find any error on the part of the learned Single Judge in passing the order under appeal.
Therefore, there is no right available to the appellant or to any other allottee.
8. In paragraph No.7 of the counter affidavit filed by the Housing Board, it has been stated that the plot is vacant and remains unallotted. Now, the Government has abolished the discretionary quota by G.O.Ms.No.6 dated 07.01.2011 after displeasure expressed by this Court regarding the manner in which discretionary quota is continuously misused by the authorities in power. In paragraph No.9 of the counter affidavit, it has been stated th
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at the plots including commercial plot No.10 under Tiruchengode Neighbourhood Scheme, Koottapalli, Phase II would be sold by way of sealed offer cum open public auction after getting the sale price from the Board approved. 9. Therefore, the writ appeal is dismissed with a direction to the Housing Board to auction all the unsold commercial plots or properties which remain unallotted or in respect of which allotments have been cancelled by way of sealed offer cum open public auction and file a report in regard thereto before this Court on or before 31st March, 2020 failing which the Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Housing Board shall appear before this Court. No costs. Connected W.M.P. is closed. 10. Post for reporting compliance on 31st March, 2020.