(Prayer: This Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus to call for the records pertaining to order bearing (D) No.105, dated 30.05.2017 of the first respondent and quash the same insofar as fixing the rate of selling the shop no.13 at the present market value and consequently direct the respondent to consider for selling the shop no.13 measuring 255 sq.ft. at Thirumangalam Office/shop complex in Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, Thirumangalam, Chennai on outright basis at the rate already fixed by the second respondent i.e., Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft. instead of seeking market rate and execute sale deed in favour of the petitioner.)
1. Pursuant to the administrative order of the Hon'ble Chief Justice, this writ petition came up for consideration before this Court under the caption “specially ordered cases”.
2. The challenge made in this writ petition is to the order dated 30.05.2017 passed by the first respondent. A consequential direction is also sought to the respondents to allot shop no.13 measuring 255 sq.ft. at Thirumangalam office/shop complex in Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, Thirumangalam, Chennai, on outright basis at Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft.
3. According to the petitioner, she was allotted Shop No.13, in Thirumangalam Office/Shop Complex, by the proceedings of the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board dated 18.09.1993 on rental basis and she was regularly paying the monthly rent and carrying on the business. While so, the second respondent cancelled the said allotment without any rhyme or reason, on 27.12.2002. Thereafter, the respondents had formulated a scheme for the outright sale of the shops on sealed tender. As the shops were not sold out on public auction, the respondents came forward to sell the shops to the respective tenants/occupants and accordingly, number of shops were sold out to the respective tenants/occupants at the rate of Rs.2300/- per sq.ft. However, the petitioner was not allotted shop no.13, which compelled her to file WP.No.6131 of 2004 challenging the tender notification issued in Daily Thanthi dated 22.02.2004 to conduct auction sale of shop no.13 and obtained an order of interim stay.
4. It is the further case of the petitioner that during the pendency of the same, the petitioner sent a letter to the second respondent requesting to allot the said shop on outright sale basis. Acceding the said request, the second respondent, vide Letter No. B2/21580/02, dated 21.10.2005, informed the petitioner to withdraw the case filed by her and to give her willingness to get the shop at the rate of Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft on outright basis. Pursuant to the same, the petitioner withdrew the case. Subsequently, she was asked to show her financial position to purchase the shop on outright sale basis. Accordingly, she informed her financial position to the second respondent. In the meanwhile, the second respondent sent a communication dated 22.05.2008 stating that shop no.13 will be allotted only on rental basis. Aggrieved over the same, she preferred an appeal to the Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board. Since the said appeal was not considered, she filed a writ petition No.1542/2012, which was by order dated 09.02.2010, disposed of, directing the third respondent to consider the appeal filed by the petitioner and pass orders on merits and in accordance with law within a period of four weeks. Pursuant to the same, the third respondent by proceedings dated 05.04.2010 rejected the said appeal. Challenging the same, the petitioner preferred WP.No.25536 of 2013, besides making an appeal to the first respondent. Pending the same, the third respondent sent a communication dated 11.07.2014 to the first respondent recommending the case of the petitioner for sale of shop no.13 as one time measure at Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft. While so, the said WP.No.25536 of 2013 came to be dismissed as infructuous on 30.10.2018. Upon receipt of the appeal filed by the petitioner and considering the recommendation sent by the second respondent, the first respondent vide Letter (D) No.105 dated 30.05.2017, disposed of the appeal filed by the petitioner, stating that no price discovery mechanism was initiated ever except fixing the upset price of Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft., and hence, Shop No.13 in Shopping Complex at Thirumangalam cannot be allotted to the petitioner at Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft., but can be allotted to her on outright purchase basis by fixing current market value by the Board. Feeling aggrieved, the petitioner has come up with this writ petition for the aforesaid relief.
5. Upon notice, the respondents filed a detailed counter affidavit denying the averments made in the affidavit filed in support of this writ petition. It is inter alia stated therein that there is nothing illegal or arbitrary in the order dated 05.04.2010 and the letter is based on the collective decision of the Board in its resolution no.13 dated 27.03.2007 and hence, the order passed by the first respondent is correct and the same warrants no interference by this Court.
6. Today, when the matter was taken up for consideration, the learned Government Advocate appearing for the first respondent drew the attention of this Court to the communication bearing Letter (D) No.161 dated 12.12.2019 issued by the Additional Chief Secretary to Government (FAC), Housing and Urban Development, Secretariat, Chennai -9 to the Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, Chennai -5, wherein, it is stated that the Government has withdrawn the order impugned herein and the petitioner shall be issued a fresh order for allotment of shop no.13 at Thirumangalam Office/shop complex, Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board on outright basis at the rate of Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft. as already fixed and the amount shall be collected along with normal interest with effect from 30.06.2005. The relevant portion of the said communication reads thus:
“(6).... Further if the Government decides to withdraw the Government order in Letter (D) No.105, Housing and Urban Development Department, dated 30.05.2017, the Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board has suggested that the Government may consider the following aspects in order to avoid monetary loss to the Board:-
(i) Since the shop is kept closed for more than 15 years in view of various cases and requests of the petitioner, the request of the petitioner may be considered if she accepts and pays the rent for the period of 15 years as per the Board norms.
(ii) As per the GO. Ms.No.147, Housing and Urban Development Department, dated 03.05.2005 the upset price of Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft fixed by the Board and stipulated period fixed for paying the actual amount is to be done before 30.06.2005. Further, as per the Board's procedure if the bidder has not paid the amount within the stipulated period, interest will be calculated and collected.
Following this, if the petitioner Tmt.S.Meerabai accepts to pay the upset price and interest amount for the period of 15 years, the shop No.13 will be provided at outright purchase.
7. The Government after careful consideration of the proposal of the Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board in the light of the orders of the Hon’ble High Court of Madras, hereby withdraw the order passed in the reference first cited. The Government further direct that Tmt. S. Meerabai, w/o. Sethu Pandi shall be issued a fresh order for allotment of Shop No.13 at Thirumangalam Office/ Shop Complex, Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board on outright basis at the rate of Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft as already fixed. The amount shall be collected along with normal interest with effect from 30.06.2005 (i.e the intimation date conveyed to the allottees of the shops vide Board's proc. No. 17204/00/B2, dated 20.05.2005.”
7. The learned Government Advocate appearing for the first respondent has also produced a calculation sheet in terms of the aforesaid communication, with respect to the sale consideration along with arrears of rent and interest at 12% p.a. payable by the petitioner, which is usefully extracted hereunder:
8. In reply to the above, the learned counsel for the petitioner, on instructions, submitted that the petitioner is ready and willing to purchase the shop no.13 at Rs.2,300/- per sq.ft. on outright basis along with arrears of rent. Howe
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ver, the rate of interest at 12% imposed on the petitioner is on the higher side and hence, the same may be reduced to some extent. 9. This Court finds some bonafide in the submission so made by the learned counsel for the petitioner. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and having regard to the prevailing rate of interest, this Court deems it just and appropriate to fix the rate of interest at 7.5%per annum. 10. Accordingly, this writ petition stands disposed of in the following terms: (i) In the light of the subsequent communication dated 12.12.2019 issued by the first respondent, the order impugned herein does not survive. (ii) The respondents are directed to allot shop no.13 at Thirumangalam office/shop complex, on outright basis at the rate of Rs.2300/- per sq.ft to the petitioner, subject to payment of arrears of rent with interest at 7.5% per annum. No Costs.