1. These three Appeals are directed against Judgment dated February 20, 1992, delivered by learned Single Judge in Writ Petition No. 20377/89. Writ Appeal No. 693/1992 is preferred by the Bangalore Development Authority, while the remaining two Appeals are preferred by allottees of sites from the Bangalore Development Authority. The allottees were not parties to the proceedings before the learned Single Judge. As the issue raised in all the three Appeals is common, the Appeals are disposed of by common Judgment.
2. The Karnataka Legislature passed the Bangalore Development Authority Act, 1976 ("the Act"), to provide for the establishment of a Development Authority for the development of the City of Bangalore and the areas adjacent thereto and for the matters connected therewith. Section 3 of the Act provides for constitution and incorporation of the Authority to be called as the Bangalore Development Authority. The Authority is a body corporate and was constituted to promote and secure the development of the Bangalore Metropolitan Area. Section 14 confers upon the Authority the power to acquire, hold, manage and dispose of movable and immovable property. Section 15 of the Act confers power upon the Authority to draw up schemes for the development of the area and with the previous approval of the Government, undertake from time to time any works for the development. Section 16 of the Act provides that every development scheme shall provide for the acquisition of any land which, in the opinion of the Authority, will be necessary for or affected by the execution of the scheme. The scheme should also provide for laying and re-laying of buildings and formation and alteration of streets. Section 17 of the Act sets out the procedure on completion of the scheme and, inter alia, sets out that after the scheme is prepared, the Authority shall publish it in the Official Gazette and in some conspicuous part of the Office. After receipt of the objections from the persons likely to be affected by the scheme, the scheme is finalised. The scheme is required to be sanctioned by the State Government. Chapter-IV of the Act deals with the subject 'Acquisition of Land'. Section 35 confers power upon the Authority to acquire land by agreement and Section 36 provides that in case the land could not be acquired by agreement, then the Authority can acquire the land in accordance with the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act.
3. In accordance with the power conferred under Section 17 of the Act, Preliminary Notification dated January 3, 1977, was published in the Official Gazette on February 24, 1977, providing for acquisition of 1334 acres and 12 guntas of land from villages of Mathikere, Chickmaranahalli, Dyavasandra, Poornapura, Lotte Gollahalli, Nagashettyhalli, Geddalahalli and Vyalikaval. The Public purpose mentioned in the Notification was for Rajmahal Vilas II Stage Layout. It is not in dispute that the scheme was for providing housing to the members of the public. The Final Notification dated August 2, 1978, was published on August 31, 1978, and the Final Notification refers to the proposed acquisition of the entire area of 1334 acres and 12 guntas. Respondent-1 is the owner of 5 pieces of land situated at village : Lotte Gollahalli, Poornapura and Mathikere. The total area of these five pieces of land ad-measures 4 acres 13 guntas. After the publication of the Final Notification, the proceedings commenced for acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act and Awards were declared in respect of the lands of respondent-1 between December 20, 1981, and September 23, 1986. It is the claim of the Authority that possession was secured in respect of these pieces in pursuance of six Awards declared between May 19, 1982, and October 29, 1986.
4. Respondent-1 filed Petition before the learned Single Judge on November 2, 1989, under Article 226 of the Constitution claiming a Writ of Mandamus restraining the Authority from proceeding with the acquisition of the lands of respondent-1. Respondent-1 also sought a direction that the Authority should not disturb the possession of the lands in dispute. Respondent-1 claimed that the Authority had released the lands of the adjoining owner, by name, Dr. N. Ramaiah and there is no rationale why the lands of respondent-1 should not also be released. In Paragraph-9 of the Petition, it was claimed that the scheme was prepared by the Authority on March 2, 1978, to provide for about 5,000 and odd sites and was to be implemented in four phases by December 31, 1979. Respondent-1 claimed that the scheme could not be implemented till the date of filing of the Petition. It was then claimed that out of the proposed 1334 acres 12 guntas to be acquired, the Authority had released from the proposed acquisition land ad-measuring more than 700 acres and the release of the lands was for collateral purpose and consequently, the scheme has become unenforceable. Respondent-1 claimed that the scheme, as originally thought for, had lapsed because the same could not be given effect to and consequently, the acquisition of the lands of respondent-1 is in violation of Articles 19 and 300-A of the Constitution. The Petition was admitted by the learned Single Judge.
On November 11, 1991, respondent-1 filed an application seeking amendment of the Writ Petition. The amendment application sets out that not only the Final Notification was published, but Awards were also passed. The amendment application sets out that the assertion of the Authority that possession was taken, is not correct. The amendment application then claims that the Authority had exempted or de-notified large extent of land in and around the lands of respondent-1 and thereby the scheme providing for lay-out has been given a go-bye. Respondent-1 then sets out in the amendment application that land ad-measuring 61 acres 26 1/2 guntas was released by the Government by order dated May 14, 1991. Reference was also made to the release of lands in favour of three or four other parties. Respondent-1 then claimed that the fact that acquisition of lands of some of the owners was given up, for the lands were released, is indicative of the fact that the Authority was not serious to implement the scheme. Respondent-1 claimed that continuing with the acquisition of the lands of respondent-1 amounts to violation of fundamental right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution. The amended prayer made by the amendment application reads as follows:
"To quash by the issue of a Writ of Certiorari the final Notification dated August 31, 1978, in so far as the petitioner is concerned as being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India as it was done in the case of Dr. Ramaiah and others."
In answer to the Petition and the amendment application, the Authority filed return sworn on December 6, 1991. The Authority denied various averments made in the Petition and the amendment application and claimed that the Petition should not be entertained on the ground of delay and laches. The Authority denied the claim that out of 1334 acres of land proposed to be acquired, 700 acres of land was released. The Authority further claimed that though the Government had passed an order on May 14, 1991, in favour of M.S. Ramaiah in respect of land ad-measuring 61 acres 26 1/2 guntas, that order had nothing to do with the proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act, but was merely an order passed in exercise of powers under Section 20 of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976. The Authority also claimed that the Resolutions passed earlier by the Authority releasing lands in respect of some other owners, were void and illegal and action has already been initiated for revoking those Resolutions. The Authority denied that respondent-1 can claim the relief of striking down of the Final Notification on the ground of breach of Article 14 of the Constitution. Respondent-1 tiled a rejoinder on December 12, 1991, asserting that the averments made in -the original Petition and the amendment application were correct and also producing a list of Housing Co-operative Societies which were given plots of land for construction of houses.
5. The learned Single Judge, by impugned Judgment dated February 20, 1992, came to the conclusion that the relief sought by respondent-1 was based on three contentions. The first contention was that the release of lands in favour of certain owners was indicative of the fact that the scheme has lapsed. The learned Single Judge did not accept the contention. The second contention urged was that the Authority ought to have provided site to respondent-1 after acquisition of lands for the scheme. This contention also did not find favour with the learned Single Judge. The third contention and which appealed to the learned Single Judge to grant relief, was that the number of lands included in the Final Notification, were denotified by the Government and that action was arbitrary and also amounted to fraud on the power and, therefore, hit by Articles 14 and 300-A of the Constitution. The learned Single Judge held that though there was neither illegality nor irregularity in acquisition of the lands, the fact that certain lands were released was sufficient to warrant the conclusion that the exercise of power was whimsical and the Authority and the State Government cannot fall back upon the power of eminent domain. On the strength of this finding, the learned Single Judge granted the prayer made by the amendment application. The Decision of the learned Single Judge is under challenge at the behest of the Authority and the allottees of Site No. 85 and Site No. 115. The two allottees were allotted sites on December 1, 1988, and February 2, 1988, and were not parties before the learned Single Judge. The two allottees have preferred Appeals as the Order passed by the learned Single Judge would seriously prejudice their interest.
6. It is not in dispute that the Preliminary Notification and the Final Notification dated January 3, 1977, and August 31, 1978, respectively were duly published as prescribed under the provisions of the Act. It is equally not in dispute that the acquisition in pursuance of the scheme for an area of 1334 acres from different villages, was undertaken for a public purpose. The public purpose was to provide housing to the people. The learned Single Judge, by the impugned Judgment, has issued a Writ quashing the Final Notification dated August 31, 1978, in so far as respondent-1 is concerned on the ground that the Notification is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. As mentioned hereinabove, three contentions were raised before the learned Single Judge on behalf of respondent-1 and two of them were turned down. The sole contention which led to the Judgment in favour of respondent-1 was that more than half of the lands covered by the Final Notification were de-notified. The learned Single Judge, on facts, found that respondent-1 did not produce material to establish that more than half of the lands were de-notified, but proceeded to hold that it is not the extent of the land de-notified which is relevant, but some lands were de-notified and consequently, the exercise by the Authority and the Government of denotifying the lands establishes that the powers of acquisition were exercised colourably and exercise was fraud on the power. Mr. Datar, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Authority, and Mr. Sundaraswamy, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the two allottees, who have preferred Appeals, submitted that the Judgment of the learned Single Judge suffers from serious infirmities. It was contended that the assumption of the learned Single Judge that de-notification of certain lands proposed to be acquired would attract provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution and consequently, the entire acquisition will be required to be struck down, is wholly unsustainable. It was submitted that the finding of the learned Single Judge that there was nothing illegal or irregular in acquisition of the lands, was sufficient to deny the reliefs sought and the grant of relief in favour of respondent-1 would open the flood gates by each of the owners, whose lands are acquired, filing the Petition and seeking striking down of the Notification. It was pointed out that the assumption of the learned Single Judge that the scheme was not implemented, is not only inaccurate, but contrary to clear cut evidence on record. Mr. Narasimha Murthy, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of respondent-1, on the other hand, submitted that the impugned Judgment is not required to be disturbed because the Authority had denotified the lands or released the lands with the assistance of the State Government and thereby implementation of the scheme is given up. The learned Counsel relied upon the provisions of Section 27 of the Act to contend that the scheme becomes inoperative and lapses if the Authority fails to execute the scheme substantially within a period of five years from the date of publication in the Official Gazette. In view of the rival submission, the Question, which falls for Determination, is whether the learned Single Judge was right in concluding that respondent-1 is entitled to a declaration that the Final Notification should be struck down and the proceedings completed under the Land Acquisition Act, should be declared as null and void in view of the fact that some of the lands proposed to be acquired in accordance with the Final Notification, were released.
7. It is first necessary to ascertain which, according to respondent-1, were the lands released either by the Authority or by the State Government. The Final Notification sets out that the lands which will be acquired for enforcement of the scheme, would be about 1334 acres 12 guntas from different villages. Respondent-1 claimed and which contention has been accepted by the learned Single Judge, that an area of 61 acres and 26 1/2 guntas of land held by one M.S. Ramaiah was released from acquisition. It is necessary to determine whether the assumption of the learned Single Judge on this aspect is accurate. The lands of M.S. Ramaiah were proposed to be acquired and proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act commenced and Award was declared on November 12, 1980. M.S. Ramaiah filed Writ Petition No. 16464/82 before the learned Single Judge challenging the acquisition proceedings and sought an interim relief restraining the Authority from recovering possession in pursuance of the Award. The Petition was withdrawn by Ramaiah on January 22, 1987. In the meanwhile, Ramaiah had approached the State Government to pass order under Section 20 of the Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act. Section 20 confers power upon the State Government to exempt lands from the operation of the Act. Ramaiah represented to the State Government that the lands acquired by the Authority should be exempted and excess vacant land should be permitted to be transferred in favour of Gokula Education Foundation for construction of various educational buildings. The application for exemption was not only in respect of the lands acquired, but in respect of other lands, which were declared as excess under the provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act. The State Government passed order on May 14, 1991, and the State Government not only granted exemption in respect of the excess vacant land, but also directed the Authority to drop the acquisition proceedings in respect of area of 61 acres 26 1/2 guntas. The reason which prompted the State Government to give such direction was that the Final Notification was challenged by one of the land owners by filing Writ Petition No. 29726/81 before the learned Single Judge and the learned Single Judge, by Judgment dated July 27, 1984, has struck down the entire Final Notification eventhough it was challenged by only one of the land owners. The State Government felt that as the entire Notification was struck down, the acquisition of lands undertaken by the Authority in respect of the holding of M.S. Ramaiah cannot be continued. It is extremely unfortunate that the Government did not bother to ascertain what has happened in respect of the Judgment delivered by the learned Single Judge. An application was filed before the learned Single Judge for review of the Judgment and on April 13, 1992, the Review Petition was allowed and the Final Notification was quashed only in respect of the lands involved in the Petition. It seems that the Government was either negligent in not ascertaining as to what proceedings were adopted in the Court in respect of the Judgment delivered by the learned Single Judge or the Government was anxious to grant the relief sought by M.S. Ramaiah. It cannot be overlooked that the State Government was a party to the proceedings before the learned Single Judge and also in the Review Petition. In spite of that, if the direction is given to the Authority to drop the acquisition proceedings, such direction is of no value. Indeed, it is difficult to appreciate how on an application filed for grant of exemption under Section 20 of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, the State Government can proceed to give direction to the Authority to drop the acquisition proceedings. The Government was conscious that Award was already declared in respect of the lands held by M.S. Ramaiah on November 12, 1980, and the Government has not exercised the powers under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act to withdraw from the acquisition. It is difficult to appreciate how without exercising the statutory power under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act, the Government can give direction to the Authority to drop the acquisition proceedings. We have serious reservation about the order passed by the State Government, but we are not expressing any final opinion about the validity of the order in the absence of Ramaiah being a party to the present proceedings. We are informed that Ramaiah has already filed a Petition being Writ Petition No. 46/1991, for striking down the Preliminary and Final Notifications and that Petition is pending disposal before the learned Single Judge. We are sure that the Authority and hopefully the State Government, will point out the relevant aspects of the matter to the learned Single Judge and will not permit the Petition to succeed by default. In our judgment, the assumption of the Learned Single Judge that the release of land in favour of M.S. Ramaiah was a fraud on the power conferred is not accurate.
The Counsel for respondent-1 then referred to the release of lands in respect of four other land owners. The learned Counsel referred to the Resolution passed by the Authority on August 29, 1984, releasing an area of 9 acres and 10 guntas held by one Dr. Ramaiah. Reference was also made to the Resolution releasing an area of 2 acres and 27 guntas in favour of one Venkatappa and an area of 6 acres in favour of one Gopalaraju. It was contended that the release of these lands from acquisition at the behest of the Authority is a tell-tale circumstance to indicate that the Authority is not serious in implementation of the scheme and the exercise to acquire the lands of various land owners is nothing but an illegal act Mr. Datar appearing on behalf of the Authority pointed out that the release of these lands by the Resolution of the Authority was clearly opposed to the catena of Decisions delivered by this Court. This Court repeatedly pointed out that once acquisition proceedings are commenced, the Authority had no jurisdiction to release any land and it is only for the State Government to do so by exercise of powers under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act. Mr. Datar submitted that the action of the members of the Authority in releasing the land was illegal and steps have already been taken to revoke that order. We do not wish to express any opinion on the steps taken by the Authority only for the reason that those persons, who have secured advantage by the Resolutions, are not before us.
8. Learned Counsel for respondent-1 then submitted that the Authority has released the land ad-measuring about 700 acres in favour of various Housing Co-operative Societies. It was contended that the release of these lands in favour of the Societies is in breach of the scheme floated by the Authority and consequently it should be concluded that the scheme had lapsed and the acquisition proceedings must fall. In support of the submission, reliance was placed on Annexure-E to the rejoinder filed by respondent-1 on December 12, 1991. This rejoinder sets out a list of about 140 Housing Co-operative Societies and to whom the lands under acquisition have been allotted. It was contended by the learned Counsel that these lands were held by the Societies on the date of the Final Notification and the Authority did not proceed to take steps under the Land Acquisition Act for acquisition of the same. The complaint of the learned Counsel that the allotment of these lands to Housing Co-operative Societies is in breach of the terms of the scheme is without any foundation. There is not a whisper of the complaint on this count either in the original Petition or in the amendment application. Indeed, the Petition and the amendment application are extremely vague and except making a general and bald allegation that the Authority has released the lands, the details are not furnished. We will assume for the purpose of argument that the Authority had not acquired lands ad-measuring 700 acres which are in possession of Housing Co-operative Societies. The entire scheme was floated by the Authority for the purpose of housing for the people. We enquired from the learned Counsel as to how the allotment of the plots to the Housing Co-operative Societies would be in breach of the terms of the scheme. We felt that the allotment of plots to the Housing Co-operative Societies does really aid and assist in the implementation of the scheme. The Counsel submitted that these lands were already purchased by the Housing Co-operative Societies prior to the date of the publication of the Final Notification and it was incumbent upon the Authority to acquire the lands and then allot them according to the Rules to those who need the same. We are not impressed by the submission. In the first instance, there is no material on record to indicate that the plots held by the Housing Co-operative Societies were reserved in the scheme for construction of houses. In case the plots were ear-marked for construction of houses, then allotment of the same to the Housing Co-operative Societies in no manner would be in breach or in contravention of the terms of the scheme. Secondly, even assuming that the lands were already purchased by the Housing Co-operative Societies prior to the date of publication of the final notification, still, in our judgment, it was not incumbent upon the Authority to proceed with the acquisition to acquire the same, take possession and then return them back to the Housing Co-operative Societies. Such an exercise would be in futility. Ultimately, the Authority had prepared the scheme for the purpose of housing and in case the Authority was satisfied that the Housing Co-operative Societies are genuine Societies and have already purchased the plots for the purpose of construction of houses for the members, then there would not be any illegality in permitting the Societies to retain the plots for the purpose of housing. The retention of plots with the Societies would advance the implementation of the scheme and, in our judgment, the challenge to the retention of the plots with the Housing Co-operative Societies is without any merit.
9. The Counsel for respondent-1 then submitted that it is not clear as to whether the plots held by these Housing Co-operative Societies were ear-marked in the scheme for that purpose. It was contended that the scheme provides for laying of roads, reservation of plots for the purpose of gardens and other civic amenities. It was contended that the retention of the plots by the Housing Co-operative Societies is in breach of the reservation made under the scheme. The submission is merely required to be stated to be rejected. In the first instance, there is not a whisper of a complaint on this count in the entire Petition or in the amendment application. The assumption of the learned Counsel that the plots retained by the Housing Co-operative Societies were reserved for some other purpose is nothing short of imagination. We repeatedly enquired from the learned Counsel as to what is the foundation for the submission and whether the scheme is available to substantiate the complaint made. The only answer was that the scheme is with the Authority and the Authority has not produced the same. The scheme is a public document and nothing prevented respondent-1 to produce the same either before the learned Single Judge or at the hearing of the Appeals. It is futile to claim that the Court should assume that the contention of respondent-1 that plots held by the Housing Co-operative Societies were reserved for some other purpose, is correct and the contention should be accepted even though the scheme is not produced. In our judgment, the submission advanced on behalf of respondent-1 is nothing but out of desparation to avoid the consequences of acquisition proceedings.
10. We are unable to appreciate how the learned Single Judge could strike down the Final Notification on the ground that the release of certain lands amounts to violation of the rights guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution. In the first instance, as mentioned hereinabove, we are not at all satisfied that the release of lands was in accordance with law. Indeed, the Counsel for the Authority submitted that steps have already been taken for cancellation of the order providing for release. Even assuming that the release of lands is proper and legal, still the area released in favour of M.S. Ramaiah and Dr. Ramaiah, Bangalore Manikshadarga, Venkatappa and Gopalaraju ad-measures about 90 acres. The total area proposed to be acquired is about 1334 acres and 12 guntas and even assuming that the area of 90 acres is released, that itself cannot lead to the conclusion that the Authority and the government were acting illegally and were not serious to implement the scheme and the acquisition proceedings must fall. In the first instance, in our judgment, the release of these lands was not in accordance with law and therefore that release cannot lead to the conclusion that the action of the Government and the Authority in proceeding with the acquisition was fraud on the power of acquisition. It was then contended that the release of area of about 700 acres in favour of the Housing Co-operative Societies must lead to the conclusion that the Authority was not serious in implementing the scheme. We do not find any merit in the contention because retention of the lands with the Housing Co-operative Societies does not lead to the destruction of the scheme, but on the contrary aids and assists in the implementation of the scheme, the object being to provide housing to the people. The submission of the learned Counsel that the scheme lapses in accordance with the provisions of Section 27 of the Act, is also required to be turned down. The Section provides that in case the Authority fails to execute the scheme substantially within a period of 5 years from the date of publication of the notification under Sub-section (1) of Section 19 of the Act, then the scheme shall lapse. The plain reading of the Section makes it clear that the scheme can lapse provided the Authority fails to execute the scheme substantially. The expression "fails to execute the scheme" clearly indicates that the Section will attract only in cases where the Authority is in a position to implement the scheme and then fails to do so. It was pointed out on behalf of the Authority that several Writ Petitions were filed in this Court to challenge the publication of the Notifications and the acquisition proceedings and in view of the Interim Orders granted in those Petitions restraining the Authority from proceeding further with the scheme and the acquisition, it was impossible for the Authority to execute the scheme within the stipulated period of five years prescribed under Section 27 of the Act. The Counsel for respondent-1 very rightly did not dispute that several Petitions were filed and stay orders were issued, in these circumstances, it is difficult to appreciate how it can ever be suggested that the schema has lapsed because the Authority had failed to execute the scheme. It must also be noted that the provisions of Section 27 prescribes that the failure of the Authority to execute the scheme must be in respect of the substantial part of the scheme. In the present case, on the showing of respondent-1, an area of 700 acres is allotted to the Housing Co-operative Societies for construction of houses. The Counsel appearing for the two appellants, who were allotted Sites No. 85 and 115 by the Authority points out that not only allotments were made to various persons, but houses have been constructed by those allottees. In case now it is held that the scheme had lapsed, it would result into serious prejudice to large number of allottees from the Authority. In our judgment, it is not proper in exercise of Writ Jurisdiction to nullify the action taken by the statutory authority in pursuance of the powers conferred by the statute. It is not permissible for the Writ Court to assume that illegalities must have been committed because the Authority has released some lands. Even assuming that the release of lands is not in accordance with law, still the Writ Court should not have disturbed the entire scheme and struck down the Notification which was published in the year 1978. The learned Single Judge should not have turned down the contention urged on behalf of the Authority that the Petition filed 11 years after the date of the publication of the Notification should not be entertained on the ground of delay and laches. We are unable to appreciate how the Final Notification can be struck down on the ground that the Government and the Authority have released some lands from acquisition.
11. The reliance placed by the Counsel for the Authority on the two Decisions of the Supreme Court in this connection is very appropriate. In the Decision reported in CHANDRA BANSI SINGH v. STATE OF BIHAR, , a large tract of land belonging to several persons
was sought to be acquired for the purpose of construction of houses and allotment to the people belonging to the low and middle income groups by issuing notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act. Six years thereafter, the land belonging to a particular family was released by the Government by way of a pure and simple favouritism. The Supreme Court held that the release would be bad and non est, and the Notification issued under Section 4 initially would be deemed to be valid and the land released to the family would form part of the acquisition. The Supreme Court also held that the release being a separate and subsequent act, could not invalidate the entire notification, but would only invalidate the portion released, with the result that the original notification would be restored to its position. The Supreme Court observed that sometimes while taking a pragmatic and progressive action under a statute in the general public interest, the Government succumbs to internal or external pressures by a citizen or groups of citizens, so as to show special favour to them, which destroys the laudable object of the nature of the action. It was pointed out that such a course adopted by the Government to help a few chosen friends at the cost of the people in general, frustrates the very object of the meaningful State action. In Paragraph-11 of the Judgment, the Supreme Court examined the contention that the entire acquisition of lands should be declared as unconstitutional, even though a very small fraction of it was hit by the mischief of Article
14. The Supreme Court held that the entire acquisition cannot be disturbed even though the release of certain lands in favour of a particular family was opposed to the public interest. The second Decision in CHANDIGARH ADMINISTRATION v. JAGJIT SINGH, , reflects how the impugned Judgment of the learned
Single Judge is unsustainable. The Chandigarh Administration held an auction and the highest bidder secured the lease-hold rights for 99 years in respect of a plot of land. The highest bidder deposited certain amount and committed default in respect of payment of balance. The proceedings were taken for cancellation of the bid and the lease was cancelled forfeiting the amount already paid. The bidder secured the refund of the amount and thereafter filed a Review Petition for re-consideration of the order of cancellation. The Review Petition was dismissed, but, a second Revision Petition succeeded and the Chief Commissioner had directed that the plot should be restored to the highest bidder provided the entire payment as per the bid was deposited. The payment along with interest as directed, was not made and the bidder then approached the High Court seeking the relief of directing the Administration to accept the amount with interest and pass appropriate order. The bidder failed in his attempt and then again moved the State Officer to settle the case in the alleged policy of the Administration to restore the plot to defaulters. The Administration did not grant the relief, but the High Court in exercise of Writ Jurisdiction, granted the relief sought by the bidder. The Administration carried the matter before the Supreme Court. It would be appropriate to set out the relevant portion in Paragraph-8 of the Judgment delivered by Mr. Justice Jeevan Reddy:
"Generally speaking, the mere fact that the respondent-authority has passed a particular order in the case of another person similarly situated can never be the ground for issuing a writ in favour of the petitioner on the plea of discrimination. The order in favour of the other person might be legal and valid or it might not be. That has to be investigated first before it can be directed to be followed in the case of the petitioner. If the order in favour of the other person is found to be contrary to law or not warranted in the facts and circumstances of his case, it is obvious that such illegal or unwarranted order cannot be made the basis of issuing a writ compelling the respondent-authority to repeat the illegality or to pass another unwarranted order. The extraordinary and discretionary power of the High Court cannot be exercised for such a purpose. Merely because the respondent-authority has passed one illegal/unwarranted order, it does not entitle the High Court to compel the authority to repeat that illegality over again and again. The illegal/unwarranted action must be corrected, if it can be done according to law indeed, wherever it is possible, the Court should direct the appropriate authority to correct such wrong orders in accordance with law, but even if it cannot be corrected, it cannot be made a basis for its repetition. But refusing to direct the respondent- authority to repeat the illegality, the Court is not condoning the earlier illegal act/order nor can such illegal order constitute the basis for a legitimate complaint of discrimination. Giving effect to such plea would be prejudicial to the interests of law and will do incalculable mischief to public interest. It will be a negation of law and rule of law. Of course, if in case the order in favour of the other person is found to be lawful and justified one, it can be followed and a similar relief can be given to the petitioner if it is found that the petitioner's case is similar to the other persons' case. But then why examine another person's case in his absence rather than examining the case of the petitioner who is present before the Court and seeking the relief. Is it not more appropriate and convenient to examine the entitlement of the petitioner before the Court to the relief asked for in the facts and circumstances of his case than to enquire into the correctness of the order made or action taken in another person's case, which other person is not before the Court nor is his case. Such a course barring exceptional situations would neither be advisable nor desirable. In other words, the High Court cannot ignore the law and the well-accepted norms governing the writ jurisdiction and say that because in one case a particular order has been passed or a particular action has been taken, the same must be repeated irrespective of the fact whether such an order or action is contrary to law or "otherwise."
The observations of the Supreme Court is a clear answer to the contentions raised by respondent-1 by approaching this Court in Writ Jurisdiction. In our judgment, the impugned Judgment is entirely unsustainable and is required to be quashed.
12. Accordingly, all the three Appeals are allowed and impugned Judgment dated February 20, 1992, delivered by the learned Single Judge in Writ Petition No. 20377/1989 is set aside and the Writ Petition to stand dismissed. Respondent-1 shall pay the costs of the Authority throughout.