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Thus, we direct the appellant-Corporation to re-allot the plot originally allotted to the respondent, i.e. Plot No.57, Pocket-I, Sector-2, Bawana Industrial Area, Delhi, and if the same is not available, an alternative plot, in the same Bawana Industrial Area or any other proximate area be allotted to him within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of this order. The discretionary power exercised by the learned single Judge of the High Court which is confirmed by the Division Bench of the High Court need not be interfered with by this Court as no case is made out. The appeal is dismissed. CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1087 OF 2015 (ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) NO. 22784 OF 2014) DELHI STATE INDUS. DEV. CORPN. LTD. ………APPELLANT Vs. ASHOK KUMAR MADAN ……RESPONDENT

NON REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1087 OF 2015
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) NO. 22784 OF 2014)
DELHI STATE INDUS. DEV. CORPN. LTD. ………APPELLANT

Vs.

ASHOK KUMAR MADAN ……RESPONDENT
O R D E R
V.GOPALA GOWDA, J.

Leave granted.

This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment and final order
dated 24.07.2013 passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in L.P.A.
No.3
of 2013, whereby the High Court has disallowed the action of the appellant-
Corporation in cancellation of the plot allotted under the “Relocation
Scheme” on account of non-payment of the initial 50% amount towards the
cost of the plot in terms of order dated 24.1.2001 passed by this Court in
M.C.Mehta Vs. Union of India[1] and subsequently dismissed the L.P.A. of
the appellant-Corporation.

The brief facts of the case are stated hereunder:-

The appellant-Corporation is the agency implementing the direction of this
Court in the case of M.C.Mehta (supra), for the relocation of industries
that are carrying on business in non conforming areas or are misusing
residential properties. The respondent, who was running a
commercial/industrial establishment in a residential premises, made an
application dated 23.12.1996 for the allotment of a plot under the
“Relocation Scheme” and also furnished a sum of Rs.60,000/- along with the
application. The respondent was required to make a further deposit of 30%
of the tentative cost of the plot, which amounts to Rs.75,000/-, apart from
the earnest money paid along with the application, which was duly deposited
by him on 09.05.2000. The application of the respondent was accepted and he
was allotted a plot measuring 150 sq. meters bearing no.57, Pocket-I,
Sector-2, Bawana Industrial Area, Delhi, in accordance with the allotment
letter issued on 23.10.2000. The appellant-Corporation also informed the
respondent that the cost of the plot stood revised from Rs.3000/- per sq.
meter to Rs.4,200/- per square meter and the respondent was also required
to deposit 50% of the revised estimated cost, which amounted to
Rs.3,15,000/- within a period of 3 months from 23.10.2000. Pursuant to an
order dated 24.01.2001 passed by this Court in M.C.Mehta’s case (supra),
the date for depositing the requisite amount was subsequently extended to
31.03.2001. The respondent failed to deposit the said amount despite the
extension of the period given by this Court. The respondent deposited an
amount of Rs.1,80,000/- to complete the payment of 50% of the cost of the
plot on 27.11.2001, instead of the stipulated date i.e. 31.03.2001, without
any demand and permission from the appellant-Corporation. The payment
challan states that any late payment or payment without demand would not
create any right upon the property. on 27.07.2004, an aggregate sum of
Rs.4,27,117/-, was deposited by the respondent on a demand made by an
officer of the appellant-Corporation, to complete the balance payment of
50% of the cost of the plot as well as the interest for delay in making
payment. Further, on 14.11.2006, the respondent received a communication
from the appellant-Corporation, demanding certain documents to facilitate
the handing over the possession of the plot to the respondent. However, the
allotment in favour of the respondent was cancelled on 30.01.2008 and the
amount was refunded with interest on 07.05.2010. Aggrieved by the
cancellation order, the respondent filed Writ Petition No.8478 of 2010
before the learned single Judge of the High Court, who disposed of the same
in favour of the respondent vide order dated 03.07.2012, stating that the
appellant-Corporation had not corrected the mistake committed by its
officer and had remained silent for four years after the receipt of the
value of the plot. It has further held that the aforesaid action of the
appellant-Corporation shows that it had accepted the action of the officer.
Further, the respondent had paid interest on the delayed payment, which was
also accepted by the appellant-Corporation, and therefore the doctrine of
equity is in his favour. Further, no action was taken against the concerned
officer of the appellant-Corporation by it. Thus, in the absence of any
reasonable explanation as to why the appellant-Corporation chose to enjoy
the money of the respondent for a period of 4 years without any recourse to
him and without taking any action for the cancellation of the allotment of
the plot, can safely lead to the conclusion that the appellant-Corporation
chose to accept the action of its Section Officer, Mr.R.K.Bhatia. Thus, the
learned single Judge disposed of the writ petition and quashed the
cancellation letter dated 30.01.2008, wherein the appellant-Corporation has
cancelled the plot allotted to the respondent and further the appellant-
Corporation was directed to make available an alternate plot to the
respondent in case the original plot allotted to the respondent was not
available, within a period of four weeks from the date of the order.

The Division Bench of the High Court also dismissed the appeal of the
appellant-Corporation on the similar reasons assigned by the learned single
Judge. Hence, this appeal is filed by the appellant-Corporation seeking to
set aside the impugned judgment and order of the High Court.
It is the contention of Mrs. S. Janani, the learned counsel on behalf of
the appellant-Corporation that the High Court has erred in not considering
the fact that the respondent has failed to make the payment in terms of the
allotment letter and also in accordance with the directions issued by this
Court, whereby the period stipulated for making payment with regard to the
allotment of land was extended. The High Court has failed to see that the
appellant-Corporation has followed the policy of cancellation of allotment
in cases where the initial 50% of payment has not been deposited in time by
the allottees uniformly and any favourable decision as directed by the High
Court in favour of the respondent would open the flood gates of litigation
and in such circumstances the appellant-Corporation would be put to great
hardship.

Further, the paragraphs 3, 11 and 12 of the allotment letter dated
23.10.2000, clearly state that in case the payment towards the cost of the
plot is not made within the stipulated time, by the allottees, in respect
of the plot already allotted in favour of the respondent is likely to be
cancelled without any further notice in this regard. The Delhi Government
has reserved its right to withdraw/reject the offer of allotment made in
favour of the respondent in case of any discrepancy noticed subsequently
after following due process of law.

Further, it has been contended by the learned counsel that it is the
sole discretion of the Delhi Government to allot and cancel the plot
allotted in favour of any allottee, if the conditions stipulated therein
are not complied with by the allottee, without informing him in this
regard.

It has been further contended by the learned counsel that the delay in
refunding the amount to the respondent amounts to a conscious decision on
the part of the appellant-Corporation to accept the belated payment of the
first instalment made by the respondent towards the allotment of the land.
However, the delay in refunding the amount to the respondent by the
appellant-Corporation cannot be inferred as an acceptance of the same by it
towards the allotment of the plot in favour of the respondent. The
respondent had not deposited the shortfall amount of 50% of the cost with
its authorization within the stipulated time and therefore, it cannot be
contended that the respondent was misled by the conduct of the appellant-
Corporation to think that the cut-off date fixed by this Court has been
relaxed by it.

On the other hand, it is the contention of Mr. Akhilesh Kumar Gupta, the
learned counsel on behalf of the respondent that the appellant-Corporation
has accepted the full payment amount with interest towards the cost of the
plot, which was deposited by the respondent after sanction and approval
from one Mr.R.K.Bhatia, Section Officer of the appellant-Corporation.
However, the appellant-Corporation has refused to withdraw the cancellation
order inspite of several representations made by the respondent.

It has been further contended by him that no communication was received by
the respondent from the appellant-Corporation that there was any default in
the payment towards the allotment of the plot, when the respondent had
deposited the additional amount of Rs.1,80,000/- on 27.11.2001, thereby
completing the deposit of the requisite amount of 50% payment of the total
cost of the plot that was made available to the respondent through the
allotment scheme by the Delhi Government.

It has been further contended that the respondent had deposited
Rs.7,42,117/- on 27.07.2004, which is the total cost of the plot together
with the up to date interest in response to the newspaper advertisement
published by the appellant-Corporation, asking the allotees of the
Relocation Scheme, who had not made full payment for the plots allotted to
them, to make full payment along with interest in the office of the
appellant-Corporation within the time stipulated in the above
advertisement. Further, the respondent received the communication from the
appellant-Corporation, demanding certain documents to facilitate it to hand
over the plot to the respondent, which were duly furnished by him. However,
the handing over of the possession of the allotted plot was not made to him
but on the other hand, the allotment of the plot to him was cancelled
giving the reason that there was default in the payment of the instalments
on the part of the respondent, which is factually incorrect.

Further, it has been contended that the contract between the appellant-
Corporation and the respondent is still subsisting and there is no
substantial question of law in this appeal to interfere with the judgments
and orders of both the learned single Judge and the Division Bench of the
High Court as they are legal and valid. It is further urged that the
appellant-Corporation has committed fraud on the respondent and therefore
the appeal of the appellant-Corporation is not maintainable before this
Court. The allotment of the plot in favour of the respondent was cancelled
by the appellant-Corporation in utter violation of the principles of
natural justice.

On the basis of the facts pleaded, the evidence on record and the rival
legal contentions urged on behalf of the parties, we have to examine
whether the appellant-Corporation is entitled to the relief as prayed for
in this appeal. The answer for the same is given in the negative.

It is contended by the learned counsel for the appellant-Corporation that
the respondent had made a default in the payment of the initial 50% of the
cost of the plot amounting to Rs.3,15,000/- despite the extension of time
given by this Court in the M.C.Mehta case (supra), i.e. upto 31.03.2001 and
instead, he made the payment directly to the bank without the authorization
of the appellant-Corporation and therefore, the said deposit made towards
the cost of the allotment of the plot is not valid and therefore it has
cancelled the allotment of the plot in favour of the respondent. The action
of cancellation of the plot by the appellant-Corporation for the reasons
ascribed above cannot be accepted by us in view of the peculiar facts and
circumstances of the present case, wherein, on 27.07.2004, an endorsement
was made by the officer of the appellant-Corporation, Mr.R.K.Bhatia, asking
the Bank of Baroda to accept the balance payment payable by the respondent,
thus leading the respondent to a bona fide belief that the belated payment
along with the interest that was deposited by the respondent has been duly
accepted by the appellant-Corporation.

Further, on a careful examination of the cancellation letter that was
addressed to the respondent, cancelling the allotment of the plot allotted
to him, the appellant-Corporation had not given any other reason except
admitting the bona fide mistake on the part of its officer in accepting the
belated payment made by the respondent towards the allotment of the plot
and the delay on the part of the respondent in making the payment within
the stipulated time period. Thus, the explanation given by the appellant-
Corporation has failed to satisfy the courts below as well as this Court as
the appellant-Corporation had continued to retain the total amount
deposited by the respondent for more than half a decade, without even
making an attempt to return the same with interest to the respondent.
Further, the respondent had promptly responded to the newspaper
advertisement dated 27.04.2004, published by the appellant-Corporation,
asking the allottees of the plots to make full payment along with the
interest in the office of the appellant-Corporation.

Further, as has been rightly held by the Division Bench of the High Court,
that the letter dated 14.11.2006 sent by the appellant-Corporation for
furnishing of certain documents by the respondent, to facilitate the
appellant-Corporation to hand over the possession of the plot to him, would
also indicate that the appellant-Corporation had condoned the delayed
payment of the cost of the plot on the part of the respondent and further,
there is no allegation made in the present appeal that the concerned
officer of the appellant-Corporation had colluded with the respondent or
acted in mala fide manner with a view to favour him by allowing him to
deposit the cost of the plot belatedly. In fact, the deposit of the amount
was made by the respondent pursuant to the opportunity given to him by the
extended time for depositing the amount as published in the newspaper
advertisement.

Thus, the fact that the respondent had paid interest on the delayed
payment to the account of the appellant-Corporation, which was accepted by
it and it did not take any action either against its officer or for the
return of money to the respondent between the period 2004-2008, certainly
created equity in favour of the respondent, as observed by the learned
Single Judge and the judgment and order was rightly confirmed by the
Division Bench of the High Court.

The appellant-Corporation has failed to satisfy this Court with cogent and
reasonable explanation as to why the money paid by the respondent for the
allotment of the plot was not returned to him by the appellant-Corporation
which has led him to believe that his delayed payment towards the cost of
the allotted plot had been accepted by the appellant-Corporation. Thus, in
our considered view, there is no merit in the above contentions urged by
the learned counsel on behalf of the appellant-Corporation and the
respondent has been wrongfully denied the benefit of allotment of the plot.
Therefore, the quashing of the cancellation of the allotted plot by the
High Court is legal and valid, the same does not warrant interference by
this Court.

Thus, we direct the appellant-Corporation to re-allot the plot originally
allotted to the respondent, i.e. Plot No.57, Pocket-I, Sector-2, Bawana
Industrial Area, Delhi, and if the same is not available, an alternative
plot, in the same Bawana Industrial Area or any other proximate area be
allotted to him within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of
the copy of this order. The discretionary power exercised by the learned
single Judge of the High Court which is confirmed by the Division Bench of
the High Court need not be interfered with by this Court as no case is made
out. The appeal is dismissed.

……………………………………………………………J.
[V. GOPALA GOWDA]

……………………………………………………………J.
[N.V. RAMANA]
New Delhi,
January 21, 2015
———————–
[1]
(2001) 1 SCALE 420

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