26 May 2020


Supreme Court

Ghaziabad Development Authority and Ors. Vs. Machhla Devi




Unlawful possession of public property without having paid for same tantamounts to unjust enrichment

Present appeal is directed against order passed by the High Court wherein without issuance of notice to the Ghaziabad Development Authority ("GDA") an order was passed in the favour of Machhla Devi ("allottee"). Appellant submitted that, via judgment passed by High Court in Writ Petition Civil No. 28834 of 2004, the cancellation of allotment was upheld, and, thus, it attained finality. Hence, it was wrong and illegal on the part of the High Court to interfere in the matter and pass directions to accept the monetary amount which is tantamount to regularization of the allotment. The allottee had remained in unauthorized possession of the property in question for 14 long years by virtue of the influence of her husband who is in Uttar Pradesh Police.

The allottee was allotted House No. E-376 under the hire-purchase scheme vide letter dated 5th October, 1994 by the GDA. The allottee has not honored the stipulations of the hire-purchase scheme under which allotment of House No. E-376 was made to her. The conduct of the allottee was not only fall foul of the terms and conditions envisaged under the allotment letter issued under the hire-purchase scheme but also shows that, she has approached the Court with unclean hands. With reference to the possession of the allottee, the eviction was sought pursuant to the order of the Allahabad High Court which upheld the cancellation of the allotment, and, thus, fulfils the due process of law requirement.

It is well-settled principle of law that, unlawful possession of public property without having paid for the same would tantamount to unjust enrichment and would be against public interest. The unauthorized occupation of public property is contrary to public interest.

The effect of the disposal of Writ Petition Civil No. 7928 of 2018 by the High Court is in essence a nullification of the order dated 17th May, 2016 in Writ Petition Civil No. 28834/04 of its own co-ordinate Bench. This approach is highly condemnable as, firstly, it is against judicial propriety to issue orders contrary to the orders of its own coordinate Bench, as the same had attained finality. Judicial discipline mandates respecting of orders of co-ordinate Benches of the High Court.

The manner in which the order is made without even issuance of notice to the GDA on the first material date of hearing goes against the cherished Principle of Natural Justice. The order of the Allahabad High Court in Writ Petition is set aside and it is directed that the allottee be evicted forthwith. Appeal is allowed

Tags : Unlawful possession Eviction Grant

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