Court Cannot Issue a Writ of Mandamus for Reconveyance of Land When the Petitioner Has No Right Over It: Madras High Court

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On the 12th day of July 2021, the Honourable High Court of Tamil Nadu heard and dismissed a Civil Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The High Court of Judicature at Madras was approached by the Petitioner, aggrieved by the earlier order of the same High Court. The case was argued before the Single Judge Bench of Honourable Justice N. Anand Venkatesh. 

 

Facts:

           In the year 1982, the government vide notification under 18th December of 1982, acquired the land of the Petitioner’s father-in-law. It was acquired with the purpose of constructing a law college in the area. The Petitioner’s father-in-law had 7 acres and 68 cents of land which was retained by the government, while all others were given back to the people. The government vide notification 12th December 1990 decided to withdraw the acquisition except for that of the Petitioner’s father-in-law. In the year 1986, Petitioner’s father-in-law had received a compensation of Rs 37,405/- for the acquisition. But since 1991, the Petitioner’s family have been trying to get back their piece of land. The Petitioner had lost both father-in-law and her husband in the course of time. In the year 2012, the Petitioner had approached the Honourable High Court, where the Court in 2015, delivered a verdict against the Petitioner. 

           It was in this regard that the Petitioner had approached the Honourable High Court of Madras, for the second tie for the same decided case. The Petitioner had approached the Court seeking a writ of mandamus against the State government under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.

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Arguments before the Court:

           The Petitioner was represented by learned Senior counsel N. Krishnaveni, representing the Advocate on record T. Antony Raju. The counsel for the Petitioner humbly submitted that the said acquisition and not reconvening the land violated Section 48(B) of the Land Acquisition Act,1894. The council highlighted the fact that the primary purpose for which the land was acquired, was failed by the Respondents as there is no law college that stands erect. The fact of the impugned Court Order in the year 2015, influencing the mind of the Respondents were signified. The reports of communication between the Respondents for reconveyance of land was used as backing/ground by the counsel. The council also put forth that, the proposed plan of providing houses to backward classes, was not executed by the Respondents. With all these, the council wanted to have the land given back to the Petitioner.   

           The Respondents were represented by learned government advocate R. Suresh Kumar. The counsel for the Respondent humbly countered the argument of the Petitioner. The evidence of compensation being paid for the acquisition, to the father-in-law of the Petitioner was placed on record. The council also argued that the government had formulated the plan for providing shelter to the backward and major backward communities and was not left alone untouched.

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Court’s Observation:

           The Single Judge Bench heard and recorded arguments of both Petitioners and Respondents. The Court considered the fact that the Petitioner’s father-in-law was compensated for acquisition and hence had lost all rights over the property. The government was known to have all the rights over the property, including the reconveyance and allotment. As far as the aforementioned act was concerned, the Court found that the government was at the discretion for reconveyance or use it for purpose of public benefit. The Court observed that in the present matter, the government had acquired the rights from the Petitioner’s father-in-law and also had a plan to use it for the public good. Hence the Court was of the view that the Petitioner was seeking relief over a property on which she never had a right/lost the rights.

 

Court’s Judgment:

           The Honourable High Court of Madras dismissed the Civil Writ Petition finding no merit in the arguments of the Petitioner. The Court held that there was no provision to issue the writ of mandamus in a case where the Petitioner did not have the right, that was said to be violated/aggrieved. The Court also dismissed any miscellaneous Petition connecting to this matter.

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Click here to view the web copy of the judgment

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