Karnataka HC Allows Writ Of Certiorari, Says Rights Of A Person Cannot Be Ignored Only For The Reason Of Delay In Action

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The writ of certiorari was filed before The High Court of Karnataka under articles 226 & 227 of the constitution of India praying to quash the Impugned orders issued by The Special deputy commissioner.

Brief facts of the case

The petitioners purchased the land bearing Sy.No.36 measuring 2 acres situated at Vaderahalli village, Yelahanka Hobli, through the registered Sale Deed; they were paying the land revenue of the said property to the State Government. Subsequently, the names of the petitioners were entered in the mutation records. On 4.9.2007, BDA passed the Preliminary Notification under Section 17(1) and (3) of the Bangalore Development Act, 1976 for the acquisition of land for Dr.Shivarama Karant Layout and accordingly, On 18.8.2010, a notice was issued by the BDA in respect of the acquisition of Sy.No.36 calling upon the petitioners to appear for enquiry and to file objections, if any, by producing documents.

Further respondent no.1-Special Deputy Commissioner initiated proceedings under the provisions of Section 136(3) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act and proceeded to pass the impugned orders without issuing any notice and providing an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners and thereby the land was vested with the State Government free from all encumbrances. Therefore, the petitioners filed a writ of certiorari to quash the order passed by Special Deputy Commissioner and for further relief.

Arguments before the Court

“Smt. Sumana Baliga, learned Counsel for the petitioners mainly contended that the impugned orders passed by the Special Deputy Commissioner vesting the land with the State Government free from all encumbrances are in utter violation of the principles of natural justice. The Special Deputy Commissioner has neither issued any notice nor has provided an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners and as such, on that ground also, the impugned orders are liable to be quashed. Though the grant was made in the year 1986, proceedings were initiated in the year 2015 and hence, there is unreasonable and inordinate delay in initiating proceedings where Special Deputy Commissioner had no jurisdiction to pass the impugned orders. Accordingly, she sought to allow the writ petition for the relief sought for.

Sri Y.D. Harsha, learned Additional Government Advocate for respondents while justifying the impugned orders passed by the Special Deputy Commissioner contended that as per the impugned orders, though several notices were issued to the petitioners from 25.6.2012 to 19.9.2015, the petitioners have remained absent and the contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners that sufficient opportunity was not provided to them before passing the impugned orders cannot be accepted and therefore, he sought to dismiss the writ petition.”

Court’s View

“In our view, where no period of limitation is prescribed, the action must be taken, whether suo motu or on the application of the parties, within a reasonable time. Undoubtedly, what is reasonable time would depend on the circumstances of each case and the purpose of the statute. In the case before us, we are clear that the action is grossly delayed and taken beyond a reasonable time, particularly, in view of the fact that the land was transferred several times during this period, obviously, in the faith that it is not encumbered by any rights.

We are of the view that merely because the legislation is beneficial and no limitation is prescribed, the rights acquired by persons cannot be ignored lightly and proceedings cannot be initiated after unreasonable delay as observed by this Court in Situ Sahu v. State of Jharkhand [Situ Sahu v. the State of Jharkhand, (2004) 8 SCC 340] .”

Court’s Decision

The impugned orders passed by the 1st respondent-Special Deputy Commissioner were quashed. The matter was remitted to the Deputy Commissioner for fresh consideration strictly in accordance with the law.

The petitioners were directed to appear before the Special Deputy Commissioner and file objections along with relevant documents within a period of two weeks. On such filing of objections, the Special Deputy Commissioner shall provide an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners and pass appropriate orders strictly in accordance with the law.


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