Read Judgment: Velagacharla Jayaram Reddy & Ors. V. M.venkata Ramana & Ors. 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi,  January 14, 2022: The Supreme Court has opined that when the price for allotment of a plot in a society was fixed keeping in view the market value and construction had been raised since the allotment was made decades ago in the year 2000, then no intervention in such allotment was called for. 

A Larger Bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice A.S. Bopanna observed that if in fact a plot was earmarked in the layout plan as a parking area, it is the bounden duty of the authorities concerned to maintain the same as such. 

It is difficult to fathom that a private individual who owns shop premises in the layout would invest money and purchase the vacant plot to retain it as a parking area for the benefit of the general public, added the Bench.

The observation came pursuant to an order, whereby the Division Bench of the High Court had quashed the award passed by the Divisional Cooperative Officer, Cuddapah acting as an Arbitrator in deciding the dispute raised u/s 61(1)(b) of the Andhra Pradesh Cooperative Societies Act, 1964 (APCS Act). 

After considering the submissions, the Larger Bench noted that the APCS Act has made a provision for members of a Cooperative Society to approach the cooperative Officer designated, when there is a dispute amongst the members of a society or the member/members against the Society. 

In the instant case, the second Defendant, a member of the society who was allotted a plot in another layout formed by the N.G.O. Society, sought for an exchange of the plot. Accordingly, the earlier allotted plot was surrendered to the Society by the second Defendant. In lieu thereof, the Society allotted the plot measuring 3.25 cents to second Defendant and a sale deed dated April 7,2000 was also executed and registered. 

Former office bearers of the Society who were members of the N.G.O society, were amongst the plaintiffs. Jayanagar Housing Welfare Society was a society in the larger layout plan and therefore seeking to sustain the facilities available in the layout by contending that the plot allotted to the second Defendant was a vacant area reserved as parking area.

Plaintiffs No.4 and 5 were however not the members of the Society but were purchasers of commercial plots bearing No. 27, 35, 36 and had constructed shops thereon. The plot allotted to the defendant No.2 is located in front of the shops belonging to the plaintiffs No.4 and 5 in plots No.27, 35 and 36. Though they contend that it is a vacant plot retained in the layout as parking area and are seeking to espouse a cause, their conduct needs to be noted”, added the Larger Bench.

The Top Court highlighted that whether it was before the authorities under the A.P.C.S Act or if the parties were relegated to the jurisdictional Court under the Civil Procedure Code, grant of relief would have arisen only if there was definite material to indicate that the plot in question was reserved as a parking area in the layout plan and that the same therefore being a civic amenity area, had on formation of the layout, vested in the Municipal Corporation along with the roads, drains and open areas for the purpose of retaining it as such and maintaining the same.

The report from the District Judge, Kadapa, coupled with the discussion by the Divisional Cooperative Officer, would disclose that the subject plot was not earmarked as a parking area in the layout plan but was only deduced so by the Divisional Cooperative Officer in the course of his discussion in the award, added the Top Court. 

The Apex Court observed that M.V Ramana (respondent) is a member of the Society and being entitled to allotment of a plot, had earlier been allotted plot at another location, and it is on surrender of that plot that the present allotment was made in his favour, though the plot is of a slightly bigger dimension.

Accordingly, the Apex Court dismissed the appeal. 

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