Tulip Kanth

New  Delhi, May 25, 2022: Refusing to recall the order by which the contempt petition against DDA was withdrawn, the Delhi High Court has held that the consideration of an alternative plot is subject to availability of suitable alternate plot and no person has a right to claim for an alternate plot in any particular area or zone. 

On the issue of contempt, the Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad referred to the judgments of the Top Court in Ashok Paper Kamgar Union v. Dharam Godha and  Anil Ratan Sarkar v. Hirak Ghosh, and said, “ In order to make out civil contempt under Section 2(B) of the 1971 Act, scant regard must be shown towards the order of the Court and wilful disobedience must be established. If such wilful disobedience is made out, it is the duty of the Court to take cognizance of the same as contempt. The conduct of the Contemnor must be of such nature which undermines the dignity of the Court and outrages the majesty of law.”

In this case,  properties  of the petitioner’s grandfather were acquired in the year 1968. Under the rehabilitation policy, the petitioner’s grandfather was entitled to re-allotment of a plot and a seniority list was prepared wherein the petitioner’s name was missing for which the petitioner had to file a Writ Petition after which his name was included in the seniority list. The petitioner’s case was later rejected on the ground that his grandfather had not applied for an alternate plot. 

As the petitioner’s name was absent from the list, a contempt petition was filed by the petitioner. The petitioner was allotted a plot in Dwarka by a letter dated December 8,2017 because of which the petitioner withdrew the contempt petition on March 16,2018. But, this allotment was withdrawn because of the fact that the acquisition by which the said plot had been acquired had lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. So, the petitioner filed this application for recalling the order dated March 16, 2018 and for initiating contempt proceedings against the respondents.

According to the Bench, DDA had taken a policy decision that alternate plots under the rehabilitation policy would not be given in those areas which have been declared as developed areas. Dwarka was  no longer an upcoming project and had become a developed area in which the land value was very high and therefore, plots could not be allotted there. Also, it was noted by the Court that the policy decision was taken in the year 2005 and, therefore, the communication of the DDA by which the another plot was allotted to the petitioner was in contravention to the policy decision. In view of this, it couldn’t be said that the withdrawal of such communication is a wilful disobedience of the order of this Court.

In the communication dated August 21, 2018, it was stated that another Plot was being withdrawn because the acquisition had lapsed under Section 24(2) of the New Land Acquisition Act. In the case of Jayawanti & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors., W.P.(C) 2579/2017, the same was held to be not factually correct and it had been upheld by the judgment of the Apex Court in Pune Municipal Corporation & Anr. v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki & Ors. which was holding the field at the relevant time. However, as per the Bench, DDA could not have foreseen the change in law that occurred due to the judgment of the Constitution Bench in Indore Development Authority v. Manohar Lal by which the judgment in Pune Municipal Case(Supra) was overruled. Therefore, it couldnot be said that the stand taken by the DDA in the additional Status Report was fallacious, the Bench added. Thus, the application was dismissed.

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