Read Judgment: Surjeet Singh Sahni vs. State of U.P and Ors. 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, March 3, 2022: While hearing a case on specific performance of allotment of plot from NOIDA which was sought through representation after ten years of execution of the sale deed, the Supreme Court has observed that mere representation does not extend the period of limitation and the aggrieved person has to approach the Court expeditiously and within reasonable time. 

Highlighting that no writ under Article 226 of the Constitution of India shall be maintainable and/or entertainable for specific performance of the contract and that too after a period of 10 years by which time even the suit for specific performance would have been barred by limitation, a Division Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said that the High Court had rightly refused to grant any relief which as such was in the form of specific performance of the contract. 

Going by the background of the case, Surjeet Sahni (Petitioner) entered into a Sale Deed with NOIDA (Respondent) whereby the petitioner sold a Plot to NOIDA u/s 6 of the U.P. Industrial Area Development Act, 1976 and in terms of the Resolution in 102nd meeting of NOIDA. However, after a period of 10 years from the date of execution of the Sale Deed, the petitioner made a representation to NOIDA requesting to allot a plot as agreed in terms of the Sale Deed. 

Aggrieved, the petitioner approached the High Court of Allahabad, but the petition was rejected on the ground that it was filed after a period of 11 years from the date of execution of the Sale Deed and hence barred by delay and latches. However, the High Court directed NOIDA to decide the representation of the petitioner expeditiously and preferably within a period of six weeks.

Since the NOIDA rejected the said representation, the petitioner filed a writ and again prayed to allot 10% plot to him as provided under the Sale Deed and as per the Resolution passed in 102nd meeting of NOIDA Board. The High Court however held that the petition arising out of contract between parties is not maintainable and the petitioner should have filed a Suit for specific performance. Secondly, the High Court noted that the petition was filed after a delay of 16 years and delay was fatal for challenge to acquisition or for any claim arising out of it. 

After considering the submissions, the Top Court found that by way of writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India as such the petitioner prayed for a specific performance of Clause 12 of the Sale Deed and for the first time, the petitioner made a representation for allotment of 10% plot as per Clause 12 of the Sale Deed after a period of 10 years from the date of execution of the Sale Deed. 

Therefore, as such if the suit would have been filed for specific performance, the same would have been barred by limitation, added the Court. 

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Shah therefore observed that when the earlier writ petition was filed in the year 2011 which was also barred by delay and latches, the High Court ought not to have entertained the same. 

Instead, the High Court entertained the said writ petition and directed NOIDA to decide the representation of the petitioner, which as such was made after a period of 10 years, expeditiously and it gave the fresh blood to the litigation, which otherwise was barred by delay and latches, added the Bench. 

Justice Shah highlighted that the High Court as such did not appreciate that the writ petition itself was required to be dismissed on the ground of delay and latches as the same was filed after a period of 11 years from the date of execution of the Sale Deed under which the right was claimed. 

When such orders are passed by the High Courts either relegating the petitioner to make a representation and/or directing the appropriate authority to decide the representation, the High Courts have to consider whether the writ petition is filed belatedly and/or the same is barred by latches and/or not, so that in future the person who has approached belatedly may not contend that the fresh cause of action has arisen on rejection of the representation, added the Bench. 

Hence, the Apex Court dismissed the appeal.  

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