Hari Krishna Mandir Trust vs State Of Maharashtra . on 7 August, 2020


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Supreme Court of India

Hari Krishna Mandir Trust vs State Of Maharashtra . on 7 August, 2020

Author: Hon’Ble Ms. Malhotra

Bench: Hon’Ble Ms. Malhotra, Hon’Ble Ms. Banerjee

                                                                                       1


                                                                      REPORTABLE
                                IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                  CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                 CIVIL APPEAL NO.6156 OF 2013


                  HARI KRISHNA MANDIR TRUST                               ….Appellant (s)


                                                     versus


                  STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND OTHERS                   …..Respondent (s)




                                             JUDGMENT

Indira Banerjee, J.

This appeal is against a judgment and order dated 15.9.2008

passed by a Division Bench of Bombay High Court dismissing Writ

Petition No.904 of 2008 filed by the appellant, challenging an order

dated 3.5.2006, whereby the State Government refused to sanction

modification of a Scheme under the provisions of Section 91 of the

Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, hereinafter
Signature Not Verified
referred to as “the Regional and Town Planning Act”).
Digitally signed by
ASHWANI KUMAR
Date: 2020.08.07
15:45:23 IST
Reason:

2

2. One Thorat family was the owner of Plot No. 473 in City

Survey No. 1092 at Bhamburda in Pune. By a registered deed of

conveyance dated 21.12.1956 one Mrs. Krishnabai Gopal Rao Thorat

sold the northern part of the plot admeasuring 4910 sq.m. jointly to

Swami Dilip Kumar Roy, one of the most eminent disciples of Sri

Aurobindo, and Smt. Indira Devi, daughter disciple of Swami Dilip

Kumar Roy. The names of Swami Dilip Kumar Roy and Smt. Indira

Devi were duly recorded in the relevant revenue records in 1959.

3. Swami Dilip Kumar Roy had moved to Pune to propagate the

philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and established the Hare Krishna Mandir

with his daughter disciple Smt. Indira Devi, on the land purchased

from Mrs. Krishnabai Gopal Rao Thorat.

4. According to the appellants, by an order dated 20.8.1970 of

the Pune Municipal Corporation, Plot No. 473 which was originally

numbered Survey No.1092, was divided. Final plot No. 473 B was

sub divided into 4 plots being plot Nos. 473 B1 comprising an area

of 1025 square meters, 473 B2 comprising an area of 603.00 square

meters, 473 B3 comprising an area of 2838 square meters and 473

B4, a private road admeasuring 414.14 square meters.

5. Plot No. 473 B1 was owned by Mrs. Kanta Nanda, Plot No. 473

B2 by Mr. Premal Malhotra, and Plot No. 473 B3 by Swami Dilip
3

Kumar Roy and Smt. Indira Devi. Plot No. 473 B4, which was a

vacant plot of land, was shown as an Internal Private Road

measuring 444.14 Sq. mtr., in the possession of Swami Dilip Roy and

Smt. Indira Devi and the holders of Plot Nos. 473 B1 and 473 B2,

namely, Mrs. Kanta Nanda and Mr. Premal Malhotra. It is not in

dispute that the Pune Municipal Corporation was not mentioned in

the order dated 20.8.1970.

6. On 20.8.1970 the City Survey Officer directed issuance of

separate property cards in view of a proposed Development Scheme

under the Regional and Town Planning Act which included Final Plot

No.473, and an Arbitrator was appointed. The Arbitrator made an

Award dated 16.5.1972 directing that the area and ownership of the

plots were to be as per entries in the property register.

7. In 1979, the Town Planning Scheme was sanctioned and came

into effect. In ‘B’ Form, Final Plot No.473 was shown to have been

divided into five parts with ownership as follows:-

473 B1: Mrs Kanta Nanda
473 B2: Mr Premal Malhotra
473 B3: Swami Dilipkumar Roy and Sm. Indira Devi
473 B4: Open space owned by Swami Dilipkumar Roy
and Sm. Indira Devi
Unnumbered: Road measuring 444.14 sq.mt owned by
Pune Municipal Corporation
4

8. The appellant contends that the Pune Municipal Corporation

by its letters dated 29.6.1996, 4.1.1997 and 18.1.1997 admitted

that the internal road had never been acquired by the Pune

Municipal Corporation. The Town and Planning Department also

admitted that Pune Minicipal Corpotation had wrongly been shown

to be owner of said road.

9. By a letter dated 29th June, 1996, the City Survey Officer

informed the Assistant Engineer, Land and Property of the Pune

Municipal Corporation that, as per registered document no. 1429

dated 21.12.1956, Sri Dilip Kumar Roy and Mrs. Indira Devi had

purchased, Final Plot No. 473B in Survey Plot No.1092 at

Bhamburda, Pune, admeasuring 52,892 sq.f. from Krishnabai Gopal

Rai Thorat. Accordingly as per letter number PTI 2325/12/56 of the

City Architect, separate property card had been opened on 3.9.1959

and the names of the purchasers recorded.

10. The said letter recorded that as per the office order of the City

Architect dated 20.8.1970, Survey Number 1092B was sub divided

as follows:-

S.No. C.S. No. Area (Sq.mtr.) Name of the Occupier
1 1092 B/1 1025.00 Smt. Kanta Nanda

2. 1092 B/2 603.00 Sri Premal Malhotra

3. 1092 B/3 2838.00 Shri Dilip Kumar Roy
Smt. Indira Devi

4. 1092 B/4 444.00 (Road) Occupiers of Sr. Nos. 1 to 3
5

11. The City Survey Officer pointed out that the names of the

occupiers named above had been confirmed. However, as per Form

I approved in Town Plan No. I, Pune, the name of Pune Municipal

Corporation had been recorded and/or entered incorrectly. The City

Survey Officer recommended initiation of further action, as may be

deemed proper, to consider deletion of the name of the Pune

Municipal Corporation as holder of the road to enable the office of

the City Architect to take further action.

12. By a letter dated 4.1.1997 written in response to a letter

dated 4.12.1995, the City Deputy Engineer, Construction Control,

Pune Municipal Corporation informed Smt. Indira Devi that the

internal road of final plot number 473B had not come into the

possession of the Pune Municipal Corporation.

13. By a letter dated 18.1.1997 of the Town Planning and

Valuation Department of the State Government at Pune, the

Assistant Commissioner (Special), Pune Municipal Corporation was

informed that the Government had finally approved Town Planning

Scheme No. I, Pune. However, in the approved Town Planning

Scheme, Plot No. 473B has been divided into two parts and out of

that final plot number, 473B has been sub-divided into four sub-

plots. A road with the width of 15 feet measuring 414.14 sqm. has

been shown under the ownership of Pune Municipal Corporation.
6

However, on inspection, it was observed that there was no road in

existence. Final plot number 473B was divided into three plots of

land and one separate plot of land shown as open vacant premises.

A layout was prepared and approved by the City Engineer.

14. On 12.3.1997, Smt. Indira Devi executed a registered trust

deed constituting the appellant trust and transferred FP 473-B3 and

the internal road to the appellant trust. The appellant trust wrote a

letter to the State Government requesting the State Government to

correct the wrong entry in the name of Pune Municipal Corporation

in the B Form.

15. On 25.4.2000, an order number TPS1697/1271/CR70/

20000/UD-13 was passed by the Urban Development Department,

Government of Maharashtra. The said order is extracted

hereinbelow for convenience: –

“Whereas, Town Planning Scheme Pune No.1 (First variation)
has been sanctioned by the State Government vide
Notification, Urban Development Department No. TPS
1879/1064/UD-7 dated 5.7.1979 and the same has come
into force with effect from 15.8.1979 (hereinafter referred to
as “the said Scheme’).

And whereas, in the said Scheme Final Plot No. 473B
has been subdivided as 473B-1, 473B-2, 473B-3 473B-4 and
internal layout road (area 444.14 sqmtr.) (hereinafter
referred to as “the said road”).

And whereas the owner of the final plot no. 473B-2
and 473B-3 has requested Government to direct the Pune
Municipal Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “the said
Corporation”) to vary the said Scheme to delete the said
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road and include the area in adjacent Final Plot No. 473B-2
to 473B-4 as per site conditions.

And whereas, the Director to Town Planning vide his
letter No. TPS No.I/FP 473B/Shivajinagar/TPV-I/10420 dated
20.3.98 also informed that as per site condition it is not
feasible for the said corporation to construct the said road;

And whereas, considering all these facts, the
Government of Mahrashtra is satisfied that it is necessary to
vary the said scheme under Section 91 of the Maharashtra
Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 (hereinafter referred
to as the “said Act”) to delete the said road and merge the
area in adjacent plots and said variation required to be made
is not of a substantial nature;

Now, therefore, the Government of Maharashtra
hereby directs the said Corporation to undertake the
variation to the said Scheme under sub-section (2) of
Section 91 of the said Act in respect of the following:-

a) The said Corporation in accordance with provision
contained in Section 91 of the said act shall undertake
variation to the said Scheme to merge the said road area in
Final Plot No. 473B-2 to 473B-4 and effect consequential
changes in the area of these final plot numbers.

b) The said Corporation shall accordingly prepare and
publish and draft variation as per provision laid down in sub-
section (2) of Section 91 of the said Act.

By order and in the name of the Governor of Maharashtra.”

16. By a letter dated 23.10.2002, the Additional Municipal

Corporation Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation informed the

Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of

Maharashtra that the Town Planning Scheme No. I in respect of Plot

number 473B had been given effect without any change in the

boundaries of the plot. The plot had been divided into two large

plots, one of which had been further sub-divided. The area of

ownership of the plot was to be as per entries in the

property register. In the said letter it has categorically been

stated that it was necessary to confirm the area of final plot number
8

473B as per Town Planning Scheme No. I (first variation), as decided

by the arbitrator, for initiating action of deleting Pune Municipal

Corporation from Form B in respect of the road which had been

shown in that plot after making sub-division of the said plot, and to

give effect to the Property Card of Pune Municipal Corporation

recording the names of the holders of the final plot. The said letter

dated 23.10.2002 clearly stated that as per division made during

the year 1970, there was no road. However, a road would have to

be provided for approaching the plot of Shri Nanda.

17. From the said letter dated 23.10.2002, it appears that, as per

Resolution No.117 taken at the General Body meeting of the Pune

Municipal Corporation on 21.5.2001, approval had been given for

necessary action for changes as per Section 93 of the Regional and

Town Planning Act and notice dated 23.8.2001 to that effect

published in the Gazette of Maharashtra.

18. By a notice dated 8.9.2004, the Municipal Commissioner, Pune

Municipal Corporation invited objections against the proposal for

merging the internal road with the adjoining sub plots 473 B1, B2,

B3 and B4. There does not appear to have been any objection.
9

19. Thereafter, by a Resolution No. 611 dated 23.3.2006, the

Pune Municipal Corporation adopted the following resolution:-

“Perused the letter on the subject of the Hon’ble Municipal
Commissioner and taking into consideration
recommendation of the Improvement Committee:

After cancelling internal road of Plot No. 473B at Shivaji
Nagar and after declaring the same as No-development
zone no. F.S.I. should be granted in respect of the road
which has been cancelled. Similarly as shown in the
affidavit of the Plot Holder Applicant in front of the plot of
plot No. 473B-1, approval is being provided to give the
opinion of Municipal Corporation for providing the road
available.”

20. By a letter dated 5.4.2006, the City Engineer, Pune Municipal

Corporation informed the Municipal Commissioner that the internal

road in plot number 473B as shown in the layout measuring 444.14

sq. meters had been merged and included in adjacent sub plot

number 473 B-2 and accordingly orders had been issued to

implement the decision as per Section 92(2) of the Regional and

Town Planning Act. In pursuance of Resolution number 117 dated

24.6.2001, sanction was being given for making changes as per

Section 91 of the Regional and Town Planning Act.

21. Thereafter the Municipal Commissioner wrote a letter to the

State Government on 7.4.2006 submitting a proposal for approval of

variation in the Town Planning Scheme under Section 91 of the

Regional and Town Planning Act.

10

22. By an order dated 3.5.2006 impugned in the writ petition, the

Urban Development Department, Government of Maharashtra

rejected the proposal for modification of the Scheme under Section

91 with the following observations:-

1. The proposal had been opposed by the Pune Municipal

Corporation, who is the owner in respect of the land.

2. Non-compliance of legal requirements in connection

with the proposal.

3. It could not be assumed that the Trust would grant

permission to the plot holders of 473B for using the

private road of the adjacent society.

4. It has been considered a basic necessity of the Town

Planning Scheme to have approach road for every plot.

5. The deletion of the road would mean that the road

would not be available for new plots of land.

23. The finding that the Pune Municipal Corporation was the

owner of the land is patently contrary to official records and smacks

of patent error. In any case the impugned order is totally vague in

the absence of any whisper of the legal requirements alleged to

have not been complied with.

24. The observation in the impugned order, that it could not be

assumed that the appellant Trust would grant permission to other
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plot holders of Plot No.473B is speculative and conjectural,

overlooking the usage of the vacant land (Plot No.473 B-4) for

several decades as also the statutory records including the Award of

the Arbitrator in terms whereof Plot 473 B4 was shown to be held by

the owners of Plot Nos. 473 B1, 473 B2 and 473 B3. In any case,

none of the owners of the adjacent plots had raised any objection to

the modification. Furthermore, the attention of the authorities had

duly been drawn to the express terms of the will of Sm. Indira Devi

giving the easementary rights to owners of adjacent plots of access

through the plot held by her. If the Planning Authority felt it

necessary to provide approach roads, it was incumbent upon it to

acquire land in accordance with law, upon payment of compensation

to its owners or alternatively purchase the same by negotiation.

25. By a letter dated 9.8.2007, the Appellant Trust drew the

attention of the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra to relevant facts

pertaining to the road, and in particular, to the fact that Smt. Indira

Devi had in her will bequeathed to the other plot owners access

through the plot. The appellant Trust requested the Government to

delete the name of Pune Municipal Commissioner wrongly entered in

the property register.

12

26. The appellants filed the writ petition being Writ Petition

No.904 of 2008 in the Bombay High Court challenging the said order

dated 3.5.2006. The writ petition has been dismissed by the

judgment and order under appeal. The High Court found that the

land in question had vested, without any encumbrances, in the Pune

Municipal Corporation at the time of commencement of the Town

Planning Scheme, by virtue of Section 88 of the Regional and Town

Planning Act.

27. The High Court has apparently misconstrued Section 88,

reading the same in a narrow, pedantic manner in isolation from

other relevant provisions of the Regional and Town Planning Act, as

discussed later in the judgment.

28. The High Court has failed to address the question of how the

name of Pune Municipal Corporation could all of a sudden be shown

as the owner of the internal road with effect from 4 th March 1986, in

complete disregard of all records. The High Court has, with the

greatest of respect, failed to apply its mind to relevant facts,

particularly the records of the Pune Municipal Corporation with

regard to property holders, the Arbitrator’s Award dated 16.5.1972

under section 72 of the Regional and Town Planning Act and the

admission of Pune Municipal Corporation that the road did not

belong to it, it was never acquired and that the name of Pune
13

Municipal Corporation had wrongly been recorded. Rather, the High

Court records that the Respondent authorities have not disputed

facts in their counter affidavit, but only claimed that the land had

vested under Section 88 and that it was not feasible to make

changes in the Scheme.

29. The finding of the High Court that it was never the case of the

petitioner that the land had not vested, is misconceived. First of all

there does not appear to be any admission of vesting on the part of

the Appellant Trust. In any case land can only vest in accordance

with law. If the land has not vested, a mistaken admission would

make no difference, for there can be no estoppel against the

Constitution of India, or any statute.

30. Significantly, the High Court has, in its judgment and order

under appeal, duly recorded the submission that Pune Municipal

Corporation had by its Resolution No.611 passed on 23 rd March,

2006 resolved not to claim any right in respect of Final Plot No.B4.

31. The High Court failed to appreciate that the mere sanctioning

of a Town Planning Scheme would not wipe out a patently erroneous

recording in the scheme. The High Court did not examine how the

road measuring 414.14 square meters could have been allotted to

Pune Municipal Corporation.

14

32. Furthermore, the High Court came to the conclusion that

since any variation had to be in the light of the provisions of Section

91, the same would be applicable to the given case which would

permit only a variation or modification of a minor nature. The High

Court found the deletion of a public road from the Town Planning

Scheme, to be a variation of a substantial nature, which could not

be permitted, since it would be hit by the bar inherent in the

Section.

33. The condition precedent for variation of a scheme under

Section 91 is an error, irregularity or informality. There can hardly

be any doubt that the Scheme smacks of apparent error, irregularity

and infirmity in so far as it records Pune Municipal Corporation as

the owner of the private road. A variation of the Scheme by

recording the name of the true owner cannot be a substantial

variation. It is nobody’s case that the road is a public road. The

finding of the High Court that the change of a public road into a

private road was variation of a substantial nature, is ex facie

erroneous and inconsistent with facts as recorded in the judgment

and order itself.

34. In 1966 the Maharashtra State Legislature enacted the

Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 (hereinafter

referred to as ‘the Regional and Town Planning Act’) to make
15

provision for planning and development and use of land in Regions

established for that purpose, and for the constitution of Regional

Planning Boards therefor; to make better provision for the

preparation of Development Plans with a view to ensuring that Town

Planning Schemes are made in a proper manner and their execution

is made effective; to provide for the creation of new towns by means

of Development Authorities; to make provisions for the

compulsory acquisition of land required for public purposes

in respect of the plans; and for purposes connected therewith.

35. Section 3 of the Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966

empowers the State Government to establish by notification any

area in the State by defining its limits, to be region for the purposes

of the said Act and to name and alter the name of any such region.

Section 4 read with Section 8 of the Regional and Town Planning Act

provides for the constitution of Regional Planning Boards:-

(a) to carry out a survey of the Region, and prepare reports
on the surveys so carried out;

(b) to prepare an existing-land-use map and such other
maps as may be necessary, for the purpose of
preparing a Regional Plan;

(c) to prepare a Regional Plan;

(d) to perform any other duties or functions as are
supplemental, incidental or consequential to any of the
foregoing duties, or as may be prescribed by
regulations.

16

36. Sections 21(1), (2) and (3) of the Regional and Town Planning

Act as it stood at the material time provided:-

“21. Development Plan:- (1) As soon as may be after the
commencement of this Act, but not later than three years
after such commencement, and subject however to the
provisions of this Act, every Planning Authority shall carry
out a survey, prepare an existing land-use map and prepare
a draft development plan for the area within its jurisdiction,
in accordance with the provisions of a Regional plan, where
there is such a plan [publish a notice in the Official Gazette
and in such other manner as may be prescribed stating that
the draft development plan has been prepared] and submit
the plan to the State Government for sanction. The Planning
Authority shall also submit a quarterly Report to the State
Government about the progress made in carrying out the
survey and prepare the plan.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, every Planning
Authority constituted after the commencement of this Act
shall, not later than three years from the date of its
constitution, [declare its intention to prepare a draft
Development plan, prepare such plan and publish a notice
of such preparation in the Official Gazette] and in such other
manner as may be prescribed] and [submit the draft
development plan] to the State Government for sanction.

[(3) On an application made by any Planning Authority, the
State Government may, having regard to the permissible
period specified in the preceding sections, from time to
time, by order in writing and for adequate reasons to be
specified in such order, extend such period.]”

37. Section 21 provides that a development plan shall generally

indicate the manner in which the use of land in the area of the

Planning Authority shall be regulated and also indicate the manner

in which the development of land therein shall be carried out.
17

38. Section 51 of the Regional and Town Planning Act empowers

the Planning Authority to revoke or modify any permission to

develop as per development plan to such extent as appears to be

necessary after giving the person concerned an opportunity of

hearing.

39. Section 59 of the Regional and Town Planning Act enables a

Planning Authority to prepare Town Planning Schemes for the area

within its jurisdiction, or any part thereof, for the purpose of

implementing proposals for development. Section 59(b) of the

Regional and Town Planning Act provides that a Town Planning

Scheme might make provisions for the matters specified in the said

Section, which includes, inter alia, proposals for allocating the use of

land for residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural or

recreational purposes, proposals for designation of lands for public

purposes such as schools, colleges and other educational

institutions, medical and public health institutions, markets, social

welfare and cultural institutions, theaters and places of public

entertainment, transport and communications such as roads,

highways, railways, waterways, canals, airports etc. water supply,

sewage etc.

40. The Town Planning Scheme might also make provisions, apart

from the matters specified in Section 22, inter alia, relating to
18

laying out or re-laying out of land, either vacant or already built

upon, including areas of comprehensive development ; layout of

new streets or roads, construction, diversion, extension, alteration,

improvement and closing up of streets and roads etc; the

construction, alteration and removal of buildings, bridges and other

structures; allotment or reservation of land for open spaces,

gardens, recreation grounds, schools, markets, green-belts, dairies,

transport facilities and public purposes of all kinds; drainage,

including sewerage, surface or sub-soil drainage and sewage

disposal; lighting; water supply; preservation of objects of historical

or national interest or natural beauty, and of buildings used for

religious purposes or other objects.

41. Section 59 of the Regional and Town Planning Act is

reproduced hereinbelow for convenience:

“59. Preparation and contents of town planning
scheme:- [(1)] Subject to the provisions of this Act or any
other law for the time being in force—

(a) a Planning Authority may for the purpose of
implementing the proposals in the final
Development plan prepare [or in respect of any
land which is likely to be in the course of
development or which is already built upon],
prepare one or more town planning schemes for
the area within its jurisdiction, or any part thereof ;

(b) a town planning scheme may make provision for
any of the following matters, that is to say—

(i) any of the matters specified in section 22 ;

19

(ii) the laying out or re-laying out of land, either
vacant or already built upon, including areas of
comprehensive development;

[(ii-a) the filling-up or reclamation of low-lying, swampy
or unhealthy area, or levelling-up of land;

(ii-b) layout of new streets or roads, construction,
diversion, extension, alteration, improvement and
closing up of streets and roads and discontinuance of
communications;

(ii-c) the construction, alteration and removal of
buildings, bridges and other structures;

(ii-d) the allotment or reservation of land for open
spaces, gardens, recreation grounds, schools, markets,
green-belts, dairies, transport facilities and public
purposes of all kinds;

(ii-e) drainage, inclusive of sewerage, surface or sub-soil
drainage and sewage disposal;

(ii-f) lighting;

(ii-g) water supply;

(ii-h) the preservation of objects of historical or national
interest or natural beauty, and of building actually used
for religious purposes;]

(iii) the suspension, as far as may be necessary for the
proper carrying out of the scheme, of any rule, bye-law,
regulation, notification or order made or issued under
any law for the time being in force which the Legislature
of the State is competent to make;

(iv) such other matter not inconsistent with the object of
this Act, as may be directed by the State Government.

[(2) In making provisions in a draft town planning scheme for
any of the matters referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (1), it
shall be lawful for a Planning Authority with the approval of the
Director of Town Planning and subject to the provisions of
section 68 to provide for suitable amendment of the
Development plan.]
20

42. Section 61 enables the Planning Authority to make a draft

scheme for an area, in respect of which a declaration is made. In

case of failure to make a draft scheme within the period specified in

sub-section (1) of Section 61 or within the period as extended by

sub-section (3), the declaration is to lapse. However notwithstanding

such lapse the Planning Authority is not debarred from making a

fresh declaration. The time to make a draft scheme may on an

application of the Planning Authority be extended by the State

Government, subject to the limitation in Section 61(3) a first

declaration.

43. If at any time before a draft scheme is prepared and

submitted to the State Government for sanction, the Planning

Authority or its officers are of the opinion or on any representation

made to them, that an additional area be included within the same

scheme, the Planning Authority or the officer may, after informing

the State Government and giving notice in the Official Gazette, and

also in one or more local newspapers include such additional area in

the scheme, and thereupon all the provisions of Sections 59, 60 and

61 are to apply in relation to such additional area as they apply to

any original area of the scheme, and draft scheme is to be prepared

for the original area and the additional areas.
21

44. Section 63 of the Regional and Town Planning Act enables the

State Government to require any Planning Authority to make and

submit and sanction a draft scheme in respect of any land with

regard to which a Town Planning Scheme may be made.

45. If the Planning Authority fails to make the declaration of

intention to make a scheme within three months from the date of

direction made under sub-section (1), the State Government may by

notification in the Official Gazette, appoint an officer to make and

submit the draft scheme for the land to the State Government [after

a notice regarding its making has been duly published as aforesaid]

and thereupon the provisions of sections 60, 61 and 62 shall, as far

as may be applicable, apply to the making of such a scheme.

46. Section 64 provides as follows:-

“64. Contents of draft Scheme. – A draft scheme shall
contain the following particulars so far as may be necessary,
that is to say,—

(a) the ownership, area and tenure of each original plot ;

(b) reservation, acquisition or allotment of land required under
sub-clause (1) of clause (b) of section 59 with the general
indication of the uses to which such land is to be put and the
terms and conditions subject to which, such land is to be put
to such uses ;

(c) the extent to which it is proposed to alter the boundaries
of the original plots by reconstitution ;

(d) an estimate of the total cost of the scheme and the net
cost to be borne by the Planning Authority ;

22

(e) a full description of all the details of the scheme with
respect to such matters referred to in clause (b) of section 59
as may be applicable ;

(f) the laying out or re-laying out of land either vacant or
already built upon including areas of comprehensive
development ;

(g) the filling up or reclamation of low lying, swamp or
unhealthy areas or levelling up of land ;

(h) any other prescribed particulars.”

47. A draft scheme is to contain particulars of the

ownership, area and tenure of each original plot; reservation,

acquisition or allotment of land required under sub-clause (i) of

clause (b) of section 59 with a general indication of the uses to

which such land is to be put and the terms and conditions subject to

which, such land is to be put to such uses; the extent to which it is

proposed to alter the boundaries of the original plots by

reconstitution; a full description of all the details of the scheme with

respect matters referred to in clause (b) of section 59 as might be

applicable.

48. Section 65 provides as follows:-

“65. Reconstituted plot- (1) In the draft scheme, the size
and shape of every reconstituted plot shall be determined, so
far as may be, to render it suitable for building purposes, and
where a plot is already built upon, to ensure that the buildings
as far as possible comply with the provisions of the scheme as
regards open spaces.

23

(2) For the purpose of sub-section (1), a draft scheme may
contain proposals—

(a) to form a final plot by reconstitution of an original plot
by alteration of the boundaries of the original plot, if
necessary ;

(b) to form a final plot from an original plot by the transfer
wholly or partly of the adjoining lands ;

(c) to provide, with the consent of the owners, that two or
more original plots each of which is held in ownership
in severally or in joint ownership shall hereafter, with
or without alteration of boundaries be held in
ownership in common as a final plot ;

(d) to allot a final plot to any owner dispossessed of land
in furtherance of the scheme; and

(e) to transfer the ownership of an original plot from one
person to another.”

49. Section 65 provides that in the draft scheme, the size and

shape of every reconstituted plot shall be determined, so far as may

be, to render it suitable for building purposes, and where a plot is

already built upon, to ensure that the buildings as far as possible

comply with the provisions of the Scheme as regards open spaces. A

draft scheme may contain proposals to form a final plot by

reconstitution of an original plot, if necessary, by alteration of the

boundaries of the original plot ; to form a final plot from an original

plot by the transfer wholly or partly of the adjoining lands; to

provide, with the consent of the owners, that two or more original

plots each of which is held in ownership severally or in joint

ownership shall with or without alteration of boundaries be held in
24

ownership in common; to allot a final plot to any owner

dispossessed of land in furtherance of the scheme and to transfer

the ownership of an original plot from one person to another.

50. None of the provisions referred to above enable the Planning

Authority or any other authority to divest an owner of his/her

property. Rather, Section 64 mandates that a draft scheme is to

contain particulars of ownership area and tenure of each original

plot. Any transfer or any alteration of boundary, amalgamation or

separation has to be with the consent of the owner in view of the

express mandate of Section 65. Implicit in Section 65 is that a

transfer must be for consideration.

51. Section 66 provides :-

“66. Compensation for discontinuation of use –
Where under sub-clause (1) of clause (b) of section 59 the
purposes to which the buildings or areas may not be
appropriated or used in pursuance of clause (m) of section
22
have been specified, then the building or area shall
cease to be used for a purpose other than the purposes
specified in the scheme within such time as may be
specified in the final scheme, and the person affected by
this provision shall be entitled to such compensation from
the Planning Authority as may be determined by the
Arbitrator:

Provided that, in ascertaining whether compensation
be paid, the time within which the person affected was
permitted to change the user shall be taken into
consideration.”
25

52. Section 68 provides as follows:-

“68. Power of State Government to sanction draft
scheme – (1) The Planning Authority or, as the case may be,
the officer aforesaid shall, not later than six months [from
the date of the publication of the notice, in the Official
Gazette, regarding the making of the draft scheme], submit
the same with any modifications which it or he may have
made therein together with a copy of objections received by
it or him to the State Government, and shall at the same
time apply for its sanction.

(2) On receiving such application, after making such
inquiry as it may think fit and consulting the Director of Town
Planning, the State Government may, not later than [three
months] from the date of its submission, by notification in
the Official Gazette, [or not later than such further time as
the State Government may extend] either sanction such
draft scheme with or without modifications and subject to
such conditions as it may think fit to impose or refuse to
give sanction.

(3) If the State Government sanctions such scheme, it
shall in such modification state at what place and time the
draft scheme shall be open to the inspection of the public
[and the State Government shall also state therein that
copies of the scheme or any extract therefrom certified to be
correct shall on application be available for sale to the public
at a reasonable price.]”

53. Section 68 empowers the Planning Authority of the State

Government to sanction the draft scheme not later than six months.

Section 71 provides:-

“71. Disputed ownership:- (1) Where there is a disputed
claim as to the ownership of any piece of land included in an
area in respect of which a declaration of intention to make a
town planning scheme has been made and any entry in the
record of rights or mutation register relevant to such
disputed claim is inaccurate or inconclusive, an inquiry may
be held on an application being made by the Planning
Authority or the Arbitrator at any time prior to the date on
which the arbitrator draws up the final scheme under clause
(xviii) of sub-section (3) of section 72 by such officer as the
State Government may appoint for the purpose of deciding
26

who shall be deemed to be owner for the purposes of this
Act.

(2) Such decision shall not be subject to appeal but it shall
not operate as a bar to a regular suit.

(3) Such decision shall, in the event of a civil court passing a
decree which is inconsistent therewith, be corrected,
modified or rescinded in accordance with such decree as
soon as practicable after such decree has been brought to
the notice of the Planning Authority either by the Civil Court
or by some person affected by such decree.

(4) Where such a decree of the civil court is passed, after
final scheme has been sanctioned by the State Government
under section 86, such final scheme shall be deemed to
have been suitably varied by reason of such decree.”

54. Section 71 provides that where there is disputed claim as to

the ownership of any piece of land included in an area in respect of

which a declaration of intention to make a Town Planning Scheme

has been made, and any entry in the record of rights or mutation

register relevant to such disputed claim is inaccurate or

inconclusive, an inquiry may be held on an application being made

by the Planning Authority or the Arbitrator at any time prior to the

date on which the arbitrator draws up the final scheme under clause

(xviii) of sub-section (3) of section 72 by such officer as the State

Government may appoint for the purpose of deciding who shall be

deemed to be owner for the purposes of this Act. Although the

decision of the Arbitrator is not subject to appeal in view of sub-

section (2) of the Section 71, the award is not to operate as a bar to

regular suit. In case there is any decree in a Civil Suit, inconsistent
27

with the Award, the Award is to be connected, modified or rescinded

and in case the decree is passed after sanction of a final Scheme,

such final scheme is to be deemed to have been suitably varied, by

reason of such decree.

55. Section 72 of the Regional and Town Planning Act enables the

State Government to appoint an Arbitrator for the purposes of one

or more planning schemes received by it. Section 73 provides:-

“73. Certain decisions of Arbitrator to be final.- Except
in matters arising out of Section 72, every decision of the
Arbitrator shall be final and conclusive and binding on all
parties including the Planning Authority.”

56. Section 74 as it stood at the material time provided:-

74. Appeal.- (1) Any decision of the Arbitrator under
clauses (iv) to (xi) to (xi) both inclusive and clauses (xiv), (xv
and (xvi) of sub-section 3 of section 72 shall be forthwith
communicated to the party concerned including the Planning
Authority; and any party aggrieved by such decision may,
within two months from the date of communication of the
decision, apply to the Arbitrator to make a reference to the
Tribunal of Appeal for decision of the appeal. (2) The
provisions of sections 5, 12 and 14 of the Indian Limitation
Act, 1963 shall apply to appeals submitted under this
section.

57. As observed above, in this case there was a reference to the

Arbitrator. The Arbitrator made an award which has assumed

finality. The Award has never been questioned, either by the

Planning Authority or any of the owners. The verdict of the

Arbitrator cannot be undone by the Planning Authority.
28

58. Section 91 of the Regional and Town Planning Act provides as

follows:-

“91. Power to vary schemes on ground of error,
irregularity or informality:- (1) If after the final scheme
has come into force, the Planning Authority considers that
the scheme is defective on account of an error, irregularity
or informality or that the scheme needs the variation or
modification of a minor nature, the Planning Authority may
apply in writing to the State Government for variation of the
scheme.

(2) If, on receiving such application or otherwise, the State
Government is satisfied that the variation required is not
substantial, the State Government shall, by notification in
the Official Gazette, authorise or direct the Planning
Authority to prepare 1[a draft of such variation and publish a
notice in the Official Gazette, and in such other manner as
may be prescribed stating that a draft variation has been
prepared.]
(3) 2[The notice of preparation of a draft variation published]
under sub-section (2) shall state every amendment
proposed to be made in the scheme, and if any such
amendment relates to a matter specified in any of the sub-
clauses (i) to (iii) of clause (b) of section 59, the draft
variation shall also contain such other particulars as may be
prescribed.

(4) The draft variation shall be open to the inspection of the
public at the office of the Planning Authority during office
hours and copies of such draft variation or any, extract
therefrom certified to be correct shall be available for sale to
the public at a reasonable price.

29

(5) Not later than one month of the date of the publication
of the notice regarding preparation of draft variation, any
person affected thereby may communicate in writing his
objections to such variation to the State Government,and
send a copy thereof to the Planning Authority.
(6) After receiving the objections under sub-section (5), the
State Government may, after consulting the Planning
Authority and after making such inquiry as it may think fit,
by notification in the Official Gazette,-

(a) appoint an Arbitrator, and thereupon the
provisions of this Chapter shall so far as may be,
apply to such draft variation, as if it were a draft
scheme submitted to the State Government for
sanction;

           (b)   sanction      the   variation    with    or   without
           modifications; or
           (c) refuse to sanction the variation.

(7) From the date of the notification sanctioning the
variation, with or without modifications, such variation shall
take effect as if it were incorporated in the scheme.”

59. Chapter VII of the Regional and Town Planning Act comprising

Sections 125-129 contains provisions for compulsory acquisition of

land needed for the purposes of any Regional Plan, Development

Plan or Town Planning Scheme. The Respondent authorities never

took recourse to these proceedings to acquire any part of Plot

No.473 B3, 473 B4 or any other adjacent Plot.

30

60. Mr. Pallav Sisodia, learned senior counsel appearing for the

Appellant trust, assisted by Mr Braj K Mishra, argued, and in our

view rightly, that the Appellant cannot be deprived of the subject

strip of land being the private road without authority of law, as this

would be a violation of Article 300-A of the Constitution of India,

which prohibits deprivation of person from property without

authority of law.

61. Mr. Sisodia submitted that in any case the award made by the

Arbitrator in 1972 under Section 72 of the Regional and Town

Planning Act stood final and binding. Mr. Sisodia emphatically

argued that the award dated 16.5.1972 of the Arbitrator appointed

under the Regional and Town Planning Act made it clear that the

area and ownership of the plots were to be determined as per

entries in the Property Register. This award is final and binding

under Section 73 of the Regional and Town Planning Act. This is not

disputed by the Respondents Sub-division in the Regional and Town

Planning Act, therefore, has to be as follows:-

      “1092 B1           1025              Smt. Kanta Nanda
       1092 B2            603              Shri Premal Malhotra
       1092 B3           2838              Shri Dilip Kumar Roy
                                           Smt. Indira Devi
       1092 B4           444(Road)         Holders of Sl. No. 1 to 3”




62. However, in Form B of the Town Planning Scheme (TPS) the

said sub-division was sought to be changed as follows:-
31

      “473 B1          1024.86     Smt. Kanta Nanda
      473 B2           602.98      Shri Premal Malhotra
      473 B3           2335.03     Shri Dilip Kumar Roy
                                   Smt. Indira Devi
      473 B4           502.82      Shri Dilip Kumar Roy
                                   Smt. Indira Devi
      Road             444.14      Pune Municipal Corporation ”



63. Mr. Sisodia pointed that the change was not preceded or

followed by any demarcation, re-constitution, determination of

compensation or any kind of taking over of possession or acquisition

by Pune Municipal Corporation in accordance with procedure known

in law, be it under Section 64, 65 read with Section 72 or Section

126 of the Regional and Town Planning Act. This is also not in

dispute. As argued by Mr. Sisodia, Pune Municipal Corporation had

on the other hand clearly admitted that they had never initiated any

proceedings for acquisition or of taking over possession of the

private road.

64. Mr. Sisodia submitted that there is no other award of the

Arbitrator regarding the plot in question, except the one passed on

16.5.1972 showing the plot 1092 B4 to be a private road

admeasuring 444.14 Sq. mtrs. to be in possession of the holders of

plot No. 1092 B1, 1092 B2 and 1092 B3. The Town Planning

Scheme thus clearly smacks of an error apparent in that plot 1094

B4 has been shown as a private road of the Pune Municipal

Corporation.

32

65. Mr. Sisodia strenuously argued, and in our view rightly, that

the respondent authorities were duty bound to correct the error in

showing plot 414 Sq. mtrs. odd in Plot 1092 B4 as private road of

the Pune Municipal Corporation. Mr. Sisodia argued that this

fundamental error was the genesis of a series of errors which

followed subsequently.

66. Mr. Sisodia submitted that although the Appellants were

praying for rectification of an error, the Pune Municipal Corporation

proposed the variation of the Town Planning Scheme by merging

plot No.1092 B4 in other adjacent plots being 471 B1, B2 and B3,

though there was no such prayer by the Appellant.

67. Mr. Sisodia submitted that the Pune Municipal Corporation as

also the State had agreed to accept the simple request of correction

of land records to bring the same to conform to the award made on

16.5.1972. Mr. Sisodia submitted that a simple prayer for

rectification of records has been given the colour of variation in the

Town Planning Scheme, and made to appear as if public land of Pune

Municipal Corporation was to be released and plots re-constituted to

dis-mantle the sub-division Form B. Mr. Sisodia emphatically argued

that the documents enclosed in the paper book would clearly show
33

that neither the State, nor the Pune Municipal Corporation, had

opposed the rectification of the error. This is borne out by records.

68. Mr. Sisodia submitted that the High Court had erred in

proceeding on the premise that the subject strip of land had vested

in Pune Municipal Corporation and could not be released. In doing

so, the High Court had erroneously applied the deeming provision of

Section 88(a) without the pre-conditions of the said Section of re-

constitution, acquisition, compensation and award in respect of the

strip of land. Mr. Sisodia argued that the Authorities ought not to

have been allowed to illegally interfere with the subject strip of land

which was full of sacred trees and deities. Mr. Sisodia argued that

on a proper reading of Section 91 of the Regional and Town Planning

Act, no further exercise is needed to rectify an error in the present

case, except to correct the land record as per the award referred to

above. The artifice of vesting, supposed variation in Town Planning

Scheme, modification of substantial character are without basis.

69. On the other hand, Mr. Nishant R. Katneshwarkar, learned

counsel appearing on behalf of the State of Maharashtra argued that

Section 88 contemplates automatic vesting of the properties coming

under the Town Planning Scheme, with the planning authority. Even

the Pune Municipal Corporation cannot seek deletion of the roads as
34

the same amounts to substantial variation in the Town Planning

Scheme.

70. Mr. Katneshwar argued that the High Court has rightly

interpreted Section 88 and Section 91 of the Regional and Town

Planning Act and dismissed the writ petition. Deletion of a road

from a Town Planning Scheme can be said to be a variation of

substantial nature. Section 91 contemplates minor variation in Town

Planning Scheme by following requisite procedure. Mr. Katneswhar

argued that pragmatically also modification of the scheme would

not be expedient, as future purchasers would have no approach

road to access their properties as would be clear from the map of

the said plots.

71. Mr. Katneshwar, by insinuation, questioned the propriety of

the resolution of the Pune Municipal Corporation and emphasized

that the corporation did not support its resolution either before the

State Government or before the High Court. Mr. Katneswar argued

that the stand of the Corporation in the High Court was correct and

beneficial to the citizens. The photographs of the site would show

some trees but that cannot be a ground to stall the development as

per the Town Planning Scheme. The deities can be shifted in case

they come on the approach road. Development as per the Town

Planning Scheme should be given prime importance.
35

72. In conclusion Mr. Mr. R. Katneshwarkar submitted that the

Regional and Town Planning Act is a benevolent piece of legislation

meant for providing basic facilities to the people at large. The

legislation is made for the people. In support of his arguments Mr.

Katneshwarkar cited Laxminarayan R. Bhattad & Ors. v. State

of Maharashtra & Anr.1

73. In Laxminarayan R. Bhattad (supra), this Court held that

the contents of the scheme under the Bombay Town Planning Act

now replaced by the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act

will prevail over any policy decision taken by the Corporation or by

the State. Significantly, in Laxminarayan R. Bhattad (supra),

the Arbitrator had made an award dated 30.10.1987, while making

the Town Planning Scheme whereby final Plot No. 694 admeasuring

1240 square meters and final Plot No. 173 admeasuring 2079

square meters aggregating 3319.9 square meters had been allotted

in lieu of original Plot No. 433 belonging to the Appellant. Further,

for acquisition of the said land as also the structure standing

thereupon, compensation of Rs.4,97,567.20/- had been awarded.

The judgment in Laxminarayan R Bhattad (supra) is clearly

distinguishable and of no assistance to the respondents.

1 (2003) 5 SCC 413
36

74. Mr. Markand D. Adkar, learned counsel appearing with Mr.

Rajesh Kumar, learned counsel submitted that the writ petition in

respect of variation of the Town Planning Scheme has been

dismissed by the High Court by a reasoned judgment, which does

not require interference. We are however, of the view that the

reasons are misconceived as discussed later in the judgment.

75. Mr. Adkar also submitted that the High Court has recorded a

finding that the suit land stood vested in the Pune Municipal

Corporation in 1979, when the Town Planning Scheme became final.

This finding is patently incorrect.

76. Mr. Adkar argued that the Appellant had itself contended that

in view of the documentary evidence, particularly the city survey

records and the award of the Arbitrator, the correction in the town

planning record can be made even de hors Section 91 of the

Regional and Town Planning Act, and accordingly invited this Court

to make orders under Article 142 of the Constitution of India.

77. Mr. Adkar submitted that during the pendency of the appeal,

the Appellants purported to bring on record certain new facts which

had been discovered, without leave of this Court. The respondents

therefore did not have occasion to respond to new facts and

documents. Mr. Adkar submitted that the award or city survey
37

record, now referred to, did not find reference in the decision of the

High Court. The Appellant had produced certain documents

purportedly issued by certain departments of the Corporation for the

first time. The Corporation did not have occasion to respond to the

same.

78. This Court has only proceeded on the basis of pleadings and

documents in the Special Leave Petition to which the Respondents

had ample opportunity to respond. The Award and the City Survey

papers are matters of record. The records are in the custody of the

Respondents.

79. Mr. Adkar emphasized on the fact that the High Court had

recorded specific finding regarding ownership of the Corporation as

per Town Planning Scheme, with which we are unfortunately unable

to agree. He argued that the High Court found that title had

statutorily vested in the Corporation under Section 88 of the

Regional and Town Planning Act and the only method to change or

vary the Town Planning Scheme was under Section 91 of the

Regional and Town Planning Act.

80. Mr. Adkar argued that the submission of the Appellant that the

scheme could be varied de hors Section 91 of the Regional and Town

Planning Act, rendered the appeal liable to be dismissed on that
38

ground alone. Mr. Adkar argued that it was settled that the land in

question stood vested in the Pune Municipal Corporation by virtue of

Section 88 of the Regional and Town Planning Act. Such argument is

not sustainable in law.

81. Mr. Adkar submitted that the Government had rejected the

proposal under Section 91 of Regional and Town Planning Act

recording reasons, which cannot be assailed by submissions which

were not advanced either before the Government or before the High

Court. The affidavit of the trustees made in this Court for the first

time cannot be examined.

82. Mr. Adkar submitted that Municipal Corporation had tendered

a true copy of Form I prepared under Rule 6(V) of the Rules for

consideration of this Court. The copy has been produced from the

custody of the Corporation and its authenticity has not been

questioned either by the Appellant or by the State.

83. Under the said rules, there are five forms which had to be

filled in as the Town Planning Scheme progressed, the final Form

being No.5 under Rule 13(9). The relevant documents pertaining to

proceedings of the Town Planning Scheme are in the Town Planning

Department of the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Town

Planning Department of the State Government. Mr. Adkar submitted
39

that the content of Form I indicates that the suit land in question

belonged to the Pune Municipal Corporation even before the Town

Planning Scheme came into existence in 1979, and as such entry

was never questioned or disputed by any of the parties for

approximately two decades, the Town Planning Scheme ought not to

be disturbed.

84. There is, however no whisper from the Respondents of any

proceedings, if any, resorted to for transfer of the private road to

Pune Municipal Corporation, and not even any specific averment by

the Respondents that the Appellant had the opportunity to

controvert the entries in the Forms in question.

85. Mr. Adkar submitted that Form I not having been questioned

for two decades, it was in the interest of justice that all relevant

town planning proceedings be examined by the competent

authority, to examine the alleged discrepancy between town

planning records, and the city survey records, and for that purpose

the matter would require consideration de novo at the appropriate

level.

86. Mr. Adkar submitted that the Town Planning Scheme has been

drawn under Section 59 of the Regional and Town Planning Act, to

give effect to the proposals in the final development plan. Mr.
40

Adkar submitted that Section 68(3) of the Regional and Town

Planning Act provides that the draft scheme should be available for

inspection of the public. Section 71 of the said Act makes provisions

for disputed claims and under Section 72(4), the Arbitrator while

preparing preliminary scheme has to give notice to all concerned.

There are provisions for ample opportunity to stakeholders to

dispute entries in the scheme. Under Rule 13(3) every interested

person is to be given notice. Mr. Adkar argued that in view of the

aforesaid provisions and ample opportunity, no person could be

heard to contend after 20 years that he had not been put to notice.

87. Mr. Adkar submitted that it is settled law that if the statute

prescribes a procedure, it is to be assumed that the procedure has

been followed scrupulously, unless the contrary is shown. Further it

is needless to say in the facts of this case, the Appellant has not

been able to demonstrate that the authorities preparing Town

Planning Scheme failed to follow the procedure mandated by the

statute.

88. Mr. Adkar submitted that the matter should be remanded to

the Government for de novo adjudication to consider all relevant

aspects of the matter. The Corporation respects and reveres the

great personalities involved in the Appellant Trust, and for that

reason the present litigation is not adversarial in nature, but in the
41

interest of justice. Proper legal method should be followed before

arriving at any conclusion one way or the other. Mr. Adkar’s

arguments are untenable, since as recorded in the judgment and

order under appeal, the facts pleaded by the Appellant are not in

dispute. At the cost of repetition it is reiterated that the name of

Pune Municipal Corporation was incorporated without recourse to

any procedure contemplated under the Regional and Town Planning

Act. The Respondents have not produced any materials evincing

compliance with the procedure prescribed under the Regional and

Town Planning Act. The case made out by the Appellant cannot be

rejected on the basis of assumption. Since the parties have been

litigating for over a decade and a half we are not inclined to remit

the matter back to the authority concerned for de novo hearing and

decision.

89. Mr. Adkar submitted that reliance was placed by the Appellant

on the award for the first time before this Court, on the premise that

there was no acquisition, and without acquisition or compensation,

vesting of the suit land could not have been effected. Counsel

argued that the vesting of property under the Town Planning

Scheme was entirely different in nature than acquisition of property

under Land Acquisition Act or under Section 127 of the Regional and

Town Planning Act. In support of such submission, Mr. Adkar cited
42

Pukhrajmal Sagarmal Lunkad (D) thru. His Legal heirs and

Others v. Municipal Council, Jalgaon and Others.2

90. In Pukhrajmal Sagarmal Lunkad (supra), the issue was

whether any land reserved, allotted or designated for any purpose

specified in any plan under the Regional and Town Planning Act but

not cleared by agreement within 10 years from the date on which

the final regional plan or final development plan came into force,

nor proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 commenced

within such period and if a person interested has served notice on

the Planning Authority/Developmental Authority/ Appropriate

Authority as the case might be and the land is not cleared within six

months of such notice; whether the allotment will be deemed to be

released from reserve in view of the provisions of Section 127 of the

Regional and Town Planning Act. This Court held :-

“11. Before further discussion, we think it just and proper to
look into the definitions of “development plan” and “town
planning scheme”. Section 2(9) of the MRTP Act defines the
term “development plan” and reads as under:

“2. (9)“Development plan” means a plan for the
development or re-development of the area within the
jurisdiction of a Planning Authority and includes revision
of a development plan and proposals of a Special
Planning Authority for development of land within its
jurisdiction.”
The expression town planning scheme is not defined in
the Act but under Section 2(30) the word “scheme” is
defined as:

“2. (30)“Scheme” includes a plan relating to a town
planning scheme.”

2. (2017) 2 SCC 722
43

12.According toConcise Oxford English Dictionary
“scheme” means a systematic plan or arrangement for
attaining some particular object or putting a particular
idea into effect. In the same dictionary, the term
“planning” means planning and control of the
construction, growth, and development of a town or
other urban area. As such, we may say that the term
“planning scheme” means, a systematic plan with an
object of planning and control of the construction,
growth and development of a town. We also think it
relevant to mention here that development plans are
dealt with under Chapter III, and town planning
schemes are dealt with under Chapter V of the MRTP
Act. Section 126 of the Act which is part of Chapter VII,
deals with plans as well as schemes, but Section 127
does not refer to town planning schemes.

13. Effect of final town planning scheme is provided in
Section 88 of the MRTP Act which reads (as it existed
before 2014), as under:

“88. Effect of final scheme.—On and after the day on
which a final scheme comes into force—

(a) all lands required by the Planning Authority shall,
unless it is otherwise determined in such scheme,
vest absolutely in the Planning Authority free from all
encumbrances;

(b) all rights in the original plots which have been
reconstituted shall determine, and the reconstituted
plots shall become subject to the rights settled by
arbitrator;

(c) the Planning Authority shall hand over possession
of the final plots to the owners to whom they are
allotted in the final scheme.”

xxx xxx xxx

16. In the present case the prayer is made by the
appellants in the writ petitions specifically in respect of
Town Planning Scheme III, which was finally sanctioned,
as such, we find no error in the impugned judgment
passed by the High Court dismissing the writ petitions.
From the copy of special notice dated 25-4-1980 in
Form 4 issued under the Town Planning Scheme Rules
(filed as Annexure B with the additional documents) and
copy of order dated 16-5-1980 passed by the arbitrator
44

in the aforesaid Rules, it is clear that the compensation
was determined in respect of land in question under
town planning scheme. The decision of the arbitrator
appears to have been published in the Official Gazette
dated 20-8-1980, and appeal was dismissed. In the
circumstances, we find no error in the order passed by
the High Court.

17. The landowners further relied on Girnar Traders
v.State of Maharashtra [Girnar Traders v. State of
Maharashtra, (2007) 7 SCC 555] to contend that the
land is deemed to have been released after 6 months of
the issue of notice under Section 127 of the MRTP Act.
The contention of the landowners cannot be accepted
for the reason that the decision relied on by the
landowners to contend that no steps were taken relates
to the “development plan” for which the steps for
acquisition had to be taken as per Section 126. In the
present case, before the scheme is implemented, the
procedure contemplated under Chapter V is followed to
finalise the scheme. The procedure includes the
sanctioning of draft scheme, appointment of arbitrator,
issuing notices to persons affected by the scheme,
determination of compensation by the arbitrator and
then the final award made by the arbitrator. In respect
of the land required under town planning scheme
except the development plan, the steps under Section
126
may not require to be resorted to at all. It is clear
from the record that the draft town planning scheme
was published in 1976, arbitrator determined the
compensation in 1980, the appeal filed before the
Tribunal was dismissed in 1987 and the scheme was
sent to the Government for sanction in 1988 and it was
finally sanctioned in 1993 by following the procedure
under Chapter V which is a self-contained code for the
implementation of the town planning scheme.”

91. In Pukhrajmal Sagarmal Lunkad (supra), compensation

had been determined in respect of the land in question under the

Town Planning Scheme and there was no challenge to the decision

of the Arbitrator published in the Official Gazette. It was in the
45

backdrop of the aforesaid facts that the High Court/Supreme Court

refused to interfere.

92. From the records of the case, particularly the order dated

20.8.1970 of sub division of plot number 473B and the award of the

arbitrator, it is patently clear that the name of Pune Municipal

Commissioner was at no point of time reflected as holder of the

private road. There is no whisper as to how the road came to be

shown as in possession of Pune Municipal Commissioner nor of the

procedure adopted for effecting changes, if any, in the property

records.

93. On perusal of the documents, there can be no doubt at all that

the road in question measuring 444.14 sqm. never belonged to the

Pune Municipal Corporation. In the property records, there was no

private road. There were three plots 473 B1, B2, B3 and 473B4

shown as vacant land held by the owners of all the three adjacent

plots.

94. The Municipal Corporation was never shown as owner of the

vacant plot or of any private road. Even assuming that there was

any policy decision to have an approach road to every plot, it was

incumbent upon the authorities concerned to acquire the land. On
46

the other hand, the scheme clearly records that the same was based

on entries in property records, and the award of the arbitrator.

95. As argued by Mr. Sisodia, the Award dated 16th May, 1972 of

the Arbitrator awarded under the Regional and Town Planning Act

made it clear that the area and ownership of the plots were to be

determined as per entries in the property registered. The Award is

being final and binding under Section 74 on the Planning Authority

as also the owners under Section 73 of the Regional and Town

Planning Act. The sub-division in the Scheme under the Regional

and Town Planning Act is as follows:

  S.No.    C.S. No.      Area (Sqmt.)     Name of the Occupier
  1        1092 B/1      1025.00          Smt. Kanta Nanda
  2.       1092 B/2      603.00           Sri Premal Malhotra
  3.       1092 B/3      2838.00          Shri Dilip Kumar Roy

                                          Smt. Indira Devi
  4.       1092 B/4      444.00 (Road)    Occupiers of Sr. Nos. 1 to

                                          3 (Road)



96. The right to property may not be a fundamental right any

longer, but it is still a constitutional right under Article 300A and a

human right as observed by this Court in Vimlaben Ajitbhai Patel

v. Vatslaben Ashokbhai Patel and Others3. In view of the

mandate of Article 300A of the Constitution of India, no person is to

be deprived of his property save by the authority of law. The

3. (2008) 4 SCC 649 (para 42)
47

appellant trust cannot be deprived of its property save in

accordance with law.

97. Article 300A of the Constitution of India embodies the doctrine

of eminent domain which comprises two parts, (i) possession of

property in the public interest; and (ii) payment of reasonable

compensation. As held by this Court in a plethora of decisions,

including State of Bihar and Others v. Project Uchcha Vidya,

Sikshak Sangh and Others4; Jelubhai Nanbhai Khachar and

Others v. State of Gujarat and Anr.5; Bishambhar Dayal

Chandra Mohan and Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh and

Others6, the State possesses the power to take or control the

property of the owner for the benefit of public. When, however, a

State so acts it is obliged to compensate the injury by making just

compensation as held by this Court in Girnar Traders v. State of

Maharashtra and Others7.

98. It has been established beyond any iota of doubt that the

private road admeasuring 414 sq. meter area had never been

acquired by the Pune Municipal Corporation. The right to property

includes any proprietary interest hereditary interest in the right of

management of a religion endowment, as well as anything acquired

by inheritance. However, laudable be the purpose, the Executive

4. (2006) 2 SCC 545, 574 (para 69)

5. (1995) Suppl. 1 SCC 596

6. (1982) 1 SCC 39

7. (2007) 7 SCC 555 (paras 55 and 56)
48

cannot deprive a person of his property without specific legal

authority, which can be established in a court of law.

99. In case of dispossession except under the authority of law, the

owner might obtain restoration of possession by a proceeding for

Mandamus against the Government as held by this Court in Wazir

Chand v. State of Himachal Pradesh8. Admittedly, no

compensation has been offered or paid to the appellant Trust. As

observed by this Court in K.T. Plantation Private Limited and

Anr. v. State of Karnataka9, even though the right to claim

compensation or the obligation of the State to pay compensation to

a person who is deprived of his property is not expressly provided in

Article 300A of the Constitution, it is inbuilt in the Article. The State

seeking to acquire private property for public purpose cannot say

that no compensation shall be paid. The Regional and Town

Planning Act also does not contemplate deprivation of a land holder

of his land, without compensation. Statutory authorities are bound

to pay adequate compensation.

100. The High Courts exercising their jurisdiction under Article 226

of the Constitution of India, not only have the power to issue a Writ

of Mandamus or in the nature of Mandamus, but are duty bound to

exercise such power, where the Government or a public authority

has failed to exercise or has wrongly exercised discretion conferred

8. AIR 1954 SC 415

9. (2011) 9 SCC 1
49

upon it by a Statute, or a rule, or a policy decision of the

Government or has exercised such discretion malafide, or on

irrelevant consideration.

101. In all such cases, the High Court must issue a Writ of

Mandamus and give directions to compel performance in an

appropriate and lawful manner of the discretion conferred upon the

Government or a public authority.

102. In appropriate cases, in order to prevent injustice to the

parties, the Court may itself pass an order or give directions which

the government or the public authorities should have passed, had it

properly and lawfully exercised its discretion. In Directors of

Settlements, Andhra Pradesh and Others v. M.R. Apparao

and Anr.10. Pattanaik J. observed:

“One of the conditions for exercising power under Article 226
for issuance of a mandamus is that the court must come to
the conclusion that the aggrieved person has a legal right,
which entitles him to any of the rights and that such right
has been infringed. In other words, existence of a legal right
of a citizen and performance of any corresponding legal duty
by the State or any public authority, could be enforced by
issuance of a writ of mandamus, “Mandamus” means a
command. It differs form the writs of prohibition or certiorari
in its demand for some activity on the part of the body or
person to whom it is addressed. Mandamus is a command
issued to direct any person, corporation, inferior courts or
government, requiring him or them to do some particular
thing therein specified which appertains to his or their office
and is in the nature of a public duty. A mandamus is
available against any public authority including
administrative and local bodies, and it would lie to any

10. (2002) 4 SCC 638
50

person who is under a duty imposed by a statute or by the
common law to do a particular act. In order to obtain a writ
or order in the nature of mandamus, the applicant has to
satisfy that he has a legal right to the performance of a legal
duty by the party against whom the mandamus is sought
and such right must be subsisting on the date of the
petition. The duty that may be enjoined by mandamus may
be one imposed by the Constitution, a statute, common law
or by rules or orders having the force of law.”

103. The Court is duty bound to issue a writ of Mandamus for

enforcement of a public duty. There can be no doubt that an

important requisite for issue of Mandamus is that Mandamus lies to

enforce a legal duty. This duty must be shown to exist towards the

applicant. A statutory duty must exist before it can be enforced

through Mandamus. Unless a statutory duty or right can be read in

the provision, Mandamus cannot be issued to enforce the same.

104. The High Court is not deprived of its jurisdiction to entertain a

petition under Article 226 merely because in considering the

petitioner’s right to relief questions of fact may fall to be

determined. In a petition under Article 226 the High Court has

jurisdiction to try issues both of fact and law. Exercise of the

jurisdiction is, it is true, discretionary, but the discretion must be

exercised on sound judicial principles. Reference may be made inter

alia to the judgments of this Court Gunwant Kaur v. Municipal

Committee, Bhatinda11 and State of Kerala v. M.k. Jose12. In

M.K. Jose (supra), this Court held:-

11 (1969) 3 SCC 769
12 (2015) 9 SCC 433
51

“16. Having referred to the aforesaid decisions, it is
obligatory on our part to refer to two other authorities of this
Court where it has been opined that under what
circumstances a disputed question of fact can be gone into.
In Gunwant Kaur v. Municipal Committee, Bhatinda [(1969) 3
SCC 769] , it has been held thus: (SCC p. 774, paras 14-16)

“14. The High Court observed that they will not
determine disputed question of fact in a writ petition.
But what facts were in dispute and what were admitted
could only be determined after an affidavit-in-reply was
filed by the State. The High Court, however, proceeded
to dismiss the petition in limine. The High Court is
not deprived of its jurisdiction to entertain a
petition under Article 226 merely because in
considering the petitioner’s right to relief
questions of fact may fall to be determined. In a
petition under Article 226 the High Court has
jurisdiction to try issues both of fact and law.
Exercise of the jurisdiction is, it is true,
discretionary, but the discretion must be
exercised on sound judicial principles. When the
petition raises questions of fact of a complex nature,
which may for their determination require oral evidence
to be taken, and on that account the High Court is of
the view that the dispute may not appropriately be tried
in a writ petition, the High Court may decline to try a
petition. Rejection of a petition in limine will normally be
justified, where the High Court is of the view that the
petition is frivolous or because of the nature of the
claim made dispute sought to be agitated, or that the
petition against the party against whom relief is claimed
is not maintainable or that the dispute raised thereby is
such that it would be inappropriate to try it in the writ
jurisdiction, or for analogous reasons.

15. From the averments made in the petition filed by
the appellants it is clear that in proof of a large number
of allegations the appellants relied upon documentary
evidence and the only matter in respect of which
conflict of facts may possibly arise related to the due
52

publication of the notification under Section 4 by the
Collector.

16. In the present case, in our judgment, the High
Court was not justified in dismissing the petition
on the ground that it will not determine disputed
question of fact. The High Court has jurisdiction
to determine questions of fact, even if they are in
dispute and the present, in our judgment, is a
case in which in the interests of both the parties
the High Court should have entertained the
petition and called for an affidavit-in reply from
the respondents, and should have proceeded to
try the petition instead of relegating the
appellants to a separate suit.” (emphasis supplied)

105. In ABL International Ltd. v. Export Credit Guarantee

Corporation of India Ltd.13, this Court referring to previous

judgments of this Court including Gunwant Kaur (supra) held: –

“19. Therefore, it is clear from the above enunciation of law
that merely because one of the parties to the litigation
raises a dispute in regard to the facts of the case, the court
entertaining such petition under Article 226 of the
Constitution is not always bound to relegate the parties to a
suit. In the above case of Gunwant Kaur [(1969) 3 SCC 769]
this Court even went to the extent of holding that in a writ
petition, if the facts require, even oral evidence can be
taken. This clearly shows that in an appropriate case, the
writ court has the jurisdiction to entertain a writ petition
involving disputed questions of fact and there is no absolute
bar for entertaining a writ petition 2 even if the same arises
out of a contractual obligation and/or involves some
disputed questions of fact.

27. From the above discussion of ours, the following legal
principles emerge as to the maintainability of a writ petition:

13 (2004) 3 SCC 553
53

a) In an appropriate case, a writ petition as against a
State or an instrumentality of a State arising out of a
contractual obligation is maintainable.

b) Merely because some disputed questions of fact
arise for consideration, same cannot be a ground to
refuse to entertain a writ petition in all cases as a
matter of rule;

c) A writ petition involving a consequential relief of
monetary claim is also maintainable.”

106. In the present case, it is not even in dispute that the private

road in question did not at any point of time belong to the Pune

Municipal Corporation. It is shown to be held by the holders by

adjacent Plot Nos. 473 B1, 473 B2 and 473 B3.

107. In the facts and circumstances of the instant case, in the light

of admissions, on the part of the respondent authorities that the

private road measuring 414 sq. was private property never acquired

by the Pune Municipal Corporation or the State Government, the

respondents had a public duty under Section 91 to appropriately

modify the scheme and to show the private road as property of its

legitimate owners, as per the property records in existence, and or

in the award of the Arbitrator. In our considered opinion, the

Bombay High Court erred in law in dismissing the Writ Petition with

the observation that the land in question had vested under Section

88 of the Regional and Town Planning Act.

54

108. Section 88 of the Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966

provides:

“88. Effect of [preliminary scheme].- On and after the
day on which a [preliminary scheme] comes into force-

(a) all lands required by the Planning Authority shall,
unless it is otherwise determined in such scheme, vest
absolutely in the Planning Authority free from all
encumbrances;

(b) all rights in the original plots which have been
reconstituted shall determine, and the reconstituted
plots shall become subject to the rights settled by
Arbitrator;

[(c) ***]”

109. Section 88 of the Regional and Town Planning Act cannot be

read in isolation. It has to be read with Section 125 to 129 relating

to compulsory acquisition as also Section 59, 69 and 65.

110. Section 125 provides as follows:

“125. Compulsory acquisition of land needed for
purposes of Regional Plan, Development plan or town
planning scheme, etc.- Any land required, reserved or
designated in a Regional plan, Development plan or town
planning scheme for a public purpose or purposes including
plans for any area of comprehensive development or for any
new town shall be deemed to be land needed for a public
purpose [within the meaning of the Right to Fair
Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (30 of 2013)].

[Provided that, the procedure specified in
sections 4 to 15 (both inclusive) of the Right to
Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land
Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act,
2013 (30 of 2013) shall not be applicable in
respect of such lands.]
55

111. Section 126 stipulates the mode and manner of acquisition of

land acquired to a designate in Regional, Development and Town

scheme for a public purpose and the mode of payment of

compensation.

112. Section 127 provides that any land reserved, allotted or

designated for any purpose specified in any plan under the Regional

and Town Planning Act, which is not acquired by agreement within

ten years from the date on which a final regional plan or final

development plan comes into force, is to be deemed to have lapsed

and the land shall be deemed to be released from such reservation.

Of course by virtue of sub-section (2) of Section 126 inserted by

Amendment by Maharashtra Act No.16 of 2009 on lapsing of

reservation or a designation of any land under sub-section (1), the

Government shall notify the same by an order published in the

Official Gazette. Section 128 enables the Government to acquire

lands for a purpose other than the one for which it is designated in

any plan or scheme.

113. In our considered opinion, the High Court erred in dismissing

the writ petition, misconstruing Section 88 of the Regional and Town

Planning Act, by reading the same in isolation from the other

provisions of the Regional and Town Planning Act, particularly

Sections 65, 66, 125 and 126 thereof.

56

114. Section 125 read with Section 126 enables the state/Planning

authority to acquire land. On a proper construction of Section 88,

when land is acquired for the purposes of a Development Scheme,

the same vests in the State free from encumbrances. No third party

can claim any right of easement to the land, or claim any right as an

occupier, licensee, tenant, lessee, mortgagee or under any sale

agreement. On the other hand, Section 65 referred to above read

with Section 66 protects the interests of the owners.

115. In the absence of any proceedings for acquisition or for

purchase, no land belonging to the Appellant Trust could have

vested in the State.

116. The High Court also erred in its finding that the modification

proposed involved substantial alteration by deletion of a public road

and was therefore impermissible. The modification only involved

deletion of the name of Pune Municipal Corporation as holder of the

private road. The finding that deletion of a public road is a

substantial alteration is, for the reasons already discussed above,

completely baseless.

117. The appeal is therefore allowed, and the Judgment and order

under appeal is set aside.

118. In exercise of our power under Article 142 of the Constitution

of India to do complete justice between the parties, we direct the
57

Respondent authorities to act in terms of the Award dated 16 th May,

1972 and delete the name of the Pune Municipal Corporation as

owner of the private road in the records pertaining to the Scheme

and carry out such other consequential alterations as may be

necessary under Section 91 of the Regional and Town Planning Act.

The appellant trust shall within a fortnight from the date of this

order, give an undertaking to the Planning Authority not to obstruct

access of adjacent plot owners through the private road in question.

The necessary alteration or modification under Section 91, as

directed above, shall be carried out within six weeks from the date

of furnishing of the undertaking by the appellant, as directed above.

……………………………..J
[ INDU MALHOTRA ]

……………………………..J
[ INDIRA BANERJEE ]

AUGUST 07, 2020
NEW DELHI



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