Nobody can pass a better title than he himself has

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Vineet Kothari, J., decided a writ petition filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, wherein the Court declined to issue a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to allot an alternative site to the petitioner, basing its decision on the maxim nemo dat quod non habet.

The petitioner submitted that he was allotted a site by the respondent under a certain scheme, where under the petitioner also deposited a certain amount of money. However, later it was found that the concerned land belonged to some other person and therefore, could not have been allotted to the petitioner. Consequently, the petitioner filed representation before the respondent to allot an alternative site. The instant petition sought the issue of a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to consider petitioner’s representation.

The High Court perused the record and was of a clear view that the said prayer could not be granted. The Court found that the land that was allotted to the petitioner was not available with the respondent in the very first place. As such, under no circumstances, the said allotment could have been made. The Court based its opinion on the maxim nemo dat quod non habet; meaning that nobody could pass a better title than he himself has. The fact that the land belonged to a third party did not entitle the present petitioner to seek an alternative site as a matter of right. The Court also held that the petitioner could sue the respondent for damages for the loss caused to her on account of cancellation of the said allotment, but the relief as prayed for by the petitioner could not be granted.

Accordingly, the petition was dismissed. [N. Premakumari v. Commissioner, Chikballapur District, WP No. 47991 of 2017 (LB-RES), order dated  01.02.2018]

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