Supreme Court: The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., held that a person who misleads the Authority in obtaining allotment of a plot is not entitled to any relief.
While adjudicating a case where the plaintiff had filed a false affidavit to obtain a plot, the Bench rejected the benefit of equity to the plaintiff holding that,
“…affidavits filed were not mere sheet of paper but a solemn statement made before a person authorized to administer oath or to accept affirmation. The plaintiff had breached such solemn statement made on oath.”
The plaintiff-respondent was allotted a residential plot in Sector- 30, Noida as a member of the Defence Services Cooperative Housing Society; however, prior to the allotment of the said plot, another plot in Sector- 15A, Noida was already allotted to wife of the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff was served with a notice that the Sector 30 plot had been obtained by him by submitting a false affidavit as Sector 15A plot was already allotted to his wife.
The grievance of the plaintiff was that since the Sector 15A plot had been sold after obtaining permission from the appellant, therefore, the Sector 30 plot was the only plot in his possession. With the said claim, the plaintiff filed a suit for declaration, restraining the defendant from re-allocating the Sector 30 plot and from dispossessing the plaintiff from the same. After considering the reply, and the factum that the plaintiff intentionally concealed information of allotment and filed a false affidavit for the Sector 30 plot, the authority concerned cancelled the allotment of Sector 30 plot.
Concurrent Findings of the Courts Below
The Trial Court held that the lease executed in favour of the plaintiff could not be determined merely by passing the subject order in terms of Section 111 (g) of the Transfer of Property Act, 1887 as no notice for determination of lease under the said section had been issued. Therefore, all rights in the lease would survive. The findings of the Trial Court were concurrently upheld by the first Appellate Court and the High Court. The High Court further held that plaintiff and his wife had no ulterior motive to perpetrate fraud on the appellants as there was no willful or dishonest intention on the part of the plaintiff and his wife.
Submissions of the Plaintiff
The plaintiff submitted that the plot at Sector 15A was applied for because there was an uncertainty on account of litigation between the society of which he was a member with the appellant authority. It was pleaded that since the plaintiff was interested in Sector 30 plot as member of the Society, therefore the wife of the plaintiff had transferred the Sector 15A plot after obtaining permission from the appellant.
Findings and Conclusion
Contrary to the concurrent findings of the Courts below, the Bench observed the following faults on the part of the plaintiff:
- Though the wife of the plaintiff was allotted Sector 15A plot on 10-03-1981, she had sworn an affidavit on 04-03-1983 that neither she nor her spouse owned any other plot in Noida.
- The relevant extract from such terms and conditions of the allotment clearly show that a person himself owning, or in case of his spouse or dependent children owning a plot within the Municipal Corporation of Delhi or New Delhi or Noida complex, will not be eligible for allotment of a plot in Noida.
- The affidavit of the wife of the plaintiff was false as the plot measuring 450 sq. yards stood allotted to the plaintiff on 06-10-1981. Therefore, on the date the wife of the plaintiff had sworn the affidavit, the Sector 30 plot was already allotted to the plaintiff.
- The argument that plot might have been allotted but the possession was not with the wife of the plaintiff was incorrect as the affidavit was to the effect that she had not been allotted any plot either in her name or in the name of her husband.
- The plaintiff had sworn an affidavit, enclosed on letter dated 01-12-1988 that he, his spouse and dependent children do not own in full or in part on leasehold or freehold basis any residential plot.
Rejecting the argument of the plaintiff that as per the decision in ITC Ltd. v. State of U.P., (2011) 7 SCC 493, and Section 14 of U.P. Industrial Development Act, 1976, the Chief Executive Officer alone could cancel the lease, the Bench held that the determination of lease by the Chief Executive Officer would arise if in case there was any violation of the terms of lease. The Bench stated,
“If the condition precedent for grant of lease itself was fraudulent, the cancellation of lease was not required to be preceeded by permission of the Chief Executive Officer.”
Further, the Bench noted that the Chief Executive Officer had granted permission on 13-09-1998, though the cancellation order was passed on 18-10-1996. Therefore, the Bench held that it was a case of irregularity at best which stood removed with the permission of the Chief Executive Officer. Emphasising on the terms and conditions of allotment conveyed to the plaintiff on 01-12-1988 that if allotment is obtained by any misrepresentation or misstatement or fraud, the lease may be cancelled and the possession of the plot and the building thereon may be taken by the Authority, the Bench held that cancellation of allotment of plot obtained after filing false affidavit was a legitimate ground of cancellation of lease.
In the light of above, the Bench concluded that since the second plot allotted to the plaintiff had been allotted against the express terms of allotment, therefore, there was neither equity nor any law in favor of the plaintiff. Consequently, the appeal was allowed and the judgment and decree of the courts below were set aside.
[New Okhla Industrial Development Authority v. Ravindra Kumar Singhvi, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 186, decided on 15-02-2022]
*Judgment by: Justice Hemant Gupta
For the Plaintiff: Senior Advocate P.S. Patwalia
For the Appellant: Advocate Binay Kumar Das
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together