calcutta high court

Calcutta High Court: In a writ petition seeking the cancellation and setting aside of a letter of cancellation of land allotment, a single-judge bench comprising of Jay Sengupta,* J., dismissed the writ petition, concluding that the petitioners were in permissive possession, and the authorities had the right to cancel the land allotment due to the petitioners’ delay in adhering to the stipulated conditions.

Factual Matrix

The petitioner preferred the present writ petition seeking direction to the respondent authorities, Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), not to dispossess them from a 6-acre land plot. The petitioner also requested the cancellation and setting aside of a letter of cancellation of allotment dated 14-12-2007/17-12-2007.

The petitioner had received a letter of allotment from KMDA with the intention of developing the land. The conditions stipulated in the letter required the construction to start within 90 days of approval and be completed within three years from the approval date of the plan by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) dated 13-02-2007. KMDA later terminated the land allotment, citing various grounds, including the failure to submit a Detailed Project Report (DPR), a copy of a sanctioned building plan, and failure to initiate construction within the stipulated timeframes.

Moot Point

Whether the termination of land allotment by KMDA to the petitioner was lawful, and whether the writ of mandamus should be granted to the petitioner?

Petitioner’s Contentions

The petitioner argued that the unilateral imposition of new terms by KMDA, despite full payment, was intended to cancel the allotment. The petitioner had already submitted a DPR, which was accepted by KMDA, and no formal rejection had been communicated.

The petitioner contended the wrongful termination of allotment was based on new grounds, which were introduced later. It was further stated that the petitioner had acquired vested rights in the land by making full payments and taking possession.

Respondent’s Contentions

The KMDA contended that the petitioner was in permissive possession, not been granted physical possession of the land and no lease deed was executed in their favor. It was contended that the allotment of land did not create possessory rights, and permissive possession was given for a limited purpose.

The KMDA contended that the delay in initiating the construction, as stipulated in the letter of allotment, was due to the petitioner’s inaction, moreover, imposition of further conditions was not retrospective, and the petitioner had accepted such conditions when the extension of time was granted. It was further stated that the letter of allotment was not exhaustive and would be supplemented by terms in the lease deed.

Court’s Assessment

The Court, after considering the arguments presented, held that the petitioner was in permissive possession, and no physical possession or lease deed was executed in their favor. Therefore, they did not acquire possessory rights over the land. The Court noted that the petitioner had contributed to the delay in executing the lease deed, and the conditions imposed in the letter of allotment were not retrospective.

The Court also emphasized that the availability of land is limited, and the authorities could not allow it to remain unused. Necessary stipulations for land usage were reasonable, and the petitioner could not take advantage of their delay in executing the lease deed to avoid being bound by those stipulations.

Court’s Decision

The Court found no merit in the writ petition and dismissed it. The interim order, if any, was vacated, and no costs were imposed on either party.

[Tai Industries Ltd. v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 4174, order dated 02-11-2023]

*Judgment by Justice Jay Sengupta

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Ranjan Batchawat, Mr. Suman Kr. Dutt, Mr. Syamantak Banerjee, Mr. S. Dasgupta, Ms. Subhra Das, Mr. S. Mitra, Counsel for the Petitioner

Mr. Kishore Dutta, Mr. Satyajit Talukdar, Counsel for the KMDA

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