Mere Notings In Govt’s Official Files Are Matters Of Internal Deliberations & Don’t Bear Legal Sanctity: SC [Read Judgment]

Mere Notings In Govt’s Official Files Are Matters Of Internal Deliberations & Don’t Bear Legal Sanctity: SC [Read Judgment]

Such noting(s) or/and deliberation(s) are always capable of being changed or/and amended or/and withdrawn by the competent authority.

The Supreme Court has observed that a mere noting in the official files of the government while dealing with any matter pertaining to any person is essentially an internal matter of the government and carries with it no legal sanctity.

An application under Section 48(1) of the Land Acquisition Act was filed by the Vishnudev Cooperative Housing Society. The Revenue Minister, on June 10, 2004, had noted in the file that the land in question be deleted from the acquisition proceedings. The government changed and the new ministry decided all the matters where the orders were not communicated to the parties concerned to be placed for fresh consideration for passing appropriate orders. Against this, the society approached the high court which allowed the writ petition and issued a mandamus directing the state to give effect to June 10, 2004.

The issue before the apex court in Pimpri Chinchwad New Township Development Authority vs. Vishnudev Cooperative Housing Society was whether the order of the then Revenue Minister created any right in favour of the landowners so as to enable them to claim mandamus for enforcement of such order against the state.

The bench of Justice AM Sapre and Justice UU Lalit observed: “Our answer to the question is "no". It is for the reasons that First, a mere noting in the official files of the Government while dealing with any matter pertaining to any person is essentially an internal matter of the Government and carries with it no legal sanctity; Second, once the decision on such issue is taken and approved by the competent authority empowered by the Government in that behalf, it is required to be communicated to the person concerned by the State Government.”

The court also said so long as the decision based on such internal deliberation is not approved and communicated by the competent authority as per the procedure prescribed in that behalf to the person concerned, such noting does not create any right in favour of the person concerned nor does it partake the nature of any legal order so as to enable the person concerned to claim any benefit of any such internal deliberation. Such noting(s) or/and deliberation(s) are always capable of being changed or/and amended or/and withdrawn by the competent authority, the bench added.

Setting aside the high court order, the bench said: “We are of the considered opinion that the then Revenue Minister, who passed the order dated 10.06.2004 had no power to deal with the matter relating to release of the land in question. He simply usurped the power under Section 48 of the Act, which he never possessed. It was an abuse of exercise of power by him while dealing with the State's largesse.”

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