7 April 2022 1:24 PM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has recently come to the rescue of small vegetable sellers by setting aside the notice of the Collector, asking them to vacate a government land for construction of a Police station.The Court rejected the ground stated by the Collector that petitioners request for allotment of land cannot be acceded without public auction, because they are carrying on commercial...
The Gujarat High Court has recently come to the rescue of small vegetable sellers by setting aside the notice of the Collector, asking them to vacate a government land for construction of a Police station.
The Court rejected the ground stated by the Collector that petitioners request for allotment of land cannot be acceded without public auction, because they are carrying on commercial purpose. It observed,
"petitioners are doing small business like that of selling of vegetables / fruits, etc. by keeping small sheds and lorries. Therefore, if that activities are considered, it cannot be termed as large scale commercial activities and, therefore, if the vocation of the petitioners are considered then it is of small retail business then the other government lands can be considered for allotment of appropriate portion of land, available in the vicinity to the petitioners."
The order is subject to petitioners paying the requisite price thereof, as may be decided by the Government in accordance with the law.
The Bench comprising Justice AP Thaker was hearing a petition wherein the Petitioners were poor persons and doing their businesses in sheds and small shops by keeping lorries on the piece of land. They were also paying market rate to the Panchayat along with other bills. However, it was contested that the piece of land was Government land which was allotted to a police station in 2008. Subsequently, the Petitioners were issued several notices were issued by the authorities to remove their sheds and shops.
Accordingly, the Petitioners the Special Civil Application challenging these notices in 2019. They also made detailed representations but before the representations could be adjudicated on, the police authorities demolished all sheds and shops and lorries.
The Petitioners submitted that they were holding the land and therefore, there was no question of the purchase of other land. The representation of the Petitioners ought to have been allowed. Further, they were ready to pay the requisite price demanded by the Government for the land. Reliance was placed on Intajamuddin Yasinbhai Ansari and Ors v. State of Gujarat and Ors, 2009 (2) G.L.H 679 for the proposition that if there is unauthorised occupation of government lands by persons from lower economic strata, they may be accommodated in sympathetic manner.
Per contra, the Respondent authorities averred that there was no infirmity in the Collector's order.
Justice Thaker observed that the 2019 SCA was disposed of with the direction that the Petitioners' representation be considered by the authorities which was not complied with and the shops and lorries were already removed.
Further, a contention was made that the prayer of the Petitioners could not be heard because the said property was private land and no land could be granted for commercial purposes without public auction.
However, the Bench averred that the land was converted into a Government land for the purpose of the police station and further the activities of the Petitioners was not large scale in nature and therefore, allotment of appropriate portion of land could be made. The Bench directed the Petitioners to pay appropriate prices for the same. Accordingly, the impugned order was quashed and set aside.
Case Title: SOMIBEN ARVINDBHAI PATEL Versus STATE OF GUJARAT
Case No.: C/SCA/19514/2019