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State Forfeiting Private Property Without Giving Compensation Or TDR Certificates Violates Art. 300A Of Constitution: Karnataka High Court

Mustafa Plumber
12 April 2022 9:11 AM GMT
State Forfeiting Private Property Without Giving Compensation Or TDR Certificates Violates Art. 300A Of Constitution: Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court has directed the State government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to grant Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Certificates to a group of petitioners who surrendered their land to the corporation few years ago and still haven't received the TDR in-lieu of compensation. A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit while allowing a batch...

The Karnataka High Court has directed the State government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to grant Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Certificates to a group of petitioners who surrendered their land to the corporation few years ago and still haven't received the TDR in-lieu of compensation.

A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit while allowing a batch of petitions said,

"The respondent-State and the BBMP to grant TDR Certificates to the petitioners within a period of three months. If delay is brooked, the BBMP shall pay cost to the petitioners at the rate of Rs.1,000/- per week per square meter of relinquished lands, in addition to risking contempt action."

Further it directed, "It is open to the petitioners to seek reconveyance of surrendered lands, if they so desire, and if representations to this effect are made, the respondent BDA shall reconvey the surrendered lands within eight weeks, failing which the same cost as prescribed above shall be paid, till that is done, in addition to risking in contempt action."

It clarified that above directions shall take effect only if petitioners file with the Registry of this Court and with the BBMP within four weeks an affidavit of Rs.100/- Non-Judicial stamp paper to the effect that the BBMP has been in the exclusive possession of subject lands and that they or anyone claiming under them shall not interfere with the same in any circumstance nor they shall claim any compensation or damages or return of the lands.

Case Background:

The petitioner had approached the court seeking a direction to the respondent BBMP for issuance of 'Transferable Development Rights' (hereafter TDR) or 'Developmental Rights Certificates' in respect of lands in question which they have relinquished in favour of BBMP years ago for the formation or widening of roads.

BBMP opposed the petitions:

It was contended these lands are no longer required and therefore, would be returned to the relinquishes. Even otherwise, the subject lands being situated outside its territorial jurisdictional limits, they cannot be made use of and therefore, TDR Certificates cannot be granted.

Court findings:

Firstly the court said, "Ordinarily, the State takes the property of private persons either by consensual purchase or by compulsory acquisition, as provided under the law concerned. The latter is inter alia subject to payment of adequate compensation."

Then it said the Govt. of Karnataka vide Notification dated 18.1.2005 has promulgated certain terms & conditions for the grant of Transferable Development Rights by the Municipal Corporations.

BBMP contended after the relinquishment, petitioners have no say over what the BBMP would do with these lands. The handing of TDR certificates is not dependent upon the proof of utilisation of lands by the BBMP for the avowed purpose.

However, the Court opined,

"If contention of BBMP is accepted, petitioners who have lost their lands would not get either the compensation or the TDR and thus the action of the BBMP would amount to forfeiting private property without authorization of law and therefore, is violative of constitutional mandate enacted in Article 300A."

Doctrine of Estoppel and Promissory Estoppel:

Noting the facts of the case the court said, "Petitioners acting on the statutory policy of the State and believing the words of Government and BBMP have surrendered valuable lands and thereby altered their position to their disadvantage and to the great benefit of BBMP. Thus, there is a fool-proof case for the invocation of doctrine of estoppel as enacted in Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872."

It added, "Years have lapsed since these lands have been surrendered. Thus a classic case is made out by the petitioners for invoking promissory estoppel as well. There is a choate cause of action for the grant of relief."

The court also junked the contention of BBMP that the lands being no longer required, it would reconvey the same to the owners thereof. The bench said this contention is thoroughly unjustified and unconscionable. It observed "Petitioners gave up their lands years ago and free of cost, of course, the TDR being the assured recompense. They did it, not for getting the lands back that too at this length of time."

It added, "It was open to the BBMP to stipulate a condition of reconveyance in the Relinquishment Deed itself, specifying the circumstances on which it could have structured defence of the kind. Such a condition conspicuously being absent in the deeds, this contention has to fail. The action of BBMP falls short of constitutional morality."

Following which the court held, "This statutory authority which answers the definition of State under Article 12 of the Constitution cannot be permitted to resile from its promise of issuing TDR Certificates more particularly in the teath of amended law. The Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act, 2021 which came into force pendente lite (w.e.f. 05.07.2021) also supports the case of petitioners."

Accordingly it allowed the petitions.

Case Title: D V VENKATESHAPPA v. THE COMMISSIONER, BRUHAT BENGALURU MAHANAGARA PALIKE.

Case No: W.P.NO.1402/2021

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 116

Date of Order: 5TH DAY OF APRIL, 2022

Appearance: Senior Advocate D R Ravi Shankar a/w Advocate Krishna Murthy N for petitioner; Advocate S N Prashanth Chandra, For R1; Advocate G Lakshmeesh Rao, For R2 & R3; Advocate Prathima Honnapura, AGA For R4

Click Here To Read/Download Order



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