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Graphite India 'Absolute Owner' Of Closed Bengaluru Plant, Can't Revert Land To State Govt: Karnataka High Court

Mustafa Plumber
13 Sep 2022 7:18 AM GMT
Graphite India Absolute Owner Of Closed Bengaluru Plant, Cant Revert Land To State Govt: Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation seeking directions to the State to reacquire the land allotted to M/s Graphite India Ltd., which had to close down its operations after several complaints were made by the residents of the locality with regard to the pollution caused by its functioning. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice...

The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation seeking directions to the State to reacquire the land allotted to M/s Graphite India Ltd., which had to close down its operations after several complaints were made by the residents of the locality with regard to the pollution caused by its functioning.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty dismissed the petition filed by one Amruthesh NP seeking to revert the land allotted to Graphite India to the State government, for use either by upcoming entrepreneurs or as a lung space of the locality.

The bench noted that the schedule property was allotted to Graphite India in the year 1972 and in the year 1987, a registered sale deed was executed in its favour by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board.

"After execution of the absolute sale deed in respect of the Schedule Property by the Board in favour of respondent no.4 in the year 1987, respondent no.4 has become the absolute owner of the Schedule Property...Therefore, the contention of the learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner that after the closure of the industry, the Schedule Property has to revert back to the Government or the land should be brought to sale by the State Government by public auction, etc., cannot be accepted and the same is liable to be rejected," Court said.

It added,

"Therefore, for a period of nearly 46 years, the 4th respondent's industry was functioning in the Schedule Property. It is only because of the closure orders passed by the Tribunal, respondent no.4 was constrained to close down its industry which it has done after obtaining necessary permission from the State Government. It is also not in dispute that respondent no.4 has settled the dues of its employees who were working in the industry as on the date of its closure."

The Court held that the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board Regulations, 1969, provides the Board the power to execute the lease-cum-sale deed as well as absolute sale deed in favour of the allottee of the land.

"From a conjoint reading of the provisions of the Act of 1966 (Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Act) and the Regulations of 1969, it is clear that the land acquired under the Act of 1966 vests with the State Government and the State Government may transfer the land to the Board for the purpose for which the land has been acquired and after the land is developed by the Board it shall be dealt with by the Board in accordance with the Regulations. Under the Regulations of 1969, the Board is empowered to allot the land developed by it to the applicant either by leasecum- sale, sale or auction sale."

It added,

"Therefore, we find no merit in the contention of the petitioner that the acquired land/schedule property which vested with the Government and was transferred to the Board for the purpose of development, cannot be leased out or sold to any party by the Board."

The bench went on to opine, "For the purpose of claiming a writ of mandamus, the petitioner must establish an existing legally enforceable right, its infringement or invasion or infraction. Exercise of the jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus is purely discretionary and the same cannot be issued as a matter of course."

It added, "When the petitioner has failed to establish any legally enforceable right or its infringement and when he has also failed to point out that the respondent-authorities have failed or neglected to perform their statutory duties, the prayers made by the petitioner for issuing writ of mandamus cannot be granted."

Case Title: AMRUTHESH N.P v. THE CHIEF SECRETARY

Case No: W.P.No.7039/2021

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 359

Date of Order: 12TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2022

Appearance: S.P. SHANKAR, SR. COUNSEL FOR AMRUTHESH,ADV for petitioner; PRATHIMA HONNAPURA, A.G.A., FOR R-1 & R-2; UDAYA HOLLA, SR. COUNSEL FOR VIVEK HOLLA, ADV., FOR R-4; H.L. PRADEEP KUMAR, ADV., FOR R-3

Click Here To Read/Download Order



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