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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Whether the amendment made in the Master Plan of Delhi vide Notification dated 20.9.1995 permitting utilization of the sites earmarked for Nursery Schools for other purposes is ultra vires the provisions of the Delhi Development Authority Act, 1957 (for short, ‘the Act’) or is otherwise arbitrary and whether allotment of 1000 sq. yards (in some paragraphs of the special leave petition and the documents annexed with it the size of the plot has also been mentioned as 1200 sq. yards) of land earmarked in Gulmohar Park for Nursery School to respondent No.4 – Kala Ashram, School of Dance and Drama, New Delhi is violative of the provisions of the Constitution and/or the Act are the questions which arise for consideration in this appeal filed against judgment dated 24.10.2008 of the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court.= “All executive actions of the Government of India and the Government of a State are required to be taken in the name of the President or the Governor of the State concerned, as the case may be [Articles 77(1) and 166(1)]. Orders and other instruments made and executed in the name of the President or the Governor of a State, as the case may be, are required to be authenticated in such manner as may be specified in rules to be made by the President or the Governor, as the case may be [Articles 77(2) and 166(2)]. Article 77(3) lays down that: “77. (3) The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of India, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business.” Likewise, Article 166(3) lays down that: 166. (3) The Governor shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of the State, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business insofar as it is not business with respect to which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion.” This means that unless an order is expressed in the name of the President or the Governor and is authenticated in the manner prescribed by the rules, the same cannot be treated as an order on behalf of the Government. A noting recorded in the file is merely a noting simpliciter and nothing more. It merely represents expression of opinion by the particular individual. By no stretch of imagination, such noting can be treated as a decision of the Government. Even if the competent authority records its opinion in the file on the merits of the matter under consideration, the same cannot be termed as a decision of the Government unless it is sanctified and acted upon by issuing an order in accordance with Articles 77(1) and (2) or Articles 166(1) and (2). The noting in the file or even a decision gets culminated into an order affecting right of the parties only when it is expressed in the name of the President or the Governor, as the case may be, and authenticated in the manner provided in Article 77(2) or Article 166(2). A noting or even a decision recorded in the file can always be reviewed/reversed/overruled or overturned and the court cannot take cognizance of the earlier noting or decision for exercise of the power of judicial review.” (emphasis supplied) 18. By applying the ratio of the aforesaid judgment to the facts of this case, we hold that note dated 2.12.1999 recorded by the Minister, Urban Development cannot be made basis for quashing the allotment made in favour of respondent No.4. 19. In the result, the appeal is dismissed.

                     published in    http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40737                                                                                                                                     NON-
                                REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7384 OF 2013
                  (Arising out of SLP (C) No.24415 of 2009)



      Delhi Union of Journalist Cooperative
      House Building Society Ltd. and others                   …Appellants




                                   versus


      Union of India and others                            …Respondents










                               J U D G M E N T


      G.S. SINGHVI, J.

      1.    Leave granted.

      2.    Whether the amendment made in the  Master  Plan  of  Delhi  vide
      Notification dated  20.9.1995  permitting  utilization  of  the  sites
      earmarked for Nursery Schools for other purposes is  ultra  vires  the
      provisions of the Delhi Development Authority Act,  1957  (for  short,
      ‘the Act’) or is otherwise arbitrary and 
whether allotment of 1000 sq.
      yards (in some paragraphs  of  the  special  leave  petition  and  the
      documents annexed with it the size of the plot has also been mentioned
      as 1200 sq. yards) of land earmarked  in  Gulmohar  Park  for  Nursery
      School to respondent No.4 – Kala Ashram, School of  Dance  and  Drama,
      New Delhi is violative of the provisions of  the  Constitution  and/or
      the Act are the questions which arise for consideration in this appeal
      filed against judgment dated 24.10.2008 of the Division Bench  of  the
      Delhi High Court.

      3.    Appellant No.1 is a cooperative housing society, appellant  No.2
      is a body representing four cooperative house building societies which
      have land in  and  around  the  area  known  as  ‘Gulmohar  Park’  and
      appellant No.3 is a society formed for establishing a  Nursery  School
      in Gulmohar Park.

      4.    The site in question was initially allotted to Bethal  Education
      Society for construction of a Nursery School  but  the  same  was  not
      utilized for long time. In 1989, the appellants  made  representations
      to the DDA for allotment of  the  land  in  question,  but  could  not
      persuade  the  concerned  authorities  to  entertain   their   prayer.
      Therefore, they filed CWP No.1185/1998 for issue of a mandamus to  the
      Delhi Development Authority (for short, ‘the DDA’) to allot  the  site
      to them for establishing a Nursery School. When the writ petition  was
      taken up for hearing, it was  noticed  that  the  appellants  had  not
      challenged the notification by which the Master Plan had been amended.
      Faced with the possibility of dismissal of the writ petition  on  that
      ground,  learned  counsel  for  the  appellants  made  a  request  for
      permission to withdraw the same with liberty to file a fresh one.  The
      learned Single Judge accepted  the  request  and  passed  order  dated
      27.1.2000, the relevant portions of which are extracted below:

           “I  have  perused  the  contents  of  the  aforesaid   amendment
           application. It transpires therefrom that the  petitioner  seeks
           to make the said petition, a public interest litigation. In that
           view of the matter, the petition would be required to  be  heard
           by the Division Bench, if the said amendment is allowed.

           Counsel for the petitioner  seeks  permission  to  withdraw  the
           present petition in order to enable the  petitioner  to  file  a
           consolidated writ petition before  the  Division  Bench  with  a
           further order that the  interim  order  passed  on  9.3.1998  be
           continued for another ten days. Permission granted.

           The petition stands dismissed as withdrawn with a liberty to the
           petitioner to file a consolidated petition before  the  Division
           Bench. Pending applications stand disposed of  accordingly.  The
           interim order passed by this Court on 9.3.1998 shall continue to
           operate for another ten days.”



      5.    After  few  days,  the  appellants  filed  CWP  No.662/2000  for
      quashing notification dated 20.9.1995  issued  by  the  Government  of
      India, Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment (Delhi  Division)  for
      modification of the Master Plan and the allotment made  in  favour  of
      respondent No.4. The Division Bench of the High Court referred to  the
      nature of amendment made in the Master Plan and observed:

           “However, thereafter the purpose came to be amended by issuing a
           notification dated 20.9.95, a  copy  of  which  is  produced  as
           Annexure-7. The modification reads as under:-"At page 157 of the
           Gazette of  India  Part-II  Section  3  sub-section  (ii)  dated
           1.8.1990 under heading Nursery School  and  Kindergarten  School
           (080) the following is added:

           "The  following  neighbourhood  facilities  are  permissible  in
           nursery school sites according to the layout plan, where no such
           facility is available in the vicinity:
|          |                            |
|i)        |post office                 |
|ii)       |community hall cum library  |
|iii)      |Dispensary                  |
|iv)       |Health Centre               |
|v)        |Creche and Day care centre  |
|vi)       |Electric sub-station        |
|vii)      |Cooperative store           |
|viii)     |Milk booth                  |
|ix)       |Fine arts school            |
|x)        |Maternity home              |
|xi)       |Child Welfare Centre        |
|          |(Charitable)                |


           It is pointed out by the petitioner that if there is a Fine  Art
           School in neighbourhood, then a plot  reserved  could  not  have
           been allotted for another Fine Art School.

           It is required to be noted that in the instant  case,  according
           to the petitioner he has been trying his level best to  get  the
           plot of land for the purpose of nursery school and he  has  been
           writing for a long  time.  Copies  of  such  correspondence  are
           placed on record. It is contended that a wrong has been done  to
           the petitioner by not allotting the plot for nursery school.  It
           is pointed out in para no. 11 of the affidavit sworn by Ms. Asma
           Manzar, Director (Lands), DDA, that the petitioner  was  advised
           vide letter-dated 25.10.1989 to get its case sponsored from  the
           Director of Education, Delhi Administration for  taking  further
           action, while informing that the  earlier  allotment  to  Bethal
           Education Society had been cancelled.

           In view of this, the petition is not required to be entertained.
           However, if the petitioner approaches the DDA with the requisite
           recommendation/sponsorship, the DDA shall consider its  case  in
           accordance with law. The petition is dismissed.”


      6.     Special  Leave  Petition  (C)  No.  18712/2004  filed  by   the
      appellants was dismissed by this Court vide order dated 27.1.2006.

      7.    Unfazed by dismissal of the writ petition and the special  leave
      petition,  the appellants made representation  dated  10/13.2.2006  to
      the Chairman, DDA for cancellation of the allotment made in favour  of
      respondent No.4 and for allotment of the site to them for establishing
      a Nursery School. Soon thereafter, they filed Writ Petition  Nos.3192-
      3194/2006 with similar prayer. The writ petitions were disposed of  by
      the learned Single Judge by taking cognizance of the statement made by
      the counsel for the DDA that the Vice-Chairman would take  appropriate
      decision on the appellants’ representation keeping in view note  dated
      2.12.1990 recorded by the Minister for Urban Development.

      8.    In furtherance of the undertaking given by  the  counsel,  Vice-
      Chairman, DDA considered the  representation  of  the  appellants  and
      passed order dated 3.4.2006 whereby he rejected the appellants’ prayer
      for cancellation of the allotment made in favour of respondent No.4 on
      the ground that the writ petition and the special leave petition filed
      by  the  appellants  for  quashing  the  allotment  had  already  been
      dismissed by the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, respectively.

      9.    The appellants challenged the order of the Vice-Chairman in Writ
      Petition  (C)  Nos.12122-12124/2006.  They  relied  upon  note   dated
      2.12.1999  recorded  by   the   then   Minister,   Urban   Development
      incorporating therein his  views  against  the  allotment  of  Nursery
      School sites for any other purpose.

      10.   The learned Single  Judge  referred  to  order  dated  24.3.2004
      passed by the Division Bench in WP(C) No.662/2000 and held that it was
      not permissible for the appellants to  resurrect  their  challenge  to
      notification dated 20.9.1995  or  the  allotment  made  in  favour  of
      respondent No.4. As regards the Minister’s noting, the learned  Single
      Judge observed that it was a general note and had nothing to  do  with
      notification  dated  20.9.1995  issued  by  the  Central   Government.
      Paragraphs 9 to 11 of the order passed by the  learned  Single  Judge,
      which contain the reasons for rejection of the appellants  prayer  are
      extracted below:
           “To this Court it appears that the Respondents are justified  in
           contending that the prayers made by the  writ  petitioners  here
           already stand rejected by the Division Bench of  this  Court  by
           the order-dated 24.3.2004 in Writ Petition (Civil)  No.662/2000.
           The rejection of the said writ petition meant that the  Division
           Bench of this court had negatived the Petitioners' challenge  to
           both the notification dated 20.9.1995 of the Central  Government
           as  well  as  the  challenge  to  the  allotment  in  favour  of
           Respondent No.4 pursuant to the said  notification.    The  last
           line of that order, which permitted the Petitioners  to  make  a
           representation to the DDA for considering its case in accordance
           with law, was not meant to permit the Petitioners to  raise  the
           very contentions, which had been rejected by the  court  by  the
           dismissal  of  the  writ  petition  in  Writ  Petition   (Civil)
           No.662/2000.  It only meant  that  the  Petitioners  could  have
           sought for the allotment of some other land,  if  available  and
           subject to the  requirements  of  the  law.  Instead,  what  the
           Petitioners appear to have done,  is  to  re-agitate  the  issue
           which already stood covered by the Order dated 24.3.2004 of  the
           Division Bench of this Court. This was clearly impermissible and
           not intended by the said order.


           The order dated 3.3.2006 of the learned  Single  Judge  of  this
           Court requiring the DDA to take  into  account  the  note  dated
           2.12.1999 of the minister of Urban Development, has to  be  seen
           in the light of the fact that the said note was not specific  to
           the allotment of the Respondent No.4. Moreover,  the  said  note
           was issued more than 2 years after the allotment made in  favour
           of Respondent No.4. That note is of a general  nature  and  does
           not advert to the notification dated  20.9.1995  issued  by  the
           Central government, the challenge to the validity of  which  was
           negatived by this Court and which  has  not  been  withdrawn  or
           cancelled by the Central Government, at least till such time the
           allotment was made in favour of Respondent No.4.


           The mere fact that the impugned order dated 3.4.2006  passed  by
           the DDA does not refer  to  the  note  dated  2.12.1999  of  the
           Minister of Urban Development, cannot make any difference to the
           fact that the challenge to the validity of allotment  in  favour
           of Respondent No.4 already stood negatived by this Court by  its
           Order  dated  24.3.2004  rejecting  the  Writ  Petition  (Civil)
           No.662/2000. The order dated 3.3.2006 certainly does not  permit
           the Petitioner to re-agitate  the  same  issue  all  over  again
           either before the DDA or before this court.”



      11.   The Letters Patent Appeal filed by the appellants was  dismissed
      by the Division Bench of the High Court. Some of the observations made
      by the Division Bench are extracted below:

           “14. We are further constrained by the  result  of  the  earlier
           litigation initiated by the appellants and the challenge of  the
           appellants having been rejected. The  principal  plea  of  there
           being another Fine Arts School in the vicinity  and,  thus,  the
           notification dated 20.9.1995 itself providing  that  in  such  a
           case there was no  need  for  making  another  allotment  formed
           subject matter of the first round of litigation. The appellants,
           unfortunately, did not succeed and that SLP was also rejected by
           the Supreme Court. That issue cannot be re-agitated again.

           15. In the second round of litigation, all that could have  been
           done was that the effect of the note of the  then  Minister  for
           Urban Development to be considered. As  to  what  would  be  the
           result of such consideration is itself a moot point in  view  of
           the challenge rejected in the first round of litigation.  It  is
           true that the note dated 2.12.1999 of the then Urban Development
           Minister has not been specifically  mentioned  in  the  decision
           taken by  the  Vice  Chairman,  DDA  on  3.4.2006.  However,  an
           important aspect is that the  note  is  general  in  nature  and
           cannot really be stated to constitute a  substratum  for  giving
           rights to the appellants to agitate the matter in Court. It  was
           the view of the then Minister of Urban Development arising  from
           a problem which was noticed by a certain members of  Parliament.
           Not only that the most important aspect of the note is that  the
           note itself makes it clear  that  the  allotment  should  “cease
           forthwith”. The note as made  could,  at  best,  have  a  future
           impact while the allotment in  favour  respondent  No.  4  stood
           crystallized on the same being made, payment being accepted  and
           the possession having been handed over and much prior in time.”



      12.   Shri Ranjit Kumar, learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
      appellants argued that the impugned judgment and the order  passed  by
      the learned Single Judge are liable to be set aside because  the  High
      Court committed serious error by invoking the doctrine of res judicata
      for non-suiting the appellants. Learned senior counsel emphasised that
      order dated 3.4.2006 passed by the Vice-Chairman gave fresh  cause  to
      the appellants to seek intervention of the Court and  the  High  Court
      could not have dismissed the writ  petition  and  the  appeal  on  the
      premise that the earlier writ petition had been dismissed. Shri Ranjit
      Kumar then submitted  that  even  though  the  note  recorded  by  the
      Minister, Urban Development was not translated into a formal order  of
      the Government, Vice-Chairman, DDA was duty bound to consider the same
      and cancel the allotment made in favour of respondent No.4 because the
      amendment  made  in  the  Master  Plan  was  totally   arbitrary   and
      unjustified.  Learned senior counsel further argued that the  disputed
      allotment was ex-facie arbitrary and violative of Article  14  of  the
      Constitution because the same was not  preceded  by  an  advertisement
      inviting applications from the eligible persons for allotment  of  the
      site.

      13.   Shri L.N. Rao, learned Additional  Solicitor  General  appearing
      for the Union of India and  Shri  Atual  Y.  Chitale,  learned  senior
      counsel appearing for respondent No.4 supported the impugned  judgment
      and argued that the appellants’ challenge to the allotment of site  to
      respondent No.4 was rightly rejected because CWP No.662/2000 filed  by
      them for quashing notification dated 20.9.1995 was  dismissed  by  the
      Division Bench of the High Court and the special  leave  petition  was
      dismissed by this Court.  The  learned  Additional  Solicitor  General
      relied upon the judgment in Shanti Sports Club and another v. Union of
      India and others  (2009)  15  SCC  705  and  argued  that  note  dated
      2.12.1999 recorded by the then Minister, Urban Development  cannot  be
      enforced because the same had not been translated into an order of the
      Government of India.  Shri Atul Y. Chitale argued that the High  Court
      rightly refused to entertain the appellants’ challenge to the order of
      Vice-Chairman, DDA because the principal grievance made by them in the
      matter of allotment of  site  to  respondent  No.4  had  already  been
      negatived.

      14.   We have considered the respective arguments and scrutinized  the
      record.  It is not in dispute that the  writ  petition  filed  by  the
      appellants for quashing notification  dated  20.9.1995  by  which  the
      Master Plan had been amended permitting use of  Nursery  School  sites
      for other purposes was dismissed by the Division  Bench  of  the  High
      Court  and  their  challenge  to  the  allotment  made  in  favour  of
      respondent No.4 was also rejected. It is also not in dispute that  the
      appellants carried the matter to this Court but could not succeed  and
      the special leave petition filed by them was dismissed  after  hearing
      counsel for the parties.  Therefore, the representation made  by  them
      to the Chairman, DDA for withdrawing the allotment made in  favour  of
      respondent No.4 was clearly misconceived and the High  Court  did  not
      commit any error by refusing to entertain the appellants’  prayer  for
      quashing the allotment of the site to respondent No.4.

      15.   The appellants got an opportunity to indulge in another round of
      litigation because the advocate who appeared on behalf of  DDA  before
      the High Court volunteered to make a statement that the  Vice-Chairman
      would take necessary decision in the light of note dated 2.12.1999  of
      the Minister of Urban Development.  It is impossible for any person of
      ordinary prudence to accept the suggestion that the counsel  appearing
      for the DDA was unaware of the fate  of  the  writ  petition  and  the
      special  leave  petition   filed   by   the   appellants   questioning
      notification dated 20.9.1995 and  the  allotment  made  in  favour  of
      respondent No.4. This being the position, there is no escape from  the
      conclusion that the undertaking  given  by  the  learned  counsel  was
      totally uncalled for and the order passed by  Vice-Chairman,  DDA  did
      not entitle the appellants to file fresh writ petition for questioning
      the rejection of their representation  or  for  quashing  notification
      dated 20.9.1995 and the allotment made in favour of respondent No.4.

      16.    The  note  recorded  by  the  Minister,  Urban  Development  on
      2.12.1999 did not have any legal sanctity and the same could not  have
      been relied upon by the appellants for  seeking  cancellation  of  the
      allotment made in favour of respondent No.4 in 1997 because  no  order
      was issued on the basis of that note and no  notification  was  issued
      withdrawing the amendment made in the Master  Plan  vide  notification
      dated 20.9.1995.

      17.   In Shanti Sports Club and another v. Union of India  and  others
      (supra), a similar question was considered in the  context  of  noting
      recorded by the then Minister, Urban Development for  release  of  the
      acquired land  in  favour  of  the  appellant.  
While  rejecting  the
      appellants’ prayer, this Court referred to the earlier  judgments  and
      held:

           “All executive actions  of  the  Government  of  India  and  the
           Government of a State are required to be taken in  the  name  of
           the President or the Governor of the  State  concerned,  as  the
           case may be  [Articles  77(1)  and  166(1)].  Orders  and  other
           instruments made and executed in the name of  the  President  or
           the Governor of a State, as the case may be, are required to  be
           authenticated in such manner as may be specified in rules to  be
           made by the President or  the  Governor,  as  the  case  may  be
           [Articles 77(2) and 166(2)]. Article 77(3) lays down that:

                 “77. (3) The  President  shall  make  rules  for  the  more
                 convenient transaction of the business of the Government of
                 India, and for the allocation among Ministers of  the  said
                 business.”


           Likewise, Article 166(3) lays down that:

                 166. (3)  The  Governor  shall  make  rules  for  the  more
                 convenient transaction of the business of the Government of
                 the State, and for the allocation among  Ministers  of  the
                 said business insofar as it is not business with respect to
                 which  the  Governor  is  by  or  under  this  Constitution
                 required to act in his discretion.”


           This means that unless an order is expressed in the name of  the
           President or the Governor and is  authenticated  in  the  manner
           prescribed by the rules, the same cannot be treated as an  order
           on behalf of the Government.


           A noting recorded in the file is merely a noting simpliciter and
           nothing more. It merely represents expression of opinion by  the
           particular individual. By no stretch of imagination, such noting
           can be treated as a decision of  the  Government.  Even  if  the
           competent authority records its  opinion  in  the  file  on  the
           merits of the matter under consideration,  the  same  cannot  be
           termed as a decision of the Government unless it  is  sanctified
           and acted upon by issuing an order in accordance  with  Articles
           77(1) and (2) or Articles 166(1) and (2). The noting in the file
           or even a decision gets culminated into an order affecting right
           of the parties only when it is expressed  in  the  name  of  the
           President or the Governor, as the case may be, and authenticated
           in the manner provided in Article 77(2)  or  Article  166(2).  A
           noting or even a decision recorded in the  file  can  always  be
           reviewed/reversed/overruled or overturned and the  court  cannot
           take cognizance of the earlier noting or decision  for  exercise
           of the power of judicial review.”
                                                         (emphasis supplied)



      18.   By applying the ratio of the aforesaid judgment to the facts  of
      this case, we hold that note dated 2.12.1999 recorded by the Minister,
      Urban Development cannot be made basis for quashing the allotment made
      in favour of respondent No.4.

      19.   In the result, the appeal is dismissed.


                                              …………………………..J.
                                              (G.S. SINGHVI)



                                                         ………………………….J.
                                                   (V. GOPALA GOWDA)
      New Delhi;
      September 6, 2013.


      -----------------------
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