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Saturday, December 17, 2016

The appellant Vidya Prasarak Samithi, Ramdurg, a Trust registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act and Basaveshwar Vidya Vardhak Sangha (“BVVS” for short), respondent No.3 herein, are running educational institutions at Ramdurg. The dispute between them is in respect of the Government land, being CTS No.1674/1, in respect of which there are rival claims by Vidya Prasarak Samithi and BVVS for use as playground for students of their respective institutions. As there was no playground in the college run by the appellant, it appears from the facts that on an application made by the appellant, the Assistant Commissioner, Belgaum, by his order dated 18th February, 1970, granted the land in question in favour of the appellant.- the management of the Government school was transferred in favour of the Respondent No.3 - BVVS and since the payment of the land in question has already been made by BVVS, and once the ownership of the said land has vested in it, it cannot be granted in favour of any other person or institution. Accordingly, we find that the reasoning given by the High Court cannot be questioned in the given facts. We accept the reasoning given by the High Court and uphold the order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court setting aside the order passed by the learned Single Judge as also the orders passed by the second respondent and first respondent.

                                                                  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL  APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL  NO. …………. OF 2016
                 (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.5603 of 2008)

President, Vidya Prasarak Samithi, Ramdurg         Appellant(s)
                                  :Versus:
Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum District & Ors.       Respondent(s)





                               J U D G M E N T
Pinaki Chandra Ghose, J.
Leave granted.
This appeal is directed against the judgment and order dated  29th  October,
2007 passed by the High Court of  Karnataka  at  Bangalore  in  Writ  Appeal
No.850 of  2004,  whereby  the  High  Court  allowed  the  appeal  filed  by
Respondent No.3 herein. The High Court by the impugned  judgment  held  that
the orders passed by the Assistant  Commissioner  (Respondent  No.2  herein)
and confirmed by Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum (Respondent No.1 herein),  are
not legal and valid and set aside the order passed  by  the  learned  Single
Judge affirming the orders passed by the said respondents.
  The facts of the  case  are  as  follows:  The  appellant  Vidya  Prasarak
Samithi, Ramdurg, a Trust registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act  and
Basaveshwar  Vidya  Vardhak  Sangha  (“BVVS”  for  short),  respondent  No.3
herein,  are  running  educational  institutions  at  Ramdurg.  The  dispute
between them is in respect of the Government land, being CTS  No.1674/1,  in
respect of which there are rival claims by Vidya Prasarak Samithi  and  BVVS
for use as playground for students  of  their  respective  institutions.  As
there was no playground in the college run  by  the  appellant,  it  appears
from the facts that on an application made by the appellant,  the  Assistant
Commissioner, Belgaum, by his order dated 18th February, 1970,  granted  the
land in question in favour of  the appellant. This order was  challenged  by
Respondent  No.3  by  filing  an  appeal  before  the  Deputy  Commissioner,
Belgaum. The Deputy  Commissioner  confirmed  the  order  of  the  Assistant
Commissioner granting  land.  The  order  of  the  Deputy  Commissioner  was
further confirmed by the Divisional Commissioner.

Against the said order passed by the Assistant  Commissioner  granting  land
in favour of the appellant herein, an appeal was preferred  by  BVVS  before
the Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum.  The  Deputy  Commissioner  dismissed  the
said appeal. Further, an appeal was preferred by BVVS before the  Divisional
Commissioner, who allowed the  appeal,  cancelled  the  grant  of  land  and
further directed that both the institutions, instead of  litigating,  should
evolve an arrangement for the common use of the playground for  the  benefit
of their students.

Against the said order, Vidya Prasarak Samithi  filed  a  revision  petition
before the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal. The  said  Tribunal  dismissed  the
revision petition and confirmed the arrangement suggested by the  Divisional
Commissioner. Hence, Vidya Prasarak Samithi filed  a  writ  petition  before
the High Court,  being  Writ  Petition  No.3314  of  1979.   The  said  writ
petition was disposed of by the High Court by its  order  dated  20th  June,
1980 remanding the matter to the Assistant  Commissioner,  Belgaum,  with  a
direction to make an inquiry  as  to  whether  BVVS  has  since  acquired  a
separate plot for the purpose of playground and whether that land  would  be
sufficient as required by the institution and if the  points  are  found  in
the affirmative, then the Assistant Commissioner would be  well  advised  to
grant the land involved, being CTS No.1674/1, exclusively to Vidya  Prasarak
Samithi.  It is further held by the High Court that if  the  plot  purchased
by BVVS is not sufficient for  its  requirement  or  if  there  is  no  such
purchase, then the Assistant Commissioner should  work  out  a  satisfactory
arrangement to share CTS No.1674/1, for use  as  playground  on  alternative
dates by the said two institutions. The High Court  further  held  that  the
Assistant  Commissioner   should   also   hold   inquiry   after   affording
opportunities to the parties of being heard.



Pursuant to and in terms of the order  of  the  High  Court,  the  Assistant
Commissioner  conducted  an  inquiry  into  the  matter  and  after   giving
opportunities to the parties of being heard,  made the  following  findings:

BVVS acquired 4 acres of land in Ramdurg town  under  the  Land  Acquisition
Act and its possession was handed over to the BVVS on 19th  December,  1979.
The BVVS constructed a school building meant for  Girls  Junior  College  on
this land. The remaining  area  (120  Mtr.  x  40  Mtr.)  is  available  for
playground. It has been leveled and developed as playground. The  playground
developed by BVVS at its newly acquired land is sufficient for its  purpose.
 The plea taken by BVVS that it cannot be used  by  the  students  of  Girls
Junior College and Boys Junior College, cannot be accepted, while  both  the
colleges were run in the same building before acquisition of the said  land.
BVVS Ramdurg is not having any land for  its  playground  and  in  fact  the
college itself is being run in a rented building.

Considering the above facts, the Assistant Commissioner by its  order  dated
14th October, 1990 granted the land being CTS No.1674/1,  of  Ramdurg  Town,
exclusively in favour of Vidya Prasaraka Samithi,  Ramdurg.  An  appeal  was
preferred by Respondent  No.3  before  the  Deputy  Commissioner  which  was
dismissed. Respondent No.1 by order dated 22nd January, 1994  confirmed  the
order of the Assistant Commissioner dated 14th October, 1990.

Being aggrieved by the order passed  by  Respondent  No.1,  Respondent  No.3
filed a writ petition before the Karnataka  Appellate  Tribunal,  Bangalore.
The said Tribunal by its order  dated  31st  January,  1996  set  aside  the
orders passed by Respondent Nos.1 & 2  and  again  remanded  the  matter  to
Respondent No.2.  Respondent No.2 again conducted  fresh  inquiry  and  spot
inspection and further  confirmed  the  grant  of  land  in  favour  of  the
appellant by his order dated 25th  October,  1997.   BVVS  filed  an  appeal
before  Respondent  No.1  -  The  Deputy  Commissioner,  Belgaum   District.
Respondent No.1 by his order dated 23 January, 1999 confirmed the  order  of
Respondent No.2 and dismissed the appeal. BVVS (Respondent  No.3)  filed  an
appeal  being  Appeal  No.129  of  1999,  before  the  Karnataka   Appellate
Tribunal. The Appellate Tribunal by  its  order  dated  27th  August,  1999,
modified  the  orders  passed  by  the  Assistant  Commissioner  and  Deputy
Commissioner and ordered the  appellant  and  Respondent  No.3  to  use  the
playground bearing CTS No.1674/1 on alternative days.  Respondent  No.3  was
given a preference to make use of it on Sunday and alternative days and  the
appellant was to use it from Monday and alternative days.

In these  circumstances,  the  appellant  feeling  aggrieved  filed  a  writ
petition, being Writ Petition No.2325 of 2003,  before  the  High  Court  of
Karnataka. The learned Single Judge of the High Court  by  his  order  dated
24.11.2003 allowed the writ petition filed by the appellant  and  set  aside
the order passed by the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal  confirming  the  grant
of  land in favour of the appellant. The reasonings  given  by  the  learned
Single Judge of the High Court are:
(a) On remand the Assistant Commissioner duly  considered  the  case  afresh
and after inspection of the property in question, found  that  certain  land
measuring 120 Mtr. x 40  Mtr.,  which  is  vacant  land  belonging  to  BVVS
(respondent No.3), is sufficient for it to use it as playground.
(b) BVVS has not made any application for grant of land before  the  Revenue
Authorities and in the absence of any such application for grant,  BVVS  has
no right to challenge the order of grant.
(c) The said point was not considered by the Tribunal.


Furthermore, the learned Single Judge  of  the  High  Court  held  that  the
Government at the instance of respondent No.3 has acquired 4 acres  of  land
for the purpose of playground. Therefore, it  was  the  duty  of  Respondent
No.3 to reserve sufficient extent of land for use as playground and rest  of
the land would have been utilized for construction of the  school.   On  the
other hand, the appellant has no land of its own for use as  playground  and
BVVS did not ever question  the  said  plea  of  the  appellant.   In  these
circumstances, the learned Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court  allowed
the writ petition and quashed the order passed by  the  Karnataka  Appellate
Tribunal. It appears that the Division  Bench  of  the  High  Court  without
considering such facts and without taking into consideration the land  grant
rules, quashed the order of grant of land.

Being aggrieved, BVVS filed an appeal before the Division Bench of the  High
Court. The Division Bench noted that by a Government Order dated 23rd  July,
1966, the management of the Government School was transferred in  favour  of
BVVS with certain conditions. One of  the  important  conditions  enumerated
therein was that the ownership of the immovable property  in  question  will
vest with the Government. Subsequent thereto the Government  passed  another
order dated  26.1.1967,  wherein  it  was  stated  that  consequent  on  the
transfer of administration of the State High School, Ramdurg to the  control
and management  of  BVVS,  vide  Government  order  dated  23.7.1966,  on  a
permanent basis, the Government has carefully  considered  the  question  of
transfer of its properties after proper  valuation  and  directed  that  the
properties including buildings and playground, should be transferred to  the
management of the School at the prevailing market rate to be  fixed  by  the
competent valuer of the Public Works  Department.  Accordingly,  the  Public
Works Department fixed the market value  of  the  property  in  question  at
Rs.51,600/- vide valuation letter, which was duly paid by BVVS in favour  of
the Public Works Department by challan vide document produced at Annexure R-
3 in the office of Bagalkot Treasury on 8.11.1982 which was brought  to  the
notice of  the  Public  Works  Department.  Thereafter,  a  trust  deed  was
registered by BVVS (Respondent No.3) wherefrom it would be evident that  the
property in question though belonged to the Education Department, since  the
administration and management of  the  High  School  run  by  the  Education
Department was transferred to BVVS, its  property,  namely,  playground  was
also transferred in favour of BVVS for its market value. The Division  Bench
of the High Court further held that there is clinching documentary  evidence
in favour of BVVS to justify its  claim  of  ownership  in  respect  of  the
property in question and, therefore, the land in question was not  available
for grant as was observed by the learned Single Judge. It was  further  held
that the land could have been granted if the land was available in the  list
of available lands for  the  purpose  of  grant  in  favour  of  either  the
appellant or any eligible person for educational purposes.  The  High  Court
further held that the land was not available at the  time  of  granting  the
same in favour of the appellant Vidya Prasarak Samithi. The  Division  Bench
also held that the undisputed fact was that the said  playground  was  being
used by the Government High School and the said  property  was  one  of  its
properties, and the same had been  transferred  to  BVVS  after  fixing  the
market value by the Public Works Department and that  therefore,  Respondent
Nos.1 and 2 have committed  illegality  in  law  in  granting  the  land  in
question in favour of Vidya Prasarak Samithi, the appellant herein.

Accordingly, the High Court  held  that  the  order  passed  by  the  second
respondent and confirmed by the first respondent are not  legal  and  valid.
Hence, the said orders and the order of the  learned  Single  Judge  of  the
High Court were set aside by the Division Bench.


It appears to us, after hearing the parties  and  after  going  through  the
facts of this case, that the High Court correctly  came  to  the  conclusion
that the school was transferred in favour of the Respondent No.3 - BVVS  and
since the payment of the land in question has already  been  made  by  BVVS,
and once the ownership of the said land has  vested  in  it,  it  cannot  be
granted in favour of any other person or institution. Accordingly,  we  find
that the reasoning given by the High  Court  cannot  be  questioned  in  the
given facts. We accept the reasoning given by the High Court and uphold  the
order passed by the Division Bench of  the  High  Court  setting  aside  the
order passed by the learned Single Judge as also the orders  passed  by  the
second respondent and first respondent. Accordingly, this appeal  fails  and
is hereby dismissed.



………………………………….J
(Pinaki Chandra Ghose)




………………………………….J
(Amitava Roy)
      New Delhi;
December 9, 2016.

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