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Thursday, May 18, 2017

the writ petition is now rendered infructuous in the light of certain subsequent events.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL No.6022 OF 2012



Hill View Colony & Ors.                  ….Appellant(s)

                                   VERSUS

State of Nagaland & Ors.            …Respondent(s)




                               J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1)    This appeal is filed  against  the  final  judgment  and  order  dated
05.08.2011 passed by the High Court of Gauhati, Kohima Bench in Writ  Appeal
(c) No. 23(K)  of  2010  whereby  the  Division  Bench  of  the  High  Court
dismissed the writ appeal filed by the appellants herein  and  affirmed  the
order dated 01.09.2010 of the Single Judge  in W.P.(c) No.117(K) of 2010.
2)    We need not burden the order  by  setting  out  the  facts  in  detail
except to the extent necessary to appreciate the short controversy  involved
in the appeal.

3)    Respondent No.2 herein (Industrial Village Razhuphe, Dimapur) filed  a
writ petition against respondent Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5 in  the  High  Court  of
Gauhati (Kohima Bench) and sought the following reliefs therein:
“(a) directing the Dimapur Municipal  Council,  Dimapur,  to  cancel  and/or
reject the census record collected by its staff from the Industrial  Village
Razhuphe, Dimapur and

(b)  direct the respondents, in  particular  the  respondent  No.3,  not  to
accept the census record submitted by the Dimapur Municipal Council,  in  so
far as it relates  to  the  census  record  collected  from  the  industrial
village Razhuphe.”

4)    The respondents to the writ petition  (State  of  Nagaland  and  other
agencies of the State) filed their  counter  affidavits  and  contested  the
writ petition on various grounds.
5)     The  learned  Single  Judge  of  the  High  Court,   by  order  dated
01.09.2010,  in substance allowed the writ petition and  issued  a  writ  of
certiorari and mandamus against the  State  and  its  agencies  (respondents
therein) in relation to  the  subject  matter  of  the  writ  petition.  The
eventual direction issued by the writ Court reads as under:
“In the facts situation, the  Extra  Assistant  Commissioner  (Gen.)  Charge
Officer of the Census, respondent No.3 herein  is  directed  to  cancel  the
Census records collected by the staff of the DMC,  Dimapur  with  a  further
direction to conduct Census  in  the  Petitioner  village  through  official
enumerators appointed by him.

      With the above directions, Writ Petition stands disposed of.”

6)    Appellant Nos. 1 to 4  herein,  who  were  not  parties  to  the  writ
petition and they having come to know of the aforesaid  order  of  the  writ
Court, felt aggrieved of the eventual writs issued by the writ Court  sought
leave to file appeal before the Division Bench and challenged  the  legality
and the correctness of the order of the writ Court. The  leave  was  granted
and accordingly the appellants filed writ appeal.

7)    The Division Bench,  by  impugned  order,  dismissed  the  appeal  and
affirmed the order of the learned Single Judge  giving  rise  to  filing  of
this appeal by way of special leave by the appellants before this Court.

8)    Heard Dr. Rajeev Dhavan, learned senior  counsel  for  the  appellants
and Ms. Vibha Datta Makhija  and  Mr.  Vikramjit  Banerjee,  learned  senior
counsel for the respondents.

9)    Having heard learned senior counsel for  the  parties  at  length  and
having perused the record of the case as also the written submissions  filed
by the learned counsel as directed, we are inclined to allow the  appeal  in
part and while setting aside of the impugned order  as  also  of  the  order
passed by the learned Single Judge restore the writ petition, out  of  which
this appeal arises, to its file and request the writ  Court  to  decide  the
writ petition afresh on merits in accordance with law.

10)   In substance, the issue involved in the writ petition and  carried  to
this Court in the appeal arises out of Census  Act  as  also  certain  State
laws applicable to the State of Nagaland.  The challenge inter alia  therein
is to orders issued by the State Authorities in relation to census.

11)   In our considered opinion, the need to remand the  case  to  the  writ
Court has occasioned due to the following reasons as detailed herein:

12)    First, since the appellants herein were not parties to  the  original
writ petition but became parties in appeal for  the  first  time,  the  writ
Court decided the writ petition without taking into consideration the  stand
of the appellants.

13)    Second, once the Appellate Court granted leave to the  appellants  to
file appeal thereby recognizing their locus in the  subject  matter  of  the
writ petition then, in our view, instead  of  deciding  the  issues  in  its
appellate jurisdiction, the Appellate Court should have  remanded  the  case
to the writ Court for deciding the writ petition afresh  after  granting  an
opportunity to the appellants to file their counter affidavits in answer  to
the writ petition. It was, however, not done.

14)   Third, having regard to the nature  of  the  controversy  and  various
issues raised therein by all the parties concerned and also keeping in  view
the subsequent events which have come into existence during the pendency  of
this appeal, we are of the opinion that it would be in the interest  of  all
the parties concerned that the writ Court (Single Judge) should  decide  the
writ petition afresh.
15)   We, accordingly,  grant  liberty  to  the  appellants  to  file  their
counter affidavits in response to the writ petition as respondent  Nos.5  to
9 to the writ petition. The writ petitioner and  other  original  respondent
Nos.1-4 (State and its agencies) are also granted  liberty  to  amend  their
pleadings and  raise  all  objections  both  on  facts  and  law  by  filing
additional counter affidavit/rejoinders etc.

16)   We, however, make it clear that we have refrained from  recording  any
finding on all the issues  argued  by  the  parties  before  this  Court  in
support of their respective stand which, inter alia, included that the  writ
petition is now rendered infructuous in  the  light  of  certain  subsequent
events.  It is now for the writ Court to decide all such issues.   The  writ
Court would, therefore, decide the writ petition uninfluenced by any of  our
observations.  We request the learned Single Judge (writ  Court)  to  decide
the writ petition expeditiously.
17)   In view of foregoing discussion and  the  directions,  the  appeal  is
allowed in part.  Impugned judgment is set aside.


                                      ……..................................J.
                                  [R.K. AGRAWAL]

                                      ……..................................J.
                                      [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
      New Delhi;
April  21, 2017
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