Supreme Court of India
Hill View Colony & Ors vs State Of Nagaland & Ors on 21 April, 2017Author: A M Sapre

Bench: R.K. Agrawal, Abhay Manohar Sapre




CIVIL APPEAL No.6022 OF 2012

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


State of Nagaland & Ors. …Respondent(s)

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.


New Delhi;
April 21, 2017


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