caselaws

Supreme Court of India
The Government Of Andhra Pradesh vs Grace Sathyavathy Shashikant on 1 October, 2019Author: Rohinton Fali Nariman

Bench: Rohinton Fali Nariman, K.M. Joseph, V. Ramasubramanian

‘REPORTABLE’

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

INHERENT/CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

MISCELLANEOUS APPLICATION NOS. 910-924 OF 2019
IN
REVIEW PETITION (CIVIL) NOS. 3793-3807 OF 2018
IN
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5442-5456 OF 2015

THE GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH & ORS. Petitioner(s)/
Appellant(s)

VERSUS

GRACE SATHYAVATHY SHASHIKANT & ORS. Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T

R. F. NARIMAN, J.

The matter before us has had a chequered history and

has careered through the Courts resulting ultimately in

Government filing a review petition against our judgment

dated 16.08.2017, which review was disposed of by judgment

dated 27.02.2019 seeking to locate where exactly Survey No.

129/45/D, Jubilee Hills, Sheikpet, Hyderabad, happens to

be.

The writ petitions were originally filed challenging
Signature Not Verified

the proceedings under Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation)
Digitally signed by R
NATARAJAN
Date: 2019.10.15
11:08:08 IST
Reason:

Act, 1976, and a proceeding by which certain land was handed

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M.A. Nos. 910-924/2019 in
R.P.(C) Nos. 3793-3807/2018 in C.A. Nos. 5442-5456 OF 2015

over to the Andhra Prabha Publications(newspaper

publication). These proceedings culminated in the judgment

of a learned Single Judge, who ultimately stated that the

Urban Land Ceiling proceedings have abated, and that it

would be necessary to get a Survey conducted by the

competent authority in order to determine whether the

allotment of land to the Andhra Prabha publications would be

set aside. It was held by the learned Single Judge that if,

after survey, it is clear that the extent of 8,000 square

meters that was alloted to the Andhra Prabha publications

was in fact Survey No. 129/45/D, the order allotting the

aforesaid land to Andhra Prabha publications would have to

be set aside. It was further ordered that if the

petitioners feel aggrieved by the said survey result, they

shall be free to file appropriate remedies available to them

in law.

The Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature,

Andra Pradesh, by a judgment dated 16.03.2011, set aside the

judgment of the learned Single Judge. The order of the

Division bench was, in turn, set aside by this Court on

16.08.2017, by which judgment it was stated that the

Division Bench erred in mixing up two sets of properties, as

a result of which, after setting aside the order of the

Division Bench, the direction contained in the order of the

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M.A. Nos. 910-924/2019 in
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learned Single Judge was restored. Proceedings then arose

in which our order dated 10.05.2018 reflects that Survey no.

129/45/D had to be demarcated. Despite an order of this

Court dated 21.03.2018, this had not taken place, as a

result of which the authorities were directed to submit on

affidavit a copy of the demarcated area on a plan made out

for that purpose.

The initial Survey that was then carried out stated

that no such land as is contained in the aforesaid Survey

number exists. When faced with this, the then learned

senior counsel appearing for the State requested that the

judgment itself be reviewed. A review petition was then

filed which was disposed of by a detailed judgment by this

Court dated 27.02.2019 in which this Court referred to

various documents and then stated:

“Given the High Court judgment and the
aforesaid documents, it is obviously not open to the
Government to state that no such plot, that is Survey
No. 129/45/D or 129/D-45, exists in Jubilee Hills,
Sheikpet, Hyderabad.
This being the case, we reject the Committee
Report that has since been filed dated 02.07.2018 and
set it aside as this Report is not in consonance with
the directions of the learned Single Judge which has
been upheld by us.
We, therefore, direct the Government to
demarcate the aforesaid plot being land on the ground
as it exists today. This will be done strictly in
accordance with the Single Judge’s directions by the
Collector within a period of eight weeks from today.
The Review Petitions stand disposed of
accordingly.
List after eight weeks for compliance.”

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M.A. Nos. 910-924/2019 in
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Pursuant to the aforesaid order, a Compliance Report

has been given to this Court with a map appended thereto.

Ultimately, the said land was located by the aforesaid

Report on the said map as follows:

“Findings: – It is observed that
1. A portion of land now demarcated in Plot No.
129/45/D to an extent of Ac.O-38½ gts where an
NOC was issued, corresponding to T.S. No. 20,
Block-K, Ward No. 12 of Shaikpet Village and the
remaining portion of land as per compromise deed
in S.A. No. 354/2 of 1954-55 admeasuring Ac. 2-
22½ gts is on northern side of the NOC issued
land forming part of 129/45/D corresponds to
TS.No. 19P, 18P, 17/2p, Block-K, Ward-12.
2. The Land allotted to Andhra Prabha is located in
TS.No. 19/p, Block-K, Ward No. 12 of Shaikpet
village is not falling in the land demarcated by
the Committee.
3. Accordingly, plot No. 129/45/D a map is prepared
showing the location of Plot No. 129/45/D
(triangle ABC) and land allotted to Andhra Prabha
(Rectangle PQRS).

Objections were then filed to the aforesaid Report by

the original petitioners in the civil appeals, to which

replies have been filed by the State of Telangana and by

Andhra Prabha Publications.

Having heard learned counsel for all the parties, it

is important to advert, first and foremost, to some of the

documents that were involved in the original civil appeals

before us. A sale deed dated 16.07.1962, which is of

pivotal importance in the facts of this case, had made it

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M.A. Nos. 910-924/2019 in
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clear that the property was in rectangular shape and was

bounded, among other things, by a public proposed road on

the north and vacant Government land on the south and the

west. If the map appended to the Compliance Report is to be

seen, the description of this property would accord with TS

No. 19/P which is marked by the letters ‘PQRS’ and which has

been alloted to Andhra Prabha publications.

In addition, if the Urban Land Ceiling Authority’s

order of 27.06.2000, declaring part of this land surplus, is

also to be seen, the aforesaid order makes it clear that

plot No. 129/45/D is contained in TS No. 19/2 and is

described as Surplus Vacant Land (it is not disputed that

the land which falls under TS No. 17/2 and which admeasures

2 acres 22½ gunthas is heavily built up with buildings

having been constructed in the 1980s). Also, the said Urban

Land Ceiling order has specifically held that the land on

which plot No. 129/45/D stood did not involve any Government

land, it being privately owned.

However, Shri K. Radhakrishanan, learned senior

counsel appearing on behalf of the Government, read to us in

extenso the reply affidavit filed on behalf of the State of

Telangana dated 03.09.2019 in which, after going into the

history of the Town Planning Survey of this area, it is

specifically stated that the land allotted to Andhra Prabha

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publications is classified as a Government land which is

vacant and different from the land in Survey No. 129/45/D.

We have seen from the description of this land in the sale

deed of 1962 as well as in the competent authority’s order

dated 27.06.2000 that this would be wholly incorrect

inasmuch as this land is clearly not a Government land.

It was also brought to our notice by Mr. Mahesh

Jethmalani, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of

Andhra Prabha publications, that averments were made by an

affidavit of 2006 by the appellants in the original case

stating that Survey No.129/45/D was distinct from Survey No.

403 and that being so distinct, they should not be allowed

to turn around and argue to the contrary. He also argued

that the aforesaid land really could not be stated to be in

existence, as was mentioned in the first Survey Report.

We are afraid that neither of these contentions is

open to the learned counsel in view of our judgment dated

27.02.2019 disposing of the review petition before us.

Ordinarily, we would have relegated the original

appellants before us to challenge the Report that has now

been filed in compliance with our Review Order. However, we

find a reluctance on the part of the authorities to part

with this land as it is extremely valuable. We have found

how, in the earlier round of proceedings, they have taken

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various conflicting stands as to whether the land was

originally evacuee property or otherwise. We also find that

in the first Survey that was done pursuant to the learned

Single Judge’s judgment, there was a great reluctance to

part with this land which is why the aforesaid Survey Report

wrongly stated that such land does not at all exist. It is

only at the repeated insistence of this Court that finally a

Survey Report has now located the land, but not where it

actually exists. The reason is not far to seek – because

if, as per the map appended to the present Report, the land

marked A, B, C was to be handed over to the appellants, it

would be land which is heavily built up and of no use,

whatsoever, to the appellants.

We are therefore of the view that, given the

extraordinary facts of this case, we do not wish to drive

the appellants to one more round of proceedings and,

therefore, in exercise of our powers under Article 142 of

the Constitution of India, reject the second Report that has

been given to us and declare that the land which is at

Survey No. 19/P and which is marked in the map of the second

Survey Report as ‘PQRS’ is the land that is actually Survey

No. 129/45/D. This being the case, it is clear that the

allotment made to Andhra Prabha publications must be set

aside, and the land be delivered by Andra Prabha

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Publications to the appellants within a period of eight

weeks from today.

The miscellaneous application is accordingly disposed

of.

All amounts that have been paid by Andhra Prabha

publications to the Government shall be refunded by the

Government to Andhra Prabha publications within a period of

twelve weeks from today, with Simple Interest at 6 per cent

per annum.

………………………………………………………………………., J.
[ ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN ]

………………………………………………………………………., J.
[ K.M. JOSEPH ]

………………………………………………………………………., J.
[ V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN ]

New Delhi;
October 01, 2019.

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