Framing of regulations is not sine qua non for land being dealt with by the Corporation

[Case Brief] Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited cs Pitabasa Mishra & Others

Case Name Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited vs Pitabasa Mishra & Others 
Case Number Civil Appeal No. 2269 OF 2018
Court Supreme Court of India 
Bench Justice L. Nageswara Rao  and Justice SA Bobde 
Author of the judgment Justice L. Nageswara Rao 
Decided on  February 19, 2018
Relevant Act/Sections Section 33, 34 of Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Act, 1980 
Author of the case summary Manish Sharma

 

BRIEF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

M/s. Sai Sankar Associates (Respondent No.7), an unauthorised occupant in Commercial Estate was carrying on a small scale industry since 1996, for which he made representation seeking regularisation of the industrial plot. Due to failure of the Corporation i.e. Appellant, in embracing the same, a writ was filed in High Court of Orissa (hereinafter “HC”) seeking such direction to regularize the land in possession, the HC directed to the Appellant to consider the same.

In pursuance of the direction of the HC, the Board Meeting of Industrial Development Corporation Orissa (hereinafter ‘IDCO’) approved the proposal to regularize the land for Rs.7,89,350/- through agreement of lease for 99 years. The same approval was challenged in a Writ Petition by Respondent No 1 to 6 (herein) on the ground that the unit which is used by Respondent 7 is environmentally hazardous and not conducive to their business activity and thus, the regularization of plot by Appellant is impermissible. These Respondents were allottees of shops-cum-residences in Commercial Estate of the same place.

High Court set aside the order of Appellant i.e. the Corporation made in favour of Respondent by perusing the following contentions:

Contentions made by Respondent No. 1 to 6:-

  • Regularisation being impressible with policy being framed for it.
  • Public property could not be transferred without conducting public auction.
  • The allotment price was set to be Rs.7,89,350/- whereas the market rate was around Rs.2,00,00,000/-.
  • Because of above mentioned a notice under Section 33 and 34 of Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Act, 1980 (hereinafter “the Act”) must be made.

Averments made by Appellant:

  • The grants power to the Appellant to acquire property in public interest for development of industries, trade and commerce in the State. Besides, the price fixed for regularisation was in accordance with the prevalent policy decision of the Appellant.
  • There are other ways that are legally valid exclusive of the auction made.
  • Similar piece of land in the at the same location was auctioned at Rs.54,44,000/- per acre against the prevailing concessional industrial rate.
  • Notice under Section 33 and 34 can’t be made as Respondent No. 1 to 6 have themselves got the encroachments made by Appellant at concessional rate, they did not have locus to question the allotment made in favour of Respondent No. 7.

Aggrieved of the same the Corporation approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and contemplated the following:

Averments made by Appellant:

  • Placing reliance on Surinder Singh v. Central Government & Ors. (1986) 4 SCC 667,V. Balasubramaniam v. Tamil Nadu Housing Board, (1987) 4 SCC 738; Mysore State Road Transport Corporation v. Gopinath Gundachar (1968) 1 SCR 767, it was contended that absence of regulation does not prevent the Corporation to regularize the industrial plots.
  • Placing reliance on Natural Resources Allocation, In Re, Special Reference No. 1 of 2012 (2012) 10 SCC, it was contended that auction is not the only mode for transfer of public land.
  • HC Writ petition was not maintainable as no legal right of theirs was violated.

Averments made by Respondent No. 1 to 6:

  • The policy regularization of industrial plot framed in 2008 does not permits regularization of encroachments made by outsiders/trespassers.
  • Regularization took place after coming into effect of 2008 framed policy, Respondent No.7 should not have been given benefit.

ISSUES BEFORE COURT OF LAW

  • Whether Appellant-Corporation could acquire land and hold the same under Section 32 of Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Act, 1980 (hereinafter “the Act”) in absence of regulation governing the same?

RATIO OF THE COURT

  • The Hon’ble Court relying on para 6 of Surinder Singh v. Central Government & Ors. (1986) 4 SCC 667, held that framing of regulations cannot be a condition precedent for fixing a Grid Tariff and the same could be seen in Section 32(2) of the Act in which it was held that framing of regulations is not sine qua non for land being dealt with by the Corporation.
  • It was further mentioned from the above mentioned judgement that, if the legislative intent was that the power conferred on the authority under Section 8 could not be exercised, that intent could have been made clearer by using the expression ‘except in accordance with the rules framed’ a displaced person shall not be paid compensation by sale of pooled property.
  • On this basis the Hon’ble Court affirmed that the Appellant has the power to deal with the land, to develop and promote the object of the Act even in the absence of regulations.

DECISION HELD

  • The Hon’ble Court held that since Respondent No. 7 was seeking regularization since 1996 and the decision of regularisation was taken in pursuance of the direction of High Court, thus bar of 2008 policy is inapplicable, besides number of plots were regularized in favour of persons like that Respondent No. 7. Therefore it can’t be said that the same has been given undue benefit.
  • For the reasons mentioned above the judgement of High Court was set aside.

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