The Delhi High Court directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to restore allotment of a plot of land to an army officer who paid the entire amount, but never got possession as a result of DDA’s failure to communicate the High Court status quo order on the property [Col AK Arora v Delhi Development Authority].
Justice Sachin Datta held that the DDA could not be permitted to take advantage of its own lapse in not informing the petitioner of the interim order passed in November 2019.
“It would be wholly unreasonable and arbitrary for the DDA to insist that an auction purchaser must make 100% payment even when the DDA was in no position to issue the possession letter in favour of the said auction purchaser,” the court said.
Justice Datta was dealing with a petition claiming that the authority conducted an auction in April 2019 for allotment of a residential plot in Rohini.
The petitioner’s bid of over ₹2 crore was accepted by the DDA and a letter of intent was issued. Some payments were made by the petitioner and a demand letter was issued to the petitioner for payment of the remaining balance within a period of 90 days.
In November 2019 a bench of the Delhi High Court directed the DDA to maintain status quo in relation to some plots of land in the area including the property in which the petitioner had invested.
However, as the petitioner was unaware of the said order, he sent a letter to the DDA seeking extension of time to pay the amount. The authority did not inform the petitioner of the order and instead approved the extension of time calling upon him to pay interest on the said amount at the rate of 10 per cent per annum.
The petitioner completed the final payment by March 2020 and it was at this time that the DDA informed him of the court’s order.
The DDA passed an order in June 2021, denying the petitioner any lien on the subject plot, since it had already been withdrawn from the e-auction. It also refused to allocate an alternative plot of the same area to the petitioner.
After considering the facts of the case, Justice Datta observed that clearly, in view of the interim order of the High Court, the DDA was in no position to issue the possession letter. Yet, it proceeded to accept 75 per cent payment from the petitioner and even charged interest for the delay.
The judge said that once the High Court had passed the status quo order, it was incumbent on the part of the DDA to not only inform the petitioner of it, but also to ensure that the due date of payment was in sync with the obligations of the authority under the auction conditions.
“In the light of the above, the impugned communication/ order dated 8.6.2021 is set aside; DDA is directed to restore the allotment of the subject plot… and to complete the allotment process thereof,” the court ordered.
Advocates Sonia A Menon, Nishchint Rawat and Ankit Kumar appeared for the petitioner.
DDA was represented through Senior Advocate Sudhir Nandrajog and authority’s standing counsel Prabhsahay Kaur.