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State of M.P. vs. Ghisilal - (Supreme Court) (22 Nov 2021)

Civil court cannot declare orders passed by the authorities under the ULC Act as illegal or non-est



In present matter, the trial Court by the judgment and decree decreed the suit on the ground that, possession has not been taken, before the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act, 1999 (Repeal Act) (ULC Act) has come into force. Trial court also granted consequential relief restraining the Appellant herein from interfering with the possession of the Respondent. As against the judgment and decree passed by the trial Court, the matter was carried by way of first appeal, by the Appellant and the Appellate Court has dismissed the appeal by the judgment. As against the same, the Appellant has carried the matter by way of Second Appeal before the High Court. The Second Appeal is also dismissed by the impugned judgment.

The aforesaid impugned judgment is questioned in present appeal mainly on the ground that after necessary notifications were issued under Section 10 of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (ULC Act), Appellant has taken possession and utilised the subject land for construction of houses for the poor by spending huge amounts. It is the case of the appellant that, the Respondent has not questioned the orders passed by the competent authority declaring the land as surplus land, it is not open to seek declaration by the Respondent - Plaintiff as prayed for. A specific ground was raised in the grounds of appeal that after taking possession, land was recorded in the name of the Government and the surplus land was allotted to Bhopal Development Authority for the benefit of slum dwellers and the said Authority has already constructed 100 houses on the land by spending about Rs.1.50 Crores by the time the appeal was preferred to this Court. It is also the case of the Appellant that, relief as sought in the suit is a belated attempt, such suit is not maintainable in law.

The ULC Act is a self-contained Code. Various provisions of the Act make it clear that, if any orders are passed by the competent authority, there is provision for appeal, revision before the designated appellate and revisional authorities. In view of such remedies available for aggrieved parties, the jurisdiction of the civil Courts to try suit relating to land which is subject-matter of ceiling proceedings, stands excluded by implication. Civil court cannot declare, orders passed by the authorities under the ULC Act, as illegal or non est. More so, when such orders have become final, no declaration could have been granted by the civil Court.

In present case, it is clear from the orders passed by the competent authorities, that the original declarant was holding excess land to the extent of 16000.32 square meters. When the orders passed by the competent authority and consequential notifications issued under Section 10(1) and 10(3) of the ULC Act have become final, it was not open for the Respondent to file a suit seeking declaration, as prayed for. Jurisdiction of the civil Courts is barred by necessary implication, trial court fell in error in entertaining the suit, as filed by the Respondent and even the first appellate court and second appellate court have not considered the various grounds raised by the Appellant in proper perspective.

It is trite principle that, where the suit is filed with particular pleadings and reliefs, it is to be considered with reference to pleadings on record and the reliefs claimed in the suit only. The impugned judgment and decree is set aside. Appeal is allowed.


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