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A mistakenly proceeded process of application or grant cannot be countenanced in law as conferring any right in favour of applicant: High Court of Delhi

A mistakenly proceeded to process the application or grant by Department of Government/ Autonomous body, cannot result in any principle of estoppel operating against them nor can such an act be countenanced in law as conferring any right upon the applicant or otherwise be recognized as a circumstance operating in applicant’s favour. Even if the allotment is not an outcome of fraud but came to be mistakenly made in favour of the applicant, it cannot confer any positive rights on the petitioner. These were stated by High Court of Delhi consisting, Justice Yashwant Verma in the case of Suresh Kumar vs. Sports Authority of India & Anr. [W.P.(C) 10466/2019] on 11.01.2022.

The facts of the case are that the respondents cancelled the allotment of the General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) that was occupied by the petitioner. Consequential directions for his eviction were also framed. The respondents conveyed their decision to refuse the prayer for regularization as made by the petitioner. Undisputedly, the accommodation in question formed part of premises falling in the GPRA pool of the respondents. The petitioner was appointed as a Lifeguard with the Sports Authority of India. It is his case that pursuant to the application made by him, the Directorate of Estate allotted him the premises in question. It is also borne out from the record that the deductions towards rent and other statutory dues payable in respect of the premises were initially deducted from the salary of the petitioner by the respondent and duly transmitted. However, it is apparent from the record that the deductions after a particular period of time were not deposited after it was found that the original allotment that was made was actually invalid. The respondents are the employees of the SAI, which is an autonomous body and therefore, should not be eligible for allotment of premises forming part of the GPRA.

The learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the application for allotment was validly made and since it was duly scrutinized and accepted by the respondents, it cannot now be challenged by them or questioned in the present proceedings. He contended that once the respondent made the necessary deductions from the salary of the petitioner, no further penal action can be warranted since no wrongdoing could have possibly been fastened upon the petitioner here. It was further submitted that the respondents cannot attack their own orders which were passed in favour of the petitioner, collaterally in these proceedings.

The learned Counsel for the respondent submitted that since SAI is an autonomous body, its employees are ineligible to be granted or allotted accommodation under the GPRA but once SAI was apprised that the allotment was illegal and invalid, it stopped remitting the license fee which was deducted. According to the respondent, since application was uploaded from the official portal of that Ministry, it was in the aforesaid backdrop that the same came to be duly acknowledged and the allotment made. It was further submitted that upon verification of their GAMS records, it was revealed that the petitioner uploaded the application by misusing the admin ID of an officer posted in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. In view of the aforesaid facts, the respondents asserted that the allotment made in favour of the petitioner was rightly cancelled.

The High Court of Delhi held that employees of the SAI are not eligible for being allotted premises which form part of the GPRA. The allegation of the respondents that the portal of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was utilized for the purposes of uploading the application were also not been traversed nor established to be incorrect by the petitioner here. In the view of Court, the mere fact that the Department of Estates mistakenly proceeded to process the application and grant the allotment, cannot result in any principle of estoppel operating against the respondents nor can such an act be countenanced in law as conferring any right upon the petitioner or otherwise be recognized as a circumstance operating in his favour. Even if the allotment were not an outcome of fraud but came to be mistakenly made in favour of the petitioner, that in the considered view of this Court cannot confer any positive rights on the petitioner. Therefore, the Court found no merit in the challenge raised in the present writ petition, thus, the pending applications were dismissed.

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Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman.

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