We leave it open to RCF to adopt such proceedings as it may thinks fit and if it wishes to do so, whether on title or by way of damages was upheld by the High Court Of Bombay through the learned bench led by G.S.Patel & Madhav J Jamdar, JJ in the case of RASHTRIYA CHEMICALS AND FERTILIZERS LTD. Vs CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SRA AND 14 ORS. (WRIT PETITION NO. 741 OF 2014) on 8th & 9th March 2022.
Brief facts of the case are that the dispute pertains to a fairly substantial tract of land, at village Wadhavali, Maravali, Chembur. By its order of 14th February 2020, the Supreme Court expedited the hearing of two Notices of Motion in the Writ Petition. One of those Motions was for interim relief. The other was to expedite the Writ Petition. This land is claimed by RCF as having been allotted to it. RCF claims an entitlement to all these lands and says specifically, to put it as compactly as possible, that these lands were acquired by the State for RCF or its predecessor-in-title, the Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (“FCI”) specifically for staff quarters and staff housing. It says that once these lands vested in and were transferred to RCF, a wholly-owned undertaking of the Central Government, there was no possibility at all of any of these lands being subjected to the discipline of Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance And Redevelopment) Act, 1971. Despite this position, RCF says slum housing societies — including those represented by Mr Godbole — were allowed to be constructed here, i.e., in situ on CTS No.200. In other words, this area was subject to first, a declaration of the area as a slum, followed by the sanction of a slum rehabilitation scheme with everything that this contemplates, including a table survey of slum structures.
The Petition opened with an assertion that FCI was split into several companies some time in 1978. One of these splinter companies was RCF. It said that the assets and undertakings of FCI in Maharashtra stood transferred to the RCF.
The submission by Mr Daver on behalf of RCF was that the land in question namely, CTS No. 200 belongs to RCF. This is the principal point of the argument and the Petition. All other arguments flow from this premise. But to reach the conclusion that RCF invites us to do, the starting premise must be shown to be undisputed.
There is further Affidavit of 12th July 2015 from page 182 filed by the Petitioner which says that the Government of India had considered the entire issue and, on 17th March 2015, advised that RCF should take possession of lands allotted to it by the Government of Maharashtra make its claim for ownership clear and demand possession.
The Court observed that “We leave it open to RCF to adopt such proceedings as it may thinks fit and if it wishes to do so, whether on title or by way of damages. We say nothing in that regard except that all contentions are kept open and any such proceedings will necessarily have to be decided on its own merits and unaffected and uninfluenced by the present order.”
Written by- Riya Singh, Legal Intern, Prime Legal