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Proceedings initiated by a father in connection with the claim of title to a property that is resolved by a court will also bind the son: Karnataka High Court

Proceedings initiated by a father in connection with the claim of title to a property that is resolved by a court will also bind the son and according to the principle of res-judicata, he cannot agitate for the same cause again. This decision is upheld by the High Court of Karnataka through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ALOK ARADHE & HONOURABLE MS. JUSTICE J.M. KHAZI in the case of THE BANGALORE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND ANR. VERSUS THE PRINCIPAL SECRETARY AND ORS., W.A. NO.4121 OF 2017 (LA-BDA).

FACTS OF THE CASE- The original respondent (Narayana Reddy) is reported to be the proprietor of a 3 acre and 23 gunta agricultural land bearing Sy.No.345 in Banaswadi Village, K.R.Puram Hobli, Bangalore East Taluk. The aforementioned land as well as some other land, was necessary for the development of HRBR Layout, which runs between Banaswadi Road and Hennur Road. A preliminary notification was made on March 21, 1977. On the 14th of May, 1980, a final notification was sent. D.Venkataswamy Reddy, the father of the original petitioner, had filed a writ case to give effect to the resolution for de-notification of the land. By ruling dated 14.09.1988, a bench of this court dismissed the stated writ petition, as well as other related writ petitions. The petitioner’s representation about whether he was entitled to more compensation under the Land Acquisition Act was to be considered by the BDA, according to the court. The legitimacy of the notifications dated 21.03.1977 and 14.05.1980 were challenged in 1986 by the father of the original petitioner. By order dated 06.08.1986, the aforementioned writ petition was dismissed by the learned Single Judge of this court. Following that, in 2014, the original petitioner–Late Narayan Reddy–filed a new writ case challenging the preliminary and final notifications dated 21.03.1977 and 14.05.1980. He admittedly did not disclose in the aforementioned writ petition that his father had previously filed writ petitions on the identical cause of action. The appellants also failed to bring to the attention of the learned Single Judge the fact that the father of the original writ petitioner had already filed two writ petitions. Following that, the sole judge, in a decision dated February 26, 2016, held, among other things, that neither the award nor possession had been taken. The programme was also found to have lapsed since it was not substantially implemented as required under Section 27 of the Act within five years of the final notification date. It was also decided that the argument that the initial petitioner’s writ petition was delayed and lax is unsustainable because the scheme has expired. The contested notices, dated 21.03.1977 and 14.05.1980, were quashed and the writ petition was allowed.

The counsel for petitioner, Gurudas S Kannur contended that the initial petitioner was guilty of concealing of facts, and the writ petition filed by the original petitioner suffered from delay and laches. He further said that the original petitioner’s writ petition was prohibited by res-judicata since the legitimacy of the impugned notifications was upheld in the writ petition brought by the petitioner’s father. Furthermore, the initial petitioner cannot claim any benefit based on the concept of negative equality, and the original petitioner has no legal entitlement, even if it may not have preferred an appeal in some circumstances where adverse rulings were issued against the appellants.

The counsel for respondents K Suresh Desai, argued that earlier writ petitions filed by the father of the original petitioner did not pertain to Sy.No.345.  The counsel for respondents also stated that neither an award nor ownership of the land in question has been seized by the authority. It was further stated by him that the order in W.P.No.9761/2015, which was issued in the instance of a similarly situated land, had not been contested. Interference is not required under the learned Single Judge’s order. Landowners are entitled to appropriate and equitable recompense in any case.

JUDGEMENT- The court observed that preliminary notification was issued on March 21, 1977, and the final notification was given on May 14, 1980.  The writ petition was submitted after a 34-year delay from the date of the final notification, for which no justification has been provided. It was also observed by the court that in  the instant case, the original petitioner has offered no rationale for bringing a writ petition after an undue delay of 34 years. The Single Judge, on the other hand, has ruled that the delay is irrelevant because the scheme in question has already expired. Thus, the aforementioned finding cannot be upheld, and so the learned Single Judge’s order cannot be upheld on this basis alone. The initial petitioner’s writ petition was found to have been submitted with excessive delay and laches.

The court also stated that the petitioner has committed substantial fact suppression and has not come the court with clean hands. As a result, the original petitioner’s discretionary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, which is equitable and unusual, cannot be exercised in his favour. The court did, however, order the appellants to assess the compensation payable to respondents 1(a) to 1(d) within six weeks and to pay the maximum amount of compensation allowed by law.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY- ATIVA GOSWAMI

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