CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 6756 of 2003
PETITIONER: Daulat Singh Surana & Others
RESPONDENT: First Land Acquisition Collector & Others
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 13/11/2006
BENCH: JUSTICE ASHOK BHAN & JUSTICE DALVEER BHANDARI
Judgement can be seen in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/chejudis.asp
BELOW STATED DECISIONS ARE RELIED BY PARTIES FOR DIFFERENT CONTENTIONS AND PLACED BEFORE HON'BLE COURT
1. Sri Nripati Ghoshal v. Premavati Kapur & Ors. [(1996) 5 SCC 386 (para 4)]
2. First Land Acquisition Collector & Ors. v. Nirodhi Prakash Gangoli & Anr. [(2002) 4 SCC 160 (para 6)]
3. Raghunath & Ors. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors. [AIR 1988 SC 1615 (para 9)]
4. Hindustan Oil Mills Ltd. & Anr. v. Special Deputy Collector (Land Acquisition) [AIR 1990 SC 731 (paras 8 & 9)]
5. State of West Bengal v. Bireshwas Dutta Estate (P) Ltd. [(2000) 1 Calcutta Law Times 165(HC) (para 37)].
6. Sailendra Narayana Bhanja Deo v. State of Orissa [AIR 1956 SC 346 (para 8)
Public Purpose has been defined in the Land Acquisition Act as under:-
"(f) the expression "public purpose" includes
(i) the provision of village-sites, or the extension, planned development or improvement of existing village sites;
(ii) the provision of land for town or rural planning;
(iii) the provision of land for planned development of land from public funds in pursuance of any scheme or policy of Government and subsequent disposal thereof in whole or in part in lease, assignment or outright sale worth the object of securing further development as planned;
(iv) the provision of land for a corporation owned or controlled by the State;
(v) the provision of land for residential purposes to the poor or landless or to persons residing in areas affected by natural calamities, or to persons displaced to affected by reason of the implementation of any scheme undertaken by Government, any local authority or a corporation owned or controlled by the State;
(vi) the provision of land for carrying out any educational, housing, health or slum clearance scheme sponsored by Government, or by any authority established by Government for carrying out any such scheme, or, with the prior approval of the appropriate Government, by a local authority or a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860), or under any corresponding law for the time being in force in a State, or a co-operative society within the meaning of any law relating to co-operative societies for the time being in force in any State;
(vii) the provision of land for any other scheme of development sponsored by Government or, with the prior approval of the appropriate Government, by a local authority;
(viii) the provision of any premises or building for locating a public office;
but does not include acquisition of land for Companies."
Public purpose will include a purpose in which the general interest of community as opposed to the interest of an individual is directly or indirectly involved. Individual interest must give way to public interest as far as public purpose in respect of acquisition of land is concerned.
In the Constitution of India, some guidelines can be traced as far as public purpose is concerned in Article 37 of the Constitution. The provisions contained in this Part (Directive Principles of the State Policy) shall not be enforceable by any Court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country. It shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.
According to Article 39 of the Constitution, the State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good. The laws made for the purpose of securing the constitutional intention and spirits have to be for public purpose.
The term 'public purpose' has been defined in Black Law Dictionary (Fifth Edition) as under: "A public purpose or public business has for its objective the promotion of the public health, safety, morals, general welfare, security, prosperity and contentment of all the inhabitants or residents within a given political division, as, for example, a state, the sovereign powers of which are exercised to promote such public purpose or public business."
Public purpose is bound to vary with times and prevailing conditions in the community or locality and, therefore, the legislature has left it to the State (Government) to decide what is public purpose and also to declare the need of a given land for the purpose. The legislature has left the discretion to the Government regarding public purpose. The Government has the sole and absolute discretion in the matter.
In State of Bihar v. Kameshwar Singh reported in AIR 1952 SC 252 at page 259, a Constitution Bench of this Court considered the expression 'public purpose'. Mahajan, J. explained the expression 'public purpose' in the following manner:"The expression "public purpose" is not capable of a precise definition and has not a rigid meaning. It can only be defined by a process of judicial inclusion and exclusion. In other words, the definition of the expression is elastic and takes its colour from the statute in which it occurs, the concept varying with the time and state of society and its needs. The point to be determined in each case is whether the acquisition is in the general interest of the community as distinguished from the private interest of an individual."
In that case, S. R. Das, J. observed as under:"We must regard as public purpose all that will be calculated to promote the welfare of the people as envisaged in the Directive Principles of State policy whatever else that expression may mean."
Almost a century ago, in Hamabai v. Secretary of State reported in (1911) 13 Bom LR 1097, Batchelor, J. observed: "General definitions are, I think, rather to be avoided where the avoidance is possible, and I make no attempt to define precisely the extent of the phrase 'public purpose' in the lease; it is enough to say that, in my opinion, the phrase, whatever else it may mean, must include a purpose, that is, an object or aim, in which the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of individuals, is directly and vitally concerned" received the approval of the Privy Council".
The definition of public purpose has been relied in number of subsequent decisions including the Constitution Bench judgment of this Court.The concept of public purpose was dealt in great detail in a leading American case Munn v. Illinois reported in (1877) 94 US 113: 24 L. Ed 77 and in some other cases. The doctrine declared is that property becomes clothed with a public interest when used in a manner to make it of public consequence, and affect the community at large and from such clothing the right of the legislature is deduced to control the use of the property and to determine the compensation which the owner may receive for it. Field, J. observed as follows: "The declaration of the Constitution of 1870, that private buildings used for private purposes shall be deemed public institutions, does not make them so. The receipt and storage of grain in a building erected by private means for that purpose does not constitute the building a public warehouse. There is no magic in the language, though used in a constitutional convention, which can change a private business into a public one, or alter the character of the building in which the business is transacted."
In United Community Services v. Omaha Nat. Bank 77 N.W.2d 576, 585, 162 Neb. 786, the Court observed that a public purpose has for its objective the promotion of the public health, safety, morals, security, prosperity, contentment, and the general welfare of all the inhabitants.
In People ex rel. Adamowski v. Chicago R.R. Terminal Authority, 151 N.E.2d 311, 314, 14 III.2d 230 the Court observed that public purpose is not static concept, but is flexible, and is capable of expansion to meet conditions of complex society that were not within contemplation of framers of Constitution.
In Green v. Frazier, 176 N.W. 11, 17, 44 N.D. 395, the Court observed that a public purpose or public business has for its objective the promotion of the public health, safety, morals, general welfare, security, prosperity, and contentment of all the inhabitants or residents within a given political division, as, for example, a state, the sovereign powers of which are exercised to promote such public purpose or public business.In the words of Lord Atkinson in Central Control Board v. Cannon Brewery Co. Ltd. (1919) A.C. 744, the power to take compulsorily raises by implication a right to payment.
The power of compulsory acquisition is described by the term "eminent domain". This term seems to have been originated in 1525 by Hugo Grotius, who wrote of this power in his work "De Jure Belli et Pacis" as follows : "The property of subjects is under the eminent domain of the State, so that the State or he who acts for it may use and even alienate and destroy such property, not only in the case of extreme necessity, in which even private persons have a right over the property of others, but for ends of public utility, to which ends those who founded civil society must be supposed to have intended that private ends should give way. But it is to be added that when this is done the State is bound to make good the loss to those who lose their property." The Court observed that the requirement of public purpose is implicit in compulsory acquisition of property by the State or, what is called, the exercise of its power of 'Eminent Domain'.The Court further observed that the principle of compulsory acquisition of property, says Cooley (in Vol. II at p. 113, Constitutional Limitations) is founded on the superior claims of the whole community over an individual citizen but is applicable only in those cases where private property is wanted that public use, or demanded by the public welfare and that no instance is known in which it has been taken for the mere purpose of raising a revenue by sale or otherwise and the exercise of such a power is utterly destructive of individual right.
In The State of Bombay v. R.S. Nanji (1956) SCR 18, the Court observed that it is impossible to precisely define the expression 'public purpose'. In each case all the facts and circumstances will require to be closely examined in order to determine whether a public purpose has been established. Prima facie, the Government is the best judge as to whether public purpose is served by issuing a requisition order, but it is not the sole judge. The courts have the jurisdiction and it is their duty to determine the matter whenever a question is raised whether a requisition order is or is not for a public purpose. In the said case, the Court observed that the phrase 'public purpose' includes a purpose, that is, an object or aim, in which the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of individuals is directlyand vitally concerned. It is impossible to define precisely the expression 'public purpose'. In each case all the facts and circumstances will require to be closely examined to determine whether a public purpose has been established. In that case, the Court also referred to the following cases: The State of Bombay v. Bhanji Munji & Another (1955) 1 SCR 777 and The State of Bombay v. Ali Gulshan (1955) 2 SCR 867.
In Somawanti v. State of Punjab (1963) 2 SCR 774, the Court observed that public purpose must include an object in which the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of individuals, is directly and vitally concerned. Public purpose is bound to change with the times and the prevailing conditions in a given area and, therefore, it would not be a practical proposition even to attempt an extensive definition of it. It is because of this that the legislature has left it to the Government to say what is a public purpose and also to declare the need of a given land for a public purpose.
The Constitution Bench of this Court in Somawanti (supra) observed that whether in a
particular case the purpose for which land was needed was a public purpose or not was for the Government to be satisfied about and the declaration of the Government would be final subject to one exception, namely that where there was a colourable exercise of the power the declarations would be open to challenge at the instance of the aggrieved party.
In Babu Barkya Thakur v. The State of Bombay & Others (1961) 1 SCR 128, the Court observed as under: "It will thus be noticed that the expression 'public purpose' has been used in its generic sense of including any purpose in which even a fraction of the community may be interested or by which it may be benefited."
The Constitution Bench in Satya Narain Singh v. District Engineer, P.W.D., Ballia and Anr. reported in AIR 1962 SC 1161 while describing public service observed :-"It is undoubtedly not easy to define what is "public service" and each activity has to be considered by itself for deciding whether it is carried on as a public service or not. Certain activities will undoubtedly be regarded as public services, as for instance, those undertaken in the exercise of the sovereign power of the State or of governmental functions. About these there can be no doubt. Similarly a pure business undertaking though run by the Government cannot be classified as public service. But where a particular activity concerns a public utility a question may arise whether it falls in the first or the second category. The mere fact that that activity may be useful to the public would not necessarily render it public service. An activity however beneficial to the people and however useful cannot, in our opinion, be reasonably regarded as public service if it is of a type which may be carried on by private individuals and is carried on by government with a distinct profit motive. It may be that plying stage carriage buses even though for hire is an activity undertaken by the Government for ensuring the people a cheap, regular and reliable mode of transport and is in that sense beneficial to the public".
In Arnold Rodricks v. State of Maharashtra, reported in (1966) 3 SCR 885, while Justice Wanchoo and Justice Shah dissenting from judgment observed that there can be no doubt that the phrase 'public purpose' has not a static connotation, which is fixed for all times. There can also be no doubt that it is not possible to lay down a definition of what public purpose is, particularly as the concept of public purpose may change from time to time. There is no doubt however that public purpose involves in it an element of general interest of the community and whatever furthers the general interest must be regarded as a public purpose.
In Bhim Singhji v. Union of India (1981) 1 SCC 166, as per Sen, J., the concept of public purpose necessarily implies that it should be a law for the acquisition or requisition of property in the interest of the general public, and the purpose of such a law directly and vitally subserve public interest. Broadly speaking the expression 'public purpose' would however include a purpose in which the general interest of the community as opposed to the particular interest of the individuals is directly and virtually concerned.
In Laxman Rao Bapurao Jadhav v. State of Maharashtra reported in (1997) 3 SCC 493, this Court observed that "it is for the State Government to decide whether the land is needed or is likely to be needed for a public purpose and whether it is suitable or adaptable for the purpose for which the acquisition was sought to be made. The mere fact that the authorized officer was empowered to inspect and find out whether the land would be adaptable for the public purpose, it is needed or is likely to be needed, does not take away the power of the Government to take a decision ultimately".
In Scindia Employees' Union v. State of Maharashtra & Others reported in (1996) 10 SCC 150, this Court observed as under:"The very object of compulsory acquisition is in exercise of the power of eminent domain by the State against the wishes or willingness of the owner or person interested in the land. Therefore, so long as the public purpose subsists the exercise of the power of eminent domain cannot be questioned. Publication of declaration under Section 6 is conclusive evidence of public purpose. In view of the finding that it is a question of expansion of dockyard for defence purpose, it is a public purpose."
The right of eminent domain is the right of the State to reassert either temporarily or permanently its dominion over any piece of land on account of public exigency and for public good.
In the case of Coffee Board v. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes reported in (1988) 3 SCC 263, the Court observed that the eminent domain is an essential attribute of sovereignty of every State and authorities are universal in support of the definition of eminent domain as the power of the sovereign to take property for public use without the owner's consent upon making just compensation.
The power of eminent domain is not exercisable in Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence except on condition of payment of compensation. In V.G. Ramachandran's Law of Land Acquisition and Compensation (Eighth Edition) by G.C. Mathur, it is stated (at page 1)-"In United States, the power of eminent domain is founded both on the Federal (Fifth Amendment) and on the State Constitutions. The scope of the doctrine in America stands considerably circumscribed by the State Constitutions. Now, the Constitution limits the power to taking for a public purpose and prohibits the exercise of power of eminent domain without just compensation. The process of exercising the power of eminent domain now is commonly referred to as 'condemnation' or 'expropriation'."
A seven-Judge Bench of this Court in The State of Karnataka & Another v. Shri Ranganatha Reddy & Another reported in (1977) 4 SCC 471, explained the expression 'public purpose' in the following words: "6. It is indisputable and beyond the pale of any controversy now as held by this Court in several decisions including the decision in the case of His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalaveru v. State of Kerala  Supp. 1 S.C.R. 1 - popularly known as Fundamental Rights case - that any law providing for acquisition of property must be for a public purpose. Whether the law of acquisition is for public purpose or not is a justifiable issue. But the decision in that regard is not to be given by any detailed inquiry or investigation of facts. The intention of the legislature has to be gathered mainly from the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Act and its Preamble. The matter has to be examined with reference to the various provisions of the Act, its context and set up, the purpose of acquisition has to be culled out therefrom and then it has to be judged whether the acquisition is for a public purpose within the meaning of Article 31(2) and the law providing for such acquisition.
CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG
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ROAD EXTENT AND ENCROACHMENT – SC CASE LAW
More than a century ago in Attorney General v. Corporation of Sunder Land, 1875-76(2) Ch.D 634, the position of the municipal authorities with regard to public parks, gardens, squares and streets was put at par with a trustee, and it was held that the municipal authorities would be guilty of breach of trust in employing any part thereof for purposes other than those contemplated by the relevant statute
1. Supreme Court of India in K.R. Shenoy v Udipi Municipality, AIR 1974 SC 2177. In the above case, the Municipality of Udipi had granted permission for construction of Cinema Hall in a place which was reserved for residential purposes. This action of the Municipality was struck down by observing that the Municipal authorities are supposed to enforce a scheme and not to act in breach thereof. It would be apt to quote what was said by the Supreme Court :- "Where the Municipality acts in excess of the powers conferred by the Act or abuses those powers then in those cases it is not exercising its jurisdiction irregularly or wrongly but it is usurping powers which it does not possess. The right to build on his own land is a right incidental to the ownership of that land. Within the Municipality the exercise of that right has been regulated in the interest of the community residing within its limits of the Municipal Committee. If under pretence of any authority which the law does give to the Municipality it goes beyond the like of its authority and infringes or violates the rights of others, it becomes like all other of the Courts. If sanction is given to build by contravening a bye-law the jurisdiction of the Courts will be invoked on the ground that the approval by an authority of building plans which contravene the bye-laws made by that authority is illegal and inoperative."
2. The same concern was shown by the Supreme Court of India in Bangalore Medical Trust v. B.S. Muddappa, AIR 1991 SC 1902. In this case action of the local authority which was destructive of environment was set at naught.
3. The decisions given by the Supreme Court of India be also noticed. In Municipality v. Mahadeoji, AIR 1965 SC 1147 it observed that inference of dedication of a highway to the public may be drawn from a long user of the highway by the public. It was observed : "The width of the highway so dedicated depends upon the extent of the user. The side land are ordinarily included in the road for they are necessary for the proper maintenance of the road. In the case of a pathway used for a long time by the public, its topographical and permanent landmark and the manner and mode of its maintenance usually indicate the extent of the user." In Manglore Municipality v. Mahadeoji, AIR 1965 SC 1147, it was observed that :- "Inference of dedication of a highway to the public may be drawn from a long user of the highway by the public. The width of the highway so dedicated depends upon the extent of the user. The side lands are ordinarily included in the road for they are necessary for the proper maintenance of the road. In the case of a pathway used for a long time by the public, its topographical and permanent landmark and the manner and mode of its maintenance usually indicate the extent of the user."
4. State of U. P. v. Ata Mohd., AIR 1980 SC 1785, it was held that street would vest in the Corporation only qua the street and not as absolute property. What is vested in the Municipality is not general property or a species of property known to the common law but a special property created by a statute and vested in a corporate body for public purposes. Such vesting enables the Corporation to use the Street as a street and not for any other purpose. Not only pavements but verandahs in front of the shops are part of streets and public streets. State of U. P. v. Ata Mohd.. AIR 1980 SC 1785. The Supreme Court held if the municipality put the street to any other user than that for which, it was intended, the State as its owner, was entitled to intervene and maintain an action to get any person in illegal occupation evicted.
5. Supreme Court in the case of M/s Gobind Pershad v. New Delhi Municipal Committee, AIR 1993 SC 2313. In this case verandahs in Connaught Circus in New Delhi were held to be part of public streets. In para 12 of the judgment it was observed as under : "We see no ground to differ with the concurrent findings of the Court below and hold that the appellant has dedicated the Verandah in dispute to the public-use. It is being used for passing and repassing by the public at large and as such is a "street" in terms of section 3(13)(a) of the Act. The appellant has thus surrendered his rights in the property for the benefit of the public. The user of the property is and always shall be with the public. Any space, passage, verandah, alley, road or footway dedicated to public by the owner for passing and repassing, partakes the character of a "street" and no longer remains under the control of the owner has no right at all times to prevent the public from using the same. When the owner of the . property has, by his own violation permitted his property to be converted into a "street", then he has no right to claim any compensation when the same property is made "public street" under section 17(4) of the Act. The "streets" are meant for public use. It is necessary that the "streets" which are being used by the public are frequently repaired and are also saved from public abuse. It is common knowledge that in the absence of any regulatory control the hawkers and squatters are likely to occupy the "streets" thereby creating nuisance for the public. In a situation like this it is necessary for the committee to step in and exercise its powers under section 17(4) of the Act. The Committee exercises regulatory control and is responsible for the repair and upkeep of the "public streets". The verandah in dispute is a "street". It has been declared as a "public street" for the better enjoyment of the public right in the said street. We hold that when a "street" is declared as "public street" the owner of the property comprising the said "street", has no right to claim compensation."
6. In another case, the Zoning Authority had prevented the spread of a commercial venture as a hotel in and around a lake in the State of Tamilnadu. The local administration did not permit it. The Chief Minister interfered with the local self-government in the district. The Supreme Court was not appreciative of the fact that in such matters of discipline in urban construction and environment protection instructions should be given from the top which result in for violation of planned urban habitats. Pleasant Stay Hotel v. Pilani Conservation Council. 1995 (6) SCC 127.
7. In the case of Bombay Hawkers' Union v. Bombay Municipal Corporation. AIR 1985 SC 1206. the Supreme Court held that "No one has any right to do his or her trade or business so as to cause nuisance, annoyance or inconvenience to the other members of the public. Public Streets, by their very nomenclature and definition, are meant for the use of the general public. They are not laid to facilitate the carrying on of private trade or business. If hawkers were to be conceded the right claimed by them, they could hold the society to ransom by squatting on the centre of busy thoroughfares, thereby paralysing all civic life. Indeed, that is what some of them have done in some parts of the city. They have made it impossible for the pedestrians to walk on footpaths or even on the streets properly so-called".
8. In the case of Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, AIR 1986 SC 180, the Supreme Court held that a municipality is empowered to cause to be removed encroachments on footpaths or pavements over which the public have a right of passage or access. In this case the Supreme Court also observed that "...............In the first place, footpaths or pavements are public properties which are intended to serve the convenience of the general public. They are not laid for private use and indeed, their use for a private purpose frustrates the very object for which they are carved out from portions of public streets". The Supreme Court was also dismissing misplaced arguments resting on life and liberty by those who were claiming occupation of public streets. In this regard, the Supreme Court observed that ".....There is no substance in the argument advanced on behalf of the petitioners that the claim of the pavement dwellers to put up constructions on pavements and that of the pedestrians to make use of the pavements for passing and repassing, are competing claims and that, the former should be preferred to the latter".
9. In the case of Delhi Municipal Corporation v. Gumam Kaur, AIR 1989 SC 38, the Supreme Court reiterated the law that to remove an encroachment of a public road is the obligation of a municipality and that an injunction could not be granted to suffer an encroachment of a public place like a street which is meant for the use of the pedestrians.
10. In the case of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation v. D. Balwantsingh. JT 1992 (2) SC 363, the Supreme Court negatived the plea of an occupier of a public street when he obtained an injunction in a suit to prevent the removal of an encroachment. The Supreme Court reiterated its earlier decisions. Removal of encroachment was upheld ; so was the action of the municipal corporation to shift the hawkers to an alternate site.
11. In the case of Gobind Pershad Jagdish Pershad v. New Delhi Municipal Committee, AIR 1993 SC 2313, the Supreme, Court extended the public street into the verandhas in front of a shop which by long user had been used by the public as a passage. Thus, shopping arcades or verandhas adjoining public streets were given the declaration of a public street. Encroachment of such verandhas in front of public streets was held as illegal.
12. Case of Dr. G.N. Khajuria and Ors. Appellants v. Delhi Development Authority and Ors. AIR 1996 SC 253 In paragraph 10, Hon'ble Apex Court observes: --Before parting, we have an observation to make. The same is that a feeling is gathering ground that where unauthorised constructions are demolished on the force of the order of Courts, the illegality is not taken care of fully inasmuch as the Officers of the statutory body who had allowed the unauthorised construction to be made or make illegal allotments go scot free. This should not, however, have happened for two reasons. First, it is the illegal action/order of the Officer which lies at the root of the unlawful act of the concerned citizen, because of which the Officer is more to be blamed than the recipient of the illegal benefit. It is thus imperative, according to us, that while undoing the mischief which would require the demolition of the unauthorised construction, the delinquent Officer has also to be punished in accordance with law. This, however, seldom happens. Secondly, to take care of the injustice completely, the Officer who had misused his power has also to be properly punished. Otherwise, what happens is that the officer, who made the hay when the sun shined, retains the hay, which tempts other to do the same. This really gives fillip to the commission of tainted acts, whereas the aim should be opposite.
13. In Municipal Committee, Karnal, Appellant v. Nirmala Devi , Hon'ble Apex Court has considered encroachment on public street and has held that Municipal Committee had power to have said unauthorised encroachment and construction removed and to recover the costs thereof from such encroacher. Thereby, the Municipal Committee has necessary power to have the unauthorised construction removed and encroacher ejected. If the encroacher does not voluntarily remove the unauthorised construction, the Municipal Committee has power to have it removed by exercise of the power vested under Section 181(2) of the Act. Since the Committee has exercised the statutory power, the award of damages is clearly illegal, unwarranted and unsustainable.
14. In case of Cantorment Board, Jabalpur v. S.N. Awasthi reported at 1995 Supp (4) SCC 595, Hon'ble Apex Court has in paragraph 5 held that construction made in contravention of law cannot be a premium to extend equity so as to facilitate violation of mandatory requirements of law and High Court was not justified in extending equity on this ground.
15. In Debashis Roy v. Calcutta Municipal Corporation reported at 2005 (12) SCC 317, Hon'ble Apex Court has held that the issue about legality or otherwise of conversion of user of parking space in residential area for commercial purposes permitted by Municipal Corporation was not a dispute between private parties and essentially involved an element of public interest.
16. In M.I. Builders v. Radhey Shyam Sahu Hon'ble Apex Court 1996(6) SCC 464 has observed that any commercial activity in unauthorised constructions puts additional burden on locality and it is the primary concern of Court to eliminate the negative impact which it will have on environmental conditions in the area and the congestion that will aggravate on account of increased traffic and people visiting such complex. It is also observed that while directing demolition of unauthorised construction, the Court should also direct an inquiry as to how the unauthorised construction came about and to bring the offenders to book and it is not enough to order demolition only.
17. Observations of Hon'ble Apex Court in M.C. Mehtav. U.O.I. 2006(2) SCALE 364 Judgement dated 16-02-2006, reveal that user, commercial residential is very relevant and occupation load has large impact on various facilities including water, sanitation and drainage. Master plans are prepared to take care of future needs by experts after looking into various aspects like healthy living, environment, Lung space need, land use intensity, areas where residential houses are to be built and were commercial buildings are to be located, need of household industries etc.. Hon'ble Apex Court has also observed that though task of implementation may be difficult, the Court cannot remain the mute spectator when the violations also affect the environment and healthy living of law abiders. The enormity of the problem cannot be a deterrent factor in this respect. It is observed that various laws are enacted, master plans are prepare by expert planners, provision is made in the plans also to tackle the problem of existing unauthorised constructions and misusers and, still such illegal activities go on unabated openly under the gaze of everyone without having any respect and regard for law and other citizens. Hon'ble Court has also observed that laws are not enforced and the orders of the Court are not properly implemented resulting into total lawlessness. It has observed that therefore it is necessary to identify and take appropriate action against officers responsible for this state of affairs because such blatant misuse of properties at large-scale do not take place without connivance of concerned officers. Hon'ble Court therefore found it proper to constitute a Monitoring Committee and the issue of accountability of officers and also the exact manner of applicability of "Polluters Pay Principle" to owners and officers could be taken up after misuser is stopped at least on main roads in New Delhi. The Hon'ble Apex Court has thereafter in last paragraph issue directions about giving of individual notices for stopping of misuser, filing of affidavit to that effect by owners and sealing of premises in default.
18. Constitutional Bench judgment Sodhan Singh v. New Delhi Municipal Committee (AIR 1989 SC 1988) has laid down that “poverty cannot be the reason to permit encroachments on public lands/roads”. “Street trading-An age old vocation adopted by human beings to earn living--No justification to deny citizens right to earn livelihood using public streets for trade or business--Regulatory measures and reasonable restrictions can be imposed”. “A member of the public is entitled to legitimate user of the road other than actually passing or re-passing through it, provided that he does not create an unreasonable obstruction which may inconvenience other persons having similar right to pass and does not make excessive use of the road to the prejudice of the others. Liberty of an individual comes to an end where the liberty of another commences”. “ What will constitute public nuisance and what can be included in the legitimate user can be ascertained only by taking into account all the relevant circumstances including the size of the road, the amount of traffic and the nature of the additional use one wants to make of the public streets. This has to be judged objectively and here comes the role of public authorities”. “The right to carry on trade or business mentioned in Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, on street pavements, if properly regulated, cannot be denied on the ground that the streets are meant exclusively for passing or re-passing and for no other use. Proper regulation is, however, a necessary condition as otherwise the very object of laying out roads--to facilitate traffic--may be defeated. Allowing the right to trade without appropriate control is likely to lead to unhealthy competition and quarrel between traders and travelling public and sometimes amongst the traders themselves resulting in chaos. The right is subject to reasonable restrictions under clause (6) of Article 19”. “The proposition that all public streets and roads in India vest in the State but that the State holds them as trustee on behalf of the public and the members of the public are entitled as beneficiaries to use them as a matter of right, and that this right is limited only by the similar rights possessed by every other citizens to use the pathways and further that the State as trustee is entitled to impose all necessary limitations on the character and extent of the user, should be treated as of universal application. The provisions of the Municipal Acts should be construed in the light of the above proposition and they should receive a beneficent interpretation”. “The petitioners do have the fundamental right to carry on a trade or business of their choice, but not to do so on a particular place, as circumstances are likely to change from time to time. But that does not mean that the licence has to be granted on a daily basis; that arrangement cannot be convenient to anybody, except in special circumstances”. “Some of the hawkers in big cities are selling very costly luxury articles including sophisticated electronic goods, sometimes imported or smuggled. The authorities will be fully justified to deny to such hawkers any facility. They may frame rules in such manner that it may benefit only the poor hawkers incapable of investing a substantial amount for starting the business. Attempt should be made to make the scheme comprehensive, dealing with every relevant aspect, for example, the charges to be levied, the procedure for grant and revocation of the licences, etc”. “Street trading is an age-old vocation adopted by human beings to earn living. It is one of the traditionally recognised business or trade in England. This is so in spite of the fact that there is a complete social security in that country and as such no compulsion on the citizens to be driven to street trading out of poverty or unemployment. On the other hand, abysmal poverty in India warrants outright rejection of the argument that nobody has a right to engage himself in 'street trading”.
19. Hon'ble Apex Court in case of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation v. Nawab Khan Gulab Khan Judgement dated 11-10-1996.It is observed as follows: “It is apparent that plaintiff or applicant who wants his encroachments on Public Road to be protected by any interim order has to satisfy the court about existence of any legal right in his favour to maintain such encroachment during pendency of suit and for that purpose, he has to point out some title in him authorising him to occupy the portion of public Road or footpath etc.. In the absence of any such legal right, the encroacher cannot be permitted to obstruct the free flow of traffic or cause inconvenience to public at large. Mere long possession or user cannot be an answer to tilt the balance in his favour when in other pan of balance, the Court has to weigh interest of public at large. Even the threat of loosing source of livelihood cannot be, by itself a circumstance in favour of such applicant. He encroached upon public road or footpath knowing fully well that nobody can clothe him with authority to occupy and use it for his private gain. He cannot feign ignorance of provisions of Law and try to raise equity in his favour. Court of Law cannot permit such wrongdoer to continue to injure public at large during pendency of suit. Hence, his plaint itself must contain sufficient material and facts to satisfy the court that the convenience & interest of public at large must suffer because of legal right in his favour, which will be a very rare case”.”Encroachment of public property undoubtedly obstructs and upsets planned development, echology and sanitation. Public property needs to be preserved and protected. It is but the duty of the State and local bodies to ensure the same. This would answer the second question. As regards the fourth question, it is to reiterate that judicial review is the basic structure of the Constitution. Every citizen has a fundamental right to redress the perceived legal injury through judicial process. The encroachers are no exceptions to that Constitutional right to judicial redressal. The Constitutional Court, therefore, has a Constitutional duty as sentinel qui vive to enforce the right of a citizen when the he approaches the Court for perceived legal injury, provided he establishes that he has a right to remedy. When an encroacher approaches the Court, the Court is required to examine whether the encroacher had any right and to what extent he would be given protection and relief. In that behalf, it is the salutary duty of the State or the local bodies or any instrumentality to assist the Court by placing necessary factual position and legal setting for adjudication and for granting/refusing relief appropriate to the situation. Therefore, the mere fact that the encroachers have approached the Court would be no ground to dismiss their cases. The contention of the appellant-Corporation that the intervention of the Court would aid impetus to the encroachers to abuse the judicial process is untenable. As held earlier, if the appellant-Corporation or any local body or the State acts with vigilance and prevents encroachment immediately, the need to follow the procedure enshrined as a inbuilt fair procedure would be obviated. But if they allow the encroachers to remain in settled possession sufficiently for long time, which would be a fact to be established in an appropriate case, necessarily suitable procedure would be required to be adopted to meet the fact situation and that, therefore, it would be for the respondent concerned and also for the petitioner to establish the respective claims and it is for the Court to consider as to what would be the appropriate procedure required to be adopted in the given facts and circumstances”. “It is true that in all cases it may not be necessary, as a condition for ejectment of the encroacher, that he should be provided with an alternative accommodation at the expense of the State which if given due credence, is likely to result in abuse of the judicial process. But no absolute principle of universal application would be laid in this behalf. Each case is required to be examined on the given set of facts and appropriate to the facts of the case. Normally, the Court suitable to the facts of the case. Normally, the Court may not, as a rule, directs that the encroacher should be provided with an alternative accommodation before ejectment when they encroached public properties, but, as stated earlier, each case required examination and suitable direction appropriate to the facts requires modulation”.
20. Syed Muzaffar Ali v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi reported at 1995 Supp (4) SCC 426 shows that Hon Apex Court has observed that mere departure from the authorised plan or putting up the construction without sanction does not ipso facto and without more necessarily and inevitably justify demolition of structure. Some cases may be amenable to compounding while the other cases of grave & serious breaches of licensing provisions or building regulations may warrant demolition. Therefore the burden is entirely upon plaintiff or applicant to satisfy the court with material as mentioned above or other relevant material to show that his structure does not violate zoning regulations or development control rules or building bylaws. If after considering such material and after considering the provisions of relevant Law, the Court is satisfied that the unauthorised structure forming subject matter of suit before it can be compounded legally, it can proceed to grant temporary injunction.
21. Bombay High Court in case of Vinayak S Bhapat Vs SP Chandrapur (AIR 2005 Bom R 328) has quoted the Judgement of Shiv Kumar Chadha v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi reported at 1993(3) SCC 161 the Hon'ble Apex Court has considered the issue of grant of temporary injunction in detail from paragraph 30 onwards. The observations made also show that such plaintiff is interested only in getting an order of interim injunction and Hon'ble Apex Court has pointed out that normally such relief is not to be granted without issuing notice to the other side. Hon'ble Apex Court has observed that on many occasions even public interest suffers because of such interim orders. In view of these detail observations of Hon'ble Apex Court, it is not necessary for us to repeat the same again here. However, we have pointed out some of the circumstances which may be relevant for trial court to find out whether applicant has approached it with clean hands and whether there exists any prima facie case in his favour. The encroacher or person who has raised unauthorised structure wants to perpetuate his illegality or irregularity as long as possible and for that purpose wants to engage himself in long drawn legal battle. If in such situation any officer of sanctioning authority who has to defend the action of local body before Court is acting in collusion with such applicant, the local body may avoid to file reply or avoid to defend itself effectively and take adjournments. In that event, the proceedings in court can easily be delayed by applicant and he can continue to enjoy the shelter of interim order. The local body or executive can thereafter defend its inaction by pointing out such pendency in Court as is being done before us. The Court granting such temporary injunction therefore cannot forget its role as custodian and guardian of public interest and it has to safeguard such larger interest independently. Hence, if such temporary injunctions are granted, Court granting it must fix an outer limit beyond which it will not operate. Not only this, if it finds that local body/authority is not co-operating in the matter, it can record an order to that effect and impose heavy costs upon such local authority or officer prima facie found guilty in the matter. In appropriate cases, it can also direct that such costs should be recovered from the officer concerned personally and it can also proceed in contempt against such body or officer. Simultaneously it can also forward copy of its order to concerned Collector or R.D.M.A.for initiation of disciplinary proceedings against such person. If such order is received by Collector or R.D.M.A., the latter shall be under obligation to immediately proceed departmentally against the officer named in the order. The steps about asking the applicant/plaintiff to submit his actual plan for consideration of sanctioning authority as suggested above, in the meanwhile, will also subserve the ends of justice. The advocates appearing for contesting parties before such Court must also ensure that no blame for long pendency can be put upon Court and no adjournment should be asked on the ground of nonavailability of advocate by party in whose favour interim order is operating. No doubt, the subordinate Court has got discretion in the matter of grant of adjournment, however, it has to be conscious of abuse of its process by colluding parties or by influential party and take all precautions to curb or avoid it. The guiding factors mentioned above, if followed, will definitely help the subordinate Court in achieving this goal.
22. Those observations of Hon'ble Apex Court in Maharashtra Ekta Hawkers Union v. Municipal Corporation Greater Bombay (Judgement dated 12-02-2007) The restrictions/conditions on which the hawkers shall do the business are :
(1) an area of 1 mtr x 1 mtr on one side of the footpath wherever they exist or on an extreme side of the carriage way, in such a manner that the vehicular and pedestrian traffic is not obstructed and access to shops and residences is not blocked. We further clarify that even where hawking is permitted, it can only be on one side of the footpath or road and under no circumstances on both sides of the footpaths or roads. We however clarify that Aarey/Sarita stalls and sugar cane vendors would require and may be permitted an area of more than 1 Mt. by 1 Mt. but not more than 2 Mt. by 1 Mt;
(2) Hawkers must not put up stalls or place any tables, stand or such other thing or erect any type of structure. They should also not use handcarts. However they may protect their goods from the sun, rain or wind. Obviously this condition would not apply to Aarey/sarita stalls;
(3) There should be no hawking within 100 meters from any place of worship, holy shrine, educational institutions and hospitals or within 150 meters from any municipal or other markets or from any railway station. There should be no hawking on foot-bridges and over-bridges. Further certain areas may be required to be kept free of hawkers for security reasons. However outside places of worship hawkers can be permitted to sell items required by the devotees for offering to the deity or for placing in the place of worship e.g. flowers, sandalwood, candles, agarbattis, coconuts etc.;
(4) The hawkers must not create any noise or play any instrument or music for attracting the public or the customers;
(5) They can only sell cooked foods, cut fruits juices and the like. We are unable to accept submission that cooking should be permitted. We direct that no cooking of any nature whatsoever shall be permitted. Even where cooked food or cut fruits or the like are sold, the food must not be adulterated or unhygienic. All municipal licensing regulations and the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act must be complied with;
(6) Hawking must be only between 7.00 am and 10.00 pm;
(7) Hawking will be on the basis of payment of a prescribed fee to be fixed by BMC. However the payment of prescribed fee shall not be deemed to authorize the hawker to do his business beyond prescribed hours and would not confer on the hawker the right to do business at any particular place;
(8) The hawkers must extend full co-operation to the municipal conservancy staff for cleaning the streets and footpaths and also to the other municipal staff for carrying on any municipal work. They must also co-operate with the other Government and public agencies such as Best undertaking, Bombay Telephones, BSES Ltd. etc. if they require to lay any cable or any development work;
(9) No hawking would be permitted on any street which is less than 8 meters in width. Further the hawkers also have to comply with Development Control Rules thus there can be no hawking in a areas which are exclusively residential and where trading and commercial activity is prohibited. Thus hawking cannot be permitted on roads and pavements which do not have a shopping line;
(10) BMC shall grant licences which will have photos of the hawkers on them. The licence must be displayed, at all times, by the hawkers on their person by clipping it on to their shirt or coat;
(11) Not more than one member of a family must be given a licence to hawk. For this purpose BMC will have to computerize its records;
(12) Vending of costly items e.g. electrical appliances, video and audio tapes and cassettes, cameras, phones etc. are to be prohibited. In the event of any hawker found to be selling such items his licence must be cancelled forthwith.
(13) In areas other than the Non-Hawking Zones, licences must be granted to the hawkers to do their business on payment of the prescribed fee. The licences must be for a period of 1 year. That will be without prejudice to the right of the Committee to extend the limits of the Non-Hawking Zones in the interests of public health, sanitation, safety, public convenience and the like. Hawking licences should not be refused in the Hawking Zones except for good reasons. The discretion not to grant a hawking licence in the Hawking Zone should be exercised reasonably and in public interest.
(14) In future, before making any alteration in the scheme, the Commissioner should place the matter before the Committee who shall take a decision after considering views of all concerned including the hawkers, the Commissioner of Police and members of the public or an association representing the public.
(15) It is expected that citizens and shopkeepers shall participate in keeping non-hawking zones/areas free from hawkers. They shall do so by bringing to the notice of the concerned ward officer the presence of a hawker in a non hawking zone/area. The concerned ward officer shall take immediate steps to remove such a hawker. In case the ward officer takes no action a written complaint may be filed by the citizen/shopkeeper to the Committee. The Committee shall look into the complaint and if found correct the Committee will with the help of police remove the hawker. The officer in charge of the concerned police station is directed to give prompt and immediate assistance to the Committee. In the event of the Committee finding the complaint to be correct it shall so record. On the Committee so recording an adverse remark re failure to perform his duty will be entered in the confidential record of the concerned ward officer. If more than three such entries are found in the record of an officer it would be a ground for withholding promotion. If more than 6 such entries are found in the records of an officer it shall be a ground for termination of service. For the work of attending to such complaints BMC shall pay to the Chairman a fixed honorarium of Rupees 10,000/- p.m.
(16) The scheme framed by us will have a binding effect on all concerned. Thus apart from those to whom licenses will now be issued, no other person/body will have any right to squat or carry on any hawking or other business on the roads/streets. We direct the BMC shall bring this judgment to the notice of all Courts in which matters are now pending. We are quite sure that the concerned Court/s shall then suitably vacate/modify its injunction/stay order."