Terming as "inconceivable", the Delhi High Court has come down heavily on DDA for not refunding the booking amount of Rs 50,000 for five years to a flat aspirant who was "erroneously" declared successful in the draw of lots in 2004.
"Inaction by a statutory authority (DDA) specifically in a case of this nature is inconceivable. The mistake with regard to allotment (of flats) may be a genuine one but definitely non-refund of the amount cannot be regarded as a sanguine act.
"There is total indifference. The letters were not replied to. It is absolute impassivity and reflection of an attitude of non-concern by the authorities who are required to act in quite promptitude being argus-eyed (vigilant)," chief justice Dipak Misra said in his judgement.
The court asked DDA to pay Rs 1.5 lakh, including Rs 1 lakh as compensation, within four weeks to the widow of Narain Das Arora who had filed a petition against the land developing agency.
Arora had in 2004 applied to DDA for a two-bedroom flat and deposited a demand draft of Rs 50,000 as the booking amount.
In the draw of lots, published in a newspaper, Arora found himself as as successful applicant in the list.
Later, DDA clarifed by saying that "at the stage of scrutiny of the application forms, it was noticed that the two forms were received by the bank, one form bearing No. 096652 that was received from the said late Narain Das Arora and another application form from one Amar Deep Singh. While accepting the forms, the bank allotted identical number to both the forms."
Besides the form numbers, seven digit random numbers were also given to the forms, which were considered in the computerised draw, DDA said, adding that infact Amar Deep Singh was the real winner.
The High Court, however, allowed the plea of DDA but took strong note of non-payment of the booking amount to Arora who died during the protracted court battle.
"The alertness or vigil is entirely absent. It would come within the realm of total inaction whereas statutory authorities are required to act with sensitivity and not deal with the citizens who are aspirant to get some accommodation may be with the process of lottery and retain their registration amount for such a long period," the court said.
Upholding the single judge order, the bench, also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, said the widow of Arora be compensated for the the inconvenience caused by DDA which had withheld the booking ampunt for five years.