Gwal Pahari  land row: Court slams Gurugram MC for misusing process of law
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Gwal Pahari land row: Court slams Gurugram MC for misusing process of law

The court said that the civic body officials exceeded their jurisdiction to decide the question of title of land and pronouncing it in its own favour.

chandigarh Updated: Apr 24, 2018 15:25 IST
Hitender Rao
Hitender Rao
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
MC teams recently demolished some structures while taking possession of disputed land at Gwal Pahari in Gurugram(HT File)

A Gurgaon recently came down heavily on the officials of municipal corporation (MC), Gurgaon, for misusing the process of law, exceeding their jurisdiction to decide the question of title of land and pronouncing the title in its favour.

The litigation pertained to deciding the question of title of 464.6 acres of Gwal Pahari between the private parties and the municipal body.

The chunk which remained mired in litigation for years triggered a storm in 2017 after an order of the then deputy commissioner, Gurgaon, declared that a mutation in favour of the municipal body was void ab initio (invalid from the beginning) in the eyes of the law.

The issue reverberated in the Haryana assembly, forcing a defensive chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to make a statement that a probe will be ordered into the matter. Khattar’s remarks on ordering a probe were surprising since it was on his instructions that the deputy commissioner adjudicated the matter in his revenue court.

Setting the contentious issue to rest, at least for now, the civil judge (senior division), Gurgaon, Prashant Rana on April 16 decided the question of title in favour of private parties.

“The plaintiffs are declared to be owners in possession over their respective suit lands…. The eviction notices issued by the municipal corporation to the plaintiffs, and the mutation ( numbers 96, 3110 and 3249) are hereby declared to be illegal, null and void ab-initio, and are hereby set aside,’’ the order said.

The court order virtually vindicated the stance of the then Gurgaon DC TL Satyaprakash, who was asked by the state government to adjudicate the validity of a mutation and he subsequently ordered that the mutation in favour of the municipal corporation was invalid in the eyes of the law. The DC however did not comment on the title of the land. His order was set aside by Gurgaon divisional commissioner D Suresh after accepting the MC’s appeal.

‘Show-cause notice by MC illegal and malafide’

The court also slammed the MC officials, making stinging remarks on their functioning. “The show cause notice is not only illegal but malafide and tainted as well. The notice was more in the nature of a decree of civil court, only which could have decided the question of title and the MC had no jurisdiction to pass such an order, deciding the question of title between the parties, when they themselves were a party. It is well settled law that “no man shall be judge in his own cause. The MC itself assumed the jurisdiction of a civil court and pronounced the judgment of deciding the title in its favour, without any notice to the hundreds of interested parties, and without any trial,’’ the court said.

‘Misuse of official machinery’

Quoting a Supreme Court ruling, the civil judge said Justice VR Krishna Iyer while coming across a case of misuse of official machinery and power had observed that every meritless petition for special leave commits a double sin and here we are scandalized that the sinner is the state itself. “When thousands of humble litigants are waiting in the queue hungry for justice and the docket-logged court is desperately wading through the rising floor, every lawless cause brought recklessly before it is a dubious gamble which blocks the better ones from getting speedy remedy…..,’’ the court said.

The Gurgaon court said the apex court observations were perfectly applicable to the facts of the present 118 cases, which were filed, apprehending illegal eviction of the plaintiffs, on account of notice issued by the municipal corporation. The present litigation is a result of such conniving persons and officials who misused the process of law. It is the duty of the all stakeholders in the democratic set up to ensure that such vexatious litigations must be nipped in the bud, the court said

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 19:38 IST