HC slaps Rs 25K cost on DDA for filing frivolous appeal

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has rapped the Delhi Development Authority, saying the civic body thinks that they are “law unto themselves” and slapped a cost of Rs 25,000 for filing a frivolous appeal.

The high court said it was high time that strict action is taken against certain officers of public bodies like DDA which are harassing common citizens.

Justice Valmiki J Mehta said these strong observations were made by the court as they were required in the facts of the case in which DDA has not complied with a July 2012 judicial order in which it was held that the decree holders were entitled to declare that the cancellation of a plot in Mangolpuri Industrial Area here was illegal.

The DDA has filed a second execution appeal against the high court’s January 2015 order by which DDA was directed to enforce the judgement and decree of July 2012 order.

The high court said DDA, which controls and owns huge tracts of land in Delhi, is sometimes infamous for its dealings with common citizens and especially poor persons who have no approach.

“This second appeal filed in execution proceedings is a classic reminder that certain officers in bodies like DDA have made it almost their determination to harass commons citizens of this country and may be even for certain unstated reasons,” the court said, adding, it was a completely frivolous appeal.

It directed that Rs 25,000 costs be deposited with the website www.bharatkeveer.gov.in and DDA shall recover it from the “salary of that highest placed employee” who has taken the decision to object to the grant of possession of the plot to the decree holders without payment of the ground rent.

The court asked the DDA vice chairman to set up an enquiry committee of three of its senior most officers to find out the employees who were responsible for frivolously objecting to the grant of possession of the plot.

The DDA will initiate departmental enquiries against the officers found culpable and strict action be taken against them in accordance with law, it said, adding that the enquiry committee be set up within three weeks and a report be filed before the court in three months.

The court said the decree holders, in favour of whom the 2012 order was passed, had to be given possession of the plot by DDA on a payment of Rs 2.83 lakh which was already received by it.

The DDA, however, did not give the plot’s possession saying that it would only hand over the property on a further payment of Rs 1.59 lakh as ground rent.

The court pulled up DDA for such a stand saying it was common sense that ground rent is paid for use, enjoyment and possession of the property and if the possession was never with the allottee, there does not arise any claim of ground rent from it.

“Obviously for extraordinary considerations officers of DDA are making the decree holders run from pillar to post to get the benefit of the judgement and decree of July 18, 2012, and which has become final,” it said.

The court expressed its angst with regard to DDA which think that they are the law unto themselves.

“It is high time that strict action is taken against certain officers of public bodies like DDA who are harassing common citizens of this country and that too in spite of DDA having against it a judgement and decree of July 18, 2012, which has become final,” it said.