The Chhattisgarh High Court directed the government by issuing a notice for staying/stopping proceeding of allotment of government land to the Congress Party, for the purpose of construction of their offices in Dhamatri, Kurud District, Chhattisgarh, until the next hearing on 29th September 2020.
The division bench found a prima facie case and admitted it. The bench was headed by Chief Justice PR Ramchandra Menon and also comprised of Justice ParthPrateem Sahu. On admitting the case Justice Sahu said that “We are of the view that a prima facie case has been made by the petitioner. But we do not intend to express any opinion on this aspect, as the matter can be considered only after filing a reply by the state and other respondents”.
The case was filed by Bhanu Chandrakar and the petitioner through Advocate Sharad Mishra claimed before the court that the land in question was conserved for Cultural Center and other public purposes, and the execution of its lease violated various provisions of the Chhattisgarh Municipalities, Act and Rules.
The counsel for the petitioner said that property was allotted to the respondent concerned but now the property has been allotted in the name of Pramod Sahu, respondent no. 6 in this case, on a lease for a time period of 30 years. The council for the petitioner submitted that there is no prior sanction of the Government land has been obtained and this is the clear violation of Section 109 of the Municipalities Act, 1961.
The counsel also said that the respondent Pramod Sahu is already been allotted land for setting up of offices by virtue of the clear mandate under Rule 3B (ii) (b) & (c)of the Chhattisgarh Municipalities (Transfer of Movable properties) Rule, 1996 hence there should be no further allotment and the current land in question carries a “substantive value” and if it is allotted it should be allotted to deserving candidates/parties and at the same time it should be in conformity with the rules.
The learned counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on two precedents by the apex court. The first case was Bangalore Medical Trust v. B.S. Muddappa&Ors reported in AIR 1991 SC 1902 to contend in front of the bench that property allotted for a particular purpose cannot be diverted at all. The second case was Akhil Bhartiya Upbhokta Congress v. the State of M.P. &Ors reported in (2011) 5 SCC 29 where the apex court decided that “the government cannot be alienated or allotted in violation of relevant rules” said the council.
On the behalf of state Shri Chandresh Shrivastava, the learned Dy. Advocate General appeared in court and submitted that the petition is styled as “Public Interest Litigation” and is not maintainable as the petitioner is having a private interest in the land as he is the leader of a political party, The learned counsel pointed out that Rule 3B of the Act of 1996 enables allotment of government land to political parties and there is an alternative remedy for this under the statue which is not availed by the petitioner, due to which the writ is also not maintainable. The council also submitted that power is vested in the Municipality Council by the virtue of Section 409 of the Municipalities Act, 1961 and the power has been exercised accordingly.
The bench listened to both sides and said that “Meanwhile, no further proceedings shall be pursued by the respondents concerned to give effect to the proceedings under challenge, till the next date of hearing” and fixed the date of 29th September 2020 for the next hearing.