Sanjay Kumar, J. -
(1.)The petitioner assails the inaction of the respondent authorities in refunding her the sum of Rs. 5,28,750/- along with costs of Rs.5,000/-, as directed by the erstwhile common High Court for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh, vide its order dated 07.04.2017 in W.P.No.1257 of 2010.
(2.)The petitioner was held to be a surplus land holder to the extent of 26,637.50 square metres under the provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (for brevity, 'the Act of 1976'), vide draft statement dated 07.09.1981 issued under Section 8(1) of the Act of 1976. The Special Officer and Competent Authority, Urban Land Ceiling, Hyderabad, passed order dated 23.09.1981 under Section 8(4) of the Act of 1976 confirming that the petitioner was a surplus land holder to that extent. While so, the petitioner made an application on 11.01.2010 under G.O.Ms.No.747, Revenue (UC.I) Department, dated 18.06.2008, to regularize her possession over the surplus land of 9,197 square metres. She deposited a sum of Rs.5,28,750/- for this purpose by way of a banker's cueque. She initially filed W.P.No.1257 of 2010 seeking a mandamus to the authorities to consider her regularization application dated 11.01.2010. Thereafter, she sought amendment of her prayer in the writ petition and sought a declaration to the effect that the proceedings under the Act of 1976 were illegal and to consequently direct the authorities to refund the sum of Rs.5,28,750/- paid by her. According to her, there were various irregularities in the proceedings initiated under the Act of 1976 which rendered them illegal. By the order dated 07.04.2017, a learned Judge of the common High Court accepted the plea of the petitioner and held that there was no service of the order under Section 8(4) or the final statement under Section 9 of the Act of 1976 upon the petitioner, as required by law, and therefore, the subsequent proceedings taken under Section 10 of the Act of 1976, including the alleged panchanama recording the taking over of possession, were null and void. The learned Judge also dealt with the issue as to whether the conduct of the petitioner in seeking regularization of her possession over the excess land under G.O.Ms.No.747 dated 18.06.2008 would estop her from contending that the proceedings under the Act of 1976 stood vitiated and held that once it was established that there was violation of the mandatory procedure prescribed in relation to Sections 8(4) and 9, the authorities could not raise the plea of estoppel and it would not operate. Taking note of the fact that the Act of 1976 stood repealed in the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh with effect from 27.03.2008, the learned Judge concluded that no opportunity could be given to the authorities to undo their earlier wrongs. The learned Judge accordingly allowed the writ petition with costs of Rs.5,000/- setting aside the proceedings initiated against the petitioner under the Act of 1976 and to refund the sum of Rs.5,28,750/- paid by her within four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the order. The petitioner presently complains of inaction on the part of the authorities in refunding the sum paid by her, along with the costs awarded by the learned Judge.
(3.)The Collector, Ranga Reddy District, filed a counter-affidavit. Therein, while adverting to the merits of the proceedings initiated under the Act of 1976, which do not fall for reconsideration in this writ petition, he stated that the authorities filed WA(SR) No.77254 of 2019 against the order dated 07.04.2017 passed in W.P.No.1257 of 2010 which was pending before a Division Bench of this Court. He further stated that there was a deficit of Rs.1,39,44,150/- for considering the petitioner's application for regularization and she was already informed of the same, requiring her to remit the balance amount for due consideration of her application. However, she failed to remit the said amount. According to the Collector, the petitioner and her husband already constructed permanent buildings over the surplus land and therefore, it was not possible to refund the sum of Rs.5,28,750/- deposited by her towards regularization of the surplus land unless the structures were dismantled and vacant possession was handed over to the Government. It is on this basis that the Collector sought for dismissal of the writ petition.