MUNICIPAL COUNCIL KHANDWA Vs. SANGIBAI
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
MUNICIPAL COUNCIL KHANDWA
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(1.) THE Municipal Council, Khandwa, has preferred this second appeal against the decree of Rs. 4,000 with costs and future interest passed by the lower appellate Court.
(2.) THE facts of the case in brief, are that the plaintiff (respondent) purchased on 17-1-1958 a house in Khandwa town from the Custodian, Evacuee property, for an alleged consideration of Rs. 8,500. Soon thereafter, the plaintiff applied on 24-2-1958 to the President, Municipal Council, Khandwa, for permission to repair as also for effecting some alterations in the house. That permission was refused by the President as per communication dated 9-4-1958 (Ex. P-7) on the ground that the Municipal Council was contemplating the acquisition of the house for widening the road. Till this date no action under the Land Acquisition Act was taken. On this, the plaintiff again sent an application dated 28-4-1958 (Ex. P-5) in which it was stated that it was very essential to effect repairs and if the same were not allowed, the house was likely to collapse in the rainy season and that if such permission was not granted within seven days, the Municipal Council would be held responsible for the consequent damages resulting from the collapse of the house. The plaintiff was thereupon informed by letter dated 21-5-1958 (Ex. P-6) that if the repairs of the Chhat were effected, there was no possibility of the house collapsing. The Municipal council was, however, not taking a ay responsibility presumably for the costs incurred in repairs-as the Municipal Council had decided to pull down the house for widening the road. After this, the plaintiff sent another letter dated 4-6-1958 (Ex. P-13) to the effect that the plaintiff was repairing the Chhat as per the direction of the Municipal Council; but if in spite of this, the house was damaged in any way, the Municipal Council would be held responsible. The Municipal Council was called upon to state if the compensation paid by the Municipal Council would also include the losses suffered by the plaintiff resulting from loss of rent because of the refusal to effect the repairs prayed for. On this, the President directed the Secretary to explain the situation to the plaintiff personally. It appears that the plaintiff's representative attended the office of the Municipal Council and that there were some negotiations also for purchasing the property privately, but without any result. Nothing happened thereafter for about a period of 21/2 years.
(3.) ON 22-9-1961, however, the Municipal Council issued a notice (Ex. D-6) to the plaintiff to the effect that the plaintiff's house, which was under land acquisition proceedings, had become unsafe for human residence and that the plaintiff should immediately demolish the dangerous portions thereof and if the plaintiff failed to do so, the Municipal Council would be required to demolish the same On this, a notice dated 24-10-1961, purporting to be one under section 48 of the C. P. and Berar Municipalities Act was sent by the plaintiff to the Municipal Council. In this notice it was stated that the house required major repairs, alterations and new constructions to suit the requirements of the plaintiff and her application for such a permission was rejected by the Municipal Council on the ground that the house was to be acquired. The Municipal Council, however, did not initiate the land acquisition proceedings; nor did it acquire the house by private negotiations. The act of the refusal of the Municipal Council to grant sanction and its failure to acquire the house immediately was with a view to see that the house collapsed for want of repairs and making it possible for the Municipal Council to acquire the same cheaply. It was stated that as a result of the negligence, misconduct and disregard of the duties by the authorities of the Municipal Council the house had suffered extensive damages and was likely to collapse any day. The damage already sustained was to the extent of Rs. 4,000. The Municipal Council was, therefore, called upon to pay the damages immediately and also to grant the necessary permission for effecting the repairs immediately. It was stated that for the necessary permission a fresh application was being filed. After this notice, a formal application for repairs and additional construction was filed on 2-11-1961 and a reminder was sent to the Municipal Council on 3-12-1961 that a suit for damages would be filed if permission was not granted immediately. It may be noted that in that reminder it was asserted that the house was not in such a dilapidated condition as would require demolition This was perhaps in reference to the notice given by the Municipal Council on 22-9-1961.;
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