GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH Vs. J SRIDEVI
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: ANDHRA PRADESH)
GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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K. G. Balakrishnan, J. -
(1.)This appeal is preferred by the State of Andhra Pradesh challeging the Judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in Writ Appeal No. 968 of 1998. By the impugned Judgment of the Division Bench, the Judgment of the learned Single Judge in Writ Petition No. 5929/97 was confirmed. The Writ Petition was filed by the respondents praying that the lands owned by the respondents were outside the purview of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (hereinafter being referred as "UL (CandR) Act") and that the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (hereinafter being referred as "HUDA") be directed to sanction the lay-out and group housing scheme submitted by the respondents, without insisting for clearance certificate from the competent authority under the UL(CandR) Act. The Writ Petition was allowed and the State unsuccessfully challenged the judgment therein, in the Writ Appeal.
(2.)The respondents herein purchased an extent of 10 guntas of land each in Survey no. 79 of Madapur village by separate registered sale deeds in the year 1995. These lands originally belonged to one Agaiah Dhanger and his family who owned 96 acres of land in Survey No. 79 of Madapur village. The original land owner Agaiah Dhanger was served with a notice under Section 6(2) of the Act alleging that the land owned by him came within the purview of the UL(CandR) Act. He did not respond to the notice by filing a statement in Form-1, as contemplated under Section 6(1) of the UL(CandR) Act. It seems that the original landlord thereafter sold these properties to the respondents herein. The land was originally classified as agricultural land and the respondents after purchasing the property filed application for converting the same for residential purpose and the Government by G.O.Ms. No. 467 M.A. dated 3.9.1996 granted permission to convert the same for residential purposes by collecting the requisite fee towards development charges. The respondents thereafter filed application before the HUDA for sanction of lay-out. HUDA as well as the District Registrar insisted for clearance certificate from the Special Officer-cum-Competent Authority under the UL(CandR) Act, but the respondents alleged that individually they were owning 1000 square meters and even if it comes under the purview of the UL(CandR) Act, it is within the prescribed ceiling limit. The respondents approached the Special Officer-cum-Competent Authority, but no clearance certificate was issued by the Special Officer-cum-Competent Authority and thereafter they filed the Writ Petition.
(3.)The lands in Survey No. 79 including other Sy. Nos. covering an extent of 96 acres in Madapur village formed part of Moosapet Gram Panchayat. It is contended by the appellants that village Madapur formed part of Moosapet Gram Panchayat which is included in Col. 2 of Schedule-I of UL(CandR) Act, 1976 and according to Section 2(n) at Para (A) [I] of the UL(CandR) Act, it formed part of the Urban Agglomeration specified in Col.2 of Schedule-I of the UL(CandR) Act and the appellants contended that as the land was included within the Urban Agglomeration, any transaction without clearance as required under Section 5(3) read with Section 28(a) of the UL(CandR) Act was invalid. The respondents, on the other hand, contended before the learned Single Judge that at the time of purchase, the land in question was an agricultural land and on the date of purchase effected by the respondents, there was no legal restriction for the transfer of agricultural land situated in the peripheral area. According to the respondents, the land in question was neither an urban land nor a vacant land and the provisions of the UL(CandR) Act, 1976 do not apply. The contention of the respondents was that on the appointed day, i.e., 28.1.1976, the lands held by the vendors were agricultural lands and it was not covered by any master plan and the extension of the master plan by way of amendment to a particular area which was not included when the UL(CandR) Act came into force, cannot alter the original nature of the land. The contention of the respondents was that the master plan which was amended on 26-8-1995 had no application and the same cannot be used for the purpose for determining whether the land in question is coming within the purview of UL(CandR) Act or not. The respondents had also contended that pursuant to the request made by them after paying the requisite fee, the lands were converted into residential zone as per G.O.Ms. No. 467 dated 3-9-1996 and only on that date the land became urban land coming within the purview of the UL(CandR) Act and as these respondents were individually holding about 1000 square meters, it is within the ceiling limit prescribed under the Act.
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