Decided on June 02,1983



H.L.Anand, J. - (1.)Are the prosecutions, instituted by the Delhi Development Authority, against owners and occupiers of two premises, forming subject-matter of this batch of petitions, under Article 227 of the Constitution and Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, for offences under Section 29(2) read with Section 14 of the Delhi Development Act, 1957, on allegations of misuse of residential premises for a commercial purpose, contrary to the Master Plan for Delhi, liable to be quashed on any ground.
(2.)The principal ground of challenge to the validity of the prosecutions in the petitions was based on implied compounding of the offences and/or estoppel arising out of the policy announced by the Authority in a public advertisement, incorporating a representation that the .non-conforming use could continue until the allotment of alternative accommodation, provided the non-conforming users deposited a specified amount by way of premium within a specified time and agreed to other terms and conditions of the policy. I have voided two prosecutions on this count (M/s. Sawhney Bros etc. v. D.D.A., XXIV (1983) Delhi Law Times 112. It, however, appears that although the occupiers of the two premises in question did make the necessary deposits of the premiums and would have been entitled to protection but for the fact that the alternative accommodations offered to the occupiers were turned down by them on the ground of inadequacy. That being so, the protection arising out of implied compounding and/or estoppel would, therefore, not be available to the petitioners and the petitioners, therefore, did not seriously canvass this ground.
(3.)The petitioners, however, sought to assail the prosecutions on a number of other counts, specifically raised in the petitions, undeterred by the unfavourable circumstance that, by and large, these grounds had already been turned down expressly or by necessary implication, cither by a larger Bench of this Court or by the Supreme Court, cither on the merits or on the ground that such a challenge to the prosecution could be more appropriately mounted at the trial, since it involved interpretation of the Master Plan or the Zonal Development Plan, other questions of fact with regard to the location of plots, and the appreciation of other material. Counsel, however, sought to introduce a measure of refinement in the various contentions with a view to get over the binding precedents, which were not favourable to the petitioners, and where these decisions clearly stood in the way, Counsel sought to urge that either the decisions deserved to be reconsidered or to be read down in the context of earlier decisions of the Supreme Court, or even that such decisions were per incuriam and, therefore, could not stand in the way of favourable answers to the questions, posed by the petitioners, being returned.

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