Chief minister of a state has no power to allot land: SC

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar rejected the plea that if a person fails to get relief from the competent authority he or she can approach the chief minister or other functionary for necessary relief.

"The chief minister could not take upon himself task of the authority. It tantamount to transgression/usurpation of competence. While deciding a representation/petition, an authority or court may issue direction to the person concerned to consider the grievance.
"However, it is not permissible to pass the order by the superior authority/court itself," Justice Chauhan writing the judgement said.

The apex court passed the ruling dismissing the review petition filed by family of late Manohar Lal who was alloted a piece of land in commercial location of Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad by the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister in 1979, but subsequently cancelled on the directions of the Allahabad High Court.

Though Lal was initially offered a piece of land in 1975 by the Ghaziabad Development Authority for his land acquired, he rejected the offer. Instead Lal approached the chief minister who issued direction for allotment of a land in the commercial despite the statute prohibiting any such allotment.

The Allahabad High Court had quashed the allotment. He appealed in the Supreme Court which dismissed his plea. However, his legal heirs filed a review petition challenging the cancellation of his land.

Dismissing the petition, the apex court said," The land policy did not provide the allotment of land of the choice of the tenure-holder. It was not permissible for any Authority to make the allotment in commercial area, as allotment could be made only in residential area.

"The applicant Manohar Lal did not comply with the allotment letters dated 25.12.1975 or 25.1.1978, rather he had been making attempts to get the land of his choice in
commercial area and, consequently, succeeded by getting a patently and latently illegal allotment by the blessings of the then hon'ble chief minister who had no competence to make allotment of land under the law."

The apex court said neither chief minsters nor courts have the power to make such allotments as the power is vested solely with the competent authority.

"We do not find any force in the submission made by Jayant Bhushan, learned counsel for applicants, that a person who does not get relief from the statutory authority, has a right to make representation before the government; as in the instant case, government of Uttar Pradesh was a revisional authority which could entertain the revision against the order of appellate authority.

"In an appropriate case, the court may issue appropriate directions to redress the grievance of person aggrieved but even the court cannot direct a person to decide the representation unless the person so directed is a competent authority under the statute, for the reason that the authority may grant relief, which otherwise the authority has no competence to grant taking shelter under the court's order.

"The hon'ble chief minister passed the allotment letter himself mentioning the plot numbers of the land, which is impermissible in law," the bench added.

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