Lucknow, Jun 29 (ILNS) The Allahabad High Court has pulled up a businessman for making baseless allegations against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Principal Secretary SP Goyal and Special Secretary Subrata Shukla.
The businessman, who is running a petrol pump, had has accused both the officers for demanding bribe.
The Division Bench of Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Dinesh Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing a Petition filed by Abhishek Gupta.
The Petition has been filed challenging the order dated June 8, 2018, passed by the respondents and simultaneously the order dated April 1, 2019 as contained in to the Petition. A direction has also been sought to the respondents to pass appropriate orders for exchange in the light of final recommendation made by the District Magistrate, Hardoi dated February 2, 2018 and the amount received in this reference for exchange on January 11, 2018.
The Petitioner has also sought a direction for appropriate administrative action against the respondents for demanding bribe and arbitrarily rejecting the representation of the Petitioner.
The brief facts of the case, as mentioned in the Petition, the Petitioner is recorded as Bhumidhar of Plot No.184, Village Raiso, Tehsil Sandila District Hardoi. The Petitioner had applied for franchisee of Essar Oil Company Limited to grant him francisee/dealership of petrol pump.
The Petitioner was selected and the letter of intent dated March 31, 2016 was issued in favour of the Petitioner by Oil Company to establish the said petrol pump.
That during course of raising construction, it was revealed that the Plot No.187 having area of 0.0380 hectare is recorded as ‘rasta’ in the revenue records although the shape of the land is triangular and it is never used as ‘rasta’. The above plot no.187 of Gaon Sabha was obstructing the easy vehicular flow at the proposed petrol pump and, therefore, the petitioner applied for exchange of said small piece of land recorded in the name of Gaon Sabha with his land at Plot No.184. The Gaon Sabha Raiso, by way of its resolution dated December 19, 2017, had agreed for exchange of the land.
The revenue authorities had also made thorough enquiry into the matter and after completing all legal formalities in this reference, had recommended for exchange of land. The Tehsildar, Sandila letter dated December 21, 2017 had approved the report of the revenue authorities and recommended for exchange of land. The opposite party no.3/Sub Divisional Officer, Tehsil Sandila, District Hardoi letter dated December 27, 2017 had given his consent for exchange of land and forwarded the matter to the District Magistrate, Hardoi. The District Magistrate, Hardoi vide letter dated January 3, 2018 had made query regarding the payment of contribution in the village development fund.
The authorities thereafter calculated the amount and the petitioner was called upon to pay the amount of Rs.66,500/- as contribution in the village fund. The petitioner has deposited the amount of Rs.66,500/- on January 11, 2018 in the treasury of Tehsildar, Sandila, District Hardoi. The Sub Divisional Officer, Sandila, Hardoi/opposite party no.3 thereafter had prepared a fresh report dated January 11, 2018 and made the recommendation for exchange of land.
It was thereafter that letter dated February 2, 2018 the District Magistrate, Hardoi made recommendation to the State Government to pass appropriate orders for exchange of land by changing the recorded nature of land bearing Gata No.187.
The State Government thereafter had sought advice in this reference from the Board of Revenue vide letter dated February 19, 2018. The Board of Revenue after thorough examination of the entire record recommended for exchange of land letter dated February 28, 2018. It was also informed that the power of exchange in this case would vest with the State Government under Section 101 of U.P. Revenue Code.
It is the case of the Petitioner that on enquiry of old revenue records, it was revealed that the entry of ‘rasta’ regarding Plot No.187 was nothing but a mistake, the land is recorded as usar. The Petitioner, therefore, made a representation to the respondents to correct the revenue records and enter Plot No.187 in the category of usar and thereafter pass the order of exchange of his land because under U.P. Revenue Code the Sub Divisional Officer is final authority to approve such exchange.
Before hearing of the case commenced, we had asked Counsel for the Petitioner as to whether he wants to press the allegations of mala fides alleged against the respondents as they are very serious in nature, the Court said.
Counsel for the Petitioner informed that the Petitioner is only interested in proper adjudication of legal issues involved in the Petition and does not want to press the allegations made against respondents. In this regard the Petitioner was asked to be present in person.
Counsel for the Petitioner has contended that the order rejecting the exchange of land on Gata No.187 is arbitrary and unreasoned.
The respondents has not considered the relevant material fact that the said land at Gata No.186 has never been used as ‘rasta’ and the shape of the land is triangular and it is not a thorough fair. As per the site plan annexed with the supplementary counter affidavit filed by the respondents dated November 20, 2019, it is shown adjacent to the land of the Petitioner at Gata No.184.
It is submitted that the State Government letter dated September 1, 2018 had made a query to the District Magistrate as to whether the land offered by the Petitioner in exchange can be conveniently used as ‘rasta’ for public purposes.
The Sub Divisional Magistrate, Sandila, District Hardoi in reply to the said query letter dated May 4, 2018 has categorically informed that the public use of the recorded ‘rasta’ at Gata No.187 measuring 0.0380 hectare has lost its utility.
It is contended that once the revenue authorities as well as concerning District Authorities had recommended for exchange of the land and had not raised any objection in this regard, there was no occasion for the State Government to have rejected the request of the Petitioner for the exchange of land.
It is also contended that the State Government should have taken a considered view looking to the fact that the Petitioner is a young entrepreneur and has been granted license to establish a petrol pump which is under construction and the land at Gata No.187 is never used as ‘rasta’ which is also evident from the shape of the said land.
Additional Chief Standing Counsel, on the other hand, has strongly opposed the Petition. It is submitted that the State Government has duly considered the entire aspect of the matter and taking into consideration the provisions under Section 77 (3) of U.P. Revenue Code has taken into consideration the location, public utility and suitability of the land proposed for exchange.
The State Government has come to conclusion that the land offered by the Petitioner is not suitable for exchange considering its location, public utility and suitability. There was no illegality in the order hence no interference is required by the Court.
The Court stated that, “First of all, we have to record our displeasure in the manner in which the petitioner has attributed serious allegations against the respondents, who are senior government officers, holding important posts. It is unfortunate that such serious allegations are made against senior officers of the Government and when the petitioner has been called upon to support his allegations, he has stated that he does not want to press these allegations and they may be treated as unconditionally withdrawn. We highly deprecate this practice and reprimand the Petitioner for such conduct and warn him to be more careful in future while coming to the Court”.
The Additional Chief Standing Counsel on a query being put by the Court has fairly informed that the said land is not a thorough fair and it is not used as ‘rasta’. In fact the report of the District Magistrate dated February 2, 2018 confirms this fact.
“Considering the aspect of the matter, we are of the considered view that the land in question at Gata No.187 shall be offered to the Petitioner on payment of certain consideration amount. In this regard the respondents shall make the actual measurement of the land available at the site at Gata No.187 which can be offered to the Petitioner and the consideration amount shall be determined by applying multiplier of two to the prevailing circle rates of the area. The said land shall be offered to the petitioner by way of lease/license with non-transferable rights or license/permission to use the said land.
The said exercise shall be completed in a time bound manner, say within a period of three weeks from the date a certified copy of this order is placed before the opposite parties/State Authorities.
In view of above, we are of the considered view that the order dated June 8, 2018 and order dated April 1, 2019 are not sustainable in the eyes of law, they are quashed. In result, Petition is allowed”, the Court ordered. ILNS/KR/RJ