No mala fides – Resume order of land is correct – This plea of mala fides was based on political rivalry. = First, admittedly the land in question belongs to the State; Second, clause 4 of the allotment order empowers the State to resume the land either in the event of violation of any of the terms and conditions of the allotment order by the appellant or if it is required for public purpose, the State is entitled to exercise their right of resumption of the land; and Third, the State admittedly exercised the right of resumption of the land for a public purpose.A plea of mala fides, in our view, has no factual and legal foundation to sustain because we find that it is only based on the averment that since the appellant happened to be a member of the opposition party, the party in power at that time had taken the impugned action to resume the land against them. Such averments by itself do not constitute a plea of mala fides without there being any substantial material in its support. In our view, the appellants having failed to point out any legal infirmity in the resumption order except to take the plea based on mala fides, the Division Bench was right in upholding the resumption order as being legal and in conformity with clause 4 of the allotment order.

 REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL Nos.7703­7704 OF 2009
V. Krishnamurthy & Anr. ….Appellant(s)
VERSUS
State of Tamil Nadu & Ors. …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.

  1. These appeals are directed against the final
    judgment and order dated 11.04.2008 passed by the
    High Court of Judicature at Madras in W.A. Nos.1030
    & 1031 of 1998 whereby the Division Bench of the
    High Court allowed the appeals filed by the
    respondent­State and set aside the order dated
    19.06.1998 of the Single Judge in W.P. Nos.11058 &
    11059/1989.
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  2. In order to appreciate the controversy involved in
    these appeals, it is necessary to set out a few relevant
    facts infra.
  3. The appellants herein are the writ petitioners and
    the respondents herein are the respondents in the writ
    petitions out of which these appeals arise.
  4. The Agricultural Horticultural Society(Society) is
    the appellant in C.A. No.7704/2009 which is
    registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration
    Act, 1975 whereas the appellant in C.A. No.7703 of
    2009 is its Secretary. The State of Tamil Nadurespondent No.1 herein had allotted the land in
    question to the appellant­Society on certain terms and
    conditions by agreement dated 28.04.1980.
  5. By order dated 05.08.1989 (GO Ms. No.1259),
    the respondent­State resumed the land in question in
    terms of clause 4 of the allotment order for public
    purpose, namely, development of sports facilities
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    without affecting the environment and development of
    horticulture and horticulture research.
  6. The appellant­Society felt aggrieved by the said
    order and filed two Writ Petitions (Nos.11058 and
    11059 of 1989) in the Madras High Court. The
    challenge to the order was essentially based on the
    plea of mala fides. The Single Judge of the High Court,
    by order dated 19.06.1998, allowed the writ petitions
    and quashed the resumption order dated 05.08.1989.
  7. The respondent­State felt aggrieved and filed two
    writ appeals (Nos.1030 & 1031/1998) before the
    Division Bench of the High Court. Earlier, the writ
    appeals were withdrawn but later on they were
    restored to their files on an application made by the
    State in that behalf for their disposal according to law.
  8. By impugned order, the Division Bench allowed
    the writ appeals and while setting aside the order
    passed by the Single Judge dismissed the writ
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    petitions giving rise to filing of these appeals by the
    writ petitioners in this Court.
  9. So, the short question, which arises for
    consideration in these appeals, is whether the Division
    Bench was justified in allowing the appeals and, in
    consequence, was justified in upholding the
    resumption order dated 05.08.1989 of the respondentState in relation to the land in question.
  10. Heard Mr. Sanjay R. Hegde, learned senior
    counsel for the appellants and Mr. Balaji Srinivasa,
    learned AAG for the respondent­State.
  11. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties
    and on perusal of the record of the case, we find no
    merit in these appeals.
  12. As mentioned above, the appellants (writ
    petitioners) had impugned the resumption order dated
    05.08.1989 essentially on the plea based on mala
    fides. This plea of mala fides was based on political
    rivalry. According to the appellants, since they were
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    the members of the opposition party, the party in
    power at that time issued the impugned resumption
    order.
  13. This plea found favour to the writ court (Single
    Judge) but the Division Bench reversed the view of the
    Single Judge and dismissed the writ petitions. In the
    other words, the Division Bench held that a plea of
    mala fides raised by the appellants (writ petitioners) to
    impugn the action was not factually and legally
    sustainable.
  14. In this Court also, the learned counsel for the
    appellants (writ petitioners) reiterated the same plea of
    mala fides for assailing the resumption notice dated
    05.08.1989 but we find no merit therein for the
    following reasons:
  15. First, admittedly the land in question belongs to
    the State; Second, clause 4 of the allotment order
    empowers the State to resume the land either in the
    event of violation of any of the terms and conditions of
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    the allotment order by the appellant or if it is required
    for public purpose, the State is entitled to exercise
    their right of resumption of the land; and Third, the
    State admittedly exercised the right of resumption of
    the land for a public purpose.
  16. A plea of mala fides, in our view, has no factual
    and legal foundation to sustain because we find that it
    is only based on the averment that since the appellant
    happened to be a member of the opposition party, the
    party in power at that time had taken the impugned
    action to resume the land against them. Such
    averments by itself do not constitute a plea of mala
    fides without there being any substantial material in
    its support. In our view, the appellants having failed
    to point out any legal infirmity in the resumption order
    except to take the plea based on mala fides, the
    Division Bench was right in upholding the resumption
    order as being legal and in conformity with clause 4 of
    the allotment order. We concur with the view taken by
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    the Division Bench calling for no interference.
    Needless to observe, the State will ensure that the land
    in question would only be used for the public purpose
    and not for other purposes.
  17. Learned counsel for the appellants further
    pointed out from the impugned order that the Division
    Bench has made some disparaging remarks against
    them at some places in the impugned order. In our
    view, those remarks were irrelevant for deciding the
    short controversy involved in the case.
  18. In view of the foregoing discussion, the appeals
    fail and are accordingly dismissed.
    ……………………………………..J.
    [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE] ……………………………………….J.
    [DINESH MAHESHWARI]
    New Delhi;
    March 26, 2019
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