IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL Nos.77037704 OF 2009
V. Krishnamurthy & Anr. ….Appellant(s)
State of Tamil Nadu & Ors. …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
- 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 &
- In order to appreciate the controversy involved in
these appeals, it is necessary to set out a few relevant
- The appellants herein are the writ petitioners and
the respondents herein are the respondents in the writ
petitions out of which these appeals arise.
- 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.
- 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
without affecting the environment and development of
horticulture and horticulture research.
- 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.
- 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appeals were withdrawn but later on they were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.
- By impugned order, the Division Bench allowed
the writ appeals and while setting aside the order
passed by the Single Judge dismissed the writ
petitions giving rise to filing of these appeals by the
writ petitioners in this Court.
- 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.
- Heard Mr. Sanjay R. Hegde, learned senior
counsel for the appellants and Mr. Balaji Srinivasa,
learned AAG for the respondentState.
- Having heard the learned counsel for the parties
and on perusal of the record of the case, we find no
merit in these appeals.
- 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
the members of the opposition party, the party in
power at that time issued the impugned resumption
- 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
- 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
- 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. We concur with the view taken by
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.
- 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.
- In view of the foregoing discussion, the appeals
fail and are accordingly dismissed.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE] ……………………………………….J.
March 26, 2019