The Delhi High Court has pulled up the DDA for failing to hand over to a woman the possession of a kiosk that was allotted about 25 years ago.
Describing the conduct of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) as “shocking and painful”, Justice S. N. Aggarwal imposed a cost of Rs. 25,000 on the civic body and directed it to hand over the possession of the shop.
The court allowed the plea of the woman for possession of an alternative kiosk and said that the case demonstrated the “high-handedness” and “callous attitude” of the concerned officials of the DDA in dealing with the matter.
The court, while quashing the demand for interest of around Rs. 2.2 lakh in addition to the cost of the kiosk by the DDA, said that the agency cannot seek the interest for its own fault.
“This court is of the considered opinion that the demand of interest on the cost of kiosk by the DDA for its own fault is most arbitrary, unreasonable and unjustified and cannot stand the test of judicial scrutiny. There cannot be any policy of the State instrumentality to charge interest from the consumer for its own fault,” it said.
The High Court said the civic agency had taken more than 20 years in issuing demand letter for a kiosk that was allotted to the woman’s now-deceased husband in 1986.
“The DDA is a State functionary and it must come out of the cobwebs and should stop functioning in a despotic manner as it has been done by it in the present case.
“The petitioner, being the widow of the deceased allottee, has to run from pillar to post for getting possession of the kiosk that was allotted by the DDA about 25 years ago but till date she has not been able to get its possession,” the court said.
The DDA, in 2006, had asked the woman to deposit the cost of the kiosk in addition to the interest since 1986.
Aggrieved, the woman had approached the High Court contending that the DDA’s demand for interest because of its own fault was illegal and she be allotted an alternative kiosk in South Delhi.