The Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of Rs.50,000 on the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for filing a ‘meritless, bogus and most frivolous' petition in connection with alleged encroachment on a government land in Wazirpur in North-West Delhi.
First trial and later a first appellate trial court had allowed the owner of the land, Kela Devi, to keep it in possession, allowing her petition for injunction against interference with the property by the DDA.
The DDA in its argument had submitted before the trial courts that it had acquired the land the ownership of which was claimed by Kela Devi way back in 1962.
However, the woman claimed that she was in possession of the land since 1965. Her husband had built a mud house on it and she had been staying in it since, she further submitted.
However, the DDA dismissed her claim submitting that she had encroached on the land which it had acquired and taken in physical possession in 1962.
Dismissing the argument of the Authority, Justice V. B. Gupta expressed surprise over inaction and negligence on the part of its officials in taking action against the alleged encroacher for about 50 years.
“Petitioner authority is having a large army of employees working under it, but it is manifestly clear that its officials are hand in glove with the rank trespassers/unauthorised occupants of the government land and that is why thousands of acres of government land is still under illegal occupation of the trespassers,'' Justice Gupta observed.
“No unauthorised occupant/trespasser can remain in possession of the government land for more than 50 years, unless and until officials of petitioner authority are in collusion with such trespassers,” Justice Gupta further observed.
The Court directed the Authority to deposit the costs with Registrar-General of the Court within four weeks. It directed it to recover the cost from the salaries of delinquent officials who had been pursuing this meritless and frivolous litigation with the sole aim of wasting the public exchequer. The Authority shall also file an affidavit giving details of the officials from whose salaries the cost had been recovered.