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Allahabad High Court disposes petition as Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority sanctions map

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The Allahabad High Court disposed of the petition with the observation that the District Magistrate, Mathura shall examine the matter himself and call upon the comments from the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority and Municipal Corporation, Mathura to ascertain the nature and status of the land in question and the stand of the petitioners that the constructions are being raised after getting a map sanctioned duly from the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority.

The Division Bench of Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Vikram D. Chauhan passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Shree Energy Developers Pvt Ltd.

The petitioners herein are the owners in occupation of the land in question whereupon they are developing their housing project. It is a categorical statement in the writ petition that the area in question falls within the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation, Mathura and Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority. The notification dated 31st December, 2019 issued by the State Government in exercise of U.P Municipal Corporation Act, 1959 has been brought on record to demonstrate that various Gatas (Plots) of Village Sunrakh Bangar, Tehsil Sadar, District Mathura are now included in the municipal limits of District Mathura.

It is also indicated that a similar notification has been issued by the State Government bringing the area in question within the jurisdiction of the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority. The petitioners are recorded owners of Khasra Nos1194, 1196 and 1186 Minjumla.

The submission is that the petitioners have started construction over the plots in question after getting the plan sanctioned from the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority. However, some miscreants, namely, the private respondents, in order to harass the petitioners, filed Public Interest Litigation, which was decided on 28th July, 2021, without entering into the merits of the claim treating the plots in question falling within the jurisdiction of the revenue authorities.

The Court noted that,

On the statement of the Standing Counsel that effective remedy for the petitioner therein was to move application under Section 67 of the U.P Revenue Code, 2006, direction was given to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Mathura to initiate proceeding under the relevant provisions of U.P Revenue Code, 2006 read with U.P Revenue Rules, 2016 and conclude the same in accordance with law.

The submission of the counsel for the petitioner is that though the petitioner was party in the writ petition but no notice was issued to it nor any version of the petitioner was sought. The fact that the area in question has been brought within the jurisdiction of Development Authority and Municipal Corporation had not been placed before the Court.

However, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Mathura taking aid of the order passed by the Court has entered into the dispute, without ascertaining the said aspect. On the application moved by the private respondent herein, initially status quo order was passed, which was cancelled but another status quo order has now been passed in the margin of the application moved by the private respondent on 5th May, 2022.

Noticing the above fact, we take a strict view to the proceedings initiated by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Mathura by entertaining the application of the private respondents without ascertaining as to whether the plots in question are agricultural land and fall within the jurisdiction of the revenue authorities under the U.P Revenue Code, 2006. The categorical direction of this Court was to initiate legal proceedings under the relevant provisions of U.P Revenue Code, 2006. It was thus not open for the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Mathura to pass any kind of order including the status quo order on the application moved by the private respondent without ascertaining as to whether the provisions of U.P Revenue Code, 2006 are applicable. The action of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Mathura in passing the status quo order at the margin of the application of the respondents is, therefore, absolutely illegal, the Court held.

The Court said that,

We call upon the Standing Counsel to answer this situation by filing personal affidavit of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Mathura explaining as to how such kind of orders could be passed by him without ascertaining the status of the land and more-so without ascertaining his own jurisdiction before entering into the controversy. We may further note that we are receiving writ petitions challenging such kinds of orders almost on a daily basis.

The Court has been informed that there is a Government Order which categorically provides that the administrative authorities such as Sub-Divisional Magistrate, District Magistrate, etc. would not enter into any kind of private disputes relating to landed property. However, from the scenario which is coming before us, it is evident that the directions of the State under the Government Order are not being complied with.

The Court further said that,

We, therefore, call upon the Principal Secretary, Government of U.P, Lucknow to look into this issue and treat the order passed in the matter by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, Mathura as a case study. He shall call upon the District Magistrates of all the districts in the State of U.P and some correction exercise to curb this tendency has to be undertaken. This order be brought to the notice of the Chief Standing Counsel of the State of U.P, who shall directly intimate this order to the Principal Secretary, Government of U.P, Lucknow, to take necessary action and file the compliance report before this Court through the Registrar General, High Court Allahabad.

As regard the present matter is concerned, the petitioner herein has filed a detailed representation before the District Magistrate, Mathura clarifying its stand.

Therefore, the Court disposed of the petition with the observation that the District Magistrate, Mathura shall examine the matter himself and call upon the comments from the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority and Municipal Corporation, Mathura to ascertain the nature and status of the land in question and the stand of the petitioners that the constructions are being raised after getting a map sanctioned duly from the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority. After examining the matter, a reasoned and speaking order, in accordance with law, shall be passed by the District Magistrate, Mathura preferably within a period of three weeks from today. And if the District Magistrate, Mathura finds the case of the petitioner to be true, he shall ensure that no administrative or police authority interferes in the affairs of the petitioners.

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