Chandigarh, January 31
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has described as harsh the cancellation of a booth’s allotment following the owner’s failure to execute a lease deed. The Bench of Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu and Justice Lalit Batra also set aside the impugned orders directing cancellation of the lease.
Allowing the plea, the Bench asserted the booth stood restored in the original allottee-petitioner’s favour and he would be liable to pay all arrears along with interest and penalty in accordance with law. In its detailed order, the Bench asserted it was of the view that the petition ought to be allowed, notwithstanding the extreme lapses and long delay on the petitioner’s part. The orders for cancellation and forfeiture were passed only on account of his failure to get the lease deed executed. There was nothing on record to indicate that he had not paid the entire premium.
Referring to the High Court order in the case of “Amar Nath versus the Chandigarh Administration and others”, the Bench added that it was held that Rule 14(2) of the Lease Hold of Sites and Building Rules, 1973, was a directory provision. It ought not to inevitably result in the cancellation of the lease and forfeiture of 25 per cent of the premium paid on failure to execute the lease deed within six months of the allotment.
A provision is directory if its observance is not necessary to the validity of the proceeding. The Bench added the Estate Officer was also empowered to extend the time for execution of the lease deed for good and sufficient reasons as per Rule 14 (1) of the 1973 Rules.
The Bench added the booth had been allotted to the petitioner under the rehabilitation scheme on a lease hold basis and was being used to run business and earn livelihood. As stated in the earlier orders, the cancellation of the allotment on failure to execute the lease deed was harsh affecting the petitioner’s livelihood.
The Bench was hearing the petition filed by Banarsi Lal against the Chandigarh Administration and other respondents for quashing the impugned orders passed in August 2009, May 2010 and July 2013 pertaining to cancellation of lease of a built-up booth in Sector 20-C, Chandigarh.
The Bench was told that the petitioner was allotted the booth on a lease hold basis for 99 years vide allotment letter dated February 3, 1997, under the rehabilitation scheme “Allotment/Transfer of built-up Booths in any Sector on Lease/Hire Purchase basis in Chandigarh Rules, 1991”. As per a clause of the allotment letter, the petitioner allottee was required to execute a lease deed after the expiry of one month from the date of allotment in a manner as may be directed by the Estate Officer.
Petitioner’s livelihood affected by order
The Bench said the booth in Sector 20-C had been allotted to the petitioner under a rehabilitation scheme on a leasehold basis and was being used to run business and earn a livelihood. As stated in the earlier orders, the cancellation of the allotment on failure to execute the lease deed was harsh affecting the petitioner’s livelihood.