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  • Writer's pictureTrivedi and Parashar (Advocates and Solicitors)

Judicial Updates -

Supreme Court - Residing in a particular home does not automatically confer ownership occupant.

In the matter of Purushottam Bagh Sahkari Awas Samiti Ltd. v. Sri Shobhan Pal Singh & Anr. [Civil Appeal No(s). 5380-5382 of 2015], the Respondents' predecessor-in-interest, the late Krishna Pal Singh, received a plot in the residential community that the Appellant constructed, and a sale document was signed in his benefit. According to the society's bylaws, a member may only be given a residential plot if he resides or intends to dwell in the society's service area and neither he nor any member of his family owns a building or plot there. In light of this, Krishna Pal Singh agreed on an affidavit that he did not own any buildings or plots in the society's operational area, and as a result, the plot was given to him. After nearly 26 years, the society submitted the dispute regarding the land's cost, as per the order dated March 19, 2010, to a single arbitrator. In its complaint, the society also alleged that Late Krishna Pal Singh had a personal residence and did not require the disputed land, which he had purchased from the society, with the intention of reselling it to a third party at a higher price. Furthermore, it was alleged that Late Krishna Pal Singh had neither constructed a residence nor a boundary wall around the plot within the allotted timeframe.

In contrast, the Respondents contended that their father had erected a boundary wall on the mentioned plot after obtaining approval for the building design from the society. They also asserted that they had paid the development fees to the organization. Additionally, it was emphasized that their father never owned a home or any other structure within the service area of the society. However, the sale deed from July 14, 1983 was deemed invalid by the arbitrator in its ruling dated August 12, 2010. The arbitrator noted that despite the building plan's approval, Krishna Pal Singh had not built anything on the aforementioned plot even though he had provided the location of Kamla Nagar, where even the respondents still live today. The Respondents filed a writ petition challenging the award passed by the Sole Arbitrator.

An appeal filed before the Supreme Court, the Court observed that under the aforementioned provisions, a member of the society's family is defined as their husband, wife, and dependent minor children. Additionally, no member of the society is entitled to the allotment of any plot if they themselves or a member of their family own any property in the area where the society conducts its business.

Due to this, Late Krishna Pal Singh would not have been eligible to receive an allotment or purchase of a plot from the society if he or any of his family members already owned a building or plot inside the society's operational region.

The Court noted that because the Appellant claims that the aforementioned bylaws were violated, it is its responsibility to substantiate this claim. Now that that has been established, the Court upheld the High Court's assessment that the society had failed to present any evidence to the arbitrator to support its claims that the Petitioner owned land or a home in Agra and that Krishna Pal Singh or the Respondent have broken any of the terms of the sale deed or the society's bylaws. In addition, the Court highlighted the flaws in the arbitrator's decision.

The Court noted that the arbitrator did not find evidence of Late Krishna Pal Singh submitting a falsified statement or of him owning property within the society's operational zone. The arbitrator's sole determination was that he had provided the Respondents with his address at the time of allocation. Such a finding does not establish that the residence where he resided was his own, his family's as stipulated by the bylaws, or that it belonged to the Respondents individually. Occupying a specific residence does not automatically imply ownership by the occupant in their individual capacity or that the residence falls within the society's service area.

Thus, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.


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