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Filed 54 years ago, property dispute now settled by Delhi district court

A Delhi district court settled a 54-year-old property dispute while dismissing a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) plea seeking right over a land in east Delhi. The agency did not came into existence at that time, the court stressed.

Additional District Judge Kamini Lau dismissed the DDA’s claim to ownership right over a disputed property in Bharola village in east Delhi’s Azadpur area.

The DDA filed a revision petition before the court, challenging a trial court order that rejected the agency’s earlier plea for ownership right over several plots in Bharola village. The DDA claimed it was a wasteland and was recommended to be taken up for urbanisation.

A group of people living on residential plots nearby opposed the DDA’s stand, and claimed the land, in fact, belonged to them.

The matter was pending with the court since 4 January, 1961, while DDA came into existence in 1957. A Master Plan was formulated by DDA in 1962, aimed at balanced development of Delhi by creating new residential extension areas.

Taking note of the inspection carried out by senior civil judge in 1961, the court found that the land in question was being used for residential plots even before 1956 and the remaining land was being used for other purposes.

It also noted that senior civil judge during his inspection found respondents as actual owners of the plot.

“It is necessary to note that at that time the appellant/DDA was not even in existence nor a party to the suit. As per the observations of the senior civil judge, the properties of the respondents were in existence at that time... and hence the acquisition of rights by the DDA is not probable,” the court said.

The court also observed that the DDA had failed to prove that the property was a wasteland.

“I further hold that the land in question, i.e. suit land, was a Khudkast land and hence not covered under the provisions of Section 3 (3) of the Delhi Land Reforms Act,” Judge Lau said.

“Merely by virtue of urbanisation, the title does not ipso-facto shift from Khatedar to DDA,” the court said.

“No notification dated 20 August, 1974, (which was allegedly issued during pendency of the suit) has been placed on record,” the court further said.

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