The concerned commission can interfere with the order of the state commission where such state commission exercised a jurisdiction which is not vested by the law. The court highlighted this by the reference of section 21 of the RTI Act. It is an essential thing that statutory authorities must exercise their power in the public interest. But in the particular case, the DDA exercised its power to makes the trouble in the complainant’s life since last 18 years. The DDA ultimately failed to realize its own mistake and continuously covered up their officers’ mistakes who were pursuing this meritless litigation with the one aim of wasting the public exchequer. The court settled that no leniency should be given to such type of litigants who are covering up their fault and negligence, and who are filing meritless petitions in different fora.
|In the Supreme Court of India|
|Name of the Case||Delhi Development Authority v. D.C. Sharma|
|Citation||Appeal number 705 of 2010|
|Year of the case||2010|
|Appellant||Delhi development authority(through its President: Vikas Sadan)|
|Bench/judges||M.R. Justice V.B. Gupta, Hon’ble Mrs Rekha Gupta|
|Acts involved||Right to Information act|
|Important sections||Section 21, 24 of RTI act|
Delhi Development Authority v. D.C. Sharma is a case which deals with negligence done by statutory authority. With all of this, the concerned authority put all blame on the complainant and increases his problems for the last 18 years.
The statutory authorities have to discharge the statutory functions at public interest.
In the particular case, the court held that the defence what is taken by the DDA is false, and such types of unjust litigation by the governments and statutory authorities have increased. The court provides compensation to the complainant, and the petitioner should deposit some amount in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the concerned commission.
The District consumer disputes redressal forum- II, Delhi dismissed the respondent’s / D.C. Sharma complaint vide order dated 7.08.2010.
Aggrieved by the decision of District Forum, the respondent filed an appeal before the state commission, which allowed the prayers which are made by the respondent in his complaint and passed the following order:
“State commission stated that appeal is allowed and respondent will return all the amount of Rs. 30,000. Along with this, the other flat will be provided to the respondent with the same description. In case if no flat is available, then the respondent/DDA will pay the appellant/ D.C. Sharma Rs. 30, 00,000. The flat should be allotted in thirty days, and if in case no flat is available, then the payment is also made within thirty days.”
Petitioner/ DDA published an advertisement under the name of Expandable Housing Scheme, 1996. Respondent/D.C. Sharma in response to the above-said advertisement applied for allotment of a flat, vide application NO. 014269 dated 08.10.1996. According to the terms and conditions of the scheme, the respondent deposited the sum of Rs. 15,000 as advance along with the application. Through the computerized draw on 21.03.1997, the respondent gets a flat, i.e. No. 440, Type-A, sector B- 4 Pocket- 6, Group- 2, Narela, Delhi. The petitioner communicated this information via a letter dated 12.01.2000/20.01.2000.
In the above-said letter, it was highlighted the amount of the flat as Rs 5,16,300 and also wrote in the letter that the respondent has to deposit an initial amount of Rs. 37,9469.09 before 18.07.2000. After that, in the next month, i.e. 10.02.2000, the respondent deposited the amount of sum of Rs. 15,000, as the confirmation money to the petitioner via challan No. 088115.
Then, the respondent sent a letter dated 15.02.2001 to the petitioner and communicated that he has shifted from an old residence to new address. Hence, he requested that regarding any official communication related to the allotted flat shall be entertained at the new residential address.
Further in the letter, the respondent stated that he is a government servant and he wanted the loan from his office for security the balance payment of the flat. For this concerned, he made a written request on 13/03/2000 to the petitioner for asking of necessary mortgage permission.
But, unfortunately, the respondent did not receive any response from the petitioner’s side. After that, the respondent went for visiting the office of the petitioner and repeating his request, as mentioned earlier.
Petitioner assured the respondent that the permit shall be granted in due course of time. But the respondent could not get any response from the petitioner’s side. Respondent sent an application dated 16/11/2006 to sought the information under the right to information act (RTI).
After this, respondent for the first time got the letter of the petitioner dated 13/12/2006. In the letter petitioner stated that the flat which was allotted to the respondent, had already been allotted in favor of Smt. Santosh Minhas 28/3/1995 vide allotment file no. 505(740)/95/EHS/NA. After this entire intentional mistake made by the petitioner, the respondent filed a complaint under district consumer disputes redressal forum-II, Delhi.
What should be the quantum of punitive damages to be imposed upon the petitioner, for harassing the respondent for last more than 18 years without any justification?
Section 21 of the Right to Information Act: Section 21 of the act gives the power to the commission to interfere with the order of the state commission only when such state commission:
- Has acted in a jurisdiction not vested in it by law;
- Has Fade to exercise authority so vested;
- any act in its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.
Section 21(b) of the Right to Information Act: Section 21(b) of the act gives the scope of revisional jurisdiction very limited.
Section 24 of the Right to Information Act: Section 24 of the act states that the provisions of the act as mentioned earlier do not apply on intelligence and security unless in the cases of alleged human rights violation.
Dalip Singh v. the State of U.P.:
On the false and baseless defence given by the petitioner, the court quoted the observation made by the Supreme Court in the case described above, i.e. Dalip Singh v. The State of U.P., In this case, the court observed that “many centuries back the Indian society followed only two basic values of life, i.e. truth and non-violence. Court also mentioned that Mahavir, Gautham Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi always guided the people to adopt these values in their daily life.”
Bikaner Urban Improvement Trust v. Mohal Lal:
The Apex court in the particular case made vital observations that, the unfair and false litigation by governments and statutory authorities have increased. And statutory authorities must discharge functions in the public interest, and they should be responsible litigants. They cannot behave like irresponsible private litigants by fulfilling their motives.
Mrs Rubi(Chandra) Dutta v. United India Insurance Company: Court referred this case by highlighting that in the case mentioned above the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that the revisional powers of the National Commission are stated in section 21(b) of the RTI Act.
Ratio decidendi: The concerned court stated that the court failed to understand the logic of defence taken by the petitioner because the flat which is above-mentioned already allotted to Smt. Santosh Minhas in 1995, then on what basis respondent could be liable to deposit the cost of non-existence flat as per schedule, by the last date on 18.06.2000.
The defence taken by the petitioner is false and baseless. It is made just to protect its delinquent officers, who cover-up their negligence and shifted the whole blame on the respondent. It is unbelievable that from last ten years petitioner failed to realise its own mistake.
Further, the court highlights the decision of the state commission. State commission stated that the district forum dismissed the complaint of the complainant on the ground that he did not deposit the considerable amount of the flat, so he violates the agreement, and he has no right to claim any relief. State commission also added we do not know how and why the district forum did not realise that the concerned flat is already sold out to another person by DDA, and which is mentioned in the form of a reply to RTI application by the DDA. And state commission gives the decision that they are liable to pay all amount received from the complainant, and provide another flat to him and also pay the compensation to him.
The present court is well satisfied by the decision of the state commission. Moreover, the court added that for the last 18 years, the petitioner becomes a big trouble maker bridge for the respondent.
The decision given by the court: Court gives judgment on the view of the principle of law which is laid down by the apex court in the case as mentioned earlier, i.e. Bikaner urban improvement trust v. Mohal Lal.
The court imposed the excessive damages amounting Rs. 5, 00,000 upon the petitioner for causing the unfair trade practice and for harassing the respondent. Out of the above amount Rs.2, 50,000 to be paid to the respondent by way of demand draft on his name. And the remaining amount should be deposited in the “consumer legal aid account” of this commission via demand draft within eight weeks.
In any circumstances, the petitioner failed to deposit the amount mentioned above within the prescribed period, and then the petitioner shall also be liable to pay interest @9% per annum.
Further, the court added that the petitioner recovered the damages from the salaries of officers who are pursuing this litigation with the only one aim to wasting the public exchequer. An affidavit should be submitted in the court by the vice-chairman of the petitioner, and authority should give details of the officers from whose salaries the damages have been recovered. That affidavit should be filed within eight weeks.
Delhi Development Authority v. D.C. Sharma was called enforcement of the principle of law, and also highlights the importance of section 21 of the Right to Information Act.
Since the statutory bodies are expected to help the aggrieved party to get justice, they have to show the guilt or regret when their concerned officers act negligent acts or in an overbearing manner.
Further, court also highlighted that how and why the district court failed to see that the concerned flat is already allotted to somebody. And DDA gave the false and baseless defence to cover up their mistake and shifted the all blame on the complainant.
Court also highlighted the section 24 of the RTI act and said that no provision of the RTI act applied on the intelligence and security unless there is the violation of the human rights of any alleged person.
 (2010) 2 SCC 114
 (2010) CTJ 121
 2011(3) scale 654