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‘State Governed by Rule of Law, Not Rule of Men’: HC Orders K’taka Govt to Allot Properties Only Via Public Auctions

By: Salil Tiwari

Edited By: Manjiri Joshi

LawBeat

Last Updated: December 05, 2022, 16:49 IST

New Delhi, India

A bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the order in a writ petition, questioning the allotment of 700 sqm at the Fish Conservation Centre, Malpe, Udupi as a special case.

A bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the order in a writ petition, questioning the allotment of 700 sqm at the Fish Conservation Centre, Malpe, Udupi as a special case.

Allot properties only by way of public auction and not as a product of favouritism or political interference by terming them special, the Karnataka High Court recently told the state government

Allot properties only by way of public auctions and not as a product of favouritism or political interference by putting them in special category, the Karnataka High Court recently ordered the state government. The HC stressed that the state is governed by the “rule of law” not by the “rule of men” and it would not permit the government to act in a partisan manner in favour of any applicant.

A bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the order in a writ petition, questioning the allotment of 700 sqm at the Fish Conservation Centre, Malpe, Udupi as a special case.

In the present case, the petitioner and another person (respondent no.4) were applicants for grant of lease on the land. Initially, the authorities considered both the applications and rejected them, giving the reason that as it was a public property, it could only be allotted by way of public auction.

However, when both the applicants approached the political representatives of their areas, on communication sent by one MLA, the Joint Director of Fisheries issued an official memorandum granting the land lease for 10 years in favor of respondent no.4 as a special case. The petitioner moved the high court against that allotment order.

Quashing the allotment, the court said, “This case would form the last straw of admonishing the State for bartering away public property at its whim and fancy. Any such iteration would, without doubt, be viewed seriously, as such actions cannot bear any sanction under any law. Rule of law is insurmountable.”

The single judge bench observed, “Public Property cannot be bartered away at the whim and fancy of interested persons without even the public coming to know availability of such property”.

“Political interference of any kind in public administration would put such administration in peril…. Where from special case would spring in, is unknown. It cannot have any backing in law. The case which is directed to be considered as special case is, on the face of it, arbitrary as it takes away the right of participation by other,” the court said.

The court stressed that there are number of public properties which can be leased out to entrepreneurs, but there should be uniformity in grant of such lands.

“Such uniformity will come about only when there is transparency in procedure; transparency in procedure can come about only when the properties are put to public auction and every citizen is permitted to participate in the auction,” the court said.

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first published:December 05, 2022, 16:44 IST
last updated:December 05, 2022, 16:49 IST
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