The Supreme Court disposed of an Appeal, challenging the impugned order of the High Court, seeking directions against the Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB) to de-seal the subject property. The Court held that the bar under Section 250 of the Cantonments Act, 2006 (the Act) would only apply if the Appellant had received a notice or order from the DCB unless an appeal is preferred under Section 340 of the Act and the same would have to be disposed of under Section 343 (3) of the Act.

A two-judge Bench of Justice C.T. Ravikumar and Justice Sanjay Kumar noted, “Going by the aforesaid provision the bar would apply in respect of any order or notice unless an appeal under Section 340 of the said Act is preferred and the same is disposed of by the Appellate Authority under sub-section 3 of Section 343 of the Act. The factual finding of the Trial Court is that no notice or order was issued against the first respondent herein/the plaintiff so as to attract the bar under Section 250 of the Act. This factual finding based on the provisions under Section 250 has been confirmed by the High Court as per the impugned judgment”.

Advocate Abhishek Sharma appeared for Appellants and Advocate Avnish Ahlawat appeared for Respondents.

The Appellant had filed a civil suit against the respondent in 2018. The Appellant then filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the jurisdiction of the DCB to sanction building plans. The Apex Court dismissed the writ petition but directed the DCB to consider the Appellant's application for a building plan. The Appellant again filed an Appeal before the Court, contending that the civil suit should be dismissed because the Apex Court's order in the writ petition has rendered the civil suit moot.

The Court noted that the civil suit was filed before the writ petition and that the Appellant had not sought any relief in the writ petition concerning the civil suit. In this context, the bench observed, “Thus, it can be seen that the appellant herein did not seek for any relief as relates the pending Civil Suit before this Court and this Court also did not make any observation in respect of the pending suit. In short, in such circumstances, how can the appellant be heard to contend that in the light of the order dated 25.09.2020, the Civil Suit cannot be entertained any further”.

Additionally, the Court affirmed the first issue, whether the suit property falls within the jurisdiction of the DCB. The Court repudiated the second issue, whether the provisions of Section 250 of the Act would bar the suit filed by the Appellant. The Court found that the Appellant had accepted the jurisdiction of the DCB in the order passed by the Court in the Special Leave Petition of 2020 and that the Trial Court had not passed any order against the Appellant to attract the bar under Section 250 of the Act. The Court held that the Appellant was not granted any legal right to have his property de-sealed and the question of de-sealing was intertwined with the issues arising for consideration in the pending civil suit between the Appellant and the DCB.

“There cannot be any doubt with respect to the fact that the question of de-sealing is also a matter which is intertwined with the issues arising for consideration in the pending Civil Suit, in view of the attendant circumstances”, the Bench asserted.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Appeal.

Cause Title: Ram Kishan Thr. Legal Representatives & Anr. v. Manish Kumar & Anr. (2023 INSC 640)

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