The Gujarat High Court has imposed Rs. 25,000/- cost on ten people who had raised objection on a Hindu man selling off his shop to a Muslim man in a Hindu dominated locality.

The Court dismissed the review petition wherein recall of order approving the sale was sought.

The Bench of Justice Biren Vaishnav observed that “it is a disturbing factor that a successful purchaser of property in a disturbed area is being hounded and thwarting his attempt to enjoy the fruits of the property which he successfully purchased. Obviously therefore not only does the Review Application, but the application of neighbors for Joining Party need to be dismissed.”

Advocate Jayraj Chauhan appeared for the petitioner and Advocate Mohmed Saif appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the petitioners/applicants were the witnesses to the sale agreement executed in 2020 wherein the shop was purchased by a Muslim person from a Hindu person in a predominantly Hindu locality in Vadodra district. However, they now objected to the sale on the ground that they were coerced to sign the sale agreement.

Initially, an order was passed wherein the Deputy Collector had rejected the permission for sale on the ground that such sale was likely to affect the balance in the majority Hindu/Minority Muslims and could develop into law-and-order problem.

This order of Deputy Collector was challenged before the High Court in 2019. The High Court allowed the petition and said that what was to be seen was whether the sale was for a fair consideration and with free consent. The consideration on whether it would create a law and order problem and disturb the equilibrium was misconceived.

The issue arose again when sale agreement was to be registered with the sub-registrar, wherein, the petitioners had claimed that they were coerced to put their signatures on the sale documents.

In the meantime, another civil application was filed by a group of persons whose shops were adjacent to the shops purchased by the Muslim man.

The Court said that the motive of the applicants was objectionable and noted that “Two years after the decision they surface before this Court asking for a recall of the order on the ground that they have never signed or that they were coerced into signing. Unfortunately, a suggestion from the Court to the State to examine this, led to a situation where the State machinery has gone ahead and re-examined these panchas in the year 2022- 23, in which, they appear to be not disputing their signatures but the circumstances of they being made to sign... This exercise of the State, through on affidavit is a suggestion of opposing the application, but the intention is seen otherwise.”

Accordingly, the Court imposed costs of Rs. 25,000/- and dismissed the application.

Cause Title- Farhan Tasaddukhusain Barodawala v. Onali Ezazuddin Dholkawala

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