Attorney General K K Venugopal has told the Supreme Court that a law must be enacted to stop the discretionary quota in land allotments in urban areas to politicians as well as high court and Supreme Court judges.

The AG said that only a citizen of India, born in or domiciled in the concerned urban area should be eligible for getting land under the discretionary allotment power of the government.

The top law officer made the submissions in response to the Supreme Court's earlier direction to submit proposed guidelines to govern allotment of government land to housing societies, to which politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, and sometimes judges are also members, across the country.

The qualification of eligible persons and categories of eligible persons for land allotments must be clearly and exhaustively spelt out in the statute itself, without leaving room for the executive to add categories by way of a notification, he said.

Venugopal, however, suggested that the discretionary land allotment policy must be continued for the needy and poor.

However, for all other categories, the price of land would have to be charged as per market value and the actual cost of construction of the house to be determined by the government concerned.

Land allotment must be done by way of a statutory enactment duly passed by the state legislatures, not by executive policy/guidelines, he said.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice A S Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli had on February 8 had asked the attorney general to submit guidelines to regulate land allotment to the housing societies across the nation.

The matter pertained to ascertaining the legality, propriety of policies formulated by the states concerning allotment of land for housing projects and exploring the possibility of having a uniform policy about the same which is applicable PAN-India.

The issue had come up in an appeal filed by Andhra Pradesh, now pursued by successor Telangana government, against the 2010 verdict of the Hyderabad High Court setting aside various government orders on allotment of residential plots to housing societies.

Before this, a plea was filed in 2008 in the high court challenging the alienation of land situated within the Greater Hyderabad Municipal corporation Limits to various societies comprising MLAs, MPs, IAS, IPS, IRS officers, and others.

The conclusion is irresistible and the impugned GOs (government orders) to the extent that they did not render ineligible the persons, who own a house or house site in their own name or in the name of their spouse or children for allotment of house sites by the respective societies of which they are members, cannot be sustained in law, the high court had held in 2010.

The state government had appealed against the verdict.

With PTI inputs