The Supreme Court quashed an order of the High Court saying that the writ petition filed claiming title on the disputed plot of land was taken up in hot haste and was allowed without issuing formal notice to all the respondents.

The Court was deciding an appeal filed by a woman who was aggrieved by the order of the Allahabad High Court by which a writ petition was allowed and the resolution/proposal issued by the Land Management Committee and its approval by the State authorities was quashed.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta held, “On a perusal of the admitted facts as emanating from record, we are persuaded to hold that the impugned order passed by the High Court smacks of arbitrariness and perversity. The writ petition filed claiming title on the disputed plot of land was taken up in hot haste and was allowed without issuing formal notice to all the respondents. Even the State authorities were not given proper opportunity of filing a counter. The standing counsel was instructed to appear without any formal notice being issued and was given a single day’s opportunity to present the factual report.”

Advocate Manindra Dubey represented the appellant while Advocate Manju Jetley represented the respondents.

Brief Facts -

A primary school situated in a village was found to be falling on the proposed alignment of the National Highway and the same was demolished by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the construction of the highway. The villagers requested the NHAI to construct new primary school in the village which was accepted by it. The Land Management Committee issued a proposal identifying and providing a plot of land in the village for the construction of the new school and forwarded the same for approval to the State authorities.

The proposal was accepted by the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) and NHAI started construction of the school. In order to challenge the same, two persons (respondents) filed a writ petition before the High Court styling it to be a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The PIL was dismissed by the Division Bench and hence, respondents preferred pleas against the legality of the resolution/proposal. The High Court allowed the same and quashed the said proposal or resolution. Therefore, the matter was before the Apex Court.

The Supreme Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case observed, “Based on the factual report and noting the oral submissions of the standing counsel, the writ petition came to be allowed by the High Court quashing the proposal dated 2nd September, 2018 and approval by SDO dated 17th September, 2018. The manner in which the proceedings were undertaken indicates that the High Court was keen on not allowing the respondents therein to be heard in the writ proceedings. The original writ petitioners respondent Nos. 1, 2 and 3 herein had apparently made false and misleading averments in the opening para of the Writ-C No.15225 of 2019, that no previous writ petition had been filed craving similar relief.”

The Court said that the writ petition deserved rejection with exemplary costs because the factum of filing of previous two writ petitions was concealed by the respondents. It further noted that the petition was manifestly tainted on account of concealment of material facts.

“Even in the counter affidavit filed in the present case, the respondent Nos. 1, 2 and 3-original writ petitioners have not disputed that the factum of filing of the previous two writ petitions not being disclosed while filing the Writ-C No. 15225 of 2019”, it added.

The Court refrained from imposing a cost in this matter as no one appeared to defend the case on behalf of the respondents. It concluded that the impugned order suffers from patent illegality, perversity, and was passed in sheer violation of principles of natural justice.

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal and quashed the impugned order.

Cause Title- Suneeta Devi v. Avinash and Others (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 194)


Appellant: Advocates Manindra Dubey, Pankaj Kumar Singh, V.S. Dubey, and AOR Raj Singh Rana.

Respondents: AOR Manju Jetley, Advocates Vijay Lakshmi, Prateek Sinha, Praveen Pathak, Avadhesh Kumar Dubey, Mathews J Nedumpara, Sandeep, Sunil Prakash Pandey, and Shraddha Khandadia.

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