May 24, 2024 In Uncategorized



A Single Judge Bench of the High Court of Delhi comprising of Justice Dharmesh Sharma passed an Order dated 22.05.2024 in W.P.(C) 3659/2023 in Md. Shamim Vs. Delhi Development Authority (Dda) & Ors and held that the special remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution was discretionary and can be denied if sought after unreasonable delay.


1) The Petitioner, Md. Shamim was a daily wage labourer who resided in T-huts at Block A-70, Jhuggi No.770, Kanchan Puri, Rajghat Power House, New Delhi, for several decades with his family. The Petitioner claimed that he possessed valid identification documents, including a ration card, voter ID card, and a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card. As part of the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) efforts to implement the Master Plan of Delhi 2021, surveys were conducted since 1998, and areas were demarcated for rehabilitation and resettlement. The Petitioner was asked to vacate his dwelling for redevelopment purposes and was issued an “Alternative Allotment-cum-Demand Letter” on 15.04.2006.

2) The Petitioner claimed that he complied with the directives in the Allotment Letter, demolished his T-huts, and submitted the required documents along with a payment of Rs. 14,000 as the advance license fee. Despite this, the DDA failed to provide alternative housing as promised. Over the years, the Petitioner repeatedly approached the DDA Office and filed an RTI Application in 2015 to seek information about the status of his allotment. However, the responses were unsatisfactory, and no alternative plot was allotted to him.

3) The DDA, represented by learned counsel, argued that the Petition was barred by delay and laches, as it was filed 17 years after the cause of action arose. They contended that the Allotment Letter prescribed a limited license for a 12.5 square meter plot for a period of five years, subject to the payment of the license fee. The DDA claimed that the Petitioner failed to show proof of payment and that the license period had long expired.


The Hon’ble High Court vide Order dated 20.05.2024, made the following observation:

i) The Ld. Single Judge observed that the Petition was barred due to an inordinate delay. The hutment was demolished in 2006, but the Petitioner approached the Court only in 2023, a delay of 17 years. The Court further, highlighted that the special remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution was discretionary and can be denied if sought after unreasonable delay.

ii) Further, the offer of the alternative plot was valid for five years from 2006, which was lapsed by the time Petitioner filed the Writ Petition.

iii) The High Court relied on the Supreme Court Judgment on Mrinmoy Maity v. Chhanda Koley 2024 SCC OnLine SC 551 wherein the Apex Court held that “delay defeats equity and if there is laxity on the part of the Petitioner to assert his legal rights thereby allowing the cause of action to drift away, the High Court in exercising writ jurisdiction should not rekindle the lapsed cause of action.”.


The High Court after going through all the facts and circumstances held that the offer made to the Petitioner vide proposal dated 15.04.2006 lapsed long time back and thereby dismissing the Petition on account of delay and laches.


Kartik Khandekar

Senior Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer & Allied Services



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