March 14, 2024 In Uncategorized


A two Judge Bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta passed a judgement in Suneeta Devi V. Avinash and Ors. Civil Appeal 3955 of 2024 wherein the Supreme Court held that Allahabad High Court passed the Order in hot haste without issuing a formal notice to the Respondents therein.


A primary school situated in a village namely Mai Kharagpur 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 Land Management Committee issued a proposal dated 02.09.2018 locating and giving a block of land in the village for the construction of the new school and forwarded it to the State Authorities for its approval. The proposal was accepted by the Sub-Divisional Officer, Lalganj (SDO) vide order dated 17.09.2018 and NHAI started construction of the school.

Challenging the said proposal, Respondent No. 1 and 2 namely Avinash and Ram Jee filed a Writ Petition in Allahabad High Court as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) bearing PIL No. 4648 of 2018. In the PIL it was never contended by the Respondent No. 1 and 2 that the land in question had ever been allotted to the Respondents.

The PIL was dismissed by the Division Bench vide Order dated 27.10.2018 stating that the steps taken by the Respondent No. 1 and 2 are nothing but an attempt to interfere in the public work and also held that no public interest was involved in the Petition.

Thereafter, the Respondents again filed a Writ Petition bearing No. 10806 of 2019 challenging the proposal of the Land Management Committee dated 02.09.2018 praying to restrain the NHAI authorities from constructing the primary school on the said plot of land. The said Writ Petition was also dismissed by the High Court of Allahabad vide Order dated 18.04.2019 stating that since the dispute over landed property could not be resolved by the High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution (Power of High Courts to issue certain writs). The Petitioners (Respondent Nos. 1, 2, and 3) were given the option to seek relief through a Civil Suit in accordance with law.

Later, the Respondents again preferred a Writ Petition bearing no. 15225 of 2019 against the legality of the resolution/proposal dated 02.09.2018 of the Land Management Committee and its approval by SDO vide order dated 17.09.2018.

The Allahabad High Court allowed the Writ Petition on the grounds that the disputed plot belonged to the Respondents and the Land Management Committee or SDO had no right to reserve this land for construction of a primary school. The Resolution dated 02.09.2018 and the Approval by the SDO dated 17.09.2018 were declared to be illegal and were set aside. Hence, the present Appeal was filed by the Appellant i.e. Suneeta Devi before the Supreme Court challenging the Order passed by the Allahabad High Court.


I) Whether sufficient time and opportunity of being heard was given to the Respondents therein in P bearing no. 15225 of 2019?

II) Whether the High Court conducted the proceedings hastily and passed an order against the Principles of Natural Justice?

Decision of Supreme Court

The Apex Court held that the High Court had proceeded in hot haste and on the first listing of the Writ Petition, the standing Counsel for State of U.P. was summoned and was directed to take instructions. Moreover, the matter was listed without issuing formal Notice to the Respondents therein.

The Counsel for the Appellant herein contended that the school in question had already been constructed and was operational on the disputed plot of land which was a government land. He urged that factum of filing of two earlier Writ Petitions with similar prayers was concealed by Respondent Nos. 1, 2 and 3 herein.

The Supreme Court also considered the fact that the Respondents herein had concealed the fact about filing of previous 3 Writ Petitions in the High Courts. Moreover, while filing the last Writ Petition bearing no. 15225 of 2019, the Petitioners had made false and misleading statements in the opening para, that no previous Writ Petition was filed claiming similar relief.

The Supreme Court stated 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. However, the Apex Court refrained from imposing a cost in the matter as no one appeared to defend the case on behalf of the Respondents.

Hence, the Apex Court set aside the Order dated 03.07.2019 passed by the single Judge Bench of Allahabad High Court. The Supreme Court also held that 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 Supreme Court allowed the Appeal and quashed the impugned Order stating that the impugned Order suffered from illegality, perversity and was in violation of Principles of Natural Justice. Moreover, the High Court’s Order depicted arbitrariness, hot haste and carelessness. Hence, it was rightful to quash the said Order.

Editor’s Comments

Under the law, the right to audi alterem partum i.e. the right to be heard, is one of the principles of Natural Justice. If any Court passes any order without hearing both parties, it is deemed to be a violation of the Principles of Natural Justice and as such the higher Courts cannot accept such an order and will quash or set aside the same. In the present case, though the Allahabad High Court asked the standing counsel for the Government to get instructions, it could not have been deemed to be notice under the law. Hence, the Supreme Court had to set aside the Order of the High Court.


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