HYDERABAD: In a rare case, the Telangana High Court cancelled the auction of a land and a house which was conducted in 1965. The court also set aside the transactions and alienations made upon such properties, since they had been auctioned.
The government confiscated the land of 11 acres 25 guntas in Survey No. 117 and 121 (old) and 124, 128/2 (new) along with house property bearing Door No. 1-42, Burugupally, Mominpet mandal, Ranga Reddy district in 1958, from its owner under the Revenue Recovery Act, because he defaulted arrears of rentals to the government to a tune of `3,393 for a toddy shop.
The owner, K. Rama Goud, had mortgaged the agricultural land and house as security for payment of rentals in respect of the toddy shop.
After taking over the land, the government had tried to auction it in 1958 and 1964. The highest bidders twice failed to credit the bid amount, which was Rs.2,725 at both times. With no one coming forward to purchase the properties, the government by invoking Board Standing Order No. 45 purchased the agricultural land for `10 and house for `50.
After that, the government had assigned a piece of 9 acres and 6 guntas in the land parcel to an ex-serviceman in 1979, who subsequently sold part of it to the GITAM University.
In 1995, the legal heirs of Rama Goud approached the High Court challenging the auction conducted in 1965. They said they were minors at the time of auction. They said the government had auctioned 14 acres and 58 guntas of their ancestral property, whereas Rama Goud had mortgaged only 11 acres and 25 guntas.
Meanwhile, they also cleared the Excise arrears of Rs.3,400 on March 30, 1996, when the excise department came up with the offer to write off the interest and penalties if the principal amount was paid, and agreed to restore the agricultural land and house to them. They submitted that they came to know of the "fraud" committed by the government only in 1995 and questioned the auction.
After conflicting judgments by various benches of the Telangana High Court in writ petitions in 2008, appeals were filed before a division bench. The division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice K. Lakshman recently cancelled the auction and transactions made upon the property.
The court said that it was a fraud played by the government authorities in auctioning the land and thereafter. First of all, the authorities did not issue notice to the land owner before auctioning the land parcel. Though the auction was done in 1965, the record showed that the name of Rama Goud continued in revenue records both in the pattadar and possessor columns till 1973.
The bench faulted the procedure followed by the government to hand over the properties for only `60. Moreover, it had not paid the amount to the excise department towards rental arrears of Rama Goud, who had died in the meanwhile. With that, the excise officials permitted the legal heirs of Rama Goud to pay the arrears. The court also refuted the contentions of the revenue authorities.
Now, the properties will be re-delivered to the legal heirs of Rama Goud.