A family's tireless wait of 39 years for a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) flat seems to be ending soon, with the Delhi High Court directing the landowning agency to hand over its possession to the allottee while pulling it up for its "non-caring attitude".
The court held cancellation of the allotment of the residential flat to the family as illegal and contrary to law and said the case revealed a "sordid state of affairs" as the DDA has failed to maintain records.
A Delhi resident had applied for the flat in the DDA's residential scheme in 1979 and was declared successful for the allotment. The man, JC Madan, died in 1984 and his wife and son were pursuing the matter with the authorities.
"The application by the husband of plaintiff no. 1 (wife Kaushalya) and father of plaintiff no.2 dates back to 1979. The family has waited for more than 39 years for allotment of a MIG flat. The record speaks volumes of the complete non-caring attitude of an authority like the DDA.
"The demand cum allotment letter has been generated in multiple originals and not a single one of them was sent and delivered to the plaintiffs. Thus, the cancellation is illegal and contrary to law," Justice Prathiba M Singh said.
The court granted a decree in favour of Mr Madan's wife for a flat in Dwarka's Sector 13 on payment of Rs 10.16 lakh by them to the DDA by July 31.
It directed the agency to handover the possession of the flat to the family within four weeks of receiving the payment and said in case this flat was not available, they should be given another one.
The court also said that a copy of its order be sent to the Lieutenant Governor and Vice Chairman of DDA for issuing appropriate orders and directions with regard to maintenance of records by the agency DDA and for considering setting up an online feature on its portal to enable proper and complete tracking of current status of files and correspondence.
The DDA had claimed in the court that the family had informed it late about the death of the original allottee and also sent the demand-cum-allotment letter to their address. But it was cancelled due to non-payment of the amount.
It had also alleged that the family had not informed it about change of their address.
The family, however, had said that they had informed the agency about their new residential address on time.
The court said the original record of the DDA was absolutely sketchy and it only contained few pages and there was no other document in it.
"The files of the DDA go to show that it does not preserve (for whatever reason) the correspondence in a proper manner. There is no method by which a citizen can ascertain as to whether his/her letters have reached the DDA and if so how long he/she should wait for a reply. For an ordinary litigant, approaching court is the last resort.
"This entire litigation after the allotment in 2002 could have been completely avoided if there was proper maintenance of correspondence by the DDA. The DDA would have known that there was a change of address through the letter sent by the plaintiffs. Even in 2006, the DDA came out with the policy for considering the individual cases but it still did not consider the plaintiffs case," the court said.