Chandigarh, March 17
Randeep Kumar, Civil Judge, Junior Division, Chandigarh, has stayed the operation of the February 16 notice of the Director, Health Services (DHS), UT, asking Sunil Kumar, an owner of chemist shop number 6, to pay Rs 31.8 crore as damages for allegedly illegally occupying an adjacent public passage at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16 (GMSH-16).
In an application filed through advocate Munish Dewan, the chemist sought restraining the DHS from proceeding further on the notice during the pendency of the suit.
After removing the encroachment and restoring the load-bearing wall, the UT Health Department had issued the notice. The department levied the damages for 157.5 months at the rate of Rs 11,168 per sq ft per month. The charges have been computed as Rs 31.18 crore plus GST.
The department had alleged that the chemist illegally extended the shop by permanently merging the adjacent passage with it. The load-bearing partition wall between the shop and the public passage was dismantled and the adjacent passage connecting the complex with the parking area encroached upon and included in the shop.
Dewan told the court that the shop was allotted to the chemist in February 1993. The lease period was extended on several occasions only after physical inspection without raising any objection.
On the other hand, the respondents denied the charges and claimed that the present suit was an abuse of the process of law. They also said the lease deed between the parties had already been terminated. Therefore, the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties ceased to exist and the applicant was in unauthorised possession of the demised premises.
After hearing of the arguments, the court stated that a perusal of the order dated February 16, 2023, showed that while calculating the amount, which was being claimed from the applicant, the market rent of the shop was calculated on the basis of what was charged by leasing out shop number 7 in the year 2022 whereas it was an admitted fact that the recovery had been claimed for alleged illegal use and occupation of premises from the year 2010. Therefore, the respondents failed to justify their claim as to how they could calculate the use and occupation charges for a shop from the year 2010 on the basis of rent prevalent in the year 2022.
Further, the respondents have prima facie failed to show as to how they calculated that the alleged illegal encroachment was made by the applicant in the year 2010 as claimed in the survey report whereas there was no material to suggest the same. Further, it was an admitted fact that the applicant was not given any opportunity of being heard while preparing the fact-finding report.
Therefore, the application was allowed to the extent that the respondents were restrained from proceeding further qua order dated February 16, 2023, till disposal of the suit, the court stated.
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