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The Supreme Court has ruled that a person who is a transferee of a plot of land allotted to the transferor by an Improvement Trust cannot claim a right to continue with such allotment if it was cancelled with the approval of the trust. A bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Markandey Katju turned down the plea that once transfer was effected in the favour of the transferee with the approval of the trust it created an interest in the plot. Such right is independent of the allotment made in the name of the original allottee, the plea had said.

On October 28, 1982 one Ms Shammi Verma was allotted a plot at Balmik Nagar by the Improvement Trust, Ludhiana. Though she had deposited the amount, which was required to be paid against such allotment, she was informed by the trust that it was unable to hand over possession of the plot to her. Subsequently, Ms Verma was allotted another plot and an agreement to sell was also executed in her favour. On May 11, 1989, appellant Baljit Singh acquired the allotted plot from Ms Verma and such transfer was also permitted by the trust. Three months later on August 14, 1989, when the appellant applied for approval of the site plan he came to know that the allotment of the plot in favour of Ms Verma was cancelled on the ground that such allotment had been made by one SS Mann, who was not competent to make such allotment.

It was the plea of the appellant that since the interest of Ms Verma devolved upon him as her approved transferee; possession of such plot ought to have been made over to him. The trust, however, rejected his claim on the ground that though the plot was allotted to Ms Verma as a local displaced person, she was not the owner of any portion of the land acquired by the trust and was not a displaced person, which was the eligibility criterion for coming under the scheme. Even the subsequent change in the allotment was effected by an officer who was neither authorised nor entitled to do so, it had said.

It was challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the appellant. The court had dismissed the writ petition holding that the appellant did not have any independent right in the plot and as a transferee his fortunes depended on the fate of the transferor. Aggrieved by the high court order, the appellant had came to the apex court.

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