High Court of Telangana: Title Dispute Resolution Lies in Civil Courts, Not Writs


LI Network

Published on: 29 August 2023 at 17:23 IST

In a recent ruling, the Telangana High Court has restated the established principle that the determination of title disputes is beyond the purview of High Courts when exercising writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The Court’s decision, delivered by the bench comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice T. Vinod Kumar, underscores the summary nature of writ proceedings and the necessity to address matters of title through civil suits.

The case in question centers around a land title conflict involving a tract of land spanning 525.39 acres in Survey No. 83 of Ranga Reddy District. The dispute’s intricate history involves proceedings under the Andhra Pradesh Land Reforms Act and the Urban Land Ceiling Act, as well as the appellants’ acquisition of the land in 2008.

The appellants, who had obtained ownership of 53 acres via registered sale deeds, contested actions taken by the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC), formerly known as APIIC. The TSIIC officials’ interference with the appellants’ land possession prompted them to file a writ petition before the High Court. In response, the respondents raised concerns regarding the appellants’ title over the land.

In the original judgment issued on April 28, 2023, the High Court dismissed the writ petition, asserting that the appellants had concealed vital information and lacked genuine intentions. Additionally, the Court opined that the appellants had not sufficiently demonstrated their title to the contested land.

Challenging the April 28 order through an appeal, the appellants argued that the Single Judge had overstepped by deciding the issue of title within the scope of writ proceedings.

Relying on precedents such as Sohan Lal v. Union of India and Thansingh Nathmal v. Superintendent of Taxes, the bench highlighted that the determination of title should be addressed in civil suits rather than writ proceedings.

The bench’s decision stated, “In light of the aforementioned legal stance established by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it becomes evident that the question of a party’s title cannot be deliberated in a writ petition… Thus, in our well-considered view, the Single Judge’s adjudication of the issue of title in summary proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India based on assertions made by private respondents, which is impermissible.”

Furthermore, the Court clarified that the Single Judge had exceeded the petition’s prayer and pleadings by scrutinizing the vendor’s title without any challenge to the registered sale deeds.

Consequently, the High Court annulled the April 28 order and issued an injunction against the respondents, barring them from evicting the appellants or demolishing structures on the disputed land.

However, the Court explicitly indicated that it had not provided an opinion on the actual title of the land, reserving that matter for determination in the appropriate civil court.

Case Title: Visweswara Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., And others. V. The Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Ltd.

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