Delhi High Court rules that perpetual lease of public land can be cancelled when objective for lease ceases to exist

The Delhi High Court has held that if the fundamental premise on which public land is allotted to an entity ceases to exist, a perpetual lease with respect to this public land can be canceled by the Land & Development Officer, Government of India.

The Judgment was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru in a petition by Center of Applied Politics (petitioner) challenging the cancellation of a perpetual deed of lease deed dated July 2, 1977, executed in its favour with respect to a property at IP Estate, New Delhi.

By two orders dated June 12, 2017, and June 23, 2017, the Deputy Land & Development Officer, Government of India (L&DO) canceled the perpetual lease and directed the petitioner to hand over possession of the property to the concerned authorities.

The lease was canceled on the ground that the petitioner had failed and neglected to construct a building on the land, as speculated in the lease agreement and to use the same for the purpose for which the land was allotted.

The L&DO found that there was unauthorized construction on the land and there were complaints of attempts made to usurp the same by squatters/miscreants for carrying on the work of a political party.

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