Orissa High Court Upholds OSHB’s Decision to Sell Rourkela Land

The Orissa High Court has chosen to not interfere in the auction process for a patch of land in Rourkela’s Basanti Colony, which belongs to the Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB). An auction sale notice for the plot of land was put up on 9th April 2018 by the OSHB. Three litigants – Tarun Kumar Das, Prasanta Kumar Moharana and Raj Kishore Sahu, all of whom are residents of the area, had filed a PIL seeking to quash the sale notice.

The trio had filed that the concerned patch of land was earmarked for a playground. It was lying vacant and was being used as a leisure spot for exercises and activities, including hosting morning walkers and evening joggers. In an interim order on May 11th, 2018, the Court had sent directives to the OSHB barring any further action on the same land until the case was taken up further. The interim order continued to remain in force till the case was taken up yesterday.

During an examination of the facts, the Court learned that the OSHB had filed a counter affidavit to the case on 3rd March 2020, which the petitioners had not responded to yet. Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray, while disposing of the petition said, “Since factually it is now shown that the plot in question is not a part of the common utility area, this court cannot possibly interfere with the decision to offer for sale by way of auction, the said plot.”

While deciding on the common utility area at Basanti Colony under the Rourkela Housing Scheme, the OSHB had already provisioned for reserved areas to construct roads, open spaces, schools, parks. The plot in dispute was a buildable area and not a common utility area. “Accordingly, OSHB has a right to sell the plot. Therefore offering it for auction sale was not contrary to the approved layout plan,” the counter affidavit noted.

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