Flats in DDA Saket Court Residential Complex up for Rent as well as Sale on MagicBricks – A Test Case for an action by the State?
A search for a property in or near Saket on 24.03.2021 (24 March, 2021) through the use of mobile application of Magicbricks Realty Services Limited (magicbricks.com), brought an unexpected and surprising result of open, blatant and unrestrictedly carrying and continuing of real estate transactions in the nature of offering for sale and rent, the government flats located in the DDA Saket Court Residential Complex, Delhi. It is always easy to find, know and forget such issues of general public importance, not only to the deemed victims of the transactions who were conscious enough to prevent any loss or harm, but to all the potential victims being the gullible consumers. However, the said issue was found to be pretty much serious in terms of its extent but reach of such illegal transactions entering inside one’s own castle i.e. home accommodation, especially in the context of government allotted accommodation and that too to the learned officers of Delhi Judicial Services and Delhi High Judicial Services.
Plausibly relying upon the intended action to be taken by the concerned authorities to nib such malpractice in the bud, an intimation was written to the Ld. Principal District & Sessions Judge (HQs), District Central, Tis Hazari Courts on 26.03.2021, with a sincere request to consider the issue raised as a matter of larger public interest or importance in justice delivery system, deserving investment of previous judicial time, attention and appropriate action. Further, the same was marked to the Ld. Registrar General, High Court of Delhi and Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority for necessary information, records, forwarding and appropriate action, if any. Interestingly, to purposively effectuate the real meaning of Section 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in the larger context of the motto ‘Access to Justice’ fiercely propagated by the Legal Services Authorities in Delhi, the same intimation was also marked to the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate of the concerned area having competent jurisdiction thereupon through the Ld. Secretary, South District Legal Services Authority. The following constitute the relevant extracts of the said intimation, being reproduced herein below for ready reference:
In the matter of availability of Flats in DDA Saket Court Residential Complex, Delhi on Rent as well as on Sale basis, through the website and mobile application of Magicbricks Realty Services Limited (magicbricks.com) and related issues therewith
“In specific reference to the captioned subject, the undersigned implores your good self to kindly take immediate note of the availability of Flats in DDA Saket Court Residential Complex on Rent as well as on Sale basis, through the website and mobile application of Magicbricks Realty Services Limited (magicbricks.com). It is conveyed to your good self that the said information has been learnt or received through an acquaintance on 24.03.2021 who happened to search for a property in/near Saket through the use of said mobile application and was found interested as well as eager to know if the same was really possible for a flat in a court residential complex to be put on rent and/or sale freely or otherwise the same was in essence, a fraudulent act to cheat prospective customers.
That the undersigned attempted to preliminary co-relate and verify the said information on the website of Magicbricks, which at the outset did not allow to provide the said details at once and prompted through digital message to download the Magicbricks mobile application to access all the details contained therein. That upon downloading the said mobile application from the google play store and feeding the area details in search tab as ‘court saket’, ‘chambers saket’ and otherwise also as simplicitor ‘saket’, the options displayed prominently with DDA Saket Court Residential Complex, the screenshots thereof being shared in the annexure enclosed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE I/C-1.
That the undersigned believes that none of the learned judicial officer and/or the staff who has been allotted an accommodation in DDA Saket Court Residential Complex would commit such an act of putting the details for rent and/or sale purposes and is allegedly understood to be misadventured preemptive fraudulent act by the registered agents on the magicbricks mobile application, duly supported as an unfair trade practice through commission or omission by Magicbricks Realty Services Limited. That the scale of operations to illegally influence and target customers by putting government property on rent and/or sale might be huge and spread across other areas/regions too and therefore it is a serious offence touching upon the credibility of judiciary as an institution. That although the photos uploaded with each search result as an entry into the mobile application cannot be co-related with the actual images of the flat by the undersigned for want of personal experience, but the act is the one by which a private player has been successful in showing grave audacity to indirectly secure premium over prime government owned property, whether directly or indirectly.”
With the little experience of having learned not to expect any response of such correspondence(s), lest about any acknowledgement in respect thereto, from the concerned authorities, the curiosity to know about its effect on the continued illegal business practice was regularly assessed for another two weeks and the obvious was again witnessed. The business was safely being continued to be carried on, as usual. Thereafter, in order to quell any possible misunderstanding about the systemic lapse as appearing then, an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 was filed with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority on 12.04.2021 seeking the status of the action taken with respect to the intimation filed on 26.03.2021, but owing to the deadly onslaught of second wave of COVID-19 or otherwise, no reply nor any correspondence was found made by the concerned public authority. Waiting for over two months for times to get convenient for the public servants to work, an appeal in the nature of ‘First Appeal’ was filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005 with the learned Special Secretary/First Appellate Authority, Delhi State Legal Services Authority on 24.06.2021, and after several rounds of hearings held on 27.07.2021 (disputed as no hearing was actually held concerning the said appeal), 09.08.2021, 16.08.2021, 25.08.2021, 13.09.2021 and 30.09.2021, it came on record that the said intimation was forwarded by Secretary, DLSA (South) to Ms. Manika, Ld. ACMM (South), Saket Court, New Delhi (having the competent territorial jurisdiction over P.S. Saket) on 30.03.2021 through a letter (with xerox stamp of despatch number and date) and again on 13.09.2021 (originally stamped with despatch number and date) for her kind perusal and necessary action as deemed fit by her good self.
As it appears, the matter is in the Hon’ble Court, either from 30.03.2021 or 13.09.2021, apparently for setting the criminal law into motion, if any criminal offence is so found committed, and actual status of the action so taken or process initiated up till now, is unknown. If one studies the implications of Section 39 read with 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for the state to have kept reasonable expectation from the common man to come and support the cause of justice, whether or not applicable to the present set of facts and circumstances, the same is not found reciprocated as confidence in the process and faith in the system, as conveyed does not seem to be motivating enough to lead the pursuit of justice for self or for others. Unabatedly, the said practice by the private players through the Magic Bricks is continuing and growing too, as again found on 19.10.2021 at 19:03 Hours, and the entire premise which has been set so, believing that everything is being done by the outsiders alone, calls for a detailed enquiry in no other clear terms.
The inter-mix of presumptions, assumptions, beliefs and the facts is unexplainable but the test of times, will only bring out the truth, or else the matter would die a natural death of time soon. A Test Case, as it is named, for the State to act upon!
[The author ‘Mohit Kumar Gupta’ is an advocate at High Court of Delhi and District Courts-Delhi NCR. He can be reached at [email protected] for any questions or feedback concerning the write-up.
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