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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act power to de-notify = It is a settled legal proposition that once the possession of the land is taken by the State under Section 16 of the Act, land vests in the State free from all encumbrances. The State loses its power to de-notify the same under Section 48 of the Act.

                            published in  http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40633                           
    Non-Reportable
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF  INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

              Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 21780  of 2008


      The Financial Commissioner (Revenue)
      and  Secretary,   Punjab   &   Ors.                               ....
      Petitioners


                                   Versus


      Gurkirpal    Singh                                                ....
      Respondent
                                    With

              Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 12921  of 2010

                                     And

               Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.4994  of 2011



                               J U D G M E N T
      Dr. B. S. CHAUHAN, J.
             The first petition has been filed against the impugned judgment
      and order dated 9.5.2008, passed by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana
      at  Chandigarh  in  Writ  Petition  No.10511  of  2007  by  which  the
      notification dated 23.2.2007 de-notifying the land in exercise of  the
      power under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894  (hereinafter
      referred to as the ‘Act’) has been exercised by the State and the said
      order has been quashed.
           The subsequent two petitions have been disposed of by  the  High
      Court of Punjab & Haryana in terms of the judgment and order passed by
      the said High Court in first petition.


           Land was notified under  Section  4  of  the  Act  on  8.9.1994.
      Section 6 declaration was made on 13.6.1995 and the Award was made  on
      7.7.1997.  As the award amount was not paid, the  “person  interested”
      approached the High Court by filing writ petitions wherein  directions
      were issued to  release  the  amount  of  compensation.  Subsequently,
      references under Section 18 of  the  Act  were  filed.   Some  of  the
      references were decided  and in the Execution Court an  objection  was
      filed by the State authorities that the land was  no  longer  required
      for the purpose it was sought to be acquired for, i.e.,  establishment
      of court complex as it was to be established  at  a  different  place.
      Therefore, the execution proceedings were dropped and  certain  orders
      were passed.  Subsequently, State authorities denotified the  land  so
      acquired issuing a notification dated 23.2.2007 under  Section  48  of
      the Act.


           We have heard the matter at length and also summoned the learned
      Land Acquisition Collector, Dasuya alongwith the original record.  The
      record was produced before us.


           It is a settled legal proposition that once  the  possession  of
      the land is taken by the State under Section 16 of the Act, land vests in the State free from all encumbrances.   The State loses  its  power to de-notify the same under Section 48 of the Act.


           In the instant case, the only question arose as to  whether  the
      possession had been taken or not. The High Court after  examining  the
      facts/record of the case came to the conclusion  that  the  possession
      had been taken on 10.7.1997.  Mutation had also been made, showing the
      land use as for establishment of court complex,  Dasuya.   Entries  in
      Rapat Roznamcha dated 10.7.1997 corroborate the same.


           We have examined the original  record  ourselves.  There  is  an
      office order issued  by  the  learned  Sub  Divisional  Officer  (Land
      Acquisition Collector), Dasuya, District Hoshiarpur, addressed to  the
      Tehsildar, Dasuya, which reads as under:-






      “From


      Sub Divisional Officer cum
      Land Acquisition Collector,
      Dasuya.


      To


      The Tehsildar, Dasuya.


      Sub: No.375 LAC/dated 7/7/1997, Announcement  of  Award  for  Judicial
           Complex, Dasuya.


           In the abovenoted subject, the Award for the acquisition of land
      for Judicial Complex has been announced on 7.7.1997 in the presence of
      the land owners.  You are requested to take possession of this land in
      presence of land owner and representative of  the  Judicial  officers.
      The compensation of crops may be assessed, if any or take  consent  of
      the land owners for harvesting the crop at  their  own  level.   After
      taking of possession report may be sent to this office alongwith Rapat
      Roznamcha within two days.  The matter be treated as most urgent.


                                                   Sd/-
      DA/copy of award.                       Sub Divisional Officers cum
                                        Land Acquisition Collector
                                        Dasuya.


      xx          xx         xx         xx


           No……../LAC/SDA dated   /7/97
            A copy is forwarded to the Addl. Senior Sub  Judge,  Dasuya  for
      information.
            No……../LAC/SDA dated  /7/97
            A copy is forwarded to the Distt. & Sessions  Judge,  Hoshiarpur
      for information.


                                                   Sd/-
                                       Sub Divisional Officers cum
                                        Land Acquisition Collector
                                        Dasuya.”


           The original record reveal entries of taking  over  and  handing
      over the possession containing the signatures of the officers  of  the
      State as well as of the “persons interested” and witnesses which  make
      it evident that the actual physical possession of the  land  had  been
      taken on 10.7.1997.
           In  view  of  the  above,  there  is  no  room  for  doubt  that
      possession had been taken on 10.7.1997 and in such a fact-situation it
      was not permissible for the State to exercise its power under  Section
      48 of the Act.  No fault can be found with the impugned  judgment  and
      orders
           The petitions are devoid of merit and are accordingly dismissed.


                            …….…………………………………….J.                (DR.   B.S.
                            CHAUHAN)




                                                  ….……………………………………….J.
            (V. GOPALA GOWDA)
      New                                                       Delhi;
                      August 5, 2013


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