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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short, ‘2013 Act’) which has come into effect on 01.01.2014, Section 24 - All the acquisition proceedings pending comes under the new act if award was not passed - and if award passed before commencement of this Act old Act applies for all purposes - and if though award passed 5 years or more back itself but compensation was not paid and no possession was taken, then it can be considered as the acquisition proceedings are lapsed once for all after the commencement of this Act - if desires Fresh proceedings to be initiated afreshly as per new Act = Pune Municipal Corporation & Anr. … Appellants Versus Harakchand Misirimal Solanki & Ors. … Respondents = 2014 ( January - Vol - 1) Judis.nic.in/ S.C./ file name =41177

  The Right  to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,  Rehabilitation  and
Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short, ‘2013 Act’) which has  come  into  effect
on 01.01.2014, Section 24 - All the acquisition proceedings pending comes under the new act if award was not passed - and if award passed before commencement of this Act old Act applies for all purposes - and if though award passed 5 years or more back itself but compensation was not paid and no possession was taken, then it can be considered as the acquisition proceedings are lapsed once for all after the commencement of  this Act - if desires Fresh proceedings to be initiated afreshly as per new Act =

 in view of Section 24(2) of The Right  to
Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,  Rehabilitation  and
Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short, ‘2013 Act’) which has  come  into  effect
on 01.01.2014, the subject land acquisition proceedings initiated under  the
Land Acquisition Act,  1894  (for  short,  ‘1894  Act’)  have  lapsed.  
The
question  for  decision  relates  to  true  meaning   of   the   expression:
“compensation has not been paid” occurring in  Section  24(2)  of  the  2013
Act.

   2013 Act puts  in  place  entirely  new  regime  for  compulsory
acquisition  of  land  and  provides  for  new  scheme   for   compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to the  affected  families  whose  land  has been acquired or proposed to be acquired or affected by such acquisition.
9.          To turn, now, to the meaning  of  the  expression  “compensation
has not been paid” in Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act and its  effect  on  the
subject acquisition, it is necessary to refer to Section 24 which  reads  as
follows:
      “24. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, in  any  case
      of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the  Land  Acquisition
      Act, 1894, -

        a) Where no award under section 11 of the said Land Acquisition Act
           has been made, then, all provisions of this Act relating to  the
           determination of compensation shall apply; or


        b) Where an award under said section 11 has been  made,  then  such
           proceedings shall continue under the provisions of the said Land
           Acquisition Act, as if the said Act has not been repealed.


      (2)   Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1),  in  case
      of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the  Land  Acquisition
      Act, 1894, where an award under the said section 11 has been made five
      years or more prior to the commencement of this Act but  the  physical
      possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has  not
      been paid the said proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed and  the
      appropriate  Government,  if  it  so  chooses,  shall   initiate   the
      proceedings of such land acquisition afresh  in  accordance  with  the
      provisions of this Act:


           Provided that where an award has been made and  compensation  in
      respect of a majority of land holding has not been  deposited  in  the
      account of the beneficiaries, then, all beneficiaries specified in the
      notification  for  acquisition  under  section  4  of  the  said  Land
      Acquisition Act, shall be entitled to compensation in accordance  with
      the provisions of this Act.”



 Now,  this  is  admitted  position  that  award  was  made   on
31.01.2008.  Notices  were  issued  to  the  landowners   to   receive   the
compensation and since they did not receive  the  compensation,  the  amount
(Rs.27 crores) was deposited in the government treasury.   Can  it  be  said
that deposit of the amount of compensation in  the  government  treasury  is
equivalent to the amount of  compensation  paid  to  the  landowners/persons
interested? We do not think so.  In a comparatively  recent  decision,  this
Court in Agnelo Santimano Fernandes[2], relying upon  the  earlier  decision
in Prem Nath Kapur[3], has held that  the  deposit  of  the  amount  of  the
compensation in  the  state’s  revenue  account  is  of  no  avail  and  the
liability of the state to pay interest subsists  till  the  amount  has  not
been deposited in court.
20.         From the above, it is clear that the  award  pertaining  to  the
subject land has been made by the  Special  Land  Acquisition  Officer  more
than five years prior to the commencement of  the  2013  Act.   It  is  also
admitted position that compensation so awarded has neither been paid to  the
landowners/persons interested nor deposited in the  court.  The  deposit  of
compensation amount in the government treasury is of no avail and cannot  be
held to  be  equivalent  to  compensation  paid  to  the  landowners/persons
interested.We have, therefore, no hesitation in holding that  the  subject land acquisition proceedings shall be deemed to have  lapsed  under  Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act.
21.         The argument on behalf of the Corporation that the subject  land
acquisition proceedings have been concluded in all respects under  the  1894
Act and that they are not affected at all in view of Section 114(2)  of  the
2013 Act, has no merit at all, and is noted to be rejected.  
Section  114(1)
of the 2013 Act repeals 1894 Act.  Sub-section (2) of Section 114,  however,
makes Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 applicable with  regard  to
the effect of repeal but this is subject to the provisions in the 2013  Act.
Under Section 24(2) land acquisition proceedings initiated  under  the  1894
Act, by legal fiction, are deemed to have lapsed  where award has been  made
five years or more prior to the commencement of 2013 Act and  possession  of
the land is not taken or compensation has not been paid.  
The legal  fiction
under Section 24(2) comes  into  operation  as  soon  as  conditions  stated
therein are satisfied.  
The  applicability  of  Section  6  of  the  General
Clauses Act being subject to  Section  24(2),  there  is  no  merit  in  the
contention of the Corporation.

22.         In view of the foregoing discussion,  it  is  not  necessary  to
consider the correctness of the impugned judgment on merits.
23.          The appeals fail and are dismissed with no order as to costs.
2014 ( January - Vol - 1) Judis.nic.in/ S.C./ file name  =41177

R.M. LODHA, MADAN B. LOKUR, KURIAN JOSEPH
                                                           REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
              CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 877                    OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30283 of 2008)




Pune Municipal Corporation & Anr.                  … Appellants

                   Versus

Harakchand Misirimal Solanki & Ors.                      … Respondents

                                    WITH

                  CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 878            OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30455 of 2008)

                                    WITH


                  CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 879            OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30470 of 2008)


                                    WITH


                  CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 880            OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30467 of 2008)


                                    WITH


                  CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 881            OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30465 of 2008)


                                    WITH


                  CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 882            OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30469 of 2008)


                                    WITH


                  CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 883            OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30543 of 2008)


                                    WITH


                  CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 884            OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30546 of 2008)


                                    WITH


                  CIVIL  APPEAL NO. 885            OF 2014
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 30548 of 2008)


                                     AND


             CIVIL  APPEAL NOS.      886-894             OF 2014
              (Arising out of SLP(C) Nos. 15847-15855 of 2010)




                                  JUDGMENT




R.M. LODHA, J.


            Delay condoned in S.L.P.  (C)  Nos.15847-15855  of  2010.  Leave
granted.
2.          In these 18 appeals, by special leave, it is  argued  on  behalf
of the respondents-landowners that
  in view of Section 24(2) of The Right  to
Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,  Rehabilitation  and
Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short, ‘2013 Act’) which has  come  into  effect
on 01.01.2014, the subject land acquisition proceedings initiated under  the
Land Acquisition Act,  1894  (for  short,  ‘1894  Act’)  have  lapsed.  
The
question  for  decision  relates  to  true  meaning   of   the   expression:
“compensation has not been paid” occurring in  Section  24(2)  of  the  2013
Act.
3.          It may not be necessary at all  to  go  into  the  legality  and
correctness of the  impugned  judgment,  if  the  subject  land  acquisition
proceedings are held to have lapsed.  We, therefore, deal with  this  aspect
first.
4.          The  brief  facts  necessary  for  consideration  of  the  above
question  are  these.
On  06.08.2002,  the  proposal   of   the   Municipal
Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation  (for  short,  “Corporation”)  duly
approved by the Standing Committee  for  acquisition  of  lands  admeasuring
43.94 acres for development of “Forest Garden” was sent  to  the  Collector,
Pune.
The Collector sanctioned the proposal  and  on  20.02.2003  forwarded
the same to Special Land Acquisition Officer (15), Pune for further  action.
 On 30.09.2004, the notification  under  Section  4  of  the  1894  Act  was
published in the official gazette.  Then notices  under  Section  4(1)  were
served  upon  the  landowners/interested   persons.   On   26.12.2005,   the
declaration under Section 6 was published in the  official  gazette  and  on
02.02.2006, it was also published at the site and on  the  notice  board  of
the  Office  of  Talaltti.   Following  the  notices  under  Section  9,  on
31.01.2008 the  Special  Land  Acquisition  Officer  made  the  award  under
Section 11 of the 1894 Act.
5.          The landowners  challenged  the  above  acquisition  proceedings
before the Bombay High Court in 9 writ petitions.  Of  them,  2  were  filed
before  making  award  and  7  after  the  award.   The  challenge  to   the
acquisition proceedings and the validity of the award was laid   on  diverse
grounds including
(i) absence of resolution  of  the  General  Body  of  the
Corporation;
(ii) non-compliance with the provisions of  Section  5A,
(iii)
non-compliance with the  provisions  of  Section  7,  and
(iv)  lapsing  of
acquisition proceedings under Section 11A.
The High Court  on  consideration
of the arguments advanced before  it  by  the  parties  has  held  that  the
acquisition proceedings for the development of “Forest Garden” could not  be
initiated by the  Commissioner  with  the  mere  approval  of  the  Standing
Committee without resolution of the General Body of  the  Corporation.   The
acquisition proceedings were also held bad  in  law  for  non-compliance  of
Section 7 and other statutory breaches.  Inter  alia,  the  High  Court  has
quashed the acquisition proceedings and gave  certain  directions  including
restoration of possession.
6.          It is argued on behalf of  the  landowners  that  by  virtue  of
Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, the subject acquisition shall  be  deemed  to have been lapsed because the award under Section 11 of the 1894 Act is  made more than  five  years  prior  to  the  commencement  of  2013  Act  and  no compensation has been paid to the owners nor the amount of compensation  has
been deposited in the court by the Special Land Acquisition Officer.
7.          On the other hand, on behalf of the Corporation and so also  for
the Collector, it is argued that the award was  made  by  the  Special  Land
Acquisition Officer on 31.01.2008 strictly in terms of 1894 Act and  on  the
very day the landowners were informed regarding the quantum of  compensation
for their respective lands. Notices were also issued to  the  landowners  to
reach the office of the Special Land Acquisition  Officer  and  receive  the
amount of compensation and since they neither received the compensation  nor
any request came from them to make reference to  the  District  Court  under
Section  18,  the  compensation  amounting  to            Rs.27  crores  was
deposited in the government treasury. It is, thus, submitted that there  was
no default on the part of  the  Special  Land  Acquisition  Officer  or  the
government  and,  hence,  the  acquisition  proceedings  have  not   lapsed.
Moreover, reliance is also placed on Section 114 of the 2013 Act and  it  is
argued that the concluded  land  acquisition  proceedings  are  not  at  all
affected  by  Section  24(2)  and  the  only  right  that  survives  to  the
landowners is to receive compensation.
8.          2013 Act puts  in  place  entirely  new  regime  for  compulsory
acquisition  of  land  and  provides  for  new  scheme   for   compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to the  affected  families  whose  land  has been acquired or proposed to be acquired or affected by such acquisition.
9.          To turn, now, to the meaning  of  the  expression  “compensation
has not been paid” in Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act and its  effect  on  the
subject acquisition, it is necessary to refer to Section 24 which  reads  as
follows:
      “24. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, in  any  case
      of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the  Land  Acquisition
      Act, 1894, -

        a) Where no award under section 11 of the said Land Acquisition Act
           has been made, then, all provisions of this Act relating to  the
           determination of compensation shall apply; or


        b) Where an award under said section 11 has been  made,  then  such
           proceedings shall continue under the provisions of the said Land
           Acquisition Act, as if the said Act has not been repealed.


      (2)   Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1),  in  case
      of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the  Land  Acquisition
      Act, 1894, where an award under the said section 11 has been made five
      years or more prior to the commencement of this Act but  the  physical
      possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has  not
      been paid the said proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed and  the
      appropriate  Government,  if  it  so  chooses,  shall   initiate   the
      proceedings of such land acquisition afresh  in  accordance  with  the
      provisions of this Act:


           Provided that where an award has been made and  compensation  in
      respect of a majority of land holding has not been  deposited  in  the
      account of the beneficiaries, then, all beneficiaries specified in the
      notification  for  acquisition  under  section  4  of  the  said  Land
      Acquisition Act, shall be entitled to compensation in accordance  with
      the provisions of this Act.”


10.         Insofar as sub-section  (1)  of  Section  24  is  concerned,  it
begins with non obstante clause.  By this, Parliament has  given  overriding
effect to this provision over all other  provisions  of  2013  Act.   It  is
provided in clause (a) that where  the  land  acquisition  proceedings  have
been initiated under the 1894 Act but no award under  Section  11  is  made,
then the provisions of 2013 Act shall apply relating  to  the  determination
of compensation. Clause (b) of Section  24(1)  makes  provision  that  where
land acquisition proceedings have been initiated  under  the  1894  Act  and
award has been made under Section 11,  then such proceedings shall  continue
under the provisions of the 1894 Act as if that Act has not been repealed.
11.         Section  24(2)  also  begins  with  non  obstante  clause.  This
provision has overriding effect over Section  24(1).  Section  24(2)  enacts
that in relation to the land acquisition proceedings  initiated  under  1894
Act, where an  award  has  been  made  five  years  or  more  prior  to  the
commencement of the  2013  Act  and  either  of  the  two  contingencies  is
satisfied, viz; (i) physical possession of the land has not  been  taken  or
(ii) the compensation has not been paid, such acquisition proceedings  shall
be deemed to have lapsed. On the lapse of such acquisition proceedings,   if
the appropriate government still chooses to acquire the land which  was  the
subject matter of acquisition under the 1894 Act then  it  has  to  initiate
the proceedings afresh under the  2013 Act. The proviso appended to  Section
24(2) deals with a situation where in respect of the  acquisition  initiated
under the 1894 Act an award has been made and compensation in respect  of  a
majority of land holdings has not been  deposited  in  the  account  of  the
beneficiaries  then  all  the   beneficiaries   specified   in   Section   4
notification become entitled to compensation under 2013 Act.
12.         To find out the meaning of  the  expression,  “compensation  has
not been paid”, it is necessary to have a look at Section  31  of  the  1894
Act. The said Section, to the extent it is relevant, reads as follows:
      “31.  Payment of compensation or deposit of same in Court.  –  (1)  On
      making an award under section 11, the Collector shall  tender  payment
      of the compensation awarded by him to the persons interested  entitled
      thereto according to the award,  and  shall  pay  it  to  them  unless
      prevented by some one or more of the contingencies  mentioned  in  the
      next sub-section.


      (2)   If they shall not consent to receive  it,  or  if  there  be  no
      person competent to alienate the land, or if there be any  dispute  as
      to the title to receive the compensation or as to the apportionment of
      it, the Collector shall deposit the amount of the compensation in  the
      Court to which a reference under section 18 would be submitted:


            xxxx            xxxx              xxxx               xxxx”




13.         There is amendment in Maharashtra—Nagpur (City)  in  Section  31
whereby in sub-section (1), after  the  words  “compensation”  and  in  sub-
section (2), after the words, “the amount of compensation”, the  words  “and
costs if any” have been inserted.
14.         Section 31(1) of the 1894 Act enjoins upon  the  Collector,   on
making an award under Section 11,  to  tender  payment  of  compensation  to
persons  interested  entitled  thereto  according  to  award.   It   further
mandates the Collector to  make  payment  of  compensation  to  them  unless
prevented by one of the contingencies contemplated in sub-section  (2).  The
contingencies contemplated in Section 31(2) are: (i) the persons  interested
entitled to compensation do not consent to  receive  it  (ii)  there  is  no
person competent to alienate the land and (iii) there is dispute as  to  the
title to receive compensation or as to the apportionment of it.  If  due  to
any of the contingencies contemplated in Section  31(2),  the  Collector  is
prevented from making payment of compensation to the persons interested  who
are entitled to compensation, then the Collector is required to deposit  the
compensation in the court to which  reference under Section 18 may be  made.

15.         Simply put, Section 31 of  the  1894  Act  makes  provision  for
payment of  compensation  or  deposit  of  the  same  in  the  court.   This
provision requires that the Collector should tender payment of  compensation
as  awarded  by  him  to  the  persons  interested  who  are   entitled   to
compensation.  If due to happening of any  contingency  as  contemplated  in
Section 31(2), the compensation has not  been  paid,  the  Collector  should
deposit the amount of compensation in the court to which  reference  can  be
made under Section 18.
16.         The mandatory nature of the  provision  in  Section  31(2)  with
regard to deposit of the compensation in the court is further  fortified  by
the provisions contained in Sections 32, 33 and 34. As  a  matter  of  fact,
Section 33 gives  power  to  the  court,  on  an  application  by  a  person
interested or claiming an interest in  such  money,  to  pass  an  order  to
invest the  amount  so  deposited  in  such  government  or  other  approved
securities and may direct  the  interest  or  other  proceeds  of  any  such
investment to be accumulated and paid in such  manner  as  it  may  consider
proper so  that   the  parties  interested  therein  may  have  the  benefit
therefrom as they might have had from  the  land  in  respect  whereof  such
money shall have been deposited or as near thereto as may be.
17.         While enacting Section 24(2), Parliament definitely had  in  its
view Section 31 of the 1894 Act. From that one thing is clear  that  it  did
not intend to equate the word “paid” to “offered” or  “tendered”.    But  at
the same time, we do not think that by use of the  word  “paid”,  Parliament
intended receipt of compensation by the  landowners/persons  interested.  In
our view, it is not appropriate  to  give  a  literal  construction  to  the
expression “paid” used in this sub-section (sub-section (2) of Section  24).
 If a literal construction were  to  be  given,  then  it  would  amount  to
ignoring procedure, mode and manner of deposit provided in Section 31(2)  of
the 1894 Act  in  the  event  of  happening  of  any  of  the  contingencies
contemplated therein which may prevent the   Collector  from  making  actual
payment of compensation.  We are  of  the  view,  therefore,  that  for  the
purposes of Section 24(2), the compensation shall be regarded as  “paid”  if
the compensation  has  been  offered  to  the  person  interested  and  such
compensation has been deposited in the court where reference  under  Section
18 can be made on happening of any of the contingencies  contemplated  under
Section 31(2) of the 1894 Act.  In other  words,  the  compensation  may  be
said to have been “paid” within  the  meaning  of  Section  24(2)  when  the
Collector (or for that matter Land Acquisition Officer) has  discharged  his
obligation and deposited the amount of compensation in court and  made  that
amount available to the interested person to be dealt with  as  provided  in
Sections 32 and 33.
18.         1894 Act being an expropriatory legislation has to  be  strictly
followed. The procedure, mode and manner for  payment  of  compensation  are
prescribed in Part V (Sections 31-34) of the 1894 Act.  The Collector,  with
regard to the payment of  compensation,  can  only  act  in  the  manner  so
provided.  It is settled proposition  of  law  (classic  statement  of  Lord
Roche in Nazir Ahmad[1]) that where a power is given to do a  certain  thing
in a certain way, the thing must be done in that way or not  at  all.  Other
methods of performance are necessarily forbidden.
19.          Now,  this  is  admitted  position  that  award  was  made   on
31.01.2008.  Notices  were  issued  to  the  landowners   to   receive   the
compensation and since they did not receive  the  compensation,  the  amount
(Rs.27 crores) was deposited in the government treasury.   Can  it  be  said
that deposit of the amount of compensation in  the  government  treasury  is
equivalent to the amount of  compensation  paid  to  the  landowners/persons
interested? We do not think so.  In a comparatively  recent  decision,  this
Court in Agnelo Santimano Fernandes[2], relying upon  the  earlier  decision
in Prem Nath Kapur[3], has held that  the  deposit  of  the  amount  of  the
compensation in  the  state’s  revenue  account  is  of  no  avail  and  the
liability of the state to pay interest subsists  till  the  amount  has  not
been deposited in court.
20.         From the above, it is clear that the  award  pertaining  to  the
subject land has been made by the  Special  Land  Acquisition  Officer  more
than five years prior to the commencement of  the  2013  Act.   It  is  also
admitted position that compensation so awarded has neither been paid to  the
landowners/persons interested nor deposited in the  court.  The  deposit  of
compensation amount in the government treasury is of no avail and cannot  be
held to  be  equivalent  to  compensation  paid  to  the  landowners/persons
interested.  We have, therefore, no hesitation in holding that  the  subject land acquisition proceedings shall be deemed to have  lapsed  under  Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act.
21.         The argument on behalf of the Corporation that the subject  land
acquisition proceedings have been concluded in all respects under  the  1894
Act and that they are not affected at all in view of Section 114(2)  of  the
2013 Act, has no merit at all, and is noted to be rejected.
Section  114(1)
of the 2013 Act repeals 1894 Act.  Sub-section (2) of Section 114,  however,
makes Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 applicable with  regard  to
the effect of repeal but this is subject to the provisions in the 2013  Act.
Under Section 24(2) land acquisition proceedings initiated  under  the  1894
Act, by legal fiction, are deemed to have lapsed  where award has been  made
five years or more prior to the commencement of 2013 Act and  possession  of
the land is not taken or compensation has not been paid.  
The legal  fiction
under Section 24(2) comes  into  operation  as  soon  as  conditions  stated
therein are satisfied.  
The  applicability  of  Section  6  of  the  General
Clauses Act being subject to  Section  24(2),  there  is  no  merit  in  the
contention of the Corporation.

22.         In view of the foregoing discussion,  it  is  not  necessary  to
consider the correctness of the impugned judgment on merits.
23.          The appeals fail and are dismissed with no order as to costs.

                                        …..………………………….J.
                                        (R.M. Lodha)


                                       …..………………………….J.
                                        (Madan B. Lokur)


                                       …..………………………….J.
                                        (Kurian Joseph)

New Delhi,
January 24, 2014.




























                                             -----------------------
[1]     Nazir Ahmad v. King Emperor; [A.I.R. 1936 Privy Council 253(2)]
[2]     Ivo Agnelo Santimano Fernandes and Others v. State of Goa and
Another; [(2011) 11 SCC 506]
[3]     Prem Nath Kapur v. National Fertilizers Corpn. of India Ltd.;
[(1996) 2 SCC 71]

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