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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Requisition & Acquisition of land - Notification to resume Govt. lands given on Grant and further on lease - Either the beneficiary or the Tenants can not resist the Govt. from resumption for constructing Chennai Metro Project - they are only entitled for compensation for the constructions they have raised in those lands - Apex court set aside the order of High court and allowed the appeal and directed to pay compensation to the Tenants who raised buildings = The M.D., Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. …Appellant VERSUS N. Ismail & Ors. …Respondents= 2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41243

 Requisition & Acquisition of land - Notification to resume Govt. lands given on Grant and further on lease - Either the beneficiary or the Tenants can not resist the Govt. from resumption for constructing Chennai Metro Project - they are only entitled for compensation for the constructions they have raised in those lands - Apex court set aside the order of High court and allowed the appeal and directed to pay compensation to the Tenants who raised buildings =

We, therefore, hold that the State Government as the owner of the land
      and having regard to the right retained by it while making  the  grant
      in the years 1898 and 1899  and  in  the  larger  public  interest  of
      setting up of the Chennai Metro Project the lands were required by it,
      the same cannot be questioned  by  the  Original  Grantee  or  by  the
      lessees whose holding was subordinate in  character  to  the  Original
      Grantee. 
Therefore, we do not find any justification in  the  Division
      Bench in having interfered with  the  impugned  GO  Ms.  No.168  dated
      21.05.2012  and  the  consequential  orders  of  the  Tehsildar  dated
      21.06.2012 and that of the AG &  OT  dated  25.06.2012  directing  the
      First Respondent to handover possession of the lands.

  23. Therefore, while the impugned GO and the consequential orders  of  the
      Tehsildar and AG & OT can be sustained, having regard to the condition
      contained in the initial GO Ms. Nos.763 and 253 dated  09.12.1898  and
      17.01.1899 since based on valid orders of the High Court and the AG  &
      OT the First Respondent developed its Hotel business in the  lands  in
      question, while resuming the lands, the State  Government  along  with
      the Chennai Metro is bound to compensate the First Respondent for  the
      buildings which were erected in the said land in Survey No.43/2  based
      on the valuation to be made by the appropriate Authorities.    

Therefore, while allowing the Appeals of the State Government as  well
      as the Chennai Metro and while  setting  aside  the  Judgment  of  the
      Division Bench, Writ Appeal Nos.68, 69, 89 and 90 of 2013 are allowed.
      
We, however, direct the Appellants to value the buildings belonging to
      the First Respondent standing in  Survey  No.43/2  and  determine  the
      compensation and pay the  same  to  the  First  Respondent.  The  said
      exercise of valuation and payment of compensation  shall  be  effected
      within three months from this date.

  25. In the light of our above orders, the First Respondent is directed  to
      surrender possession of the lands in Survey No.43/2 in  an  extent  of
      5644 sq. ft. through the AG & OT within four weeks from  the  date  of
      receipt of copy of this judgment. With  the  above  directions,  these
      appeals are allowed.



 2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41243
A.K. PATNAIK, FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA


                                                           Reportable
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                    CIVIL APPEAL NOS.  2572-2573 OF 2014
                     (@ SLP (C) NOS.26020-26021 OF 2013)

The M.D., Chennai Metro Rail Ltd.            …Appellant

                                   VERSUS

N. Ismail & Ors.                                   …Respondents
                                    With
                    CIVIL APPEAL NOS.  2575-2578 OF 2014
                     (@ SLP (C) NOS.26199-26202 OF 2013)

                               J U D G M E N T

Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, J.

   1. I.A. Nos.1-2 & I.A. Nos.1-4, applications for  impleadment,  filed  in
      Special Leave Petition (C) Nos.26020-26021 of 2013 and  Special  Leave
      Petition (C) Nos.26199-26202 of 2013, are allowed. Registry  to  carry
      out necessary amendment.

   2. Leave granted.

   3. These appeals have been filed by the State of Tamil  Nadu  represented
      by the Managing Director of Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. and the  Principal
      Secretary  to  Government  Revenue  LD-1(1)  Department.
The   issue
      concerned in these appeals relates to an extent of 5 Grounds  and  275
      sq.ft. of land in T.S. No.43/2 in Chennai  District,  Fort  Tondiarpet
      Taluk, Block No.7 of Vepery Village. 
The  abovesaid  land  along  with
      another land in an extent of one Cawni 10 Grounds and 1871  sq.ft.  in
      T.S. No.41 of the same Vepery Village, Fort Tondiarpet Taluk,  Chennai
      District was granted by the  Government  of  Tamil  Nadu  to  one  Sir
      Ramaswamy Mudaliar to build a Choultry for the use of persons who come
      by rail from different parts of the presidency and who have  no  homes
      or friends in Madras. 
The Government while assigning the  above  lands
      to Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar imposed certain  conditions  to  the  effect
      that the Choultry should be available for  the  free  use  of  railway
      travelers, that the buildings constructed should be  approved  by  the
      Government and more importantly, “that the land  shall  be  liable  to
      resumption, without compensation, if it ceases to be employed for  the
      purpose for which it is granted or is used  for  any  other  purposes,
      without the permission of the Government”.

   4. The said lands were granted and assigned in favour  of  Sir  Ramaswamy
      Mudaliar by GO Ms. Nos.763 and 253  dated  09.12.1898  and  17.01.1899
      respectively whereas the conditions were incorporated in the following
      words 
“(1)  that the land shall revert to Government when it ceases to
      be used for the purpose for which it is granted and  (2)  that  should
      the property be at any time resumed by  Government,  the  compensation
      payable, therefore, shall in no case  exceed  the  cost  or  the  then
      present value whichever shall be less of any building erected or other
      works executed on the land”.

   5. Subsequently, under a Scheme  Decree  framed  by  the  High  Court  of
      Judicature at Madras in C.S. No.90 of 1963  all  the  above  mentioned
      properties held by Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar’s Choultry were vested  with
      the Administrator General and Official Trustee  (hereinafter  referred
      to as “the AG & OT) of Tamil Nadu on 18.08.1970. From then onwards the
      management of the Trust and the properties attached with it were under
      the control of the AG & OT. As per the Scheme Decree, the AG &  OT  of
      Tamil Nadu leased out the lands in T.S.  No.41  and  T.S.  No.43/2  to
      various tenants and was collecting the rent. As far  as  T.S.  No.43/2
      comprised in an extent of 5644 sq.ft.  was  concerned,  the  same  was
      leased out to the first respondent herein under the lease  deed  dated
      22.12.1972.  According to the AG & OT,  the  First  Respondent  is  in
      arrears and as  on  31.12.2012,  the  arrears  payable  by  the  First
      Respondent works out  to  a  sum  of  Rs.94,84,630/-  which  has  been
      computed and determined by the High  Court  of  Madras.   It  is  also
      stated  that  the  First  Respondent  has  preferred   Special   Leave
      Petition(C) No.11-12 of 2010 against the said determination and  claim
      which is pending in this Hon’ble Court.

   6. According to the First Respondent, pursuant to the  lease  granted  in
      his favour, which was registered as document 105 of 1974 in the Office
      of Sub-Registrar, West Madras, he constructed a Hotel and started  the
      business in the year 1987. According to him, subsequently, an adjacent
      piece of land measuring 4141 sq. ft was granted on lease for a  period
      of 30 years to one Smt. Vatsala again based on the Order of  the  High
      Court of Madras, which was also supported by a registered  Lease  Deed
      dated 29.04.1982  bearing  Document  No.1492/1984  registered  in  the
      office of the Registrar, Madras (North).
The said  Smt.  Vatsala  also
      stated to have transferred her lease hold right in respect of the said
      extent to the First Respondent which was  also  stated  to  have  been
      approved by the Official Trustee in the proceeding dated 05.04.1989 in
      R.O.C. No.2390 of 1989/OT. The First Respondent claimed to have put up
      two pucca structures and running  two  Star  Hotels  known  as  ‘Hotel
      Central Tower’ and ‘Hotel Howrah’.
The First Respondent  also  claimed
      to have got the approval of the  Municipality,  State  Government  and
      other authorities and  that  the  buildings  were  duly  assessed  for
      property tax and other statutory dues.
By Order  dated  10.12.2004  in
      Application No.915/2003, the lease in favour of the  First  Respondent
      was stated to have been extended for a further period of 25  years  by
      enhancing the rent payable by him.
The First  Respondent  also  relied
      upon an Order of the Division Bench of the High Court dated 20.08.2009
      in support of the extension of the lease passed in  O.S.A.  No.298  of
      2004 and connected batch cases.  
According  to  the  First  Respondent
      because of his old age and other physical ailments he entered  into  a
      partnership arrangement with the applicant in I.A. Nos.1 and 2 of 2014
      in  Special  Leave  Petition  (C)  No.26020-21  of  2013   under   the
      partnership deed dated 28.03.2013.

   7. Be that as it may,  having  regard  to  the  unprecedented  growth  of
      population in general, as well as with  particular  reference  to  the
      Metropolitan City of Chennai, there was an imminent need for providing
      better transport facilities for the commuters  and  office  goers,  as
      well as business people, which persuaded the State to expand the  rail
      transport facility in the City of Chennai.  With that  avowed  object,
      the appellant in Special Leave Petition (C) No.26020-21 of  2013  came
      into being and the said Chennai Metro Rail Limited planned  a  project
      called ‘Chennai Metro Rail Project’ which  envisaged  construction  of
      two corridors under Phase-1. Corridor 1 starts from  Washermenpet  and
      ends at Airport for a length of 23.1 kms. and Corridor 2  starts  from
      Chennai Central and ends at St. Thomas Mount Station for a  length  of
      22 kms. As per the project, the portions of Corridor 1 with  a  length
      of 14.3 kms. between Washermenpet to Saidapet and in Corridor - 2 with
      a length of 9.7 kms. from Chennai  Central  to  Anna  Nagar  would  be
      underground corridors and the remaining in an elevated position.

   8. The Chennai Metro Rail Limited is  stated  to  be  a  Special  Purpose
      Vehicle (SPV) formed for the  purpose  of  implementing  the  ‘Chennai
      Metro Rail Project’. The  Project  is  stated  to  be  funded  by  the
      Government of India and the State Government by way  of  equal  equity
      contribution in subordinate debt. (Government of India 20%, Government
      of Tamil Nadu 20.78% and the balance 59.22% being met  from  the  loan
      assistance  from  Japan  International   Co-operation   agency).   The
      Government of India is  stated  to  have  accorded  sanction  for  the
      project as well as for its participation.

   9. The lands concerned in these  appeals  are  covered  by  the  project,
      namely,  Corridor  1,  i.e.  from  Washermenpet  to  Chennai  Airport.
      According to the appellant, in Special Leave Petition (C)  No.26020-21
      of 2013, the project is a time bound project with an objective to ease
      out phenomenal growth of traffic congestion in the City of Chennai and
      any delay in carrying out the project would affect the plans announced
      by the Government of India, as well  as,  the  State  Government,  the
      convenience of  the  public  of  Chennai  and  further  will  lead  to
      contractual implications such as extension of time and  escalation  of
      project costs, which in turn would cost the public  exchequer  several
      hundred crores of rupees. According to the Chennai Metro, any  further
      delay  on  any  account,  apart  from  causing  high  amount  of  cost
      escalation, would also deprive the citizens  of  Chennai  a  safe  and
      quick means of public transport. It is stated that the  Chennai  Metro
      in its project report has described in detail the  various  length  of
      the projects and in the  said  statement,  designed  constructions  of
      underground stations at Washermenpet,  Mannadi,  High  Court,  Chennai
      Central  and  Egmore  and  associated  tunnels,  the  details  of  the
      location, the description, the access date from  commencement  of  the
      works with particular reference to the number of days and  the  vacate
      date from commencement of the work with particular reference of number
      of days is specified after making meticulous calculations.
  10. Mr. Nageswara Rao, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing  for
      the appellants brought to our notice the work which was to be  carried
      out in the land concerned in this appeal which has been noted  in  the
      column under locations/drawing reference  bearing  No.SCC-14  and  the
      description has been shown as entrance area.  As far as access date is
      concerned, it is noted as 365 days from commencement of the works  and
      the date to be vacated after completion of the work from the  date  of
      commencement is noted as 1520 days. According  to  learned  Additional
      Solicitor General, for the purpose of starting the work in the land in
      question, as per the schedule, the Chennai Metro should have access to
      the land within 365 days  of  the  commencement  of  the  project  and
      complete the work in that land within 1520 days from the date of  such
      access.  It was pointed out that such details have been  specified  in
      the contract agreement and that to ensure that the works  are  carried
      out without any deviation and within the time schedule,  the  required
      plans were also prepared in so far as it related  to  SCC-14  and  was
      submitted with the details of lands falling under Survey No.43/2.  The
      learned Additional Solicitor General also submitted that the said land
      were earmarked for erecting a mechanical plant room, electrical  plant
      room, building services, drop-off and pick-up facilities  and  Airport
      check-in facilities. The plan  which  were  enclosed  along  with  the
      Special Leave Petition paper book between pages 164  to  167  disclose
      the area falling under Survey No.43/2, the various  facilities  to  be
      set up in that land along with the other facilities to be provided  in
      the lands adjacent to the said Survey No.43/2.

  11. It was also the case of the Chennai Metro  that  since  the  lands  in
      Survey No.43/2 belong to  the  State  Government  and  was  imminently
      required for the Chennai Metro Project which was out and out in public
      interest, the State Government came forward to allot  the  said  lands
      after retrieving it from Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar Choultry  through  the
      AG & OT and by GO Ms. No.168 dated 21.05.2012 passed  orders  to  that
      effect.  Before issuing the said GO, the procedure to be followed  for
      transfer of the said lands in favour of the Chennai Metro Pvt. Limited
      were also carried out. As the lands belong  to  the  State  Government
      there was no necessity for  any  acquisition  being  involved  or  any
      payment of compensation to be made in favour of anyone except for  the
      Buildings standing thereon. Since the State Government’s participation
      is equal in proportion along with the Government of India and inasmuch
      as the development of the project was in the interest of the public at
      large the GO dated 21.05.2012 came to be issued.

  12. Aggrieved by  the  Order  of  the  Government  in  GO  Ms.  No.168  of
      21.05.2012, the First Respondent and various other persons who were in
      possession of the other adjacent lands, which were also covered by the
      abovesaid GO, approached the High Court by filing Writ Petitions.  The
      First Respondent’s Writ Petitions were  Writ  Petition  Nos.19469/2012
      and 19470/2012 wherein he sought for issuance of a writ of  Certiorari
      to call for the records of the proceedings in GO No.168 of  21.05.2012
      and the consequential proceedings of the Tehsildar dated 21.06.2012 as
      well as the proceedings of the  AG  &  OT  dated  25.06.2012  and  for
      quashing the said proceedings. It  is  stated  that  pursuant  to  the
      issuance of the GO Ms. No.168 dated 21.05.2012, the Tehsildar of  Fort
      Tondiarpet Taluk issued  a  notice  to  AG  &  OT  on  21.06.2012  for
      resumption of the land and  handover  vacant  possession.   Individual
      notices were also stated to have been  issued  to  all  the  occupants
      including the First Respondent asking them to vacate the premises  and
      remove their belonging and handover vacant possession. In turn, the AG
      & OT by its notice 25.06.2012 called upon the First Respondent and the
      other tenants to vacate the premises immediately to enable the AG & OT
      to handover possession to Chennai Metro.

  13. By Order dated 26.11.2012, the  Writ  Petitions  filed  by  the  First
      Respondent and other occupants came  to  be  allowed  by  the  learned
      Single Judge and the GO Ms. No.168 dated  21.05.2012  was  set  aside.
      Aggrieved by the Judgment of the learned Single Judge  the  appellants
      herein preferred Writ Appeals 68 to 106 of 2013.  The  Division  Bench
      after a detailed discussion allowed Writ Appeal Nos. 70 to 88  and  91
      to 106 of 2013 holding that the said Chennai  Metro  Rail  Project,  a
      joint  venture  of  Central  Government  was  to  enhance  the  public
      transport system in Chennai and being a public project, any  delay  in
      implementation would oust the public purpose for which the lands  were
      sought to be retrieved.  However, Writ Appeal Nos.68, 69, 89 and 90 of
      2013 which related to the lands falling under Survey No.43/2 which are
      in the possession of the First Respondent were concerned, according to
      the Division Bench  the  same  stood  on  a  different  footing.   The
      Division Bench in its order held as under in paragraph 28:

      “28.  The map published by CMRL, showing various structures  they  are
      going to erect in the area, indicate that the area earmarked for  CMRL
      project does not include the ease area of the writ petitioner in  W.P.
      Nos.19469 and 19470 of 2012 (connected to W.A. Nos. 68, 69, 89 and  90
      of 2013).  It is also  clear  from  the  map  that  the  entire  lands
      required for the CMRL projects like the Underground Metro Station etc.
      are on the Northern side of  the  Poonamalle  High  Road,  where  vast
      extent of other vacant lands are available,  including  the  erstwhile
      Hotel Picnic area.  As already stated supra,  pursuant  to  the  lease
      deed entered into by this petitioner with AG  &  OT,  this  petitioner
      raised a huge construction with  his  own  funds  and  doing  his  own
      business and the said lease has been extended upto the year 2027.   No
      default of any sort on his  part  has  been  alleged  by  any  of  the
      parties.  When the lands and building in possession and occupation  of
      this petitioner are outside the purview of the CMRL  project,  as  has
      been discussed supra, ordering handing over of the  vacant  possession
      of the said lands by this petitioner  for  the  purpose  of  CMRL,  is
      nothing but requiring him to demolish the building in his  possession.
      At this juncture we feel it apt to hold that  ordering  demolition  of
      buildings, for no legal or useful purposes, is nothing but wastage  of
      public resources.  Given the facts and circumstances of the case  that
      the lands and building raised  by  this  petitioner  are  outside  the
      purview of the CMRL and not in violation of  any  law,  including  the
      building and tenancy laws, we have no doubt to hold that the lands and
      building in possession and enjoyment of this petitioner  are  entitled
      to be excluded from the project area.  Thereafter, the order passed by
      the learned single Judge in W.P. Nos. 19469 of 2012 and 19470 of  2012
      stands modified and both  the  above  writ  petitions  stand  allowed.
      Consequently, W.A. Nos. 68, 69, 89 and 90 stand dismissed.”




  14. A reading of the said paragraph disclose that in its opinion the lands
      required for Central Chennai  Metro  Rail  Project  for  locating  its
      underground Metro Station etc. were all noted on the northern side  of
      the arterial road namely Poonamallee High Road, that  vast  extent  of
      other vacant lands were available including the erstwhile hotel called
      ‘the Hotel Picnic’ and that in so far  as  the  first  Respondent  was
      concerned, he was granted a lease which is to be in operation till the
      year 2027 and on these two grounds the Division Bench  took  the  view
      that the GO Ms.168 dated 21.05.2012 cannot be justified and  confirmed
      the order of the learned Single Judge in WP 19469 of 2012 and 19470 of
      2012 and dismissed the Writ Appeal Nos.68, 69, 89 and 90 of 2013.

  15. Mr.  Nageswara  Rao,  learned  Additional  Solicitor  General  in  his
      submission  while  assailing  the  Judgment  of  the  Division   Bench
      contended that the basis for setting aside the impugned GO Ms.  No.168
      dated 21.05.2012 by the Division Bench was that the land in  question,
      namely, the one which fell within Survey No.43/2 was not part  of  the
      project land and that the First Respondent has been granted a lease by
      the AG & OT till the year 2027 and, therefore, the impugned GO  cannot
      be sustained. The learned Additional Solicitor General by referring to
      the above paragraph 28  of  the  Division  Bench  submitted  that  the
      Division Bench thoroughly  misled  itself  when  it  stated  that  the
      underground Metro Station has been  planned  in  the  project  on  the
      Northern side of the Poonamallee High Road where certain  other  lands
      are available  which  can  be  acquired  and  inasmuch  as  the  First
      Respondent has got a long lease in his favour from the AG  &  OT,  the
      Chennai Metro as well as the State Government  was  not  justified  in
      passing the impugned GO dated 21.05.2012.  In so far as the  lands  in
      Survey No.43/2, the learned Additional Solicitor General  took  us  to
      the plans which were part of the material  papers  placed  before  the
      High Court which are now  annexed  and  found  in  pages  164-167  and
      submitted that while on the Northern side of the Poonamallee High Road
      the underground Metro Station has  been  planned,  the  present  lands
      situated in Survey No.43/2 as well as the  adjacent  lands  in  Survey
      No.41 have been earmarked for various other important developments  to
      be carried out as part of the  project  such  as  the  setting  up  of
      mechanical plant rooms, electrical  plant  rooms,  building  services,
      drop-off and pick-up facilities and the Airport check-in facilities in
      Survey No.43/2 and ventilation shaft, entry/exit, sub way, feeder  bus
      stand, multi-model facilities, pick-up and drop-off bay, MTC  Bus  bay
      and fireman staircase in Survey No.41 and that  the  entire  lands  in
      Survey No.41 and 43/2 belong to the State Government  and,  therefore,
      the Division Bench unfortunately failed to advert to the above details
      which were placed before it which  resulted  in  the  passing  of  the
      impugned judgment.

  16. Learned Additional Solicitor General also submitted  that  as  against
      the Division Bench Judgment relating to the other Writ  Appeals  which
      were allowed in favour of the  Chennai  Metro  and  State  Government,
      Civil  Appeal  Nos.6065-6068  of  2013  and  connected  Special  Leave
      Petitions were filed wherein this Court taking note of the  submission
      of learned Solicitor General that the State of Tamil Nadu would  issue
      notices inviting all  the  stake-holders  liable  to  be  affected  by
      adverse orders an opportunity to respond to the reasons which  weighed
      with the State Government to evict them from the premises in  question
      permitted the State Government to issue such notices and after getting
      the response from  those  parties  pass  appropriate  orders.  Learned
      Additional Solicitor General also submitted that the said exercise was
      carried out by issuing notices and  after  receipt  of  the  response,
      orders were passed for taking over of the  lands  from  the  concerned
      occupants and that fresh proceedings  have  been  initiated  by  those
      occupants which are stated to be pending consideration before the High
      Court.

  17. Mr. Gopal Subramanium, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the  First
      Respondent also confirmed the said  statement  of  learned  Additional
      Solicitor General. Mr.  Gopal  Subramanium,  however,  contended  that
      similar orders can be passed in these appeals also to enable the First
      Respondent to submit his response and, thereafter, the Appellants  can
      pass appropriate orders.  The learned Senior  Counsel  for  the  First
      Respondent in his submission contended that in the  sketch  which  are
      enclosed and kept at page 164 to 167 of  the  Special  Leave  Petition
      papers adjacent  to  the  Survey  No.  43/2,  there  were  some  other
      structures belonging to different parties and that the Appellants have
      excluded those lands on the footing that some  heritage  building  was
      located and, therefore, the First Respondent,  whose  leasehold  lands
      are located closely adjacent to those left out built-up area,  in  the
      event of an opportunity being extended to  the  First  Respondent,  he
      will be able to satisfy the authorities to exclude his leasehold lands
      also from the purview of taking over by the Chennai Metro.  Mr.  Gopal
      Subramanium also referred to an affidavit on behalf of  Chennai  Metro
      dated April, 2011 in O.S.A. No.100-101 of 2011  to  contend  that  the
      averments contained therein support the stand of the First  Respondent
      to persuade the Chennai Metro to look for some other alternate lands.

  18. While considering the  submissions  of  learned  Additional  Solicitor
      General and Mr. Gopal Subramanium,  learned  Senior  Counsel  for  the
      First Respondent, inasmuch as  we  find  that  the  reasoning  of  the
      Division Bench in having stated that the underground Metro Station has
      been planned in a stretch of Land on the Northern side of the Arterial
      Road, namely, Poonamallee High Road and that certain other lands  were
      available in that side and, therefore,  there  was  no  necessity  for
      taking over the lands in the possession of  the  First  Respondent  is
      patently a conclusion which was contrary to the records placed  before
      the Division Bench and the same cannot be sustained. In  other  words,
      as rightly pointed out by learned Additional  Solicitor  General,  the
      conclusion of the Division Bench that the  lands  concerned  in  these
      Appeals, namely, the one situated in Survey No.43/2 were not  part  of
      the project of the Chennai Metro was a wrong  assimilation  of  facts.
      When it has been demonstrated before us based on the  project  details
      and the plan annexed with it, which disclose that the  lands  situated
      in Survey No.43/2 as well  as  Survey  No.41  were  all  part  of  the
      projects  for  putting  up  various  other  ancillary  units  such  as
      mechanical plant rooms, electrical  plant  rooms,  building  services,
      drop-off  and  pick-up  facilities,   airport   check-in   facilities,
      ventilation shafts, subway, feeder bus stand, multi-modal  facilities,
      pick-up and drop-off bay, MTC Bus bay, fireman  staircase,  entry  and
      exit points, if the taking over of the lands by the Chennai  Metro  is
      not allowed, the same would seriously prejudice and cause  unnecessary
      hurdles in proceeding with the project. In our  considered  view,  the
      failure of the Division Bench in noting the details displayed  in  the
      plan and the project which were placed before it has resulted  in  the
      passing of the impugned Order. The Division Bench failed to note  that
      the project details  pertaining  to  the  proposed  underground  Metro
      Station and the  other  supporting  provisions  to  be  made  such  as
      mechanical plant rooms, electrical plant  rooms,  bus  bay  and  other
      developments to be carried out spread over a vast extent of land  both
      on the Northern side of the Poonamallee High Road as well as the lands
      situated on the Southern side of the said Road with which we  are  now
      concerned. Therefore, in the light of the above details placed  before
      the Court which according to learned Additional Solicitor General  was
      made available before the Division Bench also, we have  no  reason  to
      reject the said submission in order to sustain the conclusion  of  the
      Division Bench. In other words, the conclusion of the  Division  Bench
      having been reached without properly examining the relevant  documents
      relating to the Chennai Metro Project, namely, the plans, the  project
      schedule and the other averments placed before the Division Bench, the
      impugned order of the Division Bench cannot be sustained.

  19. Mr. Gopal Subramanium, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the  First
      Respondent in support of his submission that  the  lands  situated  in
      Survey No.43/2 were not required at all for the  purpose  of  carrying
      out the Metro Project and referred to an affidavit  filed  before  the
      Division Bench by the Managing Director of Chennai Metro Rail Limited.
      The learned Senior Counsel submitted that in the  said  affidavit  the
      reference to the Metro Rail Station planned along the Poonamallee High
      Road has been stated and while  referring  to  the  same,  a  specific
      reference was made to the private buildings located opposite to Picnic
      Hotel and that acquisition of those private lands would cost dearly to
      the State Exchequer apart from evacuation of the tenants/owners  would
      consume considerable length of time which would in turn cause delay in
      the construction of the underground Station. When we perused the  said
      affidavit which has been extracted in the reply affidavit filed by the
      Managing Director of Chennai Metro in W.P. No.19469 of 2012,  we  find
      that statement came to be made when a litigation was launched  at  the
      instance of Hotel Picnic and while meeting the stand of Hotel  Picnic,
      it was stated that the above statement came to be  made.   We  do  not
      find any scope to reject the stand of the Appellant with reference  to
      the lands situated in Survey No.43/2 which had nothing to do with  the
      construction of the underground Metro Station.   Though,  the  various
      other units to be set up in the lands in Survey No.43/2 were also part
      of the Metro Project as has  been  demonstrated  before  us  based  on
      relevant documents, the reference to the Heritage Buildings and  other
      private buildings situated opposite to Hotel Picnic was referred to by
      Chennai Metro while pointing out its inability to plan the setting  up
      of underground Metro Station in any other land except the lands  where
      Hotel Picnic was situated.  Therefore,  the  said  submission  of  the
      learned Senior Counsel for the First Respondent does not  in  any  way
      support the stand of the First Respondent.  As far as  the  contention
      of Mr. Gopal Subramanium that like in  the  case  of  other  occupants
      wherein a direction was issued by this Court  to  give  a  show  cause
      notice  and  decide  the  matter,  the  said  contention   cannot   be
      countenanced in this case inasmuch as before the Division Bench of the
      High Court as well as before us the issue was  argued  on  merits.  In
      fact, the Division Bench after hearing the Appellants  and  the  First
      Respondent allowed both his Writ Petitions by modifying the  order  of
      the learned Single Judge and thereby held that there was no  necessity
      for a  remand.  Therefore,  since  we  have  also  decided  the  whole
      controversy on merits there is no need for a remand.

  20. Therefore, once we are convinced that the entitlement of the Appellant
      to hold the lands belonging to the State falling under Survey Nos.43/2
      as well as 41 which the Appellant is able to take possession  of  from
      the State Government without payment of  any  compensation,  the  only
      other question to be examined is as to whether the  lease  granted  in
      favour of the First Respondent by the AG & OT based on the  directions
      of the High Court can have any implication in preventing the Appellant
      from taking over the lands. As noted earlier, indisputably  the  lands
      in Survey No.43/2 belong to the State. At the time when the lands were
      granted and assigned in favour of Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar Trust vide GO
      Ms. Nos.763 and 253  dated  09.12.1898  and  17.01.1899  respectively,
      conditions were imposed to the effect that the lands would revert back
      to the Government when it ceases to be used for the purpose for  which
      it was granted and that should the property at  any  time  resumed  by
      Government, the compensation payable should in no case exceed the cost
      or the then present value whichever shall  be  less  of  any  building
      erected  or  other  works  executed  in  the  land.  Though,   learned
      Additional Solicitor General sought to contend as was  also  contended
      before the High Court that by  leasing  out  the  lands  to  different
      parties the condition No.1 was violated, namely, that the land was put
      to different use than for what it was granted, we do not find any good
      grounds to accept the same. On the other hand, we find that the  Trust
      itself was vested with the AG & OT on 18.08.1970 pursuant to a  Scheme
      Decree framed by the High Court in  C.S.  No.90  of  1963.  From  then
      onwards, the AG & OT was administering the Trust  and  was  apparently
      fulfilling the purpose for which the Trust came to be created, though,
      by leasing out the lands to different individuals for the  purpose  of
      generating income from the lands. The AG & OT by approaching the  High
      Court, as and when required, seem to have granted  the  lease  of  the
      lands to different parties based on the  orders  passed  by  the  High
      Court.

  21. In so far as the First Respondent was concerned, his lease  came  into
      existence initially on 22.12.1972, and by Order  dated  10.12.2004  in
      Application  No.915  of  2003,  the  lease  in  favour  of  the  First
      Respondent was extended for a further period of 25 years by  enhancing
      the rent. The said order was also confirmed by the Division  Bench  in
      the Order dated 20.08.2009 in O.S.A.  No.298  of  2004.  In  the  said
      circumstances, it cannot be held that the  said  possession  with  the
      First Respondent was unlawful.
However, on that basis when it comes to
      the question of resumption of the land by the  State  Government  when
      the Government through the AG & OT thought it fit to resume the  lands
      which was in accordance with  the  terms  contained  in  the  Original
      Grant, namely, GOS No.763 and 253  dated  09.12.1898  and  17.01.1899,
      there would be no scope for the First Respondent to contend  that  the
      Appellants are not entitled for the resumption of the  lands  situated
      in Survey No.43/2.

  22. We, therefore, hold that the State Government as the owner of the land
      and having regard to the right retained by it while making  the  grant
      in the years 1898 and 1899  and  in  the  larger  public  interest  of
      setting up of the Chennai Metro Project the lands were required by it,
      the same cannot be questioned  by  the  Original  Grantee  or  by  the
      lessees whose holding was subordinate in  character  to  the  Original
      Grantee. 
Therefore, we do not find any justification in  the  Division
      Bench in having interfered with  the  impugned  GO  Ms.  No.168  dated
      21.05.2012  and  the  consequential  orders  of  the  Tehsildar  dated
      21.06.2012 and that of the AG &  OT  dated  25.06.2012  directing  the
      First Respondent to handover possession of the lands.

  23. Therefore, while the impugned GO and the consequential orders  of  the
      Tehsildar and AG & OT can be sustained, having regard to the condition
      contained in the initial GO Ms. Nos.763 and 253 dated  09.12.1898  and
      17.01.1899 since based on valid orders of the High Court and the AG  &
      OT the First Respondent developed its Hotel business in the  lands  in
      question, while resuming the lands, the State  Government  along  with
      the Chennai Metro is bound to compensate the First Respondent for  the
      buildings which were erected in the said land in Survey No.43/2  based
      on the valuation to be made by the appropriate Authorities.
  24. Therefore, while allowing the Appeals of the State Government as  well
      as the Chennai Metro and while  setting  aside  the  Judgment  of  the
      Division Bench, Writ Appeal Nos.68, 69, 89 and 90 of 2013 are allowed.
      We, however, direct the Appellants to value the buildings belonging to
      the First Respondent standing in  Survey  No.43/2  and  determine  the
      compensation and pay the  same  to  the  First  Respondent.  The  said
      exercise of valuation and payment of compensation  shall  be  effected
      within three months from this date.

  25. In the light of our above orders, the First Respondent is directed  to
      surrender possession of the lands in Survey No.43/2 in  an  extent  of
      5644 sq. ft. through the AG & OT within four weeks from  the  date  of
      receipt of copy of this judgment. With  the  above  directions,  these
      appeals are allowed.




                                                      …..……….…………………………...J.
                                                              [A.K. Patnaik]




















                                                        …………….………………………………J.
                                    [Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla]


New Delhi;
February 21, 2014

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