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Monday, May 19, 2014

Land Acquisition - Sec.4 notifications - Sec.5 A objections - not considered award was passed - other claimants under same notification filed writs - allowed - pending in Apex court no stay - no possession was taken despite of passing of award - all slps were dismissed - Apex court held that A large number of cases filed before this court and particularly SLP (C) Nos. 208, 211 & 212 of 2008 stood dismissed vide order dated 10.12.2008, as the petitioners did not take steps to serve the respondents therein as is evident from the Office Report dated 25.6.2013. In such a fact scenario, where in respect of major chunk of land, the land acquisition proceedings had been quashed long back and which has attained finality, it is beyond our comprehension as to whether the scheme of planned development of Delhi can be executed at such a belated stage in view of the fact that vacant land in continuous stretch may not be available. In view of above, we do not see any force in these appeals even on merit and the same are liable to be dismissed. = Union of India & Ors. ` …. Appellants Versus Shiv Raj & Ors. …. Respondents = 2014 (April.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41528

  Land Acquisition - Sec.4 notifications - Sec.5 A objections - not considered award was passed - other claimants under same notification filed writs - allowed - pending in Apex court no stay - no possession was taken despite of passing of award - all slps were dismissed - Apex court held that A large number  of  cases  filed  before this court and particularly SLP (C) Nos. 208, 211 & 212 of 2008  stood dismissed vide order dated 10.12.2008, as the petitioners did not take steps to serve the respondents therein as is evident from  the  Office Report dated 25.6.2013. In such a fact scenario, where in  respect  of major chunk of land, the land acquisition proceedings had been quashed long  back  and  which  has  attained  finality,  it  is  beyond   our comprehension as to whether the scheme of planned development of Delhi can be executed at such a belated stage  in  view  of  the  fact  that vacant land in continuous stretch may not be available.  In view of above, we do not see any force in these appeals  even on merit and the same are liable to be  dismissed.  =

the  High
      Court has quashed the land acquisition proceedings in view of the fact
      that the objections filed  by  the  respondents-tenure  holders  under
      Section 5A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred  to  as
      `the Act 1894’), had not been considered by the statutory  authorities
      in strict compliance of principles of natural justice  
and  thus,  the
      subsequent proceedings stood vitiated, relying on  the  main  judgment
      and order of the same date passed in Writ Petition (Civil)  No.424  of
      1987 titled Chatro Devi v. Union of India.
 Respondents - persons interested, filed their  objections  under
      Section  5A  of  the  Act  1894.   However,  without  considering  and
      disposing of the same, declaration under Section 6 of the Act 1894 was
      made on 7.6.1985. Notices under Sections 9 of the Act 1894  were  also
      issued on 30.12.1986 to the persons interested. It was at  this  stage
      that the tenure holders filed writ petitions  before  the  High  Court
      challenging the acquisition proceedings Admittedly,  the  Award  No. 15/1987-88 was made by          the Land Acquisition Collector on 5.6.1987.
 In respect of the land covered by the  same  notification  under Section 4 of the Act 1894, a very large number of writ  petitions  had been filed.=

the Constitution
      Bench judgment of this Court in Gullapalli Nageswara  Rao  &  Ors.  v.
      Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation & Anr.,  AIR  1959  SC
      308 wherein it has categorically been held that  the  Authority  which
      hears the objectors must pass the order.  In case an  Authority  hears
      the objectors and  demits   the  office  or  stands  transferred,  his
      successor  should  hear  the  parties  afresh  and  not   giving   the
      opportunity of fresh hearing by the successor officer would amount  to
      failure of principles of natural justice and  his  order  would  stand
      vitiated.=
We do not see any cogent reason to differ from such a  view.  No
      judgment had been brought to our notice on the basis of which  it  can
      be held that the decision of the Constitution Bench of this  Court  in
      Gullapalli Nageswara Rao (Supra) is not a good law.
 It is evident from the record that in respect of a  major  chunk
      of land which stood covered under the same Section 4 notification, the
      land acquisition proceedings had been quashed in a batch  of  74  Writ
      Petitions having been filed  before  the  Delhi  High  Court  and  the
      appellants, for the reasons best known to it, did  not  challenge  the
      same and resultantly, the same has  attained  finality.  For  about  a
      decade following the said judgment in Balak  Ram  Gupta  v.  Union  of
      India & Ors., 37 (1989) DLT 150, proceedings in other cases have  also
      been quashed and those decisions have not  been  challenged  and  have
      thus, also attained finality. A large number  of  cases  filed  before
      this court and particularly SLP (C) Nos. 208, 211 & 212 of 2008  stood
      dismissed vide order dated 10.12.2008, as the petitioners did not take
      steps to serve the respondents therein as is evident from  the  Office
      Report dated 25.6.2013. In such a fact scenario, where in  respect  of
      major chunk of land, the land acquisition proceedings had been quashed
      long  back  and  which  has  attained  finality,  it  is  beyond   our
      comprehension as to whether the scheme of planned development of Delhi
      can be executed at such a belated stage  in  view  of  the  fact  that
      vacant land in continuous stretch may not be available.

      30.   In view of above, we do not see any force in these appeals  even
      on merit and the same are liable to be  dismissed.   In  view  of  the
      findings and particularly in view  of  the  interpretations  given  to
      Section 24(2) of the Act 2013 in  the  judgments  referred  to  herein
      above, it is not necessary to entertain any other ground whatsoever at
      the behest of the appellants.  Thus, the appeals  are  devoid  of  any
      merit and are dismissed.  No order as to costs.

2014 (April.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41528
B.S. CHAUHAN, J. CHELAMESWAR, M.Y. EQBAL

                                                               REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                         CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                     CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5478-5483 OF 2014

                                              (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos.
                            24297-24302 of 2007)


      Union of India & Ors.                `
          …. Appellants

                                   Versus

      Shiv Raj & Ors.                                                ….
      Respondents


                                 1 JUDGMENT

      DR. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.

      1.    These appeals have arisen from the impugned judgment  and  order
      dated 11.5.2007 passed by the High Court of  Delhi  in  Writ  Petition
      (Civil) Nos. 2529 of 1985; 889 of 1986; 988 of 1986;  2155   of  1987;
      2645 of 1987; and 2747 of 1987, by  which  and  whereunder,  the  High
      Court has quashed the land acquisition proceedings in view of the fact
      that the objections filed  by  the  respondents-tenure  holders  under
      Section 5A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred  to  as
      `the Act 1894’), had not been considered by the statutory  authorities
      in strict compliance of principles of natural justice  and  thus,  the
      subsequent proceedings stood vitiated, relying on  the  main  judgment
      and order of the same date passed in Writ Petition (Civil)  No.424  of
      1987 titled Chatro Devi v. Union of India.

      2.    Facts and circumstances giving rise to these appeals are that:

      A.    The land of the  respondents-tenure  holders  being  survey  no.
      619/70, etc. admeasuring 50,000 bighas  situated  in  revenue  village
      Chhatarpur, stood  notified  under  Section  4  of  the  Act  1894  on
      25.11.1980 for public purposes, namely, the  “planned  development  of
      Delhi” and objections under Section 5A were invited from  the  persons
      interested within 30 days of the said Notification.

      B.    Respondents - persons interested, filed their  objections  under
      Section  5A  of  the  Act  1894.   However,  without  considering  and
      disposing of the same, declaration under Section 6 of the Act 1894 was
      made on 7.6.1985. Notices under Sections 9 of the Act 1894  were  also
      issued on 30.12.1986 to the persons interested. It was at  this  stage
      that the tenure holders filed writ petitions  before  the  High  Court
      challenging the acquisition proceedings  contending  that  proceedings
      could not be continued without disposing of the  objections  filed  by
      them under Section 5A of the  Act  1894.  Admittedly,  the  Award  No.
      15/1987-88 was made by the Land Acquisition Collector on 5.6.1987.

      C.    In respect of the land covered by the  same  notification  under
      Section 4 of the Act 1894, a very large number of writ  petitions  had
      been filed. The said writ petitions filed on  different  grounds  were
      decided by different Benches at different points of time.  So  far  as
      the present group of cases is  concerned,  the  matter  was  heard  at
      length and a Division Bench of  the  Delhi  High  Court  examined  the
      contentions raised on behalf of the tenure holders/persons  interested
      which  vide  judgment  and  order  dated  3.3.2005   held   that   the
      notification under Section 6 of the Act 1894  was  within  the  period
      stipulated for the purpose after excluding the period during which the
      interim stay order passed by the High Court  remained  into  operation
      and where the objections have not been filed, the impugned declaration
      under Section 6 of the Act 1894 could not be assailed on the ground of
      invalidity of inquiry under Section 5A of the Act 1894.   However,  on
      the said issue in the cases where the objections had been filed by the
      tenure holders and  they  had  been  given  personal  hearing  by  one
      Collector but the report was submitted by his successor  i.e.  another
      Collector, the Division Bench differed in opinion whether  the  report
      could be held to be legal or not, mainly relying upon the Constitution
      Bench judgment of this Court in Gullapalli Nageswara  Rao  &  Ors.  v.
      Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation & Anr.,  AIR  1959  SC
      308 wherein it has categorically been held that  the  Authority  which
      hears the objectors must pass the order.  In case an  Authority  hears
      the objectors and  demits   the  office  or  stands  transferred,  his
      successor  should  hear  the  parties  afresh  and  not   giving   the
      opportunity of fresh hearing by the successor officer would amount  to
      failure of principles of natural justice and  his  order  would  stand
      vitiated.

      D.    In view thereof, the matter was referred to the third Judge vide
      order dated 3.3.2005 and vide judgment and order dated 20.12.2006, the
      Hon’ble third Judge held that in such a situation where objections had
      been filed and had been heard by one Collector and the report had been
      submitted by another Collector, the proceedings stood  vitiated  being
      in violation of principles of natural justice.

      E.    In view of the majority opinion, as is evident  from  the  order
      dated 11.5.2007, the proceedings in such an eventuality stood  quashed
      by the impugned judgment and order.

            Hence, these appeals.

      3.    Shri P.P. Malhotra, learned Additional  Solicitor  General,  Ms.
      Geeta Luthra and Shri Sanjay  Poddar,  learned  Senior  Counsel,  have
      addressed a  large  number  of  legal  and  factual  issues  and  also
      submitted that the judgment and  order  of  the  High  Court  are  not
      sustainable in the eyes of law.  Therefore, the question quashing  the
      land acquisition proceedings in  such  circumstances  did  not  arise.
      More so, the commencement  of  the  Right  to  Fair  Compensation  and
      Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act,
      2013 (hereinafter referred to as the Act 2013) would not take away the
      proceedings initiated under the  Act  1894  by  operation  of  law  as
      provided under Section 24 of the Act 2013.  In the  instant  case,  in
      case, the appeals succeed  on  the  main  ground  as  to  whether  the
      successor officer could submit the report on 5A objections there could
      be no  prohibition  for  the  appellants  to  proceed  with  the  land
      acquisition proceedings initiated in 1980.  The objections raised were
       vague and had been in respect of limitation and were not specific  in
      nature. None of the  writ  petitioners  had  raised  the  issue  about
      violation of principles of  natural justice  in  the  writ  petitions,
      though some of them amended their writ petitions but at  a  subsequent
      stage. Some of the writ petitions had been filed by persons  who  came
      into possession of the land subsequent to Section 4 notification.

      4.    On the contrary, Shri Mukul Rohatgi, Shri Shyam Diwan  and  Shri
      Vinay Bhasin,  learned senior  counsel  appearing  on  behalf  of  the
      respondents, have vehemently opposed the appeals  contending  that  in
      view of the  fact  that  the  acquisition  proceedings  stood  quashed
      finally by the impugned judgment dated 11.5.2007 and  a  period  of  7
      years has lapsed and the possession is still with the tenure  holders.
      In view of the Act 2013 coming into force, the proceedings have lapsed
      by virtue of the provisions contained in Section 24 of the  said  Act.
      The issues raised herein on behalf of the Union of India had not  been
      raised before the High Court. Amendments  were  allowed  by  the  High
      Court in a very large number of  writ  petitions  about  violation  of
      principles of natural justice i.e. the objections  under  Section  5-A
      were not disposed of in accordance with law.

      5.    We have considered the rival submissions  made  by  the  learned
      counsel for the parties and perused the record.

      6.    Section 5-A of the Act  1894  was  not  there  in  the  original
      statute.

            In J.E.D. Ezra v. Secy. of State for  India  (1902-1903)  7  CWN
      249, the Calcutta High Court expressed its inability to  grant  relief
      to the owner of the property whose land  was  sought  to  be  acquired
      without giving any opportunity of hearing observing that there was  no
      provision in the Act requiring observance of the principles of natural
      justice. It was subsequent to the  said  judgment  that  the  Act  was
      amended incorporating Section 5-A w.e.f. 1.1.1924.  The  Statement  of
      Objects and Reasons for the said amendment provided that the  original
      Act did not oblige the Government to enquire  into  and  consider  any
      objection of the persons interested nor the Act provided for right  of
      hearing to the person whose interest stands adversely affected.

      7.    In Nandeshwar Prasad v. U.P. Government,  AIR 1964 SC 1217, this
      Court dealt with the nature of objections under Section 5-A of the Act
      1894 observing as under:

                 “13.   The right to file objections under Section 5-A is a
           substantial right when a person’s property is  being  threatened
           with acquisition and we cannot accept that  that  right  can  be
           taken away as if by a side wind…”




      8.    The rules of natural justice have been ingrained in  the  scheme
      of Section 5-A of the Act 1894 with a view to ensure that  before  any
      person is deprived of his land by way of  compulsory  acquisition,  he
      must get an opportunity to oppose the decision of the State Government
      and/or its agencies/instrumentalities to acquire the particular parcel
      of land.

           Section 5-A(2) of  the  Act  1894,  which  represents  statutory
      embodiment of the rule of audi alteram partem, gives an opportunity to
      the objector to make an endeavour to convince the Collector  that  his
      land  is  not  required  for  the  public  purpose  specified  in  the
      notification issued under Section 4(1) of the Act 1894 or  that  there
      are other valid reasons for not acquiring the same. Thus, section  5-A
      of the Act 1894 embodies a very just and wholesome  principle  that  a
      person whose property is being or is intended to  be  acquired  should
      have a proper and reasonable opportunity of persuading the authorities
      concerned that acquisition of the property belonging  to  that  person
      should not be made.

           On the consideration of the said  objection,  the  Collector  is
      required to make a report. The State Government is  then  required  to
      apply mind to the report of the Collector and take final  decision  on
      the objections filed by the landowners and other  interested  persons.
      Then and then only, a declaration can be made under  Section  6(1)  of
      the Act 1894.

      9.    Therefore, Section 5-A of the Act 1894 confers a valuable  right
      in favour of a person whose lands are sought to be  acquired.   It  is
      trite that hearing given to a person must be an effective one and  not
      a mere formality. Formation of opinion as regard the public purpose as
      also suitability thereof must  be  preceded  by  application  of  mind
      having due regard to the relevant factors and rejection of  irrelevant
      ones. The State in its decision making process  must  not  commit  any
      misdirection in law. It is also not in dispute that Section 5-A of the
      Act, 1894 confers a valuable important right and having regard to  the
      provisions, contained in Article 300A of the Constitution of India has
      been held to be akin to a fundamental right.

      10.   Thus, the limited right  given  to  an  owner/person  interested
      under Section 5-A of the  Act,  1894  to  object  to  the  acquisition
      proceedings is not an empty formality  and  is  a  substantive  right,
      which can be taken away only for good and valid reason and within  the
      limitations prescribed under Section 17(4) of the Act, 1894.

      11.   The Land Acquisition  Collector  is  duty-bound  to  objectively
      consider  the  arguments   advanced   by   the   objector   and   make
      recommendations, duly supported  by  brief  reasons,  as  to  why  the
      particular piece of land should or should not be acquired and  whether
      the plea put forward by  the  objector  merits  acceptance.  In  other
      words, the recommendations made  by  the  Land  Acquisition  Collector
      should reflect objective application of  mind  to  the  entire  record
      including the objections filed by the interested persons.

      (See : Munshi Singh & Ors. v. Union of India, AIR 1973 SC 1150;  Union
      of India & Ors. v. Mukesh Hans,  AIR 2004 SC 4307; Hindustan Petroleum
      Corporation Ltd v. Darius Shahpur Chenai and Ors., AIR 2005  SC  3520;
      Anand Singh & Anr v. State of U.P. & Ors.,  (2010)  11  SCC  242;  Dev
      Sharan v. State of U.P., (2011) 4 SCC 769; Raghbir Singh  Sehrawat  v.
      State of Haryana, (2012) 1 SCC 792; Usha Stud and  Agricultural  Farms
      (P) Ltd. v.  State  of  Haryana,   (2013)  4  SCC  210;   and  Women’s
      Education Trust v. State of Haryana, (2013) 8 SCC 99).

      12.   This Court in  Gullapalli Nageswara Rao (supra), held:
           “Personal hearing enables the authority concerned to  watch  the
           demeanour of the witnesses and clear up his  doubts  during  the
           course of the arguments, and the party appearing to persuade the
           authority by reasoned argument to accept his point of  view.  If
           one person hears and  another  decides,  then  personal  hearing
           becomes an empty formality. We  therefore  hold  that  the  said
           procedure followed in  this  case  also  offends  another  basic
           principle of judicial procedure.”

         (Emphasis added)

      13.   This Court in Rasid Javed & Ors. v. State of U.P.  &  Anr.,  AIR
      2010 SC 2275 following  the judgment in Gullapalli (supra), supra held
      that a person who hears must decide and that divided responsibility is
      destructive of the concept of hearing is too fundamental a proposition
      to be doubted.

      14.   A similar view has been re-iterated by this Court in  Automotive
      Tyre Manufacturers Association v. Designated Authority & Ors.,  (2011)
      2 SCC 258, wherein this Court dealt with a case wherein the Designated
      Authority (DA) under the relevant Statute passed the  final  order  on
      the material collected by his  predecessor  in  office  who  had  also
      accorded the hearing to the parties concerned. This  court  held  that
      the order stood vitiated  as  it  offended  the  basic  principles  of
      natural justice.

      15.   In view of the above, the law on the issue can be summarised  to
      the effect that the very person/officer, who accords  the  hearing  to
      the objector must  also  submit  the  report/  take  decision  on  the
      objection and in case his successor  decides the case without giving a
      fresh hearing, the order would stand vitiated having  been  passed  in
      violation of the principles of natural justice.

      16.   Before proceeding further, it  is  desirable  to  refer  to  the
      relevant statutory provisions of the Act 2013 which reads as :

           ?“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"




      17.   The provisions of the Act 2013 referred to hereinabove have been
      considered   by   a   three   judge   bench   of   this    court    in
      Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr.  v. Harakchand  Misirimal  Solanki
      and Ors., (2014) 3 SCC 183. In the said case, the  tenure-holders  had
      challenged the acquisition proceedings before the  Bombay  High  Court
      by filing nine writ petitions, although two of such writ petitions had
      been filed before making the award and seven had been filed after  the
      award. The land acquisition proceedings had been challenged on various
      grounds.  The High Court allowed the writ petitions  and  quashed  the
      land acquisition proceedings and issued certain  directions  including
      restoration of possession as in the said case the possession had  been
      taken from the tenure-holders.  This Court in the appeal filed by  the
      authority for whose benefit the land had been sought to  be  acquired,
      and who had been handed over the possession as the land vested in  the
      State, approached this Court but the Court  did  not  enter  into  the
      merit regarding the  correctness  of  the  judgment  impugned  therein
      rather held that it was not so necessary to deal with the  correctness
      of the judgment in view of  the  provisions  of  the  Act  2013  which
      provide for re-compulsory acquisition of land from the very beginning.
       The Court held as under:

           “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.

               X                       X                    X

           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 Ivo Agnelo Santimano Fernandes and  Ors.
           v. State of Goa and Anr. (2011) 11 SCC  506,  relying  upon  the
           earlier decision in Prem  Nath  Kapur  v.  National  Fertilizers
           Corpn. of India Ltd. (1996) 2 SCC 71, 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.

               X                       X                    X

           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.”                                          (Emphasis
           supplied)

      18.   The judgment of Bharat Kumar v. State of Haryana & Ors, 2014 (3)
      SCALE 393 was a reverse case wherein the land owner  had  lost  before
      the High Court. The Court held:

           “Sub-section (2) of Section 24  commences  with  a  non-obstante
           clause.  It  is  a  beneficial  provision.   In  view  of   this
           provision, if the physical possession of the land has  not  been
           taken by the Acquiring Authority though the award is passed  and
           if the compensation has not been paid to the land owners or  has
           not been deposited before the appropriate forum, the proceedings
           initiated under the Act, 1894 is deemed to have been lapsed.”

      (See also: Bimla Devi & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Ors., Civil  Appeal
      Nos. 3871-3876 of 2014 decided on 14.3.2014)

      19.   In order to clarify the statutory provisions  of  the  Act  2013
      with respect to such lapsing, the Government  of  India,  Ministry  of
      Urban Development, Delhi Division,  came  up  with  a  circular  dated
      14.3.2014 wherein on the basis of the legal opinion of  the  Solicitor
      General of India, it has been clarified as under:

           “3.   Interpretation of five years period:

                       “With regard to this issue viz.,  interpretation  of
           five years period two situations have been  envisaged  in  cases
           where  the  acquisition  has  been  initiated  under  the   Land
           Acquisition Act, 1894 viz., (1) parties whose  lands  have  been
           acquired have refused to accept the compensation and (2) parties
           whose lands have been acquired having just parted with  physical
           possession of the land. However, in both the  above  situations,
           as on 1.1.2014, the period of 5 years would not have  ended  and
           in such cases, the advisory seeks to clarify that  the  new  law
           shall  apply  only  if  the  situation  of  pendency   continues
           unchanged for a period that equals to or exceeds five years.  In
           my view, it should be further clarified  that  in  none  of  the
           cases the period of five years would have elapsed pursuant to an
           award made under Section 11 from the date of commencement of the
           Act and that the benefit of Section 24(2) will be  available  to
           those cases which are pending and  where  during  pendency,  the
           situation has remained unchanged with  physical  possession  not
           being handed over or compensation not having been  accepted  and
           the period equals to or exceeds five years.

           4.   Limitation:

                 As regards this item relating to the period  spent  during
           litigation  would  also  be  accounted  for   the   purpose   of
           determining whether the period of five years has to  be  counted
           or not, it should be clarified that it will apply only to  cases
           where  awards  were  passed  under  Section  11  of   the   Land
           Acquisition Act, 1894, 5 years or  more  prior  to  1.1.2014  as
           specified in Section 24(2) of the Act, to avoid  any  ambiguity.
           Since this legislation has been passed  with  the  objective  of
           benefiting the land-losers, this  interpretation  is  consistent
           with that objective and also  added  as  a  matter  of  abundant
           caution that the period spent in litigation challenging an award
           cannot be excluded for the purpose of  determining  whether  the
           period of five years has elapsed or not. If the  possession  has
           not been taken or compensation has not  been  paid  due  to  the
           challenge to the land acquisition proceedings, the pendente lite
           period will be included to determine the five  year  period  and
           including such period if the award was made five years  or  more
           prior to the commencement of the Act, then the said  acquisition
           proceedings  will  be  deemed  to   have   elapsed   and   fresh
           proceedings, if  so  desired,  will  have  to  be  initiated  in
           accordance with the new Act.”

           The objects and reasons of the Act 2013 and particularly  clause
      18 thereof fortify the view taken  by  this  court  in  the  judgments
      referred to hereinabove.  Clause 18 thereof reads as under:

           “The benefits under the new law would be available  in  all  the
           cases of land acquisition under the Land Acquisition  Act,  1894
           where award has not been made or possession of land has not been
           taken.”

                                             (Emphasis added)

      20.   However, the aforesaid appeals have to be decided in  the  light
      of above settled legal propositions. The admitted facts  of  the  case
      remains that the Respondents-Tenure Holders had filed objections under
      Section 5A of the Act 1894  as admitted in the affidavit filed by Smt.
      Usha  Chaturvedi,  Deputy  Secretary  (Land  Acquisition),  Land   and
      Building Department, Vikas Bhawan, New Delhi, filed  in  January  2014
      before this court. The award no. 15/87-88 had been  made  on  5.6.1987
      and possession has not been taken till date  though  compensation  has
      been deposited with the Revenue Department, which cannot be termed  as
      `deemed  payment`  as  has  been  held  in  case  of  Pune   Municipal
      Corporation & Anr. (Supra).

      21.   Therefore, the appeals are liable to be dismissed  in  terms  of
      the judgments referred to hereinabove.

           However, Shri P.P. Malhotra, learned ASG, has insisted that  the
      matters should also be decided on merit by examining  the  correctness
      of the judgment and order impugned.

      22.   The facts are not in dispute.  A huge chunk of land covering  11
      villages was notified under Section 4 of the  Act  1894  in  1980.   A
      large number of people had filed objections under Section 5-A  of  the
      Act 1894 and it has been admitted  on  oath  by  the  officer  of  the
      appellant department that in almost  all  these  appeals,  the  tenure
      holders or their processor in  interest  had  filed  objections  under
      Section 5-A of the Act 1894.  This is also not in dispute that most of
      the objections were heard by one land acquisition collector and  after
      his transfer, the report had been  submitted  by  his  successor.   In
      Balak Ram Gupta v. Union of India, (117) 2005 DLT 753 (FB), full Bench
      of High Court of Delhi quashed the land acquisition proceedings in the
      said case exclusively on the  ground  that  objections  filed  by  the
      petitioner therein had been heard by one Land  Acquisition  Collector,
      however, the report was submitted by another.   The  land  covered  in
      these    instant    appeals    stand    covered    by     the     same
      notification/declaration, same award and the objections had been dealt
      with by the same land acquisition collector and the  report  had  been
      submitted by the same successor.

      23.   Admittedly, the appellants accepted that judgment and  the  same
      attained finality as the said judgment was never challenged by  filing
      any S.L.P. before this court.  In the light of aforesaid  judgment,  a
      large  number  of  writ  petitions  had  been  allowed  and  the  land
      acquisition    proceedings     arising     out     of     the     same
      notification/declaration had been quashed.  Subsequently, in Abhey Ram
      & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 2564,  this  Court  dealt
      with the same issue arising out of the  same  acquisition  proceedings
      and held that the judgment of  quashing  the  acquisition  proceedings
      would apply only to the land  of  those  persons  who  had  challenged
      acquisition proceedings and not to all the land covered  by  the  said
      notification/declaration. The appellants had been under the impression
      that the judgment delivered by the  full  bench  in  Balak  Ram  Gupta
      (Supra), laid down the law applicable to other persons also whose land
      stood covered by the said notification/declaration.

      24.    In Delhi Administration v. Gurdip Singh Uban & Ors.,  (2000)  7
      SCC 296, this court again dealt with the same acquisition  proceedings
      and observed that if a tenure holder had not  filed  objections  under
      Section 5-A of the Act  1894,  he  cannot  challenge  the  acquisition
      proceedings on the ground that objections had not been disposed of  in
      accordance with law.

      25.   In Om Parkash v. Union of India & Ors., AIR 2010 SC  1068,  this
      Court dealt with  the  cases  arising  out  of  the  same  acquisition
      proceedings,  however,  this  batch  of  matters  had  expressly  been
      separated  from  that  batch  and  in  those  cases,  the  acquisition
      proceedings were not  quashed  on  the  ground  that  the  acquisition
      proceedings had been challenged at a belated stage.

      26.   In the present batch of writ petitions  filed  before  the  High
      Court, the matter came to be heard by a Division  Bench.  One  of  the
      Hon’ble Judges vide his separate judgment was of the opinion that  the
      proceedings would not lapse on the ground that the  declaration  under
      Section 6 of the Act 1894 had been made after a period  of  more  than
      three years for the reason that it was covered by sub-section (2) i.e.
      on account of various  stay  orders  passed  by  different  courts  at
      different times in relations to the said proceedings. Further,  though
      principles of natural justice is an inbuilt element of  procedure  but
      per se  violation of these principles would not ipso facto vitiate the
      proceedings unless any prejudice is shown to have been caused  to  the
      parties, which was not  the  pleaded  case   of  the  objectors.  Also
      judicial review of administrative decision was impressible  except  on
      very limited grounds i.e. absence of any material forming the basis of
      decision making and the courts could not go into the  question  as  to
      what material weighed before the authority.

            The other Hon’ble Judge comprising the Bench vide  his  separate
      and dissenting judgment was of the opinion that the decision in  Balak
      Ram Gupta (Supra)  was still a good law. On the issue as  to  validity
      of the inquiry under Section 5-A of the Act 1894, His Lordship was  of
      the opinion that inquiry under Section 5-A  of  the  Act  1894  was  a
      substantial right and could not be taken away as a side wind.  Relying
      on earlier judgments of the High Court of Delhi, the Hon’ble Judge was
      of the opinion that a report on objections should be made by the  same
      collector who had the opportunity to  hear  such  objections  and  any
      deviation would vitiate the further proceedings. As the Hon’ble Judges
      differed, the matter was referred to a third Hon’ble Judge.

      27.   In pursuance to the above reference, the matter came  up  before
      the third Hon’ble Judge, who  delivered  the  judgment  cited  as  137
      (2007) DLT 14.  Relying on the decision in  Gullapalli  Nageswara  Rao
      (Supra), the Court was of the opinion that where the  objections  were
      heard by one collector but the  report  was  made  by  another,   such
      procedure was not in strict compliance of requirements of Section  5-A
      of the Act 1894.  The issue of prejudice caused to a party in case  of
      violation of principles of natural justice  arises  in  cases  dealing
      with un-codified procedure.  The mandatory language of Section 5-A  of
      the Act 1894 made it essential that the collector who hears  the  land
      owner must submit the report and,  hence,  no  question  of  prejudice
      could be said  to  be  applicable  in  determining  the  violation  of
      principles of natural justice.

      28.    In  the  instant  cases,  there  had  been  challenge  to   the
      acquisition proceedings on various grounds  including  the  manner  in
      which  objections under Section 5-A of the Act 1894 had been  decided.
      In some cases, the High Court allowed amendment to the writ  petitions
      and such order had never been challenged by the appellants. In a  case
      where on the basis of submissions advanced in the court on  behalf  of
      the parties, the court summons the original record  to  find  out  the
      truth, pleadings remain insignificant. In the instant cases, the  High
      Court  was  satisfied  after  examining  the  original   record   that
      objections had been dealt with in flagrant violation  of  law  and  in
      such a fact-situation,  the  prejudice  doctrine  for  non-observation
      thereof would not be attracted.

           We do not see any cogent reason to differ from such a  view.  No
      judgment had been brought to our notice on the basis of which  it  can
      be held that the decision of the Constitution Bench of this  Court  in
      Gullapalli Nageswara Rao (Supra) is not a good law.

      29.   It is evident from the record that in respect of a  major  chunk
      of land which stood covered under the same Section 4 notification, the
      land acquisition proceedings had been quashed in a batch  of  74  Writ
      Petitions having been filed  before  the  Delhi  High  Court  and  the
      appellants, for the reasons best known to it, did  not  challenge  the
      same and resultantly, the same has  attained  finality.  For  about  a
      decade following the said judgment in Balak  Ram  Gupta  v.  Union  of
      India & Ors., 37 (1989) DLT 150, proceedings in other cases have  also
      been quashed and those decisions have not  been  challenged  and  have
      thus, also attained finality. A large number  of  cases  filed  before
      this court and particularly SLP (C) Nos. 208, 211 & 212 of 2008  stood
      dismissed vide order dated 10.12.2008, as the petitioners did not take
      steps to serve the respondents therein as is evident from  the  Office
      Report dated 25.6.2013. In such a fact scenario, where in  respect  of
      major chunk of land, the land acquisition proceedings had been quashed
      long  back  and  which  has  attained  finality,  it  is  beyond   our
      comprehension as to whether the scheme of planned development of Delhi
      can be executed at such a belated stage  in  view  of  the  fact  that
      vacant land in continuous stretch may not be available.

      30.   In view of above, we do not see any force in these appeals  even
      on merit and the same are liable to be  dismissed.   In  view  of  the
      findings and particularly in view  of  the  interpretations  given  to
      Section 24(2) of the Act 2013 in  the  judgments  referred  to  herein
      above, it is not necessary to entertain any other ground whatsoever at
      the behest of the appellants.  Thus, the appeals  are  devoid  of  any
      merit and are dismissed.  No order as to costs.

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




                                    .......……………………………J.
                                                (J. CHELAMESWAR)




                                    .......……………………………J.
                                                   (M.Y. EQBAL)

New Delhi,

May 7, 2014

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                     CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 1831-1836 OF 2009





      Union of India & Ors.
          …. Appellants





                                   Versus

      Chatro Devi &  Ors.                                      ….
      Respondents


                                    With






                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 903 OF 2010





      Union of India & Ors.
          …. Appellants





                                   Versus

      Ram Singh Tyagi & Ors.                                         ….
      Respondents

                                    With



                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7439 OF 2009





      Union of India & Anr.
          …. Appellants





                                   Versus

      R.D. Bhanot & Anr.                                       ….
      Respondents

                                    With



                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8483 OF 2003





      Union of India & Ors.
          …. Appellants





                                   Versus

      Hari Ram Kakkar                                          …. Respondent

                                                               2

                                    With




                  CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5484-88 OF 2014

             (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 24305-24309 OF 2007)





      Union of India & Ors.
          …. Appellants





                                   Versus

      K.S. Bakshi & Ors.                                        ….
      Respondents

                                    With


                  CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5489-94 OF 2014

               (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 208-213 of 2008)







      Union of India & Ors.
          …. Appellants





                                   Versus

      Pt. Jai Ram Singh & Anr.                                            ….
      Respondents

                                    With


                 CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5495-98 OF 2014

              (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 1085-1088 OF 2008)




      Union of India & Ors.
          …. Appellants





                                   Versus

      Ranbir Singh & Ors.                                               ….
      Respondents

                                    With


                 CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5499-501 OF 2014

              (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 2533-2535 OF 2008)






                                              3




      Union of India & Ors.
          …. Appellants





                                   Versus

      Moti Lal Bhatia & Anr.                                       ….
      Respondents






                                 1 O R D E R




      1.    The facts and  issue  involved  in  the  abovesaid  appeals  are
      identical and have to be decided in terms of our judgment passed today
      in  Civil Appeal Nos. 5478-5483 of 2014.

      2.    The appeals are dismissed in  terms  thereof.  No  order  as  to
      costs.



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




                                    .......……………………………J.
                                                (J. CHELAMESWAR)




                                    .......……………………………J.
                                                   (M.Y. EQBAL)

New Delhi,

May 7, 2014



                                                                  REPORTABLE




                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4374 OF 2009




      Union of India & Ors.
          …. Appellants









                                   Versus

      Geeta Devi                                                          ….
      Respondent




                                 1 O R D E R




      Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

            In this case the facts are the same as contained in Civil Appeal
      Nos. 5478-5483 of 2014, however,  it  may  be  mentioned  herein  that
      Shrimati Geeta Devi, the respondent, is the  subsequent  purchaser  of
      the land sought to be acquired under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition
      Act,  1894 (hereinafter  referred  to  as  `the  Act  1894’)  and  the
      original tenure holder had filed objections under Section  5A  of  the
      Act 1894, which have not been considered.   The  proceedings  in  this
      respect also had been quashed and admittedly, the actual and physical

                                                               2

       possession of the land is with the respondent and as the  proceedings
      had been quashed, the award had been  made  in  1987-1988.   Thus,  in
      substance the result would be the same as in Civil Appeal  Nos.  5478-
      5483 of 2014.

            The appeal is dismissed in terms of Civil Appeal Nos.  5478-5483
      of 2014. No order as to costs.

                                   ….....…….……………………..J

                                   (Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)




                                    .......……………………………J.
                                                (J. CHELAMESWAR)




                                    .......……………………………J.
                                                   (M.Y. EQBAL)

    New Delhi,

    May 7, 2014












                                                                  REPORTABLE




                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1579 OF 2010








      Vinod Kapur & Ors.                                              ….
         Appellants






                                   Versus



      Union of India & Ors.                                      ….
      Respondents










                                1  O R D E R



      Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

      1.    This appeal has been preferred against the impugned judgment and
      order dated 17.12.2004 passed by the High Court of Delhi in Civil Writ
      Petition No. 745  of  1987  and  impugned  judgment  and  order  dated
      27.7.2007 passed in Review  Petition  No.328  of  2005  filed  by  the
      appellant wherein the court held that the declaration under Section  6
      of the Land Acquisition




                                                         2

       Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as `the Act 1894’) was made within
      the limitation prescribed under the Act.

      2.    The facts and circumstances which have arisen in this appeal are
      that the land, the subject matter of the appeal, stood notified  under
      Section 4 of the Act 1894 on 25.11.1980.  The other persons whose land
      had also been acquired by the same  notification  had  challenged  the
      validity of the notification under Section 4 of Act 1894 by filing the
      writ petitions and its validity was upheld by the judgment  and  order
      dated 15.11.1983.  It was  during  the  pendency  of  the  acquisition
      proceedings that the present appellant had  purchased  the  land  vide
      registered sale deeds dated 6.5.1985 and 24.5.1985.    In  respect  of
      the same land, the Land Acquisition Collector submitted  a  report  on
      4.6.1985 on the objections made under Section 5A of the  Act  1894  by
      the predecessor-in-interest and the  same  was  accepted  by  the  Lt.
      Governor of Delhi and the declaration under Section 6 of the Act  1894
      was issued on 7.6.1985.  In the year




                                                         3

       1987-1988, the Land Acquisition Officer made an award in  respect  of
      the land.

      3.    In respect of the same land covered by  the  same  notification,
      various orders in various litigations pending before  the  High  Court
      had been passed.  The writ petition filed by the present appellant was
      dismissed vide impugned judgment and order dated 17.12.2004.

      4.    In view of the fact that the other  land  covered  by  the  same
      notification and declaration had been the subject  matter  of  various
      other writ petitions and particularly, the land belonging to one Geeta
      Devi, the respondent in Civil Appeal No.  4374  of  2009,  the  matter
      remained pending, thus, Review Petition etc. had  been  filed,   which
      was dismissed on 27.7.2007.

      5.    It is evident from the orders passed by the High Court  that  it
      had granted stay of dispossession during  the  pendency  of  the  writ
      petition as well as the review petition, though no interim  order  has
      been passed by this court.  The respondent did not take possession  of
      the land in dispute though award had
                                                         4
       been made in the year 1987-1988,  and  the  High  Court  had  decided
      against the appellant in the year 2007.  Thus, a period of 7 years has
      lapsed without any stay of proceedings and  yet  no  action  has  been
      taken by the respondents in pursuance to the award.
      6.    However, keeping in view the decision rendered in C.A. Nos. 5478-
      5483 of 2014, this appeal is allowed in terms thereof. No order as  to
      costs.



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




                                    .......……………………….J.
                                               (J. CHELAMESWAR)




                                    .......………………………J.
                                                 (M.Y. EQBAL)

    New Delhi,

    May 7, 2014




    -----------------------
34





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