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Monday, January 12, 2015

proceedings taken against the dead person are totally void ab initio and non-est.= CIVIL APPEAL NO.10404 OF 2014 (Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 3489/2012) D.R. SOMAYAJULU, SECRETARY D.L.S. & OTHER S.E. RAILWAY HOUSE BLDG. CO-OP SOCIETY LTD., VISAKHAPATNAM ..Appellant Versus ATTILI APPALA SWAMY & ORS. ..Respondents


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL NO.10404   OF 2014
                 (Arising  out of SLP (Civil) No. 3489/2012)

CO-OP SOCIETY LTD., VISAKHAPATNAM              ..Appellant


ATTILI APPALA SWAMY & ORS.                  ..Respondents


                      CIVIL APPEAL NO. 10408   OF 2014
                 (Arising out of  SLP (Civil) No. 9648/2013)

ANDHRA PRADESH & ANR.                                ..Appellants

ATTILI APPALA SWAMY                                      ..Respondent

                               J U D G M E N T


Delay condoned in S.L.P. (Civil) No. 9648/2013. Leave granted in both the
special leave petitions.
2.            These appeals challenge the correctness  of  order  of  Andhra
Pradesh High Court passed in review application  being  W.P.M.P.No.1540/2009
in Writ Appeal No.1840/2008 dated 30.4.2011, setting aside the  order  dated
5.1.1982 passed by the competent authority determining an extent  of  38,781
sq. mtrs. of late Attilli Narasayyamma as surplus land and  also  the  order
passed by the appellate authority dated 24.4.2001 on  the  ground  that  the
proceedings taken against the dead person are totally void  ab  initio   and
3.          The case has a chequered history.  A maze of  facts  and  events
confront us in the course of determination of  these  appeals.  Essentially,
the core questions required to be examined are:-
(i)  The effect of non-impleading of legal heirs of Attili  Narasayyamma  on
the final statement passed under Section 9 of the Urban  Land  (Ceiling  and
Regulation) Act, 1976 (for short ULCR Act) and vesting of  surplus  land  in
the Government;
(ii)         Effect of Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal  Act  1999
(for short ‘Repeal Act 1999’) on the land so vested:-
(a)   to an extent of  6.00 acres of land vested with the  State  Government
which is allotted to the appellant-society as the society  has entered  into
an agreement of sale with the owners  of  the  land  and  claims  to  be  in
possession of 6.00 acres;
(b)   effect of Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act 1999  on  the
remaining extent of  surplus land.

4.          Despite the limited scope of the dispute which  arises  for  our
consideration, it is essential for us to notice the  factual  background  of
the dispute between the parties.   The  appellant-society  entered  into  an
agreement of sale with the  grandmother  of  the  first  respondent,  Attili
Narasayyamma on 25.8.1974 in respect of property  measuring  6.00  acres  in
    S.No. 30/1 and 30/2 of Kapparada Village, Visakhapatnam for the  purpose
of  providing  housing  plots  to  its  members.   Sale   consideration   of
Rs.1,52,000/- was received by Attili  Narasayyamma  and  possession  of  the
land was handed over to the appellant-society.   The  appellant-society  had
also entered into other Memorandum of Understanding/Agreements  of  Sale  on
various dates, details of which would be referred  at  the  relevant  place.
Meanwhile, in pursuance of Urban Land (Ceiling  and  Regulation)  Act  1976,
the competent authority sought to take the  surplus  land  holdings.  Attili
Narasayyamma filed declaration under Section 6(1) of the  ULCR  Act.   Sons,
daughters and grandchildren have also filed declarations under Section  6(1)
of the ULCR Act on the basis of family arrangement. After due  enquiry,  the
competent authority  issued draft statement  under  Section  8(1),  together
with notice under Section 8(3) of the  ULCR  Act  provisionally  determining
Attili Narasayyamma  as  a  surplus  landholder   to  the  extent  of  38781
sq.mtrs. in S. Nos.29/1, 30/1, 30/2 and 30/3 of Kapparada Village.
5.          In response to the notice issued under Section 8(3) of the  ULCR
Act,  all  the  declarants  including  the  first  respondent  herein  filed
identical objections, except late Attili Narasayyamma. Before the  competent
authority, the declarants were  represented  through  their  counsel.  After
giving due opportunity of hearing  by  issuing  notices  to  the  individual
declarants and also to their  counsel, the competent  authority  passed  the
order dated 5.1.1982 finding Attili Narasayyamma to  be  holder  of  surplus
land to the extent of 38781 sq.mtrs. Challenging the said  order  passed  by
the competent authority, Attili Narasayyamma filed an appeal  under  Section
33 of the ULCR Act.  In the meantime, final statement  under  Section  9  of
the ULCR  Act  had  been  issued.   Notification  under  Section  10(1)  and
declaration under Section 10(3) of the ULCR Act were issued  and  they  were
published in  the  Andhra  Pradesh  Gazette  on  24.2  1983  and  22.10.1990
respectively. Attili Viswanadha Rao and Attili Peda Venkata   Ramana  Murthy
have filed a petition bearing  W.P.                 No.2696/1991  which  was
dismissed as withdrawn. The Appellate Authority–Chief Commissioner  of  Land
Administration rejected the contention of the first  respondent  that  legal
heirs of Attili Narasayyamma were not formally impleaded in the  proceedings
before the competent authority and dismissed the appeal filed under  Section
33 of the ULCR Act by its order dated 24.4.2001.
6.           Challenging  the  order  of  the  Appellate   Authority   dated
24.4.2001, Attili Peda Venkata  Ramana  Murthy  and  Attili  Viswanadha  Rao
filed Writ Petition No. 18340/2001.   The said writ petition  was  dismissed
as  withdrawn  against  second  petitioner-Attili  Viswanadha  Rao.   During
pendency of the writ petition, Attili Peda Venkata Ramana  Murthy  died  and
first respondent herein was brought on record as  the  legal  representative
of deceased  Peda  Venkata  Ramana  Murthy.   The  said  writ  petition  was
subsequently dismissed by the High Court on 6.11.2008  on  the  ground  that
the  non-service  of  notice  upon  the  legal  representatives  caused   no
prejudice as they all had the opportunity of putting forth their  objections
on  behalf  of  Attili  Narasayyamma  and   they  had  participated  in  the
proceedings throughout.  Aggrieved  by  the  said  order,  first  respondent
preferred writ appeal being Writ Appeal                No.  1840/2008  which
was dismissed  by the Division Bench of the  High  Court  vide  order  dated
2.2.2009.  In the meantime, Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal  Act,
1999 came into force in  the  State  of  Andhra  Pradesh  with  effect  from
27.3.2008, gazetted on 22.4.2008.  First respondent filed a review  petition
being  W.P.M.P.  No.  1540/2009  seeking  review  of  the  Order   in   W.A.
No.1840/2008 on the grounds:- (i) that the legal representatives  of  Attili
Narasyyamma were not  brought  on  record  in  the  proceedings  before  the
competent authority and the Order   dated  5.1.1982  is  void  and  illegal;
(ii)  effect of Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation)  Repeal  Act,  1999  was
not taken into consideration by the Division Bench.
7.          The High Court allowed the review petition mainly on the  ground
that there was no proper  representation  of  the  estate  of  the  deceased
Attili Narasayyamma before  the  competent  authority  and  any  proceedings
taken against a dead person are totally void  ab  initio  and  non-est.  The
High  Court  accordingly  set  aside  its  own  order  dated  2.2.2009   and
consequently set aside the order dated  5.1.1982  passed  by  the  competent
authority and also the  orders  passed  by  the  Appellate  Authority  dated
24.4.2001 and the order of the learned single Judge dated  6.11.2008.  These
appeals by special leave, filed at the  instance  of  the  appellant-society
and the Department challenge the correctness of the  said  order  passed  by
the High Court in the review petition.
8.          Mr. Guru Krishnakumar, learned senior counsel appearing for  the
 appellant-society submitted that  the  sons,  daughters,  grandchildren  of
Attili  Narasayyamma  including  the  first  respondent  have  filed   their
statements and objections to the draft statement issued under Sections  6(1)
and  8(3)  respectively  of  the  ULCR  Act  and   thus,   all   the   legal
representatives of Attili Narasayyamma had participated in  the  proceedings
under the ULCR Act and that no prejudice could be said to have  been  caused
to them on account of the non-service of formal  notice to the legal  heirs.
  Laying emphasis on the vesting of the land in  the  Government  of  Andhra
Pradesh  and allotment of 6.00 acres of land to the  appellant-society  vide
GO.Ms.No.340 dated 5.3.2003 and GO.Ms.  No.1900  dated  20.12.2006,  learned
senior counsel submitted that the  society  and  the  members/allottees  are
already in possession of the property and the provisions of the  Urban  Land
(Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act 1999 are not applicable insofar  as  the
extent of  the land allotted to the society  and  the  High  Court  was  not
justified in allowing the review petition.
9.           Mr. V.V.S. Rao, learned  Senior  Counsel  appearing    for  the
respondent Nos. 2 and 3 submitted  that  respondent  No.1  and  other  legal
representatives of Attili Narasayyamma had participated in  the  proceedings
and they had sufficient knowledge of  the  proceedings  pending  before  the
competent authority.  Taking us through the judgment of the single Judge  in
W.P.No.18340/2001 and also the  Writ  Appeal  No.1840/2008,  learned  senior
counsel submitted that courts below have recorded clear finding  that  legal
representatives of Attili Narasayyamma had participated in  the  proceedings
and only by suppressing the factum of participation, respondent  No.1  filed
review application seeking review.  Learned senior  counsel  for  respondent
Nos. 2 and 3 further submitted that the Urban Land (Ceiling and  Regulation)
Repeal Act 1999 as adopted by the State of Andhra Pradesh (on 27.3.2008)  is
not applicable  in  this  case  as  the  surplus  land  has  vested  in  the
Government long back in accordance with the provisions of  Section  8(3)  of
the ULCR Act.
10.         Taking us through the GO.Ms.No. 1900 dated  20.12.2006,  learned
Senior Counsel  Mr.  P.P.  Rao,  appearing  on  behalf  of  respondent  No1.
submitted that the said order specifically mentions  that allotment of  land
shall be subject to the result of pending litigation  and  appellant-society
has no independent right  in respect of  the  suit  property.   The  learned
senior counsel submitted that Attili Narasayyamma died on 15.9.1977 and  the
draft statement under Section 8(3) of the ULCR Act,   issued  on  30.11.1977
could  not  have  been  served  on  Attili  Narasayyamma  and  since  Attili
Narasayyamma’s  legal representatives were not brought   on  record  and  no
notice was served on them, all  proceedings  against  the  dead  person  are
illegal and void ab initio.  It was further contended that since the  courts
below as well as the competent authority and  the  appellate  authority  had
failed to appreciate the  relevant  aspect  that  the  notice  issued  under
Section 8(3) of the ULCR Act  (dated  30.11.1977)  was  not  served  on  the
declarant-Attili Narasayyamma,  the  review  petition  filed  by  the  first
respondent was rightly allowed by the High Court.
11.         We have given our thoughtful consideration to the contention  of
the learned counsel for the  appearing  parties  and  perused  the  impugned
order and materials on record.
12.         Attili Narasayyamma, grandmother of first  respondent,  died  on
15.9.1977.  Draft Statement under Section 8(1) together  with  notice  under
Section 8(3) of the ULCR Act has been  issued  on  30.11.1977.   High  Court
allowed the review petition mainly on the ground that the said notice  under
Section 8(3) of the ULCR Act was not served on Attili Narasayyamma and  that
legal representatives were not brought on record.  In  the  impugned  order,
High Court, interalia,  held as under:-
 “…In the absence of the   proper  representation   of  the  estate  of  the
deceased by proper legal representatives, any   proceedings   taken  against
the  dead person are totally void  ab initio  and therefore  it  can  safely
be said that the proceedings as refer to dated  5.1.1982  at  the  inception
itself is totally void, illegal and  non-est  and  the  same  could  not  be
relied  on for any purpose whatsoever nature…. There  could  not  have  been
any such subsequent proceedings under the provisions of the Act  unless  and
until the original order  is   valid  and  there  is  due  determination  in
accordance with law.”

13.         It is no  doubt  true  that  the  provisions  of  ULCR  Act  are
confiscatory in nature depriving a person  of  his  valuable  right  in  the
property. When the Legislature says that the competent authority shall  duly
consider any objection received under  sub-section  (4)  of  Section  8,  it
casts a duty upon the competent  authority  to  serve  the  draft  statement
under Section 8(3) in such manner, as may be prescribed, upon the  concerned
person.  The draft statement to be served by the competent  authority  under
Section 8(3) of the ULCR Act is to enable the person concerned to  file  his
objections in case he has any reason to object.  There may  be  an  occasion
when a person dies after filing a statement under Section 6(1) of  the  ULCR
Act but before the notice  along  with  Draft  Statement  was  issued  under
Section 8(3) of the ULCR Act and order passed  by  the  competent  authority
under Section 9 or before a final determination under Section 10(3)  of  the
ULCR Act.  In such circumstances, legal representatives of the deceased  are
to be impleaded and the competent authority is  to  consider  any  objection
received from the legal representatives.
14.         In the facts and circumstances of the case at hand, it  is  seen
that the sons, daughters and grandchildren including  the  first  respondent
have participated in the proceedings before the  competent  authority  under
the ULCR Act.  Attili Narasayyamma had filed  a  declaration  under  Section
6(1)`and it was numbered  as  CC  No.5443/1976.   Her  sons,  daughters  and
grandchildren namely (i) Attili Annapurna,   (ii)  Attili  Malamamba,  (iii)
Attili Narasamamba, (iv) Attili Appalaswamy – (1st  respondent)  (v)  Attili
Venkata Rao, (vi) Attili  Viswanadha  Rao  and  (vii)  Attili  Peda  Venkata
Ramana Murthy have filed their statements under Section  6(1)  of  the  ULCR
Act, each claiming certain extent of vacant land  by  virtue  of   a  family
arrangement.  Competent authority issued a  draft  statement  under  Section
8(1) together with Notice under Section 8(3)  of  the  ULCR  Act  to  Attili
Narasayyamma  provisionally determining  her as  a  surplus  landholder   to
the extent of 38,781 sq.mtrs.   in  S.No.  29/1,  30/1,  30/2  and  30/3  of
Kapparada Village.   Copy of the draft statement and  notice  under  Section
8(3) has been served on her sons,  daughters  and  grandchildren,  including
the first respondent who have filed their statements under Section  6(1)  of
the ULCR Act.  In response to the said notice issued under Section  8(3)  of
the ULCR Act sons, daughters  and  grandchildren,  namely,  the  above  said
declarants  have  filed  their  individual  objections  and  they  were  all
represented through their counsel. In their objections, sons, daughters  and
grandchildren of Attili Narasayyamma raised  the  following   grounds:-  (i)
that there was a family arrangement dated 15.7.1974 in pursuance  of  which,
each of the declarants are in possession and enjoyment  of their  respective
shares; (ii) Attili Narasayyamma had executed  a  Will  and  bequeathed  the
properties; (iii) Attili Narasayyamma executed an agreement  of  sale  dated
25.8.1974  in  favour  of  Diesel  Loco  Shed  Employees  and  S.E.  Railway
Employees House Building Cooperative Society (appellant) to  the  extent  of
6.00 acres of land in S.No. 30/1, 30/2 (P)  of  Kapparada  Village  and  the
said extent of land has to be excluded from the computation of  the  ceiling
area of the declarant.
15.         In the counter affidavit filed by respondent Nos.2 and 3, it  is
averred that subsequent to the filing of the objections  against  the  draft
statement,  the  competent  authority  issued  notices  both  to   all   the
individual declarants and also their advocates to attend  for  inquiry.   It
is averred  that  right  from  3.4.1978,  the  declarants  have  sought  for
adjournments either on one plea or the other  and  as  such  they  have  not
turned  for inquiry for about five years since filing of objections  against
 the draft statement.  In our view sufficient opportunity  was  afforded  to
the sons, daughters and grandchildren who filed their  objections  and  only
after considering their objections the competent authority passed the  order
under Section 8(4) of the ULCR Act confirming  the  draft  statement  issued
under Section 8(1) of the ULCR Act  and    thereafter,  final  statement  as
required under Section 9 of the ULCR  Act  has  been  issued.    In  effect,
legal  representatives  of  Attili  Narasayyamma   were   given   sufficient
opportunity to file their objections to prove their claim to  the  property.
In such situation, the legal representatives  cannot  be  allowed  to  claim
that prejudice  was caused to them as they were not brought on record,  when
in essence they have actually participated at all stages of  inquiry  before
the competent authority.
16.         In its order dated 5.1.1982 competent authority observed thus:-
“The Draft Statement was served on the declarant  Smt.  Attili  Narasayyamma
on 2.2.1978.  Against the said Draft Statement under  Section  8(1)   issued
to Smt. Attili  Narasayyamma  all  the  eight  declarants  including  Attili
Narasayyamma have filed objection petitions which   were  received  in  this
office on 28.2.1978.”

The above observation,  of  course,  is  factually  incorrect.   Before  the
appellate authority, Attili Viswanadha Rao assailed the order passed by  the
competent authority by raising  objection  as  to  non-impleading  of  legal
representatives on record.  By referring   to  the  proceedings  before  the
competent authority, the  appellate authority held  that  Attili  Viswanadha
Rao  and  other sons and daughters of late  Attili  Narasayyamma  have  been
brought on record all through the proceedings and were given notice  of  the
proceedings as required under law, thereby rejecting the objection  of  non-
impleading  legal representatives  of Attili Narasayyamma.
17.         Sequence of events clearly indicates that  sons,  daughters  and
grandchildren of  Attili  Narasayyamma     including  the  first  respondent
participated in the entire  proceedings  and  they  have  filed  declaration
under Section 6(1)  of the ULCR Act and  also  filed  their   objections  in
response to the notice issued under Section 8(3) of the ULCR Act.  In  fact,
right from the inquiry, the declarants including the first  respondent  were
represented through their advocates.  Their objections  were  considered  at
length by the competent authority before passing the  order  dated  5.1.1982
and thereafter, final statement as required under Section 9 of the  Act  has
been  issued.   Notification  under  Section  10(1)  and  declaration  under
Section 10(3) of the ULCR Act were issued and they were published in the  AP
Gazette on 24.2.1983 and  22.10.1990  respectively.   The  first  respondent
Attili Appala Swamy and his father Attili Peda Venkata  Ramana  Murthy  were
vigorously pursuing the matter.  In  the  counter  affidavit  filed  by  the
respondent Nos. 2 and 3, the first respondent is stated to be an  acquainted
lawyer and an ex-Government Pleader.  While so, the first respondent  cannot
plead ignorance of the proceedings before the competent  authority  and  his
participation thereon.
18.         There is no specific provision in  the  ULCR  Act  to  bring  on
record the legal representatives of a declarant who subsequently dies  after
filing declaration.  In respect of the matters specified in clauses  (a)  to
(e) of Section 31 of ULCR Act, the competent authority has  been  given  all
the powers of a civil court while trying a suit  under  the  Code  of  Civil
Procedure, 1908.  Clause (f) of Section 31 of the  ULCR  Act  provides  that
for other matters also, it can be prescribed that provisions of the Code  of
Civil Procedure, 1908 would be made applicable. This  by  implication  shows
that the entire provisions of the Code  of  Civil  Procedure  are  not  made
applicable. Section 46 of ULCR Act enables the Central  Government  to  make
rules for carrying out the provisions  of  the  Act.   Clause  (n)  of  sub-
section (2) of Section 46 empowers the  Central  Government  to  make  rules
conferring the powers  to  the  competent  authority  under  clause  (f)  of
Section 31.      Nothing was placed  before us to show that  any  such  rule
was framed by the Central Government or that  which  of  the  provisions  of
Code of Civil Procedure  are  made applicable.
19.         For the sake of completion, we  may  refer  to       Order  XXII
Rule 2, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 which is  the  relevant  provision  in
CPC dealing with the procedure  where  one  of  the  several  plaintiffs  or
defendants dies and right to sue survives.  Order XXII Rule 2, C.P.C.  reads
as under:-

“2.   Procedure where one of  several  plaintiffs  or  defendants  dies  and
right to sue survives.- Where there are more plaintiffs or defendants   than
one,  and any of them  dies, and where the right  to  sue  survives  to  the
surviving plaintiff or plaintiffs alone, or against the surviving  defendant
or defendants alone, the Court  shall  cause an entry to that effect  to  be
made on the record, and the suit  shall  proceed  at  the  instance  of  the
surviving plaintiff or plaintiffs, or against  the  surviving  defendant  or

When the legal representatives  of  a  deceased  plaintiff  are  already  on
record in their individual capacity, a mere note under  Order  XXII  Rule  2
C.P.C. is sufficient.  As noticed earlier, in  the  proceedings  before  the
competent  authority,  sons,   daughters   and   grandchildren   of   Attili
Narasayyamma were already on record in their  individual  capacity.    While
so,  the first respondent cannot complain of any prejudice being caused  due
to formal  non-impleading  of  legal   representatives  of  deceased  Attili
Narasayyamma or non-serving of formal notice upon the legal  representatives
of deceased Attili Narasayyamma.
20.         In the review petition, in our view, the High Court ignored  the
sequence of events and the full participation of  sons,  daughters  and  the
grandchildren  including  the  first   respondent   before   the   competent
authority.  Court of review has only a  limited  jurisdiction  circumscribed
by the definitive limits fixed by the language used in Order  XLVII  Rule  1
C.P.C.  It may allow  a review  on three specified grounds,  namely  :-  (i)
discovery of new and important matter or evidence, which after the  exercise
of due diligence, was not within the applicant’s knowledge or could  not  be
produced  by him at the  time when the decree was passed or order was  made;
            (ii)  mistake or error apparent on the face of the  record;   or
 (iii)  for any other sufficient reason.   Application  for  review  on  the
ground of discovery of new material should be considered with great  caution
and should not be granted very lightly.
21.         Factum of death of Attili Narasayyamma on 15.9.1977 and plea  as
to non-impleading of legal representatives in  the  proceedings  before  the
competent authority was raised at  all  stages  i.e.  before  the  appellate
authority as well as before the single Judge and also in  the  writ  appeal.
Considering the  participation  of  sons,  daughters  and  grandchildren  of
Attili Narasayyamma before the competent authority, the appellate  authority
as well as the learned single Judge (Writ Petition No.18340/2001) held  that
the legal representatives of Attili Narasayyamma had sufficient  opportunity
of putting forth their objections on behalf of Attili Narasayyamma  and  the
order  passed  by  the  competent  authority  does  not  suffer   from   any
illegality.   In  Writ  Appeal  No.  1840/2008,  the  Division  Bench   also
considered this aspect and found that all  the  legal  representatives  were
already on record and participated in the proceedings  and  cannot  complain
of non-impleading of legal representatives.  In the  review  petition  while
setting aside its own order and then orders of the  authorities  under  ULCR
Act, High Court observed that there was  no  proper  representation  of  the
estate of the deceased Attili Narasayyamma by proper  legal  representatives
and any proceedings taken against a dead person are totally void  ab  initio
and the order dated 5.1.1982 is void and illegal. While so saying, the  High
Court has completely  ignored  the  participation  of  sons,  daugthers  and
grandchildren  of  Attili  Narasayyamma  in  the  proceedings   before   the
competent  authority  and  that  the  said  objection  was  considered   and
negatived by all the forums.  Insofar as the applicability  of  ULCR  Repeal
Act 1999, in the impugned order only passing  observations  have  been  made
that “……all the proceedings have no effect in view of  the  repealing  Act”.
In our view, the impugned order passed by  the  High  Court  in  the  review
petition is erroneous and not sustainable.
22.   Vesting of the land:  Sub-section (1) of Section 10 states that  after
service  of  the  statement,  the  competent  authority  has  to  issue    a
notification giving particulars of the land held by such  person  in  excess
of  the  ceiling  limit.   A  notification  has  to  be  published  for  the
information of the general public in  the  Official  Gazette,  stating  that
such vacant land is to be acquired and that the claims of  all  the  persons
interested in such vacant land be made by them  giving  particulars  of  the
nature of their interests in  such  land.  Sub-section  (2)  of  Section  10
states that after considering the  claims   of  persons  interested  in  the
vacant land, the competent authority has to determine the nature and  extent
of such claims and pass such orders as it might deem fit.   Sub-section  (3)
of Section 10 states that after the publication of  the  notification  under
sub-section (1) the competent authority has to declare that the excess  land
referred to in the notification published under sub-section (1)  of  Section
10 shall, with effect  from  such  date,  as  might  be  prescribed  in  the
declaration, be deemed to have been acquired by the State  Government.    On
publication of a declaration to that effect such land  shall  be  deemed  to
have  been  vested  absolutely  in  the  State  Government,  free  from  all
encumbrances, with effect from the date so specified.
23.         By publication in the Gazette on 22.10.1990 under Section  10(3)
of the ULCR Act, the surplus land measuring an  extent  of  38,781  sq.mtrs.
shall be deemed  to have been vested  absolutely  in  the  State  Government
free from all encumbrances. On 31.1.1991 notice  was  issued  under  Section
10(5) to surrender possession of vacant lands.  So far  as  the  vesting  of
the surplus land with the Government, there are overwhelming  materials  and
accordingly, vesting became conclusive.
24.   Effect of Repealing Act 1999:  Urban  Land  (Ceiling  and  Regulation)
Repeal Act, 1999 was adopted in the State  of  Andhra  Pradesh  with  effect
from 27.3.2008.  First respondent contends that  since  possession  was  not
taken, ULCR  repeal  Act  1999  is  squarely  applicable  and  land  ceiling
proceedings are abated.  First respondent relies upon Sections 3  and  4  of
the Repeal Act, 1999.  It would,  therefore,  be  appropriate  to  refer  to
Sections 3 and 4 of the repeal Act, 1999 which read as under:-
“3. Saving.- (1) The  repeal of  the principal  Act shall not affect-
the vesting of  any  vacant  land  under  sub-section  (3)  of  Section  10,
possession of which has been taken over the State Government or  any  person
duly authorized by the State Government  in this behalf or by the  competent
the validity of any order  granting   exemption  under  sub-section  (1)  of
Section 20 or any action taken thereunder, notwithstanding  any judgment  of
any court to the contrary;
any payment made to  the  State  Government  as  a  condition  for  granting
exemption under sub-section  (1) of Section 20.
(2)  Where-
      (a) any land is deemed to have vested in the  State  Government  under
sub-section(3) of Section 10 of the principal Act but  possession  of  which
has not been  taken  over  by  the  State  Government  or  any  person  duly
authorized by the State Government  in  this  behalf  or  by  the  competent
authority; and
      (b) any amount has been paid by the State Government with  respect  to
such land
then, such land shall not be restored unless the amount paid,  if  any,  has
been refunded to the State Government.

4.    Abatement of legal proceedings.-  All  proceedings  relating  to   any
order made or  purported  to  be  made  under   the  principal  Act  pending
immediately  before  the  commencement   of  this  Act,  before  any  court,
tribunal or other authority shall abate.
      Provided  that  this  section  shall  not  apply  to  the  proceedings
relating to sections 11, 12,13 and 14 of the principal  Act  in  so  far  as
such proceedings are relatable  to the land, possession of  which  has  been
taken over by the State Government or any person   duly  authorized  by  the
State Government in this behalf or by the competent authority.”

25.         Contention advanced at the  hands  of  the  Government  and  the
appellant was that recognizing possession of the appellant-society  and  the
allottees to whom the plots  were  allotted,  Government  issued  GO.Ms.1900
dated 20.12.2006 which is much prior to the adoption of repeal  Act  in  the
State of Andhra Pradesh and therefore, repeal Act is not applicable  to  the
said 6.00 acres allotted to the appellant-society.  In so far  as  remaining
extent, contention of the Government is that the actual  possession  of  the
same was taken over by a Panchnama dated 4.1.2008  much  before  the  repeal
Act and therefore, repeal Act is not applicable.
26.           In  State of  U.P. vs. Hari Ram, (2013) 4 SCC 280, this  Court
considered the question with regard to “deemed vesting” under Section  10(3)
of ULCR Act in the context of saving clause in the Repeal  Act  1999.   This
Court  held  that for the  purpose of saving clause  under  the  repeal  Act
1999, de facto possession is required to be taken by the State  and  not  de
jure.  In paragraphs (31), (34) and (35) of Hari Ram’s case this Court  held
as under:-

“31. The “vesting” in sub-section (3) of Section  10,  in  our  view,  means
vesting of title absolutely and not possession though nothing stands in  the
way of a person  voluntarily  surrendering  or  delivering  possession.  The
Court in  Maharaj  Singh  v.  State  of  U.P.  [(1977)  1  SCC  155],  while
interpreting Section  117(1)  of  the  U.P.  Zamindari  Abolition  and  Land
Reforms Act, 1950 held that “vesting” is a word of slippery import  and  has
many meanings and the context controls the text and the purpose  and  scheme
project the particular semantic shade or nuance of meaning….…………
34.  Sub-section  (5)  of  Section  10,  for  the  first  time,  speaks   of
“possession” which  says  that  where  any  land  is  vested  in  the  State
Government under sub-section (3) of  Section  10,  the  competent  authority
may, by notice in writing, order any person, who may be in possession of  it
to surrender or transfer possession to the State Government or to any  other
person, duly authorised by the State Government.
35. If de facto possession has already passed on to the State Government  by
the two deeming provisions under sub-section (3) of Section 10, there is  no
necessity of using the expression “where any  land  is  vested”  under  sub-
section (5) of Section 10. Surrendering or transfer of possession under sub-
section (3) of Section 10 can be voluntary so that the person  may  get  the
compensation as provided under Section 11 of the Act early.  Once  there  is
no voluntary surrender or delivery  of  possession,  necessarily  the  State
Government has to issue notice in writing under sub-section (5)  of  Section
10 to surrender  or  deliver  possession.  Sub-section  (5)  of  Section  10
visualises  a  situation  of   surrendering   and   delivering   possession,
peacefully while sub-section (6) of Section 10 contemplates a  situation  of
forceful dispossession.”

27.          First respondent placed much reliance on  the  observations  in
paragraph (42) of Hari Ram’s case which reads as under:-
“42. The mere vesting of the land under sub-section (3) of Section 10  would
not confer any right on the State Government to have de facto possession  of
the vacant land unless there has been a voluntary surrender of  vacant  land
before 18-3-1999.  The  State  has  to  establish  that  there  has  been  a
voluntary surrender of vacant land or surrender  and  delivery  of  peaceful
possession under sub-section (5) of Section  10  or  forceful  dispossession
under sub-section (6) of Section 10. On failure to establish  any  of  those
situations, the landowner or holder can claim the benefit of  Section  4  of
the Repeal Act. The State Government in this appeal could not establish  any
of those situations and hence the High Court is right in  holding  that  the
respondent is entitled to get the benefit of Section 4 of the Repeal Act.”

Contention of the first respondent is that possession of  the  surplus  land
was never surrendered to the Government and the above observations  in  Hari
Ram’s case are squarely applicable and by virtue of  the  repeal  Act,  land
ceiling proceedings stood abated.
28.         As noticed earlier, a  total  extent  of  38,781  sq.mtrs.  were
declared surplus. The description of surplus land of 38,781 sq.mtrs.  is  as
|Village     |Survey No.       |Surplus Land        |
|(Excess)    |                 |(square metres)     |
|Kapparada   |29/1             |  3,574             |
|Kapparada   |30/1             |10,036              |
|Kapparada   |30/2             |24,200              |
|Kapparada   |30/3             |    971             |
|            |Total            |38,781              |

29.         Effect of  repeal  Act,  in  our  view,  has  to  be  considered
separately as regards two different extents viz.,    (1) 6.00 acres of  land
in Survey Nos. 30/1 and 30/2 of Kapparada Village allotted to the appellant-
society in GO.Ms. No.1900 dated 20.12.2006 and which  is  in  occupation  of
the allottees-members of the appellant-society; (2) Surplus land  in  Survey
Nos. 29/1 and 30/3 and remaining extent in Survey      Nos. 30/1 and 30/2.
30.         Late Attili Narasayyamma had executed an agreement  of  sale  in
favour of  appellant-society on 25.8.1974  of the land in Survey  Nos.  30/1
and 30/2 to the extent of 6.00 acres and received an amount of Rs.1,52,000/-
. On 10.3.1990, the appellant-society  had  entered  into  a  Memorandum  of
Understanding between  the  legal heirs  of Attili Narasayyamma wherein  the
appellant-society  agreed to pay Rs. 4,00,000/-  per acre and an advance  of
Rs.50,000/- was paid.   On  3.6.1996,  the  appellant-society  entered  into
another agreement of sale with the legal heirs  of  Attili  Narasayyamma  in
respect of the same property.  This  agreement  was  with  regard  to   1.40
acres,  in lieu of  which entire sale consideration  of  Rs.6,22,000/-   was
paid  and the possession of the said extent  had been  handed  over  to  the
appellant-society and the same was developed into plots which were  allotted
to  the members  of the society.  On 15.1.2001,  yet  another  agreement  of
sale in relation to  the remaining  4.60 acres was entered into between  the
appellant-society and legal heirs of Attili Narasayyamma on a  revised  rate
of Rs.10,00,000/- per acre and an advance of  Rs. 3,00,000/- was also  paid.
 On 6.2.2003, by virtue of GO.Ms. No.  455  dated  29.7.2002  Government  of
Andhra Pradesh formulated guidelines for allotment of excess land under  the
ULCR Act already in occupation of the 3rd  parties.   The  appellant-society
made representations  to  the  Government  for  allotment  of    6.00  acres
covered under the agreement.  In response to the  same,   Government  issued
GO.Ms. No.340 dated 5.3.2003  and  decided  to  consider  the  case  of  the
appellant favourably by relaxing  certain  guidelines  in  this  regard  and
called for certain  details.   The  first  respondent  filed  Writ  Petition
1216/2004 questioning the validity of this order.
31.          The  Special  Officer  and  Competent  Authority,  Urban   Land
Ceiling, Vishakhapatnam submitted the proposals  based  on  the  application
filed for allotment under Section 23(4) of the ULCR Act of the  excess  land
acquired by the State Government and in occupation of  the  members  of  the
appellant-society  in  Survey  No.30/1  and  30/2  of   Kapparada   Village.
GO.Ms.No.1900 dated 20.12.2006 was issued allotting 6.00 acres land  to  the
appellant-society  and  thereby  regularising  their  occupation.  The  said
Government Order states that the society has also paid the requisite  amount
towards compensation for such allotment.  Again this  order  was  challenged
by the first respondent by filing writ petition  No.735/2007  and  both  the
writ petitions are stated to be pending.
32.         We are conscious that two writ petitions viz. W.P.  No.1216/2004
and W.P. No.735/2007 have been filed  in  the  High  Court  challenging  the
allotment of 6.00 acres of land to the  appellant-society.   In  support  of
his contention that the land  allotted  to  the  appellant  society  remains
vacant, few photographs were filed by the 1st respondent.   As  regards  the
said 6.00 acres of land,  there are  overwhelming  materials  to  show  that
possession was already handed over to the  appellant-society  prior  to  the
adoption of ULCR Act by state of  Andhra  Pradesh  on  27.3.2008.  Following
terms in the agreement dated 10.3.1990  clearly  show  that  possession  was
handed over to the appellant-society to clear the bushes etc.:-
“In pursuance of the above understandings the 1st party received Rs.50,000/-
  from the President as an advance to permit the  2nd  party  to  clear  the
bushes and survey the land for the purpose of making a layout  and  the  2nd
party and 1st party hereby acknowledges the same.”

The  agreement   dated    3.6.1996  also  contains    clause   as
regards  delivery  of  possession  and  also  tentative  allotment
made to the members as under:-
“The entire sale consideration of 1 acre 40 cents was paid by the  above  12
members and possession  is  delivered  to  them  in  consultation  with  the
Society President and Secretary  and on the  basis  of  tentative  allotment
made by the society vide its letter dated 8.8.1994 and  they  have  enclosed
their plots with fencing as per the layout plan  of plot 45 to 56.”

The agreement dated 15.1.2001 also records handing over  of  possession  and
forming of layout and conferring right upon the society to  have  access  to
the road as under:-

“The vendors agree to permit the purchasers to level the land and  demarcate
the roads and plots as per the plan within a period of 3 months.

The purchasers agree that after the layout  has  been  laid  and  the  roads
laid,  the seller will be entitled to  use  the  road  for  the  other  land
belongs to them abutting the schedule land.
The vendors agree to give access to the road formed in the layout to  go  to
their plots  of  purchasers in case  if it  is  necessary  for  the  vendors
land which is abutting the schedule land.  Both the  vendors  and  purchaser
having agreed  for the terms  and conditions mentioned  above  and   affixed
their signatures on the 15th day of January 2001 at Visakhapatnam.”

33.         In terms of Section 3(1) of the repeal Act, the vesting  of  any
vacant land under Sub-section (3) of Section 10,  the  possession  of  which
has  already  been  taken  by  the  State  Government  or  any  person  duly
authorized by the State Government  in  this  behalf  or  by  the  competent
authority, repeal of the principal Act shall not affect the same.  Terms  of
various agreements referred above and also the tenor  of  the  GO.Ms.No.1900
dated 20.12.2006 clearly indicate that possession was  already  handed  over
to the appellant-society and the respective allottees were in occupation  of
the plots.     It is also pertinent to note that  as  many  as  38  members-
allottees are said to have already put up their construction and few  others
have fenced their plots.  By virtue of  earlier  agreements  and  Government
Order GO.Ms.No.1900 dated 20.12.2006,  on the date when the repeal  Act  was
adopted in the State of Andhra Pradesh i.e.  on  27.3.2008,  the  appellant-
society  was already in possession of  6.00 acres in  Survey  No.  30/1  and
30/2  and repeal Act is not applicable insofar as  the said extent of   6.00
34.         As noticed earlier, the land was allotted to the society  mainly
on the ground that the members-allottees were in occupation of the  allotted
plots.  The occupation of the  6.00  acres  land   by  the  members  of  the
society  is evident  by virtue  of prior agreements of sale.  When we  asked
Mr. Guru Krishnakumar, learned senior  counsel  appearing  for  the  society
whether entire sale consideration in terms of the  agreements  was  paid  to
the vendors, the learned senior counsel submitted that around rupees  thirty
lakhs have been paid to the vendors.   Correct details of the  consideration
paid to the vendors, the balance amount payable to the vendors  and  whether
amount has been paid to the   government   in  lieu  of  allotment  are  not
clear.  No materials were  placed  before  us  on  these  aspects.    Having
entered into agreements  of  sale  and  having  got  the  allotment,  equity
demands that the society should pay the entire  sale  consideration  to  the
vendors apart from the amount, if any, paid to the Government.   Instead  of
this Court determining the balance sale consideration amount payable to  the
vendors, insofar as 6.00 acres of land is concerned, the matter can, in  our
opinion, be remitted to the High Court  only  for  the  limited  purpose  of
determining the  balance  sale  consideration  payable   by  the  appellant-
society to the vendors –legal heirs of Attili Narasayyamma.
35.         Except the land covered under  GO.Ms.No.1900  dated  20.12.2006,
possession of the remaining extent of the surplus land is said to have  been
taken  by  virtue  of  Panchnama  dated  4.1.2008.   In  the  Writ  Petition
No.18340/2001, interim stay was granted by the High Court on  12.9.2001  and
the same continued to be in force till 6.11.2008 i.e. till the  disposal  of
the writ petition.  In such view of the matter, the effect of Panchnama  has
to be examined and it has to be considered  whether  the  actual  possession
was taken by the Government or the representatives of  the  State.   Insofar
as the  remaining  extent  of  surplus  land  is  concerned,  the  following
questions would arise viz., (i)   whether  actual  physical  possession  was
taken by the State Government; (ii)  When interim order granted by the  High
Court on 12.9.2001 was in force, what  is  the  effect  of  Panchnama  dated
4.1.2008; (iii) whether the repeal  Act  adopted  by  the  State  of  Andhra
Pradesh on 27.3.2008 is applicable  and whether  the  first  respondent   is
entitled  to get the benefit of Section 4 of the repeal Act 1999 are  to  be
considered.  In our view, instead of this Court examining  these  questions,
the matter be remitted to the High Court for examining the above questions.
36.         In the result, appeals are allowed, the impugned  order  of  the
High Court passed in Review Petition W.P.M.P. No. 1540/2009  and  the  order
of the Division Bench passed in  W.A.No.  1840/2008  dated  2.2.09  are  set
aside and the matters are remitted back to the High Court for  consideration
of the Writ Appeal No.1840/2008 afresh in the light of the above  discussion
and the directions contained in paragraph  Nos.  (34)  and  (35).  The  High
Court shall afford an opportunity to  all  the  parties  concerned  to  file
additional affidavits and counter affidavits and  also  to  file  additional
documents, if any, and proceed with the matter in accordance with  law.   In
the facts and circumstances of the case, we make no order as to costs.

                                                               (T.S. Thakur)

                                                         (Adarsh Kumar Goel)

                                                              (R. Banumathi)

New Delhi;
November 19, 2014

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