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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

whether a post-acquisition allottee of land is necessary or proper party or has any locus to be heard in the matter of determination of compensation under the scheme of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (the Act). If not, whether the impugned order permitting additional evidence and directing remand is sustainable.= Accordingly, we hold that the post-acquisition allottee has no locus to be heard in the matter and is neither a necessary nor a proper party. 19. The other part of the impugned order permitting additional evidence and remanding the case for fresh decision is uncalled for. No case was made out for permitting additional evidence on settled principles under Order XLI Rule 27 of CPC. The provision is reproduced below:- “27. Production of additional evidence in Appellate Court.- (1) The parties to an appeal shall not be entitled to produce additional evidence, whether oral or documentary, in the Appellate Court. But if – (a) the court from whose decree the appeal is preferred has refused to admit evidence which ought to have been admitted, or (aa) the party seeking to produce additional evidence, establishes that notwithstanding the exercise of due diligence, such evidence was not within his knowledge or could not, after the exercise of due diligence, be produced by him at the time when the decree appealed against was passed, or (b) the Appellate Court requires any document to be produced or any witness to be examined to enable it to pronounce judgment, or for any other substantial cause, The Appellate Court may allow such evidence or document to be produced, or witness to be examined. (2) Wherever additional evidence is allowed to be produced by an Appellate Court, the Court shall record the reason for its admission.” 20. It is clear that neither the Trial Court has refused to receive the evidence nor it could be said that the evidence sought to be adduced was not available despite the exercise of due diligence nor it could be held to necessary to pronounce the judgment. Additional evidence cannot be permitted to fill-in the lacunae or to patch-up the weak points in the case[17]. There was no ground for remand in these circumstances.

                                 REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                     CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 1587-1636 OF 2017



SATISH KUMAR GUPTA ETC. ETC.                 …APPELLANTS

                                   VERSUS

STATE OF HARYANA  &  ORS. ETC.                          ...RESPONDENTS


                                    WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NOs.1637 OF 2017, 1638-1653 OF 2017, 1655-1658 OF  2017,  1659-
1663 OF 2017, 1664 OF 2017, 1665-1669 OF  2017,  1670-1675  OF  2017,  1677-
1691OF 2017, 1692 OF 2017, 1693 of 2017, 1694 of 2017, 1695  OF  2017,  1696
OF 2017, 1699-1701 OF 2017, 1702 OF 2017, 1703-1780 OF  2017,  1783-1852  OF
2017, 1853-1927 OF 2017, 1930-2003 OF 2017, 2004-2058 OF 2017, 2059-2111  OF
2017, 2112-2114 OF 2017,  2117-2118 OF 2017, 2123-2126  OF  2017,  2127-2128
OF 2017, 2129-2132 OF 2017, 2133-2138 OF 2017,   2139-2143  OF  2017,  2144-
2145 OF 2017, 2146-2200 OF 2017, 2201-2203 of 2017,   2204  of  2017,  2205-
2206 OF 2017, 2207-2214 OF 2017, 2215-2219 OF 2017, 2220 OF 2017,  2221-2223
OF 2017, 2224 OF 2017, 2226-2227 OF 2017, 2228 OF 2017,  2232-2246  OF  2017
AND 2249-2279 OF 2017.


                               J U D G M E N T


ADARSH KUMAR GOEL, J.


1.    These appeals have been preferred against  judgment  and  order  dated
06th October, 2015 passed by  the  High  Court  of  Punjab  and  Haryana  at
Chandigarh in R.F. A. Nos.4316 of 2010 etc. etc.


2.    Question for consideration is whether a post-acquisition  allottee  of
land is necessary or proper party or has  any  locus  to  be  heard  in  the
matter of determination  of  compensation  under  the  scheme  of  the  Land
Acquisition Act, 1894  (the  Act).   If  not,  whether  the  impugned  order
permitting additional evidence and directing remand is sustainable.


3.    Facts giving rise to the question may be briefly noted.   Huge  chunks
of land were acquired by the State of Haryana in different  phases  for  the
public purpose of setting-up Industrial Model Township by the Haryana  State
Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) in Gurgaon District  in  Haryana.
Substantial part of the acquired land was allotted by the  HSIDC  to  Maruti
Suzuki India Limited (MSIL). One of  the  clauses  in  the  Conveyance  Deed
executed in favour  of  the  allottee  provided  that  if  compensation  was
enhanced, the allottee shall be liable  to  pay  additional  price  on  that
basis.  In HSIDC v. Pran Sukh[1], issue of compensation  for  land  acquired
in Phase I was decided by this Court.  Review  Petitions  against  the  said
judgment were dealt with in HSIDC v. Mawasi[2] and HSIDC  v.  Pran  Sukh[3].
Matter of determining compensation in respect of  Phase  II  and  Phase  III
came-up for consideration in HSIDC v. Udal[4].  As noticed  in  judgment  of
this Court in Udal (supra), the Reference Court awarded compensation in  the
light of compensation determined in the judgment of this Court in Pran  Sukh
(supra) and other awards relating to land acquired for Phase  III.   Against
the decision of the Reference Court, the land owners as well  as  the  HSIDC
filed appeals under Section 54 of the Act.   The  High  Court  assessed  the
compensation  based  on  judgment  of  this  Court  in  Pran  Sukh  (supra).
Reference to paras 29 to 33 of the  judgment  of  this  Court  Udal  (supra)
shows that after referring  to  the  plea  of  the  HSIDC  that  the  annual
increase of 12%  for  the  time  gap  was  erroneous  in  view  of  ONGC  v.
Rameshbhai Jivanbhai Patel[5] and Valliyammal v. Special Tehsildar  (LA)[6],
this Court found  merit  in  the  arguments  of  the  land  owners  that  an
important piece of evidence was not taken into  account  which  necessitated
remand.  The matter was remanded to the High Court for  fresh  disposal  and
it was also observed that MSIL was free to file an  appropriate  application
for its impleadment or for leave to act as intervenor.


4.    Thereafter, the matter was  dealt  with  by  the  High  Court  in  the
impugned judgment.  The High Court held that the allottee had a right to  be
impleaded as a party for the following reasons:


      a)    The State or the local authority for whose benefit the  land  is
acquired may not lead proper evidence or advance effective arguments.


      b)     A clause in the deed of allotment in  favour  of  the  allottee
provides for payment of additional price as a consequence of enhancement  of
compensation.


      c)     As a result of enhancement of  compensation  by  the  Reference
Court, the company in question was required to pay about Rs.900 crores.


      d)    Under Order 1 Rule 10(2) CPC the  Court  can  add  or  delete  a
party at any stage.


      e)    Section 50 of the Act provides a right to a local  authority  or
a company for whose benefit the land is acquired to  be  represented  before
the Collector or the Court in the process of determination of  compensation.



f)    The principle behind giving the right of  representation  to  a  local
authority or a company for whose benefit the land is acquired  can  also  be
applied to any person  who  is  liable  to  pay  the  enhanced  compensation
treating such person to be the “person interested”  under  Section  3(b)  of
the Act.


5.    After permitting the allottee to be impleaded as  a  party,  the  High
Court also allowed application to lead additional  evidence  on  the  ground
that the acquiring authority did not  defend  the  case  properly.   Similar
application filed by the HSIDC to lead additional evidence was also  allowed
and, thereafter, on considering the  additional  evidence  it  was  observed
that it was not possible for the High Court to assess  the  compensation  as
there was no site plan showing the location of the transactions relied.   It
was also considered necessary to  give  an  opportunity  to  MSIL,  who  was
impleaded for the first time.  On that basis the matter was remanded to  the
Reference Court for fresh decision.


6.    Aggrieved by the order of the  High  Court  these  appeals  have  been
preferred.  Contentions of the appellants are as follows:


i)    The post-acquisition allottee had no right to be heard in  the  matter
of compensation.  Reliance has been placed on Hindu  Kanya  Maha  Vidyalaya,
Jind and anr.  v. Municipal  Committee,  Jind  and  ors.[7];  Haryana  State
Industrial Development Corporation  v.  Pran  Sukh  and  ors.  (supra)  and;
Peerappa Hanmantha Harijan (Dead) by  legal  representatives  and  ors.   v.
State of Karnataka and anr.[8]


ii) Applications for impleadment have been filed by MSIL 12 years after  the
acquisition and applications for additional evidence were also  filed  after
a long delay and for the first time after remand by this Court, which  could
not be considered within the scope of Order XLI Rule 27 of CPC.


(iii) Application for additional evidence was rejected by this Court in  the
earlier round.  The remand  by  this  Court  was  limited  to  the  question
whether there was a need for further enhancement in the  light  of  evidence
which was not earlier considered.


7.    On the other hand, learned counsel for the MSIL as well as  the  HSIDC
and other allottees have supported the impugned judgment.  They submit  that
since allottees have to pay the enhanced  compensation,  they  ought  to  be
treated as “person interested” under Section 3 (b) of  the  Act.    Reliance
has been placed on judgments of this Court in  Himalayan  Tiles  and  Marble
(P) Ltd.   v.   Francis  Victor Coutinho (Dead) by Lrs. [9];  Santosh  Kumar
and ors.  v.  Central Warehousing Corporation and anr.[10]; Neyvely  Lignite
Corporation Ltd.  v.  Special Tahsildar  (Land Acquisition)    Neyvely   and
Ors.[11] and; U.P. Awas Evam Vikas Parishad  v.  Gyan Devi  (Dead)  by  Lrs.
and Ors.  [12].


8.    We have given our due consideration to the rival submissions.


9.    To determine the question whether  the  post-acquisition  allottee  of
land is necessary or proper party or has  any  locus  to  be  heard  in  the
matter of determination of compensation, we may refer to the scheme  of  the
Act.  The acquisition may either be for a “public purpose” as defined  under
Section 3(f)  or  for  a  company  under  Part-VII  of  the  Act.   If   the
acquisition is for a public purpose (as the present case),  the  land  vests
in the State after the Collector  makes  an  award  and  the  possession  is
taken.   Till the award is made, no person other than State comes  into  the
picture.  Once the land vests in the State,  the  acquisition  is  complete.
Any transferee  from  the  State  is  not  concerned  with  the  process  of
acquisition.  The State may transfer  the  land  by  public  auction  or  by
allotment at any price with which the person whose land is acquired  has  no
concern.  The mere  fact  that  the  Government  chooses  to  determine  the
allotment price with reference  to  compensation  price  determined  by  the
Court does not provide any locus to an allottee to  contest  the  claim  for
enhancement of compensation.


10.   This legal position is well  settled  on  principle  as  well  as  the
precedent.  In Hindu Kanya Maha Vidyalaya (supra)  it was observed:

“3. … … …Indisputably the land in dispute was not acquired for  the  purpose
of appellants instead the land was acquired for the Municipal Committee  for
the purpose of developing its Scheme No. 5. After the declaration  of  award
Municipal Committee took possession of the land and  thereafter  transferred
a portion of the same  to  the  appellants  under  an  agreement.  In  these
circumstances the ratio laid down by this Court in Himalayan Tiles &  Marble
(P) Ltd. v. Francis Victor Countinho [(1980) 3 SCC 223] does  not  apply  as
the appellants are  not  interested  persons  and  they  have  no  right  to
question the award. … … …”

11.    Again,  in  Peerappa  Hanmantha  (supra)  inter  alia  the  following
questions were framed for consideration.
“30.1. (i) Whether the allottee Company (M/s. Ultra  Tech  Cement  Ltd.)  is
either a beneficiary  or  interested  person  entitled  for  hearing  before
determination of the market value to award just and reasonable  compensation
in respect of the acquired land of the appellants either before  the  Deputy
Commissioner or Reference Court?

 (ii) Whether the writ petition filed by the  allottee  Company  before  the
High Court is maintainable in law?

(iii) Whether the  order  of  remand  allowing  the  writ  petition  of  the
allottee Company to the Reference Court is legal and valid?”


12.   The above questions were answered as follows:

“63. In view of the foregoing reasons recorded by us on  the  basis  of  the
acquisition  notifications  issued  by  the  State  Government   under   the
statutory provisions of the KIAD  Act  and  therefore,  we  have  to  answer
Points (i), (ii) and (iii) in favour of  the  landowners  holding  that  the
Company is neither the beneficiary nor interested  person  of  the  acquired
land, hence, it has no right to participate in  the  award  proceedings  for
determination of the market value and award the compensation amount  of  the
acquired land of the appellants. Hence,  the  writ  petition  filed  by  the
Company questioning the correctness of the award  passed  by  the  Reference
Court which is affirmed by the High Court is  not  at  all  maintainable  in
law. On this ground itself, the writ petition filed by  the  Company  should
have been rejected by the High Court, instead it has  allowed  and  remanded
the case to the Reference Court for  reconsideration  of  the  claims  after
affording opportunity to the Company, which order suffers from error in  law
and therefore, the same is liable to be set aside.”

13.   Judgments in U.P. Awas Evam Vikas Parishad  (supra),  Himalayan  Tiles
(supra) and P. Narayanappa and anr.  v.  State of Karnataka and ors.[13]  as
mentioned in para 61 of the judgment  in  Peerappa  Hanmantha  (supra)  were
held to be not applicable as the same applied only when the  acquisition  is
for a company or for the beneficiary of the acquisition as mentioned in  the
notification for acquisition itself.  This is clear from the following:

“61. Further, both the learned Senior Counsel on behalf  of  KIADB  and  the
Company have placed reliance on various decisions rendered by this Court  in
support of their above respective legal submissions that the Company  is  an
interested person and, therefore, it has got right  to  participate  in  the
proceedings before the Reference Court  for  determination  of  compensation
before passing the award either by  the  Land  Acquisition  Officer  or  the
Deputy Commissioner or the Reference Court at the instance of the  owner  or
any other interested person. These include judgments rendered by this  Court
in U.P. Awas Evam Vikas Parishad v. Gyan Devi, Himalayan  Tiles  and  Marble
(P) Ltd.  v.  Francis  Victor  Coutinho  and  P.  Narayanappa  v.  State  of
Karnataka and other decisions which are not  required  to  be  mentioned  in
this judgment as they are all reiteration of the law laid down in the  above
cases.

62. The reliance placed on the various decisions of this Court by  both  the
learned Senior Counsel on behalf of KIADB and the Company, is  misplaced  as
none of the said judgments relied upon are applicable to the fact  situation
in the present case for the reason that those cases dealt with reference  to
the acquisition of land under the  provisions  of  the  LA  Act,  either  in
favour of the company or development authorities, whereas  in  the  case  on
hand, the acquisition proceedings have been initiated  under  the  KIAD  Act
for industrial development  by  KIADB.  Further,  the  original  acquisition
record in respect of the acquired land involved in the  proceedings  by  the
learned Standing Counsel on behalf of the State  of  Karnataka  as  per  our
directions issued vide our orders dated  17-11-2014[14]  and  24-3-2015[15],
do not disclose the fact that  the  acquisition  of  lands  covered  in  the
acquisition  notifications  are  in  favour  of  the  Company.   Thus,   the
acquisition of land  in  favour  of  KIADB  is  abundantly  clear  from  the
preliminary and final notifications  issued  by  the  State  Government  and
thereafter following  the  procedure  under  sub-sections  (6)  and  (7)  of
Section 28 of the KIAD Act, it took possession of  the  acquired  land  from
the owners who were in possession of the same and was transferred in  favour
of KIADB for its disposal for the purpose for which lands were  acquired  as
provided under Section 32(2) of the  KIAD  Act  read  with  the  Regulations
referred to supra framed by KIADB under Section 41(2)(b) of  the  KIAD  Act.
Therefore, the reliance placed upon the  judgments  of  this  Court  by  the
learned Senior Counsel on behalf  of  the  Company  and  KIADB,  are  wholly
inapplicable to the fact situation and  do  not  support  the  case  of  the
Company.”


14.   We are in respectful agreement with the  above  view  in  Hindu  Kanya
Maha Vidyalaya (supra) and Peerappa Hanmantha (supra).  No contrary view  of
this Court has been brought to our notice.  The  judgments  relied  upon  by
the respondents are distinguishable as already held by this Court.

15.   In Himalayan Tiles (supra) the acquisition was under Part-VII  of  the
Act.  In Santosh Kumar  (supra)  the  question  was  whether  award  of  the
Collector could be challenged, to which this Court answered in the  negative
except on the ground of fraud, corruption or collusion.  In Neyvely  Lignite
(supra) again the acquisition was under Part-VII of  the  Act  and  in  that
context this Court  held  that  the  expression  “person  interested”  could
include a company  or  local  authority  for  whose  benefit  the  land  was
acquired.   The  post-acquisition  allottee  cannot  by   any   stretch   of
imagination be treated at  par  with  beneficiary  for  whom  the  land  was
acquired.  In U.P. Awas Evam Vikas Parishad (supra), the matter  dealt  with
was in the context of statutory authority for whom the  land  was  acquired.
Delhi Development Authority   v.   Bhola Nath  Sharma  (dead)  by  Lrs.  and
ors.[16]  was a case in the context of beneficiary for  whom  the  land  was
acquired.

16.   The only other justification in the impugned judgment which  has  been
relied upon by the respondents is lack of  sincerity  on  the  part  of  the
State authority for whose benefit the acquisition has been made viz.  HSIDC,
which by  itself  cannot  be  a  valid  ground  to  permit  post-acquisition
allottee to be treated as a necessary or  proper  authority  under  Order  I
Rule 10 of CPC to proceedings for determination of compensation.   The  view
taken in the impugned judgment cannot  be  sustained  on  any  principle  or
precedent.

17.   We may now refer to an order of this  Court  dated                15th
July, 2004 which has been relied upon in the impugned judgment in  para  31.
  There is no consideration of the principle  of  law  and  thus,  the  said
order without there being contest on the  principle  of  law  could  not  be
treated as a precedent for deciding the legal issue at hand.

18.   Accordingly, we hold that the post-acquisition allottee has  no  locus
to be heard in the matter and is neither a necessary nor a proper party.

19.   The other part of the impugned order  permitting  additional  evidence
and remanding the case for fresh decision is uncalled  for.    No  case  was
made out for permitting additional  evidence  on  settled  principles  under
Order XLI Rule 27 of CPC.   The provision is reproduced below:-

“27. Production of additional evidence in Appellate Court.- (1) The  parties
to an appeal shall not be entitled to produce additional  evidence,  whether
oral or documentary, in the Appellate Court.  But if –

      (a) the court from whose decree the appeal is  preferred  has  refused
to admit evidence which ought to have been admitted, or

(aa) the party seeking to  produce  additional  evidence,  establishes  that
notwithstanding the exercise of due diligence, such evidence was not  within
his knowledge or  could  not,  after  the  exercise  of  due  diligence,  be
produced by him at the time when the decree appealed against was passed, or

(b) the Appellate Court requires any document to be produced or any  witness
to be examined to  enable  it  to  pronounce  judgment,  or  for  any  other
substantial cause,

The Appellate Court may allow such evidence or document to be  produced,  or
witness to be examined.

(2) Wherever additional evidence is allowed to be produced by  an  Appellate
Court, the Court shall record the reason for its admission.”


20.   It is clear that neither the Trial Court has refused  to  receive  the
evidence nor it could be said that the evidence sought  to  be  adduced  was
not available despite the exercise of due diligence nor it could be held  to
necessary  to  pronounce  the  judgment.   Additional  evidence  cannot   be
permitted to fill-in the lacunae or to  patch-up  the  weak  points  in  the
case[17].  There was no ground for remand in these circumstances.

21.   We may also refer to the argument that  this  Court,  while  remanding
the matter in the earlier round, had given liberty to the MSIL  to  file  an
application for impleadment or to act as an intervenor  which  implied  that
such application was to be accepted.  We do  not  find  any  merit  in  this
contention also.   It cannot be held that any right was crystalised  by  the
said observation and such prayer had to be considered according to law.   We
have already held that the post-acquisition allottee had  no  right  in  the
matter.

22.   For the above reasons, we  allow  these  appeals  and  set  aside  the
impugned order and remand the matter to the High Court once again for  fresh
decision in accordance with law.  The parties are directed to appear  before
the High Court on 27th March, 2017.





                                                        …………..…………………………….J.
                                                       [ ADARSH KUMAR GOEL ]



                                                      .….……………………..……………..J.
                                                        [ UDAY UMESH LALIT ]

NEW DELHI;
FEBRUARY 21, 2017.



-----------------------
[1]

      [2] (2010) 11 SCC 175
[3]
      [4] (2012) 7 SCC 200
[5]
      [6] (2012) 7 SCC 721
[7]
      [8] (2013) 14 SCC 506
[9]
      [10] (2008) 14 SCC 745
[11]
      [12] (2011) 8 SCC 91
[13]
      [14] 1988 (Supp) SCC 719
[15]
      [16] (2015) 10 SCC 469
[17]
      [18] (1980) 3 SCC 223
[19]
      [20] (1986) 2 SCC 343
[21]
      [22] (1995) 1 SCC 221
[23]
      [24] (1995) 2 SCC 326
[25]
      [26] (2006) 7 SCC 578
[27]
      [28] Peerappa Hanmantha Harijan  v.   State  of  Karnataka,  SLP(C)No.
19819 of 2013,  order  dated  17-11-2014  (SC),  wherein  it  was  directed:
“Issue notice  to  the  State  Government.   The  learned  counsel  for  the
petitioners to take out notice to the  learned  Standing  Counsel  appearing
for the State Government.  Dasti, in addition, is also permitted.  Mr.  V.N.
Raghupathy, learned counsel accepts notice for the State  of  Karnataka  and
Mr. Nishanth Patil, learned counsel accepts notice for Karnataka  Industrial
Area Development Board (for short ‘KIADB’).  The learned  counsel  appearing
for the State Governument and the learned counsel appearing  for  KIADB  are
directed to produce the relevant  records  in  respect  of  the  proceedings
relating to land acquisition involved in  these  matters.   There  shall  be
stay of the effect and operation of the impugned order during  the  pendency
of these petitions.  List the matters after four weeks.  In  the  meanwhile,
all the respondents are at liberty to file written statements, if any.”

[29]
      [30] Peerappa Hanmantha Harijan  v.   State  of  Karnataka,  SLP(C)No.
19819  of  2013,  order  dated  24-3-2015(SC),  wherein  it  was   directed:
“Heard Ms. Kiran  Suri,  learned  Senior  Counsel  for  the  petitioners  in
SLPS(C)Nos. 31624-25 of 2014 in part.  List all  the  matters  as  part  for
further hearing.  Vide order  dated  17-11-2014,  learned  counsel  for  the
State as well as the learned counsel for KIADB were directed to produce  the
relevant records in respect of the proceedings relating to land  acquisition
involved in these matters,  record  as  well  as  the  records  relating  to
allotment of land.   However,  as  per  office  records,  nothing  has  been
produced so far.  In this view of the matter, the learned  counsel  for  the
State as well as the learned counsel for KIADB are directed to  comply  with
the order dated 17-11-2014 and produce the relevant records  in  respect  of
the proceedings relating to land  acquisition  and  the  allotment  of  land
involved in these matters  before  the  next  date  of  hearing.   List  the
matters on 15-4-2015.”
[31]
      [32] (2011) 2 SCC 54
[33]
      [34] N. Kamalam  v.  Ayyaswami (2001) 7 SCC 503: para 19


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