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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Section 24(2) of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as 'the 2013 Act'). In Barangore Jute Factory (supra) the acquisition suffered from statutory non-compliance. In view of the larger public interest involved in the acquisition, declining to set aside the acquisition the relief was moulded in the interest of justice observing:- "14.........No useful purpose will be served by quashing the impugned notification at this stage. We cannot be unmindful of the legal position that the acquiring authority can always issue a fresh notification for acquisition of the land in the event of the impugned notification being quashed. The consequence of this will only be that keeping in view the rising trend in prices of land, the amount of compensation payable to the landowners may be more. Therefore, the ultimate question will be about the quantum of compensation payable to the landowners. Quashing of the notification at this stage will give rise to several difficulties and practical problems. Balancing the rights of the petitioners as against the problems involved in quashing the impugned notification, we are of the view that a better course will be to compensate the landowners, that is, the writ petitioners appropriately for what they have been deprived of. Interests of justice persuade us to adopt this course of action."

                                                                  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                     CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 5248-5274 OF 2017
             [Arising out of S.L.P. (C) Nos. 2355-2381 of 2012]

The Special Agricultural Produce Market Committee
For Fruits and Vegetables                          … Appellant(s)
                                  Versus
N. Krishnappa and others etc.                      … Respondent(s)
                                  WITH
                     CIVIL APPEAL Nos.5275-5278 OF 2017
            [Arising out of S.L.P. (C) Nos. 39357-39360 of 2012]

N. Krishnappa and others                           … Appellant(s)
                                  Versus
The State of Karnataka and others                  … Respondent(s)

                    CIVIL APPEAL NOs.  5279-5287 OF 2017
             [Arising out of S.L.P. (C) Nos. 2834-2842 of 2014]

M. Suresh Kumar and another etc.                   … Appellant(s)
                                  Versus
The State of Karnataka and others                  … Respondent(s)


                                  JUDGMENT

NAVIN SINHA, J.
      Leave granted.
2.    The controversy in these appeals relates  to  the  acquisition  of  42
acres 32 guntas of lands in  village  Golimangala,  Sarjapur  Hobli,  Anchal
Taluk, District Bangalore, for expansion of the Appellant's marketing  yard.
Noticing infirmities in the acquisition proceedings, but declining to  quash
the acquisition adverting to the  larger  public  purpose,  the  High  Court
shifted  the  date  of  the  notification  under  Section  4  of  the   Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') to the date  of
its order i.e. 22.11.2010, for determination of compensation.  Aggrieved  by
the order, both the Appellant and the landowners are in appeal  before  this
Court.

3.     The  statutory  notification  under  Section  4(1)  of  the  Act  was
published on 20.5.2002 and the Award made on 31.01.2005. On a  challenge  to
the acquisition proceedings by the landowners,  the  Learned  Single  Judge,
after perusing the original acquisition records, held that  the  declaration
under Section 6(1) of the Act was made within statutory time from  the  last
date of publication under Section 4(1) of the Act. But that the  acquisition
suffered from statutory non-compliance with regard  to  publication  in  two
daily newspapers under Section 4(1) of the Act  and  improper  consideration
of the objections under Section 5A of  the  Act.  Adverting  to  the  public
purpose  of  the  acquisition,  the  proceedings  were,  however,   declined
interference and instead, the relief  was  moulded  relying  upon  Competent
Authority vs. Barangore Jute Factory & Ors., (2005) 13 SCC 477, by  shifting
the date of the Section 4(1) Notification.

4.    Appeals were preferred both by the Landowners and the  Appellant.  The
Division Bench summoned  the  original  records  afresh.  It  arrived  at  a
finding at variance with the Learned Single Judge for reasons  discussed  in
paragraph 40 of the Order that the declaration under  Section  6(1)  of  the
Act was not within statutory time.  But,  declining  interference  with  the
acquisition proceedings, it concurred with the  reasoning  ascribed  by  the
Learned Single Judge of the larger public importance of the acquisition.

5.    Dr. Rajeev Dhawan, Learned Senior Counsel appearing for the  Appellant
- Market Committee urged that the conclusion of  the  Learned  Single  Judge
from the original records that the declaration under  Section  6(1)  of  the
Act was made within statutory time of one year was correct and warranted  no
interference by the Division Bench.  The  last  date  of  publication  under
Section 4(1) in the Chavdi of the village was  05.08.2002.  The  declaration
made under Section 6(1) on 02.08.2003 was within  time.   The  date  of  the
notification under Section 4(1) of the Act could not have  been  shifted  in
the manner done.

6.    Learned Counsel for the State  of  Karnataka  submitted  that  in  the
facts of the case, the High Court rightly shifted the date  of  the  Section
4(1) notification keeping in mind the larger  public  interest  involved  in
the acquisition as also the interest of the landowners.

7.    Sri V.Lakshmi Narayanna, Learned  Senior  Counsel  appearing  for  the
landowners, submitted that once the Division  Bench  arrived  at  a  finding
that the declaration under Section 6(1) of the Act was beyond the  statutory
time, the acquisition proceedings could  not  have  been  sustained  in  the
manner done. Without prejudice to the same, it was  further  submitted  that
neither had possession been  taken  till  date  nor  had  compensation  been
disbursed  to  the  landowners.  The  acquisition  proceedings,   therefore,
additionally  stood  lapsed  under  Section  24(2)  of  The  Right  to  Fair
Compensation  and  Transparency  in  Land  Acquisition,  Rehabilitation  and
Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as 'the 2013 Act').

8.    We have considered the submissions  on  behalf  of  the  parties.  The
original acquisition records had also been summoned by us. The  observations
of the Division Bench appear justified. But  in  the  nature  of  the  order
passed, moulding the relief keeping  in  mind  the  larger  public  interest
involved in the acquisition, and in view of Barangore Jute Factory  (supra),
we  are  not  satisfied  that  the  order  of  the  High  Court  calls   for
interference.

9.    In Barangore  Jute  Factory  (supra)  the  acquisition  suffered  from
statutory non-compliance. In view of the larger public interest involved  in
the acquisition, declining to set  aside  the  acquisition  the  relief  was
moulded in the interest of justice observing:-

"14.........No useful purpose  will  be  served  by  quashing  the  impugned
notification at this stage. We cannot be unmindful  of  the  legal  position
that the acquiring authority can  always  issue  a  fresh  notification  for
acquisition of the land in the event  of  the  impugned  notification  being
quashed. The consequence of this will only  be  that  keeping  in  view  the
rising trend in prices of land, the amount of compensation  payable  to  the
landowners may be more. Therefore, the ultimate question will be  about  the
quantum  of  compensation  payable  to  the  landowners.  Quashing  of   the
notification at this stage  will  give  rise  to  several  difficulties  and
practical problems. Balancing the rights of the petitioners as  against  the
problems involved in quashing the impugned notification, we are of the  view
that a better course will be to compensate  the  landowners,  that  is,  the
writ  petitioners  appropriately  for  what  they  have  been  deprived  of.
Interests of justice persuade us to adopt this course of action."


 10.  Since the  contention  with  regard  to  the  2013  Act  will  require
examination of facts with due opportunity, we do not consider  it  necessary
to deal with the same in the present proceedings and leave it open  for  the
aggrieved to pursue  their  remedies  in  accordance  with  law  before  the
appropriate forum, if so advised.

11.   All the appeals are, therefore, dismissed.

                                                            ………………………………….J.
                                                              (Ranjan Gogoi)



                                                           ……….………………………..J.
                                                               (Navin Sinha)
New Delhi,
April 17, 2017


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