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Friday, May 26, 2017

whether the award should be held to have not been validly made and on that ground the proceedings should be held to have lapsed.= It is seen from the above resume of the proceedings that the appellants were paid compensation and possession was duly taken. The appellants also preferred reference on which higher compensation was awarded and matter attained finality upto this Court. The appellants thereafter filed a writ petition challenging the acquisition proceedings which was held to barred by delay and latches against which SLP was dismissed by this Court. Of course, an observation was made that the appellants could prefer appropriate proceedings based on their grievance under the 2013 Act.

                                 REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION



                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.3790 OF 2017



Jasveer Singh and Anr.                                …APPELLANT(S)

                                   VERSUS

State of U.P. and Ors.                       ...RESPONDENT(S)



                                    With

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.3787 OF 2017


RAJINDER Singh                                              …APPELLANT(S)

                                   VERSUS

State of U.P. and Ors.                       ...RESPONDENT(S)


                                    WITH

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.3786 OF 2017


BHAG Singh                                            …APPELLANT(S)

                                   VERSUS

State of U.P. and Ors.                       ...RESPONDENT(S)




                               J U D G M E N T


ADARSH KUMAR GOEL, J.


1.    These appeals have been preferred against the Order of the High  Court
of Allahabad in Writ C. No. 59918  of  2014  rejecting  the  prayer  of  the
appellants for quashing the  land  acquisition  proceedings  initiated  vide
notification dated 18th August 1981 under Sections  4  and  6  of  the  Land
Acquisition Act, 1894.  The acquisition was “for  the  construction  of  New
Broad Gauge Railway Line between Rampur and Haldwani”  in  the  District  of
Rampur.  Urgency clause was invoked.  Possession of the land  was  taken  on
19th September, 1986.  The award was made  on  22nd  September,  1986.   The
appellants  preferred  reference  under  Section  18  for   enhancement   of
compensation which was decided vide Award dated 7th December,  1988  by  the
District Judge, Rampur.  First appeals against the said award  were  decided
by the High Court on 29th January, 2004.  This Court vide order  dated  12th
September, 2005 in Civil Appeal Nos. 5714-15 of 2005  remanded  the  matters
to the High Court having regard to the grievance of  the  appellant  against
denial of statutory benefits.


2.    On 19th December, 2005 the appellants filed  a  writ  petition  before
the High Court seeking quashing of the  acquisition  proceedings  which  was
decided by the High Court on 3rd December,  2010  directing  redetermination
of compensation.  The said order  was  set  aside  by  this  Court  on  16th
October, 2012 in Civil Appeal No.7535 of 2012.  It was observed that :


“After  considering  the  pros  and  cons,  without  entering  into  serious
controversies and making any comment on the merit of the  case,  we  are  of
the considered opinion that in view of the judgment and order of this  Court
dated 26th November, 2010, which was passed in presence of the  counsel  for
both the parties, the High Court ought not to have heard the matter at  all.
 Thus, the judgment and order impugned before  us  has  lost  its  sanctity.
Therefore, the same is hereby set aside.


However, in order to meet the ends of justice, we remand  the  case  to  the
High Court to hear the writ petition afresh expeditiously preferably  within
a period of six months from the date of production of the certified copy  of
the order before the Hon’ble Chief Justice.  The matter may be  assigned  to
any particular Bench by the Hon’ble Chief Justice for final  disposal.   The
parties shall be at liberty to raise all factual and legal  issues  involved
in the case.  The High Court is requested to deal with the  relevant  issues
in detail.


More so, if the respondents are so aggrieved regarding withdrawal  of  their
appeals,  which  had  been  remanded  by  this  Court  for  determining  the
entitlement of interest under Section 23-(1A) of the Land  Acquisition  Act,
1984 and an application is made by the respondent to revive  the  same,  the
High Court may consider and decide the said application in  accordance  with
Law.  All the matters shall be heard simultaneously by  the  same  Bench  if
the appeals are restored. “





3.     Thereafter,  the  High  Court  considered  the  contention   of   the
appellants that the award in respect of compensation was  no  award  in  the
eye of law and though the possession was taken long back  and  railway  line
had been laid out, the acquisition proceedings were liable to be  set  aside
and compensation was liable to be awarded at present market rate.  The  High
Court rejected the said plea vide judgment dated 30th May,  2014  in  Writ-C
No.77449 of 2005.    It  was  observed  that  objection  of  the  appellants
against the award had already been considered  and  remand  by  the  Supreme
Court on 12th September, 2005 was only in  respect  of  statutory  benefits.
For the first time plea was  sought  to  be  raised  in  the  writ  petition
against validity of acquisition which was impermissible in view of law  laid
down by this Court in Aflatoon  versus  Lt.  Governor  of  Delhi[1],  Swaika
Properties Pvt. Ltd. versus  State  of  Rajasthan[2],  Sawaran  Lata  versus
State of Haryana[3] and Banda Development Authority, Banda versus  Moti  Lal
Agarwal[4].  Judgment  of  this  Court  in  Royal  Orchid  Hotel  versus  G.
Tayarama Reddy[5] was distinguished  as  that  case  related  to  fraudulent
exercise of power of eminent domain.  The High Court concluded :


 “ 45. Taking into consideration the entire facts and circumstances  of  the
case, we are of the view that the writ petition is highly barred by  latches
and deserves to be dismissed on the ground of latches alone.


46. As has been observed above,  the  petitioners’  main  grievance  is  for
enhancement of compensation, for which  the  petitioner  has  already  filed
First Appeal No.880 of 1993 and First Appeal No.401 of  1998  which  appeals
are being allowed by order of the date, we see no reason  to  entertain  the
writ petition.


47.  Although,  various  submissions  on  merits  challenging   the   entire
acquisition  proceedings  have  been  raised  by  learned  counsel  for  the
petitioners, but we having taken the view that the writ petition  is  highly
barred  by  latches,  we  do  not  find  it  necessary  to  enter  into  the
submissions raised by learned counsel for the petitioners on merits. ”





4.    The appellant thereafter preferred S.L.P. (Civil) No.  27109  of  2014
which was dismissed.  However,  it  was  observed  that  appellants  are  at
liberty to work out their grievance based on the new  Land  Acquisition  Act
(2013) by preferring  appropriate  proceedings.   The  appellant  thereafter
filed W.P. No.77449 of 2005 from which these appeals have arisen.


5.      The High Court  dismissed  the  writ  petition  with  the  following
observations:


 “ From the facts as noticed herein above, we are of the considered  opinion
that not only the Award had been made, the  petitioners  had  also  filed  a
Reference Application which was rejected and against  the  Reference  Order,
they filed First Appeal, referred to above, which has also  been  dismissed.
There is substance in the allegations made. ”





6.    We have heard learned counsel for the parties.


7.    Learned counsel for the appellants  submitted  that   in  the  present
case the award should be held to have not been  validly  made  and  on  that
ground the proceedings should be held to have lapsed.


8.     We are unable to accept the above submission.  It is  seen  from  the
above resume of the proceedings that the appellants were  paid  compensation
and possession was duly taken.  The appellants also preferred  reference  on
which higher compensation was awarded  and  matter  attained  finality  upto
this Court.  The appellants thereafter filed  a  writ  petition  challenging
the acquisition proceedings which was held to barred by  delay  and  latches
against which SLP was dismissed by this Court.  Of  course,  an  observation
was made that the appellants could prefer appropriate proceedings  based  on
their grievance under the 2013 Act.


9.    The grievance of the appellants  against  acquisition  proceedings  on
the ground that the award was not a valid award was  rejected  and  SLP  was
dismissed by this Court but permitting a fresh challenge.  The fact  remains
that the challenge of the appellants  is  barred  by  laches  and  the  said
finding does not suffer from any infirmity.   Even if  the  appellants  were
permitted to lay a fresh challenge,  they  are  required  to  overcome  this
legal bar which in our view the appellants have not been able  to  overcome.






10.   We, thus, do not find any error in the view taken by the  High  Court.
The appeals are dismissed.




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



                                                      ………………………………………………..J.
                                                   [ Rohinton Fali Nariman ]

NEW DELHI
May 01, 2017







-----------------------
[1]
      [2] (1975) 4 SCC 285
[3]
      [4] (2008) 4 SCC 695
[5]
      [6] (2010) 4 SCC 532
[7]
      [8] (2011) 5 SCC 394
[9]
      [10] (2011) 10 SCC 608

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