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whether the appointment of an authority at cost of one of party to the dispute for giving judgement in that dispute is proper?the Government of Gujarat by its letter dated 31.01.2006 requested the Government of India for approval of the nomination of persons to be appointed as Competent Authority for acquisition of right of user under the Petroleum and Minerals, Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962 (for short `the Act’) and one of the persons was Shri V.I. Gohil, Retired Deputy Collector. In the letter dated 31.01.2006 of the Government of Gujarat making the aforesaid request to the Government of India, it was stated that the = “…. It would be to broad a proposition to extend the theory of bias to exclude persons only because such person draws the salary from the bodies like public corporation, State Government. It would altogether be a different case if it was a case of a private employer and his employee. We cannot equate the case of a person in private employment with that of a person in public employment. …” – For the aforesaid reasons, we allow these appeals, set aside the impugned orders of the High Court as well as the proceedings for determination of compensation in the case of the appellants only. We, however, make it clear that this judgment will not affect any of the orders

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 Reportable

 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8629 OF 2011

 (Arising out of SLP (C) NO. 17022 OF 2008)

Trilok Sudhirbhai Pandya ...... Appellant

 Versus

Union of India & Ors. ...... Respondents

 WITH 

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8630 OF 2011

 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 17021 OF 2008)

Nilkanth Sudhirbhai Pandya ...... Appellant

 Versus

Union of India & Ors. ...... Respondents

 AND

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8631 OF 2011

 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 29771 OF 2009)

Laljibhai Kadvabhai Savaliya & Ors. ...... Appellants

 Versus

Gas Transportation and Infrastructure

Co. Ltd. & Ors. ...... Respondents

 2

 JUDGMENT

A. K. PATNAIK, J.

Civil Appeals arising out of SLP (C) Nos.17022 of 2008 and 

17021 of 2008:

 Leave granted.

2. These are appeals against the common order dated 

 06.12.2007 of the Division Bench of the High Court of 

 Gujarat in Special Civil Application Nos.9015 of 2007 

 and 9016 of 2007.

3. The facts very briefly are that the Government of Gujarat 

 by its letter dated 31.01.2006 requested the Government 

 of India for approval of the nomination of persons to be 

 appointed as Competent Authority for acquisition of right 

 of user under the Petroleum and Minerals, Pipelines 

 (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962 (for short 

 `the Act') and one of the persons was Shri V.I. Gohil, 

 Retired Deputy Collector. In the letter dated 31.01.2006 

 of the Government of Gujarat making the aforesaid 

 request to the Government of India, it was stated that the 

 3

expenses of pay and allowances and any other 

incidentals of the officials shall be borne by the 

respondent no.4-company from the date of their joining 

in the respondent no.4-company. The Government of 

India approved the appointment of Shri V.I. Gohil and 

issued a notification under Section 2(a) of the Act 

authorizing Shri V.I. Gohil to act as the Competent 

Authority under the Act for laying of the pipelines by 

respondent no.4 for transportation of natural gas in the 

State of Gujarat from the LNG terminals at Jamnagar 

and Hazira in Gujarat for distribution to various 

consumers located in the State of Gujarat and in the 

adjoining States of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in 

respect of all the districts of Gujarat. The Competent 

Authority under the Act then issued notices under 

Section 6(1) of the Act to the appellants for the 

acquisition of the right of user of their properties and 

although the appellants filed objections to the proposed 

acquisition, the same was decided against the appellants. 

The appellants then filed claims for compensation under 

 4

 Section 10 of the Act before the Competent Authority and 

 the claim for compensation was taken up for hearing at 

 the office of the respondent no.4. The appellants raised 

 preliminary objections to the sitting of the Competent 

 Authority at the premises of the respondent no.4 in view 

 of the fact that the claim for compensation was in respect 

 of the acquisition of right of user for the project of the 

 respondent no.4.

4. When such preliminary objections were of no avail, the 

 appellants filed writ petitions (Special Civil Application 

 Nos.9015 of 2007 and 9016 of 2007) before the High 

 Court of Gujarat challenging the notification dated 

 07.03.2006 of the Government of India appointing Shri 

 V.I. Gohil as the Competent Authority for determination 

 of compensation payable to the appellants under the Act 

 for acquisition of the right of user in respect of their 

 properties on the ground that the Competent Authority is 

 likely to act with bias considering the fact that his pay 

 and allowances and all other incidentals are being borne 

 by the respondent no.4-company and the Competent 

 5

Authority is virtually an employee of the respondent no.4. 

By the impugned order dated 06.12.2007, the High Court 

held that simply because the Competent Authority was 

discharging the function from the premises of the 

respondent no.4 and was getting pay and allowances and 

perquisites directly from RGTIL and was provided rent 

free accommodation and use of the vehicle of the 

respondent no.4, the appointment of the Competent 

Authority cannot be held to be as one vitiated by the 

bias. The High Court relied on the decision of this Court 

in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Yashwant 

Gajanan Joshi and Others [1991 Supp (2) SCC 592] 

wherein a similar challenge to the appointment of an 

employee of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited as 

Competent Authority under the Act on the ground of bias 

was rejected by this Court. The High Court also held 

that the Competent Authority was not adjudicating any 

rights of the landowners against the respondent no.4 and 

his primary duty was to determine the compensation as 

provided under Section 10 of the Act, which also has in-

 6

 built guidelines for such determination and if the owner 

 of the land is aggrieved with the determination of 

 compensation, he has a remedy by way of filing an 

 application before the District Judge for determination of 

 the compensation. The High Court accordingly dismissed 

 the writ petitions.

5. The learned counsel for the appellants submitted that the 

 High Court wrongly relied on the decision of this Court in 

 Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Yashwant 

 Gajanan Joshi and Others (supra) because the acquisition 

 of the right of user in that case was for a public sector 

 company and an employee of a public sector company 

 had been appointed as the Competent Authority, but in 

 the present case the acquisition of right of user was in 

 favour of the respondent no.4, which is a private sector 

 company and this private sector company was paying the 

 salary, allowances and all other incidentals of the 

 Competent Authority. They submitted that in the 

 aforesaid case of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. 

 Yashwant Gajanan Joshi and Others (supra) this Court 

 7

has observed that it would altogether be a different case 

if it was a case of a private employer and his employee 

was appointed as a Competent Authority and had further 

observed that a case of person in private employment 

cannot be equated with that of a person in public 

employment. They submitted that the law is well-settled 

that not only actual bias but also the apparent likelihood 

of a bias vitiates the appointment of an adjudicating 

authority. In support of this submission, they relied on 

the decisions of this Court in Ranjit Thakur v. Union of 

India and Others [(1987) 4 SCC 611], Rattan Lal Sharma 

v. Managing Committee, Dr. Hari Ram (Co-Education) 

Higher Secondary School, and Others [(1993) 4 SCC 10] 

and Indian Oil Corporation and Others v. Raja Transport 

Private Limited [(2009) 8 SCC 520]. They submitted that 

the very fact that the expenses of pay and allowances and 

all other incidentals of the Competent Authority are 

directly borne by the respondent no.4 is enough to 

establish that the Competent Authority is an employee of 

the respondent no.4 and there were sufficient 

 8

 circumstances to create a reasonable apprehension in 

 the mind of the appellants that the Competent Authority 

 was likely to act with bias while determining the 

 compensation payable to the appellants.

6. In reply, learned counsel for the respondents submitted 

 that the respondent no.4 had no role in the appointment 

 of the Competent Authority and it was the State 

 Government which made the recommendation and the 

 Central Government which made the appointment by a 

 notification under Section 2(a) of the Act. He further 

 submitted that under Section 10 of the Act the 

 Competent Authority determines the compensation 

 payable to the landowners but it does not exercise a 

 judicial function. He submitted that the compensation 

 determined by the Competent Authority is only in the 

 first instance and if the amount so determined is not 

 acceptable to either of the parties then the compensation 

 shall, on an application by either of the parties, be 

 determined by the District Judge within the limits of 

 whose jurisdiction the land is situated. He further 

 9

submitted that the determination of the compensation by 

the Competent Authority is also in accordance with the 

statutory rules, and in particular Rules 4 and 4(a) of the 

Petroleum and Minerals, Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of 

User in Land) Act, 1962 and a perusal of these rules 

would show that they contained in-built guidelines to be 

followed by the Competent Authority while determining 

the compensation payable to the landowners. He 

submitted that this Court had in Hindustan Petroleum 

Corporation Ltd. v. Yashwant Gajanan Joshi and Others 

(supra) rejected a similar challenge to appointment of an 

employee of the company in whose favour the right of 

user is being acquired as the Competent Authority. He 

finally submitted that it is well-settled that violation of 

principles of natural justice will be a ground for the 

Court to interfere only if actual prejudice is shown by the 

person aggrieved. In support of this proposition, he 

relied on State Bank of Patiala v. S.K. Sharma [(1996) 3 

SCC 364], P.D. Agrawal v. State Bank of India [(2006) 8 

SCC 776] and Ashok Kumar Sonkar v. Union of India 

 10

 [(2007) 4 SCC 54]. He also cited the decision of this 

 Court in Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India 

 [(1991) 4 SCC 584] in support this submission that an 

 appeal to a neutral District Judge as provided in Section 

 10 of the Act would wash away bias, if any, at the 

 original stage. 

7. For deciding the questions raised in these appeals, we 

 have to refer to the relevant provisions of Sections 2(a), 5, 

 6, 10, 11 and 12 of the Act:

 2(a) "Competent Authority" means any person or 

 authority authorised by the Central Government, 

 by notification in the Official Gazette, to perform 

 the functions of the Competent Authority under 

 this Act and different persons or authorities may be 

 authorised to perform all or any of the functions 

 of the competent authority under this Act in the 

 same area or different areas specified in the 

 notification."

 5. Hearing of objections:-

 (1) Any person interested in the land may, within 

 twenty-one days from the date of the notification 

 under sub-section (1) of section 3, object to the 

 laying of the pipelines under the land.

 (2) Every objection under sub-section (1) shall be 

 made to the Competent Authority in writing and 

 11

 shall set out the grounds thereof and the 

 Competent Authority shall give the objector an 

 opportunity of being heard either in person or 

 by a legal practitioner and may, after hearing all 

 such objections and after making such further 

 inquiry, if any, as that authority thinks 

 necessary, by order either allow or disallow the 

 objections.

(3) Any order made by the Competent Authority 

 under sub-section (2) shall be final.

6. Declaration of acquisition of right of user:-

(1) Where no objections under sub-section (1) of 

 section 5 have been made to the Competent 

 Authority within the period specified therein or 

 where the Competent Authority has disallowed 

 the objections under sub-section (2) of that 

 section, that authority shall, as soon as may be, 

 either make a report in respect of the land 

 described in the notification under sub-section 

 (1) of section 3, or make different reports in 

 respect of different parcels of such land, to the

 Central Government containing his 

 recommendations on the objections, together 

 with the record of the proceedings held by him, 

 for the decision of that Government and upon 

 receipt of such report the

 Central Government shall, if satisfied that such 

 land is required for laying any pipeline for the 

 transport of petroleum or any mineral, declare, 

 by notification in the Official Gazette, that the 

 right of user in the land for laying the pipelines 

 should be acquired and different declarations 

 may be made from time to time in respect of 

 different parcels of the land described in the 

 notification issued under sub-section (1) of 

 12

 section 3, irrespective of whether one report or 

 different reports have been made by the 

 Competent Authority under this section.

 (2) On the publication of the declaration under sub-

 section (1), the right of user [in the land 

 specified therein shall vest absolutely in the 

 Central Government free from all 

 encumbrances.

 (3) Where in respect of any land, a notification has 

 been issued under sub-section (1) of section 3 

 but [no declaration in respect of any parcel of 

 land covered by that notification has been 

 published under this section] within a period of 

 one year from the date of that notification, that 

 notification shall cease to have effect on the 

 expiration of that period.

(3-A) No declaration in respect of any land covered 

 by a notification issued under sub-section (1) of 

 section 3, published after the commencement of 

 the Petroleum Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of 

 User in Land) Amendment Act, 1977 (13 of 

 1977), shall be made after the expiry of three 

 years from the date of such publication.

 (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-

 section (2), the Central Government may, on such 

 terms and conditions as it may think fit to impose, 

 direct by order in writing, that the right of user in 

 the land for laying the pipelines shall, instead of 

 vesting in the Central Government vest, either on 

 the date of publication of the declaration or, on 

 such other date as may be specified in the direction, 

 in the State Government or the corporation 

 proposing to lay the pipelines and thereupon the 

 right of such user in the land shall, subject to the 

 terms and conditions so imposed, vest in that State

 13

Government or corporation, as the case may be, free 

from all encumbrances.

10. Compensation. 

(1) Where in the exercise of the powers conferred by 

 section 4, section 7 or section 8 by any person, 

 any damage, loss or injury is sustained by any 

 person interested in the land under which the 

 pipeline is proposed to be, or is being, or has 

 been laid, the Central Government, the State 

 Government or the corporation, as the case may 

 be, shall be liable to pay compensation to such 

 person for such damage, loss or injury, the 

 amount of which shall be determined by the 

 Competent Authority in the first instance.

(2) If the amount of compensation determined by 

 the Competent Authority under sub-section (1) 

 is not acceptable to either of the parties, the 

 amount of compensation shall, on application 

 by either of the parties to the District Judge 

 within the limits of whose jurisdiction the land 

 or any part thereof is situated, be determined by 

 that District Judge.

(3) The Competent Authority or the District Judge 

 while determining the compensation under sub-

 section (1) or sub-section (2), as the case may 

 be, shall have due regard to the damage or loss 

 sustained by any person interested in the land 

 by reason of-

 (i) the removal of trees or standing crops, if any, 

 on the land while exercising the powers 

 under section 4, section 7 or section 8;

 14

 (ii) the temporary severance of the land under 

 which the pipeline has been laid from other 

 lands belonging to, or in the occupation of, 

 such person; or

 (iii) any injury to any other property, whether 

 movable or immovable, or the earnings of 

 such persons caused in any other manner:

Provided that in determining the compensation no 

account shall be taken of any structure or other 

improvement made in the land after the date of the 

notification under sub-section (1) of section 3.

(4) Where the right of user of any land has vested in 

 the Central Government, the State Government 

 or the corporation, the Central

 Government, the State Government or the 

 corporation, as the case may be, shall, in 

 addition to the compensation, if any, payable 

 under sub-section (1), be liable to pay to the 

 owner and to any other person whose right of 

 enjoyment in that land has been affected in any 

 manner whatsoever by reason of such vesting, 

 compensation calculated at ten per cent. of the 

 market value of that land on the date of the 

 notification under sub-section (1) of section 3.

 (5) The market value of the land on the said date 

 shall be determined by the Competent Authority 

 and if the value so determined by that authority 

 is not acceptable to either of the parties, it shall, 

 on application by either of the parties to the 

 District Judge referred to in sub-section (2), be 

 determined by that District Judge.

(6) The decision of the District Judge under sub-

 section (2) or sub-section (5) shall be final.

 15

11. Deposit and payment of compensation. 

(1) The amount of compensation determined under 

 section 10 shall be deposited by the

 Central Government, the State Government or 

 the corporation, as the case may be, with the 

 Competent Authority within such time and in 

 such manner as may be prescribed.

(2) If the amount of compensation is not deposited 

 within the time prescribed under sub-section 

 (1), the Central Government, the

 State Government or the corporation, as the 

 case may be, shall be liable to pay interest 

 thereon at the rate of six per cent. per annum 

 from the date on which the compensation had 

 to be deposited till the date of the actual 

 deposit.

(3) As soon as may be after the compensation has 

 been deposited under sub-section (1) the 

 Competent Authority shall, on behalf of the

 Central Government, the State Government or 

 the corporation, as the case may be, pay the 

 compensation to the persons entitled thereto.

(4) Where several persons claim to be interested in 

 the amount of compensation deposited under 

 sub-section (1), the Competent Authority shall 

 determine the persons who in its opinion are 

 entitled to receive the compensation and the 

 amount payable to each of them.

(5) If any dispute arises as to the apportionment of 

 the compensation or any part thereof or as to 

 the persons to whom the same or any part 

 thereof is payable, the Competent Authority 

 shall refer the dispute to the decision of the 

 16

 District Judge within the limits of whose 

 jurisdiction the land or any part thereof is 

 situated and the decision of the District Judge 

 thereon shall be final.

 12. Competent Authority to have certain powers 

 of civil courts. 

 The Competent Authority shall have, for the 

 purposes of this Act, all the powers of a civil court 

 while trying a suit under the Code of

 Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), in respect of the 

 following matters, namely:-

 (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any 

 person and examining him on oath;

 (b) requiring the discovery and production of any 

 document;

 (c) reception of evidence on affidavits;

 (d) requisitioning any public record from any court 

 or office;

 (e) issuing commission for examination of witnesses.

8. A reading of the Section 2(a) of the Act shows that the 

 person to be appointed as Competent Authority is to 

 perform all or any of the functions of the Competent 

 Authority under the Act in the same area or different 

 areas specified in the notification. Accordingly, the 

 Competent Authority is to hear objections of persons 

 17

interested in the land to the laying of the pipelines under 

the land and the order passed by the Competent 

Authority under Section 5 is final. On the basis of the 

report of the Competent Authority, the Central 

Government, if satisfied that the land is required for 

laying any pipelines for the transport of petroleum or any 

mineral, may declare under Section 6 of the Act that the 

right of user in the land for laying the pipelines should be 

acquired and on the publication of such declaration, the 

right of user in the land specified in the declaration shall 

vest absolutely in the Central Government free from all 

encumbrances. Under Section 10 of the Act, the 

Competent Authority in the first instance is to determine 

the compensation payable to a person interested in the 

land under which the pipeline is proposed to be, or is 

being, or has been laid for any damage, loss or injury 

sustained by him. Under Section 11, the amount of 

compensation determined under Section 10 is to be 

deposited with the Competent Authority within such time 

and in such manner as may be prescribed and the 

 18

 Competent Authority is to pay on behalf of the Central 

 Government, the State Government or the Corporation, 

 as the case may be, the compensation to the persons 

 entitled thereto and where several persons claim to be 

 interested in the amount of the compensation, the 

 Competent Authority is to determine the persons who in 

 its opinion are entitled to receive the compensation and 

 the amount payable to each of them. Under Section 12, 

 the Competent Authority has all the powers of a Civil 

 Court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil 

 Procedure, 1908 for summoning and enforcing the 

 attendance of any person and examining him on oath, 

 requiring the discovery and production of any document, 

 reception of evidence on affidavits, requisitioning any 

 public record from any court or office and issuing 

 commission for examination of witnesses.

9. The aforesaid reference to the various provisions of the 

 Act show that the Competent Authority has got vast 

 powers, which affects the rights of persons interested in 

 the land over which the pipeline is to be laid and on the 

 19

reports of the Competent Authority, the Central 

Government and the State Government are to take 

decisions affecting the rights of persons interested in the 

land. Under the provisions of the Act, therefore, the 

Competent Authority does not merely determine the 

compensation at the first instance in accordance with the 

statutory rules as has been contended by learned counsel 

for the respondent no.4, but has to perform various other 

quasi-judicial functions which are normally performed by 

public servants whose pay, allowances and other 

incidentals of service are met out of the public exchequer. 

If instead of public servants, a person is appointed whose 

pay, allowances and other incidentals are not paid out of 

the public exchequer but directly paid by a private 

employer such as the respondent no.4, for whom the 

right of user is being acquired and by whom the 

compensation is payable, persons interested in the land 

will have reasonable grounds for assuming that such a 

Competent Authority, who is dependent on a private 

corporation for his salary, allowances, accommodation 

 20

 and transport allowances, will have a bias in favour of 

 the private corporation.

10. This Court as early as in 1957 held in Manak Lal, 

 Advocate v. Dr. Prem Chand Singhvi and Others [AIR 1957 

 SC 425] that every member of a Tribunal that is called 

 upon to try issues in judicial or quasi-judicial 

 proceedings must be able to act judicially and it is of the 

 essence of judicial decisions and judicial administration 

 that judges should be able to act impartially, objectively 

 and without any bias. In the aforesaid decision, this 

 Court also held:

 "But where pecuniary interest is not 

 attributed but instead a bias is suggested, it 

 often becomes necessary to consider 

 whether there is a reasonable ground for 

 assuming the possibility of a bias and 

 whether it is likely to produce in the minds 

 of the litigant or the public at large a 

 reasonable doubt about the fairness of the 

 administration of justice. It would always 

 be a question of fact to be decided in each 

 case." 

In the aforesaid decision, the observations of Viscount Cave 

L.C. in Frome United Breweries Co. v. Bath Jusstiees (1926 

Appeal Cases 586 at p.590) that the rule that every member of 

 21

a Tribunal must be able to act judicially and without bias 

applies not only to judicial Tribunals but also in the case of 

authorities which have to act as Judges of the rights of others. 

In aforesaid decision, this Court also held that it would always 

be a question of fact to be decided in each case whether there 

is a reasonable ground for assuming the possibility of a bias 

and whether it is likely to produce in the minds of the litigants 

or the public at large a reasonable doubt about the fairness of 

the administration of justice.

11. In Ranjit Thakur v. Union of India and Others (supra), 

 M.N. Venkatachaliah, J. writing the judgment for the 

 Court held in Paras 16 and 17 of the judgment:

 "16. It is the essence of a judgment that it 

 is made after due observance of the judicial 

 process; that the court or tribunal passing it 

 observes, at least the minimal requirements 

 of natural justice; is composed of impartial 

 persons acting fairly and without bias and 

 in good faith. A judgment which is the 

 result of bias or want of impartiality is a 

 nullity and the trial `coram non-judice'. 

 17. As to the tests of the likelihood of bias 

 what is relevant is the reasonableness of the 

 22

 apprehension in that regard in the mind of 

 the party. The proper approach for the 

 judge is not to look at his own mind and ask 

 himself, however, honestly, "Am I biased?" 

 but to look at the mind of the party before 

 him."

12. Thus, as per the judgment of this Court the test of 

 likelihood of bias is whether there is a reasonable 

 apprehension in the mind of the party before the Court or 

 the Tribunal that the Court or the Tribunal will not act 

 with fairness and without bias on account of certain 

 objective circumstances. There is no dispute in the 

 present case that the salary, allowances, accommodation 

 and transport were being borne by the respondent-

 company directly. Thus, the Competent Authority was 

 virtually an employee of the respondent no.4-company 

 and there were grounds for the appellants to entertain a 

 reasonable apprehension in their mind that the 

 Competent Authority will not act fairly and is likely to act 

 with bias. In the judgment of this Court in Ranjit Thakur 

 v. Union of India and Others (supra) it has been held that 

 a judgment which is the result of bias or want of 

 23

 impartiality is a nullity and the trial coram non-judice. 

 Thus, the entire proceedings for determination of 

 compensation before Shri V.I. Gohil would be a nullity.

13. In Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Yashwant 

 Gajanan Joshi and Others (supra), relied on by the High 

 Court as well as learned counsel for the respondent no.4, 

 this Court has clearly made a distinction between a 

 public corporation and private employer. In para 13 of 

 the judgment, this Court has held:

 ".... It would be to broad a proposition to 

 extend the theory of bias to exclude persons 

 only because such person draws the salary 

 from the bodies like public corporation, 

 State Government. It would altogether be a 

 different case if it was a case of a private 

 employer and his employee. We cannot 

 equate the case of a person in private 

 employment with that of a person in public 

 employment. ..." 

14. For the aforesaid reasons, we allow these appeals, set 

 aside the impugned orders of the High Court as well as 

 the proceedings for determination of compensation in the 

 case of the appellants only. We, however, make it clear 

 that this judgment will not affect any of the orders 

 24

 passed by Shri V.I. Gohil with regard to acquisition of the 

 right of user as the appellants challenged the 

 appointment of Shri Gohil in the Writ Petitions before the 

 High Court in the present case only after he started the 

 proceedings for determination of compensation. We 

 direct that the Union of India will appoint another 

 unbiased person in place of Shri Gohil for determination 

 of compensation payable to the appellants. No costs.

Civil Appeal arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.29771 of 2009

 Leave granted.

2. This is an appeal against the order dated 17.07.2009 of 

 the Division Bench of the High Court of Gujarat in 

 Special Civil Application No.15424 of 2008.

3. In Special Civil Application No.15424 of 2008, the 

appellants had challenged the appointment of Shri V.I. Gohil 

as Competent Authority under the Act by notification dated 

07.03.2006 and the High Court relying on the earlier order 

dated 06.12.2007 of the Division Bench of the High Court in 

Special Civil Application Nos.9015 of 2007 rejected the 

 25

contention that the appointment of Shri V.I. Gohil as 

Competent Authority was invalid.

4. For reasons stated in Civil Appeals arising out of SLP (C) 

Nos.17022 of 2008 and 17021 of 2008, we allow this appeal, 

set aside the impugned order dated 17.07.2009 in Special Civil 

Application No.15424 of 2008 as well as the proceedings for 

determination of compensation in the case of the appellants 

only. We make it clear that this judgment will not affect any 

orders passed by Shri V.I. Gohil with regard to acquisition of 

the right of user as the appellants filed the Writ Petition before 

the High Court in the present case only at the stage of 

determination of compensation. We direct that the Union of 

India will appoint another unbiased person in place of Shri 

Gohil for determination of compensation payable to the 

appellants. No costs.

 ..........................J.

 (R. V. Raveendran)

 ..........................J.

 (A. K. Patnaik)

New Delhi,

 26October 13, 2011. 

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