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Narmada Bachavo =(2000) 10 SCC 664, (2005) 4 SCC 32 and (2011) 7 SCC 639 which are commonly referred to as Narmada Bachao Ist judgment, Narmada Bachao IInd judgment and Narmada Bachao IIIrd judgement. = The R & R policy unequivocally lays down its entire emphasis on acquisition of land from a displaced family and that displacement also has to be 25% of the land acquired from the family 37

REPORTABLE

English: Plan of Water Resources schemes in th...

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPEAL JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO._1211 OF 2012

(Arising out of SLP (C) 30685 of 2009)
State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr. ..Appellants
Verus
Bheru Singh & Ors. ..Respondents

WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1212 OF 2012

(Arising out of SLP (C ) No. 10163/2010
Bheru Singh & Ors. ..Appellants
Versus
State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr. ..Respondents

 
J U D G E M E N T

 

 

GYAN SUDHA MISRA, J.

 

 

Leave granted.

 
2. These two appeals arise out of the judgement and
order dated 11.08.2009 passed by the High Court of Madhya
Pradesh, Bench at Indore in a public interest petition bearing Writ
Petition No. 48 of 2004 against which the State of Madhya
Pradesh as also the respondents Bheru Singh alongswith two
others which include a social activist have filed separate Special
Leave Petitions bearing Nos. 30685/2009 and 10163/2010
respectively giving rise to these two appeals which are confined to
some of the directions only, that were issued by the High Court in
its impugned judgement, to be stated hereinafter.
3. The material factual details of these two appeals have
a prolonged history giving rise to a labyrinth of litigation which
emerged as a consequence of displacement of large number of
persons from a massive area of agricultural and homestead land
which were in occupation of the oustees/displaced persons, due to
land acquisition which was done for the purpose of construction of
Man Dam on the tributary of Narmada River in the State of
Madhya Pradesh. This had given rise to the filing of several other
writ petitions in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in the past
which gave rise to the appeals reaching even upto this Court and
are reported in (2000) 10 SCC 664, (2005) 4 SCC 32 and (2011) 7
SCC 639 which are commonly referred to as Narmada Bachao Ist
judgment, Narmada Bachao IInd judgment and Narmada Bachao
IIIrd judgement.
4. But before we discuss the relevance and implications
of these judgements on the instant appeals, it would be relevant to

 
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relate the historical background of the matter giving rise to a spate
of litigations in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. In this context,
it may be stated that a detailed Project Report (DPR) for the
construction of `Man Dam’ on the tributary of Narmada River at
Village Jirabad, Tehsil Gandhwani, District Dhar, having a total
submergence area of 1168.67 hectares in 17 villages of Tehsil
Dhar and Gandhwani, District Dhar, M.P. was submitted in July,
1982. A Rehabilitation and Re-settlement (R & R) was framed by
the State of M.P. for the project affected families (PAF) and
oustees of Narmada Project including `Man Dam’. This R & R
policy was later on amended several times in which the latest
amendment was made in the year 2003. The Planning
Commission of India accorded investment clearance for the `Man
Project’ out of total submergence area of 1168.67 hectares and
584.646 hectares of private land was acquired by invoking the
provision of Land Acquisition, 1894. In the construction of the
`Man Dam’ which took place between the year 1991-1994, 1266
families were affected, out of which 448 families lost their land.
Out of these 448 families, 62 families opted for land as per the
policy and they were given land in the year 1994 itself. The
remaining 386 families accepted full cash compensation in terms
of Clause 5.1 of R & R policy.

 
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5. However, since the displaced persons were still
dissatisfied, the Government of Madhya Pradesh as a welfare
measure took a decision in 2002 to grant `Special Rehabilitation
Grant’ (SRG) to the families/oustees who had lost their land in
submergence in the Narmada Project in order to enable them to
purchase land of their own choice to the extent they lost in the
submergence on condition that they will not claim any land from
the Government. The benefit of SRG was also extended to the
families/oustees who had lost their land in submergence in the
`Man Project’. Out of the 386 families who had accepted full cash
compensation in terms of Clause 5.1 of R & R policy, 337
oustees/PAF came forward and accepted the SRG. The intention
behind the approval of SRG was that every oustees’ level of living
should not be lower than what it was before displacement, even if
they cannot be made better off. The oustees who had been
provided land for land by the Government were not eligible for
Special Rehabiliation Grant.
6. However, while implementing the R & R Policy and
distributing the SRG, disputes arose between the displaced
persons and the executing authorities of the State of M.P. In order
to resolve the same, the Government of Madhya Pradesh
constituted a Committee known as Grievance Redressal Authority.

 
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Subsequently, the Government of Madhya Pradesh issued a
notification dated 11.06.2002 extending the jurisdiction of the
Grievances Redressal Authority (GRA) to hear the grievances of
the displaced families of the Man Dam Project who started hearing
the grievances of the displaced families from July, 2002 with
regard to their rehabilitation and resettlement and continued to
pass orders on the grievances of the displaced families of Man
Dam Project till 2003.
7. Aggrieved by some of the orders passed by the GRA
as well as the inadequate measures adopted by the Government
of Madhya Pradesh for rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced
families of the `Man Dam Project’, the respondents 1 and 2 who
are tribals living in villages Khedi-Balwadi and Khanpura of District
Dhar alongwith Respondent No. 3 who is stated to be a social
activist working with the people of displaced families of Man Dam
Project which have been submerged by the Man Dam Project, filed
a writ petition in 2004 under Article 226 of the Constitution as a PIL
claiming appropriate reliefs. Response of the State of Madhya
Pradesh was duly filed on 21.6.2004 in the writ petition No.
48/2004 and in paragraph B it was specifically stated that 62
project affected families who demanded land for land has been
given land and all the orders of GRA have been complied with

 
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and thus substantial compliance of R & R Policy was also made.
On 17.2.2005, the State of Madhya Pradesh filed further reply to
the rejoinder of the petitioner – Bheru Singh in W.P.No.48/2004
and in paragraph B it was specifically stated that 62 project
affected families who demanded land for land has been given land
and with the help of SRG, the oustees have even purchased more
land comparatively to the lost land in the submergence and have
even saved the money.
8. Still further on 19.3.2009, the State of Madhya Pradesh
filed its reply in the writ petition No.48/2004 submitting the status
with regard to the rehabilitation of 448 families who had lost their
land in submergence. In the affidavit, the State of Madhya
Pradesh submitted that out of 448 families, 386 families accepted
the full cash compensation as per R & R Policy and remaining 62
who demanded land, have been allotted land in the year 1994
itself. Out of these 386 families, 337 families accepted SRG and
out of remaining of 49 families 26 families approached GRA for
allotment of land but their claim was rejected as they have
already accepted full cash compensation. Thereafter, on 1.5.2009,
the State of Madhya Pradesh filed further affidavit in the writ
petition No. 48/2004 wherein it was clarified that the cash
compensation was given to the land holders in 1995 with the

 
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direction to the bank to initially disburse only 50 per cent of the
amount , with the balance 50 per cent being payable only after
obtaining an order in that behalf from the concerned Land
Acquisition Officer.
9. The Hon’ble High Court vide its impugned order dated
11.8.2009 passed in W.P.No.48/2004 was pleased to hold that
there was substantial compliance of R & R Policy but by relying
on a previous judgment and order dated 21.2.2008 passed by the
High Court of M.P. in W.P.No.4457/2007 (Narmada Bachao
Andolan vs. State of Madhya Pradesh) directed the State to allot
land to the adult son irrespective of the fact whether he had lost
the land or not. It has been stated herein by the State of Madhya
Pradesh that subsequently the three Judge Bench of the
Supreme Court by its judgment and order dated 11.5.2011
passed in Civil Appeal No. 2082/2011 reported in (2011) 7 SCC
639 set aside the judgment and order dated 21.2.2008 passed in
W.P.No.4457/2007 and held that the adult sons are not entitled for
allotment of land as per the R & R Policy. However, the High Court
vide its impugned judgment had already disposed of the writ
petition with the following directions:
“(i) We hold that there has been substantial compliance

of paragraphs 3.2(a) and 3.2 (b) of the Rehabilitation Policy

which provides for allotment of agricultural land,

 
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government or private, to the displaced families and there

is no violation of fundamental right to livelihood guaranteed

under Article 21 of the Constitution and, therefore, no

direction need be given by this court in this regard;

(ii) We hold that SRG amount together with

compensation paid to the displaced families computed on

the basis of average sale price per acre prevalent in the

year 1997-98 was sufficient to enable the displaced

families to purchase as much land was acquired from them

under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and no decision can

be given by the Court to the Respondents/State to pay

SRG amount on the basis of average sale price of the year

2001-02, this being a policy matter;

(iii) We direct that every son who had become a major

on or before the date of notification under Section 4 of Land

Acquisition Act, but who was part of larger family from

whom land has been acquired will be treated as a

separate displaced family and would be allotted agricultural

land as per paragraphs 3 and 5 of the Rehabilitation Policy

for the Man Project and in case he does not opt for land in

accordance with paragraph 5 of Rehabilitation Policy, will

be paid SRG in addition to compensation under Land

Acquisition Act, in accordance with notification dated

7.3.2002 of Government of Madhya Pradesh, Narmada

Valley Development Authority, by the Respondents within

four months from today;

(iv) We hold that the definition of `displaced family’ in

paragraph 1(b) of the Rehabilitation Policy does not

discriminate against women and is not violative of Articles

14 and 21 of the Constitution, but women who are included

in the definition of “displaced persons” will be given those

benefits under the Rehabilitation Policy by the

Respondents which are to be given to “displaced persons;

(v) We hold that respondents were not entitled to

deduct the amount of compensation payable for trees and

wells located on the land of oustees as determined under

the award passed under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894

from the SRG amount paid to the oustees and we direct the

respondents to refund such compensation amount to the

oustees with interest @ 9 per cent per annum calculated

from the date on which the amount was deducted till the

date on which the amount was deducted till the date on

which refund in made to them.”

 
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10. The State of Madhya Pradesh which was respondent in
the writ petition before the High Court feeling aggrieved by the
decision of the High Court have filed this appeal arising out of the
SLP No. 30685/2009 under Article 136 of the Constitution
challenging directions Nos. (iii) and (v) issued by the High Court.
11. The respondents/displaced persons on the other hand
are also aggrieved of the directions of the High Court given out at
para Nos. (ii) and (iv) and have therefore separately filed Special
Leave Petition bearing SLP (C) No.10163/2010, wherein they have
essentially challenged the directions of the High Court by which it
has declined to grant the relief to the petitioners seeking a
direction for each displaced family. But specifically, the directions
of the High Court in paragraph No. 37 (i) (ii) and (iv) of the
impugned order and also partially the portion of direction No. 37
(iii) which directs payment of SRG in lieu of land entitlements in
paragraphs (iii) and (v) of R and R Policy to adult sons of
cultivators as well as failure of the High Court to pass directions
with regard to relief at clause 9 of the writ petition is under
challenge at the instance of the petitioner Bheru Singh and others
against the aforesaid directions.

 

 

9
12. The State of Madhya Pradesh in this appeal has
primarily raised substantial questions of law as to whether the
Hon’ble High Court has erred in law in holding that every son who
had become major on or before the date of notification under
Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act is entitled for separate
allotment of land in spite of the fact that the issue regarding the
allotment of land to adult/major son was pending consideration
before the Supreme Court wherein the Supreme Court by its
interim order directed that the applications pertaining to allotment
of land to major son of oustees will not be disposed of or decided
by GRA till issue is decided by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
13. The question has further been raised as to whether
the High Court has erred in holding whether the major son is a
`displaced family’ or a `displaced person’ contrary to the R & R
Policy if he had not been cultivating land for at least one year
before the date of publication of notification under Section 4 of the
Land Acquisition Act specially if he had not been cultivating the
land in the capacity of the land owner in absence of which he
would merely be a labourer.
14. Further question which has been raised at the instance
of State of Madhya Pradesh is whether the High Court has erred in
directing the petitioner to refund compensation payable for trees

 
10
and wells located on the land of the outstees with interest at the
rate of 9 per cent without appreciating the basic genesis of the
provisions of SRG. Still further, the question which has been
raised by the State of Madhya Pradesh is whether the High Court
has erred in directing the appellant State of Madhya Pradesh to
allot separate land to the major sons of the oustees of the Man
Dam in spite of the fact that the appellant-State has substantially
complied with the provisions of the rehabilitation policy and there is
no violation of right of livelihood under Article 21 of the Constitution
of India and the objective of the Rehabilitation Policy has already
been achieved.
15. Learned senior counsel Shri P.S. Patwalia, representing
the State of Madhya Pradesh, while assailing the impugned directions
of the High Court has first of all raised some preliminary issues. At the
outset, it was stated that a three Judge Bench of this Court vide its
judgment dated 11.5.2011 passed in Civil Appeal No.2082/2011
reported in (2011) 7 SCC 639 had set aside the judgment and order
dated 21.2.2008 passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in Writ
Petition No.4457/2007 and it was pleased to hold that the adult sons
are entitled for allotment of land as per the R & R Policy.
16. As already stated earlier, the State of Madhya Pradesh
had constituted a Grievance Redressal Authority (`GRA’ for short) by

 
11
order dated 11.6.2002 to hear the grievances of the oustees of Man
Project also and in the year 2003-2004, the construction of the Man
Dam was complete. Thereafter, 337 families out of 386 families had
accepted SRG and out of the remaining 49 families, 26 families
approached GRA for the allotment of land but their claim was rejected
as they had already accepted the full cash compensation. This
prompted the oustees in the year 2007 to file a writ petition bearing
No.4457/2007 in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh which gave rise
to Civil Appeal No. 2082/2011 which was heard and decided by a three
Judge Bench vide its judgment and order dated 11.5.2011 reported in
(2011) 7 SCC 639. As a consequence thereof, the three Judge Bench
of this Court set aside the judgment and order dated 21.2.2008 passed
in Writ Petition No. 4457/2007 and was pleased to hold that the adult
sons are not entitled for allotment of separate holding of land as per
the R & R Policy.
17. It appears that the controversy did not set at rest even
after this judgment as writ petition No. 48/2004 was filed by the
respondent-Bheru Singh and others by way of a public interest
litigation and the said writ petition was disposed of by judgment and
order dated 11.8.2009 which is under challenge herein issuing certain
directions quoted hereinbefore. As already stated, the State of
Madhya Pradesh is aggrieved by some of the directions recorded

 
12
hereinbefore and the oustees- Bheru Singh and others also are
aggrieved in view of some other directions quoted hereinbefore. As
such they have also filed an appeal arising out of SLP(C) No. 10163 of
2010. But this contention of the Respondent-Bheru Singh and Ors.
who are Petitioners/Appellants in their appeal are common which shall
be recorded and dealt with later at the appropriate stage.
18. However, while dealing with the submissions and
contentions of learned counsel for the Appellant-State of M.P., it is
necessary to record the submissions of the counsel for the appellant,
State of M.P. who, while assailing the impugned directions of the High
Court, first of all submitted that vague pleadings have been
incorporated in the writ petition including multiple cause of action. It
was submitted that a reading of the case of the respondent-Bheru
Singh who was petitioner in the High Court would show that the
petitioner challenged 426 different orders passed by the GRA without
any factual basis. No factual details have been laid down in the
petition either by giving facts relating to each of those cases or the
circumstance under which the orders were passed. Commenting
upon the contents of the writ petition, it was pointed out that the
petition is claimed to have been filed on behalf of several thousand
persons but there is no proper affidavit supporting the petition of any
individual on whose behalf it is purported to have been filed. The

 
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petition contains a vague allegation of non-compliance of R & R Policy
which is actually a roving enquiry. It was submitted at this stage that
this PIL was liable to be rejected by the High Court at the very
threshold for want of proper pleadings and material to substantiate
the averments/allegations contained therein.
19. However, the learned Judges of the High Court took notice
of the fact that the Court had to strike a balance between the interest
of the parties in a PIL and had to take into consideration the pitiable
conditions of oustees, their poverty, inarticulateness, illiteracy, extent
of backwardness and unawareness also. However, the High Court
should have taken note of the observation wherein it was observed
that in future it was desirable that the Court must view presentation
of any matter by the NBA with caution and care insisting on proper
pleadings, disclosure of full facts truly and fairly and should insist for
an affidavit of some responsible person in support of facts contained
therein. It was submitted that in view of this observation, the petition
was fit to be dismissed as the same lacked material particulars being
completely vague which was not supported by a proper affidavit and
was, therefore, liable to be rejected at the threshold.
20. Learned counsel then raised the question of delay and
laches on the part of the petitioner-Bheru Singh who is respondent in
the main appeal as it was stated that the writ petition was filed by the

 
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respondent-Bheru Singh at a time when the Man Dam had already
been completely constructed. It was thus an effort to upset a settled
state of affairs at such a belated stage which has an upsetting effect on
settled society. Such a belated petition was, therefore, liable to be
rejected on the ground of laches and delay specially when this issue
has already been dealt with by the IIIrd Narmada judgment which is
reported in (2011) 7 SCC 639.
21. In so far as the contentions of the counsel for the State of
Madhya Pradesh in regard to the main directions are concerned, it is
the case of the State of M.P. that the R & R Policy prescribes a
comprehensive scheme as to who is entitled for land and
simultaneously how the cost of land to be allotted is recoverable by the
State. Clause 3.2(a) specifically envisages that it is only a displaced
family from whom more than 25% of its land have been acquired who
is entitled for land. This loss of land is the pre-requisite to create
entitlement. The scheme then continues under Clause 5.1 which
envisages that the cost of acquired land is to be made out of the
compensation payable for the land which one has lost. Thus, if a
person does not lose any land then he is not entitled to any
compensation and would not be able to pay for the land for which he
is not covered by the R & R Policy. However, this does not mean
that an adult son who is treated as a separate family is not entitled to

 
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any benefit in the policy. He still gets a number of benefits for which a
family is entitled under Clause 6.1, 7.1 and 8.1 of the R & R Policy.
22. Elaborating on the question involved, it was next submitted
that under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 the adult son
who has become major on or before the date of notification under
Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act is considered to be a separate
family and clause 3 of the R & R also provides for allotment of land in
lieu of land. Clause 3.2(a) provides for every displaced family
including major son from whom more than 25% of its land holding is
acquired in revenue villages or forest villages shall be entitled to and
as far as possible the land to the extent of the land acquired from it.
This loss of land is essential before one can become entitled to land
for land from the State Government. Reiterating the submission, it was
submitted that as per Clause 3.2(a) of the R & R Policy, adult son will
be entitled for land as far as possible only if some land belonging to
him as on date of the Section 4 notification under Land Acquisition
Act, 1894 was actually acquired from him and clause 5 of the R & R
Policy provides for recovery of the cost of allotted land.
23. Learned counsel appearing the appellant-State of Madhya
Pradesh further invited the attention of this Court to certain important
features of the R & R Policy in order to impress upon this Court that
the oustees have been duly compensated for the acquired land with

 
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beneficial schemes incorporated therein. It was stated that clause 5.1
of the R & R Policy provides that 50 of the compensation for the
acquired land was permitted to be retained as initial instalment
towards payment of the cost of the land to be allotted to the oustees.
Clauses 5.2 and 5.3 further provided that the balance cost of the
allotted land will be treated as interest free land to be recovered within
20 equal yearly instalments and clause 5.1 provided that if the
displaced family did not wish to obtain land in lieu of land and claim full
payment of the compensation, they could do so but with a rider that
this option once exercised, the displaced families could not lay any
claim for land afterwards. It was, therefore, submitted by the learned
counsel that if impugned direction of he High Court in the judgment
and order under challenge dated 11.8.2009 directing to allot land to
each and every major son irrespective of the fact whether any land
was acquired from them or not, would make the clauses 5.1, 5.2 and
5.3 of R & R Policy as inoperative. It was contended that if no land
was acquired from the adult son as a separate land holder then how
would the cost of the land be recovered from them.
24. Learned counsel for the State of Madhya Pradesh in order
to reinforce his submission on the aforesaid aspects first of all placed
reliance on the judgment and order reported in (2000)10 SCC 664
commonly referred to as first Narmada judgment wherein this Court

 
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(Supreme Court) has held that the rehabilitation and resettlement
packages in the three states were different due to geographical and
economic conditions and availability of the land. The States have
liberalised their policies and decided to allot land to adult son and
daughter over and above the NWDT Award. Heavy reliance has
been placed by the counsel on the judgment of this Court reported in
(2011) 7 SCC 639 referred to as IIIrd Narmada judgment wherein this
Court has examined the R & R Policy of the State of Madhya Pradesh
and inter alia has held that the issue has to be decided by strict
adherence to the amended R & R Policy in view of which all adult sons
of a displaced family is not entitled for allotment of separate unit of land
as it would lead to absurd results and unjust enrichment at the
expense of the State exchequer. The relevant paragraph specifically
states as follows:
“96. The rehabilitation has to be done to the extent of the

displacement. The rehabilitation is compensatory in

nature with a view to ensure that the oustee and his

family are at least restored to the status that was existing

on the date of the commencement of the proceedings

under the 1894 Act. There was no intention on behalf of

the State to have awarded more land treating a major son

to be a separate unit. This would otherwise bring about an

anomaly, as is evident from the chart that has been

gainfully reproduced hereinabove. The idea of

rehabilitation was, therefore, not to distribute largesse of

the State that may reflect distribution totally

disproportionate to the extent of the land acquired. The

State has, therefore, rightly resisted this demand of the

writ petitioners and, in our opinion, for the High Court to

 
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presuppose or assume a separate unit for each major son

far above the land acquired, was neither justified nor

legally sustainable.”

 

25. It was submitted that the Supreme Court while further
examining and scrutinizing the clauses 3.2, 5.1 and other provisions of
the R & R Policy of the State of M.P. as also that allotment of land to
adult son from whom no land is acquired, will amount to unjust
enrichment which is against the law.
26. In order to add further weight to the submission, it was
submitted that in fact the IIIrd Narmada judgment (2011) 7 SCC 639
has examined the issues in detail after which it was concluded that if
the interpretation is sought to be given by the Narmada Bachao
Andolan and the same is accepted, it would lead to absurd results, for
instance, if a family of three joint khatedars have 3-4 sons losing
only 2 hectares of land and each major son would claim 2 hectares
separately, then the family would end up getting 26 hectares of land. It
was contended that this was never the intention of the R & R Policy
and the conclusion drawn by three Judge Bench cannot be
overlooked. Thus the entire emphasis of the appellant-State of M.P. is
on the three Judge Bench of (2011) 7 SC 639 as also other judgments
reported in (2000) 10 SCC 664, (2005) 4 SCC 32 which has
incorporated the NWDT Award. But it was also submitted that the

 

 

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2005 judgment interpreting the NWDT Award which has no
application to the R & R Policy of the State of M.P. in regard to the
displaced persons of the Man Dam Project.
27. Learned counsel submitted that in the first place there is,
in fact, no discordant note between the IInd Narmada judgment
reported in (2005) 4 SCC 32 and IIIrd Narmada judgment reported in
(2011) 7 SCC 639. In fact, it was contended that the II nd Narmada
judgment interpreting NWDT Award relates to an inter state project
rather than R & R Policy of the State of M.P. while the issue before the
IIIrd Narmada judgment was interpretation of the State Policy i.e. R &
R Policy which was not an issue for consideration by the Hon’ble
Judges delivering the IInd and IIIrd Narmada judgment reported in
(2000) 10 SCC 664 and (2005) 4 SCC 32. According to the learned
counsel , the IInd Narmada judgment contained an inadvertent error as
it refers only to a particular paragraph (para 176) of the Ist Narmada
judgment reported in (2000) 10 SCC 664 without considering the
importance of other paragraphs at paragraphs 152 and 156. In
paragraph 152, it was categorically noted by the Ist Narmada
judgment that all states except Madhya Pradesh in that case were
ready to give land to major sons and on this account the Court
observed whether this inadvertent error should be allowed to
perpetuate if the policy states otherwise.

 
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28. Placing reliance on the IIIrd Narmada judgment reported in
(2011) 7 SCC 639 holding therein that under the R & R Policy there is
no entitlement of land for land for major son, it was submitted that this
finding recorded by three Hon’ble Judges Bench after noticing and
interpreting the earlier judgments i.e. (2000) 10 SCC 664, (2005) 4
SCC 32 would be binding on the present Bench comprising of two
Hon’ble Judges and hence the views expressed therein should hold
the field in this appeal/matter also filed by the State of M.P. It was
contended that a fresh interpretation of the R & R Policy to the extent
of giving land to major son would result in a total arbitrary
implementation of the policy has not been approved by the Bench of
three Judges vide (2011) 7 SCC 639 and in case this Court found that
there were divergence of views in the judgment referred to
hereinbefore and relied upon by the State of M.P., the matter may be
referred to a larger bench. If this Hon’ble Court comes to the
conclusion that there are divergent views of co-strength bench on the
issue of the allotment of land to adult son in (2000) 10 SCC 664 I st
Narmada Judgment and (2005) 4 SCC 32- IInd Narmada judgment and
(2011) 7 SCC 639-IIIrd Narmada judgment.
29. In so far as the impugned direction of the High Court
concluding that value of trees and wells could not have been
deducted from the amount payable as SRG, it was submitted that

 
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compensation under the Land Acquisition Act is to be determined as
per Section 23 of the said Act and apart from the market rate, value of
the land, the damage sustained by taking standing crops or trees is
part of compensation as also the damage sustained by person
interested on account of loss of land. Thus loss of trees and wells is
part of compensation plaid under the Land Acquisition Act and the
formula for calculating SRG is given in two Government orders dated
31.2.2002 which is a general order and dated 7.3.2002 which is a
specific order for the Man Dam Project. It was submitted that once
compensation payable under the Land Acquisition Act is to be
deducted then the same would include the complete compensation
paid for the land, trees, wells, solatium, interest etc. and, therefore, it
was submitted that the finding of the High Court on this issue is
liable to be reversed. Reliance was also placed on the ratio of the
decision reported in (1995) Supp. 2 SCC 637 State of Haryana vs.
Gurcharan Singh and Anr. wherein this Court had held that it is well
settled law that the Collector or the Court who determined the
compensation for the land as well as fruit bearing trees cannot
determine them separately as the compensation is in regard to the
value of the acquired land.
30. Shri Prashant Bhushan, learned counsel representing
respondent -Bheuru Singh & Ors. – who was the petitioner in the High

 
22
Court and are also appellant in the connected appeal, refuted the
contentions of the counsel for the State of M.P. and first of all referred
to the relevant provisions of R & R Policy relating to displaced family.
He has, therefore, extracted the relevant provisions in this regard for
ready reference which is as follows:-

 

“1.1 (b) Displaced Family–(i) A family composed of

displaced persons as defined above shall include

husband, wife and minor children and other persons

dependent on the head of the family, eg. Widowed

mother, widowed sister, unmarried daughter or old

father.
(ii) Every son/un-married daughter who has become

major on or before the date of Notification under

section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, will be treated as

a separate family.”
3.2 (a) Every displaced family from whom more than

25 percent of its land is acquired in revenue villages or

forest villages shall be entitled to the extent of land

acquired from it, and shall be allotted such land,

subject to provision in 3.2 below.
(b) A minimum area of 2 ha. of land would be allotted

to all the families whose lands would be acquired

irrespective of whether government land is offered or

private land is purchased for allotment. Where more

than 2 ha. of land is acquired from a family, it will be

allotted equal and, subject to a ceiling of 8 ha.
(c) The government will assist displaced families in

providing irrigation by well/tube-well or any other

method on the land allotted, provided such land is not

already irrigated…”

 

 

23
31. Relying on the aforesaid provision it was contended that
under the R & R Policy every joint land holder is treated as a displaced
family and is entitled to a minimum of 2 hectares of land. So if there
are three joint land holders in a joint land holding they will each be
entitled to a minimum of 2 hectares of land. While explaining this, it
was stated that if the name of the adult son had been recorded on the
title as a joint land holder, he would have been entitled to 2 hectares
of land as a land holder had the acquired land been partitioned prior to
acquisition, the adult son whose family land held in the name of the
head of the family is being acquired and who undisputedly has rights
on the land had he been recorded as joint title holder, he would have
been entitled to a minimum of 2 hectares of land each. It was,
therefore, submitted that it would be discriminatory to deny the
opportunity to obtain a viable livelihood after displacement to the adult
sons who have rights on these lands simply because there was no
partition due to customary practices. It was sought to be explained
that this is the tribal area where culturally lands are not partitioned till
the death of the head of the family. Thus many of the adults sons are
themselves very old. It was submitted that in fact para 2.1 of the R &
R Policy expressly required that all relevant land records would be
brought up to date expeditiously for ensuring adequate compensation
and allotment of land to displaced persons. However, the same was

 
24
never done. It was contended that if the land records had been
updated, the adult sons would have been included in the land records
as joint holders and would have been entitled to a minimum of 2
hectares of land in their own right. The State Government in order to
conclude the matter formulated the provision that every adult son will
be treated as a separate family.
32. It was still further submitted that the vision of the R & R
Policy that every family dependent on land facing force displacement,
which has to severe its link with family lands hitherto relied on,
must be provided a viable land based livelihood on a minimum viable
land holding 2 hectares of land which would be entirely in consonance
with the socialist vision of the Constitution and the Fundamental
Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. The minimum
entitlement of 2 hectares of land is also in consonance with the vision
of the planning process indicating national development which
requires both the victims and the beneficiaries of such product to
become better off from the project and project resources. It was
submitted that this Court has also emphatically taken the view that
the oustees on development projects must be made better off after
their displacement at project cost and as per the R & R Policy framed
by the Government under Article 21 of the Constitution. It was also
submitted that the R & R Policy of the Government of Madhya

 
25
Pradesh requires the allotment of land even to encroachers. The
State of M.P. also has programme for the allotment of land to
landless SC and ST families. Thus the well considered provisions of
the R & R Policy which require the allotment of a minimum of 2
hectares of land to the adult sons of cultivators whose family land is
being acquired as separate families is a valuable part of the social-
economic programme part designed to meet goals of the Constitution.
33. In reply to the submission of the learned counsel for the
appellant-State of M.P., Mr. Bhushan submitted that the provisions for
the treatment of adult sons as a separate family for the allotment of a
minimum of 2 hectares of land is the same under the NWDT Award
and the R & R Policy of the State. Learned counsel has placed
reliance on the IInd Narmada judgment of High Court for the definition
of `adult son’ as separate family and allotment of land reported in
(2005) 4 SCC 32. It was submitted that as per the definition of
oustee, an oustee means any person who at least one year prior to
the publication of the notification under Section 4 of the Act has been
ordinarily residing or cultivating land or carrying on any trade,
occupation or calling or working for gain in the area likely to be
submerged permanently or temporarily and the definition of family
includes husband, wife and minor children and other persons
dependent on the head of the family, for example, widowed mother.

 
26
34. Learned counsel for the respondent/appellant in the
connected appeal also submitted that in fact the R & R Policy was
formulated by adopting the provisions of the NWDT Award which may
be seen from the minutes of the meeting dated 9.6.1987 of the
Committee of Secretaries which formulated the R & R Policy. The
High Court in the impugned judgment has also held that the State
Government adopted similar definition of displaced family in the R & R
Policy as is present in the NWDT Award. It was, therefore, submitted
that the provisions of the NWDT Award and the R & R Policy are in
pari materia on the basis of which it has been contended that the
view taken by the learned Judges in the IInd Narmada judgment
reported in (2005) 4 SCC 32, adult sons of cultivators are entitled to a
minimum of 2 hectares of land as separate families wherein the
specific question was considered as to whether adult sons of
cultivators are entitled to a minimum of 2 hectares of land as per the
NWDT Award. Learned counsel specifically referred to the question
which was considered in (2005) 4 SCC 32 judgment which is quoted
as follows:-

 

 

“Whether adult sons are entitled to a minimum of 2

hectares of land as per NWDT Award and

judgment of this Court?”

 

 

27
35. Learned counsel placed reliance on certain portions of the
judgment which was follows:-

 
“59. The definition of family indisputably

includes major sons. A plain reading of the said

definition clearly shows that even where a major

son of the land-holder did not possess land

separately, he would be entitled to grant of a

separate holding.
64. One major son comes within the purview of

expansive definition of family, it would be

idle to contend that the scheme of giving

`land for land’ would be applicable to only

those major sons who were landholders in

their own rights if a person was a

landholder, he in his own right would be

entitled to the benefit of rehabilitation

scheme and, thus, for the said purpose, an

expansive definition of family was not

necessarily to be rendered. Furthermore, if

such a meaning is attributed as has been

suggested by Mr. Vaidyanathan, the

definition of `family’ to an extent would

become obscure. As a major son

constitutes `separate family’ within the

interpretation clause of `family’ no meaning

thereto can be given.”

 
36. Placing reliance on the aforesaid portion of the judgment
of this Court, it was submitted that this Hon’ble Court has decisively
interpreted the treatment of adult sons as separate family and relying
on similar provisions for treatment of adult sons as separate family
and for allotment of a minimum of 2 hectares of land in the NWDT
Award and the R & R Policy, the High Court vide its impugned

 
28
judgment has rightly held that the oustees of the Man Dam Project
are also entitled to a minimum of 2 hectares of land as per the R & R
Policy. It was submitted that the judgment and order dated 15.3.2005
of this Court was accepted and fully implemented by an order of the
State Government dated 16.6.2005 by providing benefits to several
thousands adults sons which may be seen from the order of the State
Government dated 16.6.2005 which states that it is in compliance of
judgment and order of this Hon’ble Court dated 15.3.2005 holding
that in the case of cultivators losing more than 25% of the land, the
adult sons will be entitled to 2 hectares of land and while computing
the SRG for adult sons, the previous compensation will be taken to be
zero.
37. It was next contended on behalf of the
oustees/Respondents that in this case, the State has relied on the
reasonings of the judgment and order of a three Member Bench dated
11.5.2011 reported in (2011) 7 SCC 639 referred to as IIIrd Narmada
judgment in order to challenge the finding of the judgment and order
dated 11.8.2009 reported in (2005) 4 SCC 32 i.e. II nd Narmada
judgment with regard to land allotment to adult sons which is not
legally permissible and in case this court finds conflicting judgment the
matter may be referred to a Larger Bench.

 

 

29
38. While considering the rival submissions of the counsel for
the contesting parties in both the appeals, it is manifestly clear that the
principal contentious issue between the State of Madhya Pradesh and
the displaced persons/oustees is in regard to the claim of land for
each major son of the land holders family as according to the oustees,
the definition of displaced family in paragraph 1(b) of the R & R Policy
discloses that every son who has become major on or before the date
of notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, will be
treated as a separate family. As already noted, this has given rise to
several rounds of litigation in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh due
to which three judgments have been delivered by this Court and for
facility of reference they have been termed as Narmada Bachao
Andolan Ist, Narmada Bacaho Andolan IInd and Narmada Bachao
Andolan IIIrd judgments. However, in Narmada Bachoa Andolan I, the
question of entitlement of land in favour of each major son of the
family was neither considered but Narmada Bachao Andolan II
reported in (2005) 4 SCC 32, the question clearly came up for
consideration regarding entitlement of land by major sons which
according to the learned three Judge Bench indisputably includes
major sons in view of the definition of family. A three Judge Bench of
this Court in the said matter observed that even on a plain reading of
the definition, it clearly shows that even where a major son of the land

 
30
holder did not possess land separately, he would be entitled to grant
of separate holding. It was held that the definition of `family’ has to
be read along with that of ` oustee’ and it was noted that `outsee
family’ and `displaced family’ have interchangeably been used in
the award. It was, therefore, observed that they thus carry the same
meaning. This Court also took notice of paragraph 152 of the main
judgment i.e. Naramda Bachao Andolan I judgment wherein this
Court noticed that every affected family must be allotted land, house,
plot and other amenities and this was in terms of the tribunal’s award
wherein it was held that the sons who had become major on or prior
to the issuance of notification of Land Acquisition Act were entitled to
be allotted land and since the interpretation clause used an inclusive
definition, it would be expansive in nature. It was, therefore, held that
as follows:
“Once major son comes within the purview of the

expansive definition of family, it would be idle to

contend that the scheme of giving “land for land”

would be applicable to only those major sons who

were landholders in their own rights. If a person

was a landholder, he in his own right would be

entitled to the benefit of rehabilitation scheme and,

thus, for the said purpose, an expansive definition

of family was not necessarily to be rendered.

Furthermore, if such a meaning is attributed as has

been suggested by Mr. Vaidyanathan, the

definition of “family” would to an extent become

obscure. As a major son constitutes “separate

family” within the interpretation clause of “family”, no

meaning thereto can be given……….The court

 
31
further observed that the award provided that every

displaced family whose 25% or more agricultural

land holding hs been acquired , shall be entitled to

be allotted irrigable land to the extent of land

acquired subject to prescribed ceiling of the State

with a minimum of 2 hectares of land.”

 
39. Thus in view of this judgment the respondent oustees
could have approached the Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA) for
allotment of land in terms of the judgment if they felt that the GRA was
not examining the grievance in the light of the law laid down by this
Court in the IInd Narmada Judgment (2005) 4 SCC 32. However, the
oustees respondents Bheru Singh and others instead of approaching
the G.R.A. approached the High court by way of a writ petition No.
48/2004 in which judgment was delivered by the Division Bench on
11.8.2009 out of which these appeals arise and in this judgment the
learned Judges followed the judgment and order of the IInd Narmada
Bachao Andolan referred to hereinabove as the subsequent IIIrd
judgment of 2011 (Supra) had not been delivered by that time. Hence
the High Court was pleased to hold vide the impugned judgment that
although there has been substantial compliance of R & R Policy
which provides for allotment of agricultural land government or private
to the displaced family and there is no violation of fundamental right
to livelihood guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, it was
further pleased to direct that every son who had become major on or

 
32
before the date of notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition
Act but who was part of their family from whom land had been acquired
will be treated as a separate displaced family and would be allotted
agricultural land in accordance with paragraph 3 and 5 of the R & R
Policy for the Man Dam Project and in case he does not opt land for
land in accordance with paragraph 5 of the R & R Policy, he will be
paid Special Rehabilitation Grant (SRG) in addition to the
compensation under the Land Acquisition Act in accordance with the
order dated 7.3.2002 of the Government of Madhya Pradesh Narmada
Valley Development Authority by the respondents within four months
from that date.
40. As already stated, the State of Madhya Pradesh and the
oustee respondents Nos. 1 & 2 along with social activist respondent
No.3 filed separate special leave petition in this Court on 9.11.2009
and 1.2.2010. But it appears that in the meantime, another appeal
had been entertained by this Court bearing Civil Appeal Nos. 2115-
2116/2011 arising out of an interim order passed by the High Court of
Madhya Pradesh in writ petition No.4457/2007 entitled Narmada
Bachao Andolan vs. State of Madhya Pradesh wherein the High Court
as an interim measure had issued direction inter alia for allotment
of agricultural land to the displaced persons in lieu of the land
acquired for the construction of the dam in terms of the Rehabilitation

 
33
and Resettlement Policy as amended on 3.7.2003. The High Court
direction applied even to those oustees who had already withdrawn the
compensation if such oustees opted for such land and refund 50% of
the compensation amount received by them. The balance cost of the
allotted land was to be deposited by the allottee in 20 equal yearly
instalments as per clause 5.3 of the R & R Policy and it further directed
to treat a major son of the family whose land had been acquired as a
separate family for the purpose of allotment of agricultural land. During
the pendency of the appeals of the State of Madhya Pradesh and the
respondents, the judgment and order was delivered by a Bench of
three Judges of this Court wherein the question of entitlement of each
major son of a displaced family was taken into consideration and it
was observed therein that the rehabilitation has to be done to the
extent of the displacement. It was further held that rehabilitation was
compensatory in nature with a view to ensure that the oustee and his
family are at least restored to the status that was existing on the date
of commencement of the proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act,
1894. There was no intention on behalf of the State to have awarded
more land treating a major son to be a separate unit. It was further
observed that the idea of rehabilitation was not to distribute largesse
of the State that may reflect distribution of total disproportionate to the
extent of land acquired and therefore, the State had rightly registered

 
34
this demand of the oustee- writ petitioners directing a separate unit for
each major son for the above land acquired, was neither justified nor
legally permissible. It was, therefore, held that in effect the major
son would not be entitled to anything additional as his separate share
in the original holding and it will not get enhanced by the fiction
definition as stated in the impugned judgment. The major sons,
however, would be entitled to his share in the area which is to be
allotted to the tenure holder on rehabilitation in case he is entitled to
such share in the land applicable to the particular State.
41. On perusal of the ratio of the two decisions of this Court
referred to hereinabove viz. 2005 (4) SCC 32 and (2011) 7 SCC 639,
they undoubtedly appear to be in conflict with each other in regard to
the claim of share by each major son of the family of land holder
whose land has been acquired. This Court, therefore, is clearly
confronted with two conflicting views on the claim of entitlement of a
major son for a separate share in the land holders family and in view of
this it would have been a fit case for reference of this matter before a
Constitution Bench of 5 Judges for determination of the question as to
whether all major sons of a displaced family would be entitled to 2
hectares of land in view of the R & R Policy of the State of M.P.
42. But on a careful consideration of the matter, it is manifestly
clear that the dispute between the State of M.P. and the displaced

 
35
family on the question of entitlement of a major son do not arise out of
a statute like the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 or the Hindu Succession
Act or Land Ceiling Act or any other similar Act in order to treat the
issue as the purely a legal controversy giving rise to a conflicting
situation regarding the entitlement of land to a major son of a family
which would give rise for determination of the question as to whether
all major sons of the land holders family who might be constituting joint
family would be entitled to 2 hectares of land separately or only
through the main land holder of a displaced family in order to be
entitled to 2 hectares of land arising out of a Policy decision. This
marathon exercise that have been done giving rise to repeated rounds
of litigation for determination of the question as to whether major sons
would be included in the definition of the displaced family or not in our
view is not really a legal issue emerging from any statutory provision
which needs to be addressed since the entire issue is merely a
question which arises out of a policy decision of the Government of
M.P. and at the most would be confined to interpretation of the R & R
Policy formulated by the State of M.P. We, therefore, refrain from
referring this question of entitlement of major son to a separate holding
to a larger Bench as it needs to be highlighted that this controversy
arises out of Policy decision and has clearly not emerged from any
ambiguity in the Land Acquisition Act or any statute or an Act having a

 
36
bearing in future on other similar controversy so as to refer it to a
Constitution Bench of this Court.
43. Thus, when the claim or entitlement of land is based
exclusively on a Policy decision of the Government of M.P. which have
been incorporated in the R & R Policy, the entitlement clearly would be
based strictly on the Policy decision formulated by the Government of
M.P. which clearly lays down as follows:

 

 

“24(IV(7) Allotment of agricultural lands.–Every

displaced family from whom more than 25% of its

land holding is acquired shall be entitled to and be

allotted irrigable land to the extent of land acquired

from it subject to the prescribed ceiling in the State

concerned and a minimum of 2 hectares (5 acres)

per family…………..”

 
44. This policy holds a displaced family entitled to 2 hectares of
land but it further envisages actual displacement from the acquired
land which is 25% meaning thereby that only such displaced family
from whom more than 25% of its land holding has been acquired
would be entitled for compensation of 2 hectares of land from whom
land has been acquired and this displacement from land would not
merely be notional. The R & R policy unequivocally lays down its
entire emphasis on acquisition of land from a displaced family and that
displacement also has to be 25% of the land acquired from the family

 

 

37
by the Government. Thus even if the displaced family had several
major sons, allotment on account of acquisition to each major son do
not arise in terms of the policy. Even at the risk of repetition it needs
to be highlighted that when there has been no acquisition from each
major son of the family, the question of allotment of land to all major
sons of the family would be clearly contrary to the provision of the R &
R Policy. The entire right of the respondent/oustee in this litigation
flows from the R & R Policy of the State of M.P. and it is crystal clear
that the redeeming feature of the policy is acquisition of 25% land of
the displaced family. Therefore, even if the displaced family
constituted of several major sons, the acquisition of 25% of land from
each major son is completely missing, and, therefore, we do not see
any reason as to why we should allow the parties to be bogged down
into further litigation for determination of the question as to whether all
major sons of a displaced family are entitled to a separate unit of 2
hectares of land or only the land holder of the displaced family would
be entitled. Hence, the direction of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh
vide its impugned judgment for allotment of land to each major son of
the displaced family needs to be overturned.
45. There is yet another reason for us for disapproving the
direction of the High Court as the High Court, in our view, was not
justified in entertaining a writ petition by way of public interest

 
38
litigation when the High Court of Madhya Pradesh had already dealt
with the question against which the appeal also travelled upto this
Court and was seized of other writ petitions on the question. In regard
to the above question, we take note of a decision of this Court in
Joydeep Mukharjee vs. State of West Bengal & Ors., reported in
(2011) 2 SCC 706 wherein this Court had been pleased to hold that
the jurisdiction even of the Supreme Court:
“in a public interest litigation cannot be pressed into

service where matters have already been

completely and effectively adjudicated upon not

only in individual petitions but even in writ petitions

raising the larger question as was raised in the

earlier writ petition.”
The learned Judges have been pleased to hold that:
principles of finality and fairness demand that there

should be an end to litigation and it is in public

interest that issues settled by judgment of the

court which have attained finality should not be

permitted to be re-agitated all over again.

 
46. Taking note of the aforesaid observation fraught with
wisdom, we are of the view that the High Court was not correct in
entertaining a writ petition all over again by way of a Public Interest
Litigation when the question of implementation of R & R Policy had
been considered and decided by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh
earlier giving rise to appeals up to this Court. Besides this, the High
Court in the impugned judgment itself has laid down that there had

 
39
been substantial compliance of the R & R Policy of the Government of
M.P. and yet it was pleased to direct the respondent-State/appellant
herein to consider the question of allotment of 2 hectares of land to
each major son of a displaced family overlooking the fact that if each
major son of the displaced family had not been separately deprived of
25% of the acquired land, then even as per the Policy, they were not
entitled to 2 hectares of land. In that view of the matter also the
direction of the High Court travels beyond the scope of R & R Policy.
The High Court in any view had no reason to expand the scope of R &
R Policy by directing the State of M.P. to allot land to each of the
displaced family.
47. However, we are conscious of the fact that in the process
of allotment, it is quite possible that some of the oustees might have
been deprived of the land who were separately holding the acquired
land. But in order to ensure effective implementation, there is already
a Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA) and if the oustees have any
grievance in regard to non-implementation of the R & R Policy in so
far as their entitlement as per the policy is concerned, they would be
free to move the GRA for redressal of their grievance. But a blanket
direction as given out by the High Court to allot land to each major
son of a displaced family without any averment to the effect that they
were deprived of 25% of acquired land separately, the plea that the

 
40
State of M.P. should consider their grievance and allot them land
appears to be contrary to the R & R Policy. Acquisition of 25% of land
is a condition precedent to become eligible for allotment of 2 hectares
of land. We, therefore, feel the need to clarify that we have not
entered into the area of determination of the question as to whether
major son of a family is entitled to a separate unit or not as in our view
even if we were to follows (2005) 4 SCC 32 and were to hold that
each major son of a displaced family is entitled to a separate unit of
compensatory land, deprivation of 25% of land from them is totally
missing and if that is so, we fail to understand as to how we can allow
the respondents to reopen this question after four years of revision of
R & R Policy. Learned counsel for the respondent Bheru Singh, no
doubt, had submitted that this Court had to take into consideration the
indigent status of the affected parties. But when a social activist takes
up the cause for the oustees, it is expected of them to take a
balanced view of the cause raised on behalf of the affected party in
the light of the policy which is formulated and made effective by the
State authorities. We undoubtedly also appreciate the laudable effort
made by the social activist taking up the cause for the rehabilitation of
the oustees but in the process we are under constraint as we cannot
overlook the practical fall out/consequences by allowing them to take
up the cause of the oustees oblivious of its consequence or the

 
41
administrative fall out since a cause cannot be allowed to be raised
incessantly by indulging in multiplicity of proceedings which at times
do more harm to the cause than seek cure for the misery of the
affected parties. In fact, in our view, if anyone concerned including an
activist genuinely and bona fide feels that full justice has not been
done to the cause they raised would do well to use their effort and
good offices by persuading the administrative machinery with the
assistance, the leadership for rectifying the policy decision and getting
the matter clarified rather than travelling to the court by filing one writ
petition after the other unsettling the settled position by way of fresh
round of litigation in the form of Public Interest Litigation.
48. However, in view of the meticulous analysis of the R & R
Policy in the instant matter in the light of the statement of the counsel
for the parties as also the decisions relied upon by them, we are of the
view that the direction of the High Court in spite of its finding that R &
R Policy has been substantially complied, has gone beyond the
ambit of the R & R Policy and has generated a controversy as to
whether all major sons of a displaced family are entitled to a separate
unit of land or not under the R & R Policy which has clearly laid
emphasis on the fact that only those displaced families would be
entitled to 2 hectares of land from whom 25% of their separate
holding of land had been acquired which inference in our view is the

 
42
only inference which can reasonably be drawn from the relevant
provision of the R & R Policy.
49. However, the counsel for the respondent/appellant Bheru
Singh and others have given out large number of factual details stating
that the GRA has committed grave errors while dealing with the
representation and grievance of the oustees which is not possible for
this Court to examine nor it lies within the ambit and scope of Article
136 of the Constitution. Nevertheless, we find substance in the
argument advanced that the oustees/displaced persons come from the
weak and vulnerable tribal population whose plea may get ignored or
are not properly addressed. Hence for this purpose and in order to
impart full justice to the cause in terms of the R & R Policy, it is
desirable that the State Government may constitute an appellate forum
where the aggrieved party may challenge the decision of the GRA in
case there is any justifiable reason to do so. This appellate forum in
our view should include a sitting or retired District Judge and an
administrative member under the Chairmanship of a retired Judge of
the High Court which will oversee whether the R & R Policy has been
effectively and accurately implemented and whether the SRG have
been properly distributed in the light of the grievance raised by the
displaced persons. This appellate forum in our view appears to be
essential in order to supervise and oversee by way of an appellate

 
43
forum and hear the grievance of the affected displaced persons arising
out of implementation of the R & R Policy and SRG as also to ventilate
the grievances of affected persons. However, this appellate forum
shall not enter into any question relating to interpretation of the R & R
Policy but by and large examine whether the benefit of the R & R
Policy has been allowed to be availed by the oustees or not. In effect it
would confine itself to the questions relating to compliance of the
R & R Policy and distribution of Special Rehabilitation Grant (SRG) in
terms of the provisions enumerated therein.
50. As a consequence of the above analysis, deliberation and
consideration, the appeal arising out of special leave petition(c)
No.30685/09 of the State of Madhya Pradesh stands allowed and the
appeal arising out of special leave petition (c) 10163/2010 of the
oustees is disposed of with liberty to the respondents-oustees to
approach the GRA or the Appellate Forum of GRA in case they have
been deprived of adequate compensation or benefit in any manner
which is not in consonance with the R & R Policy. We further grant
liberty to the respondents including the social activist-Respondent No.3
to take up the matter before the Government of M.P. for rectification or
further amendment of the Policy in case they are able to establish and
make out a case that the revision of R & R Policy 2003 still further
requires rectification or improvement as there can be no limitation of

 
44
time for reviewing or reframing a Policy decision if it has to serve the
cause of eradicating human suffering specially if it has emerged as a
consequence of the state activity like the land acquisition where the
affected parties lost their home and cultivable land. However, under
the circumstance, there shall be no order as to costs.

 

 

……………………………..J.

(Asok Kumar Ganguly)

 

 

……………………………..J.

(Gyan Sudha Misra)

 
New Delhi

February 01, 2012

 

 

45

 

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