//
you're reading...
legal issues

Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act, 1999.-notice dated 17.2.2005 under Section 10(5) of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (for short ‘ULC Act’) for taking possession of the Appellant’s land bearing Survey Nos.47/10 and 54/4. – Writ to declare that the notice is null & void as issued under repealed Act – High court allowed in respect of one item – in respect of another item directed the parties to civil litigation – Apex court allowed the appeal in respect of second item also – stating that dejuri possession is not equal to that of defacto possession – vested means – vested in rights including dejuri possession but not actual possession which was in the custody of appellant – since no possession was taken before the commencement of repeal of the Act – the present notice under repealed act not maintainable = Gajanan Kamlya Patil .. Appellant Versus Addl. Collector & Comp. Auth. & Ors. .. Respondents = 2014 ( Feb.Part)judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41223

Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act, 1999.-notice dated 17.2.2005 under Section 10(5) of the Urban  Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (for short ‘ULC  Act’)  for  taking

 possession of the Appellant’s land bearing Survey Nos.47/10 and  54/4. – Writ to declare that the notice is null & void as issued under repealed Act – High court allowed in respect of one item – in respect of another item directed the parties to civil litigation – Apex court allowed the appeal in respect of second item also – stating that dejuri possession is not equal to that of defacto possession – vested means – vested in rights including dejuri possession but not actual possession which was in the custody of appellant –  since no possession was taken before the commencement of repeal of the Act – the present notice under repealed act not maintainable =

 

 whether

      the High Court was justified in relegating the parties to  file  Civil

      Suits to recover the  lands  covered  by  Survey  No.54/4  and  Survey

      No.53/3,  both  admeasuring  1870  sq.  meters,  situated  at  Village

      Kasarwadavli, Ghodbunder Road, Taluka and Distt. Thane, so as  to  get

      the benefit of Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act, 1999.

 

 

  Forceful dispossession 

  The Act provides for forceful dispossession but only when  a

           person refuses or fails to  comply  with  an  order  under  sub-

           section (5) of Section 10. Sub-section (6) of Section  10  again

           speaks of “possession” which says,  if  any  person  refuses  or

           fails to comply with the order made under sub-section  (5),  the

           competent authority may take possession of the vacant land to be

           given to the State Government and for that purpose, force—as may

           be  necessary—can   be   used.   Sub-section   (6),   therefore,

           contemplates a situation of a person refusing or fails to comply

           with the order under sub-section (5), in the event of which  the

           competent  authority  may  take  possession  by  use  of  force.

           Forcible dispossession of the land, therefore, is being resorted

           to only in a situation which falls under sub-section (6) and not

           under sub-section (5) of Section 10. Sub-sections (5)  and  (6),

           therefore,  take  care  of  both  the  situations  i.e.   taking

           possession by giving notice, that is,  “peaceful  dispossession”

           and on failure to surrender or give delivery of possession under

           Section 10(5), then “forceful dispossession”  under  sub-section

           (6) of Section 10.

 

 

           37. The requirement of giving notice under sub-sections (5)  and

           (6) of Section 10 is mandatory. Though the word “may”  has  been

           used therein, the word “may” in both the sub-sections has to  be

           understood as “shall” because a court charged with the  task  of

           enforcing the statute needs to decide the consequences that  the

           legislature intended to follow from  failure  to  implement  the

           requirement. 

Effect of non-issue of notice under sub-section (5)

           or sub-section (6) of Section 11 is that it might result in  the

           landholder being dispossessed  without  notice,  therefore,  the

           word “may” has to be read as “shall”.”

 

 

 

 

      13.   We have, therefore, clearly indicated that it was always open to

      the authorities to take forcible  possession  and,  in  fact,  in  the

      notice issued under Section 10(5) of the ULC Act, it was  stated  that

      if the possession had not been surrendered, possession would be  taken

      by application of necessary force.   

For taking  forcible  possession,

      certain procedures had to be followed.   

Respondents have no case that

      such procedures were  followed  and  forcible  possession  was  taken.

      

Further, there is nothing to  show  that  the  Respondents  had  taken

      peaceful possession, nor there is anything to show that the Appellants

      had given voluntary possession. 

Facts would clearly indicate that only

      de jure possession had been taken by the Respondents and not de  facto

      possession before coming into force of the repeal of the Act.    

Since

      there is nothing to show that de facto possession had been taken  from

      the Appellants prior to the execution of  the  possession  receipt  in

      favour of MRDA, it  cannot hold on to the lands in question, which are

      legally owned and possessed by the Appellants.   

Consequently, we  are

      inclined to allow this appeal and quash the notice dated 17.2.2005 and

      subsequent action taken therein in view of the repeal of the ULC  Act.

      

The above reasoning would apply in respect of other  appeals  as  well

      and all proceedings initiated against the Appellants, therefore, would

      stand quashed.

 

 

      14.   The Appeals are, accordingly, allowed.   However, there shall be

      no order as to costs.

2014 ( Feb.Part)judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41223

K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, VIKRAMAJIT SEN

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.2069 OF 2014
[Arising out of SLP (C) No.14690 of 2011)

 
Gajanan Kamlya Patil .. Appellant
Versus
Addl. Collector & Comp.
Auth. & Ors. .. Respondents
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2070-2071 OF 2014
[Arising out of SLP (C) Nos.14904-14905 of 2011)

 

 
J U D G M E N T

 
K. S. RADHAKRISHNAN, J.

 
1. Leave granted.

 
2. We are, in these appeals, concerned with the question whether
the High Court was justified in relegating the parties to file Civil
Suits to recover the lands covered by Survey No.54/4 and Survey
No.53/3, both admeasuring 1870 sq. meters, situated at Village
Kasarwadavli, Ghodbunder Road, Taluka and Distt. Thane, so as to get
the benefit of Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act, 1999.
3. We may, for the disposal of these appeals, refer to the facts in
Civil Appeal arising out of Special Leave Petition No.14690 of 2011,
treating the same as the leading case. The Appellant herein was
issued a notice dated 17.2.2005 under Section 10(5) of the Urban Land
(Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (for short ‘ULC Act’) for taking
possession of the Appellant’s land bearing Survey Nos.47/10 and 54/4.
It was stated in the notice that in accordance with the notification
published in Part-I, Page No. – Konkan Division Supplementary, dated
12.12.2002, in the Gazette of Maharashtra, the land notified had been
vested in the Government of Maharashtra and that Additional Collector
and Competent Authority, Thane (for short “Competent Authority”), had
been authorized by the State Government to take possession of the land
in question, details of which had been published in the notification
under Section 10(3) and the land be handed over or possession be given
within 30 days from the date of receipt of the notice. Further, it
was also intimated that if the Appellant had failed to give possession
of the land, necessary action would be taken for taking possession by
application of necessary force.
4. The Appellant, aggrieved by the above-mentioned notice, filed
Writ Petition No.1669 of 2010 before the Bombay High Court to quash
the notice dated 17.2.2005 and also for a declaration, inter alia,
that the land bearing Survey No.54/4 admeasuring 1870 sq. meters is in
the physical possession of the Appellant and would continue to vest as
such with the Appellant as true and actual owner thereof. The
Appellant also sought a declaration that in view of the Urban Land
(Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act, 1999, the proposed action of the
Respondents or State or its authorities for taking possession of the
land be declared as null and void and also prayed for other
consequential reliefs.
5. The High Court after examining the provisions of the ULC Act as
well as the provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation)
Repeal Act, 1999, and also taking note of the affidavit filed by the
State Government and by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development
Authority (MMRDA) noticed that so far as Survey No.47/10 is concerned,
the possession had not been taken over by MMRDA. However, as far as
land in Survey No.54/4 was concerned, after noticing that possession
had been taken over, the High Court disposed of the Petition granting
relief to the Appellant in respect of Survey no.47/10, but so far as
Survey No.54/4 is concerned, as already indicated, the Appellant was
granted liberty to move the Civil Court for establishing his claim
over the property in question.
6. Shri Shekhar Naphade, learned senior counsel appearing for the
Appellant, submitted that the issue raised in this case stands fully
covered by the judgment of this Court in State of UP v. Hari Ram
(2013) 4 SCC 280 and that the High Court has committed a grave error
in holding that the MMRDA is in possession of the land in Survey
No.54/4 and hence the question as to whether possession had been
legally taken or not has to be decided by the Civil Court. Learned
senior counsel also submitted that the State of Maharashtra has
adopted the Repeal Act, 1999 on 1.12.2007 and that Respondent No.1 had
executed the possession receipt in favour of Respondent No.3 on
2.7.2008 behind the back of the Appellant, without following the due
process of law. Learned senior counsel submitted that since
possession had not been taken in accordance with law, the Appellant is
entitled to the benefit of the Repeal Act, 1999, as was rightly held
in respect of Survey No.47/10.
7. Shri A.S. Bhasme, learned counsel appearing for the Respondents,
on the other hand contended that the High Court has rightly come to
the conclusion that the land in question had been taken over by MMRDA
and being a disputed question of fact, the same cannot be decided by
the High Court under Section 226 of the Constitution of India and the
only remedy available to the Appellant is to file a Civil Suit to
establish his right since the dispute is of a civil nature. Learned
counsel, therefore, prayed for dismissal of the appeal.
8. We may, at the outset, point out that almost all the legal
issues urged before us stand covered by the judgment of the this Court
in Hari Ram (supra). However, reference to few facts is necessary for
the disposal of these appeals. The Competent Authority published a
notification dated 17.1.2000 under Section 10(1) of the ULC Act in the
Gazette of Government of Maharashtra on 15.6.2000, wherein the land
held by the Appellant was shown as the land to be acquired by the
Government of Maharashtra. Following that, a notification dated
14.3.2000 under Sub-Section (3) of Section 10 of the ULC Act was
published notifying the public that the land shown in the schedule
therein is covered and the land in Survey No.54/4 as well would be
considered to be acquired by the Government of Maharashtra w.e.f.
15.6.2000 and the said land would be vested with the Government of
Maharashtra from the said date.
9. The Competent Authority then issued yet another notification
dated 2.8.2002 for information of the public that the land described
in the schedule therein which included the land in Survey No.54/4 as
well, have been considered to be acquired by the Government of
Maharashtra w.e.f. 15.9.2002 and the said land would be vested for all
purposes free from all charges to the Government of Maharashtra from
the said date. The Competent Authority, as already indicated, issued
a show cause notice dated 17.2.2005 under Sub-Section (5) of Section
10 of the ULC Act to the Appellant to hand over possession of the land
in question within 30 days from the date of receipt of that notice.
It was also indicated therein that if the Appellant failed to give
possession of the land, necessary action would be taken for taking
possession by the application of necessary force.
10. We may indicate that all the above-mentioned proceedings were
initiated under the ULC Act, 1976, but the said Act was repealed by
the Parliament by the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act,
1999 on 22.3.1999 which came into force w.e.f. 11.1.1999. The State
of Maharashtra vide its notification dated 1.12.2007 adopted the
Repeal Act, 1999 w.e.f. 1.12.2007. After adoption of the Repeal Act,
1999, on 1.12.2007, the Circle Office Balkum, Taluka & District Thane,
executed “possession receipt” on 2.7.2008 of the land bearing Survey
No.54/4 belonging to the Appellant in favour of the Chief Surveyor of
MMRDA, pursuant to the orders of the Collector, Thane dated 1.7.2008.
No notice, admittedly, was given to the Appellants before executing
the possession receipt. In this case, an additional affidavit dated
29.4.2010 was filed by the Competent Authority stating that he could
not find any document like Panchanama or possession receipt in respect
of the land covered by Survey No.54/4 and few other Survey numbers.
The operative portion of the affidavit reads as follows :-
“I have stated in my affidavit in reply dated 20.3.2010 that on
2.7.2008 the Circle Officer has delivered the possession of the
land bearing Survey No.103/3 area 3890 sq. mtrs., 3/10 area 3600
sq. mtrs., 98/6 area 1708 sq. mtrs., 53/3 area 2450 sq. mtrs.,
54/4 area 1870 sq. mtrs to the MMRDA. I state that I have
inspected my record, however, I could not find any document like
panchanama or possession receipt in respect of aforesaid lands
by which its possession was obtained from the land holder under
Urban Land Ceiling Act.”

 
11. We have another affidavit dated 2.7.2010 by the Principal
Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of Maharashtra,
wherein he has categorically stated that the possession had not been
handed over by the landowner to the Competent Authority. The
operative portion of the same reads as under :-
“The records of right of the said land have been mutated in
favour of the Government on the basis of the notification issued
under Section 10(3) of the ULC Act. I say and submit that on
enquiry, it is revealed that, though the notice under Section
10(5) was issued on 17.02.2005 for handing over possession of
the surplus vacant land, the possession of land has not been
handed over by concerned landowner to the Competent Authority or
to his representative.”

 
The Affidavit also further reads as under :-
“Therefore, Government was under impression that since the land
has been vested into the Government as per the notification
under Section 10(3) dated 02.08.2002, the Government has every
right to use the said land for public purpose. I say that, in
the aforesaid background, the decision was taken to allot the
land to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, and
therefore, as per the directions of the Government and
subsequent directions of Collector, Thane, the Circle Officer,
Balukm, Distt. Thane handed over the possession of the surplus
land to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority on
02.07.2008.”

 
The affidavit also says that actual possession was not taken over as
per the provisions of the ULC Act, 1976 before 29.11.2007. The
operative portion of the same reads as under:-
“I say and submit that, even though the possession of the land
has been handed over to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region
Development Authority by Circle Officer, Balkum on 02.07.2008,
the actual possession of said surplus land was not taken over as
per the provisions of the ULC Act, 1976 before 29.11.2007.”
12. We may indicate, apart from the affidavits filed by the
officials in this case, no other document has been made available
either before the High Court or before this Court, either showing that
the Appellant had voluntarily surrendered or the Respondents had taken
peaceful or forcible possession of the lands. In Hari Ram (supra)
this Court examined the meaning and context of Sub-sections (3) to (6)
of Section 10 of the ULC Act and held as follows :
“30. Vacant land, it may be noted, is not actually acquired but
deemed to have been acquired, in that deeming things to be what
they are not. Acquisition, therefore, does not take possession
unless there is an indication to the contrary. It is trite law
that in construing a deeming provision, it is necessary to bear
in mind the legislative purpose. The purpose of the Act is to
impose ceiling on vacant land, for the acquisition of land in
excess of the ceiling limit thereby to regulate construction on
such lands, to prevent concentration of urban lands in the hands
of a few persons, so as to bring about equitable distribution.
For achieving that object, various procedures have to be
followed for acquisition and vesting. When we look at those
words in the above setting and the provisions to follow such as
sub-sections (5) and (6) of Section 10, the words “acquired” and
“vested” have different meaning and content. Under Section
10(3), what is vested is de jure possession not de facto, for
more reasons than one because we are testing the expression on a
statutory hypothesis and such an hypothesis can be carried only
to the extent necessary to achieve the legislative intent.
Voluntary surrender
31. The “vesting” in sub-section (3) of Section 10, in our view,
means vesting of title absolutely and not possession though
nothing stands in the way of a person voluntarily surrendering
or delivering possession. The Court in Maharaj Singh v. State of
U.P. (1977 (1) SCC 155), while interpreting Section 117(1) of
the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950 held
that “vesting” is a word of slippery import and has many
meanings and the context controls the text and the purpose and
scheme project the particular semantic shade or nuance of
meaning. The Court in Rajendra Kumar v. Kalyan (2000 (8) SCC 99)
held as follows: (SCC p. 114, para 28)
“28. … We do find some contentious substance in the
contextual facts, since vesting shall have to be a
‘vesting’ certain. ‘To “vest”, generally means to give a
property in.’ (Per Brett, L.J. Coverdale v. Charlton (1878)
4 QBD 104 (CA): Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary, 5th Edn.,
Vol. VI.) Vesting in favour of the unborn person and in the
contextual facts on the basis of a subsequent adoption
after about 50 years without any authorisation cannot
however but be termed to be a contingent event. To ‘vest’,
cannot be termed to be an executory devise. Be it noted
however, that ‘vested’ does not necessarily and always mean
‘vest in possession’ but includes ‘vest in interest’ as
well.”
32. We are of the view that so far as the present case is
concerned, the word “vesting” takes in every interest in the
property including de jure possession and, not de facto but it
is always open to a person to voluntarily surrender and deliver
possession, under Section 10(3) of the Act.
33. Before we examine sub-section (5) and sub-section (6) of
Section 10, let us examine the meaning of sub-section (4) of
Section 10 of the Act, which says that during the period
commencing on the date of publication under sub-section (1),
ending with the day specified in the declaration made under sub-
section (3), no person shall transfer by way of sale, mortgage,
gift or otherwise, any excess vacant land, specified in the
notification and any such transfer made in contravention of the
Act shall be deemed to be null and void. Further, it also says
that no person shall alter or cause to be altered the use of
such excess vacant land. Therefore, from the date of publication
of the notification under sub-section (1) and ending with the
date specified in the declaration made in sub-section (3), there
is no question of disturbing the possession of a person, the
possession, therefore, continues to be with the holder of the
land.
Peaceful dispossession
34. Sub-section (5) of Section 10, for the first time, speaks of
“possession” which says that where any land is vested in the
State Government under sub-section (3) of Section 10, the
competent authority may, by notice in writing, order any person,
who may be in possession of it to surrender or transfer
possession to the State Government or to any other person, duly
authorised by the State Government.
35. If de facto possession has already passed on to the State
Government by the two deeming provisions under sub-section (3)
of Section 10, there is no necessity of using the expression
“where any land is vested” under sub-section (5) of Section 10.
Surrendering or transfer of possession under sub-section (3) of
Section 10 can be voluntary so that the person may get the
compensation as provided under Section 11 of the Act early. Once
there is no voluntary surrender or delivery of possession,
necessarily the State Government has to issue notice in writing
under sub-section (5) of Section 10 to surrender or deliver
possession. Sub-section (5) of Section 10 visualises a situation
of surrendering and delivering possession, peacefully while sub-
section (6) of Section 10 contemplates a situation of forceful
dispossession.
Forceful dispossession
36. The Act provides for forceful dispossession but only when a
person refuses or fails to comply with an order under sub-
section (5) of Section 10. Sub-section (6) of Section 10 again
speaks of “possession” which says, if any person refuses or
fails to comply with the order made under sub-section (5), the
competent authority may take possession of the vacant land to be
given to the State Government and for that purpose, force—as may
be necessary—can be used. Sub-section (6), therefore,
contemplates a situation of a person refusing or fails to comply
with the order under sub-section (5), in the event of which the
competent authority may take possession by use of force.
Forcible dispossession of the land, therefore, is being resorted
to only in a situation which falls under sub-section (6) and not
under sub-section (5) of Section 10. Sub-sections (5) and (6),
therefore, take care of both the situations i.e. taking
possession by giving notice, that is, “peaceful dispossession”
and on failure to surrender or give delivery of possession under
Section 10(5), then “forceful dispossession” under sub-section
(6) of Section 10.
37. The requirement of giving notice under sub-sections (5) and
(6) of Section 10 is mandatory. Though the word “may” has been
used therein, the word “may” in both the sub-sections has to be
understood as “shall” because a court charged with the task of
enforcing the statute needs to decide the consequences that the
legislature intended to follow from failure to implement the
requirement. Effect of non-issue of notice under sub-section (5)
or sub-section (6) of Section 11 is that it might result in the
landholder being dispossessed without notice, therefore, the
word “may” has to be read as “shall”.”

 
13. We have, therefore, clearly indicated that it was always open to
the authorities to take forcible possession and, in fact, in the
notice issued under Section 10(5) of the ULC Act, it was stated that
if the possession had not been surrendered, possession would be taken
by application of necessary force. For taking forcible possession,
certain procedures had to be followed. Respondents have no case that
such procedures were followed and forcible possession was taken.
Further, there is nothing to show that the Respondents had taken
peaceful possession, nor there is anything to show that the Appellants
had given voluntary possession. Facts would clearly indicate that only
de jure possession had been taken by the Respondents and not de facto
possession before coming into force of the repeal of the Act. Since
there is nothing to show that de facto possession had been taken from
the Appellants prior to the execution of the possession receipt in
favour of MRDA, it cannot hold on to the lands in question, which are
legally owned and possessed by the Appellants. Consequently, we are
inclined to allow this appeal and quash the notice dated 17.2.2005 and
subsequent action taken therein in view of the repeal of the ULC Act.
The above reasoning would apply in respect of other appeals as well
and all proceedings initiated against the Appellants, therefore, would
stand quashed.
14. The Appeals are, accordingly, allowed. However, there shall be
no order as to costs.

 
eard Hear……………………………..J.
(K. S. Radhakrishnan)

 

 
eard Hear……………………………..J.
(Vikramajit Sen)
New Delhi,
February 14, 2014.

Advertisements

About advocatemmmohan

ADVOCATE

Discussion

Comments are closed.

Blog Stats

  • 1,937,047 hits

ADVOCATE MMMOHAN

archieves

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,874 other followers

Follow advocatemmmohan on WordPress.com