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Land Acquisition – Sec.4 notifications – Sec.5 A objections – not considered award was passed – other claimants under same notification filed writs – allowed – pending in Apex court no stay – no possession was taken despite of passing of award – all slps were dismissed – Apex court held that A large number of cases filed before this court and particularly SLP (C) Nos. 208, 211 & 212 of 2008 stood dismissed vide order dated 10.12.2008, as the petitioners did not take steps to serve the respondents therein as is evident from the Office Report dated 25.6.2013. In such a fact scenario, where in respect of major chunk of land, the land acquisition proceedings had been quashed long back and which has attained finality, it is beyond our comprehension as to whether the scheme of planned development of Delhi can be executed at such a belated stage in view of the fact that vacant land in continuous stretch may not be available. In view of above, we do not see any force in these appeals even on merit and the same are liable to be dismissed. = Union of India & Ors. ` …. Appellants Versus Shiv Raj & Ors. …. Respondents = 2014 (April.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41528

 Land Acquisition – Sec.4 notifications – Sec.5 A objections – not considered award was passed – other claimants under same notification filed writs – allowed – pending in Apex court no stay – no possession was taken despite of passing of award – all slps were dismissed – Apex court held that A large number  of  cases  filed  before this court and particularly SLP (C) Nos. 208, 211 & 212 of 2008  stood dismissed vide order dated 10.12.2008, as the petitioners did not take steps to serve the respondents therein as is evident from  the  Office Report dated 25.6.2013. In such a fact scenario, where in  respect  of major chunk of land, the land acquisition proceedings had been quashed long  back  and  which  has  attained  finality,  it  is  beyond   our comprehension as to whether the scheme of planned development of Delhi can be executed at such a belated stage  in  view  of  the  fact  that vacant land in continuous stretch may not be available.  In view of above, we do not see any force in these appeals  even on merit and the same are liable to be  dismissed.  =


the  High

      Court has quashed the land acquisition proceedings in view of the fact

      that the objections filed  by  the  respondents-tenure  holders  under

      Section 5A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred  to  as

      `the Act 1894’), had not been considered by the statutory  authorities

      in strict compliance of principles of natural justice  

and  thus,  the

      subsequent proceedings stood vitiated, relying on  the  main  judgment

      and order of the same date passed in Writ Petition (Civil)  No.424  of

      1987 titled Chatro Devi v. Union of India.

 Respondents – persons interested, filed their  objections  under

      Section  5A  of  the  Act  1894.   However,  without  considering  and

      disposing of the same, declaration under Section 6 of the Act 1894 was

      made on 7.6.1985. Notices under Sections 9 of the Act 1894  were  also

      issued on 30.12.1986 to the persons interested. It was at  this  stage

      that the tenure holders filed writ petitions  before  the  High  Court

      challenging the acquisition proceedings Admittedly,  the  Award  No. 15/1987-88 was made by          the Land Acquisition Collector on 5.6.1987.

 In respect of the land covered by the  same  notification  under Section 4 of the Act 1894, a very large number of writ  petitions  had been filed.=


the Constitution

      Bench judgment of this Court in Gullapalli Nageswara  Rao  &  Ors.  v.

      Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation & Anr.,  AIR  1959  SC

      308 wherein it has categorically been held that  the  Authority  which

      hears the objectors must pass the order.  In case an  Authority  hears

      the objectors and  demits   the  office  or  stands  transferred,  his

      successor  should  hear  the  parties  afresh  and  not   giving   the

      opportunity of fresh hearing by the successor officer would amount  to

      failure of principles of natural justice and  his  order  would  stand

      vitiated.=

We do not see any cogent reason to differ from such a  view.  No

      judgment had been brought to our notice on the basis of which  it  can

      be held that the decision of the Constitution Bench of this  Court  in

      Gullapalli Nageswara Rao (Supra) is not a good law.

 It is evident from the record that in respect of a  major  chunk

      of land which stood covered under the same Section 4 notification, the

      land acquisition proceedings had been quashed in a batch  of  74  Writ

      Petitions having been filed  before  the  Delhi  High  Court  and  the

      appellants, for the reasons best known to it, did  not  challenge  the

      same and resultantly, the same has  attained  finality.  For  about  a

      decade following the said judgment in Balak  Ram  Gupta  v.  Union  of

      India & Ors., 37 (1989) DLT 150, proceedings in other cases have  also

      been quashed and those decisions have not  been  challenged  and  have

      thus, also attained finality. A large number  of  cases  filed  before

      this court and particularly SLP (C) Nos. 208, 211 & 212 of 2008  stood

      dismissed vide order dated 10.12.2008, as the petitioners did not take

      steps to serve the respondents therein as is evident from  the  Office

      Report dated 25.6.2013. In such a fact scenario, where in  respect  of

      major chunk of land, the land acquisition proceedings had been quashed

      long  back  and  which  has  attained  finality,  it  is  beyond   our

      comprehension as to whether the scheme of planned development of Delhi

      can be executed at such a belated stage  in  view  of  the  fact  that

      vacant land in continuous stretch may not be available.


      30.   In view of above, we do not see any force in these appeals  even

      on merit and the same are liable to be  dismissed.   In  view  of  the

      findings and particularly in view  of  the  interpretations  given  to

      Section 24(2) of the Act 2013 in  the  judgments  referred  to  herein

      above, it is not necessary to entertain any other ground whatsoever at

      the behest of the appellants.  Thus, the appeals  are  devoid  of  any

      merit and are dismissed.  No order as to costs.

 

2014 (April.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41528

B.S. CHAUHAN, J. CHELAMESWAR, M.Y. EQBAL

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5478-5483 OF 2014

(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos.
24297-24302 of 2007)
Union of India & Ors. `
…. Appellants

Versus

Shiv Raj & Ors. ….
Respondents
1 JUDGMENT

DR. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.

1. These appeals have arisen from the impugned judgment and order
dated 11.5.2007 passed by the High Court of Delhi in Writ Petition
(Civil) Nos. 2529 of 1985; 889 of 1986; 988 of 1986; 2155 of 1987;
2645 of 1987; and 2747 of 1987, by which and whereunder, the High
Court has quashed the land acquisition proceedings in view of the fact
that the objections filed by the respondents-tenure holders under
Section 5A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as
`the Act 1894’), had not been considered by the statutory authorities
in strict compliance of principles of natural justice and thus, the
subsequent proceedings stood vitiated, relying on the main judgment
and order of the same date passed in Writ Petition (Civil) No.424 of
1987 titled Chatro Devi v. Union of India.

2. Facts and circumstances giving rise to these appeals are that:

A. The land of the respondents-tenure holders being survey no.
619/70, etc. admeasuring 50,000 bighas situated in revenue village
Chhatarpur, stood notified under Section 4 of the Act 1894 on
25.11.1980 for public purposes, namely, the “planned development of
Delhi” and objections under Section 5A were invited from the persons
interested within 30 days of the said Notification.

B. Respondents – persons interested, filed their objections under
Section 5A of the Act 1894. However, without considering and
disposing of the same, declaration under Section 6 of the Act 1894 was
made on 7.6.1985. Notices under Sections 9 of the Act 1894 were also
issued on 30.12.1986 to the persons interested. It was at this stage
that the tenure holders filed writ petitions before the High Court
challenging the acquisition proceedings contending that proceedings
could not be continued without disposing of the objections filed by
them under Section 5A of the Act 1894. Admittedly, the Award No.
15/1987-88 was made by the Land Acquisition Collector on 5.6.1987.

C. In respect of the land covered by the same notification under
Section 4 of the Act 1894, a very large number of writ petitions had
been filed. The said writ petitions filed on different grounds were
decided by different Benches at different points of time. So far as
the present group of cases is concerned, the matter was heard at
length and a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court examined the
contentions raised on behalf of the tenure holders/persons interested
which vide judgment and order dated 3.3.2005 held that the
notification under Section 6 of the Act 1894 was within the period
stipulated for the purpose after excluding the period during which the
interim stay order passed by the High Court remained into operation
and where the objections have not been filed, the impugned declaration
under Section 6 of the Act 1894 could not be assailed on the ground of
invalidity of inquiry under Section 5A of the Act 1894. However, on
the said issue in the cases where the objections had been filed by the
tenure holders and they had been given personal hearing by one
Collector but the report was submitted by his successor i.e. another
Collector, the Division Bench differed in opinion whether the report
could be held to be legal or not, mainly relying upon the Constitution
Bench judgment of this Court in Gullapalli Nageswara Rao & Ors. v.
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation & Anr., AIR 1959 SC
308 wherein it has categorically been held that the Authority which
hears the objectors must pass the order. In case an Authority hears
the objectors and demits the office or stands transferred, his
successor should hear the parties afresh and not giving the
opportunity of fresh hearing by the successor officer would amount to
failure of principles of natural justice and his order would stand
vitiated.

D. In view thereof, the matter was referred to the third Judge vide
order dated 3.3.2005 and vide judgment and order dated 20.12.2006, the
Hon’ble third Judge held that in such a situation where objections had
been filed and had been heard by one Collector and the report had been
submitted by another Collector, the proceedings stood vitiated being
in violation of principles of natural justice.

E. In view of the majority opinion, as is evident from the order
dated 11.5.2007, the proceedings in such an eventuality stood quashed
by the impugned judgment and order.

Hence, these appeals.

3. Shri P.P. Malhotra, learned Additional Solicitor General, Ms.
Geeta Luthra and Shri Sanjay Poddar, learned Senior Counsel, have
addressed a large number of legal and factual issues and also
submitted that the judgment and order of the High Court are not
sustainable in the eyes of law. Therefore, the question quashing the
land acquisition proceedings in such circumstances did not arise.
More so, the commencement of the Right to Fair Compensation and
Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act,
2013 (hereinafter referred to as the Act 2013) would not take away the
proceedings initiated under the Act 1894 by operation of law as
provided under Section 24 of the Act 2013. In the instant case, in
case, the appeals succeed on the main ground as to whether the
successor officer could submit the report on 5A objections there could
be no prohibition for the appellants to proceed with the land
acquisition proceedings initiated in 1980. The objections raised were
vague and had been in respect of limitation and were not specific in
nature. None of the writ petitioners had raised the issue about
violation of principles of natural justice in the writ petitions,
though some of them amended their writ petitions but at a subsequent
stage. Some of the writ petitions had been filed by persons who came
into possession of the land subsequent to Section 4 notification.

4. On the contrary, Shri Mukul Rohatgi, Shri Shyam Diwan and Shri
Vinay Bhasin, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the
respondents, have vehemently opposed the appeals contending that in
view of the fact that the acquisition proceedings stood quashed
finally by the impugned judgment dated 11.5.2007 and a period of 7
years has lapsed and the possession is still with the tenure holders.
In view of the Act 2013 coming into force, the proceedings have lapsed
by virtue of the provisions contained in Section 24 of the said Act.
The issues raised herein on behalf of the Union of India had not been
raised before the High Court. Amendments were allowed by the High
Court in a very large number of writ petitions about violation of
principles of natural justice i.e. the objections under Section 5-A
were not disposed of in accordance with law.

5. We have considered the rival submissions made by the learned
counsel for the parties and perused the record.

6. Section 5-A of the Act 1894 was not there in the original
statute.

In J.E.D. Ezra v. Secy. of State for India (1902-1903) 7 CWN
249, the Calcutta High Court expressed its inability to grant relief
to the owner of the property whose land was sought to be acquired
without giving any opportunity of hearing observing that there was no
provision in the Act requiring observance of the principles of natural
justice. It was subsequent to the said judgment that the Act was
amended incorporating Section 5-A w.e.f. 1.1.1924. The Statement of
Objects and Reasons for the said amendment provided that the original
Act did not oblige the Government to enquire into and consider any
objection of the persons interested nor the Act provided for right of
hearing to the person whose interest stands adversely affected.

7. In Nandeshwar Prasad v. U.P. Government, AIR 1964 SC 1217, this
Court dealt with the nature of objections under Section 5-A of the Act
1894 observing as under:

“13. The right to file objections under Section 5-A is a
substantial right when a person’s property is being threatened
with acquisition and we cannot accept that that right can be
taken away as if by a side wind…”

 
8. The rules of natural justice have been ingrained in the scheme
of Section 5-A of the Act 1894 with a view to ensure that before any
person is deprived of his land by way of compulsory acquisition, he
must get an opportunity to oppose the decision of the State Government
and/or its agencies/instrumentalities to acquire the particular parcel
of land.

Section 5-A(2) of the Act 1894, which represents statutory
embodiment of the rule of audi alteram partem, gives an opportunity to
the objector to make an endeavour to convince the Collector that his
land is not required for the public purpose specified in the
notification issued under Section 4(1) of the Act 1894 or that there
are other valid reasons for not acquiring the same. Thus, section 5-A
of the Act 1894 embodies a very just and wholesome principle that a
person whose property is being or is intended to be acquired should
have a proper and reasonable opportunity of persuading the authorities
concerned that acquisition of the property belonging to that person
should not be made.

On the consideration of the said objection, the Collector is
required to make a report. The State Government is then required to
apply mind to the report of the Collector and take final decision on
the objections filed by the landowners and other interested persons.
Then and then only, a declaration can be made under Section 6(1) of
the Act 1894.

9. Therefore, Section 5-A of the Act 1894 confers a valuable right
in favour of a person whose lands are sought to be acquired. It is
trite that hearing given to a person must be an effective one and not
a mere formality. Formation of opinion as regard the public purpose as
also suitability thereof must be preceded by application of mind
having due regard to the relevant factors and rejection of irrelevant
ones. The State in its decision making process must not commit any
misdirection in law. It is also not in dispute that Section 5-A of the
Act, 1894 confers a valuable important right and having regard to the
provisions, contained in Article 300A of the Constitution of India has
been held to be akin to a fundamental right.

10. Thus, the limited right given to an owner/person interested
under Section 5-A of the Act, 1894 to object to the acquisition
proceedings is not an empty formality and is a substantive right,
which can be taken away only for good and valid reason and within the
limitations prescribed under Section 17(4) of the Act, 1894.

11. The Land Acquisition Collector is duty-bound to objectively
consider the arguments advanced by the objector and make
recommendations, duly supported by brief reasons, as to why the
particular piece of land should or should not be acquired and whether
the plea put forward by the objector merits acceptance. In other
words, the recommendations made by the Land Acquisition Collector
should reflect objective application of mind to the entire record
including the objections filed by the interested persons.

(See : Munshi Singh & Ors. v. Union of India, AIR 1973 SC 1150; Union
of India & Ors. v. Mukesh Hans, AIR 2004 SC 4307; Hindustan Petroleum
Corporation Ltd v. Darius Shahpur Chenai and Ors., AIR 2005 SC 3520;
Anand Singh & Anr v. State of U.P. & Ors., (2010) 11 SCC 242; Dev
Sharan v. State of U.P., (2011) 4 SCC 769; Raghbir Singh Sehrawat v.
State of Haryana, (2012) 1 SCC 792; Usha Stud and Agricultural Farms
(P) Ltd. v. State of Haryana, (2013) 4 SCC 210; and Women’s
Education Trust v. State of Haryana, (2013) 8 SCC 99).

12. This Court in Gullapalli Nageswara Rao (supra), held:
“Personal hearing enables the authority concerned to watch the
demeanour of the witnesses and clear up his doubts during the
course of the arguments, and the party appearing to persuade the
authority by reasoned argument to accept his point of view. If
one person hears and another decides, then personal hearing
becomes an empty formality. We therefore hold that the said
procedure followed in this case also offends another basic
principle of judicial procedure.”

(Emphasis added)

13. This Court in Rasid Javed & Ors. v. State of U.P. & Anr., AIR
2010 SC 2275 following the judgment in Gullapalli (supra), supra held
that a person who hears must decide and that divided responsibility is
destructive of the concept of hearing is too fundamental a proposition
to be doubted.

14. A similar view has been re-iterated by this Court in Automotive
Tyre Manufacturers Association v. Designated Authority & Ors., (2011)
2 SCC 258, wherein this Court dealt with a case wherein the Designated
Authority (DA) under the relevant Statute passed the final order on
the material collected by his predecessor in office who had also
accorded the hearing to the parties concerned. This court held that
the order stood vitiated as it offended the basic principles of
natural justice.

15. In view of the above, the law on the issue can be summarised to
the effect that the very person/officer, who accords the hearing to
the objector must also submit the report/ take decision on the
objection and in case his successor decides the case without giving a
fresh hearing, the order would stand vitiated having been passed in
violation of the principles of natural justice.

16. Before proceeding further, it is desirable to refer to the
relevant statutory provisions of the Act 2013 which reads as :

?“24. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, in any
case of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 –

(a) Where no award under Section 11 of the said Land Acquisition
Act has been made, then, all provisions of this Act relating to
the determination of compensation shall apply or

(b) Where an award under said Section 11 has been made, then
such proceedings shall continue under the provisions of the said
Land Acquisition Act, as if the said Act has not been repealed.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), in
case of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 where an award under the said section 11
has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of
this Act but the physical possession of the land has not been
taken or the compensation has not been paid the said proceedings
shall be deemed to have lapsed and the appropriate Government,
if it so chooses, shall initiate the proceedings of such land
acquisition afresh in accordance with the provisions of this
Act.

Provided that where an award has been made and compensation in
respect of a majority of land holding has not been deposited in
the account of the beneficiaries, then, all beneficiaries
specified in the notification for acquisition under Section 4 of
the said Land Acquisition Act, shall be entitled to compensation
in accordance with the provisions of this Act”

 
17. The provisions of the Act 2013 referred to hereinabove have been
considered by a three judge bench of this court in
Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki
and Ors., (2014) 3 SCC 183. In the said case, the tenure-holders had
challenged the acquisition proceedings before the Bombay High Court
by filing nine writ petitions, although two of such writ petitions had
been filed before making the award and seven had been filed after the
award. The land acquisition proceedings had been challenged on various
grounds. The High Court allowed the writ petitions and quashed the
land acquisition proceedings and issued certain directions including
restoration of possession as in the said case the possession had been
taken from the tenure-holders. This Court in the appeal filed by the
authority for whose benefit the land had been sought to be acquired,
and who had been handed over the possession as the land vested in the
State, approached this Court but the Court did not enter into the
merit regarding the correctness of the judgment impugned therein
rather held that it was not so necessary to deal with the correctness
of the judgment in view of the provisions of the Act 2013 which
provide for re-compulsory acquisition of land from the very beginning.
The Court held as under:

“11. Section 24(2) also begins with non obstante clause. This
provision has overriding effect over Section 24(1).
Section 24(2) enacts that in relation to the land acquisition
proceedings initiated under 1894 Act, where an award has been
made five years or more prior to the commencement of the 2013
Act and either of the two contingencies is satisfied, viz.; (i)
physical possession of the land has not been taken or (ii) the
compensation has not been paid, such acquisition proceedings
shall be deemed to have lapsed. On the lapse of such acquisition
proceedings, if the appropriate government still chooses to
acquire the land which was the subject matter of acquisition
under the 1894 Act then it has to initiate the proceedings
afresh under the 2013 Act. The proviso appended to
Section 24(2) deals with a situation where in respect of the
acquisition initiated under the 1894 Act an award has been made
and compensation in respect of a majority of land holdings has
not been deposited in the account of the beneficiaries then all
the beneficiaries specified in Section 4 notification become
entitled to compensation under 2013 Act.

X X X

19. Now, this is admitted position that award was made on
31.01.2008. Notices were issued to the landowners to receive the
compensation and since they did not receive the compensation,
the amount (Rs. 27 crores) was deposited in the government
treasury. Can it be said that deposit of the amount of
compensation in the government treasury is equivalent to the
amount of compensation paid to the landowners/persons
interested? We do not think so. In a comparatively recent
decision, this Court in Ivo Agnelo Santimano Fernandes and Ors.
v. State of Goa and Anr. (2011) 11 SCC 506, relying upon the
earlier decision in Prem Nath Kapur v. National Fertilizers
Corpn. of India Ltd. (1996) 2 SCC 71, has held that the deposit
of the amount of the compensation in the state’s revenue account
is of no avail and the liability of the state to pay interest
subsists till the amount has not been deposited in Court.

X X X

21. The argument on behalf of the Corporation that the subject
land acquisition proceedings have been concluded in all respects
under the 1894 Act and that they are not affected at all in view
of Section 114(2) of the 2013 Act, has no merit at all, and is
noted to be rejected. Section 114(1) of the 2013 Act repeals
1894 Act. Sub-section (2) of Section 114, however, makes
Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 applicable with
regard to the effect of repeal but this is subject to the
provisions in the 2013 Act. Under Section 24(2) land acquisition
proceedings initiated under the 1894 Act, by legal fiction, are
deemed to have lapsed where award has been made five years or
more prior to the commencement of 2013 Act and possession of the
land is not taken or compensation has not been paid. The legal
fiction under Section 24(2) comes into operation as soon as
conditions stated therein are satisfied. The applicability of
Section 6 of the General Clauses Act being subject to
Section 24(2), there is no merit in the contention of the
Corporation.” (Emphasis
supplied)

18. The judgment of Bharat Kumar v. State of Haryana & Ors, 2014 (3)
SCALE 393 was a reverse case wherein the land owner had lost before
the High Court. The Court held:

“Sub-section (2) of Section 24 commences with a non-obstante
clause. It is a beneficial provision. In view of this
provision, if the physical possession of the land has not been
taken by the Acquiring Authority though the award is passed and
if the compensation has not been paid to the land owners or has
not been deposited before the appropriate forum, the proceedings
initiated under the Act, 1894 is deemed to have been lapsed.”

(See also: Bimla Devi & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Ors., Civil Appeal
Nos. 3871-3876 of 2014 decided on 14.3.2014)

19. In order to clarify the statutory provisions of the Act 2013
with respect to such lapsing, the Government of India, Ministry of
Urban Development, Delhi Division, came up with a circular dated
14.3.2014 wherein on the basis of the legal opinion of the Solicitor
General of India, it has been clarified as under:

“3. Interpretation of five years period:

“With regard to this issue viz., interpretation of
five years period two situations have been envisaged in cases
where the acquisition has been initiated under the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 viz., (1) parties whose lands have been
acquired have refused to accept the compensation and (2) parties
whose lands have been acquired having just parted with physical
possession of the land. However, in both the above situations,
as on 1.1.2014, the period of 5 years would not have ended and
in such cases, the advisory seeks to clarify that the new law
shall apply only if the situation of pendency continues
unchanged for a period that equals to or exceeds five years. In
my view, it should be further clarified that in none of the
cases the period of five years would have elapsed pursuant to an
award made under Section 11 from the date of commencement of the
Act and that the benefit of Section 24(2) will be available to
those cases which are pending and where during pendency, the
situation has remained unchanged with physical possession not
being handed over or compensation not having been accepted and
the period equals to or exceeds five years.

4. Limitation:

As regards this item relating to the period spent during
litigation would also be accounted for the purpose of
determining whether the period of five years has to be counted
or not, it should be clarified that it will apply only to cases
where awards were passed under Section 11 of the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894, 5 years or more prior to 1.1.2014 as
specified in Section 24(2) of the Act, to avoid any ambiguity.
Since this legislation has been passed with the objective of
benefiting the land-losers, this interpretation is consistent
with that objective and also added as a matter of abundant
caution that the period spent in litigation challenging an award
cannot be excluded for the purpose of determining whether the
period of five years has elapsed or not. If the possession has
not been taken or compensation has not been paid due to the
challenge to the land acquisition proceedings, the pendente lite
period will be included to determine the five year period and
including such period if the award was made five years or more
prior to the commencement of the Act, then the said acquisition
proceedings will be deemed to have elapsed and fresh
proceedings, if so desired, will have to be initiated in
accordance with the new Act.”

The objects and reasons of the Act 2013 and particularly clause
18 thereof fortify the view taken by this court in the judgments
referred to hereinabove. Clause 18 thereof reads as under:

“The benefits under the new law would be available in all the
cases of land acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894
where award has not been made or possession of land has not been
taken.”

(Emphasis added)

20. However, the aforesaid appeals have to be decided in the light
of above settled legal propositions. The admitted facts of the case
remains that the Respondents-Tenure Holders had filed objections under
Section 5A of the Act 1894 as admitted in the affidavit filed by Smt.
Usha Chaturvedi, Deputy Secretary (Land Acquisition), Land and
Building Department, Vikas Bhawan, New Delhi, filed in January 2014
before this court. The award no. 15/87-88 had been made on 5.6.1987
and possession has not been taken till date though compensation has
been deposited with the Revenue Department, which cannot be termed as
`deemed payment` as has been held in case of Pune Municipal
Corporation & Anr. (Supra).

21. Therefore, the appeals are liable to be dismissed in terms of
the judgments referred to hereinabove.

However, Shri P.P. Malhotra, learned ASG, has insisted that the
matters should also be decided on merit by examining the correctness
of the judgment and order impugned.

22. The facts are not in dispute. A huge chunk of land covering 11
villages was notified under Section 4 of the Act 1894 in 1980. A
large number of people had filed objections under Section 5-A of the
Act 1894 and it has been admitted on oath by the officer of the
appellant department that in almost all these appeals, the tenure
holders or their processor in interest had filed objections under
Section 5-A of the Act 1894. This is also not in dispute that most of
the objections were heard by one land acquisition collector and after
his transfer, the report had been submitted by his successor. In
Balak Ram Gupta v. Union of India, (117) 2005 DLT 753 (FB), full Bench
of High Court of Delhi quashed the land acquisition proceedings in the
said case exclusively on the ground that objections filed by the
petitioner therein had been heard by one Land Acquisition Collector,
however, the report was submitted by another. The land covered in
these instant appeals stand covered by the same
notification/declaration, same award and the objections had been dealt
with by the same land acquisition collector and the report had been
submitted by the same successor.

23. Admittedly, the appellants accepted that judgment and the same
attained finality as the said judgment was never challenged by filing
any S.L.P. before this court. In the light of aforesaid judgment, a
large number of writ petitions had been allowed and the land
acquisition proceedings arising out of the same
notification/declaration had been quashed. Subsequently, in Abhey Ram
& Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 2564, this Court dealt
with the same issue arising out of the same acquisition proceedings
and held that the judgment of quashing the acquisition proceedings
would apply only to the land of those persons who had challenged
acquisition proceedings and not to all the land covered by the said
notification/declaration. The appellants had been under the impression
that the judgment delivered by the full bench in Balak Ram Gupta
(Supra), laid down the law applicable to other persons also whose land
stood covered by the said notification/declaration.

24. In Delhi Administration v. Gurdip Singh Uban & Ors., (2000) 7
SCC 296, this court again dealt with the same acquisition proceedings
and observed that if a tenure holder had not filed objections under
Section 5-A of the Act 1894, he cannot challenge the acquisition
proceedings on the ground that objections had not been disposed of in
accordance with law.

25. In Om Parkash v. Union of India & Ors., AIR 2010 SC 1068, this
Court dealt with the cases arising out of the same acquisition
proceedings, however, this batch of matters had expressly been
separated from that batch and in those cases, the acquisition
proceedings were not quashed on the ground that the acquisition
proceedings had been challenged at a belated stage.

26. In the present batch of writ petitions filed before the High
Court, the matter came to be heard by a Division Bench. One of the
Hon’ble Judges vide his separate judgment was of the opinion that the
proceedings would not lapse on the ground that the declaration under
Section 6 of the Act 1894 had been made after a period of more than
three years for the reason that it was covered by sub-section (2) i.e.
on account of various stay orders passed by different courts at
different times in relations to the said proceedings. Further, though
principles of natural justice is an inbuilt element of procedure but
per se violation of these principles would not ipso facto vitiate the
proceedings unless any prejudice is shown to have been caused to the
parties, which was not the pleaded case of the objectors. Also
judicial review of administrative decision was impressible except on
very limited grounds i.e. absence of any material forming the basis of
decision making and the courts could not go into the question as to
what material weighed before the authority.

The other Hon’ble Judge comprising the Bench vide his separate
and dissenting judgment was of the opinion that the decision in Balak
Ram Gupta (Supra) was still a good law. On the issue as to validity
of the inquiry under Section 5-A of the Act 1894, His Lordship was of
the opinion that inquiry under Section 5-A of the Act 1894 was a
substantial right and could not be taken away as a side wind. Relying
on earlier judgments of the High Court of Delhi, the Hon’ble Judge was
of the opinion that a report on objections should be made by the same
collector who had the opportunity to hear such objections and any
deviation would vitiate the further proceedings. As the Hon’ble Judges
differed, the matter was referred to a third Hon’ble Judge.

27. In pursuance to the above reference, the matter came up before
the third Hon’ble Judge, who delivered the judgment cited as 137
(2007) DLT 14. Relying on the decision in Gullapalli Nageswara Rao
(Supra), the Court was of the opinion that where the objections were
heard by one collector but the report was made by another, such
procedure was not in strict compliance of requirements of Section 5-A
of the Act 1894. The issue of prejudice caused to a party in case of
violation of principles of natural justice arises in cases dealing
with un-codified procedure. The mandatory language of Section 5-A of
the Act 1894 made it essential that the collector who hears the land
owner must submit the report and, hence, no question of prejudice
could be said to be applicable in determining the violation of
principles of natural justice.

28. In the instant cases, there had been challenge to the
acquisition proceedings on various grounds including the manner in
which objections under Section 5-A of the Act 1894 had been decided.
In some cases, the High Court allowed amendment to the writ petitions
and such order had never been challenged by the appellants. In a case
where on the basis of submissions advanced in the court on behalf of
the parties, the court summons the original record to find out the
truth, pleadings remain insignificant. In the instant cases, the High
Court was satisfied after examining the original record that
objections had been dealt with in flagrant violation of law and in
such a fact-situation, the prejudice doctrine for non-observation
thereof would not be attracted.

We do not see any cogent reason to differ from such a view. No
judgment had been brought to our notice on the basis of which it can
be held that the decision of the Constitution Bench of this Court in
Gullapalli Nageswara Rao (Supra) is not a good law.

29. It is evident from the record that in respect of a major chunk
of land which stood covered under the same Section 4 notification, the
land acquisition proceedings had been quashed in a batch of 74 Writ
Petitions having been filed before the Delhi High Court and the
appellants, for the reasons best known to it, did not challenge the
same and resultantly, the same has attained finality. For about a
decade following the said judgment in Balak Ram Gupta v. Union of
India & Ors., 37 (1989) DLT 150, proceedings in other cases have also
been quashed and those decisions have not been challenged and have
thus, also attained finality. A large number of cases filed before
this court and particularly SLP (C) Nos. 208, 211 & 212 of 2008 stood
dismissed vide order dated 10.12.2008, as the petitioners did not take
steps to serve the respondents therein as is evident from the Office
Report dated 25.6.2013. In such a fact scenario, where in respect of
major chunk of land, the land acquisition proceedings had been quashed
long back and which has attained finality, it is beyond our
comprehension as to whether the scheme of planned development of Delhi
can be executed at such a belated stage in view of the fact that
vacant land in continuous stretch may not be available.

30. In view of above, we do not see any force in these appeals even
on merit and the same are liable to be dismissed. In view of the
findings and particularly in view of the interpretations given to
Section 24(2) of the Act 2013 in the judgments referred to herein
above, it is not necessary to entertain any other ground whatsoever at
the behest of the appellants. Thus, the appeals are devoid of any
merit and are dismissed. No order as to costs.

………..…….……………………..J.
(Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)

 
…….……………………………J.
(J. CHELAMESWAR)

 
…….……………………………J.
(M.Y. EQBAL)

New Delhi,

May 7, 2014

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 1831-1836 OF 2009

 

 

Union of India & Ors.
…. Appellants

 

 

Versus

Chatro Devi & Ors. ….
Respondents
With

 

 
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 903 OF 2010

 

 

Union of India & Ors.
…. Appellants

 

 

Versus

Ram Singh Tyagi & Ors. ….
Respondents

With

 

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7439 OF 2009

 

 

Union of India & Anr.
…. Appellants

 

 

Versus

R.D. Bhanot & Anr. ….
Respondents

With

 

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8483 OF 2003

 

 

Union of India & Ors.
…. Appellants

 

 

Versus

Hari Ram Kakkar …. Respondent

2

With

 
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5484-88 OF 2014

(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 24305-24309 OF 2007)

 

 

Union of India & Ors.
…. Appellants

 

 

Versus

K.S. Bakshi & Ors. ….
Respondents

With
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5489-94 OF 2014

(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 208-213 of 2008)

 

 

 

Union of India & Ors.
…. Appellants

 

 

Versus

Pt. Jai Ram Singh & Anr. ….
Respondents

With
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5495-98 OF 2014

(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 1085-1088 OF 2008)

 
Union of India & Ors.
…. Appellants

 

 

Versus

Ranbir Singh & Ors. ….
Respondents

With
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5499-501 OF 2014

(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 2533-2535 OF 2008)

 

 
3

 
Union of India & Ors.
…. Appellants

 

 

Versus

Moti Lal Bhatia & Anr. ….
Respondents

 

 
1 O R D E R

 
1. The facts and issue involved in the abovesaid appeals are
identical and have to be decided in terms of our judgment passed today
in Civil Appeal Nos. 5478-5483 of 2014.

2. The appeals are dismissed in terms thereof. No order as to
costs.

 

………..…….……………………..J.
(Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)

 
…….……………………………J.
(J. CHELAMESWAR)

 
…….……………………………J.
(M.Y. EQBAL)

New Delhi,

May 7, 2014

 

REPORTABLE

 
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4374 OF 2009

 
Union of India & Ors.
…. Appellants

 

 

 

 

Versus

Geeta Devi ….
Respondent

 
1 O R D E R

 
Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

In this case the facts are the same as contained in Civil Appeal
Nos. 5478-5483 of 2014, however, it may be mentioned herein that
Shrimati Geeta Devi, the respondent, is the subsequent purchaser of
the land sought to be acquired under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition
Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as `the Act 1894’) and the
original tenure holder had filed objections under Section 5A of the
Act 1894, which have not been considered. The proceedings in this
respect also had been quashed and admittedly, the actual and physical

2

possession of the land is with the respondent and as the proceedings
had been quashed, the award had been made in 1987-1988. Thus, in
substance the result would be the same as in Civil Appeal Nos. 5478-
5483 of 2014.

The appeal is dismissed in terms of Civil Appeal Nos. 5478-5483
of 2014. No order as to costs.

……..…….……………………..J

(Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)

 
…….……………………………J.
(J. CHELAMESWAR)

 
…….……………………………J.
(M.Y. EQBAL)

New Delhi,

May 7, 2014

 

 

 

 

 
REPORTABLE

 
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1579 OF 2010

 

 

 
Vinod Kapur & Ors. ….
Appellants

 

 
Versus

 

Union of India & Ors. ….
Respondents

 

 

 

 
1 O R D E R

 

Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

1. This appeal has been preferred against the impugned judgment and
order dated 17.12.2004 passed by the High Court of Delhi in Civil Writ
Petition No. 745 of 1987 and impugned judgment and order dated
27.7.2007 passed in Review Petition No.328 of 2005 filed by the
appellant wherein the court held that the declaration under Section 6
of the Land Acquisition

 
2

Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as `the Act 1894’) was made within
the limitation prescribed under the Act.

2. The facts and circumstances which have arisen in this appeal are
that the land, the subject matter of the appeal, stood notified under
Section 4 of the Act 1894 on 25.11.1980. The other persons whose land
had also been acquired by the same notification had challenged the
validity of the notification under Section 4 of Act 1894 by filing the
writ petitions and its validity was upheld by the judgment and order
dated 15.11.1983. It was during the pendency of the acquisition
proceedings that the present appellant had purchased the land vide
registered sale deeds dated 6.5.1985 and 24.5.1985. In respect of
the same land, the Land Acquisition Collector submitted a report on
4.6.1985 on the objections made under Section 5A of the Act 1894 by
the predecessor-in-interest and the same was accepted by the Lt.
Governor of Delhi and the declaration under Section 6 of the Act 1894
was issued on 7.6.1985. In the year

 
3

1987-1988, the Land Acquisition Officer made an award in respect of
the land.

3. In respect of the same land covered by the same notification,
various orders in various litigations pending before the High Court
had been passed. The writ petition filed by the present appellant was
dismissed vide impugned judgment and order dated 17.12.2004.

4. In view of the fact that the other land covered by the same
notification and declaration had been the subject matter of various
other writ petitions and particularly, the land belonging to one Geeta
Devi, the respondent in Civil Appeal No. 4374 of 2009, the matter
remained pending, thus, Review Petition etc. had been filed, which
was dismissed on 27.7.2007.

5. It is evident from the orders passed by the High Court that it
had granted stay of dispossession during the pendency of the writ
petition as well as the review petition, though no interim order has
been passed by this court. The respondent did not take possession of
the land in dispute though award had
4
been made in the year 1987-1988, and the High Court had decided
against the appellant in the year 2007. Thus, a period of 7 years has
lapsed without any stay of proceedings and yet no action has been
taken by the respondents in pursuance to the award.
6. However, keeping in view the decision rendered in C.A. Nos. 5478-
5483 of 2014, this appeal is allowed in terms thereof. No order as to
costs.

 

……..…….…………………J.
(Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)

 
…….……………………….J.
(J. CHELAMESWAR)

 
…….………………………J.
(M.Y. EQBAL)

New Delhi,

May 7, 2014

 
———————–
34

 

 

 

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