26. We had suggested to the parties that, if they both consent, we would decide the mater here itself and thereby two possible further rounds of litigation could be avoided. While Mr. Shanti Bhushan, learned Senior Counsel for the appellant was prepared for this, the learned Addl. Solicitor General declined to accept this suggestion. Hence, despite our being satisfied that the appellant had a case for review, we refrain from deciding what relief, if any, should be granted on such review, and leave it to the judgment of the High Court.
Supreme Court of India
Green View Tea And Industries vs Collector, Golaghat, Assam And ... on 17 February, 2004
The facts of the case are briefly that the government acquired the land of appellant in 1993 to urgently set up an oil refinery. The government it its initial proposal as per meeting held with CM fixed compensation for the Tea estate containing 691 bighas of land @ Rs.55000 per bigha. The appellant was conveyed the same. The appellant rejected the proposal and demanded a higher price. Consequently the government gave the land @Rs.7000/- per bigha which was protested by the appellant but as Land acquisition was as per law, he had no other way to surrender the land and take recourse to civil litigation. After a series of litigations at District court, High court level, this appeal against review petition of HC was filed in 2004 on the ground that material placed on record was not considered by HC. It means 11 years since the government acquired land. Having spent so much time, the SC instead of taking the case on its own to decide then and there itself proposed to the counsels for their opinion as to whether they are willing to the proposal of the apex court to decide the case at apex court itself. As can be seen from the above para, the counsel for the party was ready for it but the Government counsel did not accept. Hence the court was remitted back to HC. In other words the Govt. counsel wanted to delay the matter and further litigate. Is it fair for the court to ask for the opinion of the counsels without taking a decision on its own keeping the delay of ten years already taken place in view?
There is nothing the government counsel would stand to lose if further litigations take place. They are paid for it. So they will feel happy if the case is remitted back to District court even because they can litigate 3 rounds from thereon. It is the parties litigating against government that stand to lose. It happened in one of our cases as well. Without taking anything in the written submissions into consideration the HC remitted the case to Tribunal after keeping the WP with it for over two years. The very reason why the WP is filed with HC is to avoid that round of litigation at Tribunal level. Reasons were cited in the WP as to why HC should admit the case. Moreover it is a case of Senior citizen having 80 years age. Remitting case back to Tribunal means a Senior citizen has to start from scratch again involving in three rounds of litigation. When I was referring to cases where I can find citations to quote in our review petition I found this case where here also the SC remitted the case back to HC giving leverage to the Govt. Counsel.
Why courts give this kind of leverage to Government counsels? Does anyone have answer?