Delhi Development Authority vs Damini Wadhwa & Ors.
Date of Order:
4th November 2022
Justice M.R. Shah and Justice M.M. Sundresh
Petitioner: Delhi Development Authority
Respondent: Damini Wadhwa & Ors.
In this the ruling, the Hon’ble Supreme Court restated that a subsequent purchaser cannot claim the right to lapse of acqusition proceedings given under Section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act.
THE RIGHT TO FAIR COMPENSATION AND TRANSPARENCY IN LAND ACQUISITION, REHABILITATION AND RESETTLEMENT ACT, 2013 :
- According to Section 24(2) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 land acquisition proceedings are assumed to have ended once a compensation award has been granted under the 1894 Act.
- No acquisition under Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013 can lapse because the authority was unable to take possession or because the compensation could not be lodged or offered because of ongoing legal proceedings.
TRANSFER OF PROPERTY ACT, 1882
- Section 54 of the Act defines the term “sale.” Agreements to Sell are not sufficient to convey any right, title, or interest under the Transfer of Property Act of 1882.
LAND ACQUISITION ACT OF 1894
- Section 4 of the Act talks about "Publication of preliminary notification and powers of officers.”
- Section 6 of the Act talks about where compensation is to be awarded.
- In this instance, the Land Acquisition Act of 1894's Section 4 was used to notify the acquisition of the subject property on November 25, 1980.
- The Section 6 declaration and award were both given on June 7, 1985
- The Section 4 award was finally declared by the Collector on June 17, 1987.
- The writ petitioner contested the acquisition and asserted ownership of the disputed lands before the Delhi High Court on the basis of the Agreement to Sell dated 22.05.2016.
- The High Court accepted the aforementioned writ petition.
- The main issue before the court was “Whether the judgment passed by the High Court neeeds interference or not?”
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT
- The counsel for the appellant was Ms. Manika Tripathy.
- She submitted the following arguments praying for the appeal to be accepted:
- The initial writ petitioner has absolutely no locus standi to challenge the acquisition and/or request a declaration in front of the High Court.
- Even if not, the aforementioned Agreement to Sell was entered into many months after the Act of 1894's acquisition procedures had begun.
- According to the argument, subsequent purchasers are not permitted to assert that acquisition procedures under the Act of 2013 have expired, contrary to what this Hon'ble Court found in the case of Delhi Development Authority vs. Godfrey Phillips (I) Ltd. & Ors., [Civil Appeal No. 3073 of 2022.]
- As a result, when the High Court issued the contested decision and order, the aforementioned component was not at all taken into account and/or addressed.
- It was further argued that the Hon'ble High Court erred in holding and/or declaring that the acquisition with regard to the subject properties has lapsed in accordance with Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013, even on the merits.
- It was argued that once the authority was unable to take possession due to pending litigation, there was no issue of attracting Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013, as observed and decided by this Hon'ble Court in the matter of Indore Development Authority Vs. Manoharlal & Ors. [(2020) 8 SCC 129.]
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT
- The counsel on behalf of the respondent was Shri N.S. Vashisht.
- He submitted that The Hon'ble High Court correctly observed and held that neither possession was taken over nor compensation was paid or offered, Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013 would be invoked and the acquisition would be deemed to have expired.
- Therefore, it is claimed that the Hon'ble High Court's decision to grant the writ petition was correct.
ANALYSIS BY THE COURT
- The Hon’ble Supreme Court noted that the High Court has not at all addressed and/or thought about the question of the writ petitioner's locus.
- According to the Supreme Court, the High Court erred when it declared or ordered the lapse of acquisition pursuant to Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013.
- The fact that the enormous parcels of property were acquired under the same or separate notifications was not at all understood by the High Court.
- The Act of 1894's acquisition procedures became the focus of legal disputes, and the court ultimately confirmed the acquisition procedures.
- Due to ongoing legal disputes, some land parcels were unable to be taken into possession, and even compensation could not be lodged.
- After a thorough analysis and understanding of the legal history and facts of the present appeal, The bench ruled that the present appeal succeeds.
- The High Court's contested decision and order in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 11735 of 2016 are hereby reversed and quashed.
- As a result, the High Court's decision to dismiss Writ Petition (C) No. 11735 of 2016 stands.
- No charges were imposed and additionally, any pending applications were dismissed.