Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Ors.Versus Dhannu & Anr.
DATE OF ORDER:
M.R.Shah, C.T.Ravikumar, Sanjay Karol
Petitioner:Govt. of NCT of Delhi
Respondent:Dhannu & Anr.
- Feeling dissatisfied and unhappy with the impugned judgment and order dated 16.11.2017 issued by the High Court of Delhi in New Delhi in Writ Petition (C) No. 3158 of 2015 by which the High Court accepted the said writ petition preferred by the respondent no. 1 herein - original writ petitioner (now represented by his heirs) and determined that the acquisition about the in question
- The Government of NCT of Delhi has chosen to pursue this appeal by Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, 2013.
If the initial writ petitioner was not the owner or even the recorded owner of the land, does it belong to Gram Sabha, which was admitted on their behalf?
ANALYSIS BY THE COURT
- Even so, it is necessary to point out that the Constitution Bench of this Court specifically overruled the decision of this Court in the case of Indore Development Authority versus Manoharlal and Others reported in (2020) 8 SCC 129, which was relied upon by the High Court in the case of Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. (supra), which was decided on. The Constitution Bench of this Court made the following observations
- Thus, the judgment in Pune Municipal Corpn. v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki, (2014) 3 SCC 183, is hereby reversed, and all other judgments in which Pune Municipal Corpn. v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki, (2014) 3 SCC 183, has been applied, are also reversed. It cannot be said that the ruling in Sree Balaji Nagar Residential Assn. v. State of T.N. (Sree Balaji Nagar Residential Assn. v. State of T.N., (2015) 3 SCC 353) established sound legal precedent, and it is overruled along with all subsequent rulings.
- The question of whether "or" should be interpreted as "nor" or as "and" in the proviso to Section 24(2) was not brought up for discussion in Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra [(2018) 3 SCC 412]. Hence, in light of the discussion in the present judgment, such a decision cannot also stand.
- In light of the foregoing explanation, we provide the following answers to the questions: According to Section 24(1)(a), there is no lapse of proceedings if the award is not made as of January 1, 2014, the date the 2013 Act took effect. The 2013 Act's provisions must be followed in determining compensation.
- The proceedings will proceed as specified in Section 24(1)(b) of the 2013 Act under the 1894 Act as if it had not been repealed if the award was made within the window period of five years, except the period covered by an interim order of the court.
- In Section 24(2), the term "or" that is used between possession and compensation must be interpreted as either "or" or "and." The considered lapse of land acquisition proceedings under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act occurs when neither possession of the land nor compensation has been obtained or paid as a result of authorities' inaction for five years or more before the start of the said Act. In other words, there is no lapse if possession has been obtained but no compensation has been given. Similarly to this, there is no lapse if compensation has been paid and possession has not been taken.
- A deposit of compensation in court is not included in the main body of Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act's definition of "paid." If it has not been deposited concerning the majority of landholdings, the proviso to Section 24(2) states that all beneficiaries (landowners) as of the date of notification for land acquisition under Section 4 of the 1894 Act shall be entitled to compensation by the provisions of the 2013 Act. Interest may be granted under Section 34 of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 if the duty under Section 31 has not been met. The failure to deposit compensation (in court) does not cause the land purchase process to end.
- Compensation under the 2013 Act must be paid to "landowners" as of the date of notification for land acquisition under Section 4 of the 1894 Act in cases where there has been a five-year or longer non-deposit concerning the majority of holdings.
- If a person has been offered compensation by Section 31(1) of the 1894 Act, he is not permitted to assert that acquisition has expired under Section 24(2) due to nonpayment or nondeposit of compensation in court. By submitting the required amount as per Section 31, the responsibility to pay is fulfilled (1). According to Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, landowners who refused to accept compensation or asked for higher compensation cannot assert that the acquisition proceedings were abandoned.
- The 2013 Act's provision to Section 24(2) is to be regarded as a part of Section 24(2) and not as a part of Section 24(1). (b).
- The 1894 Act's and Section 24(2)'s intended method of obtaining possession is by creating an inquest report or memorandum. There is no divesting given under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act once the award has been passed on taking possession under Section 16 of the 1894 Act, as there is no lapse under Section 24 once possession has been taken (2).
- In cases where authorities have failed due to their inaction to take possession and pay compensation for five years or more before the 2013 Act enters into force, in a land acquisition proceeding still pending with the authority concerned as of 112014, the provisions of Section 24(2) providing for a deemed lapse of proceedings are applicable. The five-year calculation must not include the duration of any court-issued interim orders.
- The 2013 Act's Section 24(2) does not create a new basis for challenging the validity of completed land purchase proceedings. A proceeding that is still underway as of the 2013 Act's enforcement date, 1 January 2014, is covered by Section 24. It does not allow landowners to question the legality of the method of taking possession to reopen proceedings or the method of depositing compensation in the treasury instead of the court to invalidate acquisition. It also does not revive stale and time-barred claims.
- The High Court should not have accepted the writ petition based on the legal standards established by this Court in the case of Indore Development Authority (supra) and the observations made above that the land belongs to Gram Sabha, which was admitted on behalf of the original writ petitioner and the original writ petitioner was not the recorded owner and/or even the owner. Because the High Court's contested decision and order are unjustified, they should be overturned and are, in turn, overturned and set aside.
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