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Writ petition being set aside by the Supreme Court for the laps of the land acquisition under section 24(2)

Gourob D ,
  24 January 2023       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 360 OF 2023

CAUSE TITLE:

Government Of Nct Of Delhi vs Manjeet Singh Anand

DATE OF ORDER:

20 January, 2023

JUDGE(S):

M.R. Shah, C.T. Ravikumar

PARTIES:

Petitioner: Government Of Nct Of Delhi

Respondent: Manjeet Singh Anand

SUBJECT:

The Hon’ble Supreme Court (hereinafter referred to as ‘Supreme Court’ or ‘the Court’), has questioned the High Court upon entertaining the writ petition depending on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 accordingly the present appeal was set aside. 

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS:

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 

  • Section 24(2) - Under some circumstances, the land purchase proceedings according to the Act of 1894 will be declared to have expired.

The Land Acquisition Act, 1894

  • Section 4 - prescribes the power of the officer with regards to the publication of the preliminary notifications.
  • Section 31(1) - When producing an award under section 11, the Collector must offer payment of the remuneration to the interested parties and entitled to it in accordance with the award. He must also pay these parties unless he is prevented from doing so by one or more of the contingencies listed in the next subsection.

FACTS:- 

  • The land in dispute was purchased in 1964, and on February 13, 1964, a notification was made under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The disputed land was physically taken into possession on June 7, 1967, in accordance with the Land Acquisition Collector (LAC), and the settlement was properly paid with the Reference Court on November 13, 1967, according to the award given on May 12, 1967.
  • That following of the enactment date of the Act, 2013, the respondent No. 1, the original writ petitioner, lodged a writ petition with the High Court and requested that the acquisition be terminated in accordance with Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013, based on a number of documents, including general powers of attorney and receivables.
  • The High Court heard a particular argument that the initial writ petitioner, respondent No. 1, has no right to dispute the acquisition since the actual documented owner is someone else. The High Court has granted the aforementioned writ petition, basing on its judgement in Smt. Harbans Kaur v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Ors that was decided on 2nd February 2015.
  • Order made by the High Court of Delhi upon the Writ Petition of (C) No. 7004 of 2015, approved the contested writ petition submitted by Respondent No. 1 and was the subject of the lawsuit. The court also ruled that Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, 2013, applies to the acquisition proceedings that were started under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 with regard to the disputed land. 
  • Feeling resentful and unsatisfied with the contested decision and order made by the High Court of Delhi upon the Writ Petition of (C) No. 7004 of 2015, the Government of NCT of Delhi filed the current appeal 

QUESTIONS ROSE:

Whether "or" is to be interpreted as "nor" or "and" with reference to the consideration in the proviso to Section 24(2) of the Act of 2013.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT:

  • According to section 24(2) of the Act 2013 any land proceedings according to the act of 1894 will stand expired. If such an award under the aforementioned section 11 was made five years or more before the Act of 2013 went into effect, but the land has not yet been physically taken or remuneration has still not been compensated, the proceedings in question will be deemed to have expired and the appropriate Government will begin the land acquisition process again in according to the provisions of this Act.
  • In accordance with Section 24(1) (a), there will be no collapse of proceedings if the award is not issued by January 1, 2014, the day the 2013 Act takes effect. According to the rules set forth in the 2013 Act, compensation must be decided.
  • If the award was made within the five-year timeframe, except the time period covered by a temporary injunction, then the proceedings must proceed in accordance with Section 24(1)(b) of the 2013 Act under the 1894 Act as if it had not been repealed.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT

  • The writ petition filed by the respondent seek laps of the land acquisition under section 24(2) of the Act of 2013 basing on the documents such as the receiving and the general power of attorney. 
  • It is also contended that the documents produced shows that the real owner is the respondent and not any third party or someone else.  

ANALYSIS BY THE COURT:

  • It was stated by the court that according to the section 24(1)(a) the proceedings should be constituted as lapsed and the government authority should start with the new proceedings. Therefore it is stated that when the High Court accepted the writ petition submitted at the request of respondent No. 1, the original writ petitioner, court made a rather grave mistake. 
  • Applying the legal standard established by this Court in the decision of the Constitution Bench in the case of the "Indore Development Authority", the impugned judgement and order issued by the High Court is unjust and should be quashed and set aside. As a result, it is quashed and set aside since the acquisition occurred in the year 1964 and possession was obtained in the year 1967 by drawing the panchnama.
  • The appeal was allowed at no cost. 

CONCLUSION

In the present case the court has specified that In Section 24(2), the term "or" that is used among possession and compensation must be interpreted as either "nor" or "and." The presumed lapse of land acquisition procedures as per Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act occurs when neither ownership of the land nor remuneration has been obtained or paid as a result of authorities' failure for five years or more before the enactment of the said Act. In other words, there will be no lapse if possession has been obtained but no compensation has been given. Similar to this, there is no lapse if compensation has already been paid but possession has not yet been seized.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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