Parshottam Jadavji Jani Vs. State of
Gujarat & Ors  INSC 104 (1 April 1971)
SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) MITTER,
REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN
CITATION: 1971 AIR 1188 1971 SCR 294 1971 SCC
Land Acquisition Act (1 of 1894), ss. 5A and
55-Rules framed regulating enquiry under s. 5A-Complied with-Acquisition for
Corporation Right to cross examine officers of Corporation.
By a notification issued under s. 4 of the
Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the State Government declared that the appellant's
lands were needed for the public purpose of construction of an Industrial
Estate by the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation. The officer on
special duty informed the appellant that if he had any objection to the
acquisition he might file objections on or before a particular date and, that
he or his counsel would be heard at the time of filing the objections. The
appellant filed his objections and prayed that the officers of the Corporation
may be summoned for the purpose of cross- examination to show that the proposed
acquisition was not for a public purpose and that there was no need to acquire
his land, and that a personal hearing may be granted to him.
The hearing was fixed for a particular date
and the date was extended from time to time but the appellant did not appear on
those dates nor did he apply for any, further extension of time. His written
objection were considered by the officer and included in his report to the
Government under s. 5A.
On the question whether the report was
vitiated because the officer had not granted an opportunity to the appellant to
cross-examine the officers of the Corporation,
HELD: The question whether the inquiry was
administrative or quasi-judicial did not arise. Rules had been framed under s.
55 of the Act for the guidance of officers dealing with objections under s. 5A,
and the rules had been complied with in the present case. The appellant was
given an opportunity to be heard personally but he did not choose to avail
himself of that opportunity. He could not, under the rules, claim to
cross-examine officers of the Corporation when they had not given any evidence
before the officer on special duty and there was no principle which entitled
the, appellant to claim such right. [297H; 298A-B] Gandalal v. State, (1963)
Guj. L.R. 326, referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 1990 of 1970.
Appeal from the judgment and order dated July
'31, 1970 of the Gujarat High Court in Special Civil Application No. 464 of
P. M. Raval and M. V. Goswami, for the
B. D. Sharma, for the respondents Nos. 1 and
B. Sen and K. L. Hathi, for respondent No. 3.
295 5 The Judgment of the Court was delivered
by Sikri, C. J.-This appeal, by certificate granted by the High Court of
Gujarat under Art. 132 and Article 133 (1) (c) of the Constitution of India, is
directed against its judgment and order dismissing the present appellant's
petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The appellant is the owner of Survey Nos.
219/1 and 121 situated on the outskirts of Mahuva in Bhavnagar District.
By notification dated April 25, 1969, issued
under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the State Government
declared that the above-mentioned lands were needed for the public purpose of
construction of an Industrial Estate by the Gujarat Industrial Development
Corporation or were likely to be needed for that purpose. On May 3, 1969 a
notice was issued to the appellant by S. 0. Collector, Officer on Special Duty,
Land Acquisition, informing the appellant that if he had any objection to the
acquisition of the lands, he might file objections on or before August 16,
1969. He was further informed that the Officer will hear him or his Counsel at
the time of filing the objections.
The appellant filed his objections. He took
various points, but we are only concerned with one. He pointed out that the
Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation has come out with ambitious projects
for the establishment of the Industrial estate though, in fact, the land
already acquired by the Corporation is in excess of the requirement of the
Corporation. I say that the corporation is not in possession of such material
as would establish genuineness for the establishment of an industrial estate of
Mahuva. 1, therefore, claim that the responsible officer should be
cross-examined by me for the purpose of showing that the proposed acquisition
is not for public purpose and that there is no need to acquire the present
lands. The other suitable lands are available and the Corporation has not
availed of the same and that the acquisition needs to be dropped. I say that
the contiguous lands to the lands under the first notification are available
and it would be more suitable than the present land. 1, therefore, submit that
the proposed acquisition is mala fide inasmuch as my lands are preferred to the
other land owners available immediately near the lands required under the first
He accordingly prayed "(a) That the
officers of the said Corporation which have sought the acquisition and/or such
Officer name hereafter be summoned for the purpose of cross-examination.
(b) That personal hearing be granted."
296 It appears that hearing was fixed for September 18, 1969;
this date was extended from time to time,
till November 18, 1969. The appellant did not appear on these dates nor did he
apply for any extension of time. His written objection dated August 12/18, 1969
and dated September 18, 1969 were considered and included in the report, under
Section 5A to the Government.
Three points were pressed by the appellant
before the High Court. The principal point that the Gujarat Industrial
Development Corporation Act, 1962 was beyond the legislative competence of the
State legislature no longer survives as this Court has held this Act to be
valid in the case of Ramtanu C. H. Society v. State of Maharashtra (1). The
second ground pressed before the High Court was that the establishment of
Industrial Area by the Corporation was not a public purpose but a private
purpose. In our view the High was right in holding that this was a public
The third ground raised before the High Court
was strongly pressed before us. According to the learned Counsel the report
under Section 5-A of the Land Acquisition Act was vitiated because the
Collector had not granted an opportunity to the appellant to cross-examine the
officers of the Corporation for the purpose of showing that the purpose for
which the Corporation sought to acquire the lands was not a public purpose and
there was no need to acquire, the appellant's land. The High Court relying on
its earlier decision in Gandalal v. State(2) held that "the inquiry under
Section 5A(2) is an administrative inquiry and objector is not entitled to
cross-examine any officers or members of the acquiring body." Under
Section 55 of the Land Acquisition Act certain rules have been made for the
guidance of officers in dealing with objections lodged under Section 5-A of the
Act. These rules are as follows :
" Whenever any notification under
Section 4 of the Act has been published but the provisions of Section 17 have
not been applied and the Collector has under, the provision of Section 4(1)
issued notice to the parties, interested ; and on or before the last day fixed
by the Collector in those notices in this behalf any objection is lodged under
section 5-A(2), firstly, the Collector shall record the objection in his
proceedings, secondly, the Collector shall consider whether the objection is
admissible according to these rules.
(1) A. I. R. 1970 S. C. 1771. (2) (1963) 4
Gujarat Law Reporter 326 297 To be admissible (a) an objection must be
presented in writing by a party interested in the notified land and must be
presented within thirty days after the date of publication of the notification
under Section 4 or within such period as may be fixed by the Collector;
(b) it must allege some specific objections,
such as these ;
(i) the notified purpose is not genuinely or
properly a public purpose ;
(ii) the land notified is not suitable for
the purpose for which it is notified;
(iii)the land is not so well suited as other
(iv) the area proposed is excessive;
(v) the objector's land has been selected
maliciously or vexatiously;
(vi) the acquisition will destroy or impair
the amenity of historical or artistic monuments and places of public resort;
will take away important public rights of way or other conveniences or will
desecrate religious buildings, graveyard and the like.
3.After admitting an objection and after
having ,given the objector an opportunity of being heard either in person or by
pleader, the Collector shall decide whether it is desirable to hear oral or
documentary evidence, which under Section 14 or Section 40 of the Act, he has
power to call for. If evidence tendered by the objector is admitted, the
Collector shall also afford the other party an opportunity of rebutting it by
other evidence or of cross examining the witnesses :
If he admits evidence, he will fix a time and
place of hearing it-, and will hear and record it in, his proceedings.
4.Agents, other than pleaders, will not be
allowed to appear on behalf of persons interested in any enquiry under Section
5-A of the Act.
5.After completing the record of evidence,
the Collector shall submit his report and recommendations as to each objection,
whether inadmissible or admissible for the orders of Government under Section
5A(2) of the Act." It seems to us that the rules have been complied with.
The appellant was given an opportunity to be heard personally.
He ,chose not to avail himself of that
opportunity. The appellant 298 cannot under these rules claim to cross-examine
officers of the Corporation, and in our opinion the prayer to cross- examine
officers was rightly rejected. Indeed it was a strange request. The officers
had not given any evidence before the Collector and were unable to see what
principle entitles the appellant to claim this right. When rules have been
framed regulating the enquiry under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act, it
is not necessary to consider whether the enquiry is administrative or
quasi-judicial and whether rules of natural justice have been complied with,
and accordingly we say nothing on this point.
In the result the appeal fails and is
dismissed with costs.