M. Maniklal Vs. The State of Mysore
 INSC 296 (23 November 1976)
KHANNA, HANS RAJ
CITATION: 1977 AIR 361 1977 SCR (2) 165 1977
SCC (1) 231
City of Bangalore Improvement Act 1945,
Section 15(3), 16(2)-Rule 10 Notice of acquisition to persons in Revenue
register--Whether person whose land is acquired is entitled to allotment of
plot in housing scheme.
The appellant purchased the land in question
from Giliteppa and Nanjappa during the pendency of the land acquisition
proceedings under the city of Bangalore Improvement Act 1945. The acquisition
was for building a house colony by the Housing Board whose statutory
responsibility is to implement housing schemes. The appellant challenged the
acquisition before the High Court by filing a writ petition.
The High Court dismissed the writ petition.
In an appeal by special leave the appellant
1. There was non-compliance with the
mandatory requirement of s. 16(2) of the Act which requires the service of
notice on "every person whose name appears in the Land Revenue Register as
being primarily liable to pay the property tax or land revenue".
2. Section 15(3)'provides that the main
scheme may provide for the construction of buildings for the proper and working
classes including the whole or part of such classes to be displaced in the
execution of this scheme.
The appellant whose land is acquired being
displaced is entitled to allotment of land for construction of a building for
his own residence.
Dismissing the appeal,
HELD: (1) The High Court on evidence rightly
held that in the revenue register the names of predecessors in title of
Giliteppa and Nanjappa were shown and that he was given due notice. The
document produced by the appellant was not the revenue register as contemplated
by section 16(2).
[167A-C, F]:' (2) Section 15(3) does not
impose a compulsory duty or a right in appellant to Claim a plot. It is clear
from rule 10 made under the Act that the person displaced by the acquisition
may be accomodated. However, this is a beneficient consideration and not a
necessary obligation. [168A-C] [The Court observed that in case any land is
available, and if the appellant fulfils the other criteria prescribed by the
rules the respondent may consider his claim.]
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 1948 of 1968'.
Appeal from the Judgment and Order dated the
21st Sept., 1967 of the Mysore High Court in W.P. No. 1168/65.
S.V. Gupte with S.S. JavaIi and B. Dutta for
N. Nettar and K.R. Nagaraja, for respondents.
166 The Judgment of the Court was delivered
by KRISHNA IYER, J. Two short legal issues--both apparently devoid of
merit--were urged unsuccessfully before the High Court and repeated, with a
somewhat similar fate, before us, ii we may anticipate our conclusion. A
Judgment of affirmation may usefully be an abbreviation and so, we shall briefly
deal with Shri Gupta's twin submissions on behalf of the appellant writ
petitioner. The appeal is by special leave and the subject-matter is land
compulsorily acquired under the City of Bangalore Improvement Act 1945 (for
short the Improvement Act) (Mysore Act V of 1945).
A concise narration of the necessary facts
may conveniently be compressed into a paragraph or two. The appellant purchased
two portions of S. No. 211 within the District of Bangalore from two persons
Giliteppa and Nanjappa during the pendency of land acquisition proceedings
under the Improvement Act. These proceedings were for acquisition of land in S.
No. 211 for making a lay-out plan for a building colony. This limited objective
was completed after due formalities were complied with and thereafter the land
was made over to the Housing Board whose statutory responsibility is to
implement housing schemes. We are told that houses have been built on the land
already although there is some doubt as to whether 5 acres out of the total
extent still remain vacant. If the contentions of the appellant are sound the
whole scheme will be shot down, a disaster a socially conscious court should
try to avert unless compelled by fundamental legal laws.
What, then, are the alleged vital weaknesses
in the acquisition proceedings which vitiate them altogether ? Firstly, a
technicality technically countered; and secondly, a compassionate consideration
which has no invalidatory effect.
The appellant has urged before us that
Section 16(2) of the Improvement Act has a mandatory requirement that service
of notices shall be effected on "every person whose name appears in the
............ in the land revenue register as being primarily liable to pay the
property tax or land revenue assessment on.........land which it is proposed to
acquire in executing the scheme" .......... This peremptory mandate has
not been complied with and that is the first vital flaw pressed before us. The
second contention is based upon Section 15 (3 ) of the Improvement Act
whereunder every improvement scheme "may provide for the construction of
buildings for the accommodation of the poorer and working classes, including
the whole or part of such classes to be displaced in the execution of the
scheme." This provision, it is argued. clothes the appellant, in his
capacity as a displaced person with a right to allotment of land for construction
of a building for his own residence. We will presently consider these two
To make short work of the first point we may
straightway state that the obligation under section 16(2) is to serve notices
on persons whose names appear in the land revenue register as being primarily
liable to pay the land revenue assessment. The complaint made is that the
predecessors of the appellant Giliteppa and Nanjappa were.
167 entitled to notice under this provision
and 'that they had not been so given. Of course, there is no affidavit from
these two vendors of the appellant that they have not received any notice.
Apart from that the burden is on the appellant to prove that his vendors were
persons whose names were born on the land revenue register. This is a question
of fact but the moot point debated before the High Court was what in law was
the land revenue register. Certainly notice has been given to Khatedars. The
return of the respondents states that "notified Khatedars were notified of
the acquisition". Ex. R-I produced along with the return shows one
Somayaji as the Khatedar, not the vendors of the appellant. This disputed point
was investigated by the High Court with a thoroughness and intimate
acquaintance with the local revenue laws which elicits our appreciation.
Considering the documentary evidence adduced and the authoritative revenue laws
bearing on the subject and scanning the meaning of the entries in the extracts
before Court, the learned Judges reached the conclusion that the Khatta produced
by the appellant was "a mere tentative compilation of information
transmitted to the Revenue Department by the Inams Abolition Department"
and not "Khetwar Patrak" which was the land revenue register within
the meaning of section 16(2) of the Improvement Act. The High Court concluded:
"We are of the opinion 'that the land
revenue register to which section 16(2) refers is no other than the register of
lands the Khetwar Patrak, and, that register is not the Khatta which is
something very different." Further, on, after full discussion the Court
crystallized its conclusions thus:
"Even though a person may be an occupant
in the sense in which that word has to be understood, so long as it is not
proved that his name appears in the land revenue register, at the material
point of time, we should not pronounce against the validity of the acquisition
or the publication of a declaration under section 18 on the slender foundation
of insufficient material such as the certified copy of a tentative Khata which we
have referred." Indeed, the appellant produced some wrong documents but
the Court was too cute to be misled as is evident from its observation:
"It emerges from the discussion so far
made that that land revenue register is no other than the register of lands or
the Khetwar Patrak which has to be maintained in form No. 1 which is set out in
volume 2 of the Mysore Village Manual at page 8(a), and, we do not have before
us either that register of lands or a certified copy of it and no exlplanation
has been offered to us as to why the petitioner did not obtain a copy of that
register or produce it." After hearing Shri Gupte at some length we are
not disposed to be dislodged from the finding painstakingly recorded by the
High Court. The first point, therefore, fails.
168 The only other point seriously pressed
before us by Shri Gupte is that under section 15(3) there is an obligation on
the part of the Board of Trustees to provide a plot to the displaced appellant.
There is nothing in Section 15(3) of the Improvement Act which warrants. such a
compulsive duty or creates a right to claim a plot. Of course, the Board may
consider providing some land for the persons from whom acquisitions have been
made. This is a beneficient consideration, not a necessary obligation. That
this is so clear also from the rules for the allotment of sites. Rule 10
settles the principle for selection of applicants for allotment of sites. Rule
"10. Principles for selection of
applicants for allotment of sites.--(1) The Board shall consider the case of
each applicant on its merits and shall have regard to the following principles
in making selection and fixing the priority for allotment :-(i) applicants
whose lands or houses have been acquired by the Board provided they are otherwise
qualified for allotment;
(ii) the status of the applicant, that is,
whether he is married or single and has dependent children;
(iii) the income of the applicant and his
capacity to purchase a site and build a house thereon for his residence;
(iv) the number of years the applicant has
been waiting for allotment of a site and the fact that he did not secure a site
earlier though he is eligible and had applied for a site." The facts
before us are that the lands acquired have already been transferred to the
Housing Board and houses have already been built at least on a substantial part
of the land.
All that we can say, at this stage, is that
having regard to the compassionate factor that the appellant's lands have been
acquired and he has perhaps been displaced from the entirety of his building
sites, it should be a fair gesture on the part of the Housing Board if there
are vacant lands still available--the order of stay granted by this Court is
strongly suggestive of some land being still available as not built upon--to
consider 'the claim of the appellant, if he applies within three months from
today for allotment of a site for a house, subject, of course, to his
eligibility for allotment and other criteria for comparative evaluation of claims
prescribed by the rules in this behalf. It follows that beyond this is not for
the Court to direct and less than this is not fair play to the appellant.
The High Court had gone into the question of
delay disentitling the appellant in maintaining his writ petition.
In the view that we have already taken on the
merits of the substantive points, we are not 169 called upon to consider the
deadly effect of the delay such as there is between the dates of the
acquisition notification and the institution of the writ petition. The appeal
is dismissed but having consideration for the conspectus of circumstances
present in this case we direct that the parties will bear their own costs
P.H.P. Appeal dismissed.