& Ors etc Vs. State of Haryana & Anr  INSC 14 (25 January 1991)
Rangnath (Cj) Misra, Rangnath (Cj) Ahmadi, A.M. (J) Sahai, R.M. (J)
1991 SCR (1) 135 1991 SCC (2) 126 JT 1991 (1) 227 1991 SCALE (1)107
Acquisition Act, 1894-Section 54-Appeal to Supreme Court-When lies.
appellant filed petitions as appeals under section 54 of the Land Acquisition
Act. As they were not accompanied by any certificate from the High Court, the
Registry sought directions as to whether the petitions should be treated as
appeals under section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act, or as special leave
petitions under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.
of the petitions, this Court,
appeal under section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act would lie to this Court
only on a certificate granted by the High Court in terms provided in Order 45.
the present cases, as the petitioners did not approach the High Court as
required by Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act read with Order 45 of the
Civil Procedure Code, the matters cannot be registered under Section 54. [138A]
3.The Registry is directed to register these appeals as special leave petitions
under Article 136 and place them for preliminary hearing before a suitable
APPELLATE JURIDICTION: D. Nos. 3490, 3673, 3674, 3689-3699, 3700-3703, 4168 and
4169 of 1989.
under Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
Bhatt for the Appellants.
following Order of the Court was delivered:
These petitions were filed as appeals under Section 54 of the Land Acquisition
Act. Since they were not accompanied by any Certificate from the High Court
that they raised substantial questions of law which were fit to be decided by
this Court, the Registry of this Court has sought direction as to whether they
should be treated as appeals under the aforesaid section or as special leave
petitions under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.
54 of the Land Acquisition Act is extracted below:
Appeals in proceedings before Court-Subject to the provisions of the Code of
Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), applicable to appeals from original decrees,
and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any enactment for the time
being in force, an appeal shall only lie in any proceedings under this Act to
the High Court from the award, or from any part of the award, of the Court and
from any decree of the High Court passed on such appeal as aforesaid an appeal
shall lie to the Supreme Court subject to the provisions contained in Section
110 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in Order XV thereof." It has
stood in this form since 1921 except that the expression, `His Majesty in
Council' was substituted, in 1950, with words `the Supreme Court'. Prior to
1921, there was no right to appeal to the Privy Council. The Section was
amended by Section 3 of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act XIX of 1921 as it
was held by the Privy Council that in the absence of any provision in the Act
no appeal against the decree of the High Court under the Land Acquisition Act
could be entertained. But the amendment while permitting an appeal made it
subject to the provisions of Section 110 and Order 45 of the Civil Procedure
Code. The substantive right of appeal conferred by Section 54 was thus
circumscribed and it could only be entertained either if the valuation of the
subject matter was as specified or the question of law raised was substantial.
In 1950, when the Supreme Court was set up under the Constitution, its
original, constitutional, appellate and special jurisdictions were spelt out in
Articles 131 to 136. The appellate jurisdiction arising out of civil
proceedings was provided by Article 133.
it provided for an appeal as a matter of right if the subject matter of dispute
was not less than the specified amount or the High Court certified it to fit
case for being decided by this Court. In 1973, the article was amended and the
jurisdiction to entertain an appeal arising out of civil proceedings became
confined to grant of 137 certificate by the High Court that the case involved a
substantial question of law and that in the opinion of the High Court the said
question needed to be decided by this Court. In keeping with this amendment
Section 110 of the Civil Procedure Code which provided for an appeal on
valuation of the subject matter to Supreme Court was omitted in 1976. Order 45
which provided for appeals to the Privy Council before 1950 and to the Supreme
Court thereafter was also amended in 1976. Its Sub-rules 2 and 3 which are
relevant are extracted below:
Application to Court whose decree complained of-(1) Whoever desire to appeal to
the Supreme Court shall apply by petition to the Court whose decree is
Every petition under sub-rule (1) shall be heard as expeditiously as possible
and endeavour shall be made to conclude the disposal of the petition within
sixty days from the date on which the petition is presented to the Court under
sub- rule (1).
Certificate as to value or fitness.-(1) Every petition shall state the grounds
of appeal and pray for a certificate.
the case involves as substantial question of law of general importance, and
(ii) that in the opinion of the Court the said question needs to be decided by
the Supreme Court.
Upon receipt of such petition, the Court shall direct notice to be served on
the opposite party to show cause why the said certificate should not be
granted." These rules require a person desiring to approach this Court to
move first the High Court by a petition, from whose decree, appeal is sought,
stating the substantial question of law which needs to be decided by this
Court. The Court thereafter is required to certify if the requirements of
sub-clause (i) and (ii) of Sub-Rule (1) of Rule 3 of Order 45 were satisfied.
thus clear that an appeal under section 54 of the Land 138 Acquisition Act
would lie to this Court only on a certificate granted by the High Court in
terms provided in Order 45, admittedly, the petitioners did not approach the
High Court as required by Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act read with
Order 45 of the Civil Procedure Code, the matters cannot be registered under
Section 54. The Registry is directed to register these appeals as special leave
petitions under Article 136 and place them for preliminary hearing before a