Ghoshal, First Land Acquisition Collector & Ors Vs. Premavati Kapur &
Ors  INSC 840 (23
K.Ramaswamy, K.G.B. Pattanaik (J)
1996 SCALE (5)549
23RD DAY OF JULY,1996 Present:
Mr.Justice K.Ramaswamy Hon'ble Mr.Justice G.B.Pattanaik S.Muralidhar, Rathin Das,
Advs. for appellent in C.A.No.227/92 Preveen Swarup, Adv.(Ms.A.Subhashini,
Adv.(NP), for Union of India in C.A.No.3790/92 A.K.Ganguli, Sr.Adv., Parag P.Tripathi Rana
Mukherjee, Ms. Sumita Mukherjee, Indeevar Goodwill, Abha R. Sharma, Advs. with
him for the Respondents.
O R D
following Order of the Court was delivered:
Sri Nripati Ghoshal First Land Acquisition Collector a Ors. etc. V.
Premavati Kapur (Dead) by LRs. & Ors. etc.
APPEAL NO.3790 OF 1992
appeals by special leave arise from the order of the Division Bench of the
Calcutta High Court dated July 31, 1990
made in Appeal from Original Order No. T.3734/86.
facts are that the premises bearing No.7, Chappel Road, Hastings, Calcutta was
requisitioned on November 29, 1971 under section 3(1) of the West Bengal
Premises Requisition and Control (Temporary Provision Act, 1947 (for short,
'the Bengal Act') due to Bangladesh war.
Indian Navy had taken possession thereof and has remained in possession of the
said premises. Subsequently, it would appear, the respondents had filed Matter
No.1295/79 in the Calcutta High Court questioning the legality of the requisition.
It would appear that proceedings were initiated as early as in 1975 for
acquisition as the property and the correspondence between various Departments
was going on.
under Section 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1 of 1984) (for short,
the 'Act') was published on November 26, 1981.
Enquiry under Section 5-A was conducted. Thereafter, declaration under Section
6 was published on November
25, 1982. The writ
petition pending in the High Court came up for hearing. A learned single judge
by his order dated April 8, 1983 had held that though there was no public
purpose for requisition under the Bengal Act, since the acquisition was
initiated under the Act four months' time was granted for completing the award
enquiry and to pass the award; in case of default, he directed the appellants
to hand over possession of the premises to the respondents. In the meanwhile,
the acquisition proceedings were completed by making award on September 21, 1983. Notice under Section 12 was issued
to the respondents on September
23, 1983. Thus the
acquisition under the Act had become final. An oral application came to be made
before the learned Judge for extension of time on July 22, 1983 since the time was to expire on August 8, 1983. But the learned Judge declined to extend the time by his
order dated August 2,
1983. Since the
possession was not delivered, the respondent had filed another writ petition in
the High Court which the learned single Judge had dismissed on November 12, 1986. On appeal, in the impugned order
the Division Bench set aside the order of the learned single Judge and issued
mandamus as indicated in the order. The primary findings recorded by the
Division Bench were that there was no public purpose and that the acquisition
was on public purpose and that the acquisition was mala fide.
question, therefore, is: whether the two findings recorded by the Division
Bench are correct in law? Shri Ganguli, learned senior counsel for the
respondents, sought to support the findings of the Division Bench on the ground
that there are no bona fides on the part of the appellants in pursuing the
matter. In fact, when the respondent had pointed out in the High Court that
there was no public purpose in requisitioning the property, they came forward
with the acquisition under the Act; when the learned single Judge had directed
the appellants to have the award enquiry completed and the award made within
four months, the same were not done within the prescribed time. In spite of
initiation of contempt proceedings, the possession was not delivered. These
circumstances could be considered to show that the acquisition was mala fide
and that, therefore, in the light of the above background, the High Court was
right in reaching the conclusion. We find no force in the contentions.
seen that the acquisition proceedings under the Act were initiated no doubt
after the first writ petition was filed challenging the requisition under the
West Bengal Act. But the notification under Section 4(1) and the declaration published
under Section 6 of the Act became final before the learned single Judge had
passed the order on April
8, 1983. Thereby the
public purpose, namely, defence purposes, got crystalized before the judgment
was rendered by the learned single Judge. The learned single Judge accepting
the legal position, quite rightly, had given time to complete the award enquiry
and to pass the award.
due to lethargy on the part of authorities to have the funds made available,
award could not be made for non-depositing of the amount. The question,
therefore, emerges: whether the acquisition is mala fide? So long as the public
purpose subserves, the finding that the acquisition is mala fide is ex-facie
unsustainable. No doubt there are laches on the part of the authorities, but so
long as the acquisition proceedings were legal and the defence personnel remain
in possession of the premises for the defence purpose, the acquisition is for
it cannot be characterised to be mala fide. It is seen that by the time the
second writ petition, which is the subject matter ultimately in this appeal,
came to be filed, the acquisition had become final; the award had become final
and the compensation was tendered. Under those circumstances, the High Court,
without going into the validity in that behalf, was not right in setting aside
the acquisition on the specious finding that it is mala fide.
the High Court has not properly consider that aspect in the correct perspective
in deciding the matter.
to the interim direction granted by this Court appellant have deposited rent at
the rate of Rs 7500/- per month beginning from 1.1.92. Shri Ganguli has brought
to our notice that the payments were not alleged to have been paid for the
earlier period of requisition. It is also brought to our notice that the amount
of compensation was not received by the respondents. Under these circumstances,
it would be open to the Land Acquisition Collector to vary and, if found
correct, to adjust the amounts, deposited as per the orders of the Court,
towards the amount payable, if not already paid for the period of requisition.
If there is any further amount due, that amount may also be directed to be paid
to the respondents within a specified time. The amount deposited pursuant to
orders of this court, if found excess, may be adjusted towards the amount
payable as compensation for the acquired premises.
unfortunate that in spite of peremptory direction to pass award and on
non-compliance of order to deliver possession of the building, no prompt action
has been taken.
officers have not shown diligence required in this case.
though the contempt proceedings were initiated for non- delivery of possession,
yet no steps had been taken even to file appeal in this Court within the
would show apathy or absolute indifference on the part of the concerned
officers in pursuing the proceedings. It would be obvious that since they do
not have personal interest in the Governmental matters, they do not show the
required dispatch. It is our sad experience that invariably, all cases of the
Government, be that of Government of India or State Governments, except
presently in the case of the Government of Punjab, are being filed with abnormal
would, therefore, be high time that all the Governments should necessarily
streamline the process of taking decision in time to file appeals. The lack of
responsibility and indifference further gets compounded from the fact that
though the writ petitioner (3rd respondent in this case) died on September 18,
1993 and notice was given by her counsel to the counsel for the Union on
October 4, 1993, no steps were taken to bring the legal representatives on
record till August 19, 1994. In August 1994 the application for substitution
came to be filed but without any explanation. These facts do indicate the
absolute lack of diligence and apathy or indifference in pursuing the matters
on behalf of the Union of India.
unfortunate that we have come across that even the State Governments adopt the
same indifferent attitude in pursuing the public causes in filing the appeals
in this Court as well as in the High Courts and the courts below. It is high
time for the Government of India through the Cabinet Secretary to constitute a
legal cell centralising all the cases to decide whether appeals should be filed
and if so have them filed in time or with utmost dispatch. The officers
responsible should be made accountable for the delay. Same process is equally required
to be adopted in case of appeals to be filed in this Court or in the High
Courts by the respective State Governments and/or the Union of India.
Registry is directed to communicate this order to the Cabinet Secretary and
also to all the Chief Secretaries of the State Governments; so also to the
Attorney General of India and the Advocates General of the concerned States so
that appropriate measures could be taken in this behalf.
appeals are accordingly allowed, but, in the circumstances without costs.