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State of Kerala & Ors Vs. M. Bhaskaran Pillai & ANR [1997] INSC 501 (5 May 1997)

K. RAMASWAMY, D.P. WADHWA

ACT:

HEADNOTE:

O R D E R Leave granted.

This appeal by special leave arises from the judgment of the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court, made on July 24,1991 Writ Appeal No.86 of 1990.

The admitted position is that an extent of 1.94 acres of land was acquired way back in 1952 for construction of national highway. The construction was completed in 1955.

out of the extent of 1.94 acres, 80 cents of land were used and the balance land remained unused. When respondent No.1 had applied for sale of the property by dated December 21,1979, the property was sought to be sold to him at the same rate at which compensation was awarded under Section 11, that was interdicted by way of writ petitions. The sheet-anchor of the Government to sustain the action is the executive order issued by the Government for permission for alienation of the land. The High Court has declared the executive action as invalid in the light of the Kerala Land Assignment Act, 1960 (Act 30 of 1960) (for short, the `Act'). The high court has pointed out that the assignment is in contravention of the Act. Thus, this appeal by special leave.

In view of admitted section that the land in question was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, it stood vested in the State free from all encumbrances. The question emerges: whether the Government can assign the land to the erstwhile owners? It is settled law that land is acquired for a public purpose was achieved, the rest of the land could be used for any other purpose. In case there is no other public purpose for which the land is needed, then instead of disposal by way of sale to the erstwhile owner, the land should be put to public auction and the amount Fetched in the public auction can be better utilised for the public purpose envisaged in the Directive Principles of Constitution. In the present case, what we find is that the executive order is not in consonance with the provision of the Act and is, therefore, invalid. under these circumstances, the Division Bench is well justified in declaring the executive order as invalid. whatever assignment is made, should be for a public purpose.

otherwise, the land of the Government should be sold only through the public actions so that the public also gets benefited by getting higher value.

The appeal is accordingly dismissed. No costs.

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