Commissioner,Bangalore Development Authority Vs. K.S. Narayan
 Insc 642 (11
Mathur & Lokeshwar Singh Panta
Civil Appeal Nos. 8310/2002, 8308/2002, 8315/2002, 8311/2002, 8312/2002,
8314/2002, 8313/2002, 8309/2002 G.P. Mathur, J.
issue involved in these appeals, by special leave, is identical and, therefore,
they are being disposed of by a common order. For the sake of convenience facts
of Civil Appeal 8307 of 2002, which has been filed challenging the judgment and
decree dated 14.6.2001 passed by Karnataka High Court in R.F.A. No. 406 of
2001, shall be stated.
The respondent K.S. Narayan filed Original Suit No. 5371 of 1989 in the court
of City Civil Judge, Bangalore, praying that a decree for permanent injunction be
passed against the defendant Bangalore Development Authority, their agents and
servants restraining them from interfering with the plaintiff's possession and
enjoyment of the plaint scheduled property and from demolishing any structure
situate thereon. The case of the plaintiff in brief is as follows. The
plaintiff purchased the property in dispute bearing No. 46, situated in Banasawadi
village, K.R. Pura Hobli, Bangalore South Taluk from S. Narayana Gowda by means
of a registered sale deed dated 17.6.1985.
erstwhile owners of the property had obtained conversion certificate from the Tehsildar
and the property is situated in a lay out which is properly approved by
obtaining conversion for non- agricultural use from the competent authority.
The plaintiff applied for mutation entries and the same was granted in his favour.
The property in dispute was not covered by any acquisition proceedings as
neither notice of acquisition had been received nor any award regarding the
said property had been passed. The defendant had no right, title or interest
over the property but it was trying to dispossess the plaintiff from the same
on the ground of alleged acquisition. The plaintiff issued a notice to the
defendant on 11.7.1989 calling upon it not to interfere with his possession and
enjoyment of the property in dispute but no reply had been received. It was
pleaded that the cause of action to file the suit arose on 11.7.1989, the date
of the notice and also when the defendant tried to dispossess the plaintiff from
the disputed property.
suit was contested by the defendant Bangalore Development Authority on the
ground inter alia that the plaintiff was not the owner of the property in
dispute. S. Narayana Gowda, who is alleged to have executed the sale deed in favour
of the plaintiff on 17.6.1985, had no right, title or interest over the
property in dispute and he could not have conveyed any title to the plaintiff.
It was further pleaded that the disputed land had been acquired by the
Bangalore Development Authority after issuing preliminary and final
notifications in accordance with Bangalore Development Authority Act and the
possession had also been taken over and thereafter it was handed over to the
Engineering Section on 22.6.1988 after completion of all formalities. The award
for the land acquired had already been made and the compensation amount had
been deposited in civil court under Sections 30 and 31(2) of the Land
Acquisition Act. It was specifically pleaded that it was the defendant
Bangalore Development Authority which was in possession of the plaint scheduled
property on the date of filing of the suit and, therefore, the suit for
injunction filed by the plaintiff was not maintainable and was liable to be
parties adduced oral and documentary evidence in support of their case before
the trial court. The learned XIII Additional City Civil Judge, Bangalore, decreed all the ten suits by the
judgment and decree dated 30.1.1991. The Bangalore Development Authority, the
appellant herein, preferred ten appeals against the judgment and decree of the
trial court before the Karnataka High Court. The High Court held that though
the plaintiffs had filed the suit claiming to have title and possession over
the property in dispute but in fact their possession over the plaint scheduled
property on the date of the suit was not established. The plaintiffs had not
claimed any relief for delivery of possession over the property. The High Court
accordingly allowed the appeal, set aside judgment and decree of the trial
court and remanded the suit for fresh decision with liberty to the plaintiffs
to apply for amendment of the plaint for which purpose one month time was
granted. It was further mentioned in the order that if the plaintiffs did not
apply for amendment within one month the trial court shall dismiss the suit.
However, if the plaintiffs applied for amendment of the plaint, the defendant
in each suit shall be given opportunity of filing further written statement and
thereafter the suit shall be disposed of in accordance with law.
After remand of the suit to the trial court the plaintiffs applied for
amendment of the plaint. In the amendment application it was pleaded that the
plaintiffs were owner in possession of the property but they were dispossessed
on 22.6.1988. It was also pleaded that the defendant had dispossessed the
plaintiffs from the plaint scheduled property without taking proceedings for
acquisition of the land and as such their dispossession was wholly illegal. The
relief clause was also amended and it was prayed that it may be declared that
the plaintiffs are owner of the property and a decree for possession be passed
in their favour directing the defendant to deliver back the possession of the
plaint scheduled property to them. The amendment application was filed on
31.8.2000. The defendant Bangalore Development Authority filed an amended
written statement and the principal pleas taken therein were that the suit was
barred by limitation and the land in dispute having been validly acquired and
possession having been taken over, the suit was liable to be dismissed. It was
further pleaded that the defendant was in possession and enjoyment of the
property since 22.6.1988 and the predecessors of the plaintiffs had also taken
part in proceedings for determination of compensation and making of award
before the Special Land Acquisition Officer. After the pleadings had been
amended the suits were tried by learned XVI Additional City Civil and Sessions
Judge, Bangalore. The parties did not adduce any
further evidence and relied upon the evidence which had been adduced earlier.
The trial court, relying upon the decision of this Court in Laxmi Chand vs.
Gram Panchayat, Kararia 1996 (7) SCC 218, held that validity or otherwise of
the acquisition proceedings cannot be questioned before the civil court and
accordingly dismissed the suits.
Feeling aggrieved by the judgment and decree of the trial court the plaintiffs
preferred appeals before the High Court under Section 96 of Civil Procedure
Code. The High Court held that the names of the plaintiffs who were the lawful
owners of plaint scheduled property were not at all notified and as two basic
requirements of a valid acquisition of property were not satisfied, the
acquisition was not binding upon the owners of the property. It was held that
plaintiffs were not covered by the notification which had been issued regarding
acquisition of the property and, therefore, the civil court was competent to
entertain the suit. After recording a finding that no notice had been served
upon the plaintiffs, it was held that the acquisition proceedings were invalid.
The appeals were accordingly allowed and the suits were decreed as prayed. Thus
a decree for declaration of title and also for possession was passed in favour
of the plaintiffs.
have heard Mr. Altaf Ahmed, learned senior counsel for the appellants and Mr.
S.N. Bhat learned counsel for the respondents.
acquisition proceedings in question had been taken under the Bangalore
Development Authority Act, 1976 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). The
relevant provisions regarding acquisition are Sections 17 and 19 of the Act,
which are being reproduced below: -
Procedure on completion of scheme.
When a development scheme has been prepared, the authority shall draw up a
notification stating the fact of a scheme having been made and the limits of
the area comprised therein, and naming a place where particulars of the scheme,
a map of the area comprised therein, a statement specifying the land which is
proposed to be acquired and of the land in regard to which a betterment tax may
be levied may be seen at all reasonable hours.
copy of the said notification shall be sent to the corporation which shall,
within Thirty days from the date of receipt thereof, forward to the authority
for transmission to the Government as hereinafter provided, any representation
which the Corporation may think fit to make with regard to the scheme.
The authority shall also cause a copy of the said notification to be published
in the Official Gazette and affixed in some conspicuous part of its own office,
the Deputy Commissioner's Office, the Office of the Corporation and in such
other places as the authority may consider necessary.
no representation is received from the corporation within the time specified in
sub-section (2), the concurrence of the corporation to the scheme shall be
deemed to have been given.
During the thirty days next following the day on which such notification is
published in the Official Gazette the authority shall serve a notice on every
person whose name appears in the assessment list of the Local Authority or in
the land revenue register as being primarily liable to pay the property tax or
land revenue assessment on any building or land which is proposed to be
acquired in executing the scheme or in regard to which the authority proposes
to recover betterment tax requiring such person to show cause within Thirty
days from the date of the receipt of the notice why such acquisition of the
building or land and the recovery of betterment tax should not be made.
The notice shall be signed by or by the order of the Commissioner and shall be
personal delivery of if such person is absent or cannot be found, on his agent,
or if no agent can be found, then by leaving the same on the land or the
leaving the same at the usual or last known place of abode or business of such
registered post addresses to the usual or last known place of above or business
of such person.
sanction, declaration to be published giving particulars of land to be
Upon sanction of the scheme, the Government shall publish in the Official
Gazette declaration stating the fact of such sanction and that the land
proposed to be acquired by the authority for the purposes of the scheme is
required for a public purpose.
The declaration shall state the limits within which the land proposed to be
acquired is situate, the purpose for which it is needed, its approximate area
and the place where a plan of the land may be inspected.
The said declaration shall be conclusive evidence that the land is needed for a
public purpose and the authority shall, upon the publication of the said declaration,
proceed to execute the scheme.
at any time it appears to the authority that an improvement can be made in any
part of the scheme the authority may alter the scheme for the said purpose and
shall subject to the provisions of sub-sections (5) and (6) forthwith proceed
to execute the scheme as altered.
the estimated cost of executing the scheme as altered exceeds, by a greater sum
than five per cent the estimated cost of executing the scheme as sanctioned,
the authority shall not, without the previous sanction of the Government,
proceed to execute the scheme as altered.
the scheme as altered involves the acquisition otherwise than by agreement, of
any land other than that specified in the scheduled referred to in clause (e) of
sub- section (1) of Section 18, the provisions of Sections 17 and 18 and of
sub-section (1) of this section shall apply to the part of the scheme so
altered in the same manner as if such altered part were the scheme."
The provisions of Sections 17 and 19 are somewhat similar to the provisions of
Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. Sub- section (5) of Section 17 of
the Act mandates that after the publication of the notification in the Official
Gazette the authority shall, during the period of next thirty days, serve a
notice on every person whose name appears in the assessment list of the Local
Authority or in the land revenue register as being primarily liable to pay the
property tax or land revenue assessment of any building or land which is
proposed to be acquired in executing the scheme or in regard to which the
authority proposes to recover betterment tax. The person on whom the notice is
served is entitled to raise objection regarding the proposed acquisition within
is not in dispute that the notification under Section 17 was published on
26.5.1984 and the notification under Section 19 was published on 23.10.1986.
The award was made on 26.5.1988 and thereafter possession was taken over by the
Bangalore Development Authority on 22.6.1988. The High Court has observed that
the plaintiff K.S. Narayan purchased the property from Doddanna in the year
1964. This is clearly wrong as the specific case of the plaintiff in paragraph
3 of the plaint is that he purchased the property from S. Narayana Gowda on
17.6.1985. It is, therefore, obvious that the plaintiff purchased the property
more than one year after the notification under section 17 of the Act had been
published. In fact the plaintiffs in all the ten suits purchased the plaint
scheduled property some time in the year 1985. The date of purchase of plaint
scheduled property by the plaintiffs in the ten suits is mentioned in the first
judgment of the High Court remanding the matter to the trial Court. Thus, there
was no occasion for serving any notice upon the plaintiffs as required by
sub-section (5) of Section 17 of the Act as their names could not have appeared
in the assessment list of the Local Authority or in the land revenue register
at the relevant time.
the whole basis on which the High Court held the acquisition proceedings to be
invalid is erroneous and cannot be sustained.
The other point which requires consideration is whether a civil suit is
maintainable to challenge the acquisition proceedings. This question is no
longer res integra. In two decisions of this Court it has been clearly held
that the civil court cannot go into the question of validity or otherwise of
the notifications issued under Sections 4(1) and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act.
In State of Bihar vs. Dhirendra Kumar 1995 (4) SCC
229, it was held as under: -
The question is whether a civil suit is maintainable and whether ad interim
injunction could be issued where proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act was
taken pursuant to the notice issued under Section 9 of the Act and delivered to
the beneficiary. The provisions of the Act are designed to acquire the land by
the State exercising the power of eminent domain to serve the public purpose.
The State is enjoined to comply with statutory requirements contained in
Section 4 and Section 6 of the Act by proper publication of notification and
declaration within limitation and procedural steps of publication in papers and
the local publication envisaged under the Act as amended by Act 68 of 1984. In
publication of the notifications and declaration under Section 6, the public
purpose gets crystallized and becomes conclusive. Thereafter, the State is
entitled to authorize the Land Acquisition Officer to proceed with the
acquisition of the land and to make the award.
11A now prescribes limitation to make the award within 2 years from the last
date of publication envisaged under Section 6 of the Act. In an appropriate
case, where the Govt. needs possession of the land urgently, it would exercise
the power under Section 17(4) of the Act and dispense with the enquiry under
Section 5-A. Thereon, the State is entitled to issue notice to the parties
under Section 9 and on expiry of 15 days, the State is entitled to take
immediate possession even before the award could be made. Otherwise, it would
take possession after the award under Section 12. Thus, it could be seen that
the Act is a complete code in itself and is meant to serve public purpose. We
are, therefore, inclined to think, as presently advised, that by necessary
implication the power of the civil court to take cognizance of the case under
Section 9 of CPC stands excluded, and a civil court has no jurisdiction to go
into the question of the validity or legality of the notification under Section
4 and declaration under Section 6, except by the High Court in a proceeding
under Article 226 of the Constitution. So, the civil suit itself was not
maintainable." Same view was taken in Laxmi Chand vs. Gram Panchayat, Kararia
1996 (7) SCC 218 and the relevant portion of paras 2 and 3 of the report is
being reproduced below: - "..............................It is seen that
Section 9 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 gives jurisdiction to the Civil
Court to try all civil suits, unless barred. The cognizance of a suit of civil
nature may either expressly or impliedly be barred. The procedure contemplated
under the Act is a special procedure envisaged to effectuate public purpose,
compulsorily acquiring the land for use of public purpose. The notification
under Section 4 and declaration under Section 6 of the Act are required to be
published in the manner contemplated thereunder. The inference gives
conclusiveness to the public purpose and the extent of the land mentioned
therein. The award should be made under Section 11 as envisaged thereunder. The
dissatisfied claimant is provided with the remedy of reference under Section 18
and a further appeal under Section 54 of the Act. If the Government intends to
withdraw from the acquisition before taking possession of the land, procedure
contemplated under Section 48 requires to be adhered to. If possession is taken
it stands vested under Section 16 in the State with absolute title free from
all encumbrances and the Government has no power to withdraw from acquisition.
would thus be clear that the scheme of the Act is complete in itself and
thereby the jurisdiction of the Civil Court to take cognizance of the cases arising under the Act, by
necessary implication, stood barred. The Civil Court thereby is devoid of jurisdiction to give declaration on
the invalidity of the procedure contemplated under the Act. The only right an
aggrieved person has is to approach the Constitutional Courts, viz., the High
Court and the Supreme Court under their plenary power under Articles 226 and
136 respectively with self-imposed restriction on their exercise of
thereof, there is no power to the Civil Court."
may be pointed out that the trial court dismissed the suit relying upon the
decision of this Court in Laxmi Chand vs. Gram Panchayat, Kararia (supra). The
High Court distinguished the aforesaid decision by observing as under: -
"The ratio would be applicable when only the person aggrieved is covered
by the notification directly or as nominee. However, when a person is not
covered by the notification and without reference to him any notification
issued would not be binding and in a such situation it would not prevent the
aggrieved person from approaching the civil court. It is a salutary principle
that the decree rendered in a civil proceedings binds the parties to the
proceedings and the persons claiming through them. This principle would equally
apply to the proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act."
our opinion the view taken by the High Court is wholly erroneous. It is not the
case of the plaintiffs that the plaint scheduled property is not covered by the
notification issued under Section 17 of the Act. As a matter of fact, there is
no dispute that the land regarding which the suits have been filed is covered
by the notification. The main ground on which the suits have been filed is that
the notice as required by sub-section (5) of Section 17 of the Act was not
served upon the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are claiming title to the property
and are seeking the relief of possession on the ground that the notification
has been rendered invalid on account of non service of notice upon them under
sub-section (5) of Section 17 of the Act. The plaintiffs are clearly assailing
the validity of the acquisition proceedings. It is not their case that the
plaint scheduled property is outside the purview of the land regarding which
the notification under Section 17 had been issued. The ground for assailing the
notification, namely, that notice under sub-section (5) of Section 17 of the
Act was not served upon the plaintiffs and its effect could only be examined in
a writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution before the High
Court and not by the civil court. The judgments and decrees passed by the High
Court are, therefore, clearly illegal and have to be set aside.
the result the appeals succeed and are hereby allowed. The judgments and
decrees passed by the High Court, which are subject- matter of challenge in the
present appeals, are set aside and the decrees passed by the trial court on
29.3.2001 dismissing the suits are affirmed. No order as to costs.