Jayabheri Properties Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh &
Ors.  INSC 251 (5 April 2010)
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 52
OF 2008 M/s. Jayabheri Properties Pvt.
& Ors. .. Appellants State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. .. Respondents WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.74 OF 2008 AND 215 OF 2008
Civil Appeal No.52 of 2008 arising out of SLP(C)No.19592 of 2007
filed by M/s. Jayabheri Properties Pvt. Ltd. and others, was taken up for 2
hearing and final disposal along with Civil Appeal Nos.74 and 215 of 2008
arising out of SLP(C)No. 19633/07 and SLP(C)D.No.29751/07 respectively.
the three appeals arise out of the same set of facts and give rise to the same
set of issues, they have been taken up together for hearing and final disposal.
Two writ petitions being Writ Petition Nos.22809 and 22810 of
2006, were filed by the appellants herein, whereas Writ Petition No.26996 of
2006 was filed by T. Chittaiah and three others against the State of Andhra
Pradesh and, in particular, against the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority
(hereinafter referred to as the `HUDA').
writ petitions relate to the challenge thrown to the acquisition of land comprised
in Survey Nos.176, 189, 190, 191, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201 and 202 of Narsingi
Village and Survey Nos.292, 293 and 294 of Poppalguda Village of Rajendranagar
3 Mandal, Ranga Reddy District for the Outer Ring Road (ORR) Project for the
twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
The said project was for the purpose of providing an Inner and
Intermediate Ring Road and an Outer Ring Road as part of the main circulation
system for traffic. In 1984, HUDA undertook a detailed study for the
development of the Intermediate Ring Road, but there was little or no progress
in view of the growth of the city and advent of the Information Technology
industry and various other educational and industrial projects.
the Government of Andhra Pradesh initiated a project known as the "ORR
Project" and HUDA engaged M/s. MECON for feasibility study.
The report submitted by M/s. MECON contemplated the laying of a
109 km. 4-lane connectivity around the city. In July, 2004, the project was re-
examined and on the recommendations made by senior 4 officers of the Government
and HUDA, the project was revised so that ORR could pass through open areas
avoiding major settlements and habitations.
revised project was notified vide G.O.Ms.No.442 dated 19th October, 2004. The
ORR alignment was finalised in April, 2005, providing for a 159 km.
around the twin cities and Ranga Reddy District.
The final alignment comprised of Western, Northern, Eastern and
notifications dated 13th April, 2005 and 21st April, 2005, were issued under
Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for acquisition of various
lands in different sectors. Since the alignment of the Western Sector was
through Poppalguda and other villages which comprised hillocks, tanks and
lakes, representations were made for change of the said alignment which led to
the inspection of the same by officers of the 5 technical wing of the ORR
Project. It was found that the alignment involving huge rock-cutting, would be
highly uneconomical. The proposed Trumpet Interchange at the T-Junction point
which was incorporated at Poppalguda Junction, was found to be affecting a
water body and school building.
an alternative alignment was considered by a Committee comprising senior
officials of the Government and HUDA which inspected the alternative alignments
and made certain observations. Among the observations which affected the
parties to the present proceedings, was observation (e), which, on the basis of
a quick survey, inter alia, provided as follows :
alignment should not affect any water body, as it was environmentally sensitive
The alignment should involve minimal rock cutting and filling, as the terrain
alignment should involve minimal bends and curves keeping the design standards
of the Outer Ring Road in mind.
On the basis of the aforesaid suggestions, the matter was assigned
to NSS Associates, which submitted its report on 15th November, 2005, with the
recommendation that the notified Western Alignment joining Phase I at
Poppalguda Village was not advisable and an alignment passing through Narsingi
village should be worked out to lessen the expenses for cutting through rock
forming part of the proposed alignment. After considering the report submitted
by NSS Associates, the Alignment Committee, once again studied the entire
matter and recommended that the alignment suggested by NSS 7 Associates be
accepted. One of the observations made by the Alignment Committee with regard
to the Western Sector alignment, as suggested by NSS Associates, is that the
new alignment avoids all water bodies in the area, which was an environmentally
sensitive area with a need to protect all water bodies. Upon approval of the
State Government of the Report of the Alignment Committee, a G.O.M. No.8 dated
12.12.2005 was issued, whereby the Project Director and the Special Collector,
Land Acquisition, Outer Ring Road Project, were permitted to notify the final
alignment of the ORR.
Subsequent thereto, on 13th December, 2005, a notification was
issued under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act for the purpose of
acquiring the land belonging to the appellants situated at Narsingi Village.
Another notice of even date was also issued seeking to acquire the lands
belonging 8 to the appellants situated at Poppalguda Village.
January, 2006, objections were filed by the appellants under Section 5-A of the
Land Acquisition Act, inter alia, contending as follows:
is a water body in the impugned alignment in Survey No.291 of Poppalguda
change of alignment is illegal, since the earlier alignment was straight in
shape and the impugned alignment is taking several twists and turns.
earlier alignment was finalized upon scientific survey and consequently
notifications were earlier issued on 21-4-2005, which was a straight alignment.
impugned alignment was finalized without any proper survey and verification.
Reference was also made to a Land Use Certificate issued by HUDA on 16th
January, 2006, indicating that as per the approved Zonal Development Plan,
there was a notified water body in the land comprising Survey No.291 of
objections filed under Section 5-A were fixed for consideration on 17th July,
2006, before the Special Deputy Collector and on 21st July, 2006, the same were
rejected and on 29th July, 2006, a Draft Declaration was published under
Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
In the meantime, on the complaints made on behalf of the
appellants, a CBI inquiry was directed by the Central Government in respect of
5 projects undertaken by the Government, including the ORR Project and the HUDA
Township at Kokapet.
After considering the objections filed on behalf of some of the
land owners, a draft 10 declaration dated 29.7.2006 was issued under Section 6
of the aforesaid Act and the same was published in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette
Extra- ordinary of the same date. By virtue of the said draft declaration under
Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, the Government of Andhra Pradesh
declared that the land specified in the schedule to the draft declaration
situated at Narsingi village of Rajendranagar Mandal, Ranga Reddy District,
measuring 23 acres and 23 guntas was needed for a public purpose, namely, for
formation of the Outer Ring Road. The same was challenged by the Appellants
herein by way of a Writ Petition on 24th October, 2006, on several grounds. One
of the grounds taken was that the earlier notifications under Sections 4 and 6
of the Land Acquisition Act had been issued keeping in view the scientific
alignment of the road and suitability of the land proposed to be acquired and
more importantly that the proposed acquisition did not cover the land of 11
Narsingi village. Perhaps, the most important ground was that the land covered
by Survey No.291 was shown to be a water body and Survey No.292 was a green
belt touching a water body.
It was also urged on behalf of the Appellants that the alignment
of the road had been altered with mala fide intent to benefit certain people
belonging to the ruling party in power. It was also claimed that the revised
alignment would convert the straight road into a serpentine road with the sole
object of ensuring that the Outer Ring Road passed in a manner which boosted
the value of the land held by ruling party leaders, their well- wishers and
kith and kin.
Appearing for the appellants, Mr. Bhaskar Gupta, learned Senior
Advocate, submitted that although one of the reasons given for alteration of
the alignment was that water bodies on the said alignment would be disturbed,
in fact, the 12 alternative alignment would affect a larger number of existing
water bodies and destroy particularly Survey Nos.291, 298, 299 and 300. It was
urged that the objections filed by the appellants under Section 5-A of the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894, which gives a very valuable right to the appellants and
had been given almost the same status as a fundamental right by this Court, had
been dealt with perfunctorily revealing non-application of mind as the
above-mentioned survey numbers had, in fact, been identified by the local
authorities, including HUDA, to be water bodies. Mr. Gupta pointed out from the
Land Use Information given by HUDA on 16th January, 2006, that Survey No.291
was a water body, Survey No.292 was used for wet and dry agriculture and was
touching a water body and Survey Nos.293 and 294 were also used for wet and dry
He contended that apart from the above, even in GOM No.647 dated
3rd October, 2001, prescribing registration of water bodies, Survey No.291
under the entries relating to Poppalguda Village was shown to be
"Kunta", meaning a tank.
Mr. Gupta submitted that in a letter dated 23rd December, 2006,
the Executive Engineer, Irrigation Department, informed the appellants herein
regarding the existence of water bodies in Survey Nos.291, 298, 299 and 300 of
submitted that the concerned Executive Engineer was suspended from service for
giving a true picture of the terrain to the appellants. It was submitted that
the report of the Central Water Commission dated 27th November, 2007, which had
been submitted to this Court after inspection of Survey Nos.291, 298, 299 and
300 on 24th November, 2007, did not give a correct picture of the plots in
question, since the inspection was conducted during 14 the month of November
which is a dry season in the area when most of the tanks and water bodies tend
to dry up. Mr. Gupta submitted that although a great deal of reliance has been
placed by the respondents on a letter written by another Executive Engineer
also dated 23rd December, 2006, saying that there were no water bodies at all,
such a statement had to be incorrect in view of the report of the Central Water
Commission which also indicated that there were water bodies, of which some
were dry. Mr. Gupta submitted that, in any event, water bodies were required to
be preserved and could not be converted to other use, even if it was for the
In support of his aforesaid submissions, Mr. Gupta referred to and
relied upon the decision of this Court in Intellectuals Forum, Tirupathi vs. State
of A.P. & Ors. [(2006) 3 SCC 549], wherein the need for balancing water and
land resources for 15 urban developmental needs was considered and it was
observed that the responsibility of the State to protect the environment is now
a well accepted notion in all countries. Reference was also made to a decision
of this Court in Hinch Lal Tiwari vs.
Devi & Ors. [(2001) 6 SCC 496] and on a decision of the Calcutta High Court
in PUBLIC vs. State of West Bengal [AIR 1993 Cal. 215], wherein similar views
have been expressed. Various other decisions were also cited in this regard,
which will only have a multiplying effect to the views already expressed in the
On the question of the importance of Section 5-A, Mr. Gupta
referred to several decisions of this Court, such as : (i) Munshi Singh &
Ors. vs. Union of India [(1973) 2 SCC 337]; (ii) Union of India & Ors. vs.
Mukesh Hans [(2004) 8 SCC 14];
Hindustan Petroleum Corpn. Ltd. vs. Darius Shapur Chenai & Ors. [(2005) 7
SCC 627]; and (iv) 16 Ram Krishan Mahajan vs. Union Territory of Chandigarh
& Ors. [(2007) 6 SCC 634], wherein the importance of Section 5-A and the
very valuable right given to an individual, whose land is being sought to be
taken away, to raise an objection, has been emphatically demonstrated.
Mr. Gupta submitted that since a very valuable right to object to
the acquisition of land has been given to a person whose land was being sought
to be taken away, it was the statutory duty of the Collector to consider the
suitability of the land, hear objections, if any, filed by any of the persons
affected, and, thereafter, to make his recommendations on the objections so
raised and forward the same to the Government for further action. Instead, the
Collector appeared to be helpless since a decision had already been taken by
the Government even before the publication of the Section 4 notification. The
report of the Collector 17 dated 23rd December, 1996, was nothing but an empty
Mr. Gupta also urged that the High Court, while considering the
two contradictory letters dated 23rd December, 2006, written by two Executive
Engineers, erroneously chose to reject the letter which had been relied upon by
the Appellants merely on the ground that according to the Gazette Notification
Survey No.291 falls in Narsingi Village, although, the letters say that the
same falls in Poppalguda Village. Mr. Gupta submitted that the error committed
by the High Court would be evident from the project description submitted by
M/s NSS Associates along with its communication dated 15th November, 2005.
Mr. Gupta urged that the entire approach of the High Court was
erroneous and failed to take into consideration the facts relating to the
topography 18 of the land involving the changed alignment of the ring road.
Mr. Altaf Ahmed, Senior Advocate, who appeared for the Appellants
in Civil Appeal Nos.74 of 2008 and 215 of 2008, reiterated Mr. Gupta's
submissions relating to denial of a proper opportunity to the Appellants (land
owners) under Section 5-A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Mr. Ahmed
submitted that while the public purpose of the project could not be denied,
what we are called upon to consider is regarding the viability of the land
included in the second alignment since it passed through and affected some of
the water bodies in the area. Mr. Ahmed referred to the report submitted by the
Committee comprised of the Principal Secretary, Infrastructure and Investment
Department (IIT), Managing Director, INCAP and Vice-Chairman, Hyderabad Urban
Development Authority (HUDA) and other officers of HUDA, the Chief Engineer and
19 Special Collector, ORR, wherein in paragraph (e) the Committee was of the
view that the data available was insufficient and a quick survey should be
made, inter alia, to ascertain that the alignment did not affect any water body
since the area was an environmentally sensitive zone.
Reference was also made to the final decision of the Committee
which was based on the recommendations of the Pollution Control Board in which
it was stated that the alignment avoids all water bodies in the area, which
statement was incorrect. Having regard to the admission subsequently made by
HUDA in the Land Use Certificate issued on 16.1.2006 indicating that plot
No.300, which falls squarely on the new alignment, was a water body together
with plot No.291.
Mr. Ahmed urged that based on an incorrect appreciation of the
topography relating to the 20 second alignment, a decision had been taken to
act on the basis of the new alignment, which, in fact, could not have been
proceeded with for the same reason as was given for abandoning the first
alignment. Mr. Ahmed repeated Mr. Gupta's submission regarding the two
certificates dated 12th August, 2009, which showed the existence of water
bodies in plot Nos.298, 299 and 300. He contended that the creation of the
second alignment was made only to suit certain individuals who had an interest
in the lands which fell within the first alignment.
Mr. Ahmed submitted that the decision taken to approve the second
alignment was motivated and was contrary to the stand taken while disapproving
the first alignment.
Appearing for the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA),
Mr. K.K. Venugopal, Senior Advocate, referred to the report of the Alignment 21
Committee, on which strong reliance was placed by him. Mr. Venugopal submitted
that only after examining the reports submitted by M/s NSS Associates and M/s.
Aarvee Associates that the Alignment Committee set up by the Government
recommended change in the alignment of the Outer Ring Road in the Poppalguda
and Narsingi villages in the Western Sector. Mr. Venugopal submitted that
proper care had been taken to avoid all major structures, water bodies and
habitations. Learned counsel submitted that the change from the first alignment
to the second alignment was necessitated by the fact that a large portion of
the alignment was comprised of hilly terrain which would involve a considerable
amount of rock cutting and that in order to avoid the said hillocks at
Poppalguda the second alignment was proposed through Narsingi village.
Mr. Venugopal submitted that a major portion of the construction
work in respect of the Western Sector of the Outer Ring Road had been completed
and only the portion comprising about a two- kilometer stretch, which is the
subject matter of the present appeals, was yet to be completed.
In this connection, Mr. Venugopal also referred to the report of
the visit of the Expert Central Team of the Central Water Commission for an on
the spot study and to verify as to whether Survey Nos.291, 298, 299 and 300 of
Poppalguda Village were, in fact, water bodies. The report of the Central Water
Commission indicated that none of the three survey numbers, apart from Survey
No.300, disclosed the existence of a water body. On the other hand, it was
categorically indicated that there was no water body existing as on the date of
inspection in plot Nos.291, 298 and 299.
Apart from the above, Mr. Venugopal submitted that the possession
of the land had already been taken under Section 16 of the Land Acquisition
Act, 1894, and as indicated hereinbefore, the major portion of the construction
work of the Outer Ring Road had been completed and only the two ends of the
construction work had to be brought together in order to complete the project.
Mr. Venugopal submitted that in respect of projects of national importance, the
balance of convenience and inconvenience of the majority of the citizens would
have to be considered as opposed to private interests. He referred to the
decision of this Court in Delhi Admn. vs. Gurdip Singh Uban [(2000) 7 SCC 296],
wherein it was held that when several plots of land are involved in an
acquisition, the objection of several individual plot owners could not be
entertained even under Section 5-A of the 1894 Act, particularly, because when
several LA Collectors were dealing with different segments of 24 the acquired
lands, it would not be possible for one of such Collectors to take a decision
with regard to the operation of the integrated project.
Mr. Venugopal ended on the note that since the inconvenience that
may be caused to a few individual plot owners could not outweigh the interest
of the public, the appeal filed by M/s Jayabheri Properties Pvt. Ltd. &
others was liable to be dismissed.
Mr. Anoop G. Chaudhari, Senior Advocate, who appeared for the
State of Andhra Pradesh, endorsed the submissions made by Mr. Venugopal and
added that the Appellants could not be considered to be "a person
interested" within the meaning of Section 3(b) of the 1894 Act. He urged
that the Collector had duly applied his mind to the fact situation and the
decision ultimately taken did not merit any interference.
Mr. A.K. Ganguli, Senior Advocate, appeared on behalf of Mr.
Purshottam Reddy, who had made an application for intervention in the
proceedings and submitted that the intervenor who was the Director of the
Centre for Environmental Studies, Osmania University, had challenged the change
of alignment on account of the fact that the integrated hydrological system
which was prevailing in the area would be destroyed if the Western Sector of
the project was allowed to be completed.
We have taken pains to set out the fact situation in some detail
since a decision in this matter depends on the fact situation leading to the
change of alignment of the Western Sector of the Outer Ring Road Project in the
twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh. From the site
plans of the area submitted by the parties, it is clear that both the two
alignments touch and disturb existing water bodies, which was 26 the main
ground for the change of alignment in the first place. From the reports
submitted by the various local authorities, it is, however, clear that in order
to proceed according to the first alignment, the respondents would have to cut
through a great deal of rock, which is not so as far as the second alignment is
concerned. It is no doubt true that in terms of the environmental policies of
the State Government, the Western Sector of the project has been shown to be a
highly ecologically sensitive zone, but we have no choice but to consider the
viability of either of the two alignments for the purpose of the connectivity
of the Outer Ring Road and while doing so we have to balance the aforesaid
factor and also the interest of the private land owners as against the interest
of the public. Apart from the above, we have also to take into consideration the
factors that the major stretch of the Outer Ring Road is said to have been
completed, even in the Western Sector, 27 and only a small stretch involving
the plots of the appellants, is yet to be completed.
There is no doubt that in the facts of this case the public
interest will out-weigh the interest of the individual plot holders. The only
consideration is with regard to the preservation of the water bodies which are
yet untouched, such as, plot No. 300 mentioned in the report of the Central
Water Commission and also in the letter written by the Executive Engineer on
23rd December, 2006. The arguments advanced on behalf of the appellants have
their positive value but looking at the problem holistically, we are of the
view that their objections to the use of the lands for the purpose of the Outer
Ring Road have to give way to the construction of the said road. However, while
constructing the portion of the road affecting the plots in question, maximum
care has to be taken by the concerned authorities to preserve as far as 28
possible the water bodies over which the road is to be constructed.
The submissions advanced on behalf of the appellants alleging that
adequate opportunity had not been given to them under Section 5A of the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894, to voice their objections, is without substance as the
objections filed were duly considered by the Special Deputy Collector and
rejected by his order dated 21st July, 2006.
Although, we are not inclined to interfere with the orders
impugned in the three appeals or to entertain the two writ petitions, we
dispose of the same with a direction to the authorities to take all possible
steps to ensure that the water bodies in the area are not unduly affected and
are preserved to the maximum extent possible during the construction of the
remaining portion of the Outer Ring Road on the Western Sector.
The Interlocutory Applications filed for intervention are also
disposed of by this order.
................................................J. (ALTAMAS KABIR)