Noor Sk. Bhikan Vs. State
of Maharashtra & Ors.
J U D G M E N T
Swatanter Kumar, J.
The present appeal is
directed against the judgment dated 16th August, 2001 passed by the High Court of
Judicature of Bombay Bench at Aurangabad, declining the reliefs prayed for by the
appellant, however, still issuing certain directions. The appellant had approached
the High Court with the averment that his property, i.e. a house at Pimpalwadi,
Taluka Paithan and agricultural land in Survey No. 170 was acquired for Jaikwadi
Project and he thus became a project affected person.
The concerned authorities
had issued a certificate dated 3rd August, 1982 to him in this regard. After issuance
of the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, a declaration
under Section 6 of the Act was published on 16th January, 1975 and the award
was made on 16th July, 1979. Pursuant to the certificate issued in favour of
the appellant, he was allotted 1.61 hectares of land from two different survey nos.,
namely, 78/2 (81 are) and 182/2 (81 are) as per the order dated 23rd August, 1982.
Possession of this land was handed over to him.
deposited the occupancy price and even the mutation was effected in his name. However,
in the meanwhile, the respondent no.5, namely Sow. Shantabai Ramesh Savele
filed a regular suit in the Civil Court for a declaration in relation to the land
in question. This suit was dismissed by the trial court and so was the appeal against
the said judgment and decree dated 25th October, 1985. During the pendency of
the appeal before the High Court, the said respondent filed another suit in the
Court at Ambad with an application for injunction, which was also dismissed.
While approaching the
Collector, the landlady namely, Sow. Shantabai Ramesh Savele respondent no.5
submitted an application pointing out that the land which was handed over to the
appellant herein on 25th August, 1982 was in fact survey no. 78/1 and not from
survey no.78/2. That land was not even the subject matter of the acquisition which
culminated into the Award dated 16th July, 1979. The Collector, therefore,
directed an enquiry and based on the said enquiry report, passed an order dated
28th February, 1986 directing the Tehsildar, Ambad to take suitable action so
as to put the original owner in possession of the subject agricultural land. The
Tehsildar issued a notice for handing over the possession and for taking
proceedings in furtherance thereto.
The Collector subsequently
verified the representation made by the landlady and found that while handing
over possession of 81 ares of land purportedly out of survey no. 78/2, the
Circle Inspector had committed an error in marking the boundaries and possession
of wrong agricultural land was handed over to the appellant on 23rd August,
1982. The Collector being satisfied about the mistake committed by the Circle Inspector,
by his order dated 28th September, 1987 ordered that the area allotted to the
appellant as per the original order dated 23rd August, 1982 needed a change.
The Tehsildar, in furtherance
thereto, issued an order to the Circle Inspector on 5th October, 1987 to take corrective
steps. The appellant herein approached the High Court challenging the notices and
he averred that remained in possession of the land and even an interim order
was passed in his favour in the said petition. Before the High Court, the stand
of the respondents was that at the time of handing over the possession to the
appellant, a mistake was committed by the Circle Inspector and he did not mark
the boundaries properly which called for the corrective proceedings and this mistake
was pointed out by the Collector on 6th February, 1986 on an application by
However, the appellant
in the rejoinder maintained his averments and the High Court while rejecting
the contentions raised on behalf of the appellant also rejected the arguments in
equity that the appellant had acted as per the allotment order and he has been
put in possession of the land in question by the Revenue authorities and now his
position could not be altered and he could not be deprived of the agricultural
land on which he has invested a good amount of funds for developing the same. Finally,
the Court noticed that the appellant was put into possession of the land and he
had enjoyed the fruits thereof.
Thus, the plea of investment
would not enhance the value of the submissions made on behalf of the appellant
inasmuch as he could not continue to claim possession of the land which was not
the subject matter of the acquisition itself. The claim of the appellant had not
been accepted by the Court but still it gave alternative relief to the appellant.
It will be appropriate for us to refer to the relevant paragraphs of the judgment
finally disposing of the writ petition:
"In the result,
the Writ Petition is dismissed. Interim order is vacated. We direct the respondents
Nos. 1 to 4 to take appropriate steps to allot the alternative land in Survey
No. 23/1 of village mahakala in Ambad taluka to the petitioner. However, before
the petitioner is put in possession of the alternative land, he shall hand over
vacant and peaceful possession of the subject land, except the land on which Madarsa/Mosque
is located. The respondent No.5 has agreed before us that she shall not in any manner
cause any disturbance to the Madarsa/Mosque and this undertaking would be binding
on her successors as well.
We clarify that the allotment
order and possession of the alternative land would be done first in favour of the
petitioner and he shall submit of two weeks from today, to the effect that he
shall hand over the possession of the subject land i.e. land in Survey Nos.
78/1 to the respondent no.5 as soon as the standing sugar cane crop is harvested
or in any case before 31.12,2001 whichever is earlier. In view of the fact that
the respondent No.5 has received compensation almost 20 years ago, we do not
find any case to grant any other compensation for the part of the land on which
Madarsa/Mosque is located and the boundaries of this land will be demarcated by
Talathi of Ambad within the period of two weeks from today and in presence of the
petitioner, respondent No.5 and the Member of the Village Panchayat concerned.
At this stage, Sh.
Kadar, learned counsel for the petitioner prayed for compensation for construction
of house and irrigation facilities etc. We are not inclined to consider the
same and it would be appropriate that the State government decides this issue
in keeping with the policy that may be in vogue as at present. We are also
satisfied that this is a fit case where an enquiry is required to be directed.
We accordingly direct
the Collector, Jalna to conduct an enquiry as to how the petitioner came to be allotted
the land which was not subject matter of the acquisition proceedings and fix the
responsibility on the officer/s concerned. Needless to mention, the collector
shall proceed against such officer/s who are found guilty in the enquiry
findings, as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Civil Services (Discipline
and Appeal) Rules. We also clarify that our order will not come in the way of
the collector to enquire into the issue of allotment of excess land to the
petitioner and his family members pursuant to the project affected certificate
dated 3.8.1982 and take appropriate steps as may be permissible in law. Rule discharged
with no orders as to costs."
It appears that during
the pendency of the present appeal, respondent no.5, died on 12th December, 2003.
An application being IA No. 1/2004, was filed for bringing the legal representatives
of the deceased-respondent no.5 on record. IA No. 2/2004 was also filed for
condonation of delay in filing the application for substitution of the legal
representatives of the said deceased-respondent no.5. No reply has been filed till
date and in any case, there is no opposition to these applications before us. Consequently,
both these applications are allowed, subject to just exceptions.
The delay in filing the
application for substitution of the legal representatives is condoned and the representatives
of the deceased-respondent no.5 as stated in paragraph 3 of the application are
permitted to be brought on record. Liberty to file amended memo of parties is
granted. Another application was also filed being IA No. 4/2004 for placing on record
a copy of the judgment passed by the Joint Civil Judge (Senior Division) at Jalna
in RCS No. 332/2001 entitled Rambhau S/o Narayan Rokde v. State of Maharashtra and
Anr. All that has been averred in this application is that the said suit has
been decided by the Court on 16th April, 2002 and has a bearing on the issues
involved in the present matter. Nothing has been averred as to how this
judgment has any bearing on any of the issues involved in the present case as
none of the parties to the present appeal are parties to that suit, except the
It is in no way clear
that the subject matter of that suit is the subject matter of the present
appeal. In any case, the judgment was pronounced on 16th April, 2002 while the
present application appears to have been filed in 2008. No steps were taken to bring
this judgment on record of this Court for all that period. The counsel
appearing for the applicant has not been able to show us the relevancy of that
document to the present case. In fact, even in the application there is no averment
as to the relevancy and necessity of the document to be brought on record by way
of additional evidence in the present case and for it to be read in evidence.
Thus, we do not consider
it appropriate and in the interest of justice to allow this application. Consequently,
the same is dismissed. However, we make it clear that the parties concerned
will be at liberty to take steps against that judgment and decree as may be
permissible to them in accordance with law. Reverting back to the merits of the
present case, the High Court did not accept the contentions raised on behalf of
the appellant in regard to the reduction of the land in question. However, the Court
granted relief to the appellant in relation to an alternative site.
There is hardly any
scope for this Court to interfere with the findings recorded by the High Court.
While referring to the proposals which were made by the respondents during the
pendency of the case, the High Court had concluded that the offer did not vest the
appellant with any indefeasible right to enforce those options. The offers were
made so as to find out what would be the best applicable to the facts and
circumstances of the case and it could not be construed that they were absolute
The right of the
appellant was to seek agricultural land under the provisions of the Re-Settlement
Act, 1965 and in so far as that right was protected, the appellant could not ask
for a particular land. Some distance between the offered land and the land which
was in dispute has rightly not been considered to be a sufficient ground for requiring
the Court to grant the relief prayed for in its terms. The grant of relief in relation
to the alternate land cannot be faulted with inasmuch as if there was a mistake
committed by the Revenue Authorities which was subsequently corrected, no advantage
can be claimed by the petitioner in that regard, particularly when the mistake
was in relation to a root controversy.
The land which was
not subject matter of the acquisition could not be treated as the land having
been offered to the appellant validly and in accordance with law. The High Court
has passed multifold directions in relation to granting of alternate land and conducting
of an enquiry by the competent authority as well. Thus, the directions
sufficiently take care of the interest of the appellant. The judgment of the High
Court is well-reasoned and even grants the appropriate relief to the appellant.
In fact, we fail to
understand the necessity for the appellant to file the present appeal. The operative
part of the judgment, which we have afore-reproduced, not only gives appropriate
relief to the appellant but also takes care of the correction of errors and
enquiry into the relevant issues by the concerned authorities. As far as the
claim of compensation placed by the appellant is concerned, again it has been
left for the Government to decide as per its policy. One fact which cannot be
lost sight of by this Court is that for all this period, the appellant has been
reaping benefits from the land to the exclusion of others.
In view of the fact
that none of the counsel appearing for the parties could confirm whether the
directions issued by the Court have been implemented in their entirety or not, and
if so, what is the stage of such implementation. In these circumstances, while dismissing
the present appeal as being without any merit, we issue specific directions to the
respondents and all authorities concerned that the action in furtherance to the
directions issued by the High Court, if not already completed, should be completed
as expeditiously as possible and the compliance thereto reported to the High
Court without any further delay. The appeal is dismissed, however, without any order
as to costs.
[Dr. B.S. Chauhan]