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Smt. Ratni Devi & ANR Vs. Chief Commissioner, Delhi & Ors [1975] INSC 112 (30 April 1975)

RAY, A.N. (CJ) RAY, A.N. (CJ) MATHEW, KUTTYIL KURIEN BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH CHANDRACHUD, Y.V.

CITATION: 1975 AIR 1699 1975 SCR 361 1975 SCC (4) 467

CITATOR INFO :

R 1978 SC 515 (3)

ACT:

Land Acquisition Act--Section 4, validity of-Compensation related to s. 4 notification -Vagueness of public purpose.

HEADNOTE:

The Government set up Town Planning Organisation in 1955 which prepared an interim general Plan for Delhi in 1956.

The influx of displaced persons after partition of the country, the growth of slum, the problems of overcrowding, insanitation, traffic hazards, sub-standard construction and lack of proper civic amenities led the Government to take effective measures to ensure orderly and planned development of the city. The Planning is to provide for different classes of people who have to live and work in the city of Delhi. The plan has to provide for bona fide requirements of the public for residential, industrial and commercial purposes and to ensure healthy and properly planned development of Delhi. The Government decided to acquire 34070 acres of land in and around the city. The land was acquired after issuing notification under section 4 and section 6.

The petitioners in the present petition contended, (1) Compensation which is related to date of notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act is bad.

(2) The planned development of Delhi is vague and, therefore, the acquisition is bad.

Dismissing the petition,

HELD : (i) The question about the payment of the compensation as on the date of the section 4 notification has been held to be valid by this Court in the case of Afflation. Them is a provision for payment of interest at the rate of 6 per cent of the market value after the expiry of 3 years from the date of notification under s. 4 to the date of payment of compensation. Again, any outlay or improvement made after the date of & 4 notification with the sanction of the Collector has to be taken into consideration in awarding compensation. 1363 C-E] (ii) This Court has also held that the planned development of Delhi is a public purpose in Aflatoon's case. It was held in that case that in the case of an acquisition of a large area of land comprising several plots belonging to different persons the specification of the purpose can only be with reference to acquisition of the whole area. The notification which was for the acquisition of over 30,000 acres of land in the very nature of things could not specify each particular purpose and, therefore, the planned development of Delhi was of sufficient particularly. [363 G- H]

ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ Petitions Nos. 332 and 333 of 1971.

From the judgment and order dated 13-8-1970 of the High Court of Delhi in L.P.A. Nos. 125 and 126 of 1970.

D. P. Singh, (In W.P. No. 333/71) and C.A. No. 609172), R. K. Garg, S. C. Agarwala and V. J. Francis, for appellants in appeals.

362 S. N. Prasad and R. N. Sachthey, for respondents Nos. 1-3 in W.Ps. and respondents in appeals.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by RAY, C.J.-There are two principal questions in these writ petitions and civil appeals. First, is compensation which is related to the date of notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act referred to as the Act bad ? Second, is planned development of Delhi bad and vague ? This Court in Afloatoon & Ors. v. Lt. Governor of Delhi & Ors. A.I.R. 1974 S.C. 2077 held that the notification dated 13 November, 1959 under section 4 of the Act which is also being challenged in these writ petitions and appeals is beyond challenge now.

Piecemeal acquisition which was held to be bad in State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. v. Vishnu Prasad Sharma & Ors. (1966) 3 S.C.R. 557 was validated by the Land Acquisition Amendment and Validation Act with retrospective effect. The validity of the Amending Act has been upheld by this Court in Udai Ram Sharma & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. (1968) 3 S.C.R.

41 and reaffirmed in Aflatoon's case(supra).

The contention that piecemeal acquisition under Notification dated 13 November, 1959 under section 4 of the Act is bad is really a challenge to the adequacy of compensation under section 23 of the Act. The Act is protected under Article 31(5) of the Constitution. Where acquisition is for public purpose reasonableness is presumed for such public purpose.

The challenge under Article 19 of the Constitution which, according to the petitioners and the appellants, is directed as a result of the Bank Nationalisation case (1970) 3 S.C.R.

530, can be restricted to procedural reasonableness.

The Government set up the Town Planning Organisation in 1955 which prepared an interim general plan in 1956 for Delhi.

The influx of displaced persons after the partition of the country, the growth of slums, the problems of overcrowding, insanitation, traffic hazards, sub-standard construction and lack of proper civic amenities led the Government to take effective measures to ensure the orderly and planned development of the city. This planning is to provide for different classes of people who have to live and work in the city of Delhi.

The plan has to provide for bona fide requirements of the public for residential, industrial and commercial purposes, and to ensure healthy and properly planned development of Delhi, on the basis of the studies made by the Town Planning experts. The Government decided to acquire 34070 acres of land in and around the city, develop and then lease out the same on a non-profit non-loss basis. With this public purpose the Government issued a notification on 13 November, 1959 under section 4 of the Act.

363 The Draft Master Plan giving the detailed rules and regulations in respect of the "land use" and allied matters, was published in July, 1960. In order to meet the requirements of the plan, the Government issued another notification for a further acquisition of about 16000 acres in October, 1961.

On 22 October, 1960 the Government of India issued a notification under section 6 of the Act. The declaration was that specified land was required to be taken at public expense for a public purpose, viz., the Planned Development of Delhi.

The main contention of the petitioners and the appellants is that compensation which is to be paid with reference to the value of the property on the date of the notification is an unreasonable restriction to hold and dispose of property.

It was submitted that compensation should be paid with reference to the value of the property on the date possession of the property was taken. This question has been answered in the judgment in Aflatoon's case (supra).

Mathew, J. speaking for the Court said that Article 31(5) precludes such a challenge. Further, section 4(3) of the Land Acquisition Amendment and Validation Act. 1957 provided for payment of interest at 6 per cent of the market value after the expiry of three years from the date of the notification under section 4 to the date of payment of compensation. Again, section 24 of the Act provides that any outlay or improvement on, or disposal of, the land acquired, commenced, made or affected without the sanction of the Collector after the date of the publication of the notification shall not be taken into consideration by the Court in awarding compensation. Therefore, any outlay or improvement made with the sanction of the Collector after the date of the notification will be taken into consideration in awarding compensation.

In the Bank Nationalisation case (supra) the acquisition of property was required to pass the test of Article 19(5) on the question of procedural reasonableness. If for instance a Tribunal is authorised to determine compensation without hearing the owner it would be exposed to vice. Section 23 of the Act does not deal with procedure, and, therefore, is not exposed to any challenge on the ('round of procedural unreasonableness.

Declarations under section 6 of the Act pursuant to the notification under section 4 of the Act have been held by this Court to be valid for acquiring the notified land for the planned development of Delhi. In Aflatoon's case (supra). this Court held that the planned development of Delhi is a public purpose. In Aflatoon's case (supra) it was held that in the case of an acquisition of a large area of land comprising several plots belonging to different persons, the specification of the purpose can only be with reference to the acquisition of the whole area. The notification which was for the acquisition of over 30,000 acres of land in the very nature of things could not specify each particular purpose, and, therefore, the planned deve- lopment of Delhi was of sufficient particularity.

364 In Aflatoon's case (supra) public purpose with regard to the planned development of Delhi has been upheld. In Aflatoon's case (supra) the petitions which were filed in the year 1972 were held to be dilatory. The reason is that a valid notification under section 4 is a sine qua non for initiation of proceedings for acquisition of property. In the present case, section 4 notification in the year 1959 was followed by notification under section 6 of the Act in July, 1960 and again in October, 1961. In Aflatoon's case (supra) it was said that "to have sat on the fence and allowed the Government to complete the acquisition proceedings on the basis that the notification under section 4 and the declaration under section 6 were valid and then to attack the notification on grounds which were available to them at the time when the notification was published would be putting a premium on dilatory tactics." For these reasons, the petitions and the appeals are dismissed Parties will pay and bear their own costs.

P.H.P. Appeals dismissed.

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