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State of Haryana & Ors Vs. Dewan Singh & Ors [1995] INSC 635 (6 November 1995)

Ramaswamy, K. Ramaswamy, K. Kirpal B.N. (J)

CITATION: 1996 AIR 675 1996 SCC (7) 394 JT 1995 (8) 348 1995 SCALE (6)480




Leave granted.

The notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 [for short, "the Act"] was furnished on January 22, 1981. Notices were given under Section 9 of the Act. The Collector after conducting an enquiry made an award on April 19, 1984 and allegedly took possession of the land on the even date. The respondents assert that they are in possession. The respondents filed the writ petition on May 13, 1985 challenging the notification under Section 4 [1] of the Act on the ground that dispensing with an enquiry under Section 5-A exercising power under Section 17 [4] of the Act was bad in law as there was no urgency and the award was, on the face of the case, valid in law. The High Court by order dated May 27, 1985 allowed the writ petition following Dharam Singh vs. State of Haryana [C.W.P. No. 2891 of 1984 decided on 9th November, 1984]. Thus this appeal by special leave.

It is contended by the appellant that after the award had been made, the respondents received compensation and also sought reference under Section 18. The Land Acquisition Officer was competent to make the award within two years under Section 11-A of the Act after the Amendment Act 68 of 1984. The award came to be made within that period. So the proceedings under Section 4 and 6 shall not stand lapsed by operation of Section 11-A of the Act.

It is contended for the respondents that enquiry under Setion 5-A is a valuable right and a minimum right by which the owner is entitled to show that the land is not fit to be used for public purpose. It would be open to show that some other land would be more suitable for public purpose, viz., land for market committee. Exercising the power under Section 17 [4] dispensing with the enquiry conducted under Section 5-A is clearly illegal. Though there was delay on the part of the respondents in challenging the notification, delay does not mitigate to take away the valuable right of approaching the High Court. The order of the High Court in Dharam Singh's case [supra] was not challenged. It is open to the appellants to canvass the correctness of the award on that premise, though the award had become final.

The question for consideration is whether the High Court was justified in interfering with the award dated April 19,1984 made by the Collector and the notification under Section 4 [1]. It is seen that the notification under Section 4 [1] and the declaration were not challenged till May 13, 1985 while the award came to be made on April 13, 1984. The respondents in fact received the amount under protest but that fact was not brought to the notice of the High Court. It is also not in dispute that at that point of time an application for reference under Section 18 was made within the limitation provided therein. It would appear that after the writ petition was allowed the appliation was withdrawn. After the award was made, the Court would not be justified to quash the notifcation under Section 4 [1] and declaration under Section 6 for dispending with the enquiry under Setion 5-A.

In these circumstances, we think that the appropriate course would be to sustain the notification under Section 4 [1] and the declaration under Section 6 and the award made under Section 11. It would be open to the respondents to make an application under Section 18 within 30 days from to- day to the Collector for reference to Civil Court for determining the compensation.

The appeal is accordingly allowed and the judgment of the High Court under appeal is set aside. However, in the circumstances, there will be no order as to costs.



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