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S. Gurdial Singh & Ors Vs. Ludhiana Improvement Trust [1997] INSC 372 (2 April 1997)





Hon'ble Mr. Justice K. Ramaswamy Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.P. Wadhwa Manoj Swarup,Vikas Vashisht,Advs. for Ms. MinakshiVij, Adv. for the appellants Rohit Aggarwal, Adv. for R.S. Suri, Adv. for the Respondent O R D E R The following order of thecourt was delivered:

This appeal by special leave, arises fromthe judgment of the DivisionBench of the High Courtof Punjab & Haryana, Chandigarh, made on November 26, 1985 in CWPNo. 2575/85, dismissing the writ petition inlimine.

The admitted position is that therespondent Trust had published on September4, 1975 two notification under section36 and48 of the punjab Town Improvement Act,1922 ( for short, the "Act' ), which are equivalent to the notifications under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short, the "Central Act), respectively on 20.10.1972 and19.9.1975, acquiring atotal extent of 0.3 acres of land with boundaries, statedin the scheme framed under Section 24 readwith Section 28 (2)of the Act including the statement made therein with a general map of the locality comprisedin the declaration under Section 41(1) of the Act which is equivalentto Section 6 of the CentralAct. An enquiry under Section 11 of the Central Act was conducted and theaward was made on January 19, 1977.

Thereafter, theappellants sought a reference.Accordingly, reference under section 18 came to be made to the civil court .In 1985, the appellants filed writ petition in the High court challenging the notification issued and the declaration under Section 41 on the ground that the notification and declaration were vague and, therefore, the acquisition was bad in law. The High Court, as stated above, dismissed the writ petition in limine, Hencethis appeal by special leave.

This Court has recently considered the entire case law and held in State of Tamil Nadu vs. L.N. Krishnan [(1996) 1 SCC 250] that the notification cannot be quashed on the ground of vagueness. Therein,notification under Section 4(1) indicatedthat the landswere needed for the housing scheme to meetthe demands made by various sectors of the population under K.K. Nagar Further ExtensionScheme.That scheme was found to be not vague and hence could not be quashedon thegroundthat it was vague. This Court has Yousef [(1991)(4) SCC224] wherein itwas held that unless a detailed scheme is framed under theimproved scheme, the notification under section 4(1) is illegal. Itis seenthat the notification issued in the present case indicates the existence of the map and thedetailed scheme for there inspection of the persons interested in the scheme. It was reiterated in the declaration published under Section6 of the Central Act. A scheme was also annexed to the declaration. Under these circumstances,though the notification has notdisclosed thepublicpurpose, it cannot be said that thescheme itself is vague and is liable to be quashed. That apart, the award was made on January 19, 1977 and the reference under Section 18 also was sought for and was made. Under those circumstances, thewrit petition was filed after an inordinatedelay of 8 years and the appellantsaccepted the award passed by the court and the relief sought for. Accordingly , we donot find any illegality in the ultimate conclusionreached by theHigh Court that it doesthatit does not even warrant interference.

Itis then contended, relying upon the decision of this court in State of U.P. vs. Pista Devi [(1986) 4 SCC 251] that theappellants are entitled to allotment of alternative sites for commercial purpose. Therein, the land was acquired forhousingdevelopment and the persons whose properties were sought to be displaced were directed to be provided housing accommodation under the schemes formed thereunder. The general ratio therein cannot be uniformly and mechanically extended to all the cases unless there is any express scheme framed by appropriate authorities and the scheme isin operation.under these circumstances, we cannot give anyexpressdirection in this behalf. However, when the grievance was made by the appellants, an admission was made inthe counter affidavit filedin the High Court thus:

"The petitionerscould get a plot ofland as localDisplaced Person inlieu of their acquired land according to ruleson the subject." Inview of the above statement, it will be open to the appellants to make anapplication to the respondents and they would consider according to the scheme.

The appeal is accordingly dismissed with the above observation. No costs.


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