Haryana State Handloom & Handicraftu Vs. Jain Shool Society  Insc
539 (29 October 2003)
N. Variava & H. K. Sema S. N. Variava J
Appeal is against a Judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dated 21st March, 2001.
On 29th October, 1976 a Notification under Section 4 read
with Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued. An award came to be
passed on 30th
Possession of the land was taken and the land vested in the Government on 5th June, 1980.
Respondents filed a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act for
enhancement of the compensation. They thereafter also filed an appeal in the
High Court against the Judgment of the Reference Court.
On 2nd February, 1999 the Respondents filed a Writ
Petition challenging the acquisition on the ground that the urgency clause
could not have been invoked. This Writ Petition has been allowed by the
submitted that the order of the High Court was just and equitable. It was
submitted that the Respondents had patiently waited for all these years in
order to see whether the land was put to use for the purpose for which it was
acquired. It was submitted that merely because the Respondents had given, the
State and the acquiring body, time to put the land to use for the purposes for
which it was acquired their right to file the Writ Petition could not be
affected. We see no substance in this submission. If the Respondents were
aggrieved by the fact that the land was not being put to use for the purpose
for which it was acquired, even though the Urgency Clause was invoked, they did
not need to wait for over 22 years to file the Writ Petition. To be also
remembered that the Respondents had filed a Reference under Section 18 as well
as an Appeal to the High Court for enhancement of compensation. This,
therefore, was not a ground which justified the gross delay and latches in
filing the Writ Petition. Mere fact that the land was not put to use for the
purpose it was acquired by itself did not justify the delay and latches.
next submitted that the Respondents did not file the Writ Petition because some
other party had challenged the acquisition and got a stay order from a Court of
law. It was submitted that the Writ Petition was filed only after that litigation
was disposed of. We see no substance in this submission also. That litigation
had nothing to do with the Respondents' or the acquisition of the Respondents'
land. In the Writ Petition, filed by the Respondents, there is not even a word
about those proceedings. The fact of those proceedings only came on record in
the reply filed by the State. The State sought to justify, non use of the land
for the purpose for which it was acquired, on ground of that litigation. Merely
because this fact was mentioned by the State it did be afford Respondents an
excuse to justify delay and latches on their part.
next submitted that even though there were delay and latches on the part of the
Respondents they were justified in filing the Writ Petition as the fraud was
being played by the State and the acquiring body. It was submitted that the
land was sought to be transferred to some other body even though the
acquisition was on behalf of Appellants. It was submitted that the Respondents
filed the Writ Petition as this fraud came to their knowledge. We see no
substance in this contention also. In the Writ Petition there is no ground of
fraud. These are also facts which came to light as a result of the reply filed
by the State in the Writ Petition. It was the State who mentioned that the
Appellants did not have the money to develop the land and that therefore the
land was proposed to be transferred to some other party. This would afford no
ground for entertaining a Writ Petition which was filed 22 years after the Section
4 Notification had been issued.
in the case of Northern Indian Glass Industries vs. Jaswant Singh reported in
(2003) 2 SCC 335, this Court considered the question whether a Writ Petition
filed after 17 years of issue of a notification under Section 4 could be
entertained. This Court has held that such a Writ Petition must not be
entertained. It is held that the Writ Petition must be dismissed on the grounds
of delay and latches itself. It is held that mere non payment of enhanced
compensation or the fact that the land had not been put to use for the purpose
of which it was acquired would be no ground for justifying delay and latches.
in full agreement with the view expressed therein.
this case, there is absolutely no explanation for the delay and latches of over
22 years, particularly when the Respondents had applied for enhancement of
only ground given by the High court in justifying delay is as follows:
Gupta contends that the petition is belated. We are unable to accept the
contention. The respondent is trying to take advantage of its own wrong. The
petitioner had waited patiently to see if the respondent would utilize the
land. When it found that nothing was being done, the petitioner has approached
this Court. The petitioner cannot be accused of any delay so as to disentitle
it to the relief. The delay, if any, shows the bonafides of the
petitioner." In our view, this reasoning is entirely unsustainable and
Respondents did not need to wait 22 years to see that nothing was being done to
utilize the land. The High Court was entirely in error in stating that the
Respondents could not be accused of any delay and that the delay in fact showed
the bonafides of the Respondents. Further, the High Court seems to have
overlooked the fact that the Respondents had applied for enhancement of
compensation and had filed a Writ Petition only after those proceedings were
view, the Judgment of the High Court is unsustainable and is accordingly set aside.
The Writ Petition filed by the Respondents stands dismissed.
the Appeal is allowed. The Respondents shall pay to the Appellants costs fixed
at Rs. 5,000/-.