and Anr Vs. State Of Maharashtra & Ors  Insc 274 (13 March 2007)
S. B. Sinha & Markandey Katju
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.16991 of 2005) MARKANDEY
This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment of the Bombay High
Court (Aurangabad Bench) dated 12.4.2005 in Writ Petition No.455 of 2004.
Heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
The petitioner has prayed for quashing the award dated 4.2.2003 published by
the Special Land Acquisition Officer in respect of Renapur Medium Project at
village Talegaon (Ghat). The High Court had dismissed the writ petition and
hence this appeal.
The short point before us is whether the award was illegal in view of
Section 11A of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as "the
The date of last publication of the notification under Section 4 of the Act
was 18.2.1999 (in Gazette). The last publication of the declaration under
Section 6 of the Act was 28.2.2000 whereas the award was published on 4.2.2003.
According to the learned counsel for the appellant the award ought to have been
published on or before 28.2.2000 which was the date of the last declaration
under Section 6 of the Act. Learned counsel has invited our attention to
Section 11A of the Act which states :
"11A. The collector shall make an award under Section 11 within a
period of two years from the publication of the declaration and if no award is
made within that period, the entire proceedings for the acquisition of the land
In our opinion the submission of learned counsel for the appellant is
clearly correct in view of the clear provision of Section 11A of the Act. In
view of Section 11A an award has to be made within two years from the date of
publication of the declaration under Section 6. Failure to adhere to this time
frame is fatal to the award, as the provision is mandatory.
Learned counsel for the respondent submitted that after the declaration
under Section 6 of the Act dated 28.2.2000 the acquiring body had intimated to
the Land Acquisition Officer vide its communication dated 2.1.2001 proposing
deletion of some of the area which was proposed to be acquired. The original
declaration under Section 6 was regarding acquisition of 155.26 hectares, but
thereafter 107.99 hectares was proposed to be deleted. Hence the final area
which was proposed to be acquired was to the extent of 36.8 hectares.
Accordingly, a corrigendum to that effect was issued on 25.1.2003, and
hence, it is submitted that the award dated 4.1.2003 was well within time. We
do not agree.
In our opinion under Section 11A what has to be seen is the date of last
publication of the declaration under Section 6, and not any subsequent
corrigendum to the said declaration. The only circumstance under which the
period between the declaration under Section 6 and the award can be extended is
mentioned in the explanation to Section 11A which states : "In computing
the period of two years referred to in Section 11A, the period during which any
action or proceeding to be taken in pursuance of the said declaration is stayed
by an order of a Court is excluded."
There is no mention in Section 11A that the period after the publication of
the declaration under Section 6 and the publication of any corrigendum to the
said declaration has also to be excluded. We will be adding words to the
statute if we put such interpretation to Section 11A, and it is well settled
the Court should not add or delete words in a statute.
In view of the above reasons this appeal is allowed. The impugned award is
quashed. The impugned judgment is set aside.
There shall be no order as to costs.
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