Sehrawat Vs. State of Haryana and others
[Civil Appeal Nos.
10080-10081 of 2011]
[Arising out of SLP(C)
Nos. 12042-12043 of 2011]
J U D G M E N T
G.S. SINGHVI, J.
than 16 decades ago, John Stuart Mill wrote: "land differs from other
elements of production, labour and capital in not being susceptible to infinite
increase. Its extent is limited and the extent of the more productive kinds of
it more limited still. It is also evident that the quantity of produce capable of
being raised on any given piece of land is not indefinite. These limited quantities
of land, and limited productiveness of it, are the real limits to the increase
1947, the first Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru said "everything
else can wait, but not agriculture". In its fifth and final report, the National
Commission on Farmers headed by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan observed that prime
farmland must be conserved for agriculture and should not be diverted for non- agricultural
purposes, else it would seriously affect availability of food in the country where
60% population still depends on agriculture and people living below poverty
line are finding it difficult to survive.
these words of wisdom appear to have become irrelevant for the State apparatus which
has used the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short, 'the Act') in last two
decades for massive acquisition of the agricultural land in different parts of the
country, which has not only adversely impacted the farmers, but also generated
huge litigation adjudication consumes substantial time of the Courts. These appeals
filed against orders dated 17.5.2010 and 19.11.2010 of the Division Bench of
the Punjab and Haryana High Court is one of many such cases which the
landowners are compelled to file with the hope that by Court's intervention they
will be able to save their land.
appellant purchased 8 Kanals 4 Marlas land in village Jatheri, District Sonepat
in 1984 and is cultivating the same. He claims to have constructed a boundary
wall and is growing different crops. His land is surrounded by agricultural
fields, factories and residential houses. In the south of his land, there is a
canal and a school.
Notification dated 22.6.2006 issued under Section 4(1) of the Act, the Government
of Haryana proposed the acquisition of 3813 Kanals 17 Marlas (476 Acres 5 Kanals
17 Marlas) land situated at villages Badhmalik, Badkhalsa, Jatheri, Liwan, Pritampura
and Rai, Tehsil and District Sonepat for the development of 3Industrial Sector
The appellant filed objections
under Section 5A(1) and pleaded that his land may not be acquired because the
same was being used for agricultural purposes and was the only source of income
for his family. The other landowners also submitted their respective
Officer-cum-Land Acquisition Collector, Sonepat (for short, 'the Land Acquisition
Collector') is said to have heard the objectors on 29.10.2006 and made recommendations
for the acquisition of some parcels of land and for release of some other parcels
of land specified in Notification dated 22.6.2006.
Thereafter, the State
Government issued declaration under Section 6 (1), which was notified on
20.6.2007 for the acquisition of 216 Acres 7 Kanals and 11 Marlas land. As a
sequel to this, the Land Acquisition Collector passed award dated 28.11.2008.
appellant challenged the acquisition of his land in Writ Petition No.8441 of
2009 on several grounds including the following:
the notification issued under Section 4(1) had not been published as per the
requirement of the statute,
he was not given opportunity of hearing in terms of Section 5A(2),
land of large number of persons had been excluded from acquisition at the stage
of Section 6 declaration but his land was not released and, in this manner, he
had been discriminated,
there was no justification to acquire his land, which was the only source of
livelihood for him and his family,
he was not served with notice in terms of Section 9 (3), and
the declaration issued under Section 6(1) was not published as per the
requirement of Section 6(3).
the written statement filed on behalf of the respondents, it was averred that
the notifications issued under Sections 4(1) and 6(1) were duly published; that
the appellant was given opportunity of personal hearing and that after issue of
declaration under Section 6(1), the Land Acquisition Collector passed the
award. It was further averred that possession of the acquired land had been
taken and delivered to Haryana State Industrial Infrastructure Development
Corporation (HSIIDC) on 28.11.2008.
appellant filed rejoinder affidavit and reiterated that the notifications issued
under Sections 4(1) and 6(1) had not been duly published; that he was not given
opportunity of hearing by the Land Acquisition Collector; that notice had not been
served upon him as per the mandate of Section 9(3). He also pleaded that possession
of land was still with him and the paper possession taken by the respondents
Division Bench of the High Court did not examine the grounds on which the
appellant challenged the acquisition of his land and dismissed the writ
petition by relying upon the judgments of this Court in Municipal Corporation
of Greater Bombay v. Industrial Development and Investment Company (P) Limited
(1996) 11 SCC 501, Star Wire (India) Ltd. v. State of Haryana (1996) 11 SCC
698, C. Padma v. Deputy Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu (1997) 2 SCC
627, Municipal Council, 5Ahmednagar v. Shah Hyder Beig (2000) 2 SCC 48 and
Swaika Properties (P) Ltd. v. State of Rajasthan (2008) 4 SCC 695, wherein it
has been held that once the award is passed and possession taken, the acquired
land will be deemed to have vested in the Government and the High Court cannot
entertain the writ petition filed for quashing the acquisition proceedings.
appellant challenged the order of the High Court in SLP(C) No.26631 of 2010 but
withdrew the same with liberty to seek review of the impugned order. Thereafter,
he filed Review Application No.321 of 2010. He relied upon the judgment of this
Court in NTPC Limited v. Mahesh Dutta (2009) 8 SCC 339 and pleaded that possession
of the acquired land cannot be treated to have been taken because the procedure
laid down in Order XXI Rule 35 of the Code of Civil Procedure had not been
He also pleaded that
paper possession taken by the respondents does not have any sanctity in the eye
of law and physical possession of land was still with him. The Division Bench
rejected the review application by observing that the order dismissing the writ
petition does not suffer from any error apparent. However, the date of filing the
writ petition mentioned in paragraph (1) of order dated 17.5.2010 was corrected
from 27.3.2010 to 27.3.2009.
Neeraj Jain, learned senior counsel for the appellant argued that the view taken
by the High Court on the issue of maintainability of the writ petition is clearly
erroneous and the impugned orders are liable to be set aside because possession
taken by the respondents was only on papers and the same did not result in 6vesting
of land in the State Government.
counsel further argued that the acquisition of the appellant's land is liable to
be quashed because the Land Acquisition Collector had made recommendations
under Section 5A(2) without giving him opportunity of hearing. He submitted that
the official to whom the Land Acquisition Collector had entrusted the task of
serving the notice had not performed his duty and submitted false report
showing delivery of notice to the appellant and his wife.
Shri Jain referred to
the typed and xerox copies of notices dated 2.11.2006 issued to S/Shri Madan
Lal s/o. Shri Jagdish, Ram Singh s/o. Chhote Lal, Jai Bhagwan s/o. of Hoshiar Singh,
Mukhtar Singh s/o. Lakhi Ram, Rajender Singh s/o. Hoshiar Singh, Mohinder Singh
s/o. Swarup Singh, the appellant and his wife Smt. Moorti Devi and pointed out
that while other addressees acknowledged the receipt of notices by putting
their signatures, the notices shown as duly served upon the appellant and his
wife do not contain their signatures acknowledging the receipt thereof.
Learned senior counsel
also invited our attention to Annexure R-3 filed with the counter affidavit of
the respondents to show that the name of the appellant's wife has been shown as
Moorti Devi widow of Raghbir though he is very much alive.
He then pointed out that
the signatures appended against the appellant's name in the list of objectors, who
are said to have appeared before the Land Acquisition Collector on 29.10.2006 are
not that of the appellant and someone had forged the signatures to show his
counsel submitted that notice under Section 9(3) was not served upon the appellant
before passing of award dated 28.11.2008 and physical possession of the
acquired land is still with him.
In support of this
argument, Shri Jain relied upon the entries contained in the copy of Girdawari/Record
of cultivation of village Jatheri, Tehsil and District Sonepat for the years
2001 to 2010, which have been placed on record as Annexure P-20.
Learned senior counsel
emphasized that the High Court failed to notice that the respondents had prepared
false record showing delivery of possession of the acquired land to HSIIDC and
this has caused serious prejudice to the appellant.
In the end, Shri Jain
argued that release of more than 50% of land proposed to be acquired is clearly
indicative of total non-application of mind by the concerned functionaries of
the State and the entire exercise undertaken by them for the acquisition of
land is liable to be nullified on the ground of violation of the mandate of
Sections 4, 5A, 6 and 9 of the Act and, in any case, there is no justification
for uprooting persons like the appellant, whose livelihood is dependent on small
parcels of land or who have constructed residential houses or have set up small
industrial units by spending lifetime earnings.
counsel for the respondents supported the impugned orders and argued that even though
the appellant may not have been given opportunity of personal hearing by the
Land Acquisition Collector, he cannot question the acquisition proceedings because
possession of the acquired land has already been taken by the competent authority
and handed over to HSIIDC.
Learned counsel submitted
that minor discrepancies in the list containing signatures of the objectors, who
appeared before the Land Acquisition Collector on 29.10.2006, cannot lead to an
inference that the concerned officer had not given opportunity of personal
hearing to the appellant and his wife.
He further submitted that
the Land Acquisition Collector had made recommendations after giving due opportunity
of hearing to the objectors and the declaration under Section 6(1) was issued by
the State Government after duly considering the recommendations of the Land Acquisition
Collector and this is evinced from the fact that various parcels of land on which
residential houses and factories were existing on the date of Section 4(1)
notification were not included in the declaration issued under Section 6(1).
Learned counsel invited
our attention to Part Layout Plan of Sector 38 (Phase II), which has been
placed on record as Annexure R-1 along with affidavit dated 12.8.2011 of Shri
Yogesh Mohan Mehra, Senior Manager (IA), HSIIDC to show that the acquired land
has already been utilised for development of industrial estate and plots have
been allotted to entrepreneurs, who are desirous of setting up industries.
He submitted that HSIIDC
has taken up development of the acquired land at an estimated cost of rupees
fifty eight crores and submitted that the acquisition of the appellant's land
may not be quashed at this stage because 24 meter wide road has already been
constructed through his land.
have considered the respective submissions and carefully scrutinized the record.
the appellant has been non suited by the High Court only on the ground that
possession of the acquired land had been taken by the concerned officers and the
same will be deemed to have vested in the State Government free from all encumbrances,
we think that it will be appropriate to first consider this facet of his
challenge to the impugned orders. In the writ petition filed by him, the appellant
categorically averred that physical possession of the acquired land was with
him and he has been cultivating the same.
This assertion finds support
from the entries contained in Girdawari/Record of cultivation, Book No.1,
village Jatheri, Tehsil and District Sonepat (years 2001 to 2010). A reading of
these entries shows that during those years crops of wheat, paddy and chari
were grown by the appellant and at the relevant time, i.e. the date on which possession
of the acquired land is said to have been taken and delivered to HSIIDC, paddy
crop was standing on 5 Kanals 2 Marlas of land.
The respondents have
not questioned the genuineness and correctness of the entries contained in the Girdawaris.
Therefore, there is no reason to disbelieve or discard the same. That apart, it
is neither the pleaded case of the respondents nor any evidence has been produced
before this Court to show that the appellant had unauthorisedly taken possession
of the acquired land after 28.11.2008.
It is also not the pleaded
case of the respondents that the appellant had been given notice that possession
of the acquired land would be taken on 28.11.2008 and he should remain present at
the site. Therefore, Rojnamcha Vakyati prepared by Sadar Kanungo and three
Patwaris showing delivery of possession to Shri Yogesh Mohan Mehra, Senior Manager
(IA), HSIIDC, Rai, which is a self serving document, cannot be made basis for recording
a finding that possession of the acquired land had been taken by the concerned revenue
The respondents have not
produced any other evidence to show that actual possession of the land, on
which crop was standing, had been taken after giving notice to the appellant or
that he was present at the site when possession of the acquired land was delivered
to the Senior Manager of HSIIDC. Indeed, it is not even the case of the respondents
that any independent witness was present at the time of taking possession of
the acquired land.
The Land Acquisition Collector
and his subordinates may claim credit of having acted swiftly inasmuch as immediately
after pronouncement of the award, possession of the acquired land of village Jatheri
is said to have taken from the landowners and handed over to the officer of
HSIIDC but keeping in view the fact that crop was standing on the land, the exercise
undertaken by the respondents showing delivery of possession cannot but be treated
as farce and inconsequential.
We have no doubt that
if the High Court had summoned the relevant records and scrutinized the same,
it would not have summarily dismissed the writ petition on the premise that possession
of the acquired land had been taken and the same vested in the State
legality of the mode and manner of taking possession of the acquired land has
been considered in a number of cases. In Balwant Narayan Bhagde v. M. D.
Bhagwat (1976) 1 SCC 700, Untwalia, J. referred to provisions of Order 21 Rules
35, 36, 95 and 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure and opined that delivery of
symbolic possession should be construed as delivery of actual possession of the
right, title and interest of the judgment-debtor.
His Lordship further
observed that if the property is land over which there is no building or
structure, then delivery of possession over the judgment-debtor's property
becomes complete and effective against him the moment the delivery is effected
by going upon the land.
The learned Judge
went on to say: "When a public notice is published at a convenient place
or near the land to be taken stating that the Government intends to take
possession of the land, then ordinarily and generally there should be no
question of resisting or impeding the taking of possession. Delivery or giving
of possession by the owner or the occupant of the land is not required.
The Collector can enforce
the surrender of the land to himself under Section 47 of the Act if impeded in
taking possession. On publication of the notice under Section 9(1) claims to
compensation for all interests in the land has to be made; be it the interest
of the owner or of a person entitled to the occupation of the land. On the
taking of possession of the land under Section 16 or 17(1) it vests absolutely in
the Government free from all encumbrances.
It is, therefore,
clear that taking of possession within the meaning of Section 16 or 17(1) means
taking of possession on the spot. It is neither a possession on paper nor a `symbolical'
possession as generally understood in civil law. But the question is what is
the mode of taking possession? The Act is silent on the point. Unless
possession is taken by the written agreement of the party concerned the mode of
taking possession obviously would be for the authority to go upon the land and
to do some act which would indicate that the authority has taken possession of the
It may be in the form
of a declaration by beat of drum or otherwise or by hanging a written declaration
on the spot that the authority has taken possession of the land. The presence of
the owner or the occupant of the land to effectuate the taking of possession is
not necessary. No further notice beyond that under Section 9(1) of the Act is
required. When possession has been taken, the owner or the occupant of the land
is dispossessed. Once possession has been taken the land vests in the Government."
Bhagwati, J. (as he then was) and Gupta, J., who constituted the majority did
not agree with Untwalia, J. and observed as under :
"We think it is
enough to state that when the Government proceeds to take possession of the land
acquired by it under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, it must take actual
possession of the land, since all interests in the land are sought to be
acquired by it. There can be no question of taking `symbolical' possession in the
sense understood by judicial decisions under the Code of Civil Procedure. Nor
would possession merely on paper be enough.
What the Act
contemplates as a necessary condition of vesting of the land in the Government is
the taking of actual possession of the land. How such possession may be taken
would depend on the nature of the land. Such possession would have to be taken
as the nature of the land admits of. There can be no hard-and-fast rule laying
down what act would be sufficient to constitute taking of possession of land.
We should not, therefore,
be taken as laying down an absolute and inviolable rule that merely going on the
spot and making a declaration by beat of drum or otherwise would be sufficient
to constitute taking of possession of land in every case.
But here, in our
opinion, since the land was lying fallow and there was no crop on it at the material
time, the act of the Tahsildar in going on the spot and inspecting the land for
the purpose of determining what part was waste and arable and should,
therefore, be taken possession of and determining its extent, was sufficient to
constitute taking of possession.
It appears that the appellant
was not present when this was done by the Tahsildar, but the presence of the
owner or the occupant of the land is not necessary to effectuate the taking of
possession . It is also not strictly necessary as a matter of legal requirement
that notice should be given to the owner or the occupant of the land that
possession would be taken at a particular time, though it may be desirable where
possible, to give such notice before possession is taken by the authorities, as
that would eliminate the possibility of any fraudulent or collusive transaction
of taking of mere paper possession, without the occupant or the owner ever
coming to know of it."
Banda Development Authority, Banda v. Moti Lal Agarwal and others (2011) 5 SCC
394, the Court referred to the judgments in Balwant Narayan Bhagde v. M. D.
Bhagwat (supra), Balmokand Khatri Educational and Industrial Trust v. State of
Punjab (1996) 4 SCC 212, P. K. Kalburqi v. State of Karnataka (2005) 12 SCC 489,
NTPC Ltd. v. Mahesh Dutta (supra), Sita Ram Bhandar Society v. Govt. of NCT of
Delhi (2009) 10 SCC 501 and culled out the following propositions: "
hard-and-fast rule can be laid down as to what act would constitute taking of
possession of the acquired land.
the acquired land is vacant, the act of the State authority concerned to go to the
spot and prepare a panchnama will ordinarily be treated as sufficient to
constitute taking of possession.
crop is standing on the acquired land or building/structure exists, mere going
on the spot by the authority concerned will, by itself, be not sufficient for taking
possession. Ordinarily, in such cases, the authority concerned will have to
give notice to the occupier of the building/structure or the person who has cultivated
the land and take possession in the presence of independent witnesses and get their
signatures on the panchnama. Of course, refusal of the owner of the land or building/structure
may not lead to an inference that the possession of the acquired land has not
the acquisition is of a large tract of land, it may not be possible for the
acquiring/designated authority to take physical possession of each and every
parcel of the land and it will be sufficient that symbolic possession is taken
by preparing appropriate document in the presence of independent witnesses and
getting their signatures on such document.
beneficiary of the acquisition is an agency/instrumentality of the State and
80% of the total compensation is deposited in terms of Section 17(3-A) and
substantial portion of the acquired land has been utilised in furtherance of
the particular public purpose, then the court may reasonably presume that
possession of the acquired land has been taken."
the appellant's case is examined in the light of the propositions culled out in
Banda Development Authority, Banda v. Moti Lal Agarwal and others, we have no hesitation
to hold that possession of the acquired land had not been taken from the
appellant on 28.11.2008, i.e. the day on which the award was declared by the Land
Acquisition Collector because crops were standing on several parcels of land including
the appellant's land and possession thereof could not have been taken without giving
notice to the landowners. That apart, it was humanly impossible to give notice
to large number of persons on the same day and take actual possession of land
comprised in various survey numbers (total measuring 214 Acres 5 Kanals and 2
view of the above discussion, we hold that the record prepared by the revenue authorities
showing delivery of possession of the acquired land to HSIIDC has no legal sanctity
and the High Court committed serious error by dismissing the writ petition on the
specious ground that possession of the acquired land had been taken and the
same vested in the State Government in terms of Section 16.
judgments on which reliance has been placed in the impugned order are clearly distinguishable.
In Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay v. Industrial Development and Investment
Company (P) Limited (supra), this Court reversed the judgment of the Bombay
High Court which had quashed the acquisition of land under the Land Acquisition
Act, 1894 read with the provisions of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning
Act, 1966. This Court noted that the respondent had approached the High Court
after a gap of four years' and held:
"It is thus
well-settled law that when there is inordinate delay in filing the writ petition
and when all steps taken in the acquisition proceedings have become final, the
Court should be loath to quash the notifications. The High Court has, no doubt,
discretionary powers under Article 226 of the Constitution to quash the notification
under Section 4(1) and declaration under Section 6. But it should be exercised taking
all relevant factors into pragmatic consideration.
When the award was passed
and possession was taken, the Court should not have exercised its power to quash
the award which is a material factor to be taken into consideration before exercising
the power under Article 226. The fact that no third party rights were created in
the case is hardly a ground for interference. The Division Bench of the High
Court was not right in interfering with the discretion exercised by the learned
Single Judge dismissing the writ petition on the ground of laches."
Similar view was expressed
in C. Padma v. Deputy Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu (supra), Star
Wire (India) Ltd. v. State of Haryana (supra), Municipal Council, Ahmednagar v.
Shah Hyder Beig (supra) and Swaika Properties (P) Ltd. v. State of Rajasthan (supra).
In all the cases, challenge to the acquisition proceedings was negatived primarily
on the ground of delay. An additional factor which influenced this Court was that
physical possession of the acquired land had been taken by the concerned authorities.
In none of these cases,
the landowners appear to have questioned the legality of the mode adopted by the
concerned authorities for taking possession of the acquired land. Therefore, these
judgments cannot be relied upon for sustaining the High Court's negation of the
appellant's challenge to the acquisition of his land.
next issue which merits consideration is whether the acquisition of the
appellant's land is vitiated due to violation of Section 5A(2) and the rules of
natural justice. A careful scrutiny of record reveals that the Land Acquisition
Collector had fixed 29.10.2006 as the date for hearing the objections. He issued
notices dated 2.11.2006 to inform the objectors that hearing will take place on
29.11.2006 at 11 a.m. in P.W.D. Rest House, Rai and asked them to appear either
in person or through their agent.
The notices were
delivered to some of the landowners, who acknowledged the receipt thereof. However,
the notices issued to the appellant and his wife were not served upon them. This
is evident from the fact that other objectors had acknowledged the receipt of
notices by putting their signatures, the notices allegedly served upon the
appellant and his wife do not bear their signatures and no explanation has been
offered by the respondents about this omission.
The Land Acquisition Collector
proceeded to decide the objections by assuming that the notice has been delivered
to all the objectors. Not only this, someone in the office of Land Acquisition
Collector forged the appellant's signature to show his presence in P.W.D. Rest House,
Rai on 29.11.2006. A bare comparison of the signatures appearing against the
appellant's name at serial No.90 (page 184 of the paper book) and those appearing
on the vakalatnama and affidavit filed in support of the special leave petitions
shows that there is no similarity in the two signatures.
Not only this, in the
list, appended with Annexure R-3, the appellant's wife has been shown as widow
of Raghbir Singh. It is impossible to believe that a woman who knows how to
sign a document would put signatures against her name showing her as a widow
despite the fact that her husband is alive.
When the Court pointed
out to the learned 16counsel for the respondents that the signatures appearing
against serial No. 90 at page 8 of Annexure R-3 (page 184 of the paper book) do
not tally with the signatures of the appellant on the vakalatnama and the affidavit
filed in support of special leave petitions, the learned counsel expressed his
inability to offer any explanation. He also expressed helplessness in defending
the description of the appellant's wife Smt. Moorti Devi as widow of Raghbir
what we have stated above, it is clear that the appellant had not been given
opportunity of hearing as per the mandate of Section 5A(2). The importance of Section
5A(2) was highlighted by this Court in Munshi Singh v. Union of India (1973) 2
SCC 337 in the following words: "Sub-section (2) of Section 5-A makes it obligatory
on the Collector to give an objector an opportunity of being heard.
After hearing all objections
and making further inquiry he is to make a report to the appropriate Government
containing his recommendation on the objections. The decision of the
appropriate Government on the objections is then final. The declaration under Section
6 has to be made after the appropriate Government is satisfied, on a consideration
of the report, if any, made by the Collector under Section 5-A(2).
The legislature has, therefore,
made complete provisions for the persons interested to file objections against the
proposed acquisition and for the disposal of their objections. It is only in cases
of urgency that special powers have been conferred on the appropriate
Government to dispense with the provisions of Section 5-A."
In State of Punjab v.
Gurdial Singh (1980) 2 SCC 471, this Court observed: "....it is
fundamental that compulsory taking of a man's property is a serious matter and the
smaller the man the more serious the matter. Hearing him before depriving him is
both reasonable and pre-emptive of arbitrariness, and denial of this administrative
fairness is constitutional anathema except for good reasons. Save in real urgency
where public interest does not brook even the minimum time needed to give a
hearing land acquisition authorities should not, having regard to Articles 14
(and 19), burke an enquiry under Section 17 of the Act.
Here a slumbering
process, pending for years and suddenly exciting itself into immediate forcible
taking, makes a travesty of emergency power." In Shyam Nandan Prasad v. State
of Bihar (1993) 4 SCC 255, this Court reiterated that compliance with provisions
of Section 5A is sine qua non for valid acquisition and observed as under: "The
decision of the Collector is supposedly final unless the appropriate Government
chooses to interfere therein and cause affectation, suo motu or on the
application of any person interested in the land.
These requirements obviously
lead to the positive conclusion that the proceeding before the Collector is a blend
of public and individual enquiry. The person interested, or known to be interested,
in the land is to be served personally of the notification, giving him the opportunity
of objecting to the acquisition and awakening him to such right.
That the objection is
to be in writing, is indicative of the fact that the enquiry into the objection
is to focus his individual cause as well as public cause. That at the time of the
enquiry, for which prior notice shall be essential, the objector has the right
to appear in person or through pleader and substantiate his objection by
evidence and argument."
same view has been reiterated in Union of India v. Mukesh Hans (2004) 8 SCC 14,
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Darius Shapur Chenai (2005) 7 SCC 627, Anand
Singh v. State of U.P. (supra) and Radhy Shyam v. State of U. P. (supra).
this context, it is necessary to remember that the rules of natural justice have
been ingrained in the scheme of Section 5A with a view to ensure that before
any person is deprived of his land by way of compulsory acquisition, he must get
an opportunity to oppose the decision of the State Government and/or its
agencies/instrumentalities to acquire the particular parcel of land.
At the hearing, the objector
can make an effort to convince the Land Acquisition Collector to make recommendation
against the acquisition of his land. He can also point out that land proposed to
be acquired is not suitable for the purpose specified in the notification issued
under Section 4(1). Not only this, he can produce evidence to show that another
piece of land is available and the same can be utilized for execution of the particular
project or scheme.
Though, it is neither
possible nor desirable to make a list of the grounds on which the landowner can
persuade the Collector to make recommendations against the proposed acquisition
of land, but what is important is that the Collector should give a fair opportunity
of hearing to the objector and objectively consider his plea against the acquisition
Only thereafter, he should
make recommendations supported by brief reasons as to why the particular piece
of land should or should not be acquired and whether or not the plea put
forward by the objector merits acceptance. In other words, the recommendations
made by the Collector must reflect objective application of mind to the objections
filed by the landowners and other interested persons.
concluding, we deem it necessary to observe that in recent past, various State
Governments and their functionaries have adopted very casual approach in
dealing with matters relating to the acquisition of land in general and the
rural areas in particular and in a large number of cases, the notifications issued
under Sections 4(1) and 6(1) with or without the aid of Section 17 and the
consequential actions have been nullified by the Courts on the ground of
violation of the mandatory procedure and the rules of natural justice.
The disposal of cases
filed by the landowners and others take some time and the resultant delay has great
adverse impact on implementation of the projects of public importance. Of
course, the delay in deciding such cases may not be of much significance when
the State and its agencies want to confer benefit upon private parties by
acquiring land in the name of public purpose. It if difficult, if not impossible,
to appreciate as to why the State and its instrumentalities resort to massive
acquisition of land and that too without complying with the mandate of the
statute. As noted by the National Commission on Farmers, the acquisition of
agricultural land in the name of planned development or industrial growth would
seriously affect the availability of food in future.
the administrative apparatus of the State has not spent enough investment in
the rural areas and those who have been doing agriculture have not been educated
and empowered to adopt alternative sources of livelihood. If land of such persons
is acquired, not only the current but the future generations are ruined and
this is one of the reasons why the farmers who are deprived of their holdings commit
It also appears that
the concerned authorities are totally unmindful of the plight of those sections
of the society, who are deprived of their only asset like small house, small industrial
unit etc. They do not realise that having one's own house is a lifetime dream of
majority of population of this country. Economically affluent class of society
can easily afford to have one or more houses at any place or locality in the country
but other sections of the society find it extremely difficult to purchase land and
Majority of people spend
their lifetime savings for building a small house so that their families may be
able to live with a semblance of dignity. Therefore, it is wholly unjust,
arbitrary and unreasonable to deprive such persons of their houses by way of the
acquisition of land in the name of development of infrastructure or
industrialisation. Similarly, some people set up small industrial unit after
seeking permission from the competent authority.
They do so with the
hope of generating additional income for their family. If the land on which small
units are established is acquired, their hopes are shattered. Therefore, before
acquiring private land the State and/or its agencies/instrumentalities should,
as far as possible, use land belonging to the State for the specified public
purposes. If the acquisition of private land becomes absolutely necessary, then
too, the concerned authorities must strictly comply with the relevant statutory
provisions and the rules of natural justice.
the result, the appeals are allowed. The impugned orders are set aside. As a corollary
to this, the writ petition filed by the appellant is allowed and the
acquisition of his land is declared illegal and quashed. The appellant shall
get cost of Rs.2,50,000/- from the respondents.
(Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya)
Nos......./2011 @Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No(s).12042-12043/2011
(From the judgment and
order(s) dated 17/05/2010 in CWP No.8441/2009 and order dated 19/11/2010 in RA No.321/2010
in CWP No.8441/2009 of The HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB & HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH)
Raghbir Singh Sehrawat
Vs. State of Haryana & Ors.
[HEARD BY HON'BLE G.S.SINGHVI
AND HON'BLE SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, JJ.]
These Petitions were
called on for Judgment today.For Petitioner(s) Dr. Kailash Chand,Adv.(Not
present)For Respondent(s) Mr. Ravindra Bana,Adv.Nos.1 to 3 Hon'ble Mr. Justice
G.S. Singhvi pronounced the judgment of the Bench comprising His Lordship and
Hon'ble Mr.Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya. Delay condoned. Leave granted. For
the reasons recorded in the Reportable Judgment which is placed on the file, the
appeals are allowed. The impugned orders are set aside.
As a corollary to
this, the writ petition filed by the appellant is allowed and the acquisition of
his land is declared illegal and quashed. The appellant shall get cost of Rs.2,50,000/-
from the respondents. (Parveen Kr. Chawla) (Phoolan Wati Arora) Court Master Court
Master [Signed Reportable judgment is placed on the file]