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Report No. 10

60. Section 4.-

A suggestion that the Collector should also be empoweied to initiate proceedings for acquisition of land under this section has been made by some of the State Governments with a view to avoid delay. This suggestion, which is reasonable, has been accepted.

It was further suggested that after the words 'public purpose" the words 'or for a company' should be added. But it.appears to us that this is unnecessary, and is, perhaps, in appropriate, in view orArticle 31 of the Constitution. The definition of 'public purpose' which we have adopted enables a company to approach the Government for acquisition in cases where land is needed by it fir specified purposes. Under the proposed definition, the acquisition for a company will be acquisition for a public purpose, if it is for the provision of housing for labour and amenities connected therewith. The requirement of section 4 will be met, if such a purpose exists.

61. We are also of the view that before the law is set in motion, Government should have at least a rough idea of the land proposed to be acquired and should be in a position to describe it in the notification by its survey number if it is already surveyed, and also give the approximate area and its boundaries. If the land had not been surveyed they should at least be able to specify the land by its boundaries. This is necessary so that the persons interested should have precise information about the land proposed to be acquired and the purpose for which it is intended to be acquired. At present, there is no obligation on Government to give particulars in the notification.

The objectors may, if their land is affected by the notification, object on the ground that the purpose is not a public one or that the locality is not suited for that purpose. If, for example, in a crowded locality a hospital for infectious diseases is proposed to be established, it would be open to the objectors to show the serious consequences that would ensue, if the intended project is carried out. If, in such a case, no particulars are furnished in the notification, it would not be possible for the public affected to formulate their objection. On the other hand, if particulars are given, they may be able to point out lands better suited for the purpose.

62. We have added an explanation which gives the meaning of the expression "convenient place"; we have also added a new sub-section which provides that the notification itself should specify the period within which objections, if any, can be made.

63. Sub-section (2) of this section confers powers to enter upon the land for the purpose of finding out after investigation, the suitability of the same for the purposes for which it is proposed to be acquired. This has been retained without any material alteration. In cases where the acquisition is made for the benefit of a company or a local authority or any body of persons, it is but reasonable that an officer of such a company or a local authority or a body of persons may also be authorised to exercise the powers under the existing sub-section (2), as is provided in sub-section (1) of section 38, in the case of a company.

64. There is a lacuna in the Act in that it does not provide for a report to be made to the Collector of the result of the investigation within a specified time. Since the underlying object is to ascertain whether the land is suitable for the purpose in view, it is but proper that the report should be placed before the Collector who would after considering it, make his recommendation to the Government. Further, as suggested by some of the State Governments, a time-limit should be fixed for this report to be submitted to the Collector. This suggestion has been accepted.1 We have also provided that the Collector should forward the report with his remarks to the appropriate Government along with his report under section 6(2).

1. Section 4(5) of App I.

65. In this connection, we have considered the amendment introduced by the Bombay Amendment Act, 1945, introducing Part IA entitled 'preliminary survey' consisting of sections 3A and 3B. The object of the amendment seems to be to have a preliminary investigation before the issue of the notification under section 4. We are, however, of the view that such investigation should be carried out only after the notification under section 4 is made. It would be unjust in our opinion to permit the officers of Government to enter upon private land without a notification conferring authority for that purpose. In the Statement appended to the Bombay Bill, the reason assigned for the change is that if the lands originally notified, after the survey authorised under sub-section (2) of section 4, are found to be unsuitable for the purpose for which they were proposed to be acquired, it necessitates a fresh notification in respect of other lands.

This, it is said, results in delaying the land acquisition proceedings. But, in our view, the issue of a fresh notification under section 4 in such cases need not cause any delay, particularly, as the Collector would be entitled to issue such a notification. A general authority to enter on any land in the locality would not be reasonable. It might result in considerable inconvenience to the owner of the land if the officers are permitted to enter and make investigations on the land without prior intimation. We are, therefore, of the view that it is advisable that the present procedure of the issue of a notification under section 4 before the exercise of the powers under sub-section (2) of that section should continue.

66. The Central Government has suggested an alteration providing that the report of such an investigation, if an investigation is made under section 4(2), should be submitted to the appropriate Government. We have accepted this suggestion. However, we have not accepted the further suggestion that there should be a fresh notification giving particulars of the land after the appropriate Government has received the report of the investigation. This is unnecessary as the final declaration will contain all the particulars about the land. Further, under the scheme recommended by us, the notification under section 4 will itself contain, the necessary particulars. No particulars other than those mentioned in the notification under section 4(1) would be required to enable the objectors to formulate their objections. The position, however, would be different when claims for .compensation have to be made. The claimants must then know definitely all the particulars about the land. Provision for this has been made in the relevant section.

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