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Report No. 182

The section 6, as amended in 1984, reads as follows, to the extent relevant for our purpose:

"Section 6. Declaration that land is required for a public purpose:- (1) Subject to the provisions of part VII of this Act, when the appropriate government is satisfied after considering the report, if any, made under section 5A, sub-section (2), that any particular land is needed for a public purpose, or for a company, a declaration shall be made to that effect under the signature of a secretary to such Government or of some officer duly authorized to certify its orders and different declarations may be made from time to time in respect of different parcels of any land covered by the same notification under section 4, sub-section (1), irrespective of whether one report or different reports has or have been made (wherever required) under section 5-A, sub-section (2):

Provided that no declaration in respect of any particular land covered by a notification under section 4, sub-section (1)

(i) published after the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 1967, but before the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, 1984 shall be made after the expiry of three years from the date of the publication of the notification; or

(ii) published after the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, 1984, shall be made after the expiry of one year from the date of the publication of the notification:

Provided further that no such declaration shall be made unless the compensation to be awarded for such property is to be paid by a company, or wholly or partly out of public revenues or some fund controlled or managed by a local authority.

Explanation1.- In computing any of the periods referred to in the first proviso, the period during which any action or proceeding to be taken in pursuance of the notification issued under section 4, sub-section (1), is stayed by an order of a court shall be excluded."

It will be noticed that under Explanation-I of 1984 Amendment Act introduced as above, the period covered by a stay order is liable to be excluded. But, this Explanation is applicable only to cases where the Court granted stay and vacated the stay order either by an interlocutory order or where the stay got vacated by the dismissal of writ petition. Whatever period is lost in taking the various steps between the section 4(1) notification 10 and the section 6 declaration, is again restored to the department by virtue of this Explanation.

But, the Explanation inserted in 1984 does not exclude the period covered by the litigation where the various proceedings after section 4(1) notification (such as the section 5A inquiry) or the consequential section 6 declaration are held to be bad by the Court. This can happen, for example, where the section 5A inquiry is held vitiated on account of breach of principles of natural justice and consequentially the section 6 declaration is also quashed. The Explanation -I, it will be noticed, only covers cases where section 6 declaration is not quashed. In that event, in the absence of a provision in section 6, the Court cannot exclude the period covered by the Court proceedings leading upto the date of quashing of the proceedings or of the section 6 declaration.

It is appropriate here to refer to some of the earlier decisions of the Supreme Court as regards Section 6. It was held by a Bench of three learned judges in A.S. Naidu & Others v. State of Tamil Nadu (S.L.P. (C). No.11 353 - 11355 of 1988 that, if by the date of quashing of the section 6(1) declaration, the one year period had expired, the State would not be able to make a fresh declaration under section 6. If the State was still interested in acquisition, it would have to issue a fresh notification under section 4(1). The same view was taken by another Bench of two learned Judges in Oxford English School v. Govt. of Tamil Nadu 1995(5) SCC 206.

However, a contrary view was taken by another Bench of three learned Judges in N. Narasimhaiah v. State of Karnataka 1996(3) SCC 88, wherein it was held that if by the date the section 6 declaration was quashed, the period of one year 11 had expired, the State could make a fresh section 6 declaration within one year from the date, of the judgment. In State of Karnataka v. D.C. Nanjundiah 1996 (10) SCC 19, a similar view was taken and the Court went further to hold that the State would have a fresh period of one year from the date of "communication" of the copy of the judgment for the purpose of making a section 6 declaration again. Similarly, in Venkata Swamappa v. Spl. Dy. Commissioner: AIR 1997 SC 503, the Court again held that the State could make a fresh section 6 declaration within one year of the judgment.

As there was a conflict between two judgments of the Court each rendered by the bench of three learned Judges, i.e., A.S. Naidu and N.Narsimhaiah the question came to be referred to a Constitution Bench of five learned Judges in Padmasundara Rao's case. In that case, the learned Judges have recently held that once a section 6 declaration was quashed or set aside, if the period of one year had expired by the date of judgment of court, then the Court could not under its judicial power, provide a fresh period of one year from the date of the judgment, for the issuing of a fresh declaration under section 6.

The effect of the judgment is that as there is no scope for making another declaration under section 6 within one year, the time having expired, the original notification under section 4(1) will also lapse. The State, if it is still interested in the acquisition of the land, has to issue a fresh notification under section 4(1). The Constitution Bench, thus, overruled the decision in N. Narasimhaiah case and approved A.S. Naidu's case



Amendment of Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 Back




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