Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 – S. 24 (2) – Held, Pune Municipal Corporation v. H.M. Solanki, 2014 (3) SCC 183 does not require to be revisited.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
(KURIAN JOSEPH) AND (R.F. NARIMAN) JJ.
September 9, 2016
CIVIL APPEAL NO.5811 OF 2015
DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY …APPELLANT
SUKHBIR SINGH & OTHERS …RESPONDENTS
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8857 OF 2016
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) No. 28304 of 2015)
J U D G M E N T
1. Leave granted in S.L.P(C) No. 28304 of 2015.
2. These two appeals revisit the question of the correct construction of
Section 24(2) of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
(hereinafter referred to as “the 2013 Act”). We are constrained to observe that we are hearing these matters despite the fact that the law has been settled in
Pune Municipal Corporation v. H.M. Solanki, 2014 (3) SCC 183
which is now stare decisis in that it has been followed in a large number of judgments.1
1 Bimla Devi & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Ors. (2014) 6 SCC 583 at para 3
Union of India (UOI) and Ors. v. Shiv Raj and Ors. (2014) 6 SCC 564 at para 22
Sree Balaji Nagar Residential Association v. State of Tamil Nadu (2015) 3 SCC 353 at para 14
State of Haryana v. Vinod Oil and General Mills 2014 (15) SCC 410 at para 21
Sita Ram v. State of Haryana & Anr. (2015) 3 SCC 597 at paras 19, 21
Ram Kishan & Ors v. State of Haryana & Ors. (2015) 4 SCC 347 at paras 8, 9, 12
Velaxan Kumar v. Union of India & Ors. 2015 (4) SCC 325 at paras 15, 16, 17
Karnail Kaur v. State of Punjab (2015) 3 SCC 206 at paras 17, 18, 23
Rajiv Choudhrie HUF v. Union of India and Ors. 2015 (3) SCALE 203 at para 1
Competent Automobiles Co. Ltd. v. Union of India and Ors. AIR 2015 SC 3186 at para 4
Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Ors v. Jagjit Singh and Ors. AIR 2015 SC 2683 at para 3
Karan Singh and Ors. v. State of Haryana and Ors. 2015 (7) SCALE 191 at para 5
Delhi Development Authority v. Sukhbir Singh & Ors. SLP (CC) No. 5569 of 2015 at page 5
Shashi Gupta and Ors. v. State of Haryana and Ors. 2016 (5) SCALE 636 at para 5
3. The facts of the present case are as follows. A Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was issued on 24th October, 1961, stating that the public purpose for acquisition was the planned development of Delhi. This Notification covered large tracts of land in and around Delhi. In this case, we are concerned with 33 bighas and 1 biswa of land in the Vasant Kunj area of New Delhi. This Section 4 Notification was followed by a Notification under Section 6 dated 4th January, 1969, which in turn, was followed by notices issued under Section 9 on 26th April, 1983. An award relating to the aforesaid land was then made by the Land Acquisition Collector, New Delhi, only on 12th December, 1997. Possession of the said land, being an open piece of land, was taken by a Panchnama dated 27th January, 2000. An affidavit that has been filed by the Commissioner, Land Management, Delhi Development Authority in this Court, pursuant to an order of this Court dated 17th April, 2015, discloses that the requisite compensation for taking over the said land was deposited by the DDA with the Land Acquisition Collector only in the year 2002. The said affidavit goes on to state that since the land had been sold to Respondent Nos. 3 to 5 in the present case, there was a dispute as to who would receive compensation and that, therefore, compensation could neither be paid nor tendered.
4. On the eve of the coming into force of the 2013 Act (on 1st January, 2014), an application styled as a Petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India was made by the Land Acquisition Collector in the High Court of Delhi on 27th December, 2013, requesting the High Court of Delhi to accept cheques towards compensation amounts under the award dated 12th December, 1997, stating that non-deposit of compensation on or before 31st December, 2013 would adversely affect the acquisition proceedings inasmuch as the proceedings might lapse in view of the fact that the 2013 Act has been notified to take effect from 1st January, 2014. An order dated 30th December, 2013 was passed by the High Court on this application stating that the petition stands disposed of, recording that without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the land owners, the cheques tendered in each petition would be treated as a tender to the court of the learned Additional District Judge, Delhi as on today i.e. 30th December, 2013.
5. The original land holders thereafter presented a Writ Petition, being Writ Petition No. 4375 of 2014 before the High Court of Delhi, on 26th May, 2014, stating that as possession had not been taken and as compensation had neither been tendered nor paid to the petitioner, the requisite conditions of Section 24(2) of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 would be met, and that, as a result, the acquisition proceedings had lapsed. No affidavit in reply was filed to the aforesaid writ petition. By the impugned judgment dated 18th November, 2014, the High Court of Delhi allowed the said petition based on the judgment in Pune Municipal Corporation, and other judgments following the same, stating:
“5. Without going into the controversy with regard to physical possession, this much is clear that the award was made more than five years prior to the commencement of the 2013 Act and the compensation has also not been paid. The necessary ingredients for the application of Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, as interpreted by the Supreme Court and this court in the following decisions, stand satisfied: