Agra Development Authority, Agra vs Anek Singh and others Case

Agra Development Authority, Agra vs Anek Singh and others Case

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2914 OF 2022
Agra Development Authority, Agra                   ..Appellant 
Versus
Anek Singh and others       ..Respondents
J U D G M E N T 
M. R. Shah, J.
1. Feeling   aggrieved   and   dissatisfied   with   the   impugned
judgment and order passed by the High Court of Judicature at
Allahabad in Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition No.13927 of 2016
by   which   the   High   Court   has   allowed   the   said   writ   petition
preferred by the respondents herein original writ petitioners and
has held that the acquisition proceedings with respect to the land
in question shall be deemed to have lapsed under Sub­section (2)
of   Section   24   of   the   Right   to   Fair   Compensation   and
Transparency   in   Land   Acquisition,   Rehabilitation   and
Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act 2013’),
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the Agra Development Authority, Agra has preferred the present
appeal.
2. We have heard learned counsel for the respective parties.
We have perused and considered the impugned judgment and
order passed by the High Court.
3. Before the High Court it was the specific case on behalf of
the Agra Development Authority – appellant herein that as such
the possession of the land in question was already taken over
and even the name of the Authority was mutated in the revenue
records.  It was also the specific case on behalf of the Authority
that possession of the land in question was with them but the
original writ petitioners illegally occupied it again.  It was also the
case on behalf of the Authority that the development works have
already been carried out on the land in question and the entire
compensation had already been deposited with the Special Land
Acquisition   Officer.     It   was   also   the   case   on   behalf   of   the
Authority that the original writ petitioners deliberately did not
take the compensation for the remaining plot measuring 6 Biswa
and 15 Biswansi and therefore, on account of the fault of the writ
petitioners, the acquisition proceedings cannot lapse.  However,
by the impugned judgment and order the High Court has held
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and declared that the acquisition proceedings with respect to the
land in question shall be deemed to have lapsed under subsection (2) of Section 24 of the Act, 2013 on the ground that the
amount   of   compensation   was   not   actually   paid   to   the   land
owners.   While holding so the High Court has relied upon and
considered   the   decision   of   this   Court   in   the   case   of  Pune
Municipal   Corporation   and   another   versus   Harakchand
Misirimal Solanki and others reported in (2014) 3 SCC 183.
3.1 Thus, while passing the impugned judgment and order the
High Court has solely relied upon the decision of this Court in
the   case   of  Pune   Municipal   Corporation   (supra)  and   other
decisions in which the decision in the case of  Pune Municipal
Corporation   (supra)  was followed.   (Para  12 of the impugned
judgment and order)
However, the decision of this Court in the case of  Pune
Municipal   Corporation   (supra)  has   been   subsequently   overruled by the Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of
Indore Development Authority versus Manoharlal and others,
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2020) 8 SCC 129.  In paragraph 366 it is observed and held as
under:
      “366. In   view   of   the   aforesaid   discussion,   we
answer the questions as under:
366.1. Under the provisions of Section 24(1)(a)
in case the award is not made as on 1­1­2014, the
date of commencement of the 2013 Act, there is no
lapse   of   proceedings.   Compensation   has   to   be
determined under the provisions of the 2013 Act.
366.2. In case the award has been passed within
the window period of five years excluding the period
covered   by   an   interim   order   of   the   court,   then
proceedings shall continue as provided under Section
24(1)(b) of the 2013 Act under the 1894 Act as if it has
not been repealed.
366.3. The word “or” used in Section 24(2) between
possession and compensation has to be read as “nor”
or   as   “and”.   The   deemed   lapse   of   land   acquisition
proceedings under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act takes
place where due to inaction of authorities for five years
or more prior to commencement of the said Act, the
possession   of   land   has   not   been   taken   nor
compensation has been paid. In other words, in case
possession has been taken, compensation has not been
paid then there is no lapse. Similarly, if compensation
has been paid, possession has not been taken then
there is no lapse.
366.4. The expression “paid” in the main part of
Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act does not include a deposit
of   compensation   in   court.   The   consequence   of   nondeposit is provided in the proviso to Section 24(2) in
case it has not been deposited with respect to majority
of landholdings then all beneficiaries (landowners) as
on the date of notification for land acquisition under
Section   4   of   the   1894   Act   shall   be   entitled   to
compensation in accordance with the provisions of the
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2013 Act. In case the obligation under Section 31 of the
Land   Acquisition   Act,   1894   has   not   been   fulfilled,
interest   under   Section   34   of   the   said   Act   can   be
granted. Non­deposit of compensation (in court) does
not result in the lapse of land acquisition proceedings.
In case of non­deposit with respect to the majority of
holdings for five years or more, compensation under
the 2013 Act has to be paid to the “landowners” as on
the   date   of   notification   for   land   acquisition   under
Section 4 of the 1894 Act.
366.5. In   case   a   person   has   been   tendered   the
compensation as provided under Section 31(1) of the
1894 Act, it is not open to him to claim that acquisition
has lapsed under Section 24(2) due to non­payment or
non­deposit of compensation in court. The obligation to
pay is complete by tendering the amount under Section
31(1).   The   landowners   who   had   refused   to   accept
compensation   or   who   sought   reference   for   higher
compensation,   cannot   claim   that   the   acquisition
proceedings had lapsed under Section 24(2) of the 2013
Act.
366.6. The proviso to Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act
is to be treated as part of Section 24(2), not part of
Section 24(1)(b).
366.7. The   mode   of   taking   possession   under   the
1894 Act and as contemplated under Section 24(2) is
by   drawing   of   inquest   report/memorandum.   Once
award has been passed on taking possession under
Section 16 of the 1894 Act, the land vests in State there
is   no   divesting   provided   under   Section   24(2)   of   the
2013 Act, as once possession has been taken there is
no lapse under Section 24(2).
366.9. Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act does not give
rise to new cause of action to question the legality of
concluded proceedings of land acquisition. Section 24
applies   to   a   proceeding   pending   on   the   date   of
enforcement of the 2013 Act i.e. 1­1­2014. It does not
revive   stale   and   time­barred   claims   and   does   not
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reopen concluded proceedings nor allow landowners to
question the legality of mode of taking possession to
reopen proceedings or mode of deposit of compensation
in   the   treasury   instead   of   court   to   invalidate
acquisition.
366.8. The provisions of Section 24(2) providing for
a deemed lapse of proceedings are applicable in case
authorities  have failed  due to  their  inaction  to take
possession and pay compensation for five years or more
before the 2013 Act came into force, in a proceeding for
land acquisition pending with the authority concerned
as on 1­1­2014. The period of subsistence of interim
orders   passed   by   court   has   to   be   excluded   in   the
computation of five years.”
4. In view of the above Constitution Bench decision of this
Court in the case of Indore Development Authority (supra) and
the earlier decision of this Court in the case of Pune Municipal
Corporation   (supra)  has   been   specifically   overruled   by   this
Court,   which   has   been   relied  upon   by  the   High  Court   while
passing the impugned judgment and order, the same passed by
the High Court is unsustainable and it deserves to be quashed
and set aside.  
4.1 In view of the decision of this Court in the case of Indore
Development  Authority   (supra)  and considering the facts and
circumstances narrated hereinabove, it cannot be said that the
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acquisition proceedings with respect to the land in question is
deemed to have lapsed under the provisions of the Act, 2013.
5. In view of the above discussion and for the reasons stated
above present appeal succeeds.   The impugned judgment and
order passed by the High Court is hereby quashed and set aside.
Consequently,   the   writ   petition   preferred   by   the   original   writ
petitioner before the High Court stands dismissed.  
In the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no
order as to costs. 
…………………………………J.
                (M. R. SHAH)
…………………………………J.
 (B.V. NAGARATHNA)
New Delhi, 
May 20, 2022.
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