DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY VS GODFREY PHILLIPS (I) LTD. & ORS. CASE

DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY VS GODFREY PHILLIPS (I) LTD. & ORS. CASE


Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3073 OF 2022
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (CIVIL) NO. 23418 OF 2017)
DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY .....APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
GODFREY PHILLIPS (I) LTD. & ORS. .....RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
HEMANT GUPTA, J.
1. The challenge in the present appeal is to an order dated 9.12.2016
passed by the High Court of Delhi whereby the writ petition filed by
respondent No. 11
 was allowed and the proceedings initiated under
the Land Acquisition Act, 18942
 were declared to have lapsed in
terms of Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and
Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement
Act, 20133
.
2. The process of acquisition of land admeasuring 50,000 Bighas
situated in 12 villages for the planned development of Delhi
started way back in 1980. The intention to acquire the land was
published vide notification dated 5.11.1980 in respect of land
1 For short, the ‘purchaser’
2 For short, the ‘Act’
3 For short, the ‘2013 Act’
1
situated in villages of Tughlakabad, Tigri, Deoli, Khanpur, Said-ulAjaib, Neb Sarai, Hauz Khas and Khirki, and vide notification dated
25.11.1980 in respect of the land situated in villages Chattarpur,
Satbari Maidangarhi, Sayoorpur and Rajpur Khurd. The declarations
under Section 6 of the Act were published on 27.5.1985, 6.6.1985,
7.6.1985 and 26.2.1986 and the award were announced on
20.5.1987 or thereafter.
3. M/s. Satluj Bhatta Co. through its partners4
 (1) Shri Ishwar Chander
Gupta; (2) Shri Hari Chand; and (3) Shri Jai Chand were owners of
land admeasuring 58 Bigha 14 Biswa. An agreement to sell was executed by them on 25.9.1990 for the land measuring 28 Bigha 08
Biswa with the purchaser. Thereafter, the purchaser is said to have
purchased the land in question vide sale deeds dated 30.8.1991
and 27.2.1991.
4. The purchaser for the first time in written synopsis, filed after the
conclusion of the arguments, asserted that the original land
owners in respect of land measuring 58 Bigha 14 Biswa situated in
revenue estate of Village Sayoorpur, had filed a Writ Petition No.
2736 of 1985 titled as Ishwar Chand Gupta v. Union of India
before the High Court. We requisitioned the records of the said
writ petition from the High Court. It transpires that the writ petition
was filed on or about 30.10.1985 on the ground that the
notification dated 20.5.1985 under Section 6 of the Act had been
published after a period of more than three years of the notification
under Section 4 of the Act on 25.11.1980. There is no assertion
4 Hereinafter referred to as “Original land owners”
2
that the original land owners had filed any objections under
Section 5A of the Act. The said writ petition was dismissed on
2.12.1985 when the following order was passed:
“For the reasons recorded in Civil Writ No. 426 of 1981 titled
Muni Lal & Others Vs. Lt. Governor of Delhi and others decided on 15th November, 1983 and Civil Writ 2850 of 1985 titled Hemant Sharma and Others Vs. Union of India and others decided on 25th November, 1985, the petition is without
merit. Dismissed.”
5. The Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 4169 of 1986 filed against the
said order was withdrawn on 12.9.1989 with two other petitions.
The order passed by this Court reads as thus:
“These three special leave petitions along with several other
cases were heard together. They are directed against the
judgment of the Delhi High Court rejecting the writ petitions
of the present petitioners challenging a notification issued
under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act. It is stated by
Mr. Chitale, the learned counsel for the petitioners in the
Special Leave Petition No. 1224 of 1986 that on a
subsequent writ petition filed by another interested party,
the High Court has struck down the subsequent notification
issued under Section 6 of the Act and in the circumstances
the present special leave petitions have become infructuous
and will not be pressed. The learned counsel on behalf of the
respondents has refuted the proposition. He says that the
subsequent judgment of the Delhi High Court may be
impugned in this Court and if the challenge is successful, the
petitioners who are not parties to that case will not be in a
position to take any advantage out of the afore-said
judgment of the High Court. Alternatively, the learned
counsel for the respondents has contended that even if the
said notification issued under Section 6 finally stands
quashed, the authorities will be entitled to issue a fresh
notification under Section 6 on the basis of the Section 4
notification which has been unsuccessfully challenged by
the petitioners in the present case. We do not consider it
necessary to decide the question as to whether the special
leave petitions have become infructuous or not and whether
on their withdrawal by the petitioners they are going to
suffer in the long run as the learned counsel for the
3
petitioners, even after we made this position clear to them,
stated that the S.L.Ps. would not be pressed. Since the
petitioners are withdrawing the S.L.Ps. at their own risk, the
same are dismissed as withdrawn. There will be no order as
to costs.”
6. The process of acquisition was challenged in a number of other writ
petitions before the High Court and stay of dispossession was
granted therein even before the notification under Section 6 of the
Act was published. One of such writ petitions was Munni Lal v. Lt.
Governor of Delhi
5
. The validity of the declarations under Section
6 of the Act was challenged inter-alia on the ground that the
acquisition proceedings stood lapsed in view of the Central Act No.
68 of 1984 fixing time limit for publication of notification under
Section 6 of the Act. Such question was examined by the Full
Bench of the High Court in a judgment dated 27.5.1987 reported
as Balak Ram Gupta v. Union of India
6
. The Full Bench held
that the period during which the acquisition proceedings were
stayed should be excluded while determining the validity of the
declaration under Section 6 of the Act. Therefore, it was found that
the notification under Section 6 of the Act was within the time fixed
by the statute. The matter was remitted to the Division Bench as
the Full Bench was of the view that it would not be convenient or
possible for the Full Bench to consider and pronounce the
numerous contentions which may be raised in each one of the 73
petitions.
7. The Division Bench decided all the writ petitions in the judgment
5 1983 SCC OnLine Del 321
6 For short, the ‘Balak Ram-I’, 1987 SCC OnLine Del 227 : AIR 1987 Del 239
4
reported as Shri B.R. Gupta v. Union of India & Ors.
7
 when the
following operative order was passed on 14.10.1988:
“The orders of Land Acquisition Collectors under Section 5A and
the notifications issued by the Lt. Governor under Section 6 of
the Land Acquisition Act together with further land acquisition
proceedings in all the above writ petition are quashed and set
aside with cost. There shall be two set of counsel's fees at Rs.
1,500/- each as the group of petitions were heard mainly in the
two writ petitions. The respondents have also not filed the
counter affidavits in all the petitions as it was agreed to
complete two sets of petitions with counter affidavits. The rule is
made absolute. 'Reasons to follow''.
8. The High Court upon recording the reasons on 18.11.1988 set
aside the notification issued under Section 6 of the Act as the writ
petitioner was neither given an opportunity of personal hearing,
nor was he actually heard in the objections filed by the landowners
under Section 5A of the Act and since there was no record
maintained for consideration of large number of objections filed by
the writ petitioners/landowners. It was held that the writ petitioner
whose land is being taken by the Government without his consent
has a right to know the reasons as to why his claim for exemption
was being declined. It was held as under:
“16. We may note that there are number of other
contentions raised by the petitioner in the writ petition apart
from the ones that are mentioned and considered above.
We need not go into all of them and given any finding, since
we have already come to the conclusion that reports under
Section 5A and orders under Section 6 cannot be sustained
in law on the basis of the contentions already noted by us.”
9. Many landowners filed writ petitions before the High Court
challenging the action of the Delhi Administration to take
7 For short, the ‘Balak Ram-II’, 1988 SCC OnLine Del 367 : (1989) 37 DLT 150 (DB)
5
possession from them even though the declaration under Section 6
of the Act stood quashed in its entirety in Balak Ram-II. The High
Court in a judgment reported as Balbir Singh v. Union of India
& Ors.
8
 held on 15.5.1989 that the action of the respondents to
take the possession from the landowners was not sustainable.
Thus, the benefit of the judgment was extended to all the
landowners as the entire notification under Section 6 of the Act
was found to be quashed. The Court passed the following order:
“This order will dispose of CW 1373-75/89.............illegible.
Proceedings u/s 5A of the Land Acquisition Act right upto the
stage of Award relating to villages, namely, Khan Pur Deoli
@ Devli, Tughlakabad, Khirkee, Neb Sarai, Said-ul-Ajaib,
Tigri, Shayoor Pur, Satbari, Chattar Pur, Raj Pur Khurd,
Maidan Ghari, have been quashed by a Division Bench of
this Court in Balak Ram Gupta vs. U.O.I. C.W.P. 1639/85
decided on 14th October, 1988/18th November, 1988. The
prayer of the petitioners is that in spite of that Judgment,
the respondents are trying to take possession of the land.
2. The Delhi Administration as also the Delhi Development
Authority have taken up a very fair stand before us. Their
contention is that certain land owners have received
compensation and as such they should not be allowed to
deal with the land till the compensation is paid back to the
Delhi Administration with interest at the rate of 12% per
annum from the date they received the payment till the date
they have refunded the amount. The contention raised is
quite fair and is accepted. It is further stated by learned
counsel for the respondents that no effort would be made to
take possession of any land from anybody and the
possession already taken of these lands will be restored
back to the land owners on receipt of the refund of
compensation, if made with interest. It is further con-tended
that in certain cases, the land owners have been allotted
alternate plots in leiu of their land having been acquired and
in those cases the alternate plots must be surrendered
before the land owners can take advantage of the quashing
of the notifications. The counsel for the petitioner accepts
8 1989 SCC OnLine Del 211 : (1989) 39 DLT 233 (DB)
6
this suggestion of the respondents. Consequently, we direct
that the possession of the petitioners will not be disturbed
except in cases where the compensation has been received
by the land owners or alternate plots have been allotted
until the compensation amount and the alternate plot is
surrendered. Counsel for the petitioners agree that the land
owners who have received compensation or have been
allotted alternate plots would surrender the same as
indicated above within two months from today. All other land
owners who have neither received compensation nor any
alternate plot are free to deal with their lands the way they
like and their possession will not be disturbed by the
respondents. Delhi Administration will see to it that the
Revenue records are amended accordingly. The proper
authority i.e. the Land Acquisition Collector will receive the
refund of compensation with 12 per cent interest per annum
as well as the surrender of the alternate plots when and if
offered. The writ petitions are disposed of in these terms.”
10. The Union of India sought review of the order passed (RA No. 2766
of 1989) in the all the matters. The review was dismissed on
6.7.1990 on the ground that since the entire notification stands
quashed, therefore, Union cannot keep the possession.
11. The said judgment and order of the Division Bench in Balbir
Singh came up for consideration before this Court in a judgment
reported as Delhi Development Authority v. Sudan Singh in
Civil Appeal No. 3847 of 1991 and Civil Appeal Nos. 3801-
3847/19919
. This Court dismissed the appeals filed by the Union of
India or by the Delhi Development Authority on 20.9.1991 except
to the extent that the land of Village Saidul Azab was not part of
the writ petitions which were decided in Balak Ram-II.
12. The order of the High Court in C.W.P. No. 2657/85 Abhey Ram vs.
Union of India dated 2.9.1987 was passed in the writ petition filed
by the land owners of Village Khirkee on the ground that the
9 (1997) 5 SCC 430
7
notification dated 7.6.1985 under Section 6 of the Act has been
issued after three years of the publication of the notification under
Section 4 of the Act on 5.11.1980. In the said case also, the land
owners had not filed any objections under Section 5A of the Act.
The writ petition was dismissed. The order of the High Court reads
thus:-
“It transpires that this petition challenges the Notification
under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act dated 7th June,
1985. The validity of this Notification has already been
upheld by a Full Bench of this Court in the case of Balak Ram
Gupta Vs. Union of India, CWP No. 1639/85 decided on 27th
May, 1987. No other point is pressed. The writ petition is
consequently dismissed”.
13. The said order was the subject matter of appeal before this Court
in a judgment reported as Abhey Ram & Ors. v. Union of India
& Ors.
10
. A three judge Bench in the said judgment inter-alia
examined an argument raised that the benefit of quashing of the
declaration under Section 6 of the Act by the High Court in Balak
Ram-II should be extended to the appellants, though the
notification had been quashed qua the writ petitioners before the
High Court. This Court examined the question as to whether a
declaration under Section 6 of the Act in its entirety stands
quashed even when the Court had quashed the declaration in the
case of the land owners who had filed writ petitions after their
objections were not considered under Section 5-A of the Act. This
Court noticed that unfortunately, the operative part of the
judgment (as reproduced in para 7 of this judgment) in Balak
Ram-II had not been brought to the notice of this Court in Sudan
10 (1997) 5 SCC 421
8
Singh. It was held that such judgment of the High Court has no
application to the facts of the case as unless the declaration under
Section 6 is quashed in its entirety specifically, it does not mean
that the entire declaration has been quashed. It was noticed that
the appellants had not filed any objections to the notice issued
under Section 5-A. This Court held as under:
“9. Therefore, the reasons given in B.R. Gupta v. UOI and
others, 37(1989) Delhi Law Times 150 are obvious with
reference to the quashing of the publication of the,
declaration under Section 6 vis-a-vis the writ petitioners
therein....
10. The question then arises is: whether the quashing of the
declaration by the Division Bench in respect of the other
matters would enure the benefit to the appellants also ?
Though, prima facie, the argument of the learned counsel is
attractive, on deeper consideration, it is difficult to give
acceptance to the contention of Mr. Sachhar. When the
Division Bench expressly limited the controversy to the
quashing of the declaration qua the writ petitioners before
the Bench, necessary consequences would be that the
declaration published under Section 6 should stand upheld.
11. It is seen that before the Division Bench judgment was
rendered, the petition of the appellants stood dismissed and
the appellants had filed the special leave petition in this
Court. If it were a case entirely relating to Section 6
declaration as has been quashed by the High Court,
necessarily that would enure the benefit to others also,
though they did not file any petition, except to those whose
lands were taken possession of and were vested in the State
under Sections 16 and 17(2) of the Act free from all
encumbrances. But it is seen that the Division Bench
confined the controversy to the quashing of the declaration
under Section 6 in respect of the persons qua the writ
petitioners before the Division Bench. Therefore, the benefit
of the quashing of the declaration under Section 6 by the
Division Bench does not enure to the appellants.
12. It is true that a Bench of this Court has considered the
effect of such a quashing in Delhi Development
Authority v. Sudan Singh [(1997) 5 SCC 430 : (1991) 45 DLT
602] . But, unfortunately, in that case the operative part of
9
the judgment referred to earlier has not been brought to the
notice of this Court. Therefore, the ratio therein has no
application to the facts in this case. It is also true that
in Yusufbhai Noormohmed Nendoliya case [(1991) 4 SCC
531] this Court had also observed that it would enure the
benefit to those petitioners. In view of the fact that the
notification under Section 4(1) is a composite one and
equally the declaration under Section 6 is also a composite
one, unless the declaration under Section 6 is quashed in
toto, it does not operate as if the entire declaration requires
to be quashed. It is seen that the appellants had not filed
any objections to the notice issued under Section 5-A.”
14. In Delhi Administration v. Gurdip Singh Uban & Ors.
11
, this
Court held that the three-Judge Bench judgment in Abhey Ram is
binding in preference to the judgment of the two Judges in Sudan
Singh. This Court held as under:
“7. We may state that it is true that in Sudan Singh
case [(1997) 5 SCC 430 : 45 (1991) DLT 602] a two-Judge
Bench of this Court confirmed another judgment of the Delhi
High Court wherein the High Court had allowed the writ
petition on the basis that the judgment of the Division Bench
dated 18-11-1988 had quashed the Section 6 declaration
wholly. It is also true that in Sudan Singh case [(1997) 5 SCC
430 : 45 (1991) DLT 602] too no objections were filed by the
owners under Section 5-A. But, we are governed by the
judgment of the three-Judge Bench in Abhey Ram
case [(1997) 5 SCC 421 : JT (1997) 5 SC 354] where the said
Bench not only referred to the effect of the Division Bench
judgment of the High Court dated 18-11-1988 but also
referred to the judgment of the two-Judge Bench of this
Court in Sudan Singh case [(1997) 5 SCC 430 : 45 (1991)
DLT 602] . The three-Judge Bench in Abhey Ram [(1997) 5
SCC 421 : JT (1997) 5 SC 354] is binding on us in preference
to the judgment of the two Judges in Sudan Singh [(1997) 5
SCC 430 : 45 (1991) DLT 602].
8. In connection with owners or persons interested who
have not filed objections under Section 5-A, in principle, it
must be accepted that they had no objection to the Section
4 notification operating in respect of their property. On the
11 For short, the ‘Gurdip Singh Uban-I’ (1999) 7 SCC 44
10
other hand, in respect of those who filed objections, they
might have locus standi to contend that the Section 5-A
enquiry was not conducted properly. We, therefore, agree in
principle with the view of the three-Judge Bench in Abhey
Ram case [(1997) 5 SCC 421 : JT (1997) 5 SC 354] that those
who have not filed objections under Section 5-A, could not
be allowed to contend that the Section 5-A enquiry was bad
and that consequently the Section 6 declaration must be
struck down and that then the Section 4 notification would
lapse. If, therefore, no objections were filed by the
respondents, logically the Section 6 declaration must be
deemed to be in force so far as they are concerned.
9. But learned Senior Counsel for the respondents contends
that the judgment of the Division Bench dated 18-11-1988
in B.R. Gupta case [(1989) 37 DLT 150 (DB)] had quashed
the entire Section 5-A proceedings and that even in case the
respondents had filed objections, the position would not
have been different. We cannot accept this contention. We
are of the view that in respect of those who did not object to
the Section 4(1) notification by filing objections under
Section 5-A, the said notification must be treated as being in
force. The writ petitioners cannot be permitted to contend
that in some other cases, the notification was quashed and
that such quashing would also enure to their benefit.
10. Then coming to the effect of the judgment of the
Division Bench dated 18-11-1988 of the High Court, we are
of the view that the three-Judge Bench judgment in Abhey
Ram case [(1997) 5 SCC 421 : JT (1997) 5 SC 354] has
interpreted or declared the effect of the said High Court
judgment dated 18-11-1988. That judgment is binding on us.
We cannot go by the two-Judge Bench judgment in Sudan
Singh case [(1997) 5 SCC 430 : 45 (1991) DLT 602] because
we are bound by the judgment of the three-Judge Bench
in Abhey Ram case [(1997) 5 SCC 421 : JT (1997) 5 SC 354] .
Further, the judgment in Abhey Ram case [(1997) 5 SCC 421
: JT (1997) 5 SC 354] takes notice of Sudan Singh
case [(1997) 5 SCC 430 : 45 (1991) DLT 602] and it cannot
be contended that they have not looked fully into the
judgment in Sudan Singh case [(1997) 5 SCC 430 : 45
(1991) DLT 602] or fully into the judgment of the Division
Bench of the High Court dated 18-11-1988 in B.R. Gupta
case [(1989) 37 DLT 150 (DB)] . Nor is the dismissal of the
special leave petition in B.L. Sharma case a precedent which
can outweigh Abhey Ram [(1997) 5 SCC 421 : JT (1997) 5 SC
354] . The opinion of the legal department of the
Government or the Delhi Development Authority which is
11
relied upon — apart from not having binding force, cannot
override Abhey Ram case [(1997) 5 SCC 421 : JT (1997) 5 SC
354].”
15. In another judgment reported as Delhi Administration v. Gurdip
Singh Uban & Ors.
16
, this Court considered the Interlocutory
Applications filed by the landowners in Gurdip Singh Uban-I after
the dismissal of review petition on 24-11-1999. This Court, while
deciding such applications noticed that the brief operative order in
Balak Ram-II in each of the 73 writ petitions was not noticed in
Sudan Singh. It was held as under:
“42. On fresh consideration of the matter, we are of the
opinion that Abhey Ram [(1997) 5 SCC 421] was decided
correctly — if we may say so with great respect — and that
the latter order of the Division Bench in the writ petitions in
the batch in Balak Ram Gupta [B.R. Gupta v. Union of India,
(1989) 37 DLT 150 (DB) (order dated 14-10-1988)] must be
confined to the writ absolute orders dated 14-10-1988 in
each of those 73 writ petitions and to the land covered
thereby, because the objections filed were personal to each
case and there was no argument before the Division Bench
or even before us that there was no public purpose or that
there was colourable exercise of power. We are of the view
that the Division Bench of the High Court in its latter order
dated 18-11-1988 containing reasons could not in law have
quashed the Section 5-A inquiry and Section 6 declaration
covering all other cases not before the Division Bench when
no question going to the root and covering all cases arose,
and contrary to the writ absolute issued in each case. The
order dated 14-10-1988, in our view, would control the order
dated 18-11-1988 and would restrict the same.”
16. With this background, the facts of the present case need to be examined. The original land owners entered into agreement to sell
on 25.9.1990 for the land measuring 28 Bigha 08 Biswa comprising
in Khasra No. 376 (4-6), 377 (4-16),381 (1-2), 383 (4-16), 384 (4-6),
1616 For short, the ‘Gurdip Singh Uban-II’, (2000) 7 SCC 296
12
385 (4-6), 386/1 (1-18), 386/2 (2-18), 389 (4-16), 390 (4-6), 391 (4-
6), 392/1 (1-0), 392/2 (3-16), 394 (4-16), 395/1 (0-04), 395/2 (3-0),
396 (4-6) with the purchaser. The agreement to sell inter-alia
recites as under:
“AND WHEREAS some of the owners of the land of the above
village challenged the acquisition proceedings in the High
Court of Delhi. The Hon'ble Court was pleased to release the
entire above lands from acquisition, the main judgment
being passed in Civil Writ 1639/85 decided on 14-10/18-11-
1988 titled "Balak Ram Gupta Vs. UOI", Delhi Administration
has not filed any appeal and at present the above lands are
free from acquisition.”
17. The agreement further states that the Land Acquisition Collector
had taken possession and paid compensation to the owners of
Khasra No. 384 (4-6), 385 (4-6) and 390 (4-6) and in terms of the
order passed (though not mentioned specifically but the reference
is to the order passed in Balbir Singh), the compensation has
been paid back and, thus, Khasra Numbers stand released from
acquisition.
18. Thereafter, the purchaser is said to have purchased the land in
question vide sale deeds dated 30.8.1991 and 27.2.1991. Though,
it is argued by the appellant that the sale deed was not registered,
but Mr. Kapil Sibal, learned senior counsel for the respondentpurchaser stated that the sale deeds were registered. However,
that is not a relevant consideration at this stage for the issues
arising in the present appeal as we proceed on the basis that land
was purchased by the purchaser.
19. The purchaser filed a writ petition before the High Court reported
13
as Godfrey Phillips v. Union of India
12
. The said writ petition
along with the other two writ petitions were dismissed by the
Division Bench of the Delhi High Court on 18.11.2005. The High
Court recorded a finding that the vendors of the writ petitioners
including the purchasers have not filed any writ petition and have
thus accepted the acquisition proceedings. The High Court held as
under:
“13. …The only inference that can be drawn from these
facts is that the predecessors in interest of the
petitioners.h1d acquiesced to the proceedings and the
petitioners had remained content with their acquiescing only
a right to claim compensation for the land purchased by
them as they could not acquire by reason of the said
purchase the locus to challenge the proceedings. Even if the
petitioners could legally maintain petitions to assail the
validity of the proceedings, they did nothing from 1991 till
2005 to agitate the matter in any forum or Court to have the
proceedings quashed.
xx xx xx
24. That apart, the right to challenge the notifications
available to the original land owners having been lost by the
original owners by their acquiescence and silence till the
year 1991 when the land was transferred to the petitioner,
there was no question of any such right being exercised by
the transferees 15 years thereafter. The inaction and
acquiescence of the owners before the sale of the land in
favour of the petitioners would by itself conclude the
controversy. But even if one were to look at the delay from
the point of the petitioners also, there is no explanation
whatsoever for their silence from 1991 when they purchased
the land till 2005 when they actually filed the petitions.”
20. The Special Leave Petition (c) No. 4642 of 2006 filed against the
said judgment was dismissed on 8.2.2010 along with other Civil
Appeals reported as Om Parkash Vs. Union of India
13
.
12 2005(125) Delhi Law Times 207
13 (2010) 4 SCC 17
14
21. It was thereafter that the purchaser filed another writ petition after
the commencement of the 2013 Act for declaring that the acquisition proceedings stand lapsed under Section 24. The purchaser asserted that the possession of Khasra Nos. 376 (4-6), 377 (4-16),
381 Min (1-2), 383 (4-16), 386/1 Min (0-4) and 386/2 Min (0-6) were
never taken by the revenue authorities, meaning thereby that the
physical possession has always been retained by the owners of the
said land. The prayer in the writ petition filed was for quashing of
the notification under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act, and the award in
respect of land measuring 28 Bigha 8 Biswa, forming part of revenue estate of Village Sahoorpur falling in Tehsil Saket, Delhi. The
purchaser also claimed a Mandamus to handover vacant and
peaceful possession of the land measuring 28 Bigha 8 Biswa. The
prayer reads thus:
“(ii) MANDAMUS directing, commanding and requiring' the
Respondents to hand over vacant and peaceful possession
of the agricultural land Khasra Nos. 376 (4·6), 377 (4·16), ,
381 Min (1 ·2), 383 (4·16), 384 (4·6), 385 (4·6), 386/1 Min
(0·4), 386/2 Min (O·G) and 390 (4·6) admeasuring 28 Bighas
and 8 Biswa forming part of the revenue estate of Village
Sahoorpur falling in Tehsil Saket, New Delhi since the
acquisition proceedings in respect thereof have lapsed in
terms of Section 24 (2) of the Right to Fair Compensation
and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Resettlement Act.”
22. The stand of the appellant in the counter affidavit before the High
Court was that since the acquisition proceedings have attained
finality, there cannot be any lapsing of something which has
already achieved finality under the Act. The appellant stated as
under:
15
“(i) I say that the present writ petition is liable to be
dismissed since there is no question of the acquisition
proceedings having been lapsed. It is submitted that the
challenge to the acquisition proceedings of Award no. 10/87-
88 has already attained finality and there can be no Indirect
challenge to the acquisition of the land, which has already
assumed finality under the provisions of the Land Acquisition
Act, 1894.
It would not be out of place to mention here that with the
land owners having failed in their challenge to the
acquisition under the provisions of ‘The Land Acquisition Act,
1894', the petitioner cannot now turn around and say that
the acquisition proceedings was pending and has lapsed.
xx xx xx
l) I say that the physical possession of the acquired land
falling in khasra no. 384(4-16), 385(4-06) & 390(4-06) in
village Shayoorpur has been handed over to the respondent
no. 2-Delhi Development Authority on 14.07.87 by the
LAC/Land & Building Department, Govt. of National Capital
Territory of Delhi however physical possession of khasra no
386/1 Min. (0-04), 386/2 Min(0-06), 376(4-16), 377 (4-16),
381 Min (1-02), 383(4-16) has not been handed over to the
respondent no. 2-Delhi Development Authority by the
LAC/Land & Building Department, Govt. of National Capital
Territory of Delhi.”
23. The High Court vide the order impugned found that an amount of
Rs.3,87,360/- was refunded by way of Cheque No. 361656 by the
original landowner on 11.7.1989 but since the encashment of
cheque was not confirmed, the purchaser offered to deposit the
said amount twice over along with interest, which as on
30.11.2016, comes to Rs.16,61,774/-. The High Court accepted the
offer made by the purchaser and held that proceedings stand
lapsed.
16
24. The purchaser filed additional documents before this Court by way
of I.A. No. 50154 of 2022. It has been asserted as under:
“(i) Lands of which possession was taken over by way of
Possession proceedings (Kabza Karyawahi) on 14.7.1987 by
LAC and compensation was paid are bearing Kh. No. 384(4-
16), 385(4-6) & 390(4-6) total measuring 12 Bighas and 18
Biswas of Village Sayoorpur, Delhi.
(ii) Lands of which possession has not been taken but
allegedly compensation amount was placed in RD with LAC,
bear Kh. No. 376(4-6), 377(4-16), 381 min. (1-2), 383 (4-16),
386/1 min. (0-4), 386/2 min. (0-6) total measuring 15 Bighas
and 10 Biswas of Village Sayoorpur, Delhi.”
25. Learned counsel for the appellant argued that the purchaser has no
right to claim lapse of acquisition proceedings in view of judgment
of this Court reported as Meera Sahni v. Lt. Governor of Delhi
14
and three Judge Bench Judgment in M. Venkatesh v. Bangalore
Development Authority
15
.
26. It was further contended that the judgment in Balbir Singh
directing the land owners to deposit the amount of compensation
along with interest ceases to be a binding precedent in view of the
judgment of this Court in Abhey Ram when the judgment in
Sudan Singh was not found to be the correct law. Such
proposition that Sudan Singh was not the correct proposition of
law was reiterated in Gurdip Singh Uban-I. Once the subsequent
judgments in Abhey Ram and Gurdip Singh Uban-I have held
that Sudan Singh was not correctly decided, it would necessarily
mean that the judgment in Balbir Singh ceases to be of any
14 (2008) 9 SCC 177
15 (2015) 17 SCC 1
17
relevance or a binding precedent.
27. On the other hand, Mr. Kapil Sibal argued that the writ petition was
disposed of on the short ground of lapsing of the acquisition in
view of Section 24 of the 2013 Act but in other similar matters, this
Court has remanded back the matters to the High Court for fresh
decision after the decision of this Court in Indore Development
Authority v. Manoharlal & Ors.
17
. It was also contended that
the subsequent purchaser has a right to claim lapsing of the
acquisition proceedings in view of the judgment of this Court in
Government (NCT of Delhi) v. Manav Dharam Trust & Anr.
18

28. In the written submissions filed, the purchaser made a reference to
the land comprising in 384(4-16), 385(4-6) & 390(4-6) 12 Bigha 18
Biswa land as Part A; whereas the land comprising in Khasra Nos.
376(4-6), 377(4-16), 381 min. (1-2), 383 (4-16), 386/1 min. (0-4),
386/2 min. (0-6) total measuring 15 Bigha and 10 Biswa was
referred to as Part B land. In respect of Part A land, the argument
was that compensation was paid but in view of the order of the
High Court in Balbir Singh, the original land owner had paid back
the amount of compensation by cheque. It was further submitted,
that in the absence of any proof of encashment of cheque, the
High Court in the impugned order, directed the purchaser to pay
the amount of Rs. 16,61,774/- and such amount stands paid.
Therefore, in respect of such land, the compensation had not been
paid in law. In respect of Part B land, the argument was that the
17 17 (2020) 8 SCC 129
18 18 (2017) 6 SCC 751
18
amount of compensation had not been paid nor has the possession
been taken.
29. We do not find any merit in the arguments raised by the learned
counsel for the purchaser. The writ petition was filed after the
commencement of the 2013 Act on a short question that the
acquisition proceedings stand lapsed. This Court in Indore
Development Authority has held that twin conditions have to be
satisfied before proceedings can be said to be lapsed i.e.,
possession not taken and/or compensation not paid. This Court
examining the question of payment or deposit in the light of the
Standing Order No. 28 issued in 1909 by the State of Punjab and as
applicable to Delhi also, provided five modes of payment in Paras
74 and 75. It has been held as under:
“226.Thus, in our opinion, the word “paid” as used in
Section 24(2) does not include within its meaning the word
“deposited”, which has been used in the proviso to Section
24(2). Section 31 of the 1894 Act, deals with the deposit as
envisaged in Section 31(2) on being “prevented” from
making the payment even if the amount has been deposited
in the treasury under the Rules framed under Section 55 or
under the Standing Orders, that would carry the interest as
envisaged under Section 34, but acquisition would not lapse
on such deposit being made in the treasury. In case amount
has been tendered and the landowner has refused to receive
it, it cannot be said that the liability arising from nonpayment of the amount is that of lapse of acquisition.
Interest would follow in such a case also due to non-deposit
of the amount. Equally, when the landowner does not accept
the amount, but seeks a reference for higher compensation,
there can be no question of such individual stating that he
was not paid the amount (he was determined to be entitled
to by the Collector). In such case, the landowner would be
entitled to the compensation determined by the Reference
Court.
xx xx xx
19
244. The proviso to Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, intends
that the Collector would have sufficient funds to deposit it
with respect to the majority of landholdings. In case
compensation has not been paid or deposited with respect
to majority of landholdings, all the beneficiaries are entitled
for higher compensation. In case money has not been
deposited with the Land Acquisition Collector or in the
treasury or in court with respect to majority of landholdings,
the consequence has to follow of higher compensation as
per the proviso to Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act. Even
otherwise, if deposit in treasury is irregular, then the interest
would follow as envisaged under Section 34 of the 1894 Act.
Section 24(2) is attracted if acquisition proceeding is not
completed within 5 years after the pronouncement of
award…………………….. The 2013 Act applies only to the
pending proceedings in which possession has not been
taken or compensation has not paid and not to a case where
proceedings have been concluded long back, Section 24(2)
is not a tool to revive those proceedings and to question the
validity of taking acquisition proceedings due to which
possession in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s were taken, or to
question the manner of deposit of amount in the treasury.
The 2013 Act never intended revival of such claims. In case
such landowners were interested in questioning the
proceedings of taking possession or mode of deposit with
the treasury, such a challenge was permissible within the
time available with them to do so. They cannot wake from
deep slumber and raise such claims in order to defeat the
acquisition validly made. In our opinion, the law never
contemplates—nor permits—misuse much less gross abuse
of its provisions to reopen all the acquisitions made after
1984, and it is the duty of the court to examine the details
of such claims. There are several litigations before us where
landowners, having lost the challenge to the validity of
acquisition proceedings and after having sought
enhancement of the amount in the reference succeeding in
it nevertheless are seeking relief arguing about lapse of
acquisition after several rounds of litigation.
xx xx xx
247. The question which arises whether there is any
difference between taking possession under the 1894 Act
and the expression “physical possession” used in Section
24(2). As a matter of fact, what was contemplated under the
1894 Act, by taking the possession meant only physical
possession of the land. Taking over the possession under the
20
2013 Act always amounted to taking over physical
possession of the land. When the State Government
acquires land and draws up a memorandum of taking
possession, that amounts to taking the physical possession
of the land. On the large chunk of property or otherwise
which is acquired, the Government is not supposed to put
some other person or the police force in possession to retain
it and start cultivating it till the land is used by it for the
purpose for which it has been acquired. The Government is
not supposed to start residing or to physically occupy it once
possession has been taken by drawing the inquest
proceedings for obtaining possession thereof. Thereafter, if
any further retaining of land or any re-entry is made on the
land or someone starts cultivation on the open land or starts
residing in the outhouse, etc. is deemed to be the trespasser
on land which is in possession of the State. The possession
of trespasser always inures for the benefit of the real owner
that is the State Government in the case.”
30. It was held that under Section 16 of the Act, vesting of title in the
Government is complete immediately upon taking of possession,
and the acquired land becomes the property of the State under
Sections 16 and 17 of the Act without any condition or limitation
either as to title or possession. It was held that if
once panchnama had been drawn of taking possession, thereafter
re-entry or retaining the possession is that of the trespasser. This
Court held as under:
“249. The concept of possession is complex one. It
comprises the right to possess and to exclude others,
essential is animus possidendi. Possession depends upon
the character of the thing which is possessed. If the land is
not capable of any use, mere non-user of it does not lead to
the inference that the owner is not in possession. The
established principle is that the possession follows title.
Possession comprises of the control over the property. The
element of possession is the physical control or the power
over the object and intention or will to exercise the power.
Corpus and animus are both necessary and have to co-exist.
Possession of the acquired land is taken under the 1894 Act
under Section 16 or 17, as the case may be. The
21
Government has a right to acquire the property for public
purpose. The stage under Section 16 comes for taking
possession after issuance of notification under Section 4(1)
and stage of Section 9(1). Under Section 16, vesting is after
passing of the award on taking possession and under
Section 17 before passing of the award.
xx xx xx
345. Section 24(2) is sought to be used as an umbrella so as
to question the concluded proceedings in which possession
has been taken, development has been made, and
compensation has been deposited, but may be due to
refusal, it has not been collected. The challenge to the
acquisition proceedings cannot be made within the
parameters of Section 24(2) once panchnama had been
drawn of taking possession, thereafter re-entry or retaining
the possession is that of the trespasser. The legality of the
proceedings cannot be challenged belatedly, and the right
to challenge cannot be revived by virtue of the provisions of
Section 24(2). Section 24(2) only contemplates
lethargy/inaction of the authorities to act for five years or
more. It is very easy to lay a claim that physical possession
was not taken, with respect to open land. Yet, once vesting
takes place, possession is presumed to be that of the owner
i.e. the State Government and land has been transferred to
the beneficiaries, corporations, authorities, etc. for
developmental purposes and third-party interests have
intervened. Such challenges cannot be entertained at all
under the purview of Section 24(2) as it is not what is
remotely contemplated in Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act.”
31. This Court concluded as under:
“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
22
compensation in court. The consequence of non-deposit 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 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 non-deposit
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 non-payment or non-deposit 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.
366.7. 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. 1-1-2014. It does not revive stale and time-barred
claims and does not 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.”
23
32. Further, this Court in a judgment reported as Shyam Nandan
Prasad & Ors. v. State of Bihar & Ors.
16
 held that the
notification under Section 6 of the Act could not have been set
aside and should have individualized justice vis-à-vis each writ
petitioner. It was held as under:
“22. Having thus clarified the law governing the field, we
would open doors for streams of equities and discretions to
enter in the exercise of power by the High Court under
Article 226 of the Constitution. As observed earlier, we are
of the view that the High Court should not have upset the
notification under Section 6 of the Act as a whole and should
have individualised justice vis-a-vis each writ petitioner
before it, having regard to the equities interplaying in each
case and to the regulation of its discretion keeping in view
host of other factors which weigh with the High Court to
deny, grant or mould relief even when illegalities in
procedure keep staring. Thus for the view afore-expressed,
we allow these appeals, set aside the impugned orders of
the High Court and remit all these matters back to it with
the request that though it may take them up as a batch, it
may give individual attention to each case, view the
illegalities pointed out by the writ petitioner in their right
perspective having regard to the time factor and confine the
relief, if due, to him separately. We shall not be taken to
have controlled the discretion of the High Court in
administering individualised justice and amongst others it
may, with the cooperation of the Society and of the State
Government, as also the writ petitioners examine the
possibility of an equitable solution so that the fist of law and
the discretion of the court do not hurt unbearably. We thus
remit the matters to the High Court without any order as to
costs.”
33. In Chairman and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Housing
Board & Anr. v. S. Saraswathy & Ors.
17
, this Court held that
Section 6 declaration cannot be treated to be quashed in entirety
unless it is quashed in toto or in its wholeness by the Court
16 (1993) 4 SCC 255
17 (2015) 8 SCC 723
24
specifically. It was held as under:
“11. We are respectfully in accord with the observations of
Coordinate Benches that unless the declaration under
Section 6 or the notification under Section 4 of the Act is not
explicitly quashed in toto or in its wholeness by the Court,
the benefits of relief granted by the Court would be effective
only qua the parties before it. As already adumbrated above,
at the time the appeal of A.S. Naidu came to be decided, the
three year limitation period to publish a declaration under
Section 6 of the Act had already expired, making it
impossible for the Government to complete a fresh process
culminating in another declaration; and it was for this reason
that the acquisition was quashed by the Court.
12. It has been repeatedly reiterated by this Court that
those who have missed the boat in challenging the
acquisition proceedings, who sat idle and have let the grass
grow under their feet cannot, thereafter, be permitted to
jump on the bandwagon of others who entered the portals of
the Court at the appropriate time and thereafter obtained
favourable orders. Significantly, in Chandrasekaran [(2010)
2 SCC 786 : (2010) 1 SCC (Civ) 553] the Court was alive to
the reality of utilisation of large chunks of land by the State
for housing scheme; and in this scenario, it was obviously
and rightly reluctant and facially hesitant to quash the
acquisition proceedings in toto, knowing that that would
result in grave consequences to society. In this analysis, the
respondents including their vendor, P. Velu, cannot be
permitted to take any advantage of the orders passed by
this Court in A.S. Naidu [A.S. Naidu v. State of T.N., (2010) 2
SCC 801 : (2010) 1 SCC (Civ) 568] .”
34. In another judgment reported as State of Haryana & Anr. v.
Devander Sagar & Ors.
18
, this Court has held that the acquisition
proceedings cannot be quashed of one or two land owners. It is
the duty of the land owners to challenge the acquisition
proceedings at lease before award is pronounced and possession is
taken. It was held as under:
“11. It would be pertinent to clarify that the quashing of the
18 (2016) 14 SCC 746
25
entire acquisition proceeding has to be explicitly expressed.
This Court has in Shyam Nandan Prasad v. State of
Bihar [Shyam Nandan Prasad v. State of Bihar, (1993) 4 SCC
255] , Delhi Admn. v. Gurdip Singh Uban [Delhi
Admn. v. Gurdip Singh Uban, (1999) 7 SCC 44] , Delhi
Admn. v. Gurdip Singh Uban [Delhi Admn. v. Gurdip Singh
Uban, (2000) 7 SCC 296] and T.N. Housing Board v. S.
Saraswathy [T.N. Housing Board v. S. Saraswathy, (2015) 8
SCC 723 : (2015) 4 SCC (Civ) 443] reiterated and restated
the established and consistent view that quashing of
acquisition proceedings at the instance of one or two
landowners does not have the effect of nullifying the entire
acquisition. In A.P. Industrial Infrastructure Corpn.
Ltd. v. Chinthamaneni Narasimha Rao [A.P. Industrial
Infrastructure Corpn. Ltd. v. Chinthamaneni Narasimha Rao,
(2012) 12 SCC 797 : (2013) 2 SCC (Civ) 731] this Court has
reiterated the established proposition that landowners who
are aggrieved by the acquisition proceedings would have to
lay a challenge to them at least before an award is
pronounced and possession of the land is taken over by the
Government. Numerous decisions of this Court have been
discussed obviating the need to analyse all of them once
again. However, generally speaking, the courts come to the
succour of those who approach it. In some instances,
equities are equalised by allowing subsequent slothful
petitioners, belatedly and conveniently jumping on the
bandwagons, to receive, at the highest, compensation
granted to others sans interest.”
35. The original land owner had filed a writ petition before the Delhi
High Court but such writ petition was dismissed on 02.12.1985.
The Special Leave Petition was withdrawn on 12.09.1989 even
though the reservation was conveyed by the learned counsel
appearing for the appellant. Such withdrawal was after the
judgment of the High Court in Balbir Singh case. The original land
owners have made a conscious decision not to continue with the
Special Leave Petitions. Thus, all the objections which were
available to the original land owner including the purchaser up to
that stage cannot be permitted to be raised again.
26
36. In Balak Ram-II, the acquisition proceedings were quashed since
the objections filed by the land owners were not heard or decided
in accordance with law. Thus, Balak Ram-II is a judgment in
personam and not in rem, as the grievance of the writ petitioners
was specific to them. The judgment of the High Court in Balbir
Singh is based upon the fact that in Balak Ram-II, the entire
notification under Section 6 of the Act stands quashed. Such
aspect has not found favor in Abhey Ram and Gurdip Singh
Uban-I and II. Otherwise also, non-hearing of objections filed
would be limited to those land owners who have filed objections.
The predecessor-in-interest of the purchaser has not filed any
objections under Section 5A of the Act, therefore, the judgment in
Balak Ram-II cannot come to the aid of land owners who have
never preferred any objections.
37. Therefore, the judgment in Balbir Singh does not confer any right
on the other land owners who have not disputed the acquisition
proceedings on the ground of lack of effective hearing of objections
under Section 5-A of the Act. Since the original land owner never
filed any objections under Section 5-A of the Act, the purchaser
cannot seek the relief which was not available even to the original
land owner.
38. The purchaser has purchased the property knowing fully well that
the vendor has not disputed the acquisition proceedings. But on
the basis of an order passed in Balbir Singh, it was conveyed and
accepted by the purchaser, that the acquisition stands quashed
27
and original land owner was in possession of the land. Since
Sudan Singh, affirming the order in Balbir Singh has not been
approved by this Court in the three judgments referred
hereinabove (Abhey Ram, Gurdip Singh Uban-I and Gurdip
Singh Uban-II), no right would accrue to the original land owner
or the purchaser. The High Court in the impugned order has not
noticed any of the three judgments of this Court in Abhey Ram,
Gurdip Singh Uban-I and Gurdip Singh Uban-II nullifying the
effect of Balbir Singh and instead ordered the purchaser to
deposit twice of the amount paid to the original land owner. The
condition of payment of compensation in Balbir Singh by the land
owners does not survive in view of the fact that such judgment has
not been approved by this Court.
39. In the present case, as per the purchaser itself, the possession of
Part A land comprising in Khasra No. 384 (4-6), 385 (4-6) and 390
(4-6) total measuring 12 Bigha and 18 Biswa was taken by the
Appellant and the compensation was paid. The argument is that in
terms of the impugned orders of the High Court, the purchaser had
deposited Rs.16,61,774/-, therefore, the acquisition stand lapsed.
Such deposit is in turn based on the order of the High Court in
Balbir Singh. The deposit by the purchaser, either in terms of the
impugned order or the order passed in Balbir Singh, is wholly
inconsequential. The amount of compensation was paid on behalf
of the appellant. Therefore, the compensation of the acquired land
paid by the appellant cannot lead to lapsing of the acquisition in
28
terms of Indore Development Authority. The purchaser in its
written submissions had made no reference to the later judgments
of this Court referred to above. The deposit in terms of the order of
the High Court will not lead to lapsing of the acquisition
proceedings, such orders being absolutely being illegal. Thus, in
respect of Part A land, the purchaser cannot take shelter of the
order, which had no legal value and stands nullified. Even
otherwise, there could not be any direction to deposit the amount
now after more than 25 years. The right which has been lost due
to passage of time cannot be revived by virtue of deposit of the
amount subsequent to orders of the High Court.
40. In respect of Part B land, comprising of Khasra Nos. 376 (4-6), 377
(4-16), 381 Min (1-2), 383 (4-16), 386/1 Min (0-4) and 386/2 Min (0-
6) total 15 Bigha 10 Biswa, the stand of the appellant in the
counter affidavit filed before the High Court was that the physical
possession of the acquired land falling in khasra no. 384(4-16),
385(4-06) & 390(4-06) in village Shayoorpur had been handed
over to the respondent no. 2-Delhi Development Authority on
14.07.87 by the LAC/Land & Building Department, Govt. of National
Capital Territory of Delhi, however physical possession of khasra no
386/1 Min. (0-04), 386/2 Min(0-06), 376(4-16), 377 (4-16), 381 Min
(1-02), 383(4-16) has not been handed over to the respondent no.
2-Delhi Development Authority by the LAC/Land & Building
Department, Govt. of National Capital Territory of Delhi. Still
further, the purchaser in its IA had asserted that the lands of which
29
possession has not been taken but compensation amount was
placed in RD with LAC, bear Kh. No. 376(4-6), 377(4-16), 381 min.
(1-2), 383 (4-16), 386/1 min. (0-4), 386/2 min. (0-6) total
measuring 15 Bigha and 10 Biswa of Village Sayoorpur, Delhi.
Thus, we find that possession was in fact taken of the entire
acquired land and compensation was deposited. If the appellant
had not been able to utilize the land on account an order of stay of
dispossession in various writ petitions filed, that would not be a
material fact to return a finding that the purchaser continues to be
in possession. As reiterated above, after the panchnama had been
prepared, the possession of the land owners would be that of a
trespasser.
41. The purchaser had in fact filed a Writ of Mandamus for delivering
the possession of the entire acquired land. Such claim of
Mandamus shows that the purchaser is out of possession.
Therefore, the condition in Indore Development Authority for
lapsing of the acquisition is not satisfied. Therefore, as per the
purchaser, the possession has been taken of the part of the land
and compensation has been deposited in respect of the remaining
land. Thus, the twin conditions as laid down by this Court are not
satisfied.
42. Even otherwise, the stand of the appellant is that the possession of
the entire land was taken on 14.7.1987 whereas possession of land
measuring 12 Bigha 18 Biswa was handed over to it, whereas the
possession of the remaining land measuring 15 Bigha 10 Biswa is
30
with the Government of Delhi. Therefore, the purchaser is not
entitled to any declaration of lapsing of acquisition proceedings
inter alia on the ground that it has purchased the land after vesting
of the land with the State and the possession has been taken of the
land measuring 28 Bigha 8 Biswa and the compensation has also
been deposited in respect of entire land, though the compensation
in respect of land admeasuring 12 Bigha 18 Biswa was disbursed.
The remaining amount of compensation was with the Land
Acquisition Collector.
43. Still further, the purchaser had purchased the property after
vesting of the land with the State. In fact, in Manav Dharam
Trust, earlier three Judge Bench judgment in M. Venkatesh was
not even referred to. The purchaser has no right to claim lapsing of
acquisition proceedings in view of the recent larger Bench
judgment of this Court reported as Shiv Kumar & Anr. v. Union
of India & Ors.
19
 wherein the judgment rendered by two-Judge
Bench in Manav Dharam Trust was not found to be a good law.
Hence, the purchaser has no right to claim a declaration sought for.
It was held as under:
“26. In Manav Dharam Trust [State (NCT of Delhi) v. Manav
Dharam Trust, (2017) 6 SCC 751 : (2017) 3 SCC (Civ) 611] ,
even the provisions of the Act of 2013 have not been taken
into consideration, which prohibits such transactions in
particular provisions of Section 11, including the proviso to
Section 24(2). Apart from that, it was not legally permissible
to a Division Bench to ignore the decisions of the larger
Bench comprising of three Judges and of coordinate Bench.
They were not per incuriam and were relevant for deciding
the issue of taking possession under the 1894 Act, at the
instance of purchaser. In case it wanted to depart from the
19 (2019) 10 SCC 229
31
view taken earlier, it ought to have referred the matter to a
larger Bench. It has been ignored that when a purchase is
void, then no declaration can be sought on the ground that
the land acquisition under the 2013 Act has lapsed due to
illegality/irregularity of proceedings of taking possession
under the 1894 Act. No declaration can be sought by a
purchaser under Section 24 that acquisition has lapsed,
effect of which would be to get back the land. They cannot
seek declaration that acquisition made under the 1894 Act
has lapsed by the challenge to the proceedings of taking
possession under the 1894 Act. Such right was not available
after the purchase in 2000 and no such right has been
provided to the purchasers under the 2013 Act also.
Granting a right to question acquisition would be against the
public policy and the law which prohibits such transactions;
it cannot be given effect to under the guise of subsequent
legislation containing similar provisions. Subsequent
legislation does not confer any new right to a person based
on such void transaction; instead, it includes a provision
prohibiting such transactions without permission of the
Collector as provided in Section 11(4).
27. Thus, we have to follow the decisions including that of
larger Bench mentioned above, laying down the law on the
subject, which still holds the field and were wrongly
distinguished. The binding value of the decisions of larger
and coordinate Benches have been ignored while
deciding Manav Dharam Trust case [State (NCT of
Delhi) v. Manav Dharam Trust, (2017) 6 SCC 751 : (2017) 3
SCC (Civ) 611] , it was not open to it to take a different view.
The decision in Manav Dharam Trust [State (NCT of
Delhi) v. Manav Dharam Trust, (2017) 6 SCC 751 : (2017) 3
SCC (Civ) 611] is per incuriam in light of this decision of this
Court in Mamleshwar Prasad v. Kanhaiya Lal [Mamleshwar
Prasad v. Kanhaiya Lal, (1975) 2 SCC 232] , A.R.
Antulay v. R.S. Nayak [A.R. Antulay v. R.S. Nayak, (1988) 2
SCC 602 : 1988 SCC (Cri) 372] , State of U.P. v. Synthetics
and Chemicals Ltd. [State of U.P. v. Synthetics and
Chemicals Ltd., (1991) 4 SCC 139] , B. Shama Rao v. State
(UT of Pondicherry) [B. Shama Rao v. State (UT of
Pondicherry), AIR 1967 SC 1480] , MCD v. Gurnam
Kaur [MCD v. Gurnam Kaur, (1989) 1 SCC 101] , State of
M.P. v. Narmada Bachao Andolan [State of M.P. v. Narmada
Bachao Andolan, (2011) 7 SCC 639 : (2011) 3 SCC (Civ)
875 : AIR 2011 SC 1989] , Hyder Consulting (UK)
Ltd. v. State of Orissa [Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd. v. State of
Orissa, (2015) 2 SCC 189 : (2015) 2 SCC (Civ) 38] and Sant
Lal Gupta v. Modern Coop. Group Housing Society Ltd. [Sant
32
Lal Gupta v. Modern Coop. Group Housing Society Ltd.,
(2010) 13 SCC 336 : (2010) 4 SCC (Civ) 904]
28. We hold that Division Bench in Manav Dharam
Trust [State (NCT of Delhi) v. Manav Dharam Trust, (2017) 6
SCC 751 : (2017) 3 SCC (Civ) 611] does not lay down the law
correctly. Given the several binding precedents which are
available and the provisions of the 2013 Act, we cannot
follow the decision in Manav Dharam Trust [State (NCT of
Delhi) v. Manav Dharam Trust, (2017) 6 SCC 751 : (2017) 3
SCC (Civ) 611] and overrule it. ”
44. In view of the above, the appeal is allowed. The order passed by
the High Court is set aside. However, the appellant shall refund the
amount of Rs.16,61,774/- to the purchaser, without any interest as
such deposit was a voluntary offer to deposit, in accordance with
law.
.............................................J.
(HEMANT GUPTA)
.............................................J.
(V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN)
NEW DELHI;
MAY 06, 2022.
33

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