YAMUNA EXPRESSWAY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ETC. VS SHAKUNTLA EDUCATION AND WELFARE SOCIETY & ORS. ETC. CASE

YAMUNA EXPRESSWAY INDUSTRIAL  DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ETC. VS SHAKUNTLA EDUCATION AND WELFARE  SOCIETY & ORS. ETC. CASE

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION 
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.4178­4197  OF 2022
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) Nos.10015­
10034 of 2020]
YAMUNA EXPRESSWAY INDUSTRIAL 
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ETC.      ...APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
SHAKUNTLA EDUCATION AND WELFARE 
SOCIETY & ORS. ETC.                             ...RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.4198­4217 OF 2022
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) Nos.9891­9910
of 2020]
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4218   OF 2022
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.14141 of
2020]
CIVIL APPEAL NO.  4219  OF 2022
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.300 of 2022]
1
J U D G M E N T 
B.R. GAVAI, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. This batch of appeals challenge the judgment and order
dated 28th May, 2020, passed by the Allahabad High Court in
various writ petitions filed by the allottees of plots of land.  The
writ petitions were filed challenging the demand of additional
amount   made   by   the   appellant   herein­Yamuna   Expressway
Industrial   Development   Authority   (hereinafter   referred   to   as
“YEIDA”) in respect of plots of land leased out to the allottees;
the resolution of the Board of YEIDA dated 15th  September,
2014, and the Government Order dated 29th August, 2014, vide
which the State Government had permitted YEIDA to recover
the additional amount from the allottees.  
3. The facts in the present case are not in dispute.  For the
sake of convenience, we will refer to the factual details as are
found in Writ Petition No.28968 of 2018, filed before the High
2
Court of Allahabad by M/s Shakuntla Education and Welfare
Society (the respondent No.1 herein). 
4. A vast area of land was acquired by the State of Uttar
Pradesh in Gautam Budh Nagar district for public purposes.
The said area of land was acquired for the benefit of YEIDA.
After the land was acquired, YEIDA invited applications for the
allotment   of   plots   of   land   in   the   area   developed   by  it.     In
response to the notice inviting applications for such allotment,
various allottees including the respondent No.1 herein applied
and were allotted plots admeasuring different sizes.  
5. The respondent No.1 was informed by letter dated 14th
September, 2009, that a plot of 50 acres of land has been
reserved for it.  Subsequently, a letter of allotment dated 10th
December, 2009 was issued to the respondent No.1, allotting
plot   No.2   in   Sector   7­A,   having   an   area   of   50   acres,   i.e.,
equivalent to 2,02,350 sq. meter.  In the allotment letter, it was
stated that the premium of the land allotted was Rs.1,055/­ per
sq. meter.  It was also mentioned that the respondent No.1 had
3
deposited 10% of the premium amount and the balance 90% of
the premium amount was payable in monthly installments as
specified in the chart contained therein.   The allotment letter
further stated that the lease deed shall be executed and the
possession of the land shall be handed over after completion of
the acquisition proceedings.   It was stated that the land was
already in possession of YEIDA.
6. It was the contention of the respondent No.1 that on the
basis of the aforesaid allotment letter, a lease deed came to be
executed in favour of the respondent No.1 on 22nd  January,
2010 for a period of 90 years after the respondent No.1 had
made substantial compliance with the terms and conditions of
the allotment and had deposited the necessary amount.   The
lease deed provided that in addition to the amount payable by
the respondent No.1, as mentioned in the allotment letter, a
further amount, i.e., 2.5% of the total premium of the plot was
payable as annual lease rent. 
4
7. It was further the case of the respondent No.1 that during
measurement, it was found that the plot allotted to it, had an
excess area of about 2 acres.   The said excess land was also
leased out to it on the same terms and conditions.   It was
further the case of the respondent No.1 that it was thereafter
given possession of the aforesaid land and on it, a University
known as Galgotias University was developed.  
8. It   was   further   the   case   of   the   respondent   No.1   that
subsequently YEIDA came out with a policy and gave an option
to the respondent No.1 to deposit the entire premium amount
in lump­sum rather than in installments.  This was subject to
certain rebate.  It was stated that in accordance with the said
policy, a lump­sum amount was worked out by YEIDA and the
same was also paid by the respondent No.1.  An undertaking
was also taken from the respondent No.1 on an affidavit on 7th
June, 2012, that in the event there was any clerical error or
miscalculation of the lump­sum amount, the respondent No.1
would make good the deficiency.  
5
9. The   State   of   Uttar   Pradesh   had   also   made   large­scale
acquisition of lands for the benefit of New Okhla Industrial
Development Authority (“NOIDA” for short) and Greater NOIDA.
A   number   of   writ   petitions   came   to   be   filed   by   farmers
challenging the said acquisition on various grounds before the
Allahabad High Court.  The main ground of challenge was that
there   was   no   urgency   for   acquiring   the   land   and   as   such,
invoking   Section   17   of   the   Land   Acquisition   Act,   1894
(hereinafter referred to as “the L.A. Act”) was not warranted.  It
was contended that on account of invoking of Section 17 of the
L.A. Act, a valuable right available to the writ petitioners under
Section 5A of the L.A. Act was taken away.   All the said writ
petitions came to be decided vide the judgment and order dated
21st October, 2011.  In the leading case, i.e., Gajraj and others
vs. State of U.P. and others1
, the Full Bench of the Allahabad
High Court came to a finding that the urgency clause ought not
to have been invoked and the farmers were unlawfully denied
the benefit of Section 5A of the L.A. Act, wherein they could
1 2011 SCC OnLine All 1711
6
raise objections to the acquisition of the land.  However, taking
into consideration the subsequent developments that the lands
had already been developed and third party rights had accrued,
the Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the case of
Gajraj  (supra)   considered   it   appropriate   not   to   disturb   the
acquisition.  In order to balance the equities, the Full Bench of
the   Allahabad   High   Court   directed   payment   of   additional
compensation   of   64.7%   plus   some  other   benefits   to   certain
class of farmers.   It also directed certain other benefits to be
given to the farmers.  The aforesaid additional compensation of
64.7% was worked out by the Court taking into consideration
the fact that in respect of one of the villages, i.e., Patwari,
NOIDA itself had entered into negotiations with the farmers and
had  extended  the benefit  of additional compensation  at the
aforesaid rate over and above the compensation awarded.  
10. The aforesaid judgment and order of the Full Bench of the
Allahabad High Court in the case of Gajraj  (supra) came to be
7
confirmed by this Court in the case of Savitri Devi vs. State
of Uttar Pradesh and others2
.  
11. Since   the   farmers,   whose   lands   were   acquired   for   the
benefit   of   NOIDA   and   Greater   NOIDA,   were   being   paid
additional compensation of 64.7%, there was unrest amongst
the farmers whose lands were acquired for YEIDA.  It appears
that on account of agitation by the farmers, vast stretches of
lands could not be developed.   As such, the Chief Executive
Officer (hereinafter referred to as “CEO”) of YEIDA addressed a
letter   dated   10th  April,   2013,   to   the   State   Government,
requesting to find a solution.  The State Government, acting on
the said letter, instructed the Commissioner, Meerut Division,
Meerut, vide its letter of the same day, i.e., dated 10th  April,
2013, to meet various groups of farmers and submit a report.  
12. Accordingly,   the   Commissioner   held   a   meeting   with
various   groups   of   farmers   and   the   concerned   District
Magistrates, and submitted a report to the State Government
2 (2015) 7 SCC 21
8
on 16th July, 2013, recommending constitution of a High­Level
Committee. 
13. The   State   Government   vide   Office   Memo   dated   3rd
September, 2013, constituted a High­Level Committee under
the   Chairmanship   of   Sri   Rajendra   Chaudhary,   Minister   of
Prison, State of Uttar Pradesh (hereinafter referred to as “the
Chaudhary   Committee”).     The   Chaudhary   Committee   also
consisted   of   the   Divisional   Commissioner   of   the   concerned
Division   and   the   Collector   of   concerned   District.     The
Chaudhary Committee submitted its recommendations to the
State Government, inter alia, recommending for the payment of
64.7%   additional   amount   as   “no   litigation   incentive”   to   the
farmers and for its reimbursement from the allottees in the
appropriate proportion.  
14. The State Government accepted the recommendations of
the   Chaudhary   Committee   and   issued   a   Government   Order
dated 29th  August, 2014 (hereinafter referred to as “the said
G.O.”).   The said G.O. provided that the farmers should be
9
offered 64.7% additional amount on the condition that they
withdraw their petitions challenging the acquisition proceedings
and undertake not to institute any litigation and create any
hindrance in the development work of YEIDA.  It was clarified
in   the   said   G.O.   that   the   Government   would   not   bear   the
burden of the additional amount. 
15. The said G.O. was placed before the Board of YEIDA in its
meeting,  held  on  15th  September,   2014,  and   the   same  was
approved   in   the   said   meeting   on   the   very   same   day,   vide
Resolution dated 15th September, 2014. 
16. In pursuance to the said G.O. and the Resolution dated
15th September, 2014 of the Board of YEIDA, additional demand
notices   were   issued   to   various   allottees.     In   case   of   the
respondent No.1, an additional premium at the rate of Rs.600/­
per sq. meter, for the land allotted and leased out, came to be
demanded, totaling to Rs.12,14,10,000/­.  
10
17. It was in this background that various writ petitions came
to be filed before the Allahabad High Court, including Writ
Petition No.28968 of 2018, filed by the respondent No.1.  
18. By the  impugned judgment and order dated 28th  May,
2020, the Allahabad High Court allowed the said writ petitions
holding that:­
(i) the decision in the case of Gajraj  (supra), as approved
by this Court in the case of Savitri Devi  (supra), was
not a judgment in rem and could not have been applied
to proceedings for acquiring the land under different
notifications or for YEIDA; 
(ii) the said G.O. and the Resolution of the Board of YEIDA
dated   15th  September,   2014   were   violative   of   the
provisions of the L.A. Act; and
(iii) the   policy   of   the   State   Government   was   unfair,
unreasonable,   arbitrary   and   in   violation   of   the
provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882.  
11
19. Being aggrieved thereby, the present appeals by way of
special leave have been filed on behalf of YEIDA, State of Uttar
Pradesh and farmers whose lands were acquired.
20. We have heard Shri C.A. Sundaram, Shri C.U. Singh and
Shri   Maninder   Singh,   learned   Senior   Counsel   appearing   on
behalf   of   YEIDA,   Shri   Vinod   Diwakar,   learned   Additional
Advocate General appearing on behalf of the State of Uttar
Pradesh,   Shri   Rakesh   U.   Upadhyay   and   Dr.   Surat   Singh,
learned counsel appearing on behalf of the farmers whose lands
were   acquired,   Shri   Nakul   Dewan,   Shri   Sunil   Gupta,   Shri
Ravindra   Srivastava   and   Shri   Sanjiv   Sen,   learned   Senior
Counsel   appearing   on   behalf   of   the   respondents­original
allottees of land. 
21. The   main   contention   of   the   appellants   in   the   present
appeals is that the said G.O. was a policy decision of the State
Government, taken in public interest.  It is submitted that the
said policy decision was taken after taking into consideration
the farmers’ agitation, the report of the Chaudhary Committee
12
and all other relevant factors.  It is submitted that in order to
avoid acquisitions from being declared illegal, the Cabinet of
Ministers   of   the   State   Government   had   taken   a   considered
decision   to   adopt   a   formula,   which   was   carved   out   by   the
judgment of the Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the
case of Gajraj (supra) and approved by this Court in the case of
Savitri Devi (supra).
22. It is also the contention on behalf of the appellants that
the policy of the State Government was in consonance with the
decision of this Court in the case of Centre for Public Interest
Litigation   and   others   vs.   Union   of   India   and   others3
,
wherein this Court has held that it is obligatory on the State to
ensure that people are adequately compensated for the transfer
of resource to the private domain.  Relying on the judgment of
this Court in the case of Narmada Bachao Andolan vs. Union
of   India  and  others4
, it is submitted that the policy of the
State Government was formulated by looking at the welfare of
3 (2012) 3 SCC 1
4 (2000) 10 SCC 664
13
the people at large rather than restricting the benefit to a small
section of the society. Relying on various judgments of this
Court, it is submitted that when the change in the policy of the
State is in public interest, it will override all private agreements
entered into by the State.  
23. It is further submitted on behalf of the appellants that, as
a   matter   of   fact,   on   account   of   agitation   of   the   farmers,
development could not take place in the concerned area.  It is
submitted that various plot owners had approached the State
Government and its authorities for finding out a solution to
these problems, so that the development could proceed further.
It   is   submitted   that   the   proceedings   of   the   Chaudhary
Committee   would   itself   reveal   that   all   the   stakeholders
including the representatives of allottees were heard by the
Chaudhary Committee.   Not only that, but various allottees
had,   in   writing,   agreed   that   they   are   willing   to   pay   the
additional   compensation   so   that   the   hindrance   in   the
development is removed.   It is therefore submitted that it does
14
not lie in the mouth of the respondents to question the said
G.O. and oppose the payment of additional compensation.  
24. Relying on various judgments of this Court, it is further
submitted on behalf of the appellants that the lease deed itself
permitted additions, alterations or modifications in the terms
and conditions of the lease.   As such, even as per the lease
deed, the appellants were entitled to modify or alter the terms
and conditions of the lease.     It is submitted that the word
“modify”   has   to   be   used   in   a   broader   sense   and   not   in   a
narrower sense.  
25. Learned counsel for the appellants further submitted that
the   High   Court   fell   in   great   error   in   holding   that   no   writ
petitions were pending.  It is submitted that, as a matter of fact,
more than 600 writ petitions were pending when the policy
decision was taken by the State Government.  It is submitted
that the policy decision was taken so as to save the acquisition,
which was otherwise liable to be quashed and set aside.  It is
submitted   that   it   is,   in   fact,   the   respondents,   who  are   the
15
beneficiaries of the said measure and as such, having taken
benefit of the said measure, they cannot be permitted to refuse
to pay the additional compensation.  
26. It is also submitted on behalf of the appellants that the
allotees had an option, either to make additional payment or to
take refund with interest.  Having opted not to seek refund with
interest, it does not lie in the mouth of the respondents to
refuse to pay the additional compensation.  
27. It is also submitted on behalf of appellant­YEIDA that it
had specifically submitted that stay orders passed by the High
Court were in force in most of the cases related to residential
plots,   due   to   which   the   development   work   could   not   be
completed. 
28. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the farmers also
support the stand of YEIDA.  It is submitted that the builders
had   already   recovered   additional   compensation   from   the
homebuyers.     As   such,   the   additional   compensation   was
already passed on by the builders to the homebuyers.   It is
16
submitted that if the contention of the respondents is accepted,
it   will   amount   to   nothing   else   but   allowing   of   unjust
enrichment.  
29. It   is   further   submitted   that   the   respondents   were   not
entitled   to   the   discretionary   relief   under   Article   226   of   the
Constitution of India.   The writ petitions filed by them before
the Allahabad High Court were filed without impleading the
farmers who were necessary parties as respondents to the writ
petitions.  
30. Elaborate arguments have been advanced on behalf of the
respondents.  To summarize, they are as under:
(i) The respondents had not given any undertaking to pay
additional compensation, as stated;
(ii) The   term   “modification/addition”   with   regard   to
payment was restricted only to any clerical or technical
error;
17
(iii) The High Court has rightly held that Gajraj (supra) and
Savitri Devi  (supra) applied only to the peculiar facts
and   circumstances   of   those   cases.     In   the   case   of
Gajraj  (supra),   the   High   Court   had   done   elaborate
exercise of categorizing the cases into three types.  In
any   case,   it   is   submitted   that   the   State   itself   was
aggrieved by the decision in Gajraj  (supra), which has
been challenged by it before this Court;  
(iv) In the present case, many of the acquisitions were by
private negotiations and as such, there is no question of
applicability of either Section 17 or Section 5A of the
L.A. Act;  
(v) There were concluded contracts entered between the
allottees and YEIDA.   As such, it was not open  for
YEIDA to unilaterally change the terms and conditions
of the contract and enhance the lease premium; 
18
(vi) The   High   Court   has   rightly   held   that   the   so­called
policy of the State Government was arbitrary, irrational
and therefore not sustainable in law; 
(vii) On behalf of the respondent No.19­Supertech Limited,
an   additional   submission   was   made   that   the
appropriate   authority   has   already   passed   an   order
admitting   the   petition   filed   under   Section   7   of   the
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016;  
(viii) On behalf of the individual plot owners, it is submitted
that the said plot owners, who belong to the middle
class section of the society cannot be burdened with the
additional amount.  
(ix) The respondents also placed reliance on the judgment
of this Court in the case of ITC Limited vs. State of
Uttar Pradesh and others5
 to support the proposition
that  concluded contracts cannot be interfered with or
reopened.  
5 (2011) 7 SCC 493
19
31. With the assistance of the learned counsel for the parties,
we have perused the material on record. 
32. The main reasons that weighed with the High Court while
allowing the writ petitions are thus:
(i) That the lands which were acquired for YEIDA in the
present case were under different notification than the
notification which fell for consideration in the case of
Gajraj (supra);
(ii) That this Court in the case of Savitri Devi (supra) has
categorically held that the directions given in the case
of Gajraj  (supra) were issued by the High Court in the
peculiar   facts   and   circumstances   of   the   case   and
therefore, the same could not have been applied to the
facts of the present case;
(iii) That some other petitions filed before the High Court
claiming the benefit on the basis of Gajraj (supra) were
ultimately rejected by the High Court;
20
(iv) That   the   State   Government   has   to   strictly   act   in
accordance  with   the  law  or  statutory  provisions.    It
cannot act arbitrarily or in an unfair manner in breach
of specific provisions of law;
(v) That it is only for the Courts to grant equitable relief
and the Government is not entitled to pass order on
equitable ground of law.  
33. We are called upon to examine the correctness of these
findings.  
34. The relevant portion of the judgment of the Full Bench of
the High Court in the case of Gajraj  (supra) is reproduced by
this   Court   in   the   case   of  Savitri   Devi  (supra).     It   will   be
apposite to refer to following observations in the case of Savitri
Devi (supra):
“20. In   a   nutshell,   relief   was   categorised   in
three   compartments.   In   the   first   instance,
those writ petitions which were filed belatedly
were dismissed. In the second category, three
villages,   namely,   Devala   (Group   40),   Village
21
Yusufpur Chak Sahberi (Group 38) and Village
Asdullapur (Group 42) the acquisition was set
aside. Land acquisition in respect of remaining
61 villages is concerned, the acquisition was
allowed   to   remain   but   the   additional
compensation   was   increased   to   64.7%with
further   entitlement   for   allotment   of
development abadi plot to the extent of 10%of
the acquired land of those landowners subject
to maximum of 2500 sq m.
21. We   now   reproduce   the   exact   nature   of
direction [2011 SCC OnLine All 1711] given by
the High Court, which reads as follows: (Gajraj
case [2011   SCC   OnLine   All   1711]   ,   SCC
OnLine All)
“In view of the foregoing conclusions we
order as follows:
1. Writ   Petition   No.   45933   of   2011,
Writ Petition No. 47545 of 2011 relating
to Village Nithari, Writ Petition No. 47522
of 2011 relating to Village Sadarpur, Writ
Petition No. 45196 of 2011, Writ Petition
No.   45208   of   2011,   Writ   Petition   No.
45211 of 2011, Writ Petition No. 45213 of
2011, Writ Petition No. 45216 of 2011,
Writ   Petitions   Nos.   45223­24   of   2011,
Writ   Petition   No.   45226   of   2011,   Writ
Petitions   Nos.   45229­30   of   2011,   Writ
Petition No. 45235 of 2011, Writ Petition
No.   45238   of   2011,   Writ   Petition   No.
45283 of 2011 relating to Village Khoda,
Writ   Petition   No.   46764   of   2011,   Writ
Petition   No.   46785   of   2011   relating   to
22
Village   Sultanpur,   Writ   Petition   No.
46407 of 2011 relating to Village Chaura
Sadatpur and Writ Petition No. 46470 of
2011   relating   to   Village   Alaverdipur
which   have   been   filed   with   inordinate
delay and laches are dismissed.
2. (i)   The   writ   petitions   of Group
40 (Village Devla) being Writ Petition No.
31126 of 2011, Writ Petition No. 59131 of
2009, Writ Petition No. 22800 of 2010,
Writ   Petition   No.   37118   of   2011,   Writ
Petition No. 42812 of 2009, Writ Petition
No.   50417   of   2009,   Writ   Petition   No.
54424 of 2009, Writ Petition No. 54652 of
2009, Writ Petition No. 55650 of 2009,
Writ   Petition   No.   57032   of   2009,   Writ
Petition No. 58318 of 2009, Writ Petition
No.   22798   of   2010,   Writ   Petition   No.
37784 of 2010, Writ Petition No. 37787 of
2010,   Writ   Petitions   Nos.   31124­25   of
2011, Writ Petition No. 32234 of 2011,
Writ   Petition   No.   32987   of   2011,   Writ
Petition No. 35648 of 2011, Writ Petition
No.   38059   of   2011,   Writ   Petition   No.
41339 of 2011, Writ Petition No. 47427 of
2011 and Writ Petition No. 47412 of 2011
are allowed and Notifications dated 26­5­
2009   and   22­6­2009   and   all
consequential actions are quashed. The
petitioners   shall   be   entitled   for
restoration   of   their   land   subject   to
deposit of compensation which they had
received   under   agreement/award   before
the Authority/Collector.
23
(ii)   Writ   Petition   No.   17725   of
2010 Omveer v. State   of   U.P. (Group   38)
relating to Village Yusufpur Chak Sahberi
is allowed. Notifications dated 10­4­2006
and   6­9­2007   and   all   consequential
actions are quashed. The petitioners shall
be entitled for restoration of their land
subject   to   return   of   compensation
received by them under agreement/award
to the Collector.
(iii)   Writ   Petition   No.   47486   of   2011
(Rajee v. State   of   U.P.)   of   Group   42
relating to Village Asdullapur is allowed.
Notifications   dated   27­1­2010   and   4­2­
2010   as   well   as   all   subsequent
proceedings are quashed. The petitioners
shall   be   entitled   to   restoration   of   their
land.
3. All   other   writ   petitions   except   as
mentioned   above   at   (1)   and   (2)   are
disposed of with the following directions:
(a) The petitioners shall be entitled
for   payment   of   additional
compensation   to   the   extent   of   same
ratio (i.e. 64.70%) as paid for Village
Patwari   in   addition   to   the
compensation received by them under
the 1997 Rules/award which payment
shall be ensured by the Authority at an
early   date.   It   may   be   open   for   the
Authority to take a decision as to what
proportion of additional compensation
be asked to be paid by the allottees.
Those   petitioners   who   have   not   yet
24
been paid compensation may be paid
the compensation as well as additional
compensation   as   ordered   above.   The
payment   of   additional   compensation
shall be without any prejudice to rights
of landowners under Section 18 of the
Act, if any.
(b)   All   the   petitioners   shall   be
entitled   for   allotment   of
developed abadi plot   to   the   extent   of
10%of their acquired land subject to
maximum of 2500 sq m. We however,
leave it open to the Authority in cases
where   allotment   of abadi plot   to   the
extent   of   6%or   8%has   already   been
made either to make allotment of the
balance of the area or may compensate
the   landowners   by   payment   of   the
amount equivalent to balance area as
per average rate of allotment made of
developed residential plots.
4. The   Authority   may   also   take   a
decision   as   to   whether   benefit   of
additional   compensation   and   allotment
of abadi plot to the extent of 10%be also
given to:
(a) those landholders whose earlier
writ   petition   challenging   the
notifications   has   been   dismissed
upholding the notifications; and
(b) those landholders who have not
come   to   the   Court,   relating   to   the
notifications   which   are   the   subject25
matter   of   challenge   in   the   writ
petitions mentioned at Direction 3.
5. Greater Noida and its allottees are
directed not to carry on development and
not to implement the Master Plan 2021
till the observations and directions of the
National Capital Regional Planning Board
are incorporated in Master Plan 2021 to
the   satisfaction   of   the   National   Capital
Regional   Planning   Board.   We   make   it
clear   that   this   direction   shall   not   be
applicable   in   those   cases   where   the
development   is   being   carried   on   in
accordance with the earlier Master Plan
of   Greater  Noida   duly   approved  by  the
National   Capital   Regional   Planning
Board.
6. We direct the Chief Secretary of the
State   to   appoint   officers   not   below   the
level   of   Principal   Secretary   (except   the
officers   of   Industrial   Development
Department   who   have   dealt   with   the
relevant   files)   to   conduct   a   thorough
inquiry   regarding   the   acts   of   Greater
Noida   (a)   in   proceeding   to   implement
Master   Plan   2021   without   approval   of
NCRP   Board,   (b)   decisions   taken   to
change the land use, (c) allotment made
to   the   builders,   and   (d)   indiscriminate
proposals   for   acquisition   of   land,   and
thereafter   the   State   Government   shall
take appropriate action in the matter.”
(emphasis in original)
26
22. We  may  point   out   at   this   stage   that   in
respect of all these three categories, the High
Court has provided its justification for granting
relief   in   the   aforesaid   nature.   We   shall   be
referring   to   the   same   while   discussing   the
cases of the appellants belonging to one or the
other category.”
35. After   considering   various   judgments,   this  Court   in  the
case of Savitri Devi (supra) observed thus:
“46. Thus, we have a scenario where, on
the   one   hand,   invocation   of   urgency
provisions under Section 17 of the Act
and   dispensing   with   the   right   to   file
objection under Section 5­A of the Act, is
found to be illegal. On the other hand, we
have a situation where because of delay
in challenging these acquisitions by the
landowners,   developments   have   taken
place in these villages and in most of the
cases,   third­party   rights   have   been
created.   Faced   with   this   situation,   the
High Court going by the spirit behind the
judgment   of   this   Court   in Bondu
Ramaswamy [(2010) 7 SCC 129 : (2010)
3 SCC (Civ) 1] came out with the solution
which is equitable to both sides. We are,
thus,   of   the   view   that   the   High   Court
considered   the   ground   realities   of   the
matter and arrived at a more practical
and   workable   solution   by   adequately
compensating the landowners in the form
of compensation as well as allotment of
27
developed abadi land at a higher rate i.e.
10%of the land acquired of each of the
landowners against the eligibility and to
(sic under)   the   policy   to   the   extent   of
5%and   6%of   Noida   and   Greater   Noida
land respectively.
36. It could thus be seen that this Court in the said case has
found   that   a   peculiar   situation   arose,   where   on   one   hand
invocation of urgency provisions under Section 17 of the L.A.
Act   and   dispensing   with   the   right   to   file   objections   under
Section 5A of the L.A. Act, were found to be illegal, while on the
other hand, the developments had already taken place in the
villages   and   in   most   of   the   cases,   third­party   rights   were
created. Faced with this situation, the High Court came out
with the solution which was equitable to both sides.     This
Court   found   that   the   High   Court   considered   the   ground
realities  of   the  matter  and   arrived  at   a  more  practical   and
workable solution by adequately compensating the landowners
in   the   form   of   compensation   as   well   as   allotment   of
developed abadi land at a higher rate.  
28
37. No doubt that this Court in paragraph 50 of the judgment
in the case of  Savitri   Devi  (supra)  makes it clear that the
directions  of the  High  Court were given  in  the  unique  and
peculiar/specific background and therefore, it would not form
precedent for future cases.  
38. It   is   to   be   noted   that   in   the   case   of  Greater   Noida
Industrial Development Authority vs. Savitri Mohan (Dead)
Through Legal Representatives and others6
, this Court was
considering the judgment of the Allahabad High Court, wherein
it had quashed and set aside the Notification under Section 4(1)
and Section 17(4) of the L.A. Act as well as the Notification
under Section 6 read with Section 17(1) of the L.A. Act.   A
specific question was framed by this Court in the said case in
paragraph 10, which reads thus:
“10. The only question for consideration
is whether the matter is covered by the
judgment   of   this   Court   in Savitri
Devi [Savitri Devi v. State of U.P., (2015) 7
SCC 21 : (2015) 3 SCC (Civ) 473] , as
claimed by the appellant in which case
6 (2016) 13 SCC 210
29
the respondents will be entitled to relief of
higher   compensation   and   allotment   of
land  instead of quashing of  acquisition
proceedings.”
39. Answering the aforesaid question, this Court in the said
case observed thus:
“13. A perusal of the above shows that
compensation   had   already   been
disbursed   to   the   extent   of   76%.
Thereafter, for the entire land of Village
Chhapraula falling in Group 18, the relief
granted   is   payment   of   additional
compensation and allotment of land. As
already noted, the part of the order where
relief of quashing of notification has been
given is not of the category of the present
case.   In   these   circumstances,   we   find
merit in the contention raised on behalf
of the appellant that the Division Bench
was in error in distinguishing the present
case   from   the   judgment
in Gajraj [Gajraj v. State of U.P., (2011) 11
ADJ 1 : 2011 SCC OnLine All 1711] .
14. As observed by this Court in Savitri
Devi [Savitri Devi v. State of U.P., (2015) 7
SCC 21 : (2015) 3 SCC (Civ) 473] , in
spite   of   the   finding   that   invocation   of
urgency   clause   was   uncalled   for,   the
relief of setting aside the acquisition was
not   granted   having   regard   to   the
30
development   that   had   already   been
undertaken   on   substantial   part   of   the
land.   However,   to   balance   the   equities
higher   compensation   and   allotment   of
land   was   ordered   to   meet   the   ends   of
justice.   [Savitri   Devi v. State   of   U.P.,
(2015) 7 SCC 21, para 17]”
40. It could thus clearly be seen that though this Court in the
case of Savitri Devi (supra) observed that the judgment in the
case of Gajraj  (supra) has to be construed particularly in the
unique   and   peculiar/specific   background,   in   the   case   of
Savitri   Mohan   (Dead)  (supra),  this   Court   had   followed   the
principle laid down in the cases of Gajraj  (supra) and Savitri
Devi  (supra)  and   held   that   to   balance   the   equities,   it   was
appropriate   to   issue   directions   for   payment   of   higher
compensation and allotment of additional land.  It was observed
that it was necessary to do so to meet the ends of justice. 
41. At   this   juncture,   we   will   have   to   consider   the   policy
decision of the State Government as formulated in the said
31
G.O. in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present
case.  
42. After the decision of this Court in the cases of  Gajraj
(supra)  and  Savitri   Devi  (supra),   64.7%   additional
compensation and 10% of the land acquired of each of the land
owners,   instead   of   5%   and   6%   was   made   available   to   the
farmers whose lands were acquired for the benefit of NOIDA as
well as Greater NOIDA.  The lands acquired for the benefit of
YEIDA  were   also   for   the   development   of   adjoining   areas.
Feeling discriminated that they were being paid compensation
at much lesser rate as compared to the farmers whose lands
were acquired for NOIDA and Greater NOIDA, various farmers’
organizations started agitations.  It is some of the allottees who
made   representations   to   the   CEO   of  YEIDA.     One   of   such
representations was made by the respondent No.19­Supertech
Private Limited to the CEO of YEIDA on 22nd November, 2013,
stating therein that on account of agitation by the Bhartiya
Kisan Union, they had to stop their work with effect from 20th
32
November, 2013. The said letter/representation stated that that
the main grievance of the office­holders of the Bhartiya Kisan
Union   was   that   they   want   increased   compensation   and   for
compensating the same, the Authority wants money from the
Builders. The said representation states that: 
““the   Authority   is   not   resolving   the
problems of the Farmers.  The main issue
of   farmers   is   that   they   want   increased
compensation, and for compensating the
same, the Authority wants money from
the Builders.   Builders are not ready to
pay this amount, due to which, we are
stopping   the   construction   works   of
Builders.”   During the discussion, it was
said by the Company that “We are not
against the farmers or against their rights
and company gives it’s consent on this
fact that whatever the consent would be
made   out   between   the   Authority   and
Government   on   the   compensation
amount   of   farmers,   that   would   be
accepted by the company.”
43. The said letter/representation categorically states that the
Company was not against the farmers or against their rights
and   that   it   was   willing   to   abide   by   whatever   decision   was
33
arrived at between the Authority and the Government on the
compensation amount of farmers.  
44. Similar representations were made by Orris Greenbay Golf
Village on the same day, by Sunworld City Pvt. Ltd. on 26th
November, 2013, and by Gaursons Realtech Pvt. Ltd. on 4th
December, 2013.  
45. It   could   thus   be   seen   that   on   account   of   farmers’
resistance and their agitation,  the development work of the
projects was stalled.   When this was brought to the notice of
the State Government, the State Government nominated the
Commissioner, Meerut Division, Meerut vide order dated 10th
April, 2013, for looking into the issue.  The Commissioner after
holding   various   meetings   with   the   farmers’
organization/representatives submitted his report on 16th July,
2013, stating therein that the lands have been acquired by
YEIDA at large scale and taking into consideration the nature of
demands  having   wide  implications,  it   was  necessary   that   a
High­Level   Committee   at   the   State   Government   level   for
34
examining  the   demands   of  farmers  be  constituted.    In   this
background,   the   State   Government   vide   order   dated   3rd
September,   2013   constituted   a   Committee   under   the
Chairmanship of Shri Rajendra Chaudhary, Minister of Prison,
State of Uttar Pradesh.   The Divisional Commissioner of the
concerned Division and the Collector of the concerned District
were also  the  members of  the Chaudhary  Committee.   The
Chaudhary   Committee   was   constituted   for   the   purpose   of
resolving   the   problems   of   the   villagers/farmers   and   the
problems related to the industries.  The Chaudhary Committee
considered the following issues:
“a.  Demands  raised  by   the  Farmers/
Farmers'   Organizations/
Representatives   and
Memorandums/   Demand   Letters
produced by them and the favour
put   forth   by   them   during   the
personal hearing. 
b.  Favour   put   forth   by   the
Industrialists/   Builders/   Allottees
during personal hearing. 
35
c.  Favour   and   opinion   of   Yamuna
Expressway Authority.”
46. The Chaudhary Committee conducted its proceedings on
30th  September, 2013 with the representatives of the farmers.
The   said   Committee   thereafter   held   deliberations   with   the
representatives of the allottees on 29th October, 2013.  It will be
apposite to refer to the relevant part of the discussion that took
place   in   the   meeting   held   with   the   representatives   of   the
allottees on 29th October,2013, which reads thus:
“2.  It was informed by the representative
of M/s. SDIL that due to the agitation
of local farmers on the issues of their
problems/demands,   at   present,   we
are   not   available   to   carry   out   any
work on the spot, therefore, whatever
the   decision   will   be   taken   by   the
Committee/ Government for disposal
of the problems of farmers, we will
cooperate in the same. 
3.  It was informed by the representative
of M/s. Supertech Pvt. Ltd. that the
farmers   are   agitating   in   the   entire
area   and   they   are   interrupting   the
development work. It is necessary to
solve the problems of farmers. It was
also   informed   by   him   that   he   will
36
cooperate in the decision to be taken
by   the   Government/Committee   for
disposal of the problems. 
4.  It   was   informed   by   the
representatives of M/s. Silverline and
other Units/Institutions that due to
interrupting their development works
as   a   result   of   the   demands   being
raised by the farmers of the area, the
project cost is getting escalated. Due
to   solving   the  problems   of  farmers,
the  investment will  be increased  in
the area and in disposal of the same,
they will provide their assistance. 
5.  Regarding the demand of giving 10%
abadi land in place of 7% abadi land
to be given to the ancestral farmers,
it was said by the representative of
M/s. J.P. Infratech Pvt. Ltd. namely
Sh.   Sameer   Gaur   that   earlier,   they
have   been   paid   value   of   7%   abadi
land and development charges, now,
if   any   other   cost   is   imposed,   then,
company is not in position to bear the
same.”
47. It could thus be seen that even the representatives of the
allottees were of the opinion that on account of the agitation of
the local farmers, the developers were not in a position to carry
37
out any work on the spot.  It was also impressed upon that on
account of this, the cost of the project was getting escalated.
As such, it was urged to solve the problem.  
48. The   Chaudhary   Committee   also   considered   the
submissions made on behalf of the appellant­YEIDA.   It was
submitted on behalf of the appellant­YEIDA that on account of
the judgment delivered in a similar case, i.e., in the case of
Gajraj  (supra), the farmers, whose lands were acquired, were
also demanding the compensation on similar lines.  
49. After considering the rival submissions, the Chaudhary
Committee gave its recommendation as under:
“Recommendation of Committee:­ 
The   opinion   of   Authority   as   well   as   the
demands   of   the   Farmers'   Organizations
were   carefully   considered   by   the
Committee. In the common order passed
in   the   different   Writ   Petitions   filed   by
Noida and Greater Noida Authorities, the
Hon'ble   High   Court   by   not   finding   the
proceedings conducted under Section 17 of
Land Acquisition Act, 1894 to be proper,
38
had directed that the Authority shall pay
64.7%   additional   compensation   to   the
farmers and return them 10% developed
land.   Also   in   the   Yamuna   Expressway
Authority, around 700 Writ Petitions have
been filed by the farmers by challenging
the   different   notifications,   wherein,   stay
orders have been passed in the most of the
Petitions,   the   circumstances   which   were
existing in the acquisition made by Noida
and   Greater   Noida   Authority,   same
circumstances are also existed in the most
of   the   cases   of   acquisition   of   Yamuna
Expressway.   The   lands   acquired   by   the
Authority,   have   been   allotted   to   the
different allottees for different projects, due
to which, the third party rights have been
created in this acquired land and if order
is   passed   against   the   Authority   in   the
Petitioners   filed   against   the   Acquisition
Proceedings, then, many difficulties would
arise. Therefore, keeping in view the legal
expected legal complications, it is required
to do the out of court settlement with the
affected farmers. At the time of discussion,
it   was   assured   by   the   farmers'
representatives   that   if   the   Government/
Authority agrees to give 64.7% additional
compensation,   then,   the   farmers   will
withdraw the Petitions filed in the Court.
Therefore, Committee recommends that:­
I .(a) If,  all  the   farmers/  Petitioners  of   a
village related to the land acquired/
purchased   by   the   Yamuna
Expressway Authority, withdraw their
39
Petitions   filed   in   the   Hon'ble   High
Court or in any other Court and if
they give written assurance for future
that   they   will   not   file   any   claim
against the Authority or it's allottees
in any Court and will not cause any
obstruction   in   the   Development
Works, then, like the Greater Noida
Authority, the Authority may consider
to give amount equivalent to 64.7%
additional compensation in the form
of No Litigation Incentive/ Additional
Compensation,   which   may   be
compensated proportionally from the
concerned   allottees   and   same   may
also be imposed proportionally in the
costing of allotment of land available
with the Authority. 
These benefits shall be allowed also
to those farmers, whose' lands have
been purchased by the Authority vide
Sale Deed on mutual consent basis. 
(b) The process of payment of additional
compensation,   be   completed
villagewise   in   accordance   with   the
Schemes/ Priorities of Authority after
obtaining  physical  possession   of  on
the spot and after withdrawal of all
the   Writ   petitions/   Cases   of
concerned   village   after   doing
settlement with the farmers. In view
of   the   financial   condition   of
Authority,   if   the   payment   of
additional   compensation   is   not
40
possible   in   lumpsum,   then,   the
consideration   could   also   be   made
regarding payment in installments or
in the form of developed land. 
2.  Regarding   allotment   of   10%
developed   land   in   place   of   7%
developed   land,   the   proceedings   be
conducted according to the order of
Appeal/SLP   filed   by   the
Noida/Greater Noida Authorities. 
3.  The   proceedings   of   amendment
proposed by the Authority in Abadi
Rules, are at final stage of approval,
the proceedings be conducted as per
the decision of Government. 
4.  Regarding abolishing the distinction
between ancestral and non­ancestral,
this decision has been taken in the
48th   meeting   dated   08.01.2014   of
Yamuna   Expressway   Authority
Board, that such land owners of the
lands   acquired   or   to   be
acquired/purchased   by   the
Authority,   whose'   names   have
remained   recorded   in   Six   Yearly
Register/ Khatauni on the acquired
land   prior   to   the   date   of
establishment   of   Authority   i.e.
24.04.2001, and the landowners are
residents of any village related to any
District lying within the notified area
of   Yamuna   Expressway   Authority,
then, the benefit of 7% abadi land be
granted to him against his acquired
land.   In   the   decision   of   Authority
41
Board,   this   facility   has   also   been
allowed to the successors of eligible
land owners, who fulfill the aforesaid
conditions.   The   further   proceedings
be conducted as per the decision of
Authority Board. 
5.  In   view   of   the   demands   of   farmers
organizations   and   local   public   of
District   Mathura,   after   taking   into
consideration the proposal submitted
by Concessionaire namely M/s. J.P.
Infratech   Ltd.,   in   the   48th   meeting
dated   08.01.2014   of   Yamuna
Expressway   Authority   Board,   a
decision in principle has been taken
for   construction   of   Exist   &   Entry
Ramps   at   Bajna­Nauhjheel   Road   at
Yamuna Expressway and by making
necessary   amendments   in   DPR
accordingly, a letter has been sent to
the Concessionaire namely M/s. J,P.
Infratech   for   necessary   action.   The
further proceedings be conducted as
per the decision of Authority Board. 
It is recommended by the Committee that
the aforementioned additional benefits be
granted   to   the   landowners   only   in   that
case when they will handover the physical
possession  of  land  to  the  Authority  and
withdraw   Writ   Petition/Case   pending   in
Hon'ble High Court or any other Court and
agreement for not causing any obstruction
in   future   in   the   development   works   of
allottees and for not filing any claim in any
Court   against   the   acquisition  of   land   in
future. Regarding the other demands, the
42
Committee   will   give   it's   recommendation
after further consideration.”
50. It could thus be seen that the recommendations of the
Chaudhary Committee were principally intended to resolve the
issue between the farmers and the allottees, and to find out a
workable solution to the problem.  The Chaudhary Committee
recommended   similar   treatment   to   be   given   to   the   farmers
whose lands were acquired for YEIDA, as was given to the
farmers whose lands were acquired for the benefit of NOIDA
and Greater NOIDA.  The Chaudhary Committee found that the
same benefits as were given to the farmers whose lands were
acquired for the benefit of NOIDA and Greater NOIDA in view of
the judgment of the High Court in the case of Gajraj (supra), as
affirmed   by   this   Court   in   the   case   of  Savitri   Devi  (supra)
should also be given to the farmers whose lands were acquired
for the benefit of YEIDA.  However, this was made conditional.
Additional   benefit   was   granted   to   the   landowners   on   the
condition that they would handover the physical possession of
43
land to YEIDA and withdraw the writ petitions/cases filed by
them pending before the High Court.  
51. The State Government vide the said G.O. gave effect to the
recommendations of the Chaudhary Committee. YEIDA too, in
its   Board   meeting   dated   15th  September,   2014,   resolved   to
implement the decision of the State Government. Accordingly,
demand notices came to be issued to the allottees.  
52. It could thus be seen that the policy decision of the State
Government   is  preceded  by   various   factors.     Firstly,   the
farmers’ agitation, after they were denied the benefits which
were granted to the farmers whose lands were acquired for the
benefit   of   NOIDA   and   Greater   NOIDA;   the   report   of   the
Commissioner, the appointment of the Chaudhary Committee,
the   deliberations   of  the   Chaudhary  Committee  with   various
stakeholders,   and   thereafter   the   recommendations   of   the
Chaudhary Committee.  
53. It will be relevant to refer to the judgment of this Court in
the case of the Kasinka Trading and another vs. Union of
44
India and another7
, wherein this Court has referred to various
earlier pronouncements and the treatise of Prof. S.A. de Smith
on   “Judicial   Review   of   Administrative   Action”.    The   relevant
paragraphs of the said judgment read thus:
“12. It has been settled by this Court that
the   doctrine   of   promissory   estoppel   is
applicable   against   the   Government   also
particularly   where   it   is   necessary   to
prevent   fraud   or   manifest   injustice.   The
doctrine, however, cannot be pressed into
aid   to   compel   the   Government   or   the
public   authority   “to   carry   out   a
representation   or   promise   which   is
contrary to law or which was outside the
authority   or   power   of   the   officer   of   the
Government or of the public authority to
make”. There is preponderance of judicial
opinion   that   to   invoke   the   doctrine   of
promissory   estoppel   clear,   sound   and
positive   foundation   must   be   laid   in   the
petition   itself   by   the   party   invoking   the
doctrine   and   that   bald   expressions,
without   any   supporting   material,   to   the
effect   that   the   doctrine   is   attracted
because   the   party   invoking   the   doctrine
has   altered   its   position   relying   on   the
assurance of the Government would not be
sufficient to press into aid the doctrine. In
our   opinion,   the   doctrine   of   promissory
7 (1995) 1 SCC 274
45
estoppel cannot be invoked in the abstract
and the courts are bound to consider all
aspects including the results sought to be
achieved   and   the   public   good   at   large,
because while considering the applicability
of   the   doctrine,   the   courts   have   to   do
equity and the fundamental principles of
equity   must   for   ever   be   present   to   the
mind of the court, while considering the
applicability of the doctrine. The doctrine
must yield when the equity so demands if
it can be shown having regard to the facts
and   circumstances   of   the   case   that   it
would   be   inequitable   to   hold   the
Government or the public authority to its
promise, assurance or representation.
13. The ambit, scope and amplitude of the
doctrine of promissory estoppel has been
evolved   in   this   country   over   the   last
quarter   of   a   century   through   successive
decisions of this Court starting with Union
of   India v. Indo­Afghan   Agencies
Ltd. [(1968) 2 SCR 366 : AIR 1968 SC 718]
Reference in this connection may be made
with advantage to Century Spg. & Mfg. Co.
Ltd. v. Ulhasnagar   Municipal
Council [(1970) 1 SCC 582 : (1970) 3 SCR
854]   ; Motilal   Padampat   Sugar   Mills   Co.
Ltd. v. State   of   U.P. [(1979)   2   SCC   409   :
1979   SCC   (Tax)   144   :   (1979)   2   SCR
641]   ; Jit   Ram   Shiv   Kumar v. State   of
Haryana [(1981) 1 SCC 11 : (1980) 3 SCR
689]   ; Union   of   India v. Godfrey   Philips
46
India Ltd. [(1985) 4 SCC 369 : 1986 SCC
(Tax)   11]   ; Indian   Express   Newspapers
(Bom)   (P)   Ltd. v. Union   of   India [(1985)   1
SCC 641 : 1985 SCC (Tax) 121] ; Pournami
Oil Mills v. State of Kerala [1986 Supp SCC
728 : 1987 SCC (Tax) 134] ; Shri Bakul Oil
Industries v. State of Gujarat [(1987) 1 SCC
31 : 1987 SCC (Tax) 74 : (1987) 1 SCR
185]   ; Asstt.   CCT v. Dharmendra   Trading
Co. [(1988) 3 SCC 570 : 1988 SCC (Tax)
432] ; Amrit Banaspati Co. Ltd. v. State of
Punjab [(1992)   2   SCC   411]   and Union   of
India v. Hindustan   Development
Corpn. [(1993) 3 SCC 499 : JT (1993) 3 SC
15] In Godfrey Philips India Ltd. [(1985) 4
SCC 369 : 1986 SCC (Tax) 11] this Court
opined: (SCC p. 388, para 13)
“We   may   also   point   out   that   the
doctrine of promissory estoppel being an
equitable doctrine, it must yield when
the   equity   so   requires;   if   it   can   be
shown   by   the   Government   or   public
authority that having regard to the facts
as   they   have   transpired,   it   would   be
inequitable to hold the Government or
public   authority   to   the   promise   or
representation   made   by   it,   the   Court
would not raise an equity in favour of
the   person   to   whom   the   promise   or
representation is made and enforce the
promise   or   representation   against   the
Government   or   public   authority.   The
doctrine   of   promissory   estoppel  would
be displaced in such a case, because on
47
the facts, equity would not require that
the   Government   or   public   authority
should be held bound by the promise or
representation made by it.”
14. In Excise   Commissioner,   U.P. v. Ram
Kumar [(1976) 3 SCC 540 : 1976 SCC (Tax)
360   :   AIR   1976   SC   2237]   four   learned
Judges   of   this   Court   observed:   (SCC   p.
545, para 19)
“The fact that sales of country liquor
had been exempted from sales tax vide
Notification No. ST­1149/X­802 (33)­51
dated 6­4­1959 could not operate as an
estoppel against the State Government
and   preclude   it   from   subjecting   the
sales to tax if it felt impelled to do so in
the interest of the revenues of the State
which are required for execution of the
plans   designed   to   meet   the   everincreasing   pressing   needs   of   the
developing society. It is now well settled
by a catena of decisions that there can
be no question of estoppel against the
Government   in   the   exercise   of   its
legislative,   sovereign   or   executive
powers.”
15. Prof. S.A. de Smith in his celebrated
treatise Judicial   Review   of   Administrative
Action, 3rd Edn., at p. 279 sums up the
position thus:
48
“Contracts and covenants entered
into   by   the   Crown   are   not   to   be
construed as being subject to implied
terms that would exclude the exercise
of   general   discretionary   powers   for
the public good. On the contrary they
are to be construed as incorporating
an   implied   term   that   such   powers
remain   exercisable.   This   is   broadly
true of other public authorities also.
But the status and functions of the
Crown in this regard are of a higher
order. The Crown cannot be allowed
to tie its hands completely by prior
undertakings   is   as   clear   as   the
proposition   that   the   Courts   cannot
allow the Crown to evade compliance
with   ostensibly   binding   obligations
whenever   it   thinks   fit.   If   a   public
authority   lawfully   repudiates   or
departs from the terms of a binding
contract in order to have been bound
in   law   by   an   ostensibly   binding
contract   because   the   undertakings
would   improperly   fetter   its   general
discretionary powers the other party
to   the   agreement   has   no   right
whatsoever   to   damages   or
compensation under the general law,
no matter how serious the damages
that party may have suffered.”
49
54. It   has   been   held   by   this   Court   that   the  doctrine   of
promissory estoppel cannot be invoked in the abstract and the
courts are bound to consider all aspects including the results
sought to be achieved and the public good at large.  It has been
held that while considering the applicability of the doctrine, the
courts have to do equity and the fundamental principles of
equity must for ever be present to the mind of the court, while
considering the applicability of the doctrine.  It has been held
that the doctrine being an equitable doctrine, it must yield
when   the   equity   so   requires,   if   it   can   be   shown   by   the
Government or Public Authority that having regard to the facts
and   circumstances   as   they   have   transpired,   it   would   be
inequitable to hold the Government or the Public Authority to
the   promise,   assurance   or   representation   made   by   it.     The
judgment of this Court in the case of Kasinka Trading (supra)
has been consistently followed. 
55. If   we   apply   the   principle   as   laid   down   in   the   case   of
Kasinka  Trading  (supra) to the facts of the present case, it
50
will be clear that the policy decision of the State Government
was not only in the larger public interest but also in the interest
of the respondents.  The projects were stalled on account of the
farmers’ agitation.  The farmers felt discriminated as they found
that the compensation paid to them was much lesser than the
one being paid to the equally circumstanced farmers in NOIDA
and Greater NOIDA.  It was the allottees of the land who had
approached the State Government for redressal of the problem.
In these circumstances, the Government took cognizance of the
problem   and   appointed   the   Commissioner   to   look   into   the
issue.  Since the Commissioner recommended appointment of a
High­Level   Committee,   the  Chaudhary   Committee  was
appointed.     The  Chaudhary   Committee   had   threadbare
discussions   with   all   the   stakeholders.   It   also   took   into
consideration that on account of stay orders passed by the High
Court in various writ petitions, the development of the project
was stalled.  On account of pendency of the writ petitions, there
was always a hanging sword over the entire acquisition of it
51
being declared unlawful. In this premise, in order to find out a
workable solution and that too, on the basis of the law laid
down   by   the   High   Court   in   the   case   of  Gajraj  (supra)   as
affirmed by this Court in the case of Savitri Devi  (supra) and
followed by this Court in the case of  Savitri  Mohan  (Dead)
(supra),   recommendations   were   made   by   the  Chaudhary
Committee.     The   Chaudhary   Committee   specifically
recommended   that   the   additional   compensation   and   other
incentives   would   be   paid   only   if   the   landowners   agree   to
handover   physical   possession   of   the   land   to   YEIDA   and
withdraw all the litigations.  
56. It could thus be seen that the recommendations, which
were accepted by the State Government and formulated in the
policy, were made taking into consideration the interests of all
the stakeholders.   As held by this Court, it is not only the
interest of a small section of the allottees which should weigh
with the Government, but the Government should also give due
52
weightage to the interest of the large section of farmers, whose
lands were acquired.  
57. We   further   find   that   the   High   Court   fell   in   error   in
observing   that   no   writ   petitions   were   filed   challenging   the
acquisition for YEIDA.  The report of the Chaudhary Committee
itself would clarify that YEIDA had itself submitted that insofar
as the residential plots are concerned, there were stay orders
operating in majority of the writ petitions due to which the
development of the project work was stalled.  
58. We are therefore of the considered view that the policy
decision   of   the   State   Government   was   in   the   larger   public
interest.  It was taken considering entire material collected by
the Chaudhary Committee after due deliberations with all the
stakeholders.  The factors which were taken into consideration
by the State Government were relevant, rational and founded
on ground realities.  In this view of the matter, the finding of
the High Court that the policy decision of the State Government
was arbitrary, irrational and unfair, is totally incorrect.  
53
59. The law with regard to interference in the policy decision
of the State is by now very well crystalized.  This Court in the
case of Essar Steel Limited  vs  Union of India and others8
had an occasion to consider the scope of interference in the
policy decision of the State.  After referring to various decisions
of this Court, the Court observed thus: 
“43. Before we can examine the validity of
the impugned policy decision dated 6­3­
2007, it is crucial to understand the extent
of   the   power   vested   with   this   Court   to
review policy decisions.
44. In DDA [DDA v. Allottee   of   SFS   Flats,
(2008) 2 SCC 672 : (2008) 1 SCC (Civ) 684]
on   issue   of   judicial   review   of   policy
decisions,   the   power   of   the   Court   is
examined and observed as under: (SCC pp.
697­98, paras 64­65)
“64. An executive order termed as a
policy decision is not beyond the pale of
judicial   review.   Whereas   the   superior
courts may not interfere with the nittygritty of the policy, or substitute one by
the other but it will not be correct to
contend   that   the   court   shall   lay   its
judicial hands off, when a plea is raised
that the impugned decision is a policy
8 (2016) 11 SCC 1
54
decision. Interference therewith on the
part of the superior court would not be
without jurisdiction as it is subject to
judicial review.
65. Broadly,   a   policy   decision   is
subject   to   judicial   review   on   the
following grounds:
(a) if it is unconstitutional;
(b) if it is dehors the provisions of
the Act and the Regulations;
(c)   if   the   delegatee   has   acted
beyond its power of delegation;
(d)   if   the   executive   policy   is
contrary to the statutory or a larger
policy.”
45. Thus, we will test the impugned policy
on   the   above   grounds   to   determine
whether it warrants our interference under
Article   136   or   not.   Further,   this   Court
neither   has   the   jurisdiction   nor   the
competence to judge the viability of such
policy   decisions   of   the   Government   in
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction under
Article   136   of   the   Constitution   of   India.
In Arun   Kumar   Agrawal v. Union   of
India [Arun   Kumar   Agrawal v. Union   of
India, (2013) 7 SCC 1] , this Court has
further held as under: (SCC p. 17, para 41)
“41. …   This   Court   sitting   in   the
jurisdiction cannot sit in judgment over
the   commercial   or   business   decision
taken by parties to the agreement, after
evaluating and assessing its monetary
55
and   financial   implications,   unless   the
decision   is   in   clear   violation   of   any
statutory   provisions   or   perverse   or
taken for extraneous considerations or
improper   motives.   States   and   its
instrumentalities can enter into various
contracts   which   may   involve   complex
economic   factors.   State   or   the   State
undertaking being a party to a contract,
have to make various decisions which
they   deem   just   and   proper.   There   is
always   an   element   of   risk   in   such
decisions, ultimately it may turn out to
be   a   correct   decision   or   a   wrong
one. But   if   the   decision   is   taken   bona
fide and in public interest, the mere fact
that decision has ultimately proved to be
wrong, that itself is not a ground to hold
that the decision was mala fide or taken
with ulterior motives.”
(emphasis supplied)
46. In Villianur   Iyarkkai   Padukappu
Maiyam v. Union   of   India [Villianur
Iyarkkai   Padukappu   Maiyam v. Union   of
India, (2009) 7 SCC 561] , it was held as
under: (SCC p. 605, para 169)
“169. It is neither within the domain
of the courts nor the scope of judicial
review to embark upon an enquiry as to
whether   a   particular   public   policy   is
wise or whether better public policy can
be evolved. Nor are the courts inclined
to strike down a policy at the behest of a
56
petitioner  merely   because  it   has   been
urged that a different policy would have
been fairer or wiser or more scientific or
more logical. Wisdom and advisability of
economic   policy   are   ordinarily   not
amenable to judicial review. In matters
relating   to   economic   issues   the
Government   has,   while   taking   a
decision, right to “trial and error” as long
as both trial and error are bona fide and
within   the   limits   of   the   authority.   For
testing the correctness of a policy, the
appropriate forum is Parliament and not
the courts.”
(emphasis supplied)
47. A   three­Judge   Bench   of   this   Court
in Narmada   Bachao   Andolan v. Union   of
India [Narmada   Bachao   Andolan v. Union
of   India,   (2000)   10   SCC   664]   cautioned
against   courts   sitting   in   appeal   against
policy   decisions.   It   was   held   as   under:
(SCC p. 763, para 234)
“234. In   respect   of   public   projects
and policies which are initiated by the
Government   the   courts   should   not
become an approval authority. Normally
such   decisions   are   taken   by   the
Government   after   due   care   and
consideration. In a democracy welfare of
the people at large, and not merely of a
small section of the society, has to be the
concern of a responsible Government. If
a   considered   policy   decision   has   been
57
taken, which is not in conflict with any
law or is not mala fide, it will not be in
public interest to require the court to go
into and investigate those areas which
are the function of the executive. For any
project   which   is   approved   after   due
deliberation   the   court   should   refrain
from being asked to review the decision
just because a petitioner in filing a PIL
alleges that such a decision should not
have  been   taken  because   an   opposite
view   against   the   undertaking   of   the
project,   which   view   may   have   been
considered   by   the   Government,   is
possible. When two or more options or
views are possible and after considering
them   the   Government   takes   a   policy
decision it is then not the function of
the court to go into the matter afresh
and, in a way, sit in appeal over such a
policy decision.”
(emphasis supplied)
48. A similar sentiment was echoed by a
Constitution   Bench   of   this   Court
in Peerless General Finance & Investment
Co. Ltd. v. RBI [Peerless General Finance &
Investment  Co.  Ltd. v. RBI, (1992) 2 SCC
343] , wherein it was observed as under:
(SCC p. 375, para 31)
“31. …   Courts   are   not   to   interfere
with   economic   policy   which   is   the
function of experts. It is not the function
of   the   courts   to   sit   in   judgment   over
58
matters of economic policy and it must
necessarily be left to the expert bodies.
In   such   matters   even   experts   can
seriously and doubtlessly differ. Courts
cannot   be   expected   to   decide   them
without even the aid of experts.”
49. A   perusal   of   the   abovementioned
judgments of this Court would show that
this Court should exercise great caution
and   restraint   when   confronted   with
matters   related   to   the   policy   regarding
commercial   matters   of   the   country.
Executive policies are usually enacted after
much   deliberation   by   the   Government.
Therefore, it would not be appropriate for
this Court to question the wisdom of the
same,   unless   it   is   demonstrated   by   the
aggrieved persons that the said policy has
been   enacted   in   an   arbitrary,
unreasonable or mala fide manner, or that
it   offends   the   provisions   of   the
Constitution of India.”
60. It is trite law that an interference with the policy decision
would   not   be   warranted   unless   it   is   found   that   the   policy
decision is palpably arbitrary, mala fide, irrational or violative
of the statutory provisions.  We are therefore of the considered
view that the High Court was also not right in interfering with
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the policy decision of the State Government, which is in the
larger public interest.  
61. It   will   also   be   apposite   to   refer   to   the   following
observations of this Court in the case of APM Terminals B.V.
vs. Union of India and another9
:
“67. It has been the consistent view of this
Court   that   a   change   in   policy   by   the
Government can have an overriding effect
over   private   treaties   between   the
Government   and   a   private   party,   if   the
same   was   in   the   general   public   interest
and provided such change in policy was
guided by reason. Several decisions have
been cited by the parties in this regard in
the   context   of   preventing   private
monopolisation   of   port   activities   to   an
extent   where   such   private   player   would
assume a dominant position which would
enable   them   to   control   not   only   the
berthing of ships but the tariff for use of
the port facilities.”
62. It could thus be seen that it is more than settled that  a
change in policy by the Government can have an overriding
effect   over   private   treaties   between   the   Government   and   a
9 (2011) 6 SCC 756
60
private party, if the same was in the general public interest.
The additional requirement is that such change in policy is
required to be guided by reason. 
63. Insofar as the reliance placed by the respondents on the
judgment of this Court in the case of  ITC  Limited  (supra) is
concerned, in our considered view, the said judgment would not
be of any assistance to the case of the respondents.  This Court
in the said case in paragraph 107.1 has clearly observed that in
the   case   of   conflict   between   public   interest   and   personal
interest, public interest should prevail. 
64. A number of judgments of this Court have been cited at
the Bar by the respondents in support of the proposition that in
view   of   concluded   contracts,   it   was   not   permissible   for   the
appellants to unilaterally increase the premium by framing a
policy.  
65. We have hereinabove elaborately discussed that when a
policy is changed by the State, which is in the general public
interest,   such   policy   would   prevail   over   the   individual
61
rights/interests.  In that view of the matter, we do not find it
necessary to refer to the said judgments.   The policy of the
State Government as reflected in the said G.O. was not only in
the   larger   public   interest   but   also   in   the   interest   of   the
respondents.    
66. We further find that the respondents have indulged into
the conduct of approbate and reprobate.   They have changed
their stance as per their convenience.  When their projects were
stalled on  account  of  the farmers’ agitation,  it  is  they who
approached the State Authorities for finding out a solution.
When the State Government responded to their representations
and came up with a policy which was equitable and in the
interest of both, the farmers and the allottees and when the
said policy paved the way for development, when called upon to
pay   the   additional   compensation,   the   respondents­allottees
somersaulted and challenged the very same policy before the
High   Court,   which   benefitted   them.     We   have   already
hereinabove   made   reference   to   the   various   communications
62
made by the allottees of the land for intervention of the State
Government.  
67. Insofar as the individual plot owners are concerned, it will
be worthwhile to mention that the  residential plot owners in
Sectors 18 and 20 of Yamuna Expressway city have formed an
association, viz., Yamuna Expressway Residential­Plot­Owners
Welfare Association (hereinafter referred to as “the YERWA”).
The communication addressed by the president of the YERWA
to   the   CEO   of   YEIDA   would   reveal   that   98.5%   of   the
allottees/owners have voted in favour of paying the additional
premium demanded by the Authority.  The only request made
by the YERWA is with regard to making a provision for paying
additional premium in installments.  
68. It can thus be seen that even insofar as the individual
residential plot owners are concerned, more than 98% of the
plot owners do not have any objection to the payment of the
additional compensation. 
63
69. With respect to the contention of the respondent No.19­
Supertech   with   regard   to   initiation   of   CIRP,   we   are   not
concerned with the said issue in the present proceedings.  The
law will take its own course.
70. In   conclusion,   we   are   of   the   considered   view   that   the
policy decision of the State Government as reflected in the said
G.O. dated 29th August, 2014 and the Resolution of the Board
of YEIDA dated 15th September, 2014 were in the larger public
interest, taking care of the concerns of the allottees as well as
the farmers.   As already discussed hereinabove, had the said
decision not been taken, there was a hanging sword of the
acquisition being declared unlawful.   The development of the
entire   project   was   stalled   on   account   of   farmers’   agitation.
Before   taking   the   policy   decision,   the   State   Government,
through the Chaudhary Committee, had done a wide range of
deliberations with all the stakeholders including the allottees,
farmers and YEIDA.  The policy decision was taken after taking
into   consideration   all   relevant   factors   and   was   guided   by
64
reasons.  In any case, it is a settled position of law that in case
of   a   conflict   between   public   interest   and   personal   interest,
public interest will outweigh the personal interest.   The High
Court  was  therefore not  justified  in  holding that  the  policy
decision of the State was unfair, unreasonable and arbitrary.
We are of the considered view that the High Court has erred in
allowing  the  writ  petitions.    The  present  appeals,  therefore,
deserve to be allowed.  
71. In the result, we pass the following order:
(i) The appeals are allowed; 
(ii) The   impugned   judgment   and   order   dated   28th  May,
2020,   passed   by   the   Allahabad   High   Court   in   Writ
Petition No. 28968 of 2018 and companion matters is
quashed and set aside;
(iii) The writ petitions filed by the respondents covered by
the impugned judgment and order dated 28th May, 2020
passed by the Allahabad High Court are dismissed; 
65
72. Applications   for   Intervention   are   allowed.     Pending
applications,   including   the   applications   for   directions,   shall
stand disposed of in the above terms.   There shall be no order
as to costs. 
…..….......................J.
[L. NAGESWARA RAO]
…….........................J.       
[B.R. GAVAI]
NEW DELHI;
MAY 19, 2022.
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