National Highways Authority of India vs Sheetal Jaidev Vade & Ors.

National Highways Authority of India vs Sheetal Jaidev Vade & Ors.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5256 of 2022
National Highways Authority of India   .. Appellants
Versus
Sheetal Jaidev Vade & Ors.          .. Respondents
J U D G M E N T
M. R. Shah, J.
1. Feeling   aggrieved   and   dissatisfied   with   the   impugned
judgment and order dated 01.04.2022 passed by the High
Court of Judicature of Bombay at Aurangabad in Writ Petition
No.144   of   2021   by   which   in   a   writ   petition   filed   by   the
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respondents   herein   –   original   land   owners,   in   exercise   of
powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the High
Court has directed the appellant – NHAI to deposit the entire
compensation amount as awarded by the learned Arbitrator
and thereafter permitting the original land owners – original
writ   petitioners   to   withdraw   the   amount   as   mentioned   in
paragraph 4, the NHAI has preferred the present appeal.
2. That the land of the respondents herein – original land
owners – original writ petitioners came to be acquired by the
NHAI under the provisions of the NHAI Act.  That the amount
of   compensation   came   to   be   enhanced   by   the   learned
Arbitrator.   The award passed by the learned Arbitrator has
been challenged by the NHAI by availing the statutory remedy
under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act to the extent of the
enhanced amount.   That as there was no stay of the award
passed   by   the   learned   Arbitrator   in   a   proceedings   under
Section 34 of the Arbitration Act, the respondent herein –
original land owners instead of filing the execution petition to
execute   the   award   declared   by   the   learned   Arbitrator
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enhancing the amount of compensation, filed the writ petition
before the High Court and prayed for a Writ of Mandamus
and/or  appropriate   directions/orders  directing   the  NHAI  to
deposit   the   amount   with   the   Competent   Authority,   Land
Acquisition  and  Sub­Divisional  Officer in  pursuance of  the
award dated 12.06.2018.   By the impugned judgment and
order the High Court has disposed of the said writ petition by
directing the appellant – NHAI to deposit the entire amount
along with interest with the Land Acquisition Authority and
thereafter   has   directed   the   original   writ   petitioners   –   land
owners to withdraw 50% of the amount along with interest on
filing   an   affidavit   of   undertaking   that   if   in   the   litigation
journey, an adverse order is passed against them and they are
found to have withdrawn excess amount, the said amount
would   be   re­deposited   with   the   authority.     So   far   as   the
remaining 50% of the amount with interest is concerned, the
High   Court   has   permitted   the   original   writ   petitioners   –
original   land   owners   to   withdraw   25%   of   the   amount   by
tendering   a   solvent   surety   and   the   remaining   25%   of   the
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amount to be deposited with the competent authority with a
liberty to invest the said amount in a fixed deposit account in
any Nationalized Bank.  Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with
the impugned order passed by the High Court, the NHAI has
preferred the present appeal.
3. Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, learned ASG appearing on behalf of
the   appellant   –   NHAI   has   vehemently   submitted   that   the
Hon’ble   High   Court   has   seriously   erred   in   passing   the
impugned order in exercise of powers under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India.
3.1 It is further submitted by Ms. Bhati, learned ASG that as
the award passed by the learned Arbitrator was executable
before the concerned Executing Court and therefore when the
original writ petitioners had a statutory remedy available to
execute   the   award   by   initiating   the   execution   proceedings
before the concerned Executing Court, the High Court ought
not to have entertained the writ petitions under Article 226 of
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the Constitution of India to execute the award passed by the
learned Arbitrator. 
3.2 It is further submitted by Ms. Bhati, learned ASG that
even   otherwise   the   Hon’ble   High   Court   has   committed   a
serious error in permitting the writ petitioners – original land
owners to withdraw 75% of the amount of compensation with
interest, when the appellant had already availed the statutory
remedy available to the NHAI to challenge the award passed by
the learned Arbitrator, by way of appeal/application under
Section 34 of the Arbitration Act.
3.3 Ms. Bhati, learned ASG has placed reliance on the order
passed by this Court in Special Leave to Appeal No.12409 of
2022  passed in the case of  The  Project  Director,  National
Highways Authority of India vs. Saraswatibai Chandrakant
Shinde   &   Ors.  by   which,   on   the   similar   set   of   facts   and
circumstances this Court has directed the NHAI to deposit
50% of the compensation amount, as awarded by the Arbitral
Tribunal   with   the   Executing   Court   and   has   permitted   the
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original land owners to withdraw the same unconditionally,
and the balance amount of compensation as per the award to
be   passed   under   Section   34   of   the   Arbitration   Act   to   be
deposited by the NHAI with the Executing Court within four
weeks after such determination.
4. Present appeal is vehemently opposed by Mr. Shirish K.
Deshpande,   learned   Advocate   appearing   on   behalf   of   the
private respondents herein – original writ petitioners – original
land owners.
4.1 It is submitted that in the facts and circumstances of the
case more particularly considering the fact that there is no
stay   of   the   award   passed   by   the   learned   Arbitral
Tribunal/Court   in   a   proceeding   under   Section   34   of   the
Arbitration Act and that NHAI took possession of the land
without paying any compensation, the Hon’ble High Court has
not   committed   any   error   in   passing   the   impugned   order.
However, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the private
respondents   herein   –   original   land   owners   –   original   writ
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petitioners, is not in a position to dispute and is not disputing
that the award passed by the learned Arbitral Tribunal/Court
is executable by way of an execution proceeding before the
concerned Executing Court.
5. We have heard the learned counsel for the respective
parties at length.
6. At the outset, it is required to be noted that the private
respondents herein – original writ petitioners filed the writ
petition before the High Court and prayed for the following
reliefs   in   exercise   of   powers   under   Article   226   of   the
Constitution of India:
“(a) This Writ Petition may kindly be allowed.
 (b)   That, by way of writ of mandamus of the
direction   like   in   nature   the   respondents
No.1   and   2   may   kindly   be   directed   to
deposit the amount with respondent No.3
in   pursuance   of   the   award   dated
12.06.2018 vide No.2016/LA/NH­351/CR01   passed   by   the   respondent   No.3
forthwith.
(c)   That, by way of writ of mandamus of the
directions   like   in   nature   the   respondent
No.3 may kindly be directed to make the
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payment to petitioners forthwith after the
respondents   No.1   and   2   deposit   the
amount.”
6.1 Therefore, reliefs which have been sought by the private
respondents   herein   ­   original   writ   petitioners   were   in   the
nature   of   execution   of   the   award   passed   by   the   learned
Arbitral Tribunal/Court. 
6.2 Apart from the fact that the award dated 12.06.2018 has
been challenged by the NHAI by initiating proceedings under
Section 34 of the Arbitration Act which are reported to be
pending, the High Court ought not to have entertained the writ
petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking
the reliefs to execute the award passed by the learned Arbitral
Tribunal/Court,   when   the   award   passed   by   the   learned
Arbitral   Tribunal/Court   is   to   be   executed   by   initiating   an
execution proceeding before the concerned Executing Court.
But, by passing the impugned order/directions the High Court
has virtually converted itself into Executing Court.  Therefore,
once the original writ petitioner was having an efficacious,
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alternative remedy to execute the award passed by the learned
Arbitral Tribunal/Court, by initiating an appropriate execution
proceeding before the competent Executing Court, the High
Court ought to have relegated the original writ petitioners to
avail the said remedy instead of entertaining the writ petition
under Article 226 of the Constitution of India which was filed
to execute the award passed by the Arbitral Tribunal/Court.  If
the High Courts convert itself to the Executing Court and
entertain   the   writ   petitions   under   Article   226   of   the
Constitution   of   India   to   execute   the   award   passed   by   the
Arbitral Tribunal/Court, the  High Courts would be flooded
with   the   writ   petitions   to   execute   awards   passed   by   the
learned Arbitrator/Arbitral Tribunal/Arbitral Court.
7. We   disapprove   the   entertaining   of   such   writ   petitions
under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to execute the
award passed by the learned Arbitral Tribunal/Court, without
relegating the judgment creditor in whose favour the award is
passed to file an execution proceeding before the competent
Executing Court.
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7.1 In view of the above discussion, we would have set aside
the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court
on   the   aforesaid   ground   alone.     However,   taking   into
consideration the similar order passed by this Court in the
case of Saraswatibai Chandrakant Shinde (supra), we deem
it appropriate to dispose of the present proceedings/appeal
with the following directions:
(i) The   NHAI   shall   deposit   50   per   cent   of   the
compensation   amount,   as   awarded   by   the   Arbitral
Court, with the Executing Court within a period of four
weeks. The said amount shall be released to the land
owners unconditionally. 
(ii) The   learned   District   Court,   before   whom   the
proceedings under Section­34 of the Arbitration Act
are pending, shall make an endeavour to decide such
proceedings within a period of six months from the
next date of hearing before the said court.
(iii) The balance amount of compensation as per the Award
to be passed under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act,
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shall be deposited by the NHAI with the Executing
Court within four weeks after such determination. The
said amount shall also be released by the Executing
Court   in   favour   of   the   land   owners   subject   to   the
rights and remedies available to the parties in law.
With  these  observations  and  directions,  the  Appeal  is
disposed of. 
The impugned order passed by the High Court of Bombay
dated 01.04.2022 stands modified in above terms. 
Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of.
…………………………………J.
            (M. R. SHAH)
…………………………………J.
    (B.V. NAGARATHNA)
New Delhi, 
August 24, 2022.

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