KAZI MOINUDDIN KAZI BASHIRODDIN & ORS. VERSUS THE MAHARASHTRA TOURISM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

KAZI MOINUDDIN KAZI BASHIRODDIN & ORS. VERSUS THE MAHARASHTRA TOURISM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7062 OF 2022
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) NO. 1939 OF 2019)
KAZI MOINUDDIN KAZI
BASHIRODDIN & ORS. ………APPELLANT(S)
 VERSUS
THE MAHARASHTRA TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, THROUGH ITS SENIOR
REGIONAL MANAGER REGIONAL OFFICE,
MTDC, AURANGABAD,
MAHARASHTRA & ANR. …...…RESPONDENT(S)
JUDGMENT
DINESH MAHESHWARI, J.
Leave granted.
2. The appellants herein are respondents in First Appeal No. 1673 of
2017 (First Appeal St. No. 37304 of 2016) pending in the High Court of
Judicature at Bombay, Bench at Aurangabad. They have preferred this
appeal for being aggrieved of the order dated 03.12.2018, as passed in
Civil Application No. 7037 of 2018 moved in the said appeal, whereby the
High Court has allowed the applicant-Maharashtra Tourism Development
1
Corporation (‘MTDC’-respondent No.1)1
 to withdraw an amount of
Rs. 1,37,50,547/-, which was deposited by them on 20.03.2018 towards
enhanced amount of compensation.
3. Put in a nutshell, the case of the applicant-MTDC before the High
Court had been that 50% of the amount of compensation awarded by the
Reference Court had already been deposited by them on 20.01.2017 in
terms of the order passed by the High Court on 14.12.2016; and the said
order dated 14.12.2016 having not been altered by any Court, they had
mistakenly deposited further an amount of Rs. 1,37,50,547/- and were
entitled to withdraw the same.
3.1. On the other hand, the present appellants asserted before the
High Court that in terms of the order dated 29.01.2018 passed by this
Court in Civil Appeal No. 1348 of 20182
, the said order dated 14.12.2016
stood modified because this Court had directed release of 50% of the
amount of compensation with security and remaining 50% without
security.
3.2. In the impugned order dated 03.12.2018, the High Court accepted
the submissions made on behalf of the applicant-MTDC and allowed
them to withdraw the aforesaid amount deposited on 20.03.2018.
4. For what has been indicated hereinabove, the basic question
arising for consideration in this appeal is the purport of this Court’s order
1 Hereinafter, for continuity and uniformity, the respondent No. 1 is referred to as ‘the applicantMTDC’.
2 Arising out of SLP (C) No. 19818 of 2017.
2
dated 29.01.2018 and its effect on the order dated 14.12.2016 passed by
the High Court. The background aspects of the matter could be referred
only to the extent relevant for determination of the question so arising.
4.1. On 10.07.2000, a Notification under Section 4 of the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 (‘the Act of 1894’) was issued for acquisition of the
land comprising Gut Nos. 90 & 91 of Village Pimpaldari, Taluk Sillod,
District Aurangabad, for the purpose of Ajanta Verul Development Project.
The Notification under Section 6 was thereafter issued on 21.06.2001. In
the acquisition proceedings so undertaken, ultimately, an award was
made by the Special Land Acquisition Officer (‘SLAO’) on 21.06.2004.
The appellants being dissatisfied by the amount of compensation
awarded by the SLAO, got the matter referred under Section 18 of the Act
of 1894 for enhancement. The Reference Court dealt with the matter in
L.A.R. No. 101 of 2005 and while partly allowing the same, awarded
enhanced amount of compensation to the appellants. Being aggrieved by
the enhancement so made, the applicant-MTDC preferred the aforesaid
appeal bearing No. 1673 of 2017 (First Appeal St. No. 37304 of 2016).
4.2. In the said appeal, while issuing notice on the interlocutory
applications moved by the applicant-MTDC, the High Court ordered stay
over execution of the award subject to the condition that the applicant
shall deposit 50% of the award amount along with interest accrued
thereon within twelve weeks. This order dated 14.12.2016, on its material
contents, reads as under: -
3
“1. Issue notice to the respondents in both civil applications for
delay and stay, returnable on 25.01.2017.
2. The execution of the award impugned in the present appeal
shall stand stayed subject to deposit of the 50% of the amount
under the impugned award along with interest accrued thereon in
this court by the acquiring body within twelve weeks from the date
of this order.”
4.3. In compliance of the order so passed by the High Court, the
applicant-MTDC deposited 50% of the award amount in the High Court.
Thereafter, the present appellants filed Civil Application No. 3432 of 2017
for withdrawal of the amount so deposited by the applicant-MTDC.
However, on 07.06.2017, the High Court ordered on the application so
moved by the present appellants that they would be entitled to withdraw
50% of the deposited amount subject to filing of an undertaking to redeposit, if so directed in future. The balance amount was ordered to be
invested in a fixed deposit. This order dated 07.06.2017, on its material
contents, reads as under: -
“1. The application is partly allowed. The applicants are
permitted to withdraw 50 per cent of the deposited amount on
submitting an undertaking that in the event any adverse order is
passed, the applicants will redeposit the said amount within four
months of passing such order. The balance amount shall be
invested in a Fixed Deposit Receipt in any nationalized Bank
initially for a period of two years, and if required, for further period
till disposal of the appeal. Civil Application stands disposed of.”
4.4. Thus, at the given stage, the resultant position was that pursuant
to the order dated 14.12.2016, only 50% of the amount awarded by the
Reference Court was to be deposited by the acquiring agency and even
4
out of this amount, only 50% was allowed to be withdrawn by the
claimants/appellants. Thus, in effect, the appellants were to get in hand
only 25% of the compensation amount awarded by the Reference Court.
4.5. Against the aforesaid order dated 07.06.2017, the
claimants/appellants approached this Court by way of S.L.P. (C) No.
19818 of 2017 leading to Civil Appeal No. 1348 of 2018. When the said
appeal came up for consideration before this Court, it was not disputed by
the parties that in a similar matter, being the case of Wajidmiya Abdul
Raheman Shaikh & Ors. v. Maharashtra Ind. Dev. Cor. & Ors., Civil
Appeal No. 8056 of 2013, the High Court order staying payment of the
enhanced amount of compensation had been modified to the effect that
50% of the enhanced amount of compensation would be released without
security and the balance 50% would be released on furnishing security.
There being no dispute about applicability of the order so passed by this
Court in Civil Appeal No. 8056 of 2013 (supra), the appeal filed by the
present appellants was also allowed in the same terms and the impugned
order of the High Court was modified. The order dated 29.01.2018
passed by this Court in disposal of the said appeal of the appellants, Civil
Appeal No. 1348 of 2018, on its material contents, reads as under: -
“Heard learned counsel for the parties.
Leave granted.
It is not disputed that in a similar matter being Wajidmiya Abdul
Raheman Shaikh & Ors. Vs. Maharashtra Ind. Dev. Corpn. &
Ors. (Civil Appeal No. 8056 of 2013 etc. etc.), the High Court order
staying payment of enhanced compensation has been modified to
the effect that 50% of the enhanced compensation be released
5
without security and the balance of 50% to be released on
furnishing security.
Accordingly, the Civil Appeal is allowed in the same terms and
the impugned order of the High Court is modified.”
4.6. After passing of the aforesaid order dated 29.01.2018 by this
Court, the applicant-MTDC deposited the said amount of Rs.
1,37,50,547/- in the High Court on 20.03.2018. However, thereafter, they
moved the said application before the High Court seeking to withdraw the
amount so deposited with the submissions that such a deposit was made
per mistake. It was submitted that in the order dated 29.01.2018, the
Supreme Court had not directed the applicant-MTDC to deposit the entire
compensation amount awarded by the Reference Court and the
directions in the order dated 29.01.2018 had only been in respect of the
amount which was deposited in the High Court before passing of the
order by the Supreme Court.
4.7. The High Court accepted the submissions so made by the
applicant-MTDC while observing that the order dated 29.01.2018 passed
by this Court could not be read as a permission to the claimants to
withdraw the entire compensation amount awarded by the Reference
Court. The High Court, therefore, allowed the applicant-MTDC to
withdraw the amount deposited on 20.03.2018 while observing, inter alia,
as under: -
“4. Undisputedly, the applicant MTDC filed this appeal challenging
the judgment and award, passed by 2nd Joint Civil Judge, Senior
Division, Aurangabad, in Land Acquisition Reference No. 101 of
6
2005. In this appeal, the MTDC filed Civil Application No. 16090 of
2016 with Civil Application No. 16091 of 2016 for condonation of
delay and stay. On 14.12.2016, this Court passed stay order
subject to deposit of 50 per cent of compensation amount awarded
by the Reference Court, with accrued interest thereon.
5. In obedience of this order, the MTDC deposited 50 per cent
amount of compensation in this Court. Thereafter original
claimants filed Civil Application No. 3432 of 2017 for withdrawal of
said 50 per cent deposited compensation. On 7.6.2017, this Court
allowed the claimants to withdraw 50 per cent amount out of
deposited 50 per cent compensation subject to filing of
undertaking to deposit the withdrawn amount if directed by this
Court in future. The balance amount was directed to be invested in
fixed deposit. Against that order, the claimants approached
Supreme Court and in Civil Appeal No. 1348 of 2018 on
29.1.2018, the Supreme Court modified the order passed by this
Court and released 50 per cent of enhanced compensation without
security and balance 50 per cent was released on furnishing
security.
6. If the sequence of above events is considered, it is crystal
clear that the order passed by Apex Court, dated 29.1.2018
pertains to 50 per cent amount deposited by appellant MTDC in
accordance with the direction given by this Court on 14.12.2016 in
Civil Application No. 16090 of 2016. Till passing of order by
Supreme Court on 29.1.2018, only 50 per cent amount out of
awarded amount was deposited and lying in this Court. Even in
the order, dated 29.1.2018, the Supreme Court has not directed
the appellant MTDC to deposit the entire compensation amount
awarded by the Reference Court. Therefore, the direction given by
Apex Court in the order, dated 29.1.2018 is in respect of amount
which was deposited in this Court till 29.1.2018. This order is not
applicable to the amount which is inadvertently deposited by
MTDC on 20.3.2018 i.e. after passing order by the Supreme Court
on 29.1.2018. Therefore, by taking benefit of order of the Supreme
Court, the claimant cannot withdraw the amount deposited by
MTDC inadvertently. The order dated 29.1.2018 does not show
exercise of jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India
as argued. Thus, the inadvertently deposited amount needs to be
refunded to the applicant MTDC, as that amount was deposited in
this Court without direction of this Court as well as without
direction given by Supreme Court. The order, dated 29.1.2018,
passed by Supreme Court cannot be read as permission to
withdraw entire compensation awarded by the Reference Court in
Land Acquisition Reference No. 101 of 2005. Therefore,
Application filed by the applicant/appellant MTDC to withdraw the
amount of Rs. 1,37,50,547/ deposited
inadvertently in this Court deserves to be allowed.
7
7. Accordingly, applicant MTDC is permitted to withdraw amount
of Rs.1,37,50,547/ (Rs.One Crore Thirty Seven Lakh Fifty
Thousand Five Hundred Forty Seven Only) deposited on
20.3.2018.
8. Civil Application is disposed of accordingly.”
5. While questioning the order so passed by the High Court, learned
counsel for the appellants has referred to various orders passed by this
Court from time to time in similar matters involving akin issues, including
the aforesaid relied upon order dated 10.09.2013 in Civil Appeal No. 8056
of 2013. The learned counsel has contended that the appellants, who lost
their land way back in the year 2001, could ultimately receive the amount
of compensation only in terms of the orders passed by this Court on
29.01.2018 and they cannot be deprived of the same on the
hyper-technical submissions sought to be made by the applicant-MTDC,
which had wrongly been accepted by the High Court.
5.1. Learned counsel for the appellants has further contended that
reliance on the order dated 14.12.2016 of the High Court is erroneous
inasmuch as it was only an interlocutory order and the same was
superseded by the order dated 29.01.2018 passed by this Court,
specifically permitting the appellants to withdraw 50% of the enhanced
compensation amount without security and remaining 50% with security.
Learned counsel has referred to various other orders passed in similar
matters and has submitted that this Court has consistently taken the view
that the persons who are deprived of their land due to acquisition should
8
be paid/disbursed 50% of the enhanced amount of compensation without
security and the remaining 50% with security during the pendency of
appeal by the acquiring agency. The same order was passed between the
parties in the present matter by this Court on 29.01.2018 and its full and
practical effect cannot be whittled down merely by reference to a previous
order of the High Court.
6. Per contra, learned counsel for the respondent No. 1 (applicantMTDC) has strenuously argued that the controversy which reached this
Court earlier was only with regard to the release of 50% of the amount of
compensation awarded by the Reference Court, which had already been
deposited by the applicant-MTDC on 20.01.2017. This deposit was made
in compliance of the order dated 14.12.2016, which always remained
operative, for having neither been challenged nor modified.
6.1. As regards the order dated 29.01.2018, it has been argued that in
manner and effect, this Court merely directed release of 50% amount with
security and 50% amount without security while following the order
passed in a different matter, i.e., Civil Appeal No. 8056 of 2013 but,
without modifying the earlier order dated 14.12.2016 in the present case.
According to the learned counsel, the implication of the order of this Court
had only been that 50% of the deposited amount was to be released with
security and 50% without security. It has also been contended that
though no further deposit was required to be made by the applicantMTDC, but even if such a deposit was made at the instance of the
9
appellants in abundant caution, the excessively deposited amount could
not have been withdrawn or received by the appellants. Learned counsel
has submitted that the appellants were trying to take advantage of a
fiction which might have been created because of the order dated
29.01.2018 but, if the said order is read together with the orders dated
14.12.2016 and 07.06.2017, the picture would be crystal clear that the
appellants were entitled to get only 50% of the total amount of enhanced
compensation, where they could receive half by furnishing security and
other half without security, but there was neither any obligation on the
applicant-MTDC to deposit whole of the amount of compensation nor
there was any corresponding entitlement of the appellants to withdraw the
same by taking half on security and the other half without security.
Learned counsel had relied upon an order by a 3-Judge Bench of
this Court in the case of Nayara Energy Limited v. The State of
Gujarat & Ors., Civil Appeal Nos. 4102-4103 of 2020 arising from S.L.P.
(Civil) Nos. 14215-14216 of 2020 and particularly the following passage
therein: -
“6. ….we are of the opinion that if the original claimants are
permitted to withdraw 25% of the enhanced amount of
compensation, as awarded by the learned Reference Court,
together with proportionate interest and cost, without furnishing
any security and the balance 75% of the enhanced amount of
compensation, together with proportionate cost and interest, as
awarded by the learned Reference Court is permitted to be
invested in a fixed deposit in any nationalised bank with
cumulative interest, it will meet the end of justice and take care
of the interest of both the parties.”
10
7. We have given thoughtful consideration to the rival submissions
and have thoroughly examined the material placed on record.
8. A somewhat peculiar situation of the present case has its genesis
in the fact that on 14.12.2016, the High Court had ordered stay over
execution of the award dated 19.03.2016 on the condition of the
applicant-MTDC depositing 50% of the amount of compensation along
with interest accrued. On 01.02.2017 the applicant-MTDC indeed
deposited the said 50% of the amount of compensation but, by the order
dated 07.06.2017, the High Court permitted withdrawal only of 50% of the
said deposited amount (which itself was 50% of the compensation
amount) on an undertaking and the remaining amount was ordered to be
placed in fixed deposit. This order was in challenge in this Court in Civil
Appeal No. 1348 of 2018 wherein this Court passed the order dated
29.01.2018, as reproduced hereinbefore.
9. At the first blush, it may appear that when only the said order
07.06.2017 (disbursal order) was in challenge before this Court and the
principal order dated 14.12.2016 (stay order requiring only 50% deposit)
was not in question, the order passed by this Court co-relates only with
the disbursal order and thereby, the appellants would be entitled to
withdraw 50% of the deposited amount without security and balance 50%
on furnishing security. However, a close look at the order 29.01.2018 and
the relied upon order therein bring to fore a situation entirely different; and
it is difficult to accept the submissions of the applicant-MTDC as also the
11
observations of the High Court that this Court’s order related only to the
deposited amount of compensation and not to the entire enhanced
amount of compensation.
10. As noticed, the said order dated 29.01.2018 was passed by this
Court without raising of any dispute on the part of any of the parties as
regards applicability of the earlier decision in Civil Appeal No. 8056 of
2013, i.e., the case of Wajidmiya Abdul Raheman Shaikh (supra). The
appeal filed by the present appellants was allowed “in same terms” and
the impugned order of the High Court was “modified”. To appreciate the
implication of the expression “in the same terms”, we may fruitfully refer to
the order dated 10.09.2013 passed by this Court in Civil Appeal No. 8056
of 2013. In the said order, this Court, after condoning delay and granting
leave, took note of the fact that the appeals were directed against interim
orders passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Bench at
Aurangabad in various civil applications moved in respective civil appeals;
and while observing that the High Court had rejected the reasonable
prayer made by the appellant, this Court proceeded to dispose of the
case with the following observations and directions: -
“4. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties to the lis, we
are of the opinion that the prayer made by the appellants requires
to be accepted and granted. Accordingly, we pass the following
order- “We direct that the 50% of the enhanced compensation
granted to the appellants shall be released without security
whereas balance of 50% shall be released to them on furnishing
security to the satisfaction of the Collector”.”
12
10.1. Several other orders passed by this Court in different matters
have also been placed before us for perusal by the learned counsel for
the appellants. The common thread running through all the orders
aforesaid is that this Court issued similar directions, of allowing 50% of
enhanced amount of compensation to be released without security and
balance 50% to be released on furnishing security. Instead of multiplying
the reference to several orders passed by this Court, for the present
purpose, suffice would be to refer to the order dated 22.11.2019 in Civil
Appeal No. 8931 of 2019 [arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 15491 of 2017]
wherein, while dealing with a nearly akin situation that the High Court had
permitted withdrawal of 25% of the compensation amount without security
and 25% on furnishing solvent security, this Court referred to the order
passed in Civil Appeal No. 1348 of 2018 i.e., the case of the present
appellants and allowed the appeal in the same terms. The relevant part of
the said order dated 22.11.2019 reads as under: -
“Heard learned counsel for the parties.
Leave granted.
The appellant assails the interim order of the High Court in a
Land Acquisition Appeal preferred by the State, permitting
withdrawal of 25% of the Compensation amount without security
and 25% on furnishing solvent surety by the appellant.
In view of our several orders on this issue, reference may be
made to one of them in Civil Appeal No. 1348 of 2018, where the
following order has been passed:
“It is not disputed that in a similar matter being
Wajidmiya Abdul Raheman Shaikh & Ors. Vs.
Maharashtra Indu. Dev. Corpn. & Ors. (Civil Appeal No.
8056 of 2013 etc. etc.), the High Court order staying
payment of enhanced compensation has been modified to
the effect that 50% of the enhanced compensation be
13
released without security and the balance of 50% to be
released on furnishing security.”
The civil appeal is allowed on the above terms.”
11. So far as the decision of this Court in Civil Appeal No. 4102-4103
of 2020 is concerned, therein the High Court had stayed the execution of
award passed by the Reference Court on the condition of the acquiring
agency depositing 80% of the awarded amount alongwith proportionate
cost and interest and thereafter, the High Court directed that 50% of the
deposited amount be placed in a cumulative fixed deposit for a period of
five years and the balance was allowed to be withdrawn by the claimants.
The High Court also allowed the claimants to withdraw 50% of the
accrued interest on fixed deposit. Taking note of the given fact situation
and the fact that the claimants were not in a position to furnish any
security, this Court issued directions for depositing entire awarded
amount before the High Court and then, allowed 25% of the deposited
amount to be withdrawn by the claimants without security and the
remaining 75% was ordered to be placed in a cumulative fixed deposit for
a period of five years. The said case essentially proceeded on its own
facts and it cannot be held that this Court has laid down any inflexible rule
that in every such case, the claimants would be entitled to withdraw only
25% of the awarded amount of compensation.
12. Apart from the above, fact of the matter remains that in the
present case, specific order has been passed by this Court in terms of the
14
order passed in the case of Wajidmiya Abdul Raheman Shaikh (supra).
The order passed by this Court had been explicit that the order of the
High Court staying the payment of enhanced compensation stood
modified to the effect that 50% of the enhanced amount of compensation
was to be released without security and the balance 50% on furnishing
security. Even if the initial stay order dated 14.12.2016 had not, as such,
been challenged before this Court, the disbursal order dated 07.06.2017
had essentially been in continuity thereof and while considering challenge
to the disbursal order, nothing prevented this Court from modifying the
principal stay order itself.
13. In our view, the order dated 29.01.2018 passed by this Court in
Civil Appeal No. 1348 of 2018 is required to be interpreted and applied on
its substance rather than technicalities. The intent of this Court in
Wajidmiya Abdul Raheman Shaikh (supra) had been clear that the
entire amount of enhanced compensation should reach the claimants
while they would be obliged to furnish security to the extent of 50%
thereof. When the same terms were applied to the present case, the
attempt on the part of the applicant-MTDC to fall back again and again on
the order dated 14.12.2016 could not have been countenanced.
Unfortunately, the High Court has fallen in such an error by accepting the
hyper technical submissions on behalf of the applicant-MTDC. In fact, the
applicant-MTDC had correctly understood the meaning, purport and effect
of the order dated 29.01.2018 in the first instance when the remaining
15
50% of the amount of compensation was deposited on 20.03.2018. Their
second thought and late attempt to withdraw the said amount, was
required to be rejected.
14. Before closing this matter, we are impelled to observe that the
orders passed by the Courts, and particularly by this Court, are required
to be understood on their pith and substance while avoiding an approach
of technicalities. Moreover, when the matter relates to the payment of
amount of compensation to the land losers, if at all two views are
possible, the view that advances the cause of justice is always to be
preferred rather than the other view, which may draw its strength only
from technicalities. We say no more for the present.
15. Accordingly and in view of the above, this appeal succeeds and is
allowed; the impugned order dated 03.12.2018 is set aside and the
application filed by the applicant-MTDC for withdrawal of deposited
amount of compensation stands rejected. No costs.
 ….………………………..J.
[DINESH MAHESHWARI]
….………………………..J.
 [SUDHANSHU DHULIA]
NEW DELHI;
SEPTEMBER 30, 2022.
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