Delhi Development Authority Versus Krishan Lal Arora & Ors.

Delhi Development Authority Versus Krishan Lal Arora & Ors.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7960 OF 2022
Delhi Development Authority …Appellant(s)
Versus
Krishan Lal Arora & Ors. …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
M.R. SHAH, J.
1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment
and order passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Writ Petition
(C) No. 10820 of 2016 by which the High Court has allowed the said writ
petition preferred by the original landowner – original writ petitioner -
respondent herein, and has held and declared that the acquisition with
respect to the land in question has lapsed under Section 24(2) of the
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as
“Act, 2013”), the Delhi Development Authority has preferred the present
appeal.
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2. From the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court,
it is seen that though the possession of the land in question was already
taken over by the Land Acquisition Collector / L& B Department,
Government of NCT of Delhi on 02.09.2006, the acquisition is ordered to
be lapsed solely on the ground that the compensation has not been paid
to the landowner. According to the High Court, as the compensation has
not been paid to the original writ petitioner – original landowner, Section
24(2) of the Act, 2013 shall be attracted and therefore the acquisition is
deemed to have been lapsed. The view taken by the High Court is just
contrary to the Constitution Bench decision of this Court in the case of
Indore Development Authority Vs. Manoharlal and Ors. (2020) 8
SCC 129 and in paragraph 366, it is observed and held by this Court as
under:-
“366. In view of the aforesaid discussion, we
answer the questions as under:
366.1. Under the provisions of Section 24(1)(a) in
case the award is not made as on 1-1-2014, the date of
commencement of the 2013 Act, there is no lapse of
proceedings. Compensation has to be determined under
the provisions of the 2013 Act.
366.2. In case the award has been passed within
the window period of five years excluding the period
covered by an interim order of the court, then proceedings
shall continue as provided under Section 24(1)(b) of the
2013 Act under the 1894 Act as if it has not been
repealed.
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366.3. The word “or” used in Section 24(2) between
possession and compensation has to be read as “nor” or
as “and”. The deemed lapse of land acquisition
proceedings under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act takes
place where due to inaction of authorities for five years or
more prior to commencement of the said Act, the
possession of land has not been taken nor compensation
has been paid. In other words, in case possession has
been taken, compensation has not been paid then there
is no lapse. Similarly, if compensation has been paid,
possession has not been taken then there is no lapse.
366.4. The expression “paid” in the main part of
Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act does not include a deposit
of compensation in court. The consequence of nondeposit is provided in the proviso to Section 24(2) in case
it has not been deposited with respect to majority of
landholdings then all beneficiaries (landowners) as on the
date of notification for land acquisition under Section 4 of
the 1894 Act shall be entitled to compensation in
accordance with the provisions of the 2013 Act. In case
the obligation under Section 31 of the Land Acquisition
Act, 1894 has not been fulfilled, interest under Section 34
of the said Act can be granted. Non-deposit of
compensation (in court) does not result in the lapse of
land acquisition proceedings. In case of non-deposit with
respect to the majority of holdings for five years or more,
compensation under the 2013 Act has to be paid to the
“landowners” as on the date of notification for land
acquisition under Section 4 of the 1894 Act.
366.5. In case a person has been tendered the
compensation as provided under Section 31(1) of the
1894 Act, it is not open to him to claim that acquisition has
lapsed under Section 24(2) due to non-payment or nondeposit of compensation in court. The obligation to pay is
complete by tendering the amount under Section 31(1).
The landowners who had refused to accept compensation
or who sought reference for higher compensation, cannot
claim that the acquisition proceedings had lapsed under
Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act.
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366.6. The proviso to Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act
is to be treated as part of Section 24(2), not part of
Section 24(1)(b).
366.7. The mode of taking possession under the
1894 Act and as contemplated under Section 24(2) is by
drawing of inquest report/memorandum. Once award has
been passed on taking possession under Section 16 of
the 1894 Act, the land vests in State there is no divesting
provided under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, as once
possession has been taken there is no lapse under
Section 24(2).
366.8. The provisions of Section 24(2) providing for
a deemed lapse of proceedings are applicable in case
authorities have failed due to their inaction to take
possession and pay compensation for five years or more
before the 2013 Act came into force, in a proceeding for
land acquisition pending with the authority concerned as
on 1-1-2014. The period of subsistence of interim orders
passed by court has to be excluded in the computation of
five years.
366.9. Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act does not give
rise to new cause of action to question the legality of
concluded proceedings of land acquisition. Section 24
applies to a proceeding pending on the date of
enforcement of the 2013 Act i.e. 1-1-2014. It does not
revive stale and time-barred claims and does not reopen
concluded proceedings nor allow landowners to question
the legality of mode of taking possession to reopen
proceedings or mode of deposit of compensation in the
treasury instead of court to invalidate acquisition.”
3. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, present
appeal succeeds. The impugned judgment and order passed by the
High Court ordering lapse of the acquisition with respect to the land in
question under Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013 is hereby quashed and set
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aside. Consequently, the original writ petition preferred by the original
writ petitioner stands dismissed.
The appeal is accordingly allowed. No costs.
Pending application(s), if any, also stand disposed of.
………………………………….J.
 [M.R. SHAH]
NEW DELHI; ………………………………….J.
NOVEMBER 02, 2022. [M.M. SUNDRESH]
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