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P. Seshubabu & Others v/s Government of A.P. Rep. by the Secretary, Planning & Co-operation Dept. Hyd. & Others

    W.P. No. 5620 of 1972

    Decided On, 08 February 1973

    At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh


    For the Petitioners: P. Babul Reddy, M.V. Ramana Reddy, V. Lakshmi Devi, Advocates. For the Respondents: A. Anantha Reddy, Advocate General, Government Pleader.

Judgment Text

Gopal Rao Ekbote, C.J.

1. The Andhra Pradesh Housing Board has a planning and development Sub-Committee. The sub-committee at its meeting held on 10-1-1972 negotiated with owners of S. Nos. 462 to 465, 468 and 469 situate in the village Kapra with a view to purchase land, admeasuring Act 40-27 guntas for the purpose of implementing the housing schemes. The sub-committee agreed to purchase the land at Rs. 10,000/- per acre.

2. The Housing Board at its meeting held on 11-1-1972 approved of the purchase of land by negotiation on the terms settled by the Sub-Committee.

3. Accordingly agreements were executed between the Chairman of the Housing Board and the petitioner who are the owners of the land on 10-2-1972 and various other (SIC). Some of the terms of the agreement in W.P. No. 5620 of 1972 and that the possession of the land will immediately be taken by the Housing Board. The net amount of Rs. 4,09,000/- and odd would be paid to the owners. They would not be entitled, however, to any solatium nor they would be entitled to any interest even if there is some delay in the payment of compensation. It was also agreed that the land would formally be acquired under the procedure laid down in the Land Acquisition Act hereinafter called the Act) with a view to ensure unencumbered (SIC) to the Board. Similar agreements were executed in other writ petitions also.

4. The Housing Board issued a notification under Section 22-A of the Housing Board Act declaring its intention to make Housing Scheme, setting for the extent of land in question proposed to be included in the scheme. According to Section (SIC) the publication of such a notification under Section 22-A, is substituted for and has the same effect as publication under Section 4 of the Act.

5. On 23-3-1972 the Board requested the Government to appoint a Special Tahsildar for the said acquisition. The Board also referred the case to the Special Tahsildar for the initiating the proceedings under the Act. Copies of the agreements were also sent to the Special Tahsildar.

6. Enquiry under Section 5-A of the Act was made by the Special Tahsildar and completed on 4-4-1972.

7. The Government issued notification under Section 6 of the Act on 1-6-1972.

8. On 28-4-1972 the Housing Board asked the Special Tahsildar to take possession of the land in accordance with the agreement. It was received by the Special Tahsildar on 29-4-1972.

9. Thereafter notices under Section 9 also were given and necessary enquiry was also completed on 4-7-1972.

10. In the meanwhile on 28-4-1972, long before even Section 6 notification was issued, the petitioners wrote a letter to the Special Tahsildar to take possession of the land. The Special Tahsildar immediately on the next day i.e., 29-4-1972 informed the Housing Board and perhaps the petitioners also that since Section 17 (4) of the Act is not applicable to the case he will be able to take possession only after the award was passed. The possession was accordingly not taken by the Special Tahsildar.

11. While the matters stood thus, the Parliament carried on the 25th Amendment to the Constitution on 24-4-1972.

12. The State Government taking advantage of the 25th amendment issued ordinance III of 1972 on 5-6-1972 prohibiting the alienation of urban lands. Out of the purposes mentioned is the construction of houses for weaker sections of the society.

13. Re

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uming the narration then, it is seen that the Chairman, Housing Board forwarded the resolution of the Board dated, 30-5-1972 to the Government. The resolution directs that the funds may be placed at the disposal of the Tahsildar without further reference to the Board Money may be drawn from the F.D.14. The Government through their letter dated 21-6-1972 advised the Board to keep the acquisitions in question in abeyance in view of the impending Urban property ceiling legislation.15. Another letter was sent on 7-7-1972 instructing the Board to go slow in view of the impending legislation for imposition of ceiling on urban property.16. On 10-7-1972 the Chairman wrote to the Government seeking instructions. And by letter dated 30-8-1972 the Government asked the Housing Board to stop the acquisition of the lands in question.17. It is at this stage that W.P. No. 4438 of 1972 was filed by the petitioners on 25-9-1972 praying for a direction against the Special Tahsildar to pass the award. The petition came before A.D.V. Reddy, J. for admission on 26-9-72. The learned Judge felt that in the circumstances of the case there was no delay in passing the award. He therefore dismissed the writ petition. He, however, made an observation that if nothing further is required to be done, the Special Tahsildar may pass an award.18. The petitioner presenting the copies of the said order of the learned Judge to the Special Tahsildar and the Housing Board requested the Tahsildar to pass the award. The Tahsildar thereafter wrote to the Housing Board to place the necessary funds at his disposal so that he can pass the necessary award.19. The Chairman of the Housing Board, however, replied that the observation of the High Court is not a direction given to the Special Tahsildar and therefore the Tahsildar should follow the instructions of the Government and go slow in making the award. A copy of the same was sent to the Collector as well as to the Government.20. Since the Special Tahsildar was not making an award immediately, the petitioners filed W.P. No. 4772 of 1972 on 13-10-1972 for the issue of a mandamus directing the Tahsildar to give award and take delivery of possession of the land.21. By an interim order, a learned single judge directed on 13-10-1972 the Tahsildar to take delivery of possession.22. An application to vacate the interim direction was filed by the Housing Board.23. While the attempts of the petitioners were going on to get necessary orders from Court, the Housing Engineer submitted a note for the consideration of the Housing Board on 27-10-1972. The note deals elaborately with the schemes of housing already undertaken by the Board and points out the financial implication of the same. The Housing Engineer therefore desired the matter to be placed before the Board for considering the withdrawal of land acquisition cases excepting land at Sultan Walva, item, 3, in para No. 1 of the note. The note specifically suggests to withdraw the land acquisition proceedings relating to the lands in question.24. The Housing Board met on 30-10-1972. The Board considered the proposals placed before it by the Housing Engineer. Item 1 of the agenda was the consideration of withdrawal of acquisition of lands notified at various places in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.25. The Board thereupon passed the following resolution on 30-10-1972:"To address the Government in the case of the 4 items (Land in question) where the Board had already entered into agreement for the purchase of the lands at mutually agreed rates. Any de-notification of the four lands may involve payment of damages for violation of the agreements. The aspect may be examined by the Government. The Government may also be intimated of the present stage of the case in the Honourable High Court".26. The Chairman as desired by the Board communicated the resolution to the Government. He made special mention of the four cases covered by agreement; copies of agreements, executed in those cases were also sent.27. The request of the Special Tahsildar made to the Board that necessary funds should be placed at his disposal was communicated to the Board through a note of 17-11-1972. The note brings out the instruction of the Government given in regard to acquisition of lands.28. The Board at its meeting held on 10-11-1972 passed the following Resolution :"Resolved to agree to place the funds at the disposal of the Special Tahsildar (Land Acquisition) of A.P. Housing Board, since the land is required by the Housing Board and the rate also is reasonable. However, the matter may be referred to the Government for consideration along with earlier resolution No. (1) of the Special Meeting held on 30-10-1972".29. The Chairman dissenting from the majority view wanted the whole matter to be referred to the Government before any decision is taken to place the funds at the disposal of the Special Tahsildar.30. W.P. No. 4772 of 1972 came on for final bearing before Sambasiva Rao, J. Counters were filed by the Special Tahsildar as well as by the Government.31. The learned Judge by his judgment dated 17-11-1972 directed the Housing Board to place the necessary funds at the disposal of the Special Tahsildar within 10 days. He also directed the Special Tahsildar to give award within three days after the expiry of 10 days.32. The Housing Board met immediately after the Judgment on 18-11-1972. By a resolution the Board decided that the direction of the High Court may be implemented. The funds may be placed at the disposal of the Special Tahsildar. It was also decided to inform the Government accordingly.33. In pursuance of the resolution, the Chairman issued a cheque with a view to place the funds at the disposal of the Special Tahsildar on 25-11-1972.34. Before the award, however, could be given by the Tahsildar the Government issued a G.O. Ms. No. 727 on 26-11-1972 withdrawing from acquisition of lands shown in the schedule under Section 48 (1) of the Act. The material portion reads as under;"And whereas the Government have decided as a matter of policy to withdraw from land acquisition in all cases relating to the A.P. Housing Board where draft declarations have been published under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act in view of the impending legislation imposing ceiling on urban property. Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers vested under Sub-section (1) of Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh hereby withdraws from acquisition of the lands shown in the schedules".35. The schedule details the lands admeasuring a total of Ac. 40-27 guntas situate in Kapra village, Medchal Taluk, Hyderabad District. These are petitioners lands in W.P. 5620/72, the facts of which are given above. The facts of other Writ petitions are similar.36. It is to challenge the validity of this notification and other notifications similarly issued regarding lands situate in Kulsumpura, Bagh Amberpet and Rasulpura that Writ petitions have been filed. W.P. No 5620 of 1972 relates to Kapra. And W.Ps. 5822, 5337 and 5339 of 1972 relate to three other localities mentioned respectively.37. The principal ground on which these notifications have been attacked was that the notification has been issued for an ulterior and unauthorised purpose, and therefore the exercise of power under Section 48 (2) of the Act is an abuse of such power.38. In order to appreciate the contention fully, it is necessary to read Section 48 (1)."(1) Except in the case provided for in Section 36, the Government shall be at liberty to withdraw from the acquisition of any land of which possession has not been taken".39. The words "shall be at liberty" are words of enabling nature. These words merely permit and empower the Government to withdraw from acquisition. They indisputably confer very wide discretion on the Government to withdraw from acquisition except in the case provided for in Section 36 and secondly in a case in which possession has been taken under the Act. Thus the Legislature has merely put two restrictions on the exercise of the discretion by the Government which is otherwise very wide. It would, however, be a mistake to treat this discretion, however, wide it may be, as absolute or unlimited. A limited Government such as we have under the Constitution cannot have bodies under it or the authorities with unlimited powers. Even if the section does not expressly impose limits on the exercise of powers except those already enumerated, even then there are always certain discernible limits imposed over the exercise of such apparently unfettered powers. A wide executive discretion is always subjected to certain judicial standards. Indian administrative law does recognise the principle what the French call "Detournement DE-Pouvoir" otherwise known in this country as "abuse of administrative power."40. If one is not to go astray, he must keep in view the difference between the duty and the discretionary power. The contrast between the two is ostensibly clear cut. A duty is an act that must be performed. A discretionary power, however, implies freedom of choice. The competent authority may decide whether or not to act and if so how to act. But on that account alone it cannot be said that the discretion is unlimited or unfettered. The Government has to exercise the discretion genuinely in each individual case.41. Discretion, as we have stated earlier, is the power of the administrator to make a choice from among two or more legally valid solutions. Any solution presumptively is valid if it is an exercise of a granted power and the exercise is motivated by considerations relevant to the purposes of the statute, at least if not excluded by the statute.42. The Courts have developed devices for controlling the exercise of such discretion. All those devices, in an extended sense, are variants of the concept of "abuse of discretion."43. Broadly speaking an abuse of discretion is an exercise of discretion in which a relevant consideration has been given an exaggerated, an unreasonable weight at the expense of others. The 'letter' has been observed the `spirit' has been violated. Discretion implies a 'balancing' when the result is eccentric either there has not been a balancing or a hidden and mayhap improper motive has been at work.44. Now abuse of discretion can be found in any guises. One such guise is when the power which has been expressly or impliedly given for one purpose, an exercise of that power solely for another purpose is invalid. A most important aspect of ultra vires is that it limits the purpose for which power may be used. It is plain that the recipient of a statutory power can do only those things that are authorises by the statute to be done. This naturally involves interpretation of the relevant statute.45. The principle then is that the power must not be exercised as to frustrate the broad policy of the Act under which it is exercised. It must be exercised for the purpose for which it is conferred and not for any collateral purpose. In other words, power must not be used for an ulterior object, which is not authorised by law, however desirable that object may seem to them to be in the public interest.46. The Courts have always inferred that the Parliament must have conferred the discretion with the intention that it should be used to promote the policy and objects of the Act. The policy and objects of the Act if not expressly stated in the Act must have to be determined by construing as a whole. It is, however, plain, that incidental or consequential things are ordinarily included in the main purpose and objects of the Act. They go together. Thus the discretion not only can be exercised for the main purpose and objects but for incidental, subordinate, or consequential purposes and objects. An Act may serve some other purpose in addition to its authorised purpose. If it is valid under other provisions of the Act, such an additional purpose can be achieved along with the main purpose of the Act. In a matter of this kind, however, it is neither possible not perhaps desirable to draw a hard and fast line. Broadly stated if the discretion is used for a collateral purpose or so exercised as to thwart or run counter to the policy and objects of the Act, then that law would be very defective if persons aggrieved were not considered entitled to the protection of the Court.47. At the same it is well to remember that once the exercise of discretion is found to be proper, then the Courts are not permitted to substitute their judgment for that of the administrative agency. The legislature has vested discretion in the Government and has set the field of Administrative discretion. The Courts would not enter into that field except considering the legality of the exercise. It is not for the Courts to impose their own ideals of what ought to have been done, for the statute intended the power of discretion to lie elsewhere. The Court's only concern is with legality or reasonableness of what is done.48. It is now well known that when administrative discretion of the kind discussed above is granted, the law recognises certain principles on which discretion must be exercised. But within the four corners of these principles, the discretion is an absolute one, and cannot be questioned in any Court of law.49. What then is the purpose of the Act? Patently the provisions of the Act have to be read along with the provisions of the Housing Board Act. The lands admittedly were sought to be acquired for the purpose of housing under the Housing Board Act. After the Second World War acute shortage of houses in the urban areas was felt. Demand was more for obvious reasons. But the supply of houses for different purposes was comparatively very short. This dichotomy naturally gave rise to various malpractices. House owners demand exorbitant rents and consequently rent racketing was very much in vogue. The open lands became costly. This Construction of houses therefore became a matter of urgency. Various devices have been employed to build more houses particularly for lower and middle income groups and for Harijans and other people of weaker sections of the society. Apart from other steps which were taken, a statutory Housing Board was constituted to pay special attention to this menacing problem. The main purpose of the Board was to acquire sites at cheaper rates, construct cheap houses thereon and make such houses available at fair or reasonable rents to the needy people. The Board can also sell such houses on hire purchase system. One thread which runs throughout the scheme of the Act is economy. Unless the projects of house constructions are carried on economically, it would not be possible to sell or let them out at reasonably cheaper price or rent. The purpose and object of the Act therefore is to construct small and comfortable but cheap houses in large numbers in order to meet the fast growing need of the urban population. The Act, it is evident, provides in Section 40 (b) for compensation on the basis of its own and it differs from the compensation ordinarily payable under the Land Acquisition Act. Compensation under the Housing Act is comparatively cheaper.50. That being the purpose of the Housing Board Act for the fulfilment of which housing schemes are declared under Section 22-A of the Housing Board Act, lands are acquired under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, subject to the modifications made by the Housing Board Act.51. Thus apart from the public purpose which includes acquisition of lands for housing schemes under the land acquisition Act, the specific purpose of constructing houses under the Housing Board Act is there. It cannot be doubted that under both the Acts and particularly under the Housing Board Act lands are intended to be acquired at cheaper rates so that the ultimate purpose of the housing scheme to provide more but cheap houses to the people is achieved.52. What can then be the purpose underlying Section 48 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act? It cannot be but to withdraw from the acquisition when the acquisition is found to be either not required for the purpose or the acquisition at a higher cost would not serve the real purpose of constructing cheap houses. The contention that there is only one purpose underlying Section 48 (1) and that is when the main public purpose for which the land was to be acquired no more exists whatever may be the reason cannot be accepted as correct. No doubt, that may be one of the important considerations. But the acquisition if it is found uneconomical or is any manner detrimental to the very purpose for which the acquisition was commenced, even then powers under Section 48 (1) can lawfully be exercised. Once it is admitted that economics play an important part in executing the housing schemes, then not only the lands from the very inception should be selected which would be economical for acquisition but if during the course of acquisition it is found that the acquisition is going to be very costly and will affect the main purpose of the scheme or there are bright chances of getting the land in question or any other land for the same purpose at a cheaper or nominal price, the power under section 48 can validly by exercised. Cheap or economical acquisition of land is a part of the public purpose. In any case, it is subordinate, incidental or consequent to the main purpose of housing schemes. For example, if during the course of acquisition for the purpose of a housing scheme, a philanthropic person comes forward and offers his land to be utilised for the same purpose how can any one object if the Government withdraws from the acquisition?53. The notification in question states the reason of withdrawal from the acquisition. The reason given is that in view of the impending legislation imposing ceiling on urban property the Government withdraws from the acquisition. The question is whether the reason for which the Government is withdrawing can be said to have nexus with the purpose underlying Section 48 (1).54. Now it is a common knowledge that the purpose and object of the impending legislation is to make the surplus urban land available for public purpose and secondly the prices of the land on the whole are intended to be brought down thereby. The surplus land vesting in the Government would immediately be available for housing schemes at no cost or cost which is reasonably expected that the impending legislation would tend to bring down the prices of urban lands.55. If that situation has now arisen, how can it be contended that the intention of the Government to acquire the lands for the same purpose at cheaper rates is totally unconnected with the purpose of housing schemes for which land was sought to be acquired. In our Judgment, the expressed purpose is clearly interrelated with the main purpose for which the land was acquired, In any case, it is incidental or subordinate to the main purpose of the Housing Board Act in general. We are therefore satisfied that the purpose for which and the ground on which the Government is withdrawing from acquisition cannot be said to be an unauthorised or improper purpose. It is quite in consonance with the main purpose and is quite consistent and in accordance with the purpose and objects of the Housing Board Act for which really the land was acquired. It is also not inconsistent with the main purpose and objects of Land Acquisition Act. To economise the construction and thus sale money for the exchequer or for the Housing Board is perfectly in accord with the principal purpose underlying Section 48 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act.56. It was then contended that the legislation is merely proposed and was not in existence on the day when the impugned notification was issued. We do not think the argument is effective. It is not necessary that the law should have been enacted. In that case the prices would have already gone down or surplus land would have been available and in such a situation no one can doubt that withdrawal from acquisition would have been legal and justified.57. The impending legislation is bound to come sooner than later is beyond controversy. Not only that it is very much in the air but admittedly Government is committed to it. Many State Assemblies have already passed resolutions empowering the Central Legislature to enact a law imposing ceiling on the urban property. The draft bill it is well known is being circulated to the State Government for finding out their reasons. The Court, in our opinion, can take judicial notice of these facts which are well known. It is because of the proposed legislation that the State Government as long back as 5-6-1972 issued Ordinance III of 1972. One of the purposes of the Ordinance is to make land available for construction of houses for weaker section of people. The Parliament has already passed the 25th Amendment to the constitution on 24-4-1972 for the overall purpose of pushing through the housing schemes among others for the sake of weaker section of the people. All interest which have been taken can leaves one in doubt that the imposing legislation imposing-ceilings on urban lands is not just gossip or rumour nor a myth but is expected to be a reality sooner then later. In fact for the last two parliamentary sessions, it could not be disputed unit promise were made that such a bill would be introduced. What follows therefore is but although the legislation has not been enacted but is so (SIC) impending that if the Housing Board for that matter the Government like any prudent man, proposes to withdraw from the acquisitions as the lands are bound to be available at cheaper rate, no one can say that the purpose is non-existing or that it is an unauthorised purpose for which the Government is withdrawing from acquisition.58. This aspect gets an added significance if one keeps in view the financial position of Housing Board. The Note submitted to the Housing Board for the purpose of decision on withdrawal makes out very clearly that the Housing Board seems to have taken on their hand too many Schemes and acquisitions beyond their financial capacity. Overall and integrated financial picture does not appear to have been borne in mind while declaring the schemes or undertaking the various acquisitions. The programme does not seem to have been properly phased wall a view to toll on the capital. In any case it could not be doubted that the Housing Board is financially very weak and it would not be able to meat the requirements if all the schemes and acquisitions become so ripe as to require advance of the finances for all. This aspect is closely linked with the main purpose of the housing schemes and acquisitions as well as the purpose underlying Section 48 (1).59. It was next contended that since declaration of the housing scheme was made by the Housing Board Act, it is the Housing Board which should have exercised the power of withdrawal, In any case, it was contended that the Government could have withdrawn from acquisition only at the instance of the Housing Board. We do not find any substance in this contention. Merely because declaration under Section 22 A was made by the Housing Board, the Government's power under Section 48 (1) under the Land Acquisition Act is not in any manner affected. Neither there is any provision supporting this view nor there appears any logic or principle behind it. Power under Section 48 (1) exclusively vests in the Government and nowhere it is stated that such a power should be exercised at the instance of the Housing Board. No provision also was shown to us which requires even consultation with the Housing Board before the Government withdraws from the acquisition intended for the Housing Board. If the scheme of the Housing Board Act is kept in view, then it will be plain that it is the Government which controls the Housing Board's activities. And therefore the Government can at its own instance and even without consulting the Housing Board, withdraw from such acquisitions.60. It was then submitted that when the present acquisitions were made by the Housing Board under agreements Sections 48 (1) would not apply to such a case. We find no force in this contention. The Government is not a party to the agreement. Nor the Government can barter or bargain its statutory power vested in it under Section 48 (1). It has not so bartered. The acquisition is being made by the Government under the Land Acquisition Act and when Section 48 (1) confers power on the Government, the Government in spite of existence of the agreement between the petitioners and the Housing Board can validly withdraw from the acquisition.61. It was finally argued that the exercise of the power under Section 48 (1) was arbitrary. The impugned notification was issued only to get over the judgment of the learned single Judge given in W.P. No. 4774 of 1972 on 17-11-1972. It is on that account the notification was characterised in the argument as mala fide action on the part of the Government. We are not impressed with this argument.62. We have already noticed that as long back as May, June and July 1972, the State Government was instructing the Housing Board to go slow and stop the acquisitions in question in view of the impending legislation imposing ceiling on the urban land. We have also seen that the Housing Engineer had brought a note for consideration of the Board seeking its decision on withdrawal from acquisition in view of the instructions given by the State Government.63. It could not be doubted that under Section 21 of the Housing Board Act, the Government has control over the Board. Apart from the financial control which the Government exercises under Section 26 of the Housing Board Act in sanctioning the programme, the budget and the Schedule of the staff of officers and servants, it controls the activities of the Housing Board in matters concerning framing and execution of housing schemes. It is a myth to say that the Housing Board is a fully autonomous statutory corporation. The main source of finances comes from the Government and under various provisions of the Housing Board Act the Government controls practically the major activities of the Housing Board. It is in exercise of the powers vested in the Government under Section 21 of the Housing Board Act that the Government has issued various instructions to the Housing Board relating to the expenditure and framing or executing the housing schemes. The Board was under a statutory obligation to carry out these instructions.64. The Housing Board, however, seems to have been caught between the directions given on more than one occasion by this Court on the one hand and the instructions statutorily issued by the Government on the other. They were, in our opinion, attempting to find out solutions without violating the Court's directions and the instructions of the Government. We could find no trace of conflict between the Chairman and the members of the Housing Board. The Chairman was bound to communicate to the Government the decisions taken by the Housing Board. In fact every resolution desired the Chairman to apprise the Government of the situation. It may be that some of the members in view of the agreements wanted to continue the acquisition but on that account, no one can attribute any motives either to them or to the instructions of both the Government as well as the Board.65. The Government under its controlling power could direct the Board to stop the acquisitions and under its power under Section 48 (1) or the Act could withdraw from the acquisitions. In the circumstances mentioned above, we fail to see where the Government can be said to have acted arbitrarily or mala fide.66. The argument that the impugned G.O. was issued to get over the judgment of the learned single judge is far from convincing. It is evident from the judgment of the learned judge himself that the possibility of Government withdrawing from acquisition was even then imminent. The learned judge has recognised that possibility and has referred to it. The intention of the Government to first go slow and then to stop the present acquisitions was made clear to the Board long prior to the judgment. If in these circumstances the Government has issued the impugned notification withdrawing from acquisition; it is not possible to say that the Government acted mala fide or arbitrarily.67. Mr. Ramana Reddy, the learned Advocate for the petitioners in W.P. Nos. 5337 and 5339 of 1972 had also argued that the impugned notification is contrary to the policy laid down by the Government in their instructions to the Housing Board. It is true that the Government has issued some instruction on 5-1-1973 long after the withdrawal. In view of the clarification issued by the Government on 25-1-73 we do not think the withdrawal is inconsistent with the policy indicated in the letter on 5 1-1973. In any case on that ground in view of the facts it is not possible to quash the impugned notification.68. Miss V. Lakshmidevi, the learned Advocate appearing for the petitioner in W.P. 5822 of 1972 also contended that the Board has given priority to the acquisition of the land belonging to the petitioner and therefore we should allow that acquisition at least to proceed particularly when it is in accord with the policy of the Government. We are not impressed with this contention. The Board may have given priority to this acquisition, but that docs not come in the way of the Government in exercising the power of withdrawal.69. Some feeble attempt was made to argue that in issuing the impugned C.O , the Government had discriminated violating Article 14 of the Constitution. It was soon realised that necessary facts are not available and no foundation was laid for any such contention. It was not therefore pursued further.70. There was some argument questioning the locus standi of the petitioners to file the petitions. The contention was that since no right of petitioners is affected by the impugned notification, they cannot proceed under Article 226 of the Constitution. It was submitted that for the inconvenience caused, if any, the petitioners can proceed under Section 48 (1) of the Land Acquisitions Act. We do not think we need express any opinion on this submission in the view which we have taken. Nor do we desire to express any opinion on the question whether as a result of the notification the agreement would be deemed to have been violated by the Board giving rise to some cause of action to the petitioners against the Board. These questions are quite alive and in our opinion need not be considered in this enquiry.71. Since no other contentions were raised, the writ petitions fail and are dismissed. In the circumstances of the case, we leave the parties to bear their own costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/- in each case.W.Ps. Dismissed.

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