1. The petitioners have filed the present petition seeking a direction to the respondents to consider the case of the petitioners on the analogy of inhabitants of village Plander, Kote, Lah and Khablan and Town Thanamandai for acquisition of land for four laning of the road. It is further prayed that the objections filed by the petitioners under Section 5-A of the Land Acquisition Act, Svt. 1990 (for short 'the 1990 Act') be considered without raising the issue of limitation and the land for widening of the road be acquired from both sides of the existing road from the center of the road instead of one side.2. The learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that the petitioners are owners to the extent of about 100 kanals of land in the area. Notification under Section 4(1) of the 1990 Act was issued for acquisition of the land for widening of road on 16.10.2019. As at that time, the Jammu and Kashmir was in transitional phase, the petitioners did not come to know about the notification issued. They could not file objections under Section 5- A of the 1990 Act in time. However, immediately when they came to know about the process of acquisition of land, objections were filed on 23.06.2020. However, the same were rejected vide order dated 24.06.2020 as time barred, without affording opportunity of being heard.3. The argument is that if the land on both sides of the road is acquired from the centre of the existing road for widening thereof, the same will save number of properties already constructed alongside the road. Similar objections filed by the Inhabitants of Plander, Kote, Lah and Khablan and Town Thanamandai, were accepted and road was re-aligned. The petitioners otherwise are not against the acquisition of the land. The delay in filing the objections should not come in the way of the petitioners for the reason that they did not come to know about the acquisition because of difficult situation at that time. They had not been issued any notices.4. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the respondents submitted that Rajouri/Thanamandi/Surankote road having length of about 57 kilometers was originally constructed by MES. However, the same was subsequently handed over to BRO in the year 1971. It is an important connect both for civilian and the military traffic for Rajouri. It further joins border districts of Rajouri and Poonch to Kashmir valley through Mughal road. Due to socio-economic development in the area, the traffic has increased considerably. Hence, it was planned to widen the existing road. For the purpose of planning, various technical aspects are to be examined, namely gradient, radius of curves i.e. horizontal and vertical geometry etc. In addition to this, height of cut/fill involved, stability of slope, length of transition curves etc. are also important factors.5. The learned counsel for the respondents further submitted that notification for acquisition in question under Section 4 of the 1990 Act was issued on 16.10.2019 for acquiring 74 kanals, 01 marla and 5 Sarsai of land in village Saaj. However, no land owner filed objections within the prescribed period. The argument as raised by the petitioners cannot be accepted in the present case for the reason that the same is not technically feasible. Ground situation in the villages in question with which the petitioners seek comparison, are different. However, wherever possible religious places, graveyards or other structures were saved to avoid hurting public sentiments. It is further submitted that if the land is acquired on both sides of the existing road from the center thereof, the same will result in demolition of more structures, as compared to one side. It will not only entail more expense but number of persons affected will also increase.6. His submission is that this important project of widening of border area road, which is strategic for defence purpose be not stalled specially, considering the present ground situation. He further submitted that even the Collector Land Acquisition (Defence) had also examined the issue and found the objections raised by the petitioners to be not technically feasible.7. After hearing learned counsel for the parties, I do not find any reason to interfere in the present petition.8. The fact that the road in question, which caters to both civil and military traffic of district Rajouri is a strategic defence road in the border area, cannot be denied. Further that there is need to upgrade the infrastructure in the border areas, cannot be disputed especially keeping in view the present situation. Creation of infrastructure is for long terms use, not only for the defence of the country but also for use by the residents in the area. It has been claimed by the respondents that there is manifold increase of traffic in the area as a result of growth in the socio-economic activity.9. The fact remains that after the notification under Section 4 of the 1990 Act was issued, the petitioners did not file any objections within the time prescribed. To claim that they did not come to know about the acquisition, may not be acceptable for the reason that it is admitted case of the petitioners themselves that the land owners from the adjoining villages had filed objections within prescribed time. Situation is now different than what is sought to be claimed by the petitioners.10. The only prayer made in the petition is that their objections filed under Section 5A of the 1990 Act should be considered. It is the admitted case of the petitioners themselves that the same already stands rejected vide order dated 24.06.2020. Even the order has been placed on record but there is no challenge to the aforesaid order.11. Still further, this Court considering the argument raised by the petitioners on equity had sought the assistance of the learned Assistant Solicitor General of India, who on instructions from the respondents, submitted that it is an important connectivity, both for civilian and the military traffic of district Rajouri as it joins border districts of Rajouri and Poonch to Kashmir valley through Mughal road. Due to increase in socio- economic development in the area, the traffic has increased considerably. Hence, it was planned to widen the existing road. For the purpose of planning, various technical aspects are to be examined, namely, gradient, radius of curves i.e. horizontal and vertical geometry etc. In addition to this, height of cut/fill involved, stability of slope, length of transition curves etc. are also important factors.12. It is a matter of evaluation by technical expert persons. To decide as to on which side of the road, the land should be acquired, the court cannot super impose its opinion in that matter, especially in the hilly terrain where numbers of factors are to be consid
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ered. Not only this, one fact can be appreciated that if the acquisition is carried out from the centre of the road, demolition will be on both sides. Whereas if the acquisition is on one side of the road, the demolition will be of that side only, leaving lot of structures untouched. Besides that, it is the case of the respondents that wherever possible, the religious places and the graveyards have been left out of acquisition. There cannot be comparison with areas acquired in other villages as each place has its own unique features and difficulties. Any interference in the case will delay the strategic project.13. For the reasons mentioned above, I do not find any reason to interfere in the present petition and the same is, accordingly, dismissed.