w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Globe Metal Industries v/s State of U.P.

    Appeal No. ---------

    Decided On, 21 April 2009

    At, High Court of Judicature at Calcutta

    By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. C.K. PRASAD & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE DILIP GUPTA

    For the Appearing Parties: A.K. Mishra, Rajeev Joshi, A.P. Srivastava, N.C. Tripathi, Y.K. Srivastava, Advocates.



Judgment Text

(1.) These three writ petitions have been filed for quashing the proceedings for acquisition of certain plots under Sections 28 and 32 of the U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad Adhiniyam, 1965 (hereinafter referred to as the ''Parishad Act') as well as for a declaration that the acquisition proceedings have lapsed. The petitioners have also prayed that the respondents should be restrained from interfering with the peaceful possession of the petitioners over such plots.


(2.) The acquisition under challenge was initiated by 'The Uttar Pradesh Avas Evam Vikas Parishad' (hereinafter referred to as the ''Board') for execution of the housing and land development scheme framed by it called "Manjhola Bhumi Vikas Evam Grihsthan Yojana No.4 (Part-II) Moradabad" (hereinafter referred to as the 'Scheme'). The Board prepared the notice dated 22nd September, 1984 under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act and published this notice in the U.P. Gazette on 6th October, 1984. Subsequently, after considering the objections filed against the proposed acquisition, the Board published the notification dated 11th January, 1991 in the Gazette on 9th February, 1991. This notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act mentioned that the Board had sanctioned the Scheme on 12th March, 1987 and the State Government had also granted approval to it on 21st August, 1989. The plots involved in all the three petitions were included in the said notification and in terms of Section 17(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as the ''Land Acquisition Act'), as substituted by the Schedule to the Parishad Act, the State Government, in the interest of the expeditious execution of the Scheme, directed that the Collector could on the expiration of the 15 days from the publication of the notice under Section 9(1) of the Land Acquisition Act take possession of the land even though no award had been made. The Collector took possession of the plots involved in the present petitions and in terms of Section 17-A of the Land Acquisition Act, as added by the Schedule to the Parishad Act, gave charge of the land to the representative of the Housing Commissioner upon payment of the cost of the acquisition on 30th October, 2004 and 9th November, 2005.


(3.) The present petitions have thereafter been filed in the year 2006 for the reliefs mentioned above and interim orders were granted in all the three petitions that the petitioners shall not be dispossessed from the land in dispute until further orders. Stay vacating applications alongwith the counter affidavits were filed in the said writ petitions. The respondent-Board also filed Special Leave Petitions in the Supreme Court against the grant of interim orders which petitions were dismissed on 4th July, 2008. However, having regard to the facts, the Supreme Court requested the High Court to either dispose of the stay vacating applications or the main matter itself as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of two months. This is how the present petitions have been placed before us.


(4.) We have heard Sri A.K. Mishra for the petitioners in Writ Petition No.26791 of 2006 and Writ Petition No. 21089 of 2006 and Sri Rajeev Joshi for the petitioners in Writ Petition No.9492 of 2006. Sri Anand Prakash Srivastava has appeared on behalf of the respondent-Board in Writ Petition No.26791 of 2006 and Writ Petition No. 21089 of 2006, while Sri N.C. Tripathi has appeared on behalf of the respondent-Board in Writ Petition No.9492 of 2006. Dr. Y.K. Srivastava, learned Standing Counsel has made submissions on behalf of the State of U.P.


(5.) Sri A.K. Mishra submitted that the acquisition should be set aside as failure to serve the notice under Section 29 of the Parishad Act deprived the petitioners from filing objections to the acquisition of their plots. He also submitted that the acquisition had lapsed under Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act since the award was not made within a period of two years from the date of publication of the notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act. It is his submission with reference to Section 55 of the Parishad Act that even though Section 11-A did not exist in the Land Acquisition Act when the Parishad Act was enacted in the year 1965, but still in order to remove hostile discrimination faced by the tenure holders whose land is acquired under the provisions of the Parishad Act vis-a-vis the tenure holders whose land is acquired under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, the provisions contained in Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act will be applicable to the acquisitions made under the Parishad Act and in support of this contention he has placed reliance upon the decisions of the Supreme Court in Girnar Traders Vs. State of Maharashtra and Ors. with S.P. Building Corporation and Ors. Vs. State of U.P. reported in (2007) 7 SCC 555 and Nagpur Improvement Trust and Anr. Vs. Vithal Rao and Ors. reported in AIR 1973 SC 689. Sri Mishra, in the alternative, contended that even in the absence of any time limit prescribed in the Parishad Act for making the award, the Special Land Acquisition Officer has to make the award within a reasonable time and that having not been done the acquisition should be quashed. According to him the inordinate delay on the part of the respondents in making the award has caused great prejudice to the petitioners as the market value of the land stands pegged to the date of the notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act which notice was issued way back in 1984. In support of this contention he has placed reliance upon the decision of the Supreme Curt in Ram Chand Vs. Union of India reported in (1994) 1 SCC 44. Sri Mishra also submitted that the Board is compelling petitioners to make an agreement with it for payment of the amount of compensation.


(6.) Sri Rajeev Joshi, learned counsel for the petitioners in Writ Petition No.9492 of 2006, apart from adopting the submissions made by Sri Mishra, also submitted that though the eight petitioners had purchased the plots involved in the petition in August/September 1982 and their names were recorded in the revenue records on 10th December, 1984, yet the notice under Section 29 of the Parishad Act was not served upon them as a result of which they could not file objections. He, therefore, submitted that the acquisition should be quashed and in support of this contention he has placed reliance upon the judgment of this Court in Smt. Prakashwati and Ors. Vs. State of U.P. and Ors. reported in 1988 ALJ 669.


(7.) Learned counsel appearing for the respondent-Board as well as Dr. Y.K. Srivastava, learned Standing Counsel for the State of U.P., however, contended that the present petitions should be dismissed on the ground of laches alone since they were filed almost after 15 years after the date of publication of the notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act. It is also their contention that, even otherwise, the petitioners cannot be permitted to challenge the acquisition proceedings since possession of the land had been taken by the State prior to the filing of the petitions on 30th October, 2004 and 9th November, 2005 whereupon the land stood vested in the Government free from all encumbrances and thereafter the land also vested in the Board when the charge of the land was given to the representative of the Housing Commissioner. They further contended that in so far as Writ Petition No. 26791 of 2006 and Writ Petition No. 21089 of 2006 are concerned, the petitioners cannot be permitted to challenge the acquisition proceedings as they had purchased the property after the issuance of the notices under Sections 28(1) of the Parishad Act and in so far as Writ Petition No.9492 of 2006 is concerned, they contended that notices under Section 29 of the Parishad Act were not required to be served upon the petitioners as their names were mutated in the revenue records in December, 1984 after the issuance of the notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act.


(8.) Learned counsel appearing for the respondent-Board and the learned Standing Counsel also submitted that the acquisition in question does not lapse since Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act does not apply to the acquisitions made under the Parishad Act and in support of this contention they have placed reliance upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Satyapal and Ors. Vs. The State of U.P. and Ors., reported in AIR 1997 SC 2235. It is their submission that mere reference of the dispute by the Supreme Court to a larger Bench in Girnar Traders (supra) where Section 127 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act 1966 (hereinafter referred to as the ''MRTP Act') was involved, does not help the petitioners. It is also their contention that the delay in making the award will not, in the facts and circumstances of the case, result in the quashing of the acquisition proceedings.


(9.) We have considered the submissions advanced by the learned counsel for the parties. To appreciate the rival contentions of the parties, it would be useful to first examine the provisions of the Parishad Act dealing with acquisition of land.


(10.) Section 3 provides that the State Government shall by notification in the Gazette establish a Board to be called the ''Uttar Pradesh Avas Evam Vikas Parishad'. Section 15 deals with the functions and powers of the Board, which amongst others, includes the power to frame and execute housing and improvement schemes. Section 17 deals with the matters to be provided for in the housing scheme and includes the acquisition of any property necessary for or affected by the execution of the scheme. Section 18 mentions the types of housing and improvement schemes and provides that they shall be of one of types enumerated therein or a combination of two or more. Grihsthan Yojana (housing accommodation scheme) and Bhumi Vikas Yojana (land development scheme) have been mentioned in Section 18(1)(a) and (g) respectively.


(11.) Section 28 deals with the notice of housing and improvement schemes and is as follows:- "28. Notice of housing and improvement schemes.- (1) When any housing or improvement scheme has been framed, the Board shall prepare a notice to that effect specifying- (a) the boundaries of the area comprised in the scheme; (b) the dates, hours and place or places at which a map of the area, particulars of schemes, and details of the land proposed to be acquired and of the land in respect of which betterment fee is proposed to be levied may be seen; and (c) the date by which objections to the scheme may be made, (2) the Board shall- (a) cause the said notice to be published weekly for three consecutive weeks in -(i) the Gazette, and (ii) two daily newspapers having circulation in the area comprised in the scheme at least one of which shall be Hindi newspaper ; and (b) send a copy of the notice to the local authority or authority within whose jurisdiction the area comprised in the scheme lies. (3) The Housing Commissioner shall cause copy of any document referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (1) to be delivered to any applicant on payment of such fee as may be provided by regulations."


(12.) Sections 29 and 30 deal with the notice of proposed acquisition and filing of objections. Section 32 deals with the commencement of the scheme and the provisions relevant for the purpose of the present petitions are as follows:- "32. Commencement of scheme. _ (1) Whenever the Board or the State Government sanctions a housing or improvement scheme, it shall be notified in the Gazette. (2) The notification under sub-section (1) in respect of any scheme shall be conclusive evidence that the scheme has been duly framed and sanctioned. (3) Any person who, or a local authority which, had filed objections under Section 30, aggrieved by the decision of the Board sanctioning a housing improvement scheme may, within thirty days from the date of the notification under sub-section (1), appeal to the State Government whose decisions thereon shall be final." (4)....................... (5)The Scheme shall come into force- (a) If sanctioned by the State Government, on the date of the notification under sub-Section(1). (b).........


(13.) Section 55 deals with the power to acquire land and is as follows:- "55. Power to acquire land.- (1) Any land or any interest therein required by the Board for any of the purposes of this Act, may be acquired under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (Act No. 1 of 1894), as amended in its application to Uttar Pradesh, which for this purpose shall be subject to the modifications specified in the Schedule to this Act. (2) If any land in respect of which betterment fee has been levied under this Act is subsequently required for any of the purposes of this Act, such levy shall not be deemed to prevent the acquisition of land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (Act No.1 of 1894)."


(14.) The Schedule to the Parishad Act contains the modification in the Land Acquisition Act, as amended in its application to Uttar Pradesh. Clause 2(1) of the Schedule provides that the first publication in the official gazette of a notice of any housing scheme under Section 28 shall be substituted for and have the same effect as publication in the official gazette of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. Clause 2(2) of the Schedule provides that the publication of the notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act shall be substituted for and have the same effect as a declaration made by the State Government under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. Clause 3 of the Schedule provides for amendment of Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act and is as follows:- "3. Amendment of Section 17 of the said Act.- In Section 17 of the said Act - (i) for the existing sub-sections (1) and (1-A) the following sub-section shall be deemed to be substituted, namely- ''(1) Whenever the State Government so directs in the interest of the expeditious execution of a housing or improvement scheme under the Uttar Pradesh Avas Evam Vikas Parishad Adhiniyam, 1965, the Collector, though no such award has been made, may on the expiration of the fifteen days from the publication of the notice mentioned in sub-section (1) of Section 9 take possession of any land needed for the purposes of the said Adhiniyam. Such land shall thereupon vest absolutely in the Government free from all encumbrances," (ii) sub-section (4) shall be deemed to be omitted." Clause 4 of the Schedule deals with addition of new Section 17-A to the Land Acquisition Act and is as follows:- "4. Addition of new Section 17-A in the said Act.- After Section 17 of the said Act, the following shall be deemed to be added as a new section, namely- ''17-A. Transfer of land to Board- In every case referred to in Section 16 or Section 17, the Collector shall upon payment of the cost of acquisition make over charge of the land to the Housing Commissioner or an officer authorised in this behalf under the Uttar Pradesh Avas Evam Vikas Parishad Adhiniyam, 1965, and the land shall thereupon vest in the Board subject to the liability of the Board to pay any further costs which may be incurred on account of its acquisition.' 14. In the present case, the Board framed the Scheme under Section 15 of the Parishad Act. This Scheme is a combination of house accommodation scheme and land development scheme and for execution of the Scheme the Board prepared the notice dated 22nd September, 1984 under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act for acquisition of 850 acres of land. This notice specified the boundaries of the area comprised in the Scheme and also mentioned that the map of the area, particulars of the Scheme and the details of the land proposed to be acquired could be seen in the office of the Housing Commissioner Lucknow or the Office of the Executive Engineer of the U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad at Moradabad on any working day between 11:00 A.M. To 3:00 P.M. and that objections against the Scheme could be filed in the Office within a period of thirty days from the date on which the notice was first published in the U.P. Gazette. The notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act was published in the U.P. Gazette on 6th October, 1984, 13th October, 1984 and 20th October, 1984 and was also published in the newspaper "Dainik Himalaya Moradabad" on 6th October, 1984, 13th October, 1984 and 20th October, 1984. Pursuant to the notices issued under Section 29 of the Parishad Act as many as 264 objections were received and the Niyojan Samiti heard them on 21st August, 1985. The Board ultimately sanctioned the Scheme on 12th March, 1987 and the State Government also granted approval on 21st August, 1989. Subsequently, the notification dated 11th January, 1991 under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act for acquisition of 446.48 acres of land was published in the U.P. Gazette on 9th February, 1991. We shall deal with the facts of each of the three petitions separately as there are minor variations.


(15.) The first petitioner is Globe Metal Industries and petitioner nos. 2 to 9 are private individuals. Plots involved in this petition are Plots Nos. 970, 973, 974, 975, 976, 977/2, 978/3, 972/1 measuring 3.52 acres. It is stated that the aforesaid plots are recorded in the names of petitioner nos. 2 to 9 in the revenue records and that the petitioners had purchased the aforesaid plots from late Madan Gopal Bhatnagar in March, 2000. The petitioners have brought on record the communication dated 21st June, 2002 sent by the Executive Engineer Moradabad to the Joint Housing Commissioner at Lucknow in connection with the application submitted by Globe Metal Industries Moradabad for exemption of the plots involved in this writ petition as also plot Nos. 957/1, 958 and 979/2 involved in Writ Petition No. 21089 of 2006 filed by M/s Gastel India Ltd. and 10 Ors. from acquisition. The letter states that the State Government had issued the notification under Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act, as amended by the Schedule to the Parishad Act, and that the plots had been purchased by Satyapal and others and subsequently their names were recorded in the revenue records on 8th May, 2002.


(16.) In the counter affidavit filed by the respondent-Board, it has been stated notices under Section 29 of the Parishad Act had been issued regarding filing of objections and even according to the petitioners they had purchased the plots thereafter in March, 2000. It has also been stated that possession of the land was delivered to the Board on 9th November, 2005 and the development work is in progress.


(17.) In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the State, it has been stated that notices had been issued to all the tenure holders including the petitioners to collect 80% of the estimated compensation in accordance with the provisions of Section 17(3-A) of the Land Acquisition Act and subsequently possession was taken by the Collector on 9th November, 2005 and charge was given to the Board on the same date. Photostat copies of the notices issued for collection of 80% of the estimated compensation and the possession memo have been annexed alongwith the counter affidavit. It has also been stated that the name of the U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad was subsequently recorded in the revenue records.


(18.) M/s Gastel India Ltd. is the first petitioner while petitioner no. 2 is M/s Globe Metal Industries Ltd. The remaining 9 petitioners are private individuals namely Satyapal and others. Plots involved in the this petition are Plot Nos. 957/1, 958, 979/2 measuring 1.065 hectares. It is stated that the plots involved in the petition are bhumidhari plots of petitioner nos. 3 to 11 and are recorded in their names in the revenue records. It has also been stated that petitioner no. 1, M/s Gastel India Ltd., became the owner pursuant to the sale deed dated 7th April, 1973 and thereafter the said plots alongwith the structures were transferred in favour of petitioner nos. 3 to 11 by the registered sale deed dated 24th August, 1998 and the land in question is being utilised essentially for carrying out the objects and activities of petitioner no.2, Globe Metal Industries. The petitioners have also brought on record the communication dated 21st June, 2002 sent by the Executive Engineer Moradabad to the Joint Housing Commissioner at Lucknow in respect of an application submitted by Globe Metal Industries Moradabad for exemption of land from acquisition of the plots in this writ petition as also the plots involved in Writ Petition No. 26791 of 2006 filed by Globe Metal Industries and Ors. This letter mentions that the plots were earlier recorded in the name of M/s Gastel India Ltd. but subsequently on 13th May, 1999 it was recorded in the name of Satyapal and others. In paragraph 32 of the petition it has been stated that the petitioners came to know from the Office of Executive Engineer Moradabad that the payment of cost of acquisition was deposited by the Board to the Collector Moradabad in September, 2004 and subsequently the charge of the acquired land was transferred by the Collector Moradabad to the representative of the Housing Commissioner of the Board on 30th October, 2004 although no document/deed executed between them was given by the Executive Engineer to the petitioners inspite of their repeated demands. In the counter affidavit filed by respondent-Board, it has been stated that on the date when the notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act was issued, Plot No. 957/1 measuring 0.153 hectares was recorded in the names of Suresh Kumar, Laxman Prasad and Raghuveer Prasad; Plot No.958 measuring 0.283 hectares was recorded in the name of Vishnu Chandra Jain and Plot No. 979/2 measuring 0.243 hectares was recorded in the name of Janak Rani. It has also been stated that the transfer of the plots alongwith the structures existing thereupon by the sale deed dated 24th August, 1998 in favour of petitioner nos. 3 to 11 would not entitle them to challenge the acquisition proceedings and that the objections filed by M/s Gastel India Ltd. had been considered and thereafter the notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act had been issued.


(19.) In the counter affidavit filed by the respondent-State, it has been stated that petitioners had admitted that the charge of the land had been made over to the Board on 30th October, 2004 and, even otherwise, since private petitioner nos. 3 to 11 had purchased the land subsequent to the notice issued under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act, they are not entitled to claim exemption of the land from acquisition.


(20.) This petition has been filed by eight private individuals. Plots involved in the this petition are Plot Nos. 935, 936 and 937 measuring 9.04 acres. It is stated that they had purchased the land by registered sale deed executed in August/September, 1982 and thereafter their names were entered in the revenue records on 10th December, 1984, but notice had not been issued to them under Section 29 of the Parishad Act to file objection and when the petitioners came to know that their plots were under the proposed housing Scheme, they filed objections/representations before the State and the Board on 9th May, 1995. In paragraph 22 of the petition it has been stated that the petitioners came to know from the Office of Executive Engineer Moradabad that the payment of cost of acquisition was deposited by the Board to the Collector Moradabad in September, 2004 and subsequently the charge of the acquired land was transferred by the Collector Moradabad to the representative of the Housing Commissioner of the Board on 30th October, 2004 although no document/deed executed between them was given by the Executive Engineer to the petitioners inspite of their repeated demands.


(21.) In the counter affidavit filed by the respondent-Board, it has been that on the date when the notice under Section 28 of the Parishad Act was issued, the plots were recorded in the names Zakir Hussain and Sabir Hussain and the Board took possession of the plots on 30th October, 2004. It has also been stated that the Board has deposited 37 crores towards the amount of compensation in the Office of the Collector Moradabad in respect of the acquisition in question.


(22.) In the counter affidavit filed by respondent-State, it has been stated that possession of the land was taken by the State on 30th October, 2004 and the same was handed over to the Board and the name of Board has also been subsequently recorded in the revenue records.


(23.) Having placed the aforesaid factual position, we deem it appropriate to first deal with the objections raised by the learned counsel appearing for the respondents that the petitioners cannot be permitted to challenge the acquisition proceedings.


(24.) The first objection is about the inordinate delay in challenging the acquisition proceedings. As noticed hereinabove, the notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act was first published in the Gazette on 6th October, 1984 and the notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act was published in the Gazette on 11th January, 1991 but these petitions were filed in 2006 almost after 15 years from the publication of the notification on 11th January, 1991 and that too after the possession of the land was taken on 30th October, 2004 and 9th November, 2005 respectively.


(25.) The contention advanced on behalf of the petitioners in Writ Petition No.26791 of 2006 and Writ Petition No.9492 of 2006 for quashing the acquisition is that the notices under Section 29 of the Parishad Act were not served and, therefore, the objections could not be filed. In Writ Petition No.21089 the ground taken is that even though the Niyojan Samiti which considered the objections filed by the tenure holders consequent to the notice issued under Section 29(1) of the Parishad Act made recommendations for exemption of their land, yet the Board sanctioned the Scheme in which the land of the petitioners was included.


(26.) A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court way back in the year 1974 in Aflatoon and Ors. Vs. Lt. Governor of Delhi and Ors., AIR 1974 SC 2077 examined the consequences of a delayed challenge to the acquisition proceedings and observed that the writ petitions filed in the year 1972 seeking to challenge the notification issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act and the declaration made under Section 6 of the said Act in the year 1966 should be dismissed solely on the ground of laches on the part of the petitioners as the petitioners should not be permitted to sit on the fence and allow the Government to complete the acquisition proceedings and then attack the notifications on grounds which were available to them at the time when the notification was published as that would be putting a premium on dilatory tactics.


(27.) This Constitution Bench decision has been repeatedly followed by the Supreme Court in subsequent decisions. In The Ramjas Foundation and Ors. Vs. Union of India and Ors., AIR 1993 SC 852 the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued in 1959 and the declaration under Section 6 of the said Act was issued in 1969. The writ petitions were filed in the year 1973. After referring to the aforesaid Constitution Bench decision in Aflatoon (supra), the Supreme Court observed as follows:- ".........The challenge on the other hand in the writ petition is in respect of notifications under Sections 4 and 6 covering the entire land measuring about 730 bighas situate in village Sadhurakhurd. We find no justification at all in explaining the delay on the ground that no award has been passed nor the appellants have been dispossessed so far. This cannot be an explanation for not challenging the notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act. ............... In the facts and circumstances of the case before us the appellants were also sitting on the fence and did not take any steps of challenging the notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act till 1973 though the grounds now sought to be urged were available to the appellants as soon as such notifications were issued. Thus viewing the matter from any angle we are clearly of the view that the writ petition was also liable to be dismissed on the ground of laches and delay on the part of the appellants apart from other grounds already dealt by us. In the face of the aforesaid view taken by us, it is not necessary at all to go on other questions raised in the case. ........".


(28.) The same view was reiterated by the Supreme Court in State of Tamil Nadu and Ors. Vs. L. Krishnan and Ors., (1996) 1 SCC 250 and it was observed:- "There is yet another and a very strong factor militating against the writ petitioners. No only did they fail to file any objections in the enquiries held under Section 5-A, they also failed to act soon after the declarations under Section 6 were made. As stated above, the declarations under Section 6 were made in the year 1978 and the present writ petitions were filed only sometime in the year 1982-83 when the awards were about to be passed. It has been pointed out in Aflatoon that laches of this nature are fatal. ..........."


(29.) This was also the view expressed by the Supreme Court in Urban Improvement Trust, Udaipur Vs. Bheru Lal and Ors., JT 2002 (7) SC 310. In this case the declaration under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act was published in the official gazette on 24th May, 1994 but the writ petitions were filed after two years to challenge the acquisition proceedings. The Supreme Court observed that in a case where the land is needed for a public purpose and that too for a scheme framed under the Urban Development Act, the Courts should take care not to entertain writ petition filed with delay as it is likely to not only cause prejudice to the persons for whose benefits the housing scheme is framed but it also has a negative impact on the planned development of the area


(30.) In Government of A.P. and Ors. Vs. Kollutla Obi Reddy and Ors., (2005) 6 SCC 493 the Supreme Court again observed that the writ petitions filed after a long passage of time to challenge the acquisition proceedings should not be entertained.


(31.) What we, therefore, find is that the Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to entertain petitions for quashing the acquisition when they have been filed with considerable delay after the publication of the declaration under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. In the Constitution Bench decision rendered in Aflatoon (supra) delay of six years was considered fatal and in the other cases delays ranging between two years to six years were found sufficient for dismissing the petitions on the ground of laches.


(32.) In the present case, the notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act, which has the same effect as the declaration made under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, was published in the official gazette on 9th February, 1991. The petitions were, however, filed in the year 2006 i.e. after a lapse of about 15 years and that too after the possession had been taken by the State and transferred to the respondent-Board. In view of the aforesaid decisions of the Supreme Court, we decline to examine any infirmity in the acquisition proceedings at such a belated stage.


(33.) We may, however, mention at this stage that even otherwise, there is no merit in the submissions of the learned counsel for the petitioners that the acquisition proceedings should be quashed on account of failure to issue notice under Section 29 of the Parishad Act.


(34.) In Writ Petition No.9492 of 2006 and Writ Petition No.26791 of 2006, names of the petitioners were recorded in the revenue records after the notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act was issued. In such circumstances, notice under Section 29 of the Parishad Act was not required to be issued to them. In Writ Petition No.21089 of 2006 objections had been filed and even though the Niyojan Samiti may have made recommendations for exemption of the land from acquisition, they were not accepted and the Board ultimately sanctioned the Scheme. The notice under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act was then published in the Gazette and the land of the petitioners was included in the notification. The petitioners could have filed an Appeal to the State Government under Section 32(3) of the Parishad Act against the decision of the Board within 30 days from the date of the notification under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act but they did not do so and on the contrary they allowed the decision to become final. They cannot now be permitted to challenge the decision in this petition. The decision of this Court in Prakashwati (supra), therefore, does not help the petitioners.


(35.) The second objection raised by the learned counsel for the respondents that the acquisition proceedings cannot, in any case, be challenged after the possession of the land is taken by the State also deserves to be accepted.


(36.) Section 17(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, as substituted by the Schedule to the Parishad Act, provides that whenever the State Government so directs in the interest of the expeditious execution of a housing scheme under the provisions of the Parishad Act, the Collector, though no award has been made, may on the expiration of 15 days from the publication of the notice under Section 9(1) of the Act take possession of any land and thereupon such land shall vest absolutely in the Government free from all encumbrances. It is not in dispute that the State Government had issued directions under the provisions of Section 17(1) of the Land Acquisition Act as amended by the Schedule to the Parishad Act. Possession of the land was also taken by the State Government. Section 17-A of the Land Acquisition Act as added by the Schedule to the Parishad Act, provides that in every case referred to in Section 17, the Collector shall upon payment of cost of acquisition make over charge of the land to the Housing Commissioner and the land shall thereupon vest in the Board.


(37.) In Writ Petition No.21089 of 2006 and Writ Petition No.9492 of 2006, the petitioners have stated in paragraphs 32 and 22 respectively that the payment of cost of acquisition was deposited by the Board to the Collector in September 2004 and subsequently charge of the acquired land was transferred by the Collector, Moradabad to the representative of the Housing Commissioner on 30th October, 2004. In Writ Petition No.26791 of 2006 the Parishad and the State have categorically stated in the counter affidavit that possession of the land was taken by the State and thereafter delivered to the Parishad on 9th November, 2005.


(38.) Thus, in view of the provisions referred to above, the land stood vested absolutely in the Government free from all encumbrances after possession was taken by the State and the notification cannot be cancelled or withdrawn subsequently. There is no provision either under the Parishad Act or the Land Acquisition Act by which the land which statutorily vests in the Government or the Parishad reverts to the original owner by mere cancellation of the notification. This is what was observed by the Supreme Court in Lt. Governor of Himanchal Pradesh and Anr. Vs. Sri Avinash Sharma, AIR 1970 SC 1576.


(39.) The petitioners have to cross yet another hurdle. It is the submission of the learned counsel for the respondents that persons who purchase plots after the issuance of the notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act cannot assail the acquisition and at best they can receive compensation only. This submission which has been raised in connection with Writ Petition No.21089 of 2006 and Writ Petition No.26791 of 2006 also deserves to be accepted.


(40.) In Writ Petition No.21089 of 2006, as seen above, petitioner nos. 3 to 11 had purchased the property by registered sale deed executed on 24th August, 1998. In Writ Petition No.26791 of 2006, the petitioners had purchased the property by a registered sale deed executed in March, 2000. Thus, in both these petitions, the properties were purchased after issuance of the notices under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act.


(41.) The Supreme Court in U.P. Jal Nigam Vs. M/s. Kalra Properties (P) Ltd. AIR 1996 SC 1170 observed that where the property is purchased after the issuance of notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, the purchasers cannot be permitted to challenge the validity of the notification and at best they are entitled to claim compensation only. This position was reiterated by the Supreme Court in Ajay Krishan Shinghal Vs. Union of India, AIR 1996 SC 2677.


(42.) We are, therefore, of the opinion that the challenge to the acquisition proceedings in Writ Petition No.21089 of 2006 and 26791 of 2006 must fail on this ground also as admittedly the plots were purchased much after the issuance of the notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act, which notice has the same effect as the notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act.


(43.) This brings us to the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioners that the acquisition proceedings lapse in view of the provisions of Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act as the award has not been made within a period of two years from the date of publication of the notification under Section 32 (1) of the Parishad Act.


(44.) Learned counsel for the respondents have, however, urged that the provisions of Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act do not apply to the acquisitions made under the Parishad Act.


(45.) It needs to be mentioned that Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act was inserted by Act No.68 of 1984 with effect from 24th September, 1984. It, therefore, did not exist when the Parishad Act was enacted in 1965. Section 55(1) of the Parishad Act provides that any land required by the Board for any of the purposes of the Parishad Act may be acquired under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, as amended in the application for the Uttar Pradesh, which for this purpose shall be subject to the modification specified in the Schedule to the Parishad Act. The Parishad Act does not provide for lapsing of the acquisition in a case where there is a delay in making the award. It has, therefore, to be seen whether any amendment made in the Land Acquisition Act after the enactment of the Parishad Act will apply to the acquisitions made under the Parishad Act.


(46.) A three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad Vs. Jainul Islam and Anr., AIR 1998 SC 1028 examined whether the amendments made in the Land Acquisition Act in 1984 will apply when the land is acquired under the Parishad Act for executing a Scheme under the Parishad Act and in view of the earlier decision of the Supreme Court in Nagpur Improvement Trust (supra) rendered by a Bench of seven Judges, observed that the Land Acquisition Act, as modified, stands incorporated in the Parishad Act and so the Parishad Act would remain unaffected by subsequent amendments in the Land Acquisition Act but the beneficial amendments subsequently made in Land Acquisition Act for determination and payment of compensation would apply to acquisition under the Parishad Act in order to save the Parishad Act from the vice of hostile discrimination. The observations are:- "...........The amendments introduced in the L.A. Act by the 1984 Act were not part of the L.A. Act as applicable in the State of Uttar Pradesh, at the time of passing of the Adhiniyam. The provisions of the L.A. Act, as amended in its application to U.P., with the modifications specified in the Schedule to the Adhiniyam, have, therefore, to be treated to have been incorporated by reference into the Adhiniyuam and became an integral part of the Adhiniyam and the said provisions would remain unaffected by the subsequent repeal or amendment in the L.A. Act unless any of the exceptional situations indicated in State of Madhya Pradesh v. M.V. Narsimhan (AIR 1995 SC 1835) (supra) can be attracted. .................... As regards the exceptional situations referred to in State of Madhya Pradesh v. M.V. Narasimhan (AIR 1975 SC 1835) (supra), it may be stated that the Adhiniyam and the L.A. Act cannot be regarded supplemental to each other. The Adhiniyam contains provisions regarding acquisition of land which are complete and self-contained. Nor can the provisions in the Andhiniyam be said to be in pari materia with the L.A. Act because the Adhiniyam also deals with matters which do not fall within the ambit of the L.A. Act. It cannot also be said that the 1984 Act, expressly or by necessary intendment, applies the said amendments to the Adhiniyam. ............. ..........Keeping in view the principles of laid down in the said decisions of this Court, it has to be held that if the provisions of the Adhiniyam are so construed as to mean that the provisions of the L.A. Act, as they stood on the date of enactment of the Adhiniyam, would be applicable to acquisition of land for the purpose of the Adhiniyam and that the amendments introduced in the L.A. Act by the 1984 Act relating to determination and payment of compensation are not applicable, the consequence would be that the provisions of the L.A. Act, as applicable under the Adhiniyam, would suffer from the vice of arbitrary and hostile discrimination. Such a consequence would be avoided if the provisions of the Adhiniyam are construed to mean that the provisions of the L.A. Act, as amended by the 1984 Act, relating to determination and payment of compensation would apply to acquisition of land for the purposes of the Adhiniyam. ................. We are, therefore, of the opinion that on a proper construction of Section 55 of the Adhiniyam it must be held that while incorporating the provisions of the LA Act in the Adhiniyam the intention of the legislature was that amendments in the LA Act relating to determination and payment of compensation would be applicable to acquisition of lands for the purposes of the Adhiniyam. ........." (emphasis supplied)


(47.) In Nagpur Improvement Trust Vs. Vasantrao and Ors., AIR 2002 SC 3499 the question which arose for consideration was whether the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, particularly Sections 6, 23(2) and 28, stand incorporated in the three State Acts or whether the Land Acquisition Act has been merely referred to in the State Acts. The three Acts included the Parishad Act. So far as the Parishad Act is concerned, the Allahabad High Court had rejected the contention that the acquisition proceedings lapsed on the expiry of the period of three years from the date of issuance of the notification under Section 28 of the Parishad Act in view of the amendment made in Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act in 1967. The Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Allahabad High Court and observed as follows:- "...........We have already held that the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act as modified by the State Acts and the Schedule thereto stand incorporated in the State Acts and, therefore, the subsequent amendments of Section 6 by the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act, 1967 (Act No.13 of 1967) or by Act 68 of 1984, will have no effect on the acquisition made under the State Acts. The High Court of Allahabad has taken this view while the High Court of Bombay, Nagpur Bench, Nagpur has taken the contrary view. The appeals, therefore, which are directed against the judgment of the High Court of Allahabad must be dismissed and those against the judgment of the High Court of Bombay, Nagpur Bench, Nagpur must be allowed. Since we have held that the Land Acquisition Act stands incorporated in the State Acts, with the consequence that subsequent amendments to the Land Acquisition Act have no effect upon the acquisitions made under the State Acts, it is not necessary to consider the submission of Mr. Rakesh Dwivedi, Senior Advocate, that in view of the judgment of this Court in T.M. Peter's case (supra) the absence of any time limit in the State Acts for issuance of Notification corresponding to the declaration under S. 6 of the Land Acquisition Act will not expose the State Acts to the charge of discrimination invoking the principles enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution." (emphasis supplied)


(48.) In Satya Pal and Ors. Vs. State of U.P.and Ors., AIR 1997 SC 2235 the issue that came up for consideration before the two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court is identical to the issue raised in the present petition regarding the applicability of Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act to the acquisitions made under the Parishad Act. The Supreme Court held that Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act does not apply to acquisitions made under the Parishad Act :- "Subsequently, the question was considered by another Bench of this Court in, U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad, Lucknow vs. Pushpa Lata Awasthi, (1995) 3 SCC 573, wherein it was held that the Amendment Act has no application since some of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1 of 1894) were incorporated into the Adhiniyam. The same view was reiterated in Ramesh Chandra Tiwari v. U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad, Lucknow (CA No.1832/86) decided on January 8, 1996 (reported in 1996 AIR SCW 2312) by another Bench. Under these circumstances, it is now settled law that the Land Acquisition Amendment Act 68 of 1984 has no application to the acquisition under the Adhiniyam. As a result, Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act, as amended by Act 68 of 1984, has no application. The notification under Adhiniyam similar to Section 4(1) and the declaration similar to Section 6 do not stand lapsed after the expiry of two years from the date the Amendment Act has come into force. The High Court, therefore, was right in refusing to grant the relief." (emphasis supplied)


(49.) Faced with this difficulty, learned counsel for the petitioners placed reliance upon the three Judge Bench decision of the Supreme Court in Girnar Traders Vs. State of Maharashtra and Ors., (2007) 7 SCC 555 wherein the issue involved was whether all the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act as amended by Central Act No.68 of 1994 can be read into the provisions of Chapter VII of the MRTP Act. The matter had come up before a larger Bench of the Supreme Court on a reference made by a Bench of two Judges which doubted the correctness of the decision rendered in State of Maharashtra Vs. Sant Joginder Singh Kishan Singh, 1995 Supp. (2) SCC 475 wherein it was held that the amendments will not apply to the MRTP Act. Section 127 of the MRTP Act provides that if any land reserved, allotted or designated for any purpose specified in any plan under the MRTP Act is not acquired by agreement within ten years or if proceedings for acquisition of such land are not commenced within such period, the reservation lapses. The applicability of Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act to the acquisitions under MRTP Act was in issue in both the Civil Appeals. In the Civil Appeal filed by S.P. Building Corporation, one more issue as to whether the reservation lapsed due to the failure of the planning authority to take steps within six months from the date of service of notice of purchase as stipulated by Section 127 of the MRTP Act was also raised.


(50.) The majority view was delivered by Hon'ble B.N. Agrawal and Hon'ble P.P. Naolekar, JJ. while the minority view was expressed by Hon'ble P.K. Balasubramanyan, J.


(51.) In respect of the Civil Appeal filed by S.P. Building Corporation, the majority on interpretation of applicability of Section 127 of the MRTP Act held that the appellants were entitled to the reliefs claimed and, therefore, observed that the question of applicability of Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act was not required to be considered. However, Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan observed that there was sufficient compliance with the requirement of Section 127 of the MRTP Act by the authority and, therefore, the reservation did not lapse but as the main question regarding applicability of Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act to acquisitions under MRTP Act was being referred to larger Bench final order in the Appeal was not passed and this question was also referred to the larger Bench.


(52.) In respect of the applicability of Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act to acquisitions under MRTP Act, all the Judges agreed that the matter was required to be considered by a larger Bench.


(53.) The view of the majority is as follows:- "A three-Judge Bench of this Court in Nagpur Improvement Trust v. Vasantrao and U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad v. Jainul Islam on interpretation of the provisions of the Acts under challenge, has held that the LA Act was incorporated in those statutes, that is, they were cases of legislation by incorporation and, therefore, the amendment brought about subsequently in the LA Act would not apply to the statutes in question. However, beneficial amendment of payment of compensation under the amended provisions of the LA Act was made applicable and the owner of the land was held to be entitled to the beneficial payment of compensation. It appears, it was so held to save the Acts from the vice of arbitrary and hostile discrimination. There does not appear to be any justifiable reason for not applying this principle so far as it relates to the acquisition of land. If the land is not acquired within the stipulated time, then the whole proceedings in acquisition comes to an end, and thereby the owner of the land would be entitled to retain his land which appears to be the superior right than the owner's right to get the compensation for acquisition of his land. A two-Judge Bench of this Court in State of Maharashtra v. Sant Joginder Singh Kishan Singh has held that Section 11-A of the LA Act is a procedural provision and does not stand on the same footing as Section 23 of the LA Act. We find it difficult to subscribe to the view taken. Procedure is a mode in which the successive steps in litigation are taken. Section 11-A not only provides a period in which the land acquisition proceedings are to be completed but also provides for consequences, namely, that if no award is made within the time stipulated, the entire proceedings for the acquisition of the land shall lapse. Lapsing of the acquisition of the land results in owner of the land retaining ownership right in the property and according to us it is a substantive right accrued to the owner of the land, and that in view thereof we feel Section 11-A of the LA Act is part of the law which creates and defines right, not adjective law which defines method of enforcing rights. It is a law that creates, defines and regulates the right and powers of the party. For this and the other reasons assigned by our learned Brother, we are in agreement with him that the question involved requires consideration by a larger Bench and, accordingly, we agree with the reasons recorded by my learned Brother for referring the question to a larger Bench. ............"


(54.) Justice Balasubramanyan, after noticing the three Judge Bench decisions of the Supreme Court in Jainul Islam (supra) and Vasant Rao (supra), observed:- "Learned counsel for the appellants commended to us the reasons given in the order of reference for overturning the decision in the State of Maharashtra v. Sant Joginder Singh Kishan Singh. Ofcourse, we could consider or reconsider the correctness of the decision in the State of Maharashtra v. Sant Joginder Singh Kishan Singh because that was rendered only by two learned Judges. But, we find from the various arguments raised that there are at least two three-Judges Bench decisions which have recognised principles which may have to be considered or reconsidered while considering the aspects posed by the order of reference. In that context, we think that the whole question requires to be looked into considering the impact the answer to the questions may have on various City and Town Improvement Acts governing the planning of cities and towns and incidentally dealing with acquisition of lands for the purpose for which the land is earmarked in the finalized plan or town planning scheme."


(55.) The larger Bench has not decided the reference as yet. The decision of the Supreme Court in Satyapal (supra) that Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act does not apply to acquisitions under the Parishad Act, therefore, still holds the field and it has, therefore, to be held that the provisions of Section 11-A of the Act have no application in cases of acquisitions made under the Parishad Act. The contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners, therefore, that the acquisitions have lapsed as the award has not been made within a period of two years from the date of publication of the declaration under Section 32(1) of the Parishad Act, cannot be accepted.


(56.) At this stage we must also hasten to add that even if it is assumed that Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act applies to the acquisitions made under the Parishad Act, then too, as possession of the land had been taken by the State, the acquisition will not lapse as the land stood vested in the State free from all encumbrances. In support of this contention, learned counsel for the respondents have placed reliance upon the decisions of the Supreme Court in Satendra Prasad Jain and Ors., Vs. State of U.P. and Ors., AIR 1993 SC 2517 and Awadh Bihari Yadav and Ors., Vs. The State of Bihar and Ors., JT 1995 (6) SC 248.


(57.) Learned counsel for the petitioners, however, submitted that the petitioners continue to be in actual physical possession of the land and the claim of the respondents about possession on the basis of the possession certificate is of no consequence. Sri A.K. Mishra learned counsel for the petitioners further submitted that the plots involved in Writ Petition No. 21089 of 2006 are not mentioned in the possession certificates filed by the respondents.


(58.) The contention of the learned counsel for the respondents that Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act does not apply in cases where possession is taken prior to the making of the award by reason of urgency deserves acceptance in view of the decisions of the Supreme Court in Satendra Prasad Jain (supra) and Awadh Bihari Yadav (supra).


(59.) In Satendra Prasad Jain (supra) the Supreme Court observed:- "Ordinarily, the Government can take possession of the land proposed to be acquired only after an award of compensation in respect thereof has been made under Section 11. Upon the taking of possession the land vests in the Government, that is to say, the owner of the land loses to the Government the title to it. This is what Section 16 states. The provisions of Section 11-A are intended to benefit the land owner and ensure that the award is made within a period of two years from the date of the Section 6 declaration. In the ordinary case, therefore, when Government fails to make an award within two years of the declaration under Section 6, the land has still not vested in the Government and its title remains with the owner, the acquisition proceedings are still pending and, by virtue of the provisions of Section 11-A, lapse. When Section 17(1) is applied by reason of urgency, Government takes possession of the land prior to the making of the award under Section 11 and thereupon the owner is divested of the title to the land which is vested in the Government. Section 17(1) states so in unmistakable terms. Clearly, Section 11-A can have no application to cases of acquisitions under Section 17 because the lands have already vested in the Government and there is no provision in the said Act by which land statutorily vested in the Government can revert to the owner."


(60.) In Awadh Bihari Yadav (supra) the Supreme Court also observed:- "We are of the view that the above plea has no force. In this case, the Government had taken possession of the land in question under Section 17 (1) of the Act. It is not open to the Government to withdraw from the acquisition (Section 48 of the Act). In such a case, Section 11-A of the Act is not attracted and the acquisition proceedings would not lapse, even if it is assumed that no award was made within the period prescribed by Section 11-A of the Act."


(61.) In State of Tamil Nadu and Ors., Vs. Mahalakshmi Ammal and Ors., (1996) 7 SCC 269, the Supreme Court pointed out that possession of acquired land can be

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taken only by way of a memorandum which is a legally accepted norm, since at times, it may not be possible to take physical possession. It has also been observed that subsequent possession of the land, by the erstwhile owners would only be illegal or unlawful which does not bind the Government and nor can the government be divested of the land which has once vested with it. (62.) In Writ Petition No.26791 of 2006 and Writ Petition No.9492 of 2006 the respondents have enclosed the possession memo certificates and have also stated that after the charge of the land was given to the Parishad, the name of the Parishad was entered in the revenue records and the development work is in the progress. In paragraph 32 of Writ Petition No.21089 of 2006 the petitioners have themselves categorically stated that after the cost of acquisition was deposited by the Board to the Collector, Moradabad in September, 2004, the charge of the land was transferred by the Collector, Moradabad to the representatives of the Housing Commissioner of the Board on 30th October, 2004. Thus, the contention advanced on their behalf that possession had not been taken by the State and subsequently given to the Board cannot be accepted. Even otherwise, we have earlier taken a view that the petitioners of Writ Petition No.21089 of 2006 cannot challenge the acquisition proceedings or contend that the acquisition had lapsed since they had purchased the property on 24th August, 1998 much after the issuance of the notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act and at best they can claim compensation for the acquired land. (63.) Learned counsel for the petitioners, in the alternative, submitted that even if Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act does not apply to the acquisitions made under the Parishad Act, still the State cannot be permitted to indefinitely postpone the making of the award and even if the Parishad Act does not provide for any time limit within which the award has to be made, the power has to be exercised within a reasonable period of time. It is their submission that as the market value of the land has to be determined with reference to the date of notice under Section 28(1) of the Parishad Act, any delay in making the award causes prejudice as they are not compensated for the increase in market value of the land during this interval. In support of this contention, he has placed reliance upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Ram Chand (supra). (64.) It is no doubt true that in Ram Chand (supra) the Supreme Court did observe that the delay of 14 years in making the award results in blocking the market value of the land to a distant past which is against the spirit of the Land Acquisition Act, but at the same time it has to remembered that the acquisition therein was of the year 1959 when Section 23(1-A) did not exist in the Land Acquisition Act. With the addition of this Section in the Land Acquisition Act by Act No.68 of 1984, such monetary loss is compensated as Section 23(1-A) provides that in addition to the market value of the land, the Court shall in every case award an amount calculated at the rate of twelve per centum per annum on such market-value for the period commencing on and from the date of the publication of the notification under Section 4 (1) to the date of the award of the Collector or the date of taking possession of the land, whichever is earlier. This newly inserted Section 23(1-A) in the Land Acquisition Act is applicable to the acquisitions made under the Parishad Act since it relates to determination of compensation. Thus, the land owners are compensated by payment of additional compensation in the event of any delay in making the award. It also needs to be mentioned that from the date of taking possession to the date of making payment, interest is provided for under Section 34 of the Land Acquisition Act. It also needs to be noticed that in Ram Chandra (supra) the Supreme Court observed that it would not be a proper exercise of discretion on the part of the Court to quash the proceedings as possession of the land had been taken and the developments had been made as that would be against public interest. The Supreme Court, therefore, considered it appropriate to mould the relief by directing payment of additional amount of compensation which it determined in the same manner as is calculated under Section 23(1-A) of the Land Acquisition Act which, though not applicable to the acquisition under challenge before the Supreme Court had been added in the Land Acquisition Act at the time the judgment was delivered. (65.) This apart, we have held that in cases where possession is taken by the State, the acquisition does not lapse under Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act wherein a time limit is prescribed for making the award. No better rights can accrue in favour of those whose land is acquired under the Parishad Act which does not contain any provision prescribing a time limit for making the award. (66.) We, therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case, particularly when possession of the land had been taken by the State and transferred to the Parishad in 2004/2005 whereafter it has made developments, will not be justified in quashing the acquisition in question. (67.) Sri Mishra learned counsel for the petitioners, in the end submitted that the respondents are deliberately delaying the making of the award so as to compel the petitioners to enter into an agreement with the Parishad for payment of compensation. This apprehension can be taken care of by directing the Special Land Acquisition Officer, as was done by the Supreme Court in Satya Pal (supra), to make the award within a period of four months from the date a certified copy of this order is produced by either of the parties before the Special Land Acquisition Officer. (68.) Thus, for the reasons stated above, the writ petitions are liable to be dismissed and are, accordingly, dismissed. Interim orders shall stand vacated. It is, however, directed that the Special Land Acquisition Officer shall make the award within a period of four months from the date a certified copy of the order is produced by either of the parties before the Special Land Acquisition Officer. There shall be no order as to costs.
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