(This Petition is filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, praying to direct the R2, to hold an enquiry with regard to disbursing of compensation of Rs.1,24,00,000/- in respect of Sy.No.40/P14 measuring 4 acres of Bandikodigehalli Village, Jala Hobli, Bangalore North TQ. Vide Ann-P and etc.)
Though the matter is posted for orders, with the consent of learned counsel for the parties, the main matter itself is taken up for disposal.
2. Writ petitioners are persons who claim to be legal heirs of one Muniramaiah who is no more and who all claim to be residents of Vavasandra Village, Kasaba Hobli, Hoskote Taluk, Bangalore Rural District.
3. Writ petitioners ? four in number claim to be khatedars in respect of lands measuring an extent of 3 acres in Sy.No.40, new No.40/P14 of Bandikodigehalli village, Jala Hobli, Bangalore North Taluk, as ordered by the Tahsildar, Devanahalli Taluk in terms of the order bearing No.LND SR 287/60-61 dated 21.4.1962.
4. It is the further version of the petitioners that their father belonged to weaker section of the society and subject land had been granted to him free of cost, but had during his lifetime, in violation of the conditions of the grant had sold it an the present writ petitioners, after the demise of their father had petitioned the Assistant Commissioner under the provisions of the Karnataka Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes [Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands] Act, 1978 [for short ?the Act?].
5. The Assistant Commissioner though had set aside the alienation in favour of respondents 3 and 4 and had directed restoration of the land in favour of the petitioners, respondents 3 and 4 having preferred an appeal before the Deputy Commissioner and even when matters were pending before the Authorities under the Act and inspite of such developments having been brought to the notice of the second respondent ? special land acquisition officer ? KIADB, the second respondent has nevertheless disbursed the amount of compensation payable to the land owners of the subject land which had come to be acquired for the purpose of formation of an industrial layout, at the behest of the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board and on the basis of the notifications issued by the first respondent ? State of Karnataka; that the distribution of the compensation amount payable to the owners in lieu of the acquisition of the subject land in favour of respondents 3 and 4 by the second respondent is an illegal act; that the writ petitioners have been left high and dry; that the action on the part of the second respondent is disbursing the amount in favour of respondents 3 and 4 even when their name did not figure in the revenue records on and after the proceedings before the Assistant Commissioner under the Act and in this background, have approached this court seeking for the following reliefs:
?i) issue writ of mandamus directing respondent No.2 to hold an enquiry with regard to disbursing of compensation of Rs.1,24,00,000/- in respect of Sy.No.40/P14 measuring 4 acres of Bandikodigehalli Village, Jala Hobli, Bangalore North Taluk vide Annexure-P.
ii) issue direction to respondents 3 & 4 to deposit the sum of Rs.1,24,00,000/- received from the 2nd respondent vide Annexures N & N1 dated 21/08/2008 before this Hon?ble Court.
iii) issue direction to respondent No.2 to refer the matter to Civil Court for adjudication with regard to the entitlement of compensation after depositing the compensation amount to the competent civil court.
iv) issue any other appropriate writ, order or direction as deemed fit in the circumstances of the case including initiation of criminal action against respondents 2 to 4 before the competent court of law.?
6. This writ petition is listed today before the court for orders regarding payment of process fee in favour of unserved fourth respondent and the matter however is examined on merits at the request of the learned counsel for the petitioners but, I find on such examination that the petitioners are not entitled for the reliefs as is prayed for in the writ petition, as opined hereafter.
7. Sri M.B. Chandrachooda, learned counsel for the petitioners submits that the action on the part of the second respondent is definitely an illegal and arbitrary action; that collusion and deceit are writ large on the face of the record as the second respondent who had been petitioned by the petitioners who had given representation to withhold the disbursement of the compensation amount in favour of respondents 3 and 4, on the basis of the claim put forth by the respondents 3 and 4, but the second respondent though had caused issue of notice to the petitioners to hold an enquiry on this aspect of the matter, has nevertheless, given up the enquiry midstream and has deliberately and with an ulterior motive, to defeat the rights of the petitioners, has disbursed the entire compensation amount in respect of the subject land in favour of the respondents 3 and 4 and it is in this background the petitioners have approached this court and therefore the writ petition ultimately will have to be allowed etc.,.
8. While private respondents are blissfully silent, perhaps strategically so, having received the compensation amount, whether it was due to them or otherwise, the first respondent ? State Government is represented by Sri. N.B. Vishwanath, learned Additional Government Advocate and for second respondent ? Special Land Acquisition Officer, KIADB, Sri Basavaraj V. Sabarad, learned counsel has filed power as per the directions of this court, but Sri Boregowda, learned counsel appearing on behalf of Sri Basavaraj V. Sabarad, Advocate for second respondent, submits he is yet to receive instructions and the third respondent though had been served, has remained unrepresented.
9. Sri N.B. Vishwanath, learned Additional Government Advocate appearing for the first respondent ? State of Karnataka, points out that the second respondent has acted with some bona fides as the very Annexure-N3 to the writ petition indicates that the second respondent had taken care to obtain an indemnity bond from respondents 3 and 4 that if it is to be ultimately found that respondents 3 and 4 are not entitled for the amount and on the other hand petitioners are entitled to the amount, then the compensation amount received from the second respondent will be made good in favour of the petitioners.
10. Though such is the version on behalf of the respondents, Sri. M.B. Chandrachooda, learned counsel for the petitioners, nevertheless, asserts and submits that undertaking of this nature is not an end for realizing the rights of the petitioners, particularly a land owner who has lost his land receiving the compensation payable in respect of the acquired land; that the second respondent, in fact, cannot take shelter under the undertaking as the second respondent either should have referred the matter to the civil court or should have pursued the enquiry which he had himself started on the representation made by the petitioners in terms of the latest notice dated 13.10.2008 issued to the petitioners as well as other respondents by the special land acquisition officer for their appearance before him etc., and in such state of affairs, it is obvious that the second respondent had acted in a collusive manner and relief as sought for in the writ petition should be granted.
11. After perusing the petition pleadings and on hearing learned counsel for the petitioners as well as learned counsel for the respondents 1 and 2, it becomes clear that while the petitioners may claim to be the legal heirs of one Muniramaiah, who according to the petitioners had been granted with some agricultural land as a person belonging to the weaker section or depressed class in the community, it is nevertheless, submitted by Sri M.B. Chandrachooda, learned counsel for the petitioners that the appeal filed by the respondents 3 and 4 against the order passed by the Assistant Commissioner in favour of the petitioners for setting aside the sale that had been effected by the petitioners? father in favour of respondents 3 and 4, is still pending and the appellate authority, namely, the Deputy Commissioner had granted an order of status quo, while entertaining the appeal.
12. If the appeal at the instance of respondents 3 and 4 is still pending before the Deputy Commissioner, particularly, involving the question as to whether the sale of land effected by the petitioners? father in favour of respondents 3 and 4 could be sustained or as has been done by the Assistant Commissioner, to affirm that it is illegal sale and therefore purchasers do not get any right, title or interest and even when the rights of the parties has not yet crystallized, this court cannot and will not embark on issuing a writ, either a writ of mandamus or a writ of certiorari, on the basis of contingent rights of the writ petitioners.
13. When there is a dispute in respect of ownership of lands which were subject matter of acquisition proceedings, the provisions of section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 takes care for resolution of such disputes and before a civil court.
14. Writ jurisdiction is not the appropriate remedy in such situations as the provisions of the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Act, 1966 read with the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 themselves, provide solutions for such situations. Writ jurisdiction is not one where citizens can assert their ownership rights when it is in dispute and seek for relief by issue of a writ, even when the property rights are in dispute between such petitioners and other persons, whether arrayed as respondents to the writ petition or otherwise.
15. While in this background, relief as sought for by the petitioners cannot be granted in this writ petition, at the same time, it cannot absolve respondents 1 and 2 from the consequences of a possible collusive or fraudulent act committed by a public authority, more so, when the second respondent is in a fiduciary capacity, vis--vis, the compensation payable to the land owners and if the second respondent, on his own, on the basis of the representation made by the petitioners when had issued notice for holding an enquiry, it was his bounden duty to have taken up the proceedings to its logical conclusion.
16. Complaint of Sri M.B. Chandrachooda, learned counsel for the petitioners is that the second respondent who had himself caused issue of notice for holding such an enquiry, has virtually abandoned the enquiry midway and with a view to favour respondents 3 and 4, has colluded with them and has disbursed the amount to them to the utmost detriment of writ petitioners and therefore this aspect of the conduct of the respondents 1 and 2 cannot be overlooked.
17. While the question as to whether the second respondent had acted in a mala fide manner or in a collusive manner and had colluded with respondents 3 and 4 to the detriment of the petitioners is not a matter which has to be necessarily examined further in this writ petition, it is not as though this court can approve of such arbitrary, erratic, whimsical conduct of public authorities and more often than not, such conduct being influenced by corruption, nepotism and favouritism, it is very necessary for this court to ensure commensurate proceedings are initiated before an enquiry agency and which agency can take the matters to their logical conclusion and in this regard though Sri Boregowda, learned counsel for the second respondent requests some time to respond on behalf of the second respondent, I am of the view that it is not necessary for this court to keep this matter on board any further only for such purpose, but on the other hand, such aspect of the matter can be taken care of by referring the question of illegal, mala fide or collusive conduct on the part of the second respondent to the Karnataka Lokayukta for causing a further enquiry into this aspect to ascertain the bona fides and the manner of functioning of the second respondent and if any material is available indicating any illegal or mala fide act on the part of the second respondent as is complained in this writ petition, also to take necessary steps for follow up action as per law.
18. It has become necessary for this court to issue directions for such further enquiry as there are repeated allegations against persons holding the posts of special land
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acquisition officer in the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board and it has come to the notice of this court that even the State Government and the Board have been acting in a most arbitrary, erratic manner in the matter of acquisition of private lands, in the name of public purpose and particularly in the name of developing industrial areas etc., and such related aspects are being examined by the Karnataka Lokayukta, it is therefore appropriate that this matter is also further enquired into and examined by the Karnataka Lokayukta for commensurate further action and also to enquire into the manner of functioning of the Board itself. 19. Ordered accordingly. 20. Without prejudice to the rights and remedies available to the petitioners to pursue such rights and remedies before any other forum and in any other manner permitted and enabled in law, the Registrar General of this court is directed to forward a copy of this order along with the copies of the writ petition papers and annexures to the Karnataka Lokayukta with a further direction that the matter may be further enquired into at the Karnataka Lokayukta?s end and if commensurate action is warranted against the second respondent, to take it to its logical conclusion as per law. 21. Subject to these observations/directions and reserving liberty to the petitioners, this writ petition is dismissed.