Decided on January 12,2016

Yogesh Neema And Ors. Appellant
State of M.P. and Ors. Respondents


- (1.) In the present Special Leave Petition apart from several other issues urged by the petitioners to challenge the order of the High Court upholding the acquisition under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, a question has been raised with regard to the applicability of Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as "the 2013 Act") and whether in view of the fact that the possession had not been taken over despite the award being passed five years prior to 1st January, 2014 the land acquisition proceedings have lapsed. It may be taken note of at this stage that the petitioners had been the beneficiaries of the interim order of the High Court as well as this Court on account of which possession of the acquired land could not be taken over by the State. It has also to be noted that the order of the High Court had upheld the acquisition in question and the writ petition(s) was dismissed.
(2.) The matter appears to have been settled by a decision of a coordinate bench of this Court in Sree Balaji Nagar Residential Association v. State of Tamil Nadu and others, 2015 3 SCC 353. Paragraphs 11 and 12 of the aforesaid decision which contain the reasons for the view taken may be extracted below: "11. From a plain reading of Section 24 of the 2013 Act it is clear that Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act does not exclude any period during which the land acquisition proceedings might have remained stayed on account of stay or injunction granted by any court. In the same Act, the proviso to Section 19(7) in the context of limitation for publication of declaration under Section 19(1) and the Explanation to Section 69(2) for working out the market value of the land in the context of delay between preliminary notification under Section 11 and the date of the award, specifically provide that the period or periods during which the acquisition proceedings were held up on account of any stay or injunction by the order of any court be excluded in computing the relevant period. In that view of the matter it can be safely concluded that the legislature has consciously omitted to extend the period of five years indicated in Section 24(2) even if the proceedings had been delayed on account of an order of stay or injunction granted by a court of law or for any reason. Such casus omissus cannot be supplied by the court in view of law on the subject elaborately discussed by this Court in Padma Sundara Rao v. State of T.N., 2002 3 SCC 533. 12. Even in the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, the legislature had brought about amendment in Section 6 through an Amendment Act of 1984 to add Explanation I for the purpose of excluding the period when the proceeding suffered stay by an order of the court, in the context of limitation provided for publishing the declaration under Section 6(1) of the Act. To a similar effect was the Explanation to Section 11-A which was added by Amendment Act 68 of 1984. Clearly the legislature has, in its wisdom, made the period of five years under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act absolute and unaffected by any delay in the proceedings on account of any order of stay by a court. The plain wordings used by the legislature are clear and do not create any ambiguity or conflict. In such a situation, the court is not required to depart from the literal rule of interpretation."
(3.) A consideration of the aforesaid paragraphs would go to indicate that what had prevailed with the coordinate bench of this Court to take the view in question is that the omission in Section 24(2) to specifically exclude the period covered by an interim order of this Court staying the acquisition proceeding is a conscious omission of the legislature and the courts cannot fill up such an omission. In paragraph 12 of the aforesaid decision the fact that similar situations in the Land Acquisition Act had been subsequently rectified by means of appropriate amendments to Section 6 and 11-A by bringing in Explanation thereto has also been noticed. The aforesaid decision of the coordinate bench of this Court in Sree Balaji Nagar Residential Association has been followed in large number of cases details of which have been laid before us. The decision of a three judge bench of this Court in Union of India and 6 others v. Shiv Raj and others, 2014 6 SCC 564 has also been laid before us.;

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