SANNARANGAPPA Vs. STATE OF KARNATAKA AND ORS.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
State of Karnataka and Ors.
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(1.) The challenge in the present appeal arises out of an order of the High Court of Karnataka by which the provisions of Section 15 of the Karnataka Highways Act, 1964 (hereinafter referred to as "the State Act") have been held to be valid. The challenge in the writ petition was, inter alia, on the ground that prior to resorting to acquisition under Section 15 of the State Act no opportunity of hearing was contemplated/afforded to the landowner which necessarily made the aforesaid provision of the State Act constitutionally fragile.
(2.) The High Court answered the said question against the landowner. Aggrieved the present appeal has been filed.
(3.) Reading the order of the High Court we are of the view that the canvas on which the High Court had decided the issue needs to be further unfolded by a fuller consideration of the relevant provisions of the State Act.
Reading the provisions contained in Section 2(c), Section 2(e), Section 2(k), Section 3, Section 7, Section 15 and Section 17 of the State Act we find that a declaration in the official Gazette declaring any road, way or land to be a highway is to be followed by another Notification under Section 7(1)(ii) of the State Act fixing the highway boundary, the building line and the control line as defined under Section 2(c) and Section 2(e) and Section 2(k) of the State Act. Section 7(2) of the State Act, which is extracted below, contemplates publication of the notification in question in the official Gazette, to which objections can be filed by a person affected. Such objections may result in abandonment of the proposal or modification thereof under sub-section (4) of Section 7.
"7. Power to fix boundary of building and control lines of Highways.-
(1) In any area in which the provisions of this Act have been brought into force; and
(i) where any road, way or land has been declared to be a highway under Section 3, or
(ii) where the construction or development of a highway is undertaken, the State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, fix, as respects such highway, the highway boundary, the building line and the control line:
Provided that having regard to the situation or the requirements of a highway or the condition of the local area through which the highway passes, it shall be lawful for the State Government-
(i) to fix different building or control lines, or
(ii) not to fix building or control lines, in respect of any highway or portion thereof;
(2) Not less than sixty days before issuing a notification under sub-section (1), the State Government shall cause to be published in the official Gazette and in the prescribed manner in the village and at the headquarters of the taluk in which the highway is situated, a notification stating that it proposes to issue a notification in terms of sub-section (1), and specifying therein all the lands situated between the highway boundary and the control line proposed to be fixed under such notification and in case of new works, also lands benefiting by the construction or development of the highway, as the case may be, together with a notice requiring all persons affected by such notification, who wish to make any objections or suggestions with respect to the issue of such a notification, to submit their objections or suggestions in writing to the Highway Authority or appear before such Authority, within two months of the publication of the notification in the official Gazette or within one month from the date of publication of the notification in the village, whichever period expires later.
(4) If, before the expiry of the time allowed by sub-section (2) for filing or hearing of objections or suggestions, no objection or suggestion has been made the State Government shall proceed at once to issue the notification under sub-section (1) If any such objection or suggestion has been made, the State Government shall consider the record and the report referred to in sub-section (3) and may either,-
(a) abandon the proposal to issue the notification under sub-section (1), or
(b) issue the notification under sub-section (1) with such modification, if any, as it thinks fit.
(5) In considering the objections or suggestions the decision of the State Government on the question of issuing the notification under sub-section (1) shall be final and conclusive.";
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