SATISH K.AGNIHOTRI,J. -
(1.)BY this petition, the petitioner seeks a writ in the nature of mandamus, directing the respondent Nos. 1 and 5 to make payment of compensation of Rs. 4,60,224/- with interest against the acquisition of the land bearing Khasra No. 2130/7, measuring area 0.017 hectare, situated at Bouripara, Ambikapur, District Surguja (hereinafter referred to as "the disputed land").
(2.)THE brief facts, in nutshell, as projected by the petitioner are that the Executive Engineer, Public Works Department (for short, "PWD"), Ambikapur, requested the competent authority to acquire the disputed land for the purpose of construction of the road. A notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short, "the Act, 1894") was accordingly issued. THEreafter, a notification under Section 6 of the Act, 1894 was published. All the required steps were taken before passing the award. THE Land Acquisition Officer, Ambikapur, by order dated 24-9-2004 (Annexure P-1) passed an award for acquisition of the disputed land and determined the compensation to the tune of Rs. 4,60,224/-. THE petitioner was not paid compensation pursuant to the award dated 24-9-2004. THEre were certain allegations of demand of bribe also. THE Collector, Surguja, sent a communication dated 22-1-2005 (Annexure P-5) to the Secretary, Government of Chhattisgarh, PWD, with regard to the complaint made by the petitioner stating that the Executive Engineer, PWD, Ambikapur, has failed to deposit the compensation amount, which was determined by the land acquisition award dated 24-9-2004 (Annexure P-1).
Shri V.K. Pandey, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that after passing the award, the respondent Nos. 2 and 3 have taken possession of the disputed land without making payment of the compensation. The petitioner is legally entitled to the compensation award immediately on passing of the award. Though, the award was passed on 24-9-2004, till date no payment is made. Thus, appropriate writ may be issued directing the respondents to make payment as quantified by the Land Acquisition Officer with interest on delayed payment.
(3.)PER contra, Shri Vinay Harit, Deputy Advocate General with Shri Shashank Thakur, Panel Lawyer for the respondent Nos. 1 to 4/State would submit that admittedly the award was passed on 24-9-2004 under the provisions of the Act, 1894. A letter dated 29-11-2004 (Annexure R-1) was sent accordingly to the respondent No. 4 to deposit the compensation amount. The Executive Engineer, PWD, Division No. 1, Ambikapur, made an application under Section 48 of the Act, 1894, for withdrawal of the acquisition of the land as the disputed land is not required for construction of the road. Khasra number of the land was mentioned by mistake in the notification under Section 4(1) of the Act, 1894 and thereafter (Annexure R-2). On 10-2-2005 accordingly the Collector, Surguja, issued a notification under Section 48 of the Act, 1894 (Annexure R-4) to withdraw from acquisition in respect of the disputed land. It was further stated in the notification that the award was passed on 24-9-2004, but the possession thereof was not taken over by the State Government. The said notification was sent for publication by communication dated 10-2-2005 (Annexure R-3). It was clearly stated that the possession of the disputed land has not been taken over by the State Government. Thus, the State Government is competent to withdraw from the acquisition under the provisions of Section 48 of the Act, 1894.