HITENDRAKUMAR THAKORDAS RAVAL Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
HITENDRAKUMAR THAKORDAS RAVAL
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B.J.DIVAN, R.C.MANKAD -
(1.) The petitioners herein have challenged notifications under secs. 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 by which certain lands along with the lands of the petitioners were sought to be acquired for the purposes of the Gujarat Housing Board which is the third respondent in this special civil application. The petitioners are owners of lands bearing survey Nos. 586/2 admeasuring 20639 square metres situated at Adajan in Surat District. These lands are within the limits of the Surat Municipal Corporation. With the development of the surrounding areas several buildings have come up in the vicinity of the lands of the petitioners. Many co operative societies such as Kalpna Riverside Ravi Park Sneh Smruti Sangna Gandhinagar Society for the staff of Bank of India Vandna Anand Kunj Samarpan etc have constructed buildings in the late 1960s in the vicinity of the petitioners lands and it is the contention of the petitioners that their lands are situated in a well developed area. The notification under sec. 4 was issued on July 2 1971 and the lands proposed to be acquired comprised lands from survey Nos. 586/1. 586/2 587 588 588 586 being the land belonging to the petitioners. The public purpose which was set out in that notification was. For construction of houses for the Gujarat Housing Board under the Development Scheme. According to the petitioners on July 2 1971 the State Government also issued another notification under sec. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act declaring its intention to acquire lands bearing survey Nos. 536 537 Paiki 538 539 540 540 and 540/3 for a public purpose alleging the public purpose to be for the construction of hide for the Gujarat Housing Board under the Development scheme. It it the petitioners case that their lands bearing survey No. 586/2 are just adjacent to the lands bearing survey Nos. 540/1 540 and 540/3. The lands mentioned in both the notifications under sec. 4 form one compact block of land. It is the case of the petitioners that in respect of the lands of the petitioners notification under sec. 6 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on June 4 1973 whereas in respect of the lands bearing survey Nos. 536 to 543/3 referred to in the other notification under sec. 4 a notification under sec. 6 was issued on May 19 1972 Notices under secs. 9 (3) and 9 (4) were served upon the petitioners on August 8 1973 and in pursuance of those notices the petitioners filed their objections before the second respondent and thereafter the petitioners did not hear anything from the Land Acquisition Officer in respect of these land acquisition proceedings.
(2.) It is the case of the petitioners that under Town Planning Scheme No. 10 of the Surat Municipal Corporation their lands which were valued at Rs. 19/per square metre before the reconstitution are being valued at Rs. 34/per square metre as a result of the betterment brought about by the town planning scheme. It is the case of the petitioners that because of the town planning scheme the identity of the petitioners lands has totally changed and the petitioners would be allotted Final Plot No. 102 admeasuring 15275 square metres in place of their original area of 20639 square metres. The petitioners contend that a portion of their lands has been taken away by the Surat Municipal Corporation under the town planning scheme as a plot reserved for the purpose of subcentre and also for the purpose of roads. The petitioners further signeted that because of the provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling And Regulation) Act 1976 which came into force on February 17 1976 the petitioners are required to file a statement before the competent authority under sec. 6 of the Urban Land Ceiling Act and under sec. 21 of that Act if a person holding any vacant land in excess of the ceiling limit declares within the prescribed time in the prescribed form in the prescribed manner before the specified authority that such land would be utilised for construction of dwelling units for the accommodation of the weaker sections of the society in accordance with any scheme approved by the specified authority then the provisions of the Urban Land Ceiling Act would not apply and the excess land will not be treated as excess. The petitioners have formulated plans for the purpose of putting up houses for the accommodation of the weaker sections of the society and thus to save their land from the operation of the Urban Land Ceiling Act. It is the petitioners case that their lands are situated in a developing area and construction work was going on in that area. The petitioners rely upon the contents of letter date(i February 1 1966 addressed by the Government of Gujarat to the Housing Commissioner Gujarat Housing Board Ahmedabad in connection with guidance to be followed for acquiring lands for the purposes of the Gujarat housing Board. This letter of February 1 1966 was subsequently explained in a circular dated July 24 67. These two documents of February 1 1966 and July 24 1967 are Annexures C and D to the petition and it is the contention of the petitioners that Government have sought to acquire the petitioners lands in violation of the guidelines laid down in the letter of February 1 1966 It is the case of the petitioners that owners of survey Nos. 540/1 540 and 540/3 those lands were sought to be acquired also for the purpose of the Gujarat Housing Board filed an application in this Court being Special Civil Application No. 21 of 1973 and in those proceedings the special civil application was allowed and it was held that the acquisition of survey Nos. 540/1 540 and 540/3 was illegal and void as the Government had followed a pick and choose method in respect of the said lands and in that case rule was made absolute. It may be pointed out that the decision in that case where the special civil application was allowed is reported in Maganbhai Vanarashibhai Patel v. State of Gujarat 16 G. L. R. 829 The petitioners contend that the reasoning in Maganbhais case applies to the facts of the present case and therefore the petitioners have challenged the validity of the notifications issued under secs. 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act in so far as they affect the petitioners lands.
(3.) The principal contention of Miss V. P. Shah on behalf of the petitioners is that the lands in question belonging to the petitioners are in a developing area and that several buildings have come up in the surrounding areas. Many co-operative societies such as Kalpna Riverside Ravi Park Sneh Smruti Sangna Gandhinagar Society for the staff of Bank of India Vandna Anand Kunj Samarpan etc. have come up in the vicinity of the petitioners property. There is no reply by the Government to this averment in the petition and on behalf of the Gujarat Housing Board K. R. Vaidya Land Officer of the Housing Board has filed his affidavit in reply being the affidavit dated 26th June 1979. In paragraph 4 of the affidavit the contention of the officer is that the averments of the petitioners are very vague the petitioners having not clearly stated at what distance the societies mentioned in the paragraphs are situated and whether there are any buildings constructed by them and if 53 in what year they were constructed. Unless the petitioners furnish detailed particulars according to this deponent it is not possible to give a detailed reply regarding these allegations. In paragraph 3 of the petition in terms the petitioners have stated that lands bearing survey Nos. 536 537 538 539 540 540 and 540/3 are adjacent to the lands of the petitioners. In paragraph 5 of the affidavit in reply the deponent K. R. Vaidya states:- They are adjacent to their land meaning thereby that the lands of the petitioners are adjacent to lands bearing survey Nos. 540/1 540 and 540/3. Barring this statement there is nothing to deny the contention of the petitioners that the lands of the petitioner are situated in a developing and developed area. In the affidavit in reply K. R. Vaidya merely does not admit that the lands under acquisition are developed lands.;
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