Decided on July 03,1970

Maria Rosal De Rose And Anr. Appellant
The State Of Tamil Nadu, Represented By Secretary (Harijan Welfare Department) And Anr. Respondents


Ramaprasada Rao, J. - (1.) THE petitioners claiming to be jointly interested in S. Nos. 51/2 and 52/2 in Kila Tiruchendur Village, Tirunelveli District have filed this writ petition stating that the compulsory acquisition of their land as above to the extent of 3.12 acres therein comprised, is illegal and without observance of the prescribed procedure under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act (I of 1894). The case of the petitioners is that they never knew anything about the proposal for the acquisition or the later proceedings pursuant thereto, until they received a notice from the Sub -Court, Tuticorin informing them about a reference having been made to the State Government by the Land Acquisition Officer. The petitioners' further contention is that they made further enquiries thereafter and ascertained that the acquisition was for the purpose of providing house -sites for the Harijans in the village. Their case is that they were not served with any notice either of the proposal to acquire, notice of enquiry under Section 5 -A or notice under Section 9(3). They would also say that at no time was there any publication in the village nor was any notice affixed at any public place regarding the proposed acquisition. They learned, however, that the Harijan Welfare Department were about to take proceedings to evict them from the land consequent upon the compulsory acquisition and therefore they have come to this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution for a writ of mandamus directing the State of Tamil Nadu and the Special Tahsildar (Harijan Welfare), Tuticorin, not to proceed any further with the illegal acquisition of the lands in S. Nos. 51/2 and 5?/2 in Kila Tiruchendur Village belonging to the petitioners.
(2.) THE State has filed its counter affidavit through the Deputy Secretary to Government, Social Welfare Department. It is stated that the acquisition proceedings are valid and they do not suffer from any error whatsoever and the writ petitioners having openly suppressed relevant material and further for having uttered falsehoods the writ petition has to be dismissed in limine on that score. Factually the 1st respondent would state that the notification under Section 4(1) was published in the Fort St. George Gazette, on 27th February, 1965, and, as the acquisition was felt to be urgent, the enquiry under Section 5 -A was dispensed with under Section 17(4) of the Act and this is in accordance with the memo. issued by the Government on 19th January, 1965. The declaration under Section 6 was finally published in the Gazette on 17th March, 1965. But it is stated that, though the notification was published on 17th February, 1965, the extract of the notification was published in a conspicuous place and also by beat of torn torn in March, 1965. The 1st respondent's further case is that the petitioners have suppressed the fact that they knew about the acquisition ever since the proposal stage and that the 2nd petitioner never had any interest or right over the lands as disclosed in the public records and therefore there was no occasion to serve any notice on the 2nd petitioner. In so far as the 1st petitioner is concerned, the 1st respondent would state that the notice under Section 9(3) and 10 of the Act was served on the 1st petitioner and that was acknowledge by her in her petitions dated 9th and 23rd August, 1965 submitted to the Land Acquisition Officer. From the records it is seen that even as early as 1962 or 1963 the 1st petitioner objected to the acquisition and this was followed up after she was served with the notice under Sections 9 and 10 of the Act. It is also common ground that the 2nd petitioner, who had expressly no interest or right in the lands, also pursued the matter as is seen from two independent petitions sent by him to the Land Acquisition Officer in connection with the acquisition. Thus the case of the 1st respondent is that there was no obligation on the part of the Land Acquisition Officer to enquire under Section 5 -A, that the notification under Section 6, was duly published and the notice under Sections 9 and 10 were duly served on the 1st petitioner, that the 2nd petitioner was equally aware of such service and that the mere fact that an extract of the notification under Section 4(1) was published on 25th March, 1965 does not go to the root of the question and cannot vitiate the entire land acquisition proceedings. Even otherwise, the legal contention that such irregularity, even if it is to be considered as one, cannot in any way vitiate the proceedings, because the law permits the notification under sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act being published simultaneously and concurrently. Above all it is contended that the petitioners not having come with clean hands and having suppressed the material which was available with them and which was to their knowledge, this writ petition ought to be dismissed. On the last contention the respondents have to succeed, but, as the petition has been argued at length, I wish to record my conclusions on the other arguments addressed as well.
(3.) IN so far as the contention that there has been no service of notice under Sections 9 and 10 is concerned, it is false as is seen from the counter affidavit filed in this case, the allegations in which have not been refuted. Factually, therefore, the petitioners were aware of the land acquisition proceedings and I do not believe that they were notified about it by the Sub -Court, Tuticorin, which gave him the first information about the land acquisition proceedings.;

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