Decided on December 08,2020

STATE OF H. P. Respondents


Sureshwar Thakur,J. - (1.)The petitioner is engaged in the construction of four laning of road, commencing from Parwanoo to Shimla. The construction activity has reached upto a stretch located at Kathali village, whereat stands located hence forest land, nomenclatured, as, D-227 Raikot. In the afore stretch, there are about 2079 trees of various species. Though, in contemporaneity, vis-a-vis, the notification, made under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, the jamabandi(s) appertaining to the afore stretch, depicted the private landowners to be in exclusive ownership, and, possession of the afore tract of land. However, subsequently, it appears from a perusal, of, the scribed instructions, placed on record, by the learned Additional Advocate General, that the forest department has become apprised/awakened that the afore stretch of forest land, has been erroneously recorded in the name of the private landowners, despite the forest department being the true owner of the afore stretch of land. It also appears from the afore scribed instructions, as, become, placed on record, that after confabulations being held inter se the authorities concerned, it being resolved, that a declaratory suit be filed before the Civil Judge, Kandaghat, for seeking a decree, for setting aside the purported erroneous entries, occurring in the revenue record, rather displaying the private landowners concerned, to be owners in possession of the afore tract of land, the relevant portion of the minutes, of, the meeting, held on 5th February, 2020, stand(s) extracted hereinafter:-
"During the meeting, it was pointed out that this dispute will cause delay in executing the work of Solan Kaithlighat Four Lane Project executed by NHAI, which is a very important project for the State. After detailed deliberations, following decisions were taken:-

(i) The NHAI shall process the case for seeking approval of the diversion of additional land comprised in disputed portion coming in the construction of Four Lane under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Forest Department shall expedite the diversion proposal at the earliest.

(ii) The Deputy Commissioner, Solan shall convene a meeting with the NHAI authorities and shall take an undertaking from them that if the ownership title of the said land is decided by the competent Court of law in favour of the local people, in that event, NHAI will have to bear the compensation amount for making payment to the owners.

(iii) The Forest Department shall file a suit in the competent Civil Court for seeking correction of revenue entries in its favour."

(2.)Since, in pursuance to the notification issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, the Land Acquisition Collector concerned, may not, given the dispute with respect to the entitlements of compensation, hence germinating inter se the private landowners, and, the forest department, hence proceed to determine compensation, qua the lands concerned, nor it would be judicially appropriate for this Court to make a direction, upon, the Land Acquisition Collector to make determination(s), of, the compensation amount(s), (a) as, thereupon, the effect, if any, of the judicial verdict rather contrary to the private landowners' espousal, would negate, all the effects, of, the afore determination of compensation, qua them by the Collector concerned, rendering hence the afore to be, a, nugatory recoursing. Furthermore, also, at this stage, it would be extremely hazardous, for, this Court, to direct the petitioner authority, to suo moto assess any interim compensation, nor also any directions can be made, upon, it to deposit the afore sums of compensation in the Registry of this Court, and, nor thereafter, at this stage, without for the afore reason any decision being made, by the competent authority concerned, vis-a-vis, the entitlements of the contesting litigants, to order for its disbursement to the purported legitimate disbursees thereto. In addition, another obstacle, besetting this Court, to make an affirmative order, upon, the extant petition, inasmuch, as, the Forest Department, and, other respondents concerned, being directed, to, permit the petitioner to proceed to undertake the construction activities in the afore stretch of forest land, (b) is, comprised in the fact that though enumeration of trees in the afore land rather has occurred, (c) however, the thereafter imperative processes, for ensuring valid felling(s), of the afore existing enumerated trees, upon, forest land, besides for permission being granted, for conversion of the forest land, to, non forest land, inasmuch, as, for construction of the road thereon, are, to be yet initiated by the petitioner.
(3.)Consequently, the Forest Department concerned, shall forthwith purvey to the petitioner, the entire records appertaining to the enumeration of trees hence existing on the afore stretch of forest land, and, thereafter the petitioner authority, shall forthwith transmit them to the Regional Office, of, the Ministry of Environment, Dharadun, and, the latter upon receiving the afore, shall forthwith or with utmost promptitude hence proceed, to, inasmuch, as, within one month from today, and, strictly in accordance with law, complete the makings, of, apposite sanctions.

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.