B. K. RAVICHANDRA AND OTHERS Vs. UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS
LAWS(SC)-2020-11-32
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on November 24,2020

B. K. Ravichandra And Others Appellant
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS Respondents




JUDGEMENT

S.RAVINDRA BHAT, J. - (1.)This appeal by special leave questions a judgment of the Karnataka High Court[1]. The High Court rejected the appellants' claim to direct the respondent (hereafter called "the Union") to vacate their lands, leaving it open to the latter to initiate appropriate proceedings for acquisition of certain lands (which belonged to the appellants).
[1] Dated 11.01.2008 in W.P. 8340/2006

(2.)Parliament, in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Union, enacted the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable properties Act, 1952 (hereafter called "the Requisitioning Act"). It was brought into force on 15.03.1952.[2] The object of the Act was to enable the Union to requisition or acquire immovable property if the competent authority was of the opinion that any property was necessary for a public purpose. By Section 1(3), the Requisitioning Act was to be in force for six years. Section 3 clothed the Union with the power to requisition properties for any public purpose; Section 7 provided the procedure to requisition (or acquire) lands. It also spelt-out the condition precedents for exercise of the power. Section 8 provided for compensation with regard to property. Section 8(2) laid out the principles applicable for determination of compensation for the property as a recurring one[3]. On 27.02.1958, the Requisitioning Act was amended and the period of its operation extended. In the meanwhile, the Defence of India Act, 1962 (hereafter referred to as "the DIA") was enacted by Parliament empowering the Central Government with powers akin to those enacted under the Requisitioning Act. The Union invoked its powers under the DIA and requisitioned the three described properties which belonged to the predecessor of the appellants (hereafter referred to as "the suit lands"). These comprised of Survey Nos. 101/1 and 101/2 - the two survey numbers aggregating 2 acres 39 guntas and Survey No. 104 (2 acre 8 guntas) in Byppanahalli, Bangalore South Taluk. The then owner, i.e. late B.M. Krishnamurthy, the appellants' predecessor handed over the possession of the suit lands under protest; these were taken over under Section 30 of the DIA. The competent authority fixed the compensation for these lands by order dated 18.12.1964. The approval for this compensation fixation was given much later -in 1968.
[2] By virtue of Section 1(3), the Act was initially temporary, and to remain in force for six years.

[3] Section 8(2) (a) provided inter alia, as follows:

"a recurring payment in respect of the period of requisition of a sum equal to the rent which would have been payable for the use and occupation of the property, if it had been taken on lease for the period. "

Section 8 (2) (b) provided for payment of

(b) such sum or sums, if any, as may be found necessary to compensate the person interested for all or any of the following matters, namely:

(i) pecuniary loss due to requisitioning;

(ii) expenses on account of vacating the requisitioned premises;

(iii) expenses on account of reoccupying the premises upon release from requisition; and

(iv) damages (other than normal wear and tear) caused to the property during the period of requisition, including the expenses that may have to be incurred for restoring the property to the condition in which it was at the time of requisition.

(3.)By Act 48 of 1963, Section 1(3) of the Requisitioning Act was amended, and the period of operation of the Requisitioning Act was extended till 14.03.1970. In the meanwhile, the DIA lapsed with effect from 10.01.1968. The Requisitioning Act was amended, incorporating Section 25, which enacted that the immovable property requisitioned under the DIA, which had not been released as on 10.01.1968 was deemed to have been requisitioned under the Requisition Act. It also continued the status quo with respect to determination of compensation completed under the DIA. This Amendment Ordinance was replaced by an actual amendment, to the Requisitioning Act. The Requisitioning Act was again amended in 1970[4], to delete Section 1(3) of the main Act. The Amendment Act also enabled requisitioning of property and stated that requisitions were to be continued and were to be released after 12 years (subsequently the period of 12 years was extended to 17 years)[5].
[4] Act 1 of 1970. The effect of this amendment Act was to change the temporary character of the legislation.

[5] Section 6(1 A) reads as follows:

" 6. Release from requisitioning.-

(1) The Central Government may at any time release from requisition any property requisitioned under this Act and shall, as far as possible, restore the property in as good a condition as it was when possession thereof was taken subject only to the changes caused by reasonable wear and tear and irresistible force:

Provided that where the purposes for which any requisitioned property was being used cease to exist, the Central Government shall, unless the property is acquired under section 7, release that property, as soon as may be, from requisition.

[(1A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the Central Government shall release from requisition,-

(a) any property requisitioned or deemed to be requisitioned under this Act before the commencement of the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Act, 1970 (1 of 1970), on or before the expiry of a period of [seventeen years] from such commencement;"

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