ARUN MISHRA, J. -
(1.)The correct interpretation of Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short, 'the Act of 2013'), is the subject matter of reference to this five Judge Bench of this Court.
(2.)A three Judge Bench of this Court in Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr v. Harakchand Misrimal Solanki and Ors (2014) 3 SCC 183, interpreted Section 24 of the Act of 2013. The order reported as Yogesh Neema and Ors v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2016) 6 SCC 387, a two-judge Bench, however doubted the decision in Sree Balaji Nagar Residents Association v. State of Tamil Nadu (2015) 3 SCC 353 (which had followed Pune Municipal Corporation (supra) and also held that Section 24(2) of the Act of 2013 does not exclude any period during which the land acquisition proceeding might have remained stayed on account of stay or injunction granted by any court) and referred the issue to a larger Bench. Later, in another appeal (arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.2131 of 2016 (Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra (dead) through Lrs. and Ors. 2018 SCC Online SC 100) the matter was referred to a larger Bench on 7.12.2017; the Court noticed that:
'cases which have been concluded are being revived. In spite of not accepting the compensation deliberately and statement are made in the Court that they do not want to receive the compensation at any cost, and they are agitating the matter time and again after having lost the matters and when proceedings are kept pending by interim orders by filing successive petitions, the provisions of section 24 cannot be invoked by such landowners.'
(3.)The Court noticed that the reference to a larger Bench was pending, and had been made in Yogesh Neema (supra). The Court also felt that several other issues arose which it outlined, but were not considered in Pune Municipal Corporation (supra). The Court therefore, stated that the matter should be considered by a larger Bench and referred the case to Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India for appropriate orders. Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra (hereafter, 'IDA v. Shailendra') a Bench of three Judges was of the view that the judgment in Pune Municipal Corporation (supra) did not consider several aspects relating to the interpretation of Section 24 of the Act of 2013. Since Pune Municipal Corporation (supra) was a judgment by a Bench of coordinate strength, two learned judges in IDA v. Shailendra opined prima facie that decision appeared to be per incuriam.
'1. What is the meaning of the expression paid'/tender' in Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (Act of 2013') and Section 31 of the Land Acquisition Act, LA (Act of 1894')? Whether non-deposit of compensation in court under section 31(2) of the Act of 1894 results into lapse of acquisition under section 24(2) of the Act of 2013. What are the consequences of non- deposit in Court especially when compensation has been tendered and refused under section 31(1) of the Act of 1894 and section 24(2) of the Act of 2013? Whether such persons after refusal can take advantage of their wrong/conduct?
2. Whether the word or' should be read as conjunctive or disjunctive in Section 24(2) of the Act of 2013?
3. What is the true effect of the proviso, does it form part of sub- Section (2) or main Section 24 of the Act of 2013?