Sinha, C. J. -
(1.)This petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution impugns the constitutionality of the land acquisition proceedings with particular reference to the notification under S. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as "the Act") in respect of an area of land within the district of Thana in the State of Bombay, now known as the State of Maharashtra.
(2.)In order to appreciate the controversy raised in this case, it is necessary to state the following facts. By a notification dated April 3, 1959, the first respondent, the State of Bombay (now Maharashtra) under S. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, stated that the lands specified in the schedule attached to the said notification were likely to be needed for the purposes of the third respondent, Messrs. Mukund Iron and Steel Works Ltd., a Company registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1913, and having its registered office at Kurla, Bombay No. 37, in the State of Maharashtra, for its factory buildings, etc. The notification further stated that under Cl. (c) of S. 3 of the Act, the Government was pleased to appoint the Special Land Acquisition Officer, the second respondent, to perform the functions of the Collector under S. 5A of the said Act. The land in which the petitioner, who is a citizen of India, claims to be interested as owner is included in the schedule aforesaid. The petitioner appeared before the second respondent aforesaid and after several adjournments lodged objections on June 9, 1959, and also made oral submissions through his Advocate on that date and the day following, and requested the second respondent to quash the proceedings on the ground that the lands contained in the notification were not required for any public purpose and that the proceedings were vexatious and malicious. It was further stated before the second respondent that the third respondent had negotiated by private treaty for the purchase of the notified area. The second respondent adjourned further hearing of the case in order to enable the petitioner and the third respondent to come to an amicable settlement. A further hearing took place before the second respondent on July 15, 1959. On that date the petitioner proposed to lead evidence of owners of several pieces of land included in the area notified for acquisition to prove that the lands included in the schedule to the notification were not as a matter of fact required by the third respondent for any public purpose and that the third respondent had even negotiated for the purchase of the said lands by private treaty; but the second respondent refused permission to lead such evidence on behalf of the petitioner.
(3.)The petitioner raises a number of questions of law attacking the constitutionality of the land acquisition proceedings and prays for orders or directions to the State Government not to give its consent to the aforesaid acquisition under S. 39 of the Act nor to enter into any agreement with the third respondent under S. 41 of the Act nor to issue a notification under S. 6 of the Act declaring that the land in question is needed for a public purpose, because after such a declaration the petitioner may be deprived of the opportunity of contending that the land was not needed for a public purpose.