(1.)The appellant-company approached the State of Haryana for acquisition of land for establishing a sheet glass factory. The State Government, on being satisfied, took a decision to initiate proceedings in respect of the land in question. Preliminary notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on 2-7-1973. Thereafter declaration was made under Section 6 on 4-9-1973. The Collector passed the award on 20-6-1974 in respect of the said land, awarding compensation to the land owners i.e. respondent Nos. 1-5 herein, a sum of Rs. 3,93,688.12. The amount of compensation was also paid to the respondents on 16-10-1974 and the possession of the land was also taken on the same date. The respondents made an application for reference under Section 18 of the Act. The Additional District Judge, Rohtak enhanced the compensation amount by a sum of Rs. 59,349. The respondents 1-5 not being satisfied with the enhanced amount of compensation, approached the High Court by filing an appeal. The High Court by judgment dated 3-6-1988 enhanced the compensation by an amount of Rs. 8.10 lakhs.
(2.)The respondents filed Civil Writ Petition No. 14735/1991 in the High Court on 25-9-1991 praying for quashing the notifications issued under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act and for other reliefs. The said writ petition was allowed by the High Court on 5-3-1992. Hence, this appeal by the company for whose benefit the land was acquired.
(3.)Learned counsel for the appellant contended that the High Court was not right in entertaining the writ petition condoning the delay and laches on the part of respondents in approaching the High Court almost after a period of 17 years, that too when the acquisition proceedings had attained finality and possession also had been taken as early as on 16-10-1994 on which date the land vested with the State free from all encumbrances. The High Court committed an error in quashing the acquisition proceedings and directing restoration of the land to the respondents, even though the land was not utilized for the purpose for which it was acquired. The learned counsel cited a few decisions in support of his submissions.