R.C.LAHOTI, J. -
(1.)NOTIFICATION under Section 4 of the Rajasthan Land Acquisition Act, 1953 was published in the State Gazette in June 1960, acquiring land in the localities of Bhojpura and Chak Sudershanpura, Tehsil Jaipur, adjacent to Jaipur city for urban development, viz. for multi purpose project of constructing legislative assembly, MLA quarters and planned development of city, popularly known as 'Lal Kothi Scheme'. The exact public purpose for acquisition is not discernible from the record but that is immaterial for our present purpose. The NOTIFICATION under Section 4 was followed by declaration under Section 6/05/1961. The persons whose land was acquired under the scheme include the four appellants before us. On 9-1-1964, the Land Acquisition Officer passed an award fixing monetary compensation at the rate of Rs. 1800.00 per bigha, i.e. approximately 60 paise per sq. yard. In addition to the amount of compensation, the Land Acquisition Officer also directed plots of 2000 or 1000 sq. yards to be allotted to the appellants in the very scheme for which the land was acquired. Dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation, the claimants and the State Government both sought for reference to the Civil Court. The reference Court modified the quantum of compensation by increasing the same to Rs. 4.50p. per sq. yard while upholding the allotment of residential plots. The State Government preferred appeals questioning the enhancement. On 17-8-1971, a tripartite settlement was arrived at as amongst the claimants, the State Government and the Urban Improvement Trust (the predecessor of Jaipur Development Authority) according to which it was agreed (a) that the claimants accept the amount of compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer; (b) that the allotment of residential plots to the claimants measuring 2000 or 1000 sq. yards each in the same scheme shall stand subject to payment of price by the allottees @ Rs. 8.00 per sq. yard which price shall be paid by the allottees to the UIT deducting therefrom the amount of compensation awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer; and (c) that the contest on the amount of compensation is given up and the State of Rajasthan and the UIT shall not prosecute the appeal. A compromise petition, incorporating the terms of settlement, was filed in the High Court and taken on record disposing of the appeal in terms of settlement. On 12-10-1982, UIT was dissolved and was replaced by Jaipur Development Authority which took over the assets and liabilities of UIT.
(2.)THE appellants filed execution application seeking implementation of the award made by the High Court based on the compromise. For want of contest before the executing Court, warrants of possession were directed to be issued and in pursuance thereof possession over the residential plots allotted to the respective appellants was delivered on 29-5-1984. Laying challenge to the order of executing Court, the State of Rajasthan and JDA preferred revision petitions before the High Court which were dismissed. In the special leave petition preferred before this Court, by order dated 15-2-1988, it was directed that the judgment debtors shall have the liberty of raising their objection to the execution application before the executing Court which shall be decided after hearing the parties and in accordance with law. On 1-6-1990, the executing Court rejected the objections filed by the respondents and upheld the maintainability of the execution application. In civil revisions preferred by the respondents, the High Court formed an opinion that the judgment of the High Court, based on the compromises and directing plots to be allotted to the appellants in addition to the monetary compensation, suffered from inherent lack of jurisdiction and, therefore, was inexecutable. THE revision petitions were decided ex parte. Armed with the order of High Court, on 12-8-1996. JDA resumed possession over the residential plots. Since then, the plots are in possession of JDA excepting plot Nos. C-89 and C-90 out of total area whereof, 555 sq. mts. area has been allotted by JDA to Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Limited which has constructed a full-fledged building of its own over the land allotted to it.
The ex parte order passed by the High Court allowing the revision petitions preferred by the respondents was recalled by High Court on the appellants explaining the reasons for their non-appearance. The revisions were heard afresh. By the impugned judgment dated 23-4-2001, the High Court has once again allowed the revision petitions preferred by the respondents. The High Court has held the compromise decree to be inexecutable as, in its opinion, allotment of land by an award in land acquisition proceedings suffers from inherent lack of jurisdiction. In taking this view the High Court has relied on two decisions of this Court, namely Jaipur Development Authority v. Radhey Shyam and Ors., (1994) 4 SCC 370 and Secretary, Jaipur Development Authority, Jaipur v. Daulat Mal Jain and Ors., (1997) 1 SCC 35. These decisions, do not arise out of those very awards whereunder compensation was fixed and residential plots directed to be allotted to the appellants, nevertheless, both these decisions are referable to the same acquisition proceedings under the same notification and declaration under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act whereby land was acquired for 'Lal Kothi Scheme'.
Shri R.F. Nariman, Senior Advocate assisted by Shri. M.L. Lahoty, Advocate the learned counsel for the appellants, have submitted that the High Court has committed a serious error of law in placing reliance upon the said two decisions of this Court which dealt with power of the Land Acquisition Officer under sub-section (4) of Section 31 of the Land Acquisition Act and held that the Land Acquisition Officer is empowered to offer monetary compensation for the land acquired but does not have any power or jurisdiction in him to part with any part of the land acquired or any other land either in lieu of or over and above the amount of monetary compensation. It was held that such direction, if made and incorporated in the award, would be a nullity and any objection as to inexecutability of the decree as being a nullity could be successfully raised at the stage of execution. The law so laid down by this Court does not have applicability to the case of a decree based on compromise more so when in view of the offer to allot residential plots in that very scheme the claimants have given up their rights to enhanced amount of compensation. The learned senior counsel further submitted that such an allotment of residential plots finds supports from Section 60 of the Rajasthan Urban Improvement Act, 1959 as also by the holding of this Court in Pista Devi's case (1986) 4 SCC 251, Hans Raj H. Jain v. State of Maharashtra, (1993) 3 SCC 634 and an unreported decision in H.C. Venkataswamy and Ors. v. Bangalore Development Authority and Ors. Civil Appeal No. 14037-14056 of 1996 decided on 23-9-1996.
(3.)THERE may be merit in the submission made by the learned counsel for the appellants. However, we do not propose to enter into the merits of the submission which was advanced so forcefully. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties and keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, we are satisfied that the present one is not a fit case where we may exercise the discretionary jurisdiction vesting in this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution favourably to the appellants and upset the judgment of the High Court. We, therefore, propose to dismiss the appeals but subject to directions necessary to meet to the ends of justice and briefly place on record our reasons for doing so.
In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents, a tabulated statement is incorporated showing the area of land acquired and the area of plot which the respondents agreed to allot to the appellants in addition to monetary compensation as per the award.