Decided on October 28,2002

RUKMINI DEVI Respondents


- (1.)Leave granted.
(2.)In a land acquisition proceeding against the order of the reference court the appeal was filed by the state under section 54 of the land Acquisition Act. That appeal stood dismissed by the learned single judge for nonpayment of the requisite court fee. An application for restoration was filed by the state of bihar which also stood dismissed. The central coalfields is the authority for whom the acquisition was intended and the coalfields, on being aware of the same, filed application for permission to pursue the matter and filed a letters patent appeal before the division bench. The division bench being of the opinion that there was sufficient cause for delay in filing appeal, condoned the delay in filing the appeal and directed for hearing the same on the next date. When the matter was thereafter listed on the next date, i. e. , on 19.3.2002, the bench hearing the appeal took into consideration the earlier laches on the part of the state of Bihar as well as the central coalfields and dismissed the appeal. Mr. Mukul Rohtagi, learned additional solicitor general appearing for the appellant contends that in the impugned order, the earlier order of the division bench dated 18.2.2002 has not been noticed by the court which resulted in the ultimate dismissal of the letters patent appeal. Learned additional solicitor general further contends that the coalfields being the real interested party, in the absence of the coalfields, determination of the compensation would be invalid and therefore, in the interest of justice the appellant-coalfields should be permitted to pursue the appeal filed under section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act.
(3.)Ms. Hema Sahu, learned counsel for the respondents on the other hand contends that there has been gross laches on the part of the appellant and further the amount of compensation determined by the reference court has not been deposited or paid and therefore, the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 136 need not be invoked at the behest of the appellant.

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