GOPALBHAI BECHARBHAI Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
STATE OF GUJARAT
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GOKULAKRISHNAN, J. -
(1.)RULE . Mr. Hava waives service of rule on behalf of the respondents.
(2.)THIS Special Civil Application is filed for quashing and setting aside the order at Annexure 'C' to the Special Civil Application and also to direct the respondent No.2 in this petition to make a reference to the District Court as prayed for by the petitioner, by issuing a suitable writ, direction or order. This matter pertains to the land
acquisition effected by respondent No.2. In this matter, the Award was passed as early as 26 -6 -1981. Notice under Section 12(2) of the Land Acquisition Act was
issued on 18 -9 -1981. The petitioner actually received copy of the Award on 30 -5 - 1985. Immediately thereafter, the petitioner filed an application before the 2nd
respondent, requesting him to refer the matter under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act to the District Court. This application was filed on 30 -7 -1985. The 2nd
respondent rejected this application as time -barred. While rejecting the application, the 2nd respondent has taken into consideration the date of the Award, which is
26 -6 -1981 and the notice, which is dated 18 -9 -1981, and came to the conclusion that there is an inordinate delay in making the application. No doubt, the application has to be made within 6 weeks, as per the provisions of the Act. In the decision in the case of Rajat Hirabhai Motibhai & Ors. v. Deputy Collector -Land Acquisition &
Rehabilitation, Panam Project, Godhra & Ors ., reported in XXVI(1) G.L.R.275 (=1985 GLH 33), a Bench of our High Court has clearly held that the notice in law is
deemed to have been served only when the copy of the contents of the Award is served on the party concerned. In this case, copy of the Award was served only on
30 -5 -1985. Hence, according to this judgment, limitation starts any from 30 -5 -1985. No doubt, there is two weeks' delay in filing the application by the petitioner for the purpose of directing the 2nd respondent to refer the matter under Section 18 to the District Court. In the decision in the case of Mohan Vasta v. State of Gujarat,
reported in 1985 GLH 199, it has been clearly held that Section 5 of the Limitation Act is applicable for an application for reference under Section 18 of the Land
Acquisition Act. In view of this specific observation made by the Bench of our High Court in the above - said decision, there cannot be any difficulty for respondent No.2
to condone the delay and refer the matter to the District Court under Section 18 of the Act. In as much as there is only two weeks' delay in this case, we have examined
ourselves the reasons for such a delay in preferring the application under Section 18. If only the 2nd respondent had understood the prevailing position of the law as to
when exactly the limitation starts running against such a party, he would have definitely condoned the delay of two weeks, which has occurred in this case. We find that
the petitioner is a poor agriculturist and has rushed up to 2nd respondent for filing necessary application, even though there is a delay of two weeks in doing so. The
reasons given by the petitioner in his application filed before the 2nd respondent, in our view sufficiently explains the delay of two weeks, that has occurred in this case.
We are satisfied that there is sufficient explanation for such a delay of two weeks by the petitioner herein and as such, following the decision referred above, we direct
the 2nd respondent to refer the matter to the District Court under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, within six weeks from this date. Rule is made absolute with the
above said observations. There will be no order as to costs.
Rules made absolute.
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