Subhashan Reddy, J. -
(1.)This writ appeal is directed against the dismissal of Writ Petition 3719/91 filed by the appellant herein seeking grant of additional benefits conferred by Central Act 68/84 amending the relevantmaterialprovisionshithertocontained under the Land Acquisition Act. Additional benefits conferred are:
(i) Payment of increased solatium viz., from 15% to 30%
(ii) Payment of additional compensation at the rate of 12% per annum from the date of notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act till date of taking over possession of the land or passing of award, whichever is earlier
(iii) Payment of interest at the rate of 9% per annum for a period of one year from the date of taking possession of the land or passing of the award, whichever is earlier; and at the rate of 15% per annum after expiry of the period of one year i.e., from the second year onwards.
(2.)Admittedly, in the instant case, notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on 14-12-1982, and the award was passed by the Land Acquisition Officer viz., respondent No.4 herein, on 23-7-1984. Even though the Act came into force with effect from 24-9-1984, retrospective operation was given to it, as is made clear by the transitional provisions contained therein, and the aforesaid additional benefits rendered payable in respect of awards passed during the period 30-4-1982 and 24-9-1984 too. Therefore, no laches or lapses can be attributed to the appellant, and by no stretch of imagination can it be said that the acceptance by the appellant of the amount awarded by the fourth respondent herein amounts to waiver of the claims and rights of the appellant. The aforesaid statutory additional benefits are conferred upon the persons whose property is compulsorily acquired, and the provisions conferring the same are beneficial in nature and have to be liberally construed.
(3.)Learned Government Pleader could not tell us as to how the question of waiver arises in this case so as to deprive the appellant of his statutory rights. The appellant cannot be driven to civil court for claiming the aforementioned additional benefits which the Parliament in its wisdom, conferred even retrospectively. When the fourth respondent was delegated the powers of Land Acquisition Officer and to pass award, a duty was cast upon him to award the additional benefits conferred by the statute. Failure to discharge his duties has resulted in gross inaction on the part of the fourth respondent. His action is not only illegal, but also infracted the fundamental right of the writ petitioner guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India and the Constitutional right envisaged under Article 300-A of the Indian Constitution. The Land Acquisition Officer do not become functus officio after he passes the award, as was held by the learned single Judge. The expression functus-ofticio means having fulfilled the function or discharged the duty, the authority who rendered the order or decision ceases to have force or power to deal with the matter. But, there is a case where the authority concerned i.e. the 4th respondent did not discharge his functions in awarding the amounts as contemplated under the statute and thus, failed to discharge his functions properly. To correct the same, it cannot be said that this court lacks jurisdiction. In fact, in cases of this nature depriving the persons of their property by compulsory acquisition and to comply the constitutional guarantee under Article 300-A that "no person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of la w" and when the law relating to land acquisition mandates to give additional benefits, there was no right or authority to the fourth respondent to withhold the said benefits which the law has conferred upon the persons like the writ appellant-writ petitioner herein. The law providing for the same under Section 30 of the Amending Act 68 of 1984 is so clear that even at a glance, the same reads thus:
"30. Transitional provisions:- (1) The provisions of sub-sec.(1-A) of Section 23 of the Principal Act, as inserted by clause (a) of Sec.15 of this Act, shall apply, and shall be deemed to have applied, also to, and in relation to, (a) every proceeding for the acquisition of any land under the principal Act pending on the 30th day of April, 1982 (the date of introduction of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 1982, in the House of the People, in which no award has been made by the Collector before that date; (b) every proceeding for the acquisition of any land under the principal Act commenced after that date, whether or not an award has been made by the Collector before the date of commencement of this Act. (2) The provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 23 and Section 28 of the principal Act, as amended by clause (b) of Section 15 and Sec.l8of this Act respectively, shall apply, and shall be deemed to have applied, also to and in relation to any award made by the Collector or Court or to any order passed by the High Court or Supreme Court in appeal against any such award under the provisions of the principal Act after the 30th day of April, 1982 (the date of introduction of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 1982 in the House of the People) and before the commencement of this Act. (3) The provisions of Section 34 of the principal Act, as amended by Section 20 of this Act, shall apply, and shall be deemed to have applied, also to, and in relation to - (a) every case in which possession of any land acquired under the principal Act had been taken before the 30th day of April, 1982(the date of introduction of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 1982, in the House of the People), and the amount of compensation for such acquisition had not been paid or deposited under Section 31 of the principal Act until such date, with effect from on and from that date; and (b) every case in which such possession has been taken on or after that date but before the commencement of this Act without the amount of compensation having been paid or deposited under the said Section 31, with effect on and from the date of taking such possession."
Be it a case of wilful withholding of the said additional benefits by the fourth respondent or his sheer ignorance of the transitional provisions contained under the Amendment Act (Act No.68 of 1984) extracted above, this court will be perfectly justified in exercising and extending its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to enforce the payment of the amounts which the law provides. As such, the common law remedy before the Civil Court need not be resorted to. The writ petitioner-writ appellant was perfectly justified in invoking the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and this Court will be justified in granting such remedy by issuing a Mandamus to the authorities under the Land Acquisition Act to act in accordance with the statute and pay the amounts as provided under the said statute.