Decided on November 28,1969



Sambasiva Rao, J. - (1.)The Government of India sponsored land acquisition and development schemes in several major towns with the intention of developing the living conditions in those places. One of the towns so selected is Visakhapatnam in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Under the scheme the Central Government has undertaken to advance necessary funds to che State Governments for implementing the programme of Land Acquisition and development of residential facilities, In order to carry out the scheme, the Government of Andhra Pradesh entrusted its implementation to the Town Planning Trust, Visakhapatnam under G.O. Ms. No. 7, Housing dated 8th January, 1963. The State Government notified under section 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act its proposals for acquiring certain lands in Waltair Ward of Visakhapatnam town for the purpose of the said land acquisition and development Scheme. The petitioners own plots of lands in this area which is proposed to be acquired by the Government for the scheme. Feeling aggroeved by the proposed acquisition several of the owners of plots filed these three Writ Petitions seeking a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ direction or order, directing the respondents viz., the State of Andhra Pradesh represented by the Secretary Health Housing and Municipal Administration Department and the Special Officer for Land Acquisition, Visakhapatnam Municipality to forbear from giving effect to and proceeding further with the proposed Land Acquisition. The six petitioners in W.P. No. 2290 of 1968 own small plots bearing T.S. No.1196 of Waltair Ward, having purchased them earlier in April 1965. The four petitioners in W.P. No. 3850 of 1968 own plots bearing T.S.No.1197/63, 1197/64, 1197/56 and 1197/57. The two petitioners in W.P.No. 4454 of 1968 own the land bearing T.S. Nos. 1196 and 1197. The first petitioner in W.P. No. 4454 of 1968 is stated to be the owner of all this land from whom the other petitioners in the writ petitions purchased their respective smaller plots. All the petitioners raise common contentions and it is therefore convenient to dispose of the three writ petitions in a common order.
(2.)The principal contention is that the lands were not acquired for a public purpose. In amplification of this point it was argued that the purpose for which the land is sought to be acquired is neither a State nor a community purpose, nor could it be said that the acquisition is for the benefit of weaker sections of the population. All the petitioners excepting the first one in W.P. No. 4454 of 1968 are poor house holders who had purchased the small plots with the intention of building their own residences. Now the proposed acquisition is for the purpose of providing house sites for persons belonging to the lower and middle income groups. That is to say, the plots belonging to the petitioners are being acquired for the identical purpose for which the petitioners, themselves had purchased them. It is, therefore, not a public purpose.
(3.)Secondly, it was urged that the Government has not made any financial contributions towards the acquisition of these lands and, therefore, the acquisition proceedings are invalid. Thirdly, the acquisition was under the Town Planning Act and for its purposes. The Land Acquisition Act cannot therefore, be applied tc such acquisitions. Fourthly, no further notices weie sent to the petitioners after the notification under section 4 (1). The enquiry under section 5-A was not conducted and no notice thereof was given to the petitioners.

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