LAND ACQUISITION COLLECTOR (SOUTH), NEW DELHI Vs. SURESH B. KAPUR
LAWS(SC)-2022-12-2
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on December 02,2022

Land Acquisition Collector (South), New Delhi Appellant
VERSUS
Suresh B. Kapur Respondents




JUDGEMENT

M.R.SHAH, J. - (1.)Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Writ Petition (C) No. 2163 of 2015 by which the High Court has allowed the said writ petition preferred by the respondent No. 1 herein - original writ petitioner and has declared that the acquisition with respect to the lands in question is deemed to have lapsed by virtue of Sec. 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as "Act, 2013"), the Land Acquisition Collector has preferred the present appeal.
(2.)That the dispute is with respect to the land comprised in Khasra Nos. 717 (3-02), 718/1 (3-05), 756/2/1 (2-17) and 757/1 (3-07) measuring 12 bighas and 11 biswas in village Chattarpur, New Delhi. A notification under Sec. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as "Act, 1894") was issued on 25/11/1980, which was followed by declaration under Sec. 6 of the Act, 1894 issued vide notification / declaration dtd. 7/6/1985.
2.1 It appears that under the said acquisition proceedings some affected parties challenged the same before the High Court by way of filing Writ Petition No. 1639 of 1985 titled "Balak Ram Gupta Vs. Union of India", which batch of petitions were allowed by the High Court vide judgment and order dtd. 18/11/1988 and the declaration under Sec. 6 of the Act, 1894 was quashed. That during the period, this Court while dealing with the impugned acquisition proceedings in the case of Union of India Vs. Gurdeep Singh Uban held that the relief of the judgment pronounced in Balak Ram Gupta (supra) would be applicable only to the petitioners therein and it would not be a judgment in rem. This Court further held in Gurdeep Singh Uban (supra) that quashing of notification in Balak Ram Gupta (supra) cannot be treated as quashing of the entire proceedings.

2.2 It appears that after the pronouncement of the judgment in Gurdeep Singh Uban (supra) sometimes in August, 1999, few of the landowners again filed writ petitions challenging therein the acquisition proceedings. The High Court dismissed the said writ petitions vide judgment and order dtd. 19/5/2005. That during the period, the then Land Acquisition Collector passed an award. The judgment and order passed by the High Court in the case of Gurdeep Singh Uban (supra) dtd. 19/5/2005 was challenged by the landowners before this Court by way of Special Leave Petition (C) No. 26537 of 2005. This Court dismissed the said special leave petition vide judgment and order dtd. 8/2/2010. That thereafter the authority deposited the compensation with respect to the land in question with the Court on 30/12/2013.

2.3 That thereafter the respondent No. 1 - original writ petitioner filed the writ petition before the High Court in the month of February, 2015 for a declaration that the acquisition with respect to the lands in question is deemed to have lapsed under Sec. 24(2) of the Act, 2013 contending inter alia that neither the possession of the land in question has been taken over nor the compensation has been paid.

2.4 By the impugned judgment and order, though, the High Court has specifically noted that the compensation has been deposited with the Court, but the possession of the land in question is not taken over and relying upon its earlier decision in the case of Gyanender Singh Vs. Union of India and Ors., W.P. (C) No. 1393 of 2014 decided on 23/9/2014 by which the High Court took the view that unless and until the compensation is tendered to the persons interested, mere deposit of the compensation in Court would not be sufficient and cannot be regarded as having been paid. Relying upon the decision of this Court in the case of Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. Vs. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki and Ors., (2014) 3 SCC 183, the High Court by the impugned judgment and order has allowed the said writ petition and has declared that the acquisition with respect to the land in question is deemed to have lapsed under Sec. 24(2) of the Act, 2013. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is the subject matter of the present appeal.

(3.)Ms. Sujeeta Srivastava, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant has vehemently submitted that the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is just contrary to the decision of the Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of Indore Development Authority Vs. Manoharlal and Ors., (2020) 8 SCC 129.
3.1 It is submitted that in the present case and even as noted by the High Court, the compensation with respect to the land in question was deposited in the Court. It is submitted that therefore once the compensation was deposited in the Court, one of the conditions mentioned in Sec. 24(2) of the Act, 2013 is satisfied and therefore, the acquisition with respect to the lands in question could not have been declared as deemed to have lapsed.

3.2 It is further submitted that even otherwise, the Hon 'ble High Court has failed to appreciate that the acquisition proceedings were under challenge, which came to be appealed upto this Hon 'ble Court. It is submitted that therefore, because of the pendency of the proceedings challenging the land acquisition proceedings, the possession could not be taken over and the benefit of that could not be given to the landowners. It is submitted that the aforesaid aspect ought to have been considered by the High Court while passing the impugned judgment and order.

3.3 It is submitted that the decision of this Court in the case of Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. (supra) has been subsequently overruled by the Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of Indore Development Authority (supra).

3.4 Making above submissions, it is prayed to allow the present appeal.

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