BIMLA DEVI Vs. STATE OF HARYANA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
STATE OF HARYANA
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(1.)Leave granted. It is a common ground of the parties that the award was passed on 18.11.1995 and the compensation has not been paid nor deposited in the court nor received by the Appellants till date i.e. 31.1.2014 and even the physical possession of the land in question is with the Appellants as on date.
(2.)The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short "2013 Act") came into effect on 1.1.2014. It is submitted by the Appellants and not contested by the Respondents that in view of Section 24 of 2013 Act, the land acquisition proceedings have lapsed.
(3.)In a recent decision of this Court in Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. v. Hrakchand Misrimal Solanki and Ors., 2014 3 SCC 183, a three Judge Bench speaking through one of us (R.M. Lodha, J.) considered the scope of Section 24 particularly the meaning of the expression "compensation has not been paid" in Section 24(2) of 2013 Act and held as under:
10. Insofar as Sub-section (1) of Section 24 is concerned, it begins with non obstante clause. By this, Parliament has given overriding effect to this provision over all other provisions of 2013 Act. It is provided in Clause (a) that where the land acquisition proceedings have been initiated under the 1894 Act but no award Under Section 11 is made, then the provisions of 2013 Act shall apply relating to the determination of compensation. Clause (b) of Section 24(1) makes provision that where land acquisition proceedings have been initiated under the 1894 Act and award has been made Under Section 11, then such proceedings shall continue under the provisions of the 1894 Act as if that Act has not been repealed.
11. Section 24(2) also begins with non obstante clause. This provision has overriding effect over Section 24(1). Section 24(2) enacts that in relation to the land acquisition proceedings initiated under 1894 Act, where an award has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of the 2013 Act and either of the two contingencies is satisfied, viz.; (i) physical possession of the land has not been taken or (ii) the compensation has not been paid, such acquisition proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed. On the lapse of such acquisition proceedings, if the appropriate government still chooses to acquire the land which was the subject matter of acquisition under the 1894 Act then it has to initiate the proceedings afresh under the 2013 Act. The proviso appended to Section 24(2) deals with a situation where in respect of the acquisition initiated under the 1894 Act an award has been made and compensation in respect of a majority of land holdings has not been deposited in the account of the beneficiaries then all the beneficiaries specified in Section 4 notification become entitled to compensation under 2013 Act.
17. While enacting Section 24(2), Parliament definitely had in its view Section 31 of the 1894 Act. From that one thing is clear that it did not intend to equate the word "paid" to ''offered" or "tendered". But at the same time, we do not think that by use of the word "paid", Parliament intended receipt of compensation by the landowners/persons interested. In our view, it is not appropriate to give a literal construction to the expression "paid" used in this Sub-section (Sub-section (2) of Section 24). If a literal construction were to be given, then it would amount to ignoring procedure, mode and manner of deposit provided in Section 31(2) of the 1894 Act in the event of happening of any of the contingencies contemplated therein which may prevent the Collector from making actual payment of compensation. We are of the view therefore, that for the purposes of Section 24(2) the compensation shall be regarded as "paid" if the compensation has been offered to the person interested and such compensation has been deposited in the court where reference Under Section 18 can be made on happening of any of the contingencies contemplated Under Section 31(2) of the 1894 Act. In other words, the compensation may be said to have been "paid" within the meaning of Section 24(2) when the Collector (or for that matter Land Acquisition Officer) has discharged his obligation and deposited the amount of compensation in court and made that amount available to the interested person to be dealt with as provided in Sections 32 and 33.
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