DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY Vs. VIRENDER LAL BAHRI & ORS
LAWS(SC)-2019-2-197
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on February 27,2019

DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY Appellant
VERSUS
Virender Lal Bahri And Ors Respondents




JUDGEMENT

R.F. Nariman, J. - (1.)This batch of cases relates to whether the proviso contained in Sec. 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 ["2013 Act"] is a proviso to Sec. 24(1)(b) or whether it is a proviso to Sec. 24(2). The reason for this confusion is because of the placement of the proviso of sub-section (2) of Sec. 24 of the 2013 Act. This is a case where the old British ditty comes to mind: "I'm the Parliament's draftsman, I compose the country's laws, And of half the litigation I'm undoubtedly the cause!"1
(2.)The High Court of Delhi, in a judgment dated 21.05.2015, namely, Tarun Pal Singh Vs. Lieutenant Governor, Government of NCT of Delhi and Ors., W.P.(C) 8596/2014 ["Tarun Pal Singh"], had held that the said proviso would govern Sec. 24(1)(b), and not Sec. 24(2). This judgment has been followed in a number of other judgments of the same High Court. DDA has filed appeals against Tarun Pal Singh (supra) and all the judgments that have followed in its wake. By a judgment of the Division Bench of this Court, namely, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Vs. Tarun Pal Singh, 2018 14 SCC 161 ["Delhi Metro Rail Corporation"], the Division Bench of this Court has taken the view that the proviso to Sec. 24 governs Sec. 24(2) and not Sec. 24(1)(b). As a result of this judgment, there is no doubt that the main judgment of the High Court of Delhi in Tarun Pal Singh (supra) and all the judgments that have followed would have to be upset.
(3.)Shri Dhruv Mehta, learned Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of the respondents, however, contends that the judgment in Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (supra) itself requires a relook. According to him, if the proviso to Sec. 24 were to govern Sec. 24(2) and not Sec. 24(1)(b), a valuable right of lapsing would be taken away and also, various repugnancies and inconsistencies would follow. According to Shri Amarendra Sharan, learned Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of the DDA, this being a very recent judgment of this Court ought not to be disturbed as it has correctly appreciated and laid down the law in great detail.
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