Ram Mohan Reddy, J. -
(1.)LAND measuring 2 acres in Sy. No. 7 and 1 acre in Sy. No. 9 of Gubbalala Village, Uttarhalli Hobli, Bangalore South Taluk, amongst other lands though proposed to be acquired pursuant to a preliminary notification on 4 -3 -1994, Annexure -'D' under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short 'Act') and a final notification dated 14 -6 -1995 Annexure -E under sub -section (1) of Section 6 of the Act, led to the framing of an award dated 9 -10 -1997, following which possession of the land was taken by issue of a notification on 4 -7 -1998 Annexure -J, under sub -section (2) of Section 16 of the Act nevertheless on the allegation that compensation 'was not paid', the land losers represented by their power of attorney holder have presented these petitions for the following reliefs:
(a) Declare the notifications issued by the respondent 1 under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 vide Annexure -D, dated 4 -3 -1994 bearing No. LAQ(2)SR.2/92 -93 and final notification vide Annexure -E issued under Section 6(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, dated 14 -6 -1995 bearing No. KamEe 110 BhuSwaBe 90 as lapsed in terms of Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
(b) Issue a writ in the nature of certiorari quashing the notifications issued by the respondent 1 under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 vide Annexure -D, dated 4 -3 -1994 bearing No. LAQ (2) SR 2/92 -93 and final notification vide Annexure -E issued under Section 6(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, dated 14 -6 -1995 bearing No. KamEe 110 BhuSwaBe 90.
(c) Grant such other order/s, relief/s as this Hon'ble Court deems fit to grant, in the facts and circumstances of the case, in the interest of justice and equity.
Petitions are opposed by filing statement of objections of the 3rd respondent beneficiary of the acquisition, though not denying the aforesaid statements of facts, nevertheless, contends: (i) that in the award enquiry petitioners stated that they were not interested in receiving the compensation; (ii) that the power of attorney is not entitled to maintain the writ petition; (iii) that for over 20 years petitioners did not challenge the acquisition; (iv) possession of lands when taken by the State Government was handed over to the beneficiary society; (v) that petitioners did not demand payment of compensation and that since the respondent beneficiary extended its consent to drop from acquisition the remaining portion of the land in Sy. Nos. 7 and 9, petitioners stood to gain by way of enhancement in value of the said lands, and therefore "waived their right to receive compensation by consent", sequentially petitioners did not show interest to collect compensation though by award compensation was determined and tendered to the petitioners and despite notice under Section 12(2) of the 'Act'. The beneficiary has deposited Rs. 1,89,81,083/ - with State Government towards compensation payable for acquisition of lands in question amongst other lands. Therefore, it is contended that petitioners are estopped from contending that the acquisition proceeding has lapsed by invoking Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short, 'New Land Acquisition Act').
(2.)THE learned Government Advocate for the State Government when asked to verify and make submission over whether the amount of compensation as determined in the award was "paid" to the land loosers/petitioners, files a memo of the Special Land Acquisition Officer stating that "the award passed on 9 -10 -1997 has been deposited in the State Treasury", and submits that compensation amount determined under the award is deposited in the State Treasury.
The first submission of the learned Counsel for beneficiary that the power of attorney holder of the petitioners has no locus standi to maintain this petition since the power of attorney is not in respect of petition schedule premises is opposed by the learned Senior Counsel Sri D.N. Nanjunda Reddy who points to. Annexure -F, copy of registered power of attorney in which the name of the petitioners are shown as executants and the name of the attorney holder none other than the representative of the petitioners, while the schedule therein is identical to the petition schedule properties. The first submission is but a specious plea.
(3.)HAVING regard to the pleadings of the parties and the submissions of the learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners and the learned Government Advocate as well as Counsel for the beneficiary of the acquisition, the core question for decision making is:
"Whether under Section 24(2) of the 'New Land Acquisition Act' the award Annexure -G, dated 9 -10 -1997 drawn under Section 11 of the Act, more than five years prior to the commencement of the New Land Acquisition Act', compensation has not been paid to the petitioners, admittedly land loosers, the Land Acquisition proceeding under the Act shall be deemed to have lapsed -