Decided on August 22,2014

Raman Grover Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



Badar Durrez Ahmed, J. - (1.)IN this writ petition, the petitioner seeks a declaration that the acquisition proceedings has lapsed in view of the provisions of Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as 'the new Act).
(2.)THE award under Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 had been made on 19.09.1986. It is, therefore, clear that the award was made more than five years prior to the commencement of the new Act which took effect from taken and compensation has also not been paid. Since all the conditions necessary for invoking Section 24(2) stand satisfied in view of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. v. Harakchand Misrimal Solanki and Ors: : (2014) 3 SCC 183, the petitioner claims that the acquisition has lapsed.
The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents submitted that although the award had been made more than five years prior to the commencement of the new Act and that it was also a fact that compensation has not been paid nor has the possession been taken, the petitioner would still not be entitled to the benefits of the deeming provisions of Section 24(2) of the new Act. It was contended that this would be so because the respondents could not take possession on account of interim orders passed by the court. Furthermore, because possession could not be taken on account of interim orders even compensation has not been paid. It was then contended that because of the court order, the possession could not have been taken nor the compensation could be paid and the respondents should not be put to a disadvantage because of an act of court.

(3.)A similar argument was raised in a batch of matters which had come up before us in Jagjit Singh and Ors v. Union of India and Ors: W.P.(C) Nos. Jagjit Singh (supra) delivered on 27.05.2014, we had observed as under: -
"9. We have already set out section 24 of the new Act in its entirety. It is evident that section 24(2) of the new Act is a non - obstante provision. The conditions which are required to be satisfied before the deeming provision is triggered are: -

(i) The award should have been made under section 11 of the old Act, more than five years prior to the commencement of the new act; and

(ii) Physical possession of the land in question should not have been taken; or

(iii) The compensation should not have been paid.

These conditions are unqualified. It does not matter as to what was the reason behind the non -payment of compensation or for not taking possession. If the legislature wanted to qualify the above conditions by excluding the period during which the proceedings of acquisition of land were held up on account of stay or injunction by way of an order of a Court, it could have been expressly spelt out. In fact, whenever the legislature thought that it was necessary to spell out such an intention, it did. An example of this is to be found in the first proviso to section 19(7) of the new Act which is as under: -

"19(7)........Provided that in computing the period referred to in this sub -section, any period or periods during which the proceedings for the acquisition of the land were held up on account of any stay or injunction by the order of any Court shall be excluded."

10. Furthermore, it would be instructive to refer to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Pandurang Vinayak (supra) which has been relied upon by Mr Sethi, the learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners. In that decision the purpose and meaning of a statutory fiction was being considered. While doing so, the Supreme Court referred to an English decision in the case of East End Dwelling Co. Ltd. v. Finsbury Borough Council:, (1952) A.C. 109 and in particular to an observation of Lord Asquith which was to the following effect: -

"If you are bidden to treat an imaginary state of affairs as real, you must surely, unless prohibited from doing so, also imagine as real the consequences and incidents which, if the putative, state of affairs had in fact existed, must inevitably have flowed from or accompanied it. ....The statute says that you must imagine a certain state of affairs; it does not say that having done so, you must cause or permit your imagination to boggle when it comes to the inevitable corollaries of that state of affairs."

11. Following the above observation, it is obvious that the deeming provision of section 24(2) is a legal fiction which is a created and an imagined situation. We ought not to be concerned is a clear prohibition in the statute itself. Once the state of affairs is imagined as real, the consequences and instances would also have to be imagined as real. Therefore, the fact that the possession could not have been taken by the respondents because of interim orders of the Court, would not in any way prevent this Court from imagining the state of affairs stipulated in Section 24(2) of the new Act. The only conditions that are required for the deeming provisions to be triggered are that the award must have been made five years or more prior to the commencement of the new Act and that either physical possession of the land has not been taken or that the compensation has not been paid. In fact in these writ petitions all the conditions stands satisfied. Therefore, the contention of the learned counsel for the respondent cannot be accepted.

12. In Pune Municipal Corporation (supra), the court dealing with the provisions of section 24(2) of the new Act held as under: -

"21. .........Under Section 24(2) land acquisition proceedings initiated under the 1894 Act, by legal fiction, are deemed to have lapsed where award has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of 2013 Act and possession of the land is not taken or compensation has not been paid. The legal fiction under Section 24(2) comes into operation as soon as conditions stated therein are satisfied....."

13. We may point out that in Pune Municipal Corporation (supra) the Court took the above view even in cases before it where interim orders had earlier been passed by the Court preventing dispossession of the petitioner therein from the land sought to be acquired."


Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.