DEVLOK PROPERTY PRIVATE LIMITED Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
Devlok Property Private Limited
UNION OF INDIA
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Badar Durrez Ahmed, J. -
(1.)BY way of this writ petition, the petitioner is seeking the benefit 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 2013 Act') which came into effect on 01.01.2014. The petitioner, consequently seeks a declaration that the acquisition proceeding initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as 'the 1894 Act') and in respect of which the Award No. 15/1987 -88 dated 05.06.1987 was made, inter alia, in respect of the petitioner's land comprised in khasra numbers 1307 (4 -10) , 1308/2 (4 -05) , 1309/1 (0 -18) and 1309/2 (3 -18) measuring 13 bighas 11 biswas in village Chattarpur, Delhi, shall be deemed to have lapsed.
(2.)IT is an admitted position that the physical possession of the subject land has not been taken by the land acquiring agency. However, insofar as the compensation is concerned, it is the case of the petitioner that the same has not been paid to them whereas it is the case of the respondents that the said compensation was deposited in court pursuant to an order passed by a Vacation Judge of this court in C.M.(Main) 1411/2013 passed on 30.12.2013. By virtue of that order, the said C.M.(Main) , amongst others, was disposed of by recording that without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the land holders the cheque tendered in each petition would be treated as tendered to the court of the learned Additional District Judge, Delhi as of that date i.e. 30.12.2013. According to the respondents this amounts to payment of compensation. However, this issue has already been settled by a decision of this court in Gyanender Singh & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. WPC 1393/2014 decided on 23.09.2014 wherein this court held that unless and until the compensation was tendered to the persons interested, mere deposit of the compensation in court would not be sufficient. The compensation cannot be regarded as having been paid merely on the deposit of the same in court unless and until it has first been offered to the person interested and he has refused to accept the same. In the present case, it is an admitted position that the compensation amount was tendered in this court in the said C.M (Main) 1411/2013 without first being offered to the petitioner herein. Therefore the same, following the decision in Gyanender Singh (supra) , cannot be regarded as compensation having been paid to the petitioner.
In these circumstances, it is clear that neither physical possession of the subject land has been taken by the land acquiring agency nor has any compensation been paid to the petitioner. The award was made more than five years prior to the commencement of the 2013 Act. All the ingredients necessary for the applicability of section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, as interpreted by the Supreme Court and this court in the following decisions, stand satisfied: -
(i) Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki and Ors.: : (2014) 3 SCC 183;
(ii) Union of India and Ors. v. Shiv Raj and Ors.: : (2014) 6 SCC 564;
(iii) Sree Balaji Nagar Residential Association v. State of Tamil Nadu and Ors.: Civil Appeal No. 8700/2013
(iv) Surender Singh v. Union of India & Others: WP(C) 2294/2014 decided on 12.09.2014 by this Court; and
(v) Gyanender Singh & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.: W.P.(C) 1393/2014.
(3.)THE learned counsel for the respondents have raised another objection with regard to the maintainability of the petition on the ground that the petitioner is a subsequent purchaser. It was contended that it is a settled law that the subsequent purchaser cannot challenge the acquisition proceeding and he would at best be entitled to seek the compensation only. Reliance was placed on the Supreme Court decision in the case of KN Aswathnarayana Setty (D) Tr. LRs. & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Ors.: : AIR 2014 SC 279. The learned counsel for the respondents submitted that the sale deeds whereby the original owners are alleged to have transferred their rights in favour of the current petitioner would not confer any title upon the petitioner and at the most the petitioner would be entitled to only claim compensation on the basis of the original owners' title. A reference was also made to the Supreme Court decision in the case of Meera Sahni v. Lt. Governor of Delhi & Ors.: : (2008) 9 SCC 177.
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