MAHADEV PRASAD KHANNA Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
Mahadev Prasad Khanna
UNION OF INDIA
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(1.)THE learned counsel for the Land Acquisition Collector (respondent No. 4) has handed over the counter affidavit which is taken on record. The learned counsel for the petitioner does not wish to file any rejoinder to this affidavit and shall be relying on the averments made in the writ petition.
(2.)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. 15/87 -88 dated 05.06.1987 was made, inter alia, in respect of the petitioner's land comprised in khasra numbers 1703 (4 -16), 1704 (0 -18), 1705 (3 -08), 1706 (4 -16), 1707/1 (1 -08), 1707/2/2 (2 -19), 1712/2 (4 -07) measuring 22 bighas and 12 biswas in village Chattarpur, shall be deemed to have lapsed.
(3.)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 and Ors v. Union of India and 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 , cannot be regarded as compensation having been paid to the petitioner.
The learned counsel for the respondent also placed reliance on the newly inserted proviso to Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act which was introduced by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014. The newly added proviso reads as under: -
"Provided further that in computing the period referred to in this sub -section, any period or periods during which the proceedings for acquisition of the land were held up on account of any stay or injunction issued by any court or the period specified in the award of a Tribunal for taking possession or such period where possession has been taken but the compensation lying deposited in a court or in any account maintained for this purpose shall be excluded."
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