GANDHIMATHI AND ORS. Vs. THE SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT AND ORS.
LAWS(MAD)-2015-1-288
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Decided on January 05,2015

Gandhimathi And Ors. Appellant
VERSUS
The Secretary To Government, Housing And Urban Development Department And Ors. Respondents




JUDGEMENT

C.S. Karnan, J. - (1.)THE short facts of the case are as follows: -
The petitioners submit that when their father was alive, he was owning agricultural land situated in S. No. 83/3, Ayyamperumalpatti Village, Salem Taluk and District to the extent of 2.59 acres and 0.27 acres situated in S. No. 83/2 of land, Ayyamperumalpatti Village, Salem Taluk and District. In the year 1981, the Tamil Nadu Government acquired their land to the extent of 2.59 acres and 0.27 acres exclusively belonging to Gandhimathi, the first petitioner herein and the said land was acquired for the purpose of implementing the Housing Scheme i.e., construction of houses by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board. In this connection, the Government of Tamil Nadu issued 4(1) Notification in G.O. Ms. No. 371, Housing and Urban Development Department dated 03.06.1981, after that under Section 6 Declaration was published in G.O. Ms. No. 449, Housing and Urban Development Department, dated 12.06.1984, but subsequently after a lapse of two years, the award has been passed on 19.09.1986 in Award No. 13 of 1986 -1987.

(2.)THE petitioners further submit that after acquisition of their land in the year 1981, the Housing Board had not at all implemented any scheme for construction of houses in their land. While their father was alive, he was enjoying the said land even after demise of their father, they are enjoying the said land and till today they are in possession of the said land. The petitioners further submit that since they are agriculturists they are not fully aware of the land acquisition proceedings as well as the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and after consulting law knowing persons, then only they came to understand that they should ask for re -conveyance as they should make written representation under Section 48B of Land Acquisition Act instead of sending written representation for exclusion of their land from Land Acquisition Proceedings. The petitioners further submit that they came to understand that this Hon'ble Court as well as Hon'ble Supreme Court was pleased to pass orders with regard to re -conveyance of the land to the original owners on the ground that, if the Government or Housing Board have not implemented the housing scheme, i.e., construction of the houses for more than 15 years to 20 years, then the landowners are entitled to get relief under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, specifically under Section 48 -B of the Land Acquisition Act. Accordingly, they made written representation requesting the first respondent herein to re -convey the land under Section 48 -B of the Land Acquisition Act. The petitioners further submit that the first respondent also aware that this Court was pleased to pass orders in the batch of Writ Appeals in W.A. Nos. 422 of 2011 etc., dated 14.09.2011 with regard to re -conveyance of land.
"It is seen that theme batch of writ petitions are not the first set of cases, which were decided by this Court, challenging the same acquisition proceedings. It appears that the first batch of writ petitions were filed during 1994 being W.P. No. 12201 of 1994 etc., challenging the Section 4(1) Notification, the writ petitions were disposed of by a common judgment, dated 20.03.2001, by observing that it may not be proper for the State Government, to spend huge public money for the acquisition proceedings, to acquire the lands of the petitioners therein with superstructure and keep the land idle, if the scheme could not be successfully implemented. Therefore, this Court permitted the petitioners therein to approach the Government seeking exemption of re -conveyance. Another batch of cases were filed during 1996 in W.P. Nos. 9747 to 9749 of 1996, challenging the notification issued under Section 4(1) and Section 6 of the Act and the notifications were set -aside, with the further observation that the Government will take into account ground realities before proceeding with the acquisition. The other writ petition challenging the same acquisition proceedings in Dr. N. Natarajan Vs. Government reported in TN allowed and the notification was quashed. In Chinnayyagounder Vs. State of Tamil Nadu, : 2003(2) MLJ 481, the challenge was to the same acquisition proceedings and the writ petition was allowed and the acquisition was quashed. While allowing the said writ petition, the Court took note of the fact that they were approved layouts and even as per the policy of the Government, those lands are not to be acquired. It is seen that the Division Bench of this Court in more than one decision has quashed the Land Acquisition Proceedings in respect of the same scheme. In Arumuga Gounder Vs. State of Tamil Nadu reported in , the Hon'ble Division Bench presided by Justice P.Sathasivam (as he then was observed that the entire Kalapatti Neighbourhood Scheme has not been implemented till date and several orders have been passed by this Court, quashing the acquisition proceedings. In M. Duraisamy Vs. State of Tamil Nadu reported in : 2007(3) MLJ 288, another Division Bench of this Court, quashed a notification, in respect of the same scheme and observed that it is not in dispute that the entire Kalapatti Neighbourhood Scheme has been dropped in view of the several orders passed by this Court. In Tmt. Leelavathi Vs. State of Tamil Nadu reported in and in Dhandapani and another Vs. State of Tamil Nadu reported in : 2008 (5) MLJ 1416, the learned Single Judges of this Court have quashed the notifications and took note of the fact that the entire Kalapatti Neighbourhood Scheme has been dropped. Therefore, we have no hesitation to hold that the learned Single Judge was perfectly justified in following the earlier Division Bench Judgment and allowing the writ petitions, wherever prayer was made for quashing the acquisition proceedings.

As noticed above, in the earlier batch of appeals, this Court after taking note of the decisions in Writ Petition Nos. 12201 of 1994 etc., batch dated 20.03.2001, Dr. N. Natarajan Vs. Government of Tamil Nadu reported in (sic), Chinnayyagounder Vs. State of Tamil Nadu reported in : 2003 (2) MLJ 481, Arumuga Gounder Vs. State of Tamil Nadu, reported in : , M. Duraisamy Vs. State of Tamil Nadu reported in : 2007(3) MLJ 288, Tmt. Leelavathi Vs. State of Tamil Nadu reported in and in Dhandapani and another Vs. State of Tamil Nadu reported in : 2008 (5) MLJ 1416, quashed the Notification, and held that the learned Single Judge was perfectly justified in allowing the writ petitions by following the earlier Division Bench Judgments.

In view of the matter, we have no hesitation to hold that the issues raised in these batch of appeals are squarely covered by the earlier decisions rendered by this Bench in W.A. Nos. 252 to 255 of 2011, dated 16.08.2011 and also taking note of the fact that there are several Division Bench decisions of this Court, quashing the notifications in respect of the same scheme on identical grounds. Therefore, we see no reason to interfere with the order passed by the learned Single Judge in a lowing the writ petitions and also in another batch of Writ Appeals in W.A. Nos. 252 to 255 of 201, dated 16.08.2011 : (2011 (5) CTC 503) were disposed in favour of the landowners and yet another judgment delivered by the Division Bench of this Court by citing the Hon'ble Supreme Court Judgment made in the case of Hariram Vs. State of Haryana : (2010 (2) CTC 336) with regard to re -conveyance to the original owners passed orders in W.A. Nos. 1652 of 2010 etc., : (2010 (5) CTC 261), whereby observed that if the land is not utilized for which purpose was acquired for very long time, then the landowners are entitled to get an order from the Government for re -conveying their land."

(3.)THE petitioners further submit that in the said circumstances, they made request before the first respondent to pass order under Section 48 -B of Land Acquisition Act for re -conveying their land situated in S. No. 83/3, Ayyamperumalpatti Village, Salem Taluk and District to the extent of 2.59 acres and 0.27 acres situated in S. No. 83/2 of land to them. In this connection, they made written representation on 11.01.2013 and in that written representation, they expressed their readiness to pay whatever the necessary cost spent by the first respondent for acquisition proceedings. After receipt of the said representation, the third respondent who does not have any power or jurisdiction to reject their request as per Section 48 -B of Land Acquisition Act and only the Government alone, i.e., the first respondent herein having power to pass orders under Section 48 -B of Land Acquisition Act. But, now the third respondent passed the impugned order in his Letter No. Ni.A.1/7337/79, dated 25.02.2013, whereby rejecting their request for reconveyance of the said land. Hence, the petitioners entreat the Court to allow the above writ petition.
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