Decided on February 28,2017

Varadappa Gounder (Deceased) Appellant


P.N.Prakash, J. - (1.)The land in S.Nos.26/4A, 4B and 4C belongs to Varadappa Gounder. The Government sought to acquire the lands in S.Nos.26/3, 26/4, 26/5 and 26/6 part in the Village of Pullagoundanpatti, Sankari Taluk, Salem District, under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. In the 4(1) Notification dated 29.1.1984, the owners of the aforesaid lands were shown as Palani Gounder and Varadappa Gounder, sons of Perumal Gounder. This 4(1) Notification was not challenged by Varadappa Gounder. Therefore, the authorities proceeded with the acquisition proceedings and issued Section 6 declaration on 27.2.1985. Thereafter, award enquiry was scheduled to be conducted on 27.3.1985. The award enquiry report dated 27.3.1985 states as follows with regard to the objections that was raised on behalf of Varadappa Gounder:-
" 6. Objections: The land owners did not attend the Award Enquiry. One Krishna S/o.Varadappa Gounder presented a petition signed by his father stating that he has to be in Hospital for 7 days on accounts of chest pain and requesting adjournment of Award enquiry for 7 days. He has enclosed a Medical Certificate with his petition one Periannan, S/o.Perumal attended the award enquiry and has given a statement to the effect that he owns 1/3 share in S.Nos.26/3, 26/5 and 26/6 and that he is not willing to part with the lands and requested to drop the acquisition. He has also stated that the patta of the lands is not in his name. He presented a petition enclosing the photosted copy of the documents but did not produce the original document."

From the above, it is apparent that one Krishna, S/o. Varadappa Gounder has appeared before the Special Tahsildar and has sought adjournment on the ground that his father Varadappa Gounder has been hospitalized. In all fairness, the authorities could have given one more opportunity by adjourning the award enquiry. However, for the reason best known to the Special Tahsildar, he proceeded and passed the award on 27.3.1985. While so, Perianna Gounder, challenging the said 4(1) Notification, filed W.P.No.2901 of 1985 contending that his name figures in the revenue records in respect of the land in S.Nos.26/3 and 26/6 part, but, his name has been left out and the names of Palani Gounder and Varadappa Gounder, sons of Perumal Gounder have been wrongly included in the 4(1) Notification. This Court admitted W.P.No.2901 of 1985 and granted interim stay of all further acquisition proceedings on 28.3.1985. During the pendency of W.P.No.2901 of 1985, the Special Tahsildar deposited the entire award amount in respect of the land acquisition proceedings on 3.7.1985 in the revenue account - Head of Account 843, Civil deposit / Revenue deposit. Now reverting to W.P.No.2901 of 1985, the matter came up for final disposal before this Court in the year 1993 and a learned Single Judge of this Court called for the revenue records and found that the name of Perianna Gounder appears in the revenue records relating to S.Nos.26/3 and 26/6 part, but, whereas, his name was not included in the 4(1) Notification dated 29.1.1984 and therefore, W.P.No.2901 of 1985 was allowed by this Court on 17.12.1993 quashing the acquisition proceedings. Thereafter, Varadappa Gounder has filed the present writ petition No.30627 of 2004 on 18.10.2004 making a weird prayer which reads as follows:-

"For all the reasons stated in the accompanying affidavit, the petitioner herein prays that this Hon'ble Court may be pleased to issue a Writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ or direction, forbearing the respondents from evicting the petitioner and interfering with the petitioner's peaceful possession and enjoyment of the properties situate in S.Nos.26/4A, 4B and 4C of an extent of 6.0, 18.0 and 11.0 Ares in the Village of Pullagoundanpatti, Sankari Taluk and pass such further or other orders as this Hon'ble Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case and thus render justice."

Strangely, he has not even challenged the 4(1) Notification or Section 6 Declaration. But, it is his contention that since the entire land acquisition proceedings have been quashed in W.P.No.2901 of 1985 on 17.12.1993, that was filed by Perianna Gounder, he believed that he need not separately challenge the acquisition proceedings. I am unable to agree with his contention for the simple reason that it was Perianna Gounder's contention that the land in S.Nos.26/3 and 26/6 part, belongs to him and that his name should have been included in the 4(1) Notification. This Court conducted enquiry only on this aspect while dealing with W.P.No.2901 of 1985 and found that the revenue records show that the land in S.Nos.26/3 and 26/6 part stands in his name and therefore, non-inclusion of his name in the 4(1) Notification would be fatal. This order will by no stretch of imagination enure to the advantage of Varadappa Gounder in whose name S.No.26/4 stands and whose name finds place in the 4(1) Notification dated 29.1.1984. Therefore, Varadappa Gounder cannot take shelter under the order passed by this Court in W.P.No.2901 of 1985 that was filed by Perianna Gounder. On this short ground alone, this writ petition deserves to be dismissed. But, however, during the pendency of the writ petition, much water has flown under the bridge inasmuch as the Land Acquisition Act, 1984 has been repealed and Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, has been passed, which came into force on 1.1.2014.

(2.)But, Mr.V.Raghavachari, learned counsel representing the counsel on record appearing for the petitioners strenuously contended that in view of Section 24(2) of the new Act, the entire acquisition proceedings lapses. This was strongly refuted by the Mr.V.Jayaprakash Narayanan, learned Special Government Pleader by contending that when there has not been any proper challenge either as against 4(1) Notification or Section 6 Declaration by Varadappa Gounder, he cannot take advantage of the provisions of the new enactment and claim any relief. He has also contended that this writ petition should be dismissed on the ground of delay and laches. The Government has also filed a counter, wherein, it is clearly stated that physical possession of the land was taken on 28.9.2004. Therefore, he contended that when once physical possession has been taken, the only remedy available to Varadappa Gounder is to collect the compensation amount and nothing else.
(3.)This Court gave its anxious consideration to the rival submissions.

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