MANAGING DIRECTOR, CHENNAI METRO RAIL LTD Vs. S SARANATH
LAWS(MAD)-2018-2-524
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Decided on February 09,2018

Managing Director, Chennai Metro Rail Ltd Appellant
VERSUS
S Saranath Respondents




JUDGEMENT

T.S.Sivagnanam, J. - (1.)Heard Mr.Jayesh B.Dolia, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, Mr.M.Anadaraj, learned Counsel appearing for respondents 1 to 3, Mr.K.Raja Srinivas, learned counsel appearing for the fifth respondent and Mr.J.Pothiraj, learned Special Government Pleader appearing for respondents 4 and 6.
(2.)This Review application has been filed by the Chennai Metro Rail Limited seeking to review the order and directions issued by this Court in W.P.No.28313 of 2015. The operative portion of the order reads as follows:-
"6. Learned counsel appearing for the respondents who have got written instruction from the respondent reiterated the contentions set out in the impugned proceedings and submitted that the land has already been utilized for CMRL project. Learned counsel for 5th respondent specifically contended that the land has been fully utilized for the workshop and administrative block etc., of the CMRL project and therefore the land acquisition proceedings would not be lapsed in terms of Section 24 of the (Act 30 of 2013). The Special Thasildar has given written instructions to the Deputy Planner (K), CMDA, with copies to the Law officers, wherein the same stand as taken in the impugned proceedings has been set out. The issue as to whether the land acquisition proceedings have lapsed in terms of Section 24 (2) (Act 30 of 2013) has been considered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in a long line of decisions, the earliest being the case of Pune Municipal Corporation and another vs. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki and others, (2014) 3 SCC 183. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that when compensation is not paid to the person interested and where award has not been made more than five years, the subject land acquisition proceedings are deemed to have been lapsed. In a recent decision of the Hon'ble Division Bench of this Court, the Hon'ble Division Bench has analyzed the long end of decisions. The decisions are the point and held as follows:

" ...

23. The ratio deducible from the afore stated judicial pronouncements is that when a provision is clear and unambiguous, leaving no room or scope for vagueness, the word or cannot be understood and interpreted as and. The intention of the Legislature must be given full effect to, unless it creates anomally. In the case on hand, the word or used in two places in the passage in Rule 24(2) of the 2013 Act, viz., where an award under the said Section 11 has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of this Act but the physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid clearly indicates that after the award is passed 5 years or more, prior to the commencement of the 2013 Act, the proceedings initiated under the Old Act, 1894, shall be deemed to have lapsed. Thus, in any eventuality, either if the compensation is not paid or possession of the land is not taken over, the provisions of Section 24(2) would be attracted. Thus, the word or employed in Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act in the aforesaid two places, has to be read disjunctively and not conjunctively, as pleaded by the learned Additional Advocate General.

24. The manifest intention of the Legislature can be derived from the Statement of Objects and Reasons, read with the plain language of Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, Clause 18 of the Statement of Objects and Reasons clearly stipulates that the benefits under the new law would be available in all the cases of land acquisition under the Old Act, 1894, where, award has not been made or possession of land has not been taken. In line with the objective of the enactment, Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act plainly read that where an award under Section 11 has been made 5 years or more prior to the commencement of the 2013 Act, but, the physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid, the said proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed. Thus, it is eloquent that the word or employed in two places in the passage where an award under the said Section 11 has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of this Act by the physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid is disjunctive and not conjunctive. On happening of one event, the land owner would be entitled to the benefit under the provisions of Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act.

From the impugned proceedings, as well as the written instructions it is clear that the compensation amount has not been deposited before the Civil Court and all that is stated is, it was ordered to be kept in Civil Court deposit and there is no proof to show that it has been deposited before the Civil Court.

7. In the light of the above, by applying the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and the Hon'ble Division Bench referred, it has to be held that the impugned land acquisition proceedings are deemed to have been lapsed in terms of Section 24(2) of the (Act 30 of 2013). However, in the light of the stand taken by the 5th respondent that the land has already been utilized and the project developed by the 5th respondent is a very important project and the project in public interest, this Court is of the view that even though the land acquisition proceedings are held to be lapsed the land shall not be reverted back to the land owners and continue to be utilized by the 5th respondent and for such purpose the respondents are directed to issue fresh notification for acquisition and such notification shall be only for the purpose of fixing fair and reasonable compensation for the lands in terms of (Act 30 of 2013) and such fresh notification shall be issued by the respondents within a period of one month from the date of receipt of a copy of this order and endeavor to complete the entire proceedings and pay the compensation in terms of (Act 30 of 2013) within a period of three months from the date on which acquisition proceedings are initiated in terms of the above direction. It is made clear that the possession of the land shall not revert to the land owners viz., the petitioners and the 5th respondent is entitled to fully utilize the land for the project.

8. Writ petition is allowed in the above terms. No costs."

(3.)This Review, at the instance of the Chennai Metropolitan Rail Limited (hereinafter after referred to as "CMRL"), was on the ground that the land acquisition has not lapsed and the amount was lying in Court deposit. Therefore, the Court extensively heard the matter and passed orders from time to time. First of such order is dated 02.11.2016. The operative portion of the order reads as follows:-
"5. From the above averments it is clear that the amount of compensation payable to Thiru.Santhappan for the extent of 2775 sq.ft. has not been paid to the land owner, but, is lying in Revenue deposit. By applying the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the acquisition has to be held to have lapsed and in fact that was the reason assigned while allowing the Writ Petition by this Court. Therefore, the petitioner herein has not made any case for review of the order and direction issued in the Writ Petition and the factual averments as set out in the counter affidavit filed by the Collector of Chennai is sufficient to dismiss the Review Petition.

6. However, this Court taking into consideration of the fact that the project implemented by the Chennai Metro Rail is in public interest and fact that writ petitioners do not seek for restoration of possession of land, but, are interested in receiving adequate compensation, this is a fit case where Chennai Metro Rail should have a pragmatic stand and sort out the issue, by holding discussions with the petitioners.

7. Obviously the Writ Petitioners cannot be directed to accept the compensation which was fixed in 2004, since this Court directed that the provisions of Act 30 of 2013, should be applied and fresh notification should be issued for the purpose of fixing compensation under the provisions of Act 30 of 2013. This shall be borne in mind by the Chennai Metro Rail while holding discussions with the Writ Petitioners. Equally, the Writ Petitioners shall also attend the discussions with Chennai Metro Rail with open mind, so that they can receive fair and reasonable compensation for the extent acquired.

8. The learned counsel for the petitioner would contend that the discussions which have taken place across the Court are only with regard to the amount of compensation for the lands acquired, but the land owners/writ petitioners are entitled for interest and solatium.

9. Since, this Court has directed the Chennai Metro Mail to have discussions with the writ petitioners to arrive at the total compensation payable, all other issues are left open for present, so that it shall not be of any hindrance while holding discussions. The parties shall report about the outcome of the discussions on the next hearing date.

List on 18.11.2016."

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