(1.)In CWP No. 6860 of 2007, the interpretation of Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short 'the Act'), is the subject matter of opinion of this Bench consequent to an order dated 10.7.2014 passed by the Division Bench, of which one of us (Hemant Gupta, J.) was a member so as to examine whether the order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Union of India v. Shiv Raj and others, 2014 6 SCC 564, would be applicable to the cases where there is an interim order passed by the Court. In other words, whether the period of stay granted by a Court is required to be excluded for determining the period of five years for lapsing of proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short 'the Old Act'). The said questions arise out of the fact that the present writ petition was filed challenging the Notifications under Sections 4 and 6 dated 21.3.2006 and 20.3.2007 of the old Act. In the writ petition, an order of stay of dispossession was granted on 8.5.2007. The said order continues till today.
(2.)Subsequently, another question "Whether the benefit of Section 24(2) of the Act is admissible even to those land owners, whose writ petitions have already been dismissed, and who by virtue of the interim stay, did not permit the State to take possession of their land and declined the offer of compensation by the Collector" was also referred for the opinion of the Larger Bench in CWP No. 12066 of 2014 - (Mahinder Yadav v. State of Haryana,) vide order dated 11.7.2014. The said writ petition arises out a fact that in the earlier writ petition (CWP No. 13277 of 1999), the notifications under Sections 4 and 6 dated 8.3.1989 and 7.3.1990 under the old Act, were the subject matter of challenge. Subsequently, Award No. 11 dated 18.3.1991 and Award No. 11 dated 5.3.1992 were announced. The earlier writ petition filed by the petitioner was dismissed as regards acquisition is concerned on 3.10.2013, but with a direction to consider the claim of the petitioner for allotment of an alternative site as per the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy. In the present writ petition, the petitioners claims that in view of Section 24 of the Act, the acquisition proceedings would be deemed to be lapsed as the possession of the land was not taken within five years prior to the commencement of the Act.
(3.)The issues raised are of considerable importance and we had the benefit of the assistance of Senior Counsels, on behalf of the land owners as also the Advocates General, Punjab and Haryana. We have heard all the Counsels who wanted to argue the matter.