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Delhi High CourtIndian Cases

Moti Lal Jain vs Lt. Governor Of Delhi And Ors. on 20 May 2004

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Delhi High Court
Moti Lal Jain vs Lt. Governor Of Delhi And Ors. on 20 May, 2004
Equivalent citations: 2004(75)DRJ350
Author: D.K. Jain
Bench: D.K. Jain, A.K. Sikri

D.K. Jain, J.

1. Rule D.B.

2. With the consent of the parties, the matter is taken up for final disposal at this stage.

3. Although this case has a chequered history, it is not necessary to state in detail all the facts. We are concerned with Award No.7/97-98 which is challenged as null and void, inter alia, on the ground that although the Notifications issued under Section 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short `the Act’) in respect of this land lapsed on the wrong presumption that there was stay operating in CWP No.621/74 which was dismissed on 14 December 1995, the impugned Award was made. This was factually incorrect as there was no stay in the said writ petition and the writ petition was in fact allowed and not dismissed as stated in the Award. It is alleged that on the basis of the said Award the respondents are threatening to dispossess the petitioner from the land in question.

4. What is required to be noted, for the purpose of adjudicating the aforesaid controversy, is that a Notification under Section 4 of the Act was issued on 30 June 1978 in respect of 18 bighas 4 biswas of land of the petitioner, who was owner of total area of 20 bighas 7 biswas of land bearing Khasra Nos.1610/1195/558 situate in village Bahapur. Thus acquisition proceedings culminated into Award No.10/1979-80 passed on 25 June 1979 and the land measuring 18 bighas 4 biswas stood acquired. After this acquisition the petitioner remained owner of 2 bigha 3 biswas of land. In respect of the land measuring 2 bigha 3 biswas, the petitioner made an application before the SDM for demarcation pursuant to which the Tehsildar, Kalkaji asked him to appear on 25 July 2003 and further dates were also fixed. However, without carrying out this demarcation, letter dated 21 January 2004 was received by the petitioner from the office of SDM, Kalkaji sent by the Tehsildar, Kalkaji intimating that land measuring 2 bighas 3 biswas also stood acquired vide Award No.7/97-98 dated 12 December 1997 and therefore demarcation cannot be done.

5. As aforesaid, this Award is challenged as null and void as there were no acquisition proceedings in respect thereof.

6. A perusal of the Award shows following narration/recital therein:

” These are the acquisition proceedings for acquisition of Land measuring 2 bigha 3 biswa of village Bahapur. The land was notified U/s.4 on 13.11.59 vide No.F.15(iii)/59-LSG and U/s. 6 on 9.9.63. However land owners obtained stay from Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in CWP No.621/74. However the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi dismissed the said CWP on 14-12-1995 thus present are the acquisition proceedings.”
7. It is clear from the aforesaid narration that as per this Award subject land was allegedly notified under Section 4 on 13 November 1959 and Declaration under Section 6 was made on 9 September 1963. However, in CWP No.621/74 the land owners had obtained a stay which was vacated when the said writ petition was dismissed on 14 December 1995.

8. Mr. Vipin K. Singh, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the aforesaid narration is factually incorrect and under the mistaken belief that in a writ petition filed stay was obtained or that writ petition was dismissed thereafter, the Award is made. In order to substantiate his submission, learned counsel for the petitioner pointed out that CWP No.621/74 filed by the petitioner was in fact allowed by this Court vide judgment dated 5 December 1977 which was taken up along with other writ petition being CWP No.721/74 decided by a separate judgment on the same date. Copies of both the judgments are annexed along with the present writ petition which confirm the submission of learned counsel for the petitioner. Learned counsel for the petitioner also submitted that there was no stay order passed in CWP No.621/74 and therefore Award was illegal on the ground that it was not rendered within the time stipulated under Section 11 of the Act.

9. We need not go into the latter contention as the writ petition of the petitioner warrants to be allowed on the ground that CWP No.621/74 was not dismissed, as stated in the impugned Award, but was in fact allowed by this Court and that too way back on 5 December 1977. In fact it did not relate to challenge to any acquisition proceedings but the petitioner had sought declaratory order i.e. his land measuring 20 bighas 7 biswas which was required in the Master Plan for Delhi to be kept as open space or unbuilt upon and shown in the Master Plan in green and described as “required for public playgrounds and open space”, was no longer to be kept as open space or unbuilt upon.

10. If 2 bighas 3 biswas of land was subject matter of Notification dated 13 November 1959 issued under Section 4, in respect of which Declaration was made on 9 September 1963, as alleged in the impugned Award No.7/97-98, there was no impediment to acquire this land. However, admittedly no Award was made under Section 11 of the Act even when after insertion of Section 11A in the Act by amendment on 24 September 1984 it was to be made within two years. Proceedings, therefore, clearly lapsed in respect of the impugned Award on 23 September 1986 and thus no Award could be made thereafter in respect of this land in question. However, it is clear that under mistaken belief that there was a writ petition pending in respect of the land in question and further that there was a stay in the said writ petition and also that the said writ petition was dismissed on 14 December 1995, impugned Award has been made.

11. In fact, after the aforesaid Notification, another Notification under Section 4 of the Act was issued on 30 June 1978 for acquiring the land of the petitioner. However, this Notification was in respect of 18 bighas 4 biswas of land only which was acquired vide Award dated 25 June 1979 leaving out 2 bighas 3 biswas of land.

12. Learned counsel for the respondents produced the record containing the original Award and conceded that the Award filed by the petitioner is the same as in the respondents’ file. Learned counsel for the respondents also could not dispute the aforesaid factual matrix.

13. In view of the aforesaid discussion, the only inevitable conclusion is that the impugned Award is illegal, null and void and therefore is liable to be quashed. It is ordered accordingly. The writ petition is allowed. Rule made absolute.

14. There shall, however, be no orders as to costs.