High Court of Judicature at Allahabad
Case Law Search
Sanjeev Kumar Garg v. State Of U.P. Thru' Principal Secretary, Avas Evam Shahri - WRIT - C No. 20946 of 2006  RD-AH 8238 (24 April 2006)
COURT NO. 34
CIVIL MISC. WRIT PETITION NO. 20946 OF 2006
Sanjeev Kumar Garg & Anr. ------------- Petitioners
State of U.P. & Ors. ------------- Respondents
Hon'ble Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.
Hon'ble Dilip Gupta, J.
(By Hon'ble Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J)
This writ petition has been filed for quashing the Notification dated 16.10.2004 (Annex. 5) and 27.9.2005 (Annex. 6) and further for restraining the Authorities not to acquire the land in dispute, Khasra No. 1271, situate in the Revenue Estate of Village Morta, Pargana Jalalabad, Tehsil and District Ghaziabad, for residential purposes.
The facts and circumstances giving rise to this case are that a Notification was issued on 16.10.2004 under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 (hereinafter called the Act) for acquisition of huge tract of land, including the land of the petitioner, measuring 20 ft x 80 ft. While issuing the Notification under Section 4, objections under Section 5-A were dispensed with. In respect of the said land, the declaration under Section 6 was made on 16th October, 2004. Resorting to the provision of Section 7, possession of the land could be taken any time. The total land sought to be notified under Section 6 had been 3.64 hectares. The petitioners have filed this writ petition for quashing the acquisition proceedings on several grounds, including dispensation of Section 5-A of the Act.
The learned Standing Counsel appearing for the State has raised preliminary objection regarding the maintainability of the writ petition at such a belated stage and pointing out that petitioners have not disclosed as to whether the possession had been taken or not. In paragraph 15, it has been submitted that the aforesaid Notifications/Declarations permitted the Collector to take possession of the acquired land without waiting for the Award under Section 11 of the Act. Hence petition is liable to be dismissed.
In spite of our repeated queries, Shri Pankaj Mithal, learned counsel for the petitioners could not explain the delay except by saying that petitioner had not been aware of the acquisition proceedings.
In the instant case, the possession might have already been taken by the State as the provision of Section 17 had been resorted to. It is difficult to believe that petitioners had no knowledge of initiation of acquisition proceedings as in the case of State of U.P. Vs. Smt Pista Devi & Ors., AIR 1986 SC 2025, the Apex Court has held that it is difficult to believe that where a huge tract of land is being acquired and there are large number of persons to be adversely affected by the acquisition proceedings, as it became talk of the town, that the person interested remained unaware of the acquisition proceedings.
It was also held therein that where the land had been acquired in a big chunk, the acquisition proceedings should not be disturbed at behest of one or few of the persons, as it disturbs the acquisition proceedings. Plan Development should not be stopped at the instance of few persons.
More so, no explanation has been furnished for approaching the Court at a belated stage except that some person had already approached this Court in time, therefore the petitioners who are also entitled should be heard even at a belated stage.
When a person challenges the acquisition proceedings on any ground, it should be challenged within a reasonable period, and if the acquisition is challenged at a belated stage, the petition deserves to be dismissed only on this count. In Hari Singh & Ors. Vs. State of U.P., AIR 1984 SC 1020, the Apex Court held that where a large area of land is acquired and the plots, which are subject to acquisition, belong to large number of persons, if other persons have not challenged the acquisition proceedings, it is difficult to believe that appellant was not aware of the initiation of the acquisition proceedings as the acquisition of the said land would be the talk of the town in a short time and if the person interested failed to approach the writ court within reasonable period, the petition should fail only on the ground of delay.
A Constitution Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, in Aflatoon & Ors. Vs. Lt. Governor, Delhi & Ors., AIR 1974 SC 2077, has observed as under:-
" .... to have sat in fence and allowed the government to complete the acquisition on the basis that notification under Section 4 and the declaration under Section 6 were valid and then to attack the notification on the grounds which were available to them at the time when the notification was published, would be putting a premium of dilatory tactics. The writ petitions are liable to be dismissed on the ground of laches and delay on the part of the petitioner."
Same view has been taken by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in State of Mysore Vs. V.K. Kangan, AIR 1975 SC 2190, wherein it was observed that respondent was not entitled to challenge the validity of Section 4 Notification after an unreasonable lapse of time. If public notice, as required by Section 4 of the Act, was not given and that would per se vitiate the notification under Section 4, the person interested should have challenged its validity within a reasonable time of the publication of the notification under Section 4 of the Act.
The issue of delay in filing the writ petition was considered by the Hon'ble Apex Court in Smt. Sudama Devi Vs. Commissioner & Ors., (1983) 2 SCC 1, wherein the Apex Court has observed as under:-
" There is no period of limitation prescribed by any law for filing the writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. It is, in fact, doubtful whether any such period of limitation can be prescribed by law. In any event, one thing is clear and beyond doubt that no such period of limitation can be laid down either under the rules made by the High Court or by practice. For every case, it would have to be decided on the facts and circumstances whether the petitioner is guilty of laches and that would have to be done without taking into account any specific period as period of limitation. There may be cases where even short delay may be fatal while there may be cases where even a long delay may not be evidence of laches on the part of the petitioner."
In State of Tamil Nadu Vs. L. Krishnan, AIR 1996 SC 497, the Apex Court held that " the delay in challenging the notification was fatal and the writ petitions were liable to be dismissed on the ground of laches only" and exercise of power under Article 226, after the award had been made, was held to be unjustified.
Similarly, in State of Maharashtra Vs. Digambar, AIR 1995 SC 1991; and State of Orissa Vs. Dhobei Sethi & Anr., (1995) 5 SCC 583, the Apex Court held that if the land acquisition proceedings stood finalised, interference by the writ court, quashing notification and declaration under Sections 4 and 6 respectively, was unwarranted and uncalled for. Exercise of jurisdiction in such a case cannot be said to be judicious and reasonable.
Similar view has been reiterated in Girdharan Prasad Missir Vs. State of Bihar, (1980) 2 SCC 83; H.D. Vora Vs. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1984 SC 866; Ram Chand Vs. Union of India, (1994) 1 SCC 44; Bhoop Singh Vs. Union of India, AIR 1992 SC 1414, and C. Padma Vs. Deputy Secretary to Govt. of Tamil Nadu, (1997) 2 SCC 627).
In Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay Vs. Industrial Development Investment Co. (P) Ltd., AIR 1997 SC 482, the Hon'ble Supreme Court observed as under:-
"If the interested person allows the grass to grow under his feet by allowing the acquisition proceedings to go on and reach its terminus in the award and possession is taken in furtherance thereof and vest in the State free from all encumbrances, the slumbered interested person would be told off the gates of the Court that his grievance should not be entertained when there is inordinate delay in filing the writ petition and when all steps taken in the acquisition proceedings have become final, the Court should be loath to quash the notifications. The High Court has, no doubt, discretionary power under Article 226 of the Constitution to quash the notification under Section 4 (1) and Declaration under Section 6. But it should be exercised taking all relevant factors into pragmatic consideration. When the award was passed and possession was taken, the Court should not exercise its power to quash the award which is a material factor to be taken into consideration before exercising the power under Article 226. The fact that no third party rights were created in the case, is hardly a ground for interference."
Similar view has been reiterated in State of Rajasthan & Ors. Vs. D.R. Laxmi & Ors., (1996) 6 SCC 445, wherein the Apex Court has held that even the void proceedings need not be set at naught if the party has not approached the Court within reasonable time, as judicial review is not permissible at a belated stage.
In Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Vs. Dolly Das, (1999) 4 SCC 450, the Apex Court held as under:-
"So far as the contention regarding laches of the respondents in filing the writ petition is concerned, delay, by itself, may not defeat the claim for relief unless the position of payment had been so altered which cannot be retracted on account of lapse of time or inaction of the other party. This aspect, being dependant upon the examination of the facts of the case and such a contention not having been raised before the High Court, it would not be appropriate to allow the appellants to raise such a contention for the first time before us. Besides, where the mode is that the period for which the option of renewal has been exercised, has not come to an end. During the subsistence of such a period, certainly the respondents could make a complaint that such exercise of option was not available to the appellants and, therefore, the jurisdiction of the High Court could be invoked even at a later stage. Further, the appellants are not put to undue hardship in any manner by reason of this delay in approaching the High Court for a relief."
Similar view has been reiterated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Northern Indian Glass Industries Vs. Jaswant Singh, AIR 2003 SC 234; and Haryana State Handloom & Handicrafts Corporation Ltd. Vs. Jain School Society, AIR 2004 SC 850.
If some person has taken a relief from this Court by filing a Writ Petition immediately after the cause of action had arisen, petitioners cannot take the benefit thereof by filing a writ petition belatedly. They cannot take any benefit thereof at such a belated stage for the reason that they cannot be permitted to take the impetus of the order passed at the behest of some diligent person.
In State of Karnataka & ors. Vs. S.M. Kotrayaya & Ors., (1996) 6 SCC 267, the Hon'ble Supreme Court rejected the contention that a petition should be considered ignoring the delay and laches on the ground that he filed the petition just after coming to know of the relief granted by the Court in a similar case as the same cannot furnish a proper explanation for delay and laches. The Court observed that such a plea is wholly unjustified and cannot furnish any ground for ignoring delay and laches.
Same view has been reiterated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Jagdish Lal & ors. Vs. State of Haryana & ors., AIR 1997 SC 2366, observing as under:-
"Suffice it to state that appellants may be sleeping over their rights for long and elected to wake-up when they had impetus from Veerpal Chauhan and Ajit Singh's ratio.... disparate attempts of the appellants to re-do the seniority, held by them in various cadre.... are not amenable to the judicial review at this belated stage. The High Court, therefore, has rightly dismissed the writ petition on the ground of delay as well."
In M/s. Roop Diamonds & ors. Vs. Union of India & ors., 1989 SC 674, the Hon'ble Supreme Court considered a case where petitioner wanted to get the relief on the basis of the judgment of the Supreme Court wherein a particular law had been declared ultra vires. The Court rejected the petition on the ground of delay and latches observing as under:-
"There is one more ground which basically sets the present case apart. Petitioners are re-agitating claims which they have not persued for several years. Petitioners were not vigilant but were content to be dormant and close to sit on the fence till somebody else's case came to be decided."
In Abhey Ram & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 2564 the Hon'ble Supreme Court came to the conclusion that where a composite Notification under Section 4 and a Declaration under Section 6 are issued and petitions against the same are filed by any of the land owners and Court grants the interim relief or final relief, the proceedings qua persons other than writ petitioners would not be deemed to be de-notified or outside the purview of the provisions of the Act 1894, as the judgment and order would operate only qua the land in the ownership of petitioners therein.
Similar view has been reiterated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Delhi Administration Vs. Gurdip Singh Uban & Ors., (1999) 7 SCC 44.
In view of the above, as no explanation has been furnished by the petitioners for approaching the Court at such a belated stage and there is no specific pleading as to whether petitioners have already been dispossessed from the land in dispute, no relief can be given to the petitioner at such a belated stage. Petitioners cannot take advantage of the litigation by some diligent persons. We are, therefore, not inclined to entertain the writ petition.
Petition is accordingly dismissed.
Double Click on any word for its dictionary meaning or to get reference material on it.