High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Smt. Santosh Bala & Ors v. State of Haryana & another - CWP-14464-2003  RD-P&H 3118 (12 May 2006)
C.W.P.No.14464 OF 2003
DATE OF DECISION :12.5.2006
Smt. Santosh Bala & others
State of Haryana & another
CORAM : HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA
HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE MAHESH GROVER
Present : Mr.Pritam Saini, Advocate
for the petitioners.
Mr. S.S.Pattar, Sr.DAG, Haryana
for the State.
MAHESH GROVER, J.
The petitioners have laid a challenge to the acquisition proceedings initiated by the respondents for acquiring the land for the "development and utilization of land as residential, commercial and industrial area in Sector 10, 11 and 12 (Part I), Ambala Cantt." of village Nanhera. For the said purpose, notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter known as 'the Act') was issued on 4.10.2000 and was published on 13.12.2000. This was followed by another notification under Section 6 of the Act issued on 6.12.2001.
The petitioners have challenged these proceedings on the ground that their objections under Section 5-A of the Act were not heard and since the compliance of the provisions of Section 5-A is mandatory, hence the entire acquisition proceedings are vitiated. They also submitted that they had raised 'A' Class construction on the plots of 7 Marlas each which they had purchased and the constructed area should have been released from acquisition. Since their objections were not heard, hence this has resulted in grave injustice to the petitioners as their built up houses are now sought to be acquired.
Apart from this, they also submitted that the respondents have acted in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner by releasing the lands of certain other similarly situated persons while their lands have been subjected to acquisition. The respondents in this manner have resorted to a policy of pick and choose which is hit by Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
The respondents, on the other hand, submitted that there was no violation of any provision of the law. The entire acquisition had been done in accordance with the provisions of the Act and that proper hearing was afforded to the petitioners before the notification under Section 6 was issued. They also submitted that the acquisition proceedings were complete and the award in respect of the land had been announced on 11.9.2003 and the possession of the land had also been taken by the Haryana Urban Development Authority for whose benefit the land was acquired. The possession of only such lands has not been taken which were subject-matter of interim directions granted by the competent courts. It was also pleaded that similar writ petitions against the same acquisition have been dismissed and the present writ petition should also be dismissed on this score.
We have heard the learned counsel and have perused the record as well.
The petitioners have raised a categoric plea that their objections under Section 5-A were not heard and this has resulted in grave injustice having been inflicted upon them. A perusal of the written statement filed by the respondents shows that the plea of the petitioners is totally unfounded. It has been submitted in paragraphs 4 and 5 of the written statement that full opportunity of hearing was granted, before the Land Acquisition Collector made his report on the individual objections for final decision of the Government. After receiving the report from the Government a declaration under Section 6 dated 3.12.2001 was issued. The hearing of the objections was done on 8th
of November, 2001 at PWD Rest House, Ambala Cantt where the Land Acquisition Collector was present.
The notice regarding hearing of objections was issued and it was stated in the notice that on 8.11.2001 the objections will be heard from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. at PWD Rest House, Ambala Cantt.
67 objections were received as per the official record. All these objections were heard and thereafter report was prepared.
The petitioners in the petition have stated that objections were not heard by the Land Acquisition Collector and only Jaswant Singh, Kanungo had recorded the statement which was not the mandate of the Act. This plea of the petitioners is negated by the fact that the Land Acquisition Collector was present at the time when Jaswant Singh, Kanungo recorded the statement. It cannot, therefore, be said on this score, that the objections of the petitioners were not heard. Apart from this, this court in C.W.P.No. 18359 of 2003 has already gone into this aspect of the matter wherein identical objections were taken by the petitioners and this Court had negated the contention to the petitioners.
The petitioners have relied upon a judgment of the Supreme court in Rambhai Lakhabai Bhakt v. State of Gujarat and others and Others, JT 1995(5) SC 192.
There is absolutely no doubt that the provisions of Section 5-A are required to be complied with but at the same time if sufficient compliance of Section 5-A is shown and it is also shown that no prejudice has been caused to the petitioners then it cannot be said that the proceedings under the Act can be rendered a nullity. A reasonable exercise seems to have been done by the respondents in the instant case and in view of this it cannot be said that the provisions of Section 5-A have not been complied with.
The next contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners is that the petitioners have raised 'A' Class construction on their land and, therefore, the same ought to have been released. He tried to persuade us that the respondents had resorted to discriminatory attitude qua the petitioners as constructed areas of some of the persons have been released while the case of the petitioners was not considered.
We cannot accept this contention of the petitioners as well for two reasons. One is that it is the absolute subjective satisfaction of the State when it resorts to acquisition as to which area it proposes to leave out and which area it chooses to acquire. When the Government at the time of issuance of notification under Section 4 shows its intent to acquire a land, objections are invited thereto from the affected persons. If after hearing the objections the State comes to the conclusion that particular areas have to be released from acquisition and rest are to be acquired then such a situation has to be accepted.
The only thing that the State has to show is that there was application of mind while disposing of the objections under Section 5-A of the Act. Since after hearing the objections some lands would be left out, therefore, in every case there would be this plea of discrimination and in such eventuality every acquisition would stand to be defeated.
The second reason in not accepting the contention of the petitioners would be that a perusal of the photographs which they have annexed with the writ petition shows that there was hardly any construction on the land in question. One room has been constructed and it would be wrong to say that 'A' Class construction exists at the spot, as the petitioners wanted us to believe. The respondents have filed a categoric reply to this averment as well stating that at the time of issuance of notification under Section 4 only one room existed and the rest of the land was vacant. This contention of the respondents is fortified by the photographs which the petitioners have placed on record.
Be that as it may, there is absolutely no bar for the State to acquire structures on the land and the State is the best judge to see as to which lands are to be exempted and which are to be acquired.
Nobody can substitute his opinion in place of the State because the State is in a best position to assess its need according to the scheme of acquisition.
The learned counsel for the petitioners thereafter submitted that the action of the respondents is highly arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. He submitted that lands of similarly situated persons had been exempted. To our minds there is no discrimination. If the authorities have acted wrongly then it cannot confer a right on other persons to get the same benefit by invoking the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
It was held by the Supreme Court in Union of India v.
International Trading Co. (2003) 5 SCC 437 as follows : "It is not necessary to deal with that aspect because two wrongs do not make one right. A party cannot claim that since something wrong has been done in another case direction should be given for doing another wrong. It would not be setting a wrong right, but would be perpetuating another wrong. In such matters there is no discrimination involved. The concept of equal treatment on the logic of Article 14 of the Constitution of India (in short 'the Constitution') cannot be pressed into service in such cases. What the concept of equal treatment presupposes is existence of similar legal foothold. It does not countenance repetition of a wrong action to bring both wrongs on a par.
Even if hypothetically it is accepted that a wrong has been committed in some other cases by introducing a concept of negative equality the respondents cannot strengthen their case. They have to establish strength of their case on some other basis and not by claiming negative equality." The petitioners, therefore, cannot get any benefit by invoking the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
No other point has been urged before us.
In view of the facts of the case, we do not find any merit in the writ petition and the same is dismissed.
May 12, 2006 (ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA)
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