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N.RAJAGOPAL versus GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

High Court of Madras

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N.Rajagopal v. Government of India - Writ Petition No.356 of 2004 [2007] RD-TN 2108 (28 June 2007)

BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT

Dated : 28/06/2007

Coram :

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE K.RAVIRAJA PANDIAN

Writ Petition No.356 of 2004

Writ Petition No.358 and 359 of 2004

N.Rajagopal ... Petitioner in WP No.356 of 2004

Ulkarsh D.Shah ... Petitioner in WP No.358 of 2004

R.Elanjiam ... Petitioner in WP No.359 of 2004

vs.

1. Government of India,

represented by Secretary,

Ministry of Road Transport

and Highways, New Delhi.

2. District Revenue Authority,

Collector Office, Tiruchirappalli.

3. The Special Tahsildar,

(Land Acquisition) Division III,

National Highways,

No.44, III Main Street,

Ponnagar, Trichirappalli.

4. National Highways Authority of India,

by its Project Director,

Project Implementation Unit (PIU),

New No.6 (Old No.44), I Floor,

III Main road, Pon Nagar, Trichy. Respondents in all (R4 impleaded vide order dt.19.10.2004) the writ petitions Writ petitions filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of writ of certiorari calling for the records of the first respondent pertaining to the notification in ROC.C1/25498/2002 dated 28.06.2004 in edition of the New Indian Express daily of Trichy edition under sec.3A(1) of the National Highways Act, 1956.

For Petitioners ... Mr.M.Muthappan For Respondents ... Mr.Pon Muthuramalingam, CGSC - R1 Mr.Rajarajan, G.A. (R2 & 3) Mr.R.Rajagopal (R4) :ORDER



The writ petitions are filed for issuance of writ of certiorari calling for the records of the first respondent pertaining to the notification in ROC.No.C1/25498/2002 dated 28.06.2004 in edition of the New Indian Express daily of Trichy edition under sub-section 1 of section 3A of the National Highways Act, 1956.

2. The basis for such a prayer is on the following circumstances: By virtue of the power conferred by the competent authority, the District Revenue Authority, Trichy, after conducting the preliminary survey and enquiries, prepared a notification under section 38(1) of the National Highways Act, 1956 and caused for publication, notifying the requirement of lands for the public purpose for widening the national highways NH 45 and published in the Government gazette dated 14.06.2004. The substance of the above notification has been published in the leading newspapers Dinamalar (Tamil daily) and Trichy edition of the New Indian Express on 02.07.2004 calling for objections within 21 days from the date of publication. Preliminary enquiry was conducted by the Special Tahsildar, Land Acquisition, Trichy on 01.09.2004 and on 09.09.2004 after due notice to the parties concerned. The objections raised by the parties stood disallowed and the lands measuring 332, 673 and 430 sq.ms., in survey numbers 5/1B2, 50/7C and 5/3B2 belonging to the petitioners in writ petitions No.356, 358 and 359 of 2004 respectively were acquired. Under Section 3C(2) of the National Highways Act, 1956, the authorities informed the petitioners that appropriate compensation would be paid to in accordance with the provisions of the said Act. Necessary draft notification declaring that the lands vest absolutely with the Central Government free from all encumbrances as required under section 3A (1) of the Act was prepared and was published on 04.03.2005.

3. It is the case of the petitioner that for widening of the National Highways No.45, the extent of land acquired from the petitioners is large and it has been stated by the respondents that the large extent has been acquired in order to have the land for utilisation for future expansion, which is impermissible in law. As per the guidelines, on both sides equal area of land should be acquired. However, discarding the guidelines, the properties of the petitioners, which are situated on one side near the National Highways, have been acquired. On these two grounds, acquisition proceedings is challenged in these writ petitions.

4. The second respondent, the land acquisition officer filed a counter narrating the procedure followed by issuance of notification under section 3A(3) and 3(d) of the Act. The requirement of the land acquisition was demarcated by the survey staff only based on the land plan schedule duly prepared by the Project consultants and approved by the National Highways Authority of India and forwarded to the competent authority, the District Revenue Officer for effecting land acquisition. Hence, the contention of the petitioners that the lands have been acquired for dubious purpose is nothing but an allegation made without any basis. The competent authority is also having more power to make any modification or addition in the approved plan of the National Highways Authorities. Though the petitioners' property including the superstructure has been acquired, the petitioners would be given due compensation for the structures also. As the project has been prepared by the project consultant and it has been approved by the National Highways Authority there is absolutely no merit in the contentions of the learned counsel for the petitioners that acquisition is made only for dubious purpose and that contention is as bald as anything and is liable to be rejected.

5. The other contention that the guidelines have not been followed is also controverted by stating that the guidelines are not binding in nature. If circumstances arises so as to have a clear and straight alignment, deviation can be made by the authorities of the guidelines. Thus contending the respondents prayed for dismissal of the writ petition.

6. Heard the learned counsel on either side and perused the materials available on record.

7. It has been argued by the learned counsel for the respondents that large area has been acquired for the purpose of future expansion. I am of the view that it cannot be a reason for striking down the acquisition proceedings. The authorities, having regard to the vehicular population, are compelled to take the decision as to the requirement of land. The authorities also are equally entitled to plan the requirement, taking into consideration the proportionate increase in the vehicular population in future and for that purpose, they can very well plan the land required and acquire a larger extent than what is required in the present. This exercise of fore-thinking of the requirement is an exercise well founded for the reason that the authorities need not redo the exercise of acquiring the land within a short period of five years or ten years in order to widen the road to suit the increasing vehicular population. It is not the case of the petitioner that the respondents are not going to utlise the land for the purpose for which it was acquired. The respondents are more competent and empowered to acquire larger extent of land for the purpose of formation of the road, particularly, in this case, roads are to be formed to the standard of international level. Hence, the contention of the petitioner that a larger extent of land has been acquired which is not presently necessary for widening road, is made only to be rejected and the same is rejected.

8. The second contention that the guidelines, framed by the respondents for acquisition of land for the purpose of widening the road by the National Highways authorities, have not been followed, in the sense that the guidelines provide that land has to be acquired in both sides of the road equally. True to the nomenclature, the guidelines are only guidelines which could very well be varied, modified depending upon the needs and requirements for the purpose of taking a clean and straight alignment of the road.

9. In this case, as already stated, as the plan schedule was duly prepared and approved by the competent authorities, the project consultant, who are more informed and more competent persons to prepare the lay out. Neither the petitioner nor the Court is having so much of know-how about the correctness of the project prepared by the project consultant and approved by the National Highways Authorities. In the absence of any allegation about the mala fide exercise of power or demonstratively illegal violation of the guidelines, this Court cannot sit as an appellate authority over the expert's decision. The guidelines are not rigid in nature so that in all areas the acquisition proceedings for widening of the road has to be done only on either side of the road equally. If the lands are acquired only on the one side of the road so as to have a perfect alignment and it does not require acquisition of land on both sides, the authority can very well acquire the land depending upon the requirement and as per the project report for the formation of the road. Hence, this contention is also liable to be rejected.

10. In view of the discussion made above, I am not able to concur with the contentions raised by the learned counsel for the petitioners. The writ petition is dismissed. No costs. The connected miscellaneous petitions are dismissed.

To

1. The Secretary,

Government of India,

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,

New Delhi.

2. District Revenue Authority,

Collector Office, Tiruchirappalli.

3. The Special Tahsildar,

(Land Acquisition) Division III,

National Highways,

No.44, III Main Street,

Ponnagar, Trichirappalli.

4. The Project Director,

National Highways Authority of India,

Project Implementation Unit (PIU),

New No.6 (Old No.44), I Floor,

III Main road, Pon Nagar, Trichy.




Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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