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K.RAMAKRISHNAN versus GOVERNMENT OF TAMILNADU

High Court of Madras

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K.Ramakrishnan v. Government of Tamilnadu - W.P. No.40850 of 2005 [2007] RD-TN 779 (2 March 2007)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS



DATED: 02/03/2007

CORAM

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE P.D.DINAKARAN

and

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE P.P.S.JANARTHANA RAJA

W.P. Nos.40850, 40058, 41525 of 2005, 370, 830 to 833, 1574, 1575, 1598, 1608, 1614, 2081 to 2083, 2972, 2995, 3523, 6106, 6246, 6318, 6319, 10175, 10338, 10349, 11389, 12043, 16359, 16360, 23464, 23834, 24706, 24712, 24763, 24764, 24965, 29271, 30304 to 30307, 23682, 29268, 5113, 38858, 39547, 39548, 40315 to 40317, 43681 to 43685, 43736, 44943, 44944 to 44946 of 2006, WPMP.Nos.43834, 42949, 44622 of 2005, 431, 952, 954, 956, 965, 1777, 1779, 1804, 1813, 1820, 2364, 2366, 2368, 3074, 3116, 3749, 6597, 6740, 6812, 6814, 11492, 11677, 11690, 12962, 13647, 13660, 15813, 15815,

2 (WP:23464/06), 3 (WP:23834/06), 2 (WP:24706/06), 3 (WP:24712/06), 3 (WP:24763/06), 3 (WP:24764/06), 3(WP:24965/06), 2(WP:29271/06); 3, 3, 3 & 3 (WP:30304 to 30307/06); 3 (WP:23682/06), 2 (WP:29268/06), 5498, 2 (WP:38858/06), 2 & 2 (WP:39547 and 39548/06), 2, 2 & 2 (WP:40315 to 40317/06), 2, 1, 2, 2 & 2 (WP:43681 to 43685/06), 2 (WP:43736/06), 2 (WP:44943/06), 2, 2 & 2 (WP:44944 to 44946/2006) and

WVMP.Nos.692, 597, 1871, 1875, 1903, 685 to 688, 1904, 1876, 1877, 1908, 1879, 1880, 1878, 689 to 691, 1909 to 1911, 619, 618, 1874, 1872, 1883, 1835, 1869, 1873, 1882, 1886, 1881, 1887, 1885, 1884, 1930, 1931 & 1870 of 2006

W.P. No.40850 of 2005:

---------------------

K.Ramakrishnan ..Petitioner Vs

1. The Government of Tamilnadu

rep. By its Secretary to Industries Dept.

Secretariat

Chennai 600 009.

2. The Neyveli Lignite Corporation

rep. by its Chairman

Neyveli. ..Respondents and batch cases.

PRAYER:

Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the relief stated therein. For Petitioners : Mr.K.Sakthivel For Respondents : Mr.Veeraraghavan, Addl. Advocate General assisted by Mr.M.Dandapani, Addl. Govt. Pleader for State Government

Mr.N.A.K.Sharma for NLC in all petitions ORDER



P.D.DINAKARAN,J.

The acquisition of an extent of 1407.83.0 Hectares of wet, dry and natham lands in Mannapuram, Kottagam, Sathapadi, Siruvarapur, Uyyakondaram, U.Aihanur, Valayamadevi, Keelpathy and Melpathi and Periavadavadi Villages for the purpose of Second Mine Expansion Scheme of Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd., within the contours of the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997 (for brevity, "T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act") and the Rules framed thereunder viz., Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Rules, 2001 (for brevity, "T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Rules") and the attempts of the land owners/interested persons to throttle the same are the issues that arise for our consideration in these group of writ petitions.

2. The Neyveli Lignite Corporation (in short, "NLC") is a Public Sector Enterprise, incorporated under the Companies Act, by the Government of India. The NLC is engaged in mining lignite and generating power from the lignite so mined. Its mining operation and the generation of power are concededly industrial activities and the same is an on going process. The power generated is supplied to the Southern States, both for consumption of the general public as well as for industrial purposes. The NLC is thus providing essential services for development of the Nation as a whole and the Southern States in particular.

3. In furtherance of the activities of NLC, the Government of Tamil Nadu, satisfied with the need for the purpose of Second Mine Expansion Scheme of NLC, accorded permission for acquisition of 1407.83.0 Hectares, referred to above, by G.O.Ms.No.48, Industries (MIA.1) Department, dated 24.4.2003. Accordingly, acquisition proceedings were initiated by issuing notice under Section 3(2) of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act in Form-B and also caused a public notice in the newspapers calling upon the owners and any other person, who may be interested in such land to show cause why the land should not be acquired. A public hearing was also conducted on 17.2.2005 and the land owners/interested persons submitted their objections with supporting evidence, oral and documentary. The objections were forwarded to the NLC, who also submitted its remarks on 16.5.2005. Similarly, the Collector also submitted his report dated 5.9.2005. Thus, after the hearing and considering the objections, remarks of the NLC and the report of the Collector, the Government acquired the impugned lands by issuing notifications under Section 3(1) of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act and the same were published in the Government Gazette on, (i)G.O.Ms.No.136, Industries (MIA-1), dated 15.11.2005, (ii)G.O.Ms.No.28, Industries (MIA-1), dated 2.3.2006, (iii)G.O.Ms.No.38, Industries (MIA-1), dated 21.4.2006, (iv)G.O.Ms.No.60, Industries (MIA-1), dated 7.7.2006, (v)G.O.Ms.No.90, Industries (MIA-1), dated 7.8.2006, and (vi)G.O.Ms.No.121, Industries (MIA-1), dated 9.10.2006. Aggrieved by that, the land owners and other persons interested in the lands have filed these group of writ petitions.

4. The common grounds of attack of the land owners/ interested persons challenging the impugned acquisition are: i.the acquisition of land for mining coal could not be initiated by the State Government invoking the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, if it, it could be initiated initiated only by the Central Government, giving notice of its intention to acquire the land under Section 7 of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957; ii.the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 was enacted to establish in the economic interest of India, greater public control over the coal mining industry and its development by providing for the acquisition by the State of unworked land containing or likely to contain coal deposits or of rights over such land for the extinguishment or modification of such rights accruing by virtue of any agreement, lease, license or otherwise, and for matters connected therewith, by the Central Government, and the legislative competency to enact the same is traceable to Entry 54 of List-I (Union List) of VII Schedule of the Constitution of India, viz., "Regulation of mines and mineral development to the extent to which such regulation and development under the control of the Union is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest"; and therefore, the acquisition of lands for coal mining industry are governed by the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957. Consequently, the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act is inapplicable, insofar as acquisition of the lands for coal mining industry is concerned, as the assent of the President of India obtained for the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act refers to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, but has no specific reference to the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957; iii.the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 is a special enactment which provides for acquisition of lands containing or likely to contain coal deposits, and the provisions of the same shall prevail over the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, which is only general in nature, viz., acquisition of land for industrial purpose; iv.when the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 envisages better compensation and royalty to the land owners that could be determined by Tribunal presided over by a person in the cadre of High Court Judge assisted by an expert in minerals, the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act refers only for payment of 'amount' towards the acquisition, which shall be determined by an agreement between the Government and the person to whom the amount is to be paid, and where no agreement could be reached, the matter would be referred to the Collector for determining the amount, which shall not exceed such amount that may be specified by the Government. Therefore, the impugned acquisition is repugnant to the provisions of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957; v.that apart, the impugned acquisition is also attracted by the provisions of the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, as the lignite is scheduled as "Specified Minerals" under List I, Part A of First Schedule of the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957; vi.without prejudice to these contentions, it is also contended that assuming the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act is applicable, the impugned acquisition is bad for non-compliance of the mandatory procedure contemplated under Rule 6 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Rules, as the remarks of the requisitioning body/NLC to the objections of the land owners/ interested persons, were not furnished to the land owners/interested persons, which also violates the principles of natural justice; and vii.lastly, it is contended that the failure to provide sufficient rehabilitation measures/safeguards to the land owners/interested persons as contemplated under the National Policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation for Project Affected Families-2003 vitiates the impugned acquisition.

5. Answering these grounds of challenge, the respondents, both the State and the NLC contend that: i.the provisions of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 do not, in any way, attract the impugned acquisition proceedings for the reason that the impugned lands are not coal-bearing lands, required for mining of coal, but they are only lignite-bearing lands for mining lignite, and therefore, there is no need for notifying the intention of the Central Government to acquire the impugned lands under Section 7 of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957; ii.assuming the impugned lands, being lignite bearing lands are governed under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, which falls as Item 1 of Part A of First Schedule of Specified Minerals, viz., Coal and Lignite, the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act are also not applicable to the impugned acquisition as the impugned areas have already been held under reconnaissance permit or prospecting license or mining lease and the same cannot be undertaken by the Central Government as per Section 17(2) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act; iii.the acquisition of the impugned lands is well within the jurisdiction of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, which is enacted as a special provision for speedy acquisition of lands for industrial purposes in the State of Tamil Nadu. The field of legislation for enacting the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act is traceable to Entry 42 of List III (Concurrent List) of VII Schedule of the Constitution of India, viz., Acquisition and requisitioning of property; iv.Even though the lands were acquired for the NLC under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 on earlier occasions, the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 cease to apply as per Section 21 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act; and the assent of the President of India under Article 254(2) obtained for such exclusion removes the embargo of the repugnancy in this regard; v.in view of such exclusion of the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 as per Section 21 of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, referred to above, the general procedure contemplated under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 to hold an enquiry under Section 5A, much less the procedure contemplated under the Land Acquisition (Tamil Nadu) Rules, framed under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, also expressly stands excluded. Therefore, in the absence of any specific provision to provide a copy of the remarks of the requisitioning authority, viz., NLC, to the land owners/interested persons or to hold a second hearing thereafter, neither of such failure would vitiate the acquisition proceedings; and vi.in any event, in view of the specific averment in the counter affidavit that a rehabilitation package has been provided in order to give relief and rehabilitation measure to genuinely displaced land oustees, besides providing facilities for the all round socio-economic development of the Neyveli belt, alternative sites, shifting allowance, job opportunities, etc., there is no justification to interfere with the impugned acquisition proceedings.

6. We have bestowed our careful consideration to the submissions of both sides. 7.1. The main thrust of attack was that the impugned acquisition of lands under the provisions of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act is without jurisdiction, as such an exercise of power by the State Government ought to have been undertaken only as provided under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 and Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, which prevail over the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, as the impugned lands are sought to be acquired for the Second Mine Expansion Scheme of NLC, viz., for mining of lignite. There are two distinct limbs of this submission, which we propose to examine separately. 7.2. The first limb of submission was that the impugned acquisition of land, being one for mining lignite, only the Central Government, by giving notice of its intention to acquire the land under Section 7 of Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 could initiate such proceedings, but not the State Government, the legislative competency of which is traceable to Entry 54 of List I (Union List) of VII Schedule of the Constitution of India; the power and procedure for acquisition of coal bearing lands prescribed in the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 will prevail over the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, as the former specifically deals with the acquisition of coal bearing lands, but the latter deals with acquisition of the lands for industrial purposes in general, without any specific reference to exclude the provisions of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, even though the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 are alone excluded under Section 21 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act; and in any event, the provisions of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act are repugnant to Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, with reference to the determination of amount or compensation, as the case may be, payable to the land owners/ interested persons, the latter being a Central Act shall prevail over the former, State Act, as per Article 254 of the Constitution of India, in the absence of any specific exclusion with the seal of the assent of the President. 7.3. The second limb of the argument was that, by the impugned acquisition, lignite bearing lands are sought to be acquired and the same are governed under the provisions of the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, as lignite falls under Item 1, viz., Coal and Lignite, of Part A of the First Schedule 'Specified Minerals' of the said Act, which was also enacted by the Central Government tracing its legislative competency to Entry 54 of List I (Union List), referred to above.

8. Countering both the limbs of the submission, it was argued by the State Government as well as the requisitioning body/NLC that the power to acquire the impugned land does not lean on any of the entries of the three lists and the same is absolutely an independent power in pith and substance.

9. The above controversy requires us to refer the object of the three enactments and the respective sources of legislative competency with reference to relevant Articles of the Constitution of India. T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997

10.1. The statement of objects and reasons for enacting the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act reads as follows: "Provision of suitable sites for location of Industries is a pre-requisite for quick establishment of industries. For the speedy industrial growth of this State, it is felt that lands for industrial purposes have to be acquired speedily so as to achieve the object. Therefore, the Government have decided to make special provisions for speedy acquisition of lands for industrial purposes by undertaking a special legislation." 10.2. The "Industrial purpose" as per Section 2(e) of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act includes the starting of a new industry, expansion of an existing industry, the development of an industrial area and establishment and management of an industrial estate. 10.3. Section 3 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act empowers the Government to acquire the land for industrial purpose as follows: "Section 3. Power to acquire land.

(1)If, at any time, in the opinion of the Government, any land is required for any industrial purposes, or for any other purpose in furtherance of the objects of this Act, they may acquire such land by publishing in the Tamilnadu Government Gazette, a notice specifying the particular purpose for which such land is required. (2)Before publishing a notice under sub-section (1), the Government shall, call upon the owner and any other person, who in the opinion of the Government may be interested in such land, to show cause within such time as may be specified in the notice, why the land should not be acquired. The Government shall also cause a public notice to be given in such manner as may be prescribed. (2)The Government may pass an order under sub-section (1), after hearing and considering the cause, if any, shown by the owner or person interest." 10.4. The land acquired pursuant to the notification under Section 3(1) of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act vests absolutely with the Government free from all encumbrances as per Section 4 of the Act. 10.5. As per section 6 of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act every owner or person interested in any land acquired under this Act, shall be entitled to receive and be paid an amount as determined under Section 7 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act. 10.6. Section 7 provides for payment of the amount determined by the agreement between the Government and the land owners/ interested persons and if no such agreement can be reached, empowers the Government to refer to the Collector for determination of the amount, but, however, no amount exceeding the amount specified by the Government, by a general order, shall be determined by the Collector without previous approval of the Government or such Officer, who may be appointed by the Government in this regard; and of course, the Collector, while determining the amount shall be guided with Sections 23 and 24 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, taking into consideration the dates of publication of notifications under Sections 3(2) and 3(1) of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act would refer to the dates of notifications under Section 4(1) and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 respectively. The Collector is also empowered to hear the expert witnesses, if necessary, for determination of the amount. 10.7. Section 8 provides a reference to the Civil Court aggrieved by the decision of the Collector in determining the amount under Section 7 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act. 10.8. As per Section 21 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 shall cease to apply to any land which is required for the purpose specified in Section 3(1), save as otherwise provided in the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act. 10.9. Section 25 empowers the Government to make rules for carrying out all or any of the purposes of the Act. 10.10. Accordingly, the Government made T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Rules. Rule 6 provides the procedure to be followed for the hearing of objections filed by land owners/ interested persons and the same reads as follows: "Rule 6. Hearing of objections by the Government.-(a) if a statement of objections filed by a person who is not interested in the land, it shall be summarily rejected. (b) if any objections are received from a person interested in the land, within the time prescribed in rule 3 or 4, the Government shall fix a date for hearing the objections and give notice thereof to the objector or as well as to the department or company requiring the land. Copies of the objections shall also be forwarded to such department or company. The Department or company may file on or before the date fixed by the Government, a statement by way of answer to the objections and may also depute a representative to attend the enquiry. (c) On the date fixed for enquiry or any other date to which the enquiry may be adjourned by the Government, the Government shall hear the objector, or a person authorised by him in this behalf, or his pleader and the representative, if any, of the department or company and record any evidence that may be produced by both in support of the objections and in support of the need for acquiring the land." Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 11.1. The Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 is enacted to establish in the economic interest of India, greater public control over the coal mining industry and its development by providing for the acquisition by the State of unworked land containing or likely to contain coal deposits or of rights over such land for the extinguishment or modification of such rights accruing by virtue of any agreement, lease, license or otherwise, and for matters connected therewith.. 11.2. A preliminary notification may be given by the Central Government under Section 4 of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 as to the intention of the Government to prospect for coal in any area. On such notification, the competent authority shall lawfully enter upon the land, dig, do all other necessary acts, mark such boundaries, etc. However, the Act does not define the "Coal". 11.3. If any damage is caused during such act, made pursuant to Section 4(1) and 4(2) of the Act, the land owners/ interested persons are entitled to compensation for necessary damages as per Section 6 of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957. 11.4. If the Government is satisfied that the coal is obtainable in the whole or any part of the land, notified under Section 4(1), it may within a period of two years from the date of said notification, or within such further period not exceeding one year, give notice of its intention to acquire the whole or any part of the land or of any rights in or over such land, as the case may be, and if no notice to acquire the land is given within a period allowed under Section 7(1), the notification issued under Section 4(1) shall cease to have effect on the expiration of three years from the date thereof. 11.5. The objections to the notification under Section 4(1), may be made by land owners/ interested persons under Section 8 in writing and the competent authority, after giving an opportunity to the objector of being heard, either in person or by a legal practitioner, shall forward his recommendations for the decision of the Government. The Government, after considering the report, if satisfied, that the lands should be acquired, make a declaration to that effect under Section 9 of the Act. 11.6. Section 9A provides for special powers in case of urgency. As per Section 10, on publication of notification of the declaration under Section 9, the lands shall vest absolutely with the Central Government free from all encumbrances, based on which the Government is entitled to take possession under Section 12 and shall also pay compensation as provided under Section 13. Section 14 provides the method of determination of compensation, by a Tribunal, consisting a person who is or has been or qualified to be a Judge of High Court and also an expert having knowledge in mining. As per Section 16 the compensation shall be paid with interest. Section 27 empowers the Government to make Rules, invoking which the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Rules, 1957 are framed. Rule 4 provides the procedure to be followed after issuing notice under Section 7 for receiving objection, considering, and giving an opportunity of being heard to the objector, etc. Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 12.1. The Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 is enacted to provide for the development and regulation of mines and minerals under the control of the Union. 12.2. Under Section 2 it is declared that it is expedient in the public interest that the Union should take under its control the regulation of mines and the development of minerals to the extent provided in the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957.

12.3. Section 3 defines prospecting license, prospecting operations, reconnaissance operations and reconnaissance permit as under: "3(g) 'Prospecting licence' means a licence granted for the purpose of undertaking prospecting operations. 3(h) 'prospecting operations' means any operations undertaken for the purpose of exploring, locating or proving mineral deposits. 3(ha) 'reconnaissance operations' means any operations undertaken for preliminary prospecting of a mineral through regional, aerial, geophysical or geochemical surveys and geological mapping, but does not include pitting, trenching, drilling (except drilling of boreholes on a grid specified from time to time by the Central Government) or sub-surface excavation. 3(hb) 'reconnaissance permit' means a permit granted for the purpose of undertaking reconnaissance operations." 12.4. As per section 4(1), except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of reconnaissance permit or prospecting licence or of a mining lease granted under the Act, no person shall undertake any reconnaissance, prospecting or mining operations in any area. As per Section 4(3), any State Government may, after prior consultation with the Central Government and in accordance with the Rules made under Section 18 undertake reconnaissance, prospecting or mining operations with respect to any minerals specified in the First Schedule in any area within that State which is not already held under any reconnaissance permit, prospecting licence or mining lease. 12.5. Section 17 provides special powers to the Central Government to undertake prospecting or mining operations in any area, not already held under any reconnaissance permit, prospecting licence or mining licence as per Section 17(2) of the Act. 12.6. "Coal and Lignite" are shown in Item 1 of Part A of First Schedule as "Specified Minerals". Relevant Constitutional provisions

13.1. The relevant provisions, viz., Articles 245, 246 and 254 of the Constitution of India read as under: "Article 245. Extent of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislature of States.- (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India, and the Legislature of a State may make laws for the whole or any part of the State. (2) No law made by Parliament shall be deemed to be invalid on the ground that it would have extra-territorial operation. Article 246. Subject-matter of laws made by Parliament and by the legislatures of States.- (1) Notwithstanding anything in clauses (2) and (3), Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List I in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the "Union List") (2) Notwithstanding anything in clause (3), Parliament and, subject to clause (1), the Legislature of any State also, have power to make laws with respect to any of the maters enumerated in List III in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the "Concurrent List") (3) Subject to clauses (1) and (2), the Legislature of any State has exclusive power to make laws for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List II in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the "State List") (4) Parliament has power to make laws with respect to any matter for any part of the territory of India not included in a State notwithstanding that such matter is a matter enumerated in the State List. Article 254. Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws made by the Legislatures of States .(1) If any provision of a law made by the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of a law made by Parliament which Parliament is competent to enact, or to any provision of an existing law with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List, then, subject to the provisions of clause (2), the law made by Parliament, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the existing law, shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void. (2) Where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that State: Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the Legislature of the State." 13.2. Article 246 sets out the distribution of field of legislation between the Union and the States in mutually exclusive lists, List I (Union), List II (State) and List-III (Concurrent). 13.3. Clause (1) of Article 246 of the Constitution does not provide for the competence of Parliament or the State Legislatures as is ordinarily understood but merely provide for the respective legislative fields. Each entry in the legislative lists of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution has to be interpreted in a broad manner. Both the parliamentary legislation as also the State legislation must be considered in such a manner as to uphold both of them and only in a case where it is found that both cannot coexist, the State Act may be declared ultra vires. Furthermore, the courts should proceed to construe a statute with a view to uphold its constitutionality. Only to the extent of conflict, the State law has to be struck down and not otherwise. [vide: State of A.P. v. K.Purushotham Reddy (2003) 9 SCC 564].

13.4. Clauses 1 and 3 of Article 246 enact that Parliament and the legislature of a State have exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in Lists I and II respectively. Article 246(1) fortifies such exclusive legislative power of Parliament (to make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in List I) with a non-obstante provision (a paramountcy provision), qua clauses (2) and (3) of Article 246. Article 246(3) consecrates exclusive legislative power to the Legislature of a State in respect of matters enumerated in List II, subject to clauses 1 and 2. 13.5. From the scheme of the distribution of the legislative powers between the Union and the States in the mutually exclusive lists, it is clear that the power of the Parliament and the legislature of a State to make laws with respect to any of the matters in List I and List II of the VII Schedule is exclusive. No doubt, the abstinence of Parliament or a legislature of a State from legislating to the full limits of its power would not have the effect of transferring to the other legislative body the legislative power exclusively assigned to a legislature. It is also true that the inherent corollary of such exclusivity is that if a parliament or legislature of a State fails to legislate at all or to full limits of its power, such failures does not have the effect of augmenting the powers of the other level of Government. This is the true meaning and effect of the exclusivity in the distribution of the legislative powers enumerated in Lists I and II. The constitution does not countenance the delegation of legislative powers, either expressly or by abstinence in exercise of the legislative powers by appropriate legislature. 13.6. However, in respect of the matters enumerated in the concurrent List, it is possible that the laws made by the Union and State could co-exist. In the distribution of legislative powers under the Concurrent List (List III), Article 246(2) enacts that notwithstanding anything in clause (3), Parliament and subject to clause (1), the Legislature of any State also, have power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent list. But, the conflict arose under such circumstance can be resolved by a doctrine of occupied field or repugnancy taking recourse under Article 254 of the Constitution of India, as, Article 254 sets out principles for resolution of conflicts relating to inconsistency between the laws made by Parliament and the laws made by the Legislature of a State, with respect to matters enumerated in the Concurrent list. 14.1. It is a well settled law that the matters enumerated in several entries in the List in VII Schedule are not powers but fields of legislation and liberal construction must be put on them. 14.2. The other rule of interpretation is that the competing entries must be read harmoniously. To avoid conflict, the entries must be read together and interpreted together having due regard to the fact that the language of one entry defines the contours of the other. 14.3. The overlapping of fields of legislation occurs for variety of reasons. A subject of legislation of wide scope may be divided between Union and State fields on account of which it would be impossible to prevent overlapping by a clear cut division. The overlapping also occurs in several cases where exclusive field is in favour of the State, but the same is made subject to an exclusive field carved out which is reserved in favour of the Union. When it appears to the court that there is apparent overlapping between the two entries the doctrine of pith and substance has to be applied to find out the true nature of a legislation and the entry within which it would fall. It is only when an apparent overlapping occurs that the doctrine of pith and substance has to be applied to find out the true nature of legislation and the entry within which it would fall. When different entries in the same list crop up for consideration, the usual principle followed is that each particular entry should relate to a separate subject or group of subjects and every attempt should be made to harmonise different entries and to discard a construction which will render any of the entries ineffective. [vide: ITC Ltd. v. Agricultural Produce Market Committee,(2002) 9 SCC 232]. 14.4. The conflicts that arise due to overlapping Entries could be resolved by application of, (i)the doctrine of pith and substance,

(ii)the doctrine of ancillary and incidental trenching, and (iii)the doctrine of eclipse.

By the Doctrine of pith and substance the true nature of the legislation could be identified and the same aids to classify the legislation for its allocation to a specific field of enumerated legislative powers. The Doctrine of ancillary and incidental trenching, accords and enables flexibility and pragmatism to the structure of the division of exclusive powers while providing a check against a clear usurpation of power to an extent that disturbs the carefully constructed constitutional plan of federal balance. 14.5. One of the proven methods of examining the legislative competence of an enactment is therefore, by the application of doctrine of pith and substance. Of course, in this process, it is necessary for the courts to go into and examine the true character of the enactment, its object, its scope and effect to find out whether the enactment in question is genuinely referable to the field of legislation allotted to the State under the constitutional scheme. If the objects stated in the enactment were to be the sole criteria for judging the true nature of the enactment, then judging by its preamble, the impugned enactment would satisfy the requirement on application of the doctrine of pith and substance to establish the State's legislative competence; but that is not the sole criterion. Therefore, the Court will have to examine not only the object of the Act as stated in the statute but also its scope and effect to find out whether the enactment in question is genuinely referable to the field of legislation allotted to the State [vide: E.V. Chinnaiah v. State of A.P.,(2005) 1 SCC 394]. 14.6. Of course, it should be assured that the impugned provision does not cross the bounds of relevant entry in List II of Schedule VII and is intra vires. So long as the State Act remains within the ambit of List II and does not offend the provisions of Article 246 of the Constitution of India or the laws made thereunder, the State Act's validity is beyond question. [vide: State of W.B. v. Purvi Communication (P) Ltd.(2005) 3 SCC 711]. 14.7. Incidental trenching in exercise of ancillary powers into a forbidden legislative territory is permitted as a matter of privileged encroachment not amounting to usurpation. 14.8. The doctrine of incidental and ancillary powers simply means that each head of legislative power, whether Union or State, authorises all provisions that have a rational connection to the exercise of that head of power. If the apparent trenching into a prohibited field is not a camouflage, or the trenching is a serious usurpation of the forbidden legislative territory, or such trenching does not gravely intrude or derogatorily impact the effective exercise of legislative power by the other and appropriately authorised level of Government, the trenching would be termed incidental and therefore, such trenching would not, by itself, invalidate the legislation.

14.9. It is a settled law that laws made in derogation or in excess of that power would be ab initio void wholly or to the extent of the contravention as the case may be. Of course, the Doctrine of Eclipse can be invoked in the case of a law valid, but still a shadow is cast on it by supervening constitutional inconsistency or supervening existing statutory inconsistency; however, when the shadow is removed, the impugned Act is freed from all blemish or infirmity. 14.10. The doctrine of pith and substance, however, is taken recourse to when examining the constitutionality of an Act with respect to competing legislative competence of Parliament and the State Legislature qua the subject-matter. Ascertainment of pith and substance is synonymous to ascertainment of true nature and character of the legislative competence necessitated for the purpose of determining whether it is a legislation with respect to one of the matters of the list. Human expression and fallibility of legal draftsmanship cannot be lost sight of. [vide: State of W.B. v. Kesoram Industries Ltd. (2004)10 SCC 201] 14.11. Furthermore, unless there exists any enactment under the rival List, the question of repugnancy and occupied field does not arise. 14.12. Sharp and distinct lines of demarkation are not always possible and it is almost impossible to prevent certain amount of overlapping. To avoid such difficulties, we have to look at the legislation as a whole and to presume that the legislature has full and exhaustive power to legislate the matters in the respective list as well as the Concurrent list. The rules generally would be, (a) the Union will have the full and extensive power over the matters in List I and also have power to legislate with respect to the matters in List III; (b) the State Legislature has exclusive power to legislate in the matter of List II, minus the matters listing in Lists I and III, if there is already an enactment legislated by the Union; (c) the State will have the concurrent power to legislate the subject matter in List III, minus matters falling in List I; and (d) therefore, the dominant position of the Union Legislature with respect to the subject matter in List I and List III is thus established, but the rigour of this interpretation is relaxed by the use of the words "with respect to", which signifies pith and substance and do not forbid a mere incidental encroachment. Therefore, an incidental encroachment is permissible. [vide I.T.C. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka, 1985 Supp SCC 476] 14.13. The validity of an enactment has to be determined not with reference to the name and label of the statute, but with reference to the substance of the enactment, its true nature and character or its pith and substance, as it is called. The Court must look beyond the names, forms and appearance to discover the true character and nature of the legislation [vide: Dwarkadas Shrinivas v. Sholapur Spg. and Wvg. Co., 1954 SCR 674 :AIR 1954 SC 119]. 14.14. With these guidelines, we shall discuss the Doctrine of Pith and Substance in detail. We have already seen that in case of conflict between entries in List I and List II, the same has to be decided by application of the principle of pith and substance. 14.15. The doctrine of pith and substance means that if an enactment substantially falls within the powers expressly conferred by the Constitution upon the legislature which enacted it, it cannot be held to be invalid, merely because it incidentally encroaches on matters assigned to another legislature. In order to see whether a particular legislative provision falls within the jurisdiction of the legislature which has passed it, the Court must consider what constitutes in pith and substance the true subject-matter of the legislation and whether such subject-matter is covered by the topics enumerated in the legislative list pertaining to that legislature. 14.16. When a law is impugned as being ultra vires of the legislative competence, what is required to be ascertained is the true character of the legislation. If on such an examination it is found that the legislation is in substance one on a matter assigned to the legislature then it must be held to be valid in its entirety even though it might incidentally trench on matters which are beyond its competence. In order to examine the true character of the enactment, the entire Act, its object, scope and effect, is required to be gone into. [vide: Union of India v. Shah Goverdhan L. Kabra Teachers' College,(2002) 8 SCC 228]. 14.17. The Court has to ascertain the true nature and character of the enactment, i.e.,the result of the investigation, not the form alone. The legislation must be scrutinized in its entirety. 14.18. Then the questions that follow are, (i) whether the law claimed to be within the incidental or ancillary area of the authorised legislative field, substantially impact the essential area or the core of the exclusive legislative field of the other level of Government?; and (ii) whether the extent and degree of invasion would substantially impair the effective exercise of an extent or potential legislation by the other level of the Government? 14.19. The question of invasion into the territory of another legislature must be determined not by the degree but by substance, because the extent of invasion though forbidden, but not altogether. If an Act, when viewed substantially falls within the power of the legislature which enacted it, then it cannot be said to be invalid merely because it incidentally encroaches on the matter which has been assigned to another legislature [vide: State of Bombay v. Narottam Jethabhai AIR 1951 SC 99]. 14.20. It is likely to happen from time to time that enactment though purporting to deal with a subject in one list touches also on a subject in another list and prima facie looks as if one legislature is impinging on the legislative field of another legislature. This may result in a large number of statutes being declared unconstitutional, because the legislature enacting law may appear to have legislated in a field reserved for the other legislature. Where the question for determination is whether a particular law relates to a particular subject mentioned in one list or the other, the courts look into the substance of the enactment. To examine whether a legislation has impinged on the field of other legislatures, in fact or in substance, or is incidental, keeping in view the true nature of the enactment, the courts have evolved the doctrine of pith and substance for the purpose of determining whether it is legislation with respect to matters in one list or the other. Therefore, for applying the principle of pith and substance regard is to be had (i) to the enactment as a whole, (ii) to its main objects, and (iii) to the scope and effect of its provisions [vide:Bharat Hydro Power Corpn. Ltd. v. State of Assam,(2004) 2 SCC 553]. 14.21. Although Parliament cannot legislate on any of the entries in the State List, it may do so incidentally while essentially dealing with the subject coming within the purview of the entry in the Union List. Conversely, the State Legislature also while making legislation may incidentally trench upon the subject covered in the Union List. Such incidental encroachment in either event need not make the legislation ultra vires the Constitution. When there is an irreconcilable conflict between the two legislations, the Central legislation shall prevail. However, every attempt would be made to reconcile the conflict. [vide: Special Reference No. 1 of 2001, In re, (2004) 4 SCC 489] 14.22. If the matter is within the exclusive competence of the State Legislature i.e. List II, then the Union Legislature is prohibited to make any law with regard to the same. Similarly, if any matter is within the exclusive competence of the Union, it becomes a prohibited field for the State Legislatures. 14.23. In State of U.P. v. Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd. (1991)4 SCC 139, while dealing with the legislative competence of the U.P. Sales of Motor Spirit, Diesel Oil and Alcohol Taxation (Amendment) Act, 1976, as to whether it would fall under Entry 52 of list-I or under Entry 54 of List II, the Apex Court held that the control exercised by the Central Government by virtue of Section 18-G of the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 is in a field far removed from the taxing power of the State under Entry 54 of List II and so long as the impugned legislation falls in pith and substance within the taxing field of the State, the control of the Central Government in exercise of its power under the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 in respect of a controlled industry falling under Entry 52 of List I cannot in any manner prevent the State from imposing taxes on the sale or purchase of goods which are the products of such industry and which are referable to Entry 33 of List III. 14.24. It is trite that both the Acts can operate in their respective fields and there is no repugnancy if both the Acts are considered in the light of their respective true nature and character. While giving due weight to Centre's supremacy in the matters of legislation, the States' legitimate sphere of legislation should not be unnecessarily whittled down, because that would be unwarranted by the spirit and basic purpose of the constitutional division of powers; and all the entries should be construed in harmonious manner so as to avoid any conflict. In other words, only in case of conflict or collision or where there is a glaring repugnancy the very doctrine of occupied field will be attracted [vide: Rathinam v. State (2005(1) CTC 516  in which one of us (P.D.Dinakaran,J.) was a party]. 14.25. It has been a cardinal principle of construction that the language of the entries should be given the widest scope of which their meaning is fairly capable and while interpreting an entry of any list it would not be reasonable to import any limitation therein. The rule of widest construction, however, would not enable the legislature to make a law relating to a matter which has no rational connection with the subject-matter of an entry.

14.26. It is further a well-settled principle that entries in the different lists should be read together without giving a narrow meaning to any of them. Power of Parliament as well as the State Legislature are expressed in precise and definite terms. 14.27. The touch-stone for application of the doctrine of Pith and Substance, as observed earlier, is that while interpreting the conflicts between the Union and the State, an organic, but not pedantic approach of interpretation must guide the judicial process. The healing art of harmonious construction not the tempting game of hair splitting would alone promote the rhythm of rule of law, as every enactment is presumed to be constitutionally valid and it is only for the legislature to determine the urgent need of the public taking into consideration the societal realities and the public interest, and the Court should be more cautious in testing the enactment in the teeth of legislative competency, particularly, when the respective fields of legislation overlap with each other. Therefore, while applying the harmonious construction to reconcile the relevant entries of the respective Government, every attempt should be made to harmonise the apparently conflicting entries not only of different lists but also the same list and to reject the construction which would make the legislation nugatory. 14.28. When an entry is to be given its widest meaning but it cannot be so interpreted as to override another entry or make another entry meaningless and in case of an apparent conflict between different entries, it is the duty of the court to reconcile them. 14.29. In interpreting the scope of various entries in the legislative lists in the VII Schedule, widest-possible amplitude must be given to the words used and each general word must be held to extend to ancillary or subsidiary matters which can fairly be said to be comprehended in it. The entries should, thus be given a broad and comprehensive interpretation. [vide. State of Gujarat v. Akhil Gujarat Pravasi V.S.Mahamandal (2004) 5 SCC 155]. 14.30. The primal principles justifying the competency of the respective Legislatures with respect to the entries concerned, therefore, are: (i) Entries in each of the List must be given the most liberal and widest possible interpretation and no attempt should be made to narrow or whittle down the scope of the entries. (ii) The application of the doctrine of pith and substance really means that where a legislation falls entirely within the scope of an entry within the competence of a State Legislature then this doctrine will apply and the Act will not be struck down. (iii) If the entrenchment is minimal and does not affect the dominant part of some other entry, which is not within the competence of the State Legislature, the Act may be upheld as constitutionally valid. (iv) The nature and character of the scope of the entries having regard to the touchstone of the provisions of Articles 245 and 246. (v) The doctrine of occupied field has a great place in the interpretation as to whether or not a particular Legislature is competent to legislate on a particular entry. This means that when the field is completely occupied by List I, as in this case, then the State Legislature is wholly incompetent to legislate and no entrenchment or encroachment, minimal or otherwise, by a State Legislature is permitted. Where the field is not wholly occupied, then a mere minimal encroachment or entrenchment would not affect the validity of the State Legislation. These five principles have to be read and construed together and not in isolation. It is also well settled that where two Acts, one passed by the Parliament and the other by a State Legislature, collide and there is no question of harmonising them, then the Central legislation must prevail. [vide: I.T.C. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka, 1985 Supp SCC 476]. 14.31. It is also an essential rule that, when the vires of enactment is challenged, the court primarily presumes the constitutionality of the statute by putting the most liberal construction upon the relevant legislative entry so that it may have the widest amplitude and the substance of the legislation will have to be looked into. To sustain the presumption of constitutionality, consideration may be had even to the matters of common knowledge; the history of the times; and every conceivable state of facts existing at the time of legislation which can be assumed. It is also permissible to look into the historical facts and surrounding circumstances for ascertaining the evil sought to be remedied [vide Shashikant Laxman Kale v. Union of India, (1990) 4 SCC 366].

14.32. It is settled that in order to sustain the presumption of constitutionality, the Court may take into consideration matters of common report, the history of the times and may assume every state of facts which can be conceived existing at the time of legislation, vide Rama Krishna Dalmia v. Justice S.R.Tendolkar, AIR 1958 SC 538. The above principle has to be constantly borne in mind by the Court when it is called upon to adjudge the constitutionality of any particular law and the said view was once again expressed by the Constitution Bench of the Apex Court in C. I. Emden v. State of U. P, AIR 1960 SC 548.

15. In the instant case, while the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 and Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 were enacted by the Central Government tracing its legislative competency to Entry 54 of List-I (Union List), the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act is enacted by the State Government tracing its legislative competency to Entry 42 of List-III (Concurrent List).

16. The core contention of the land owners/ interested persons is that the power of the Central Government to enact legislation in the matter connected with coal bearing and mineral bearing lands is traceable to the legislative competency under Entry 54 of List I and accordingly, there are two legislations enacted by the Central Government, viz., (i) Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 and (ii) Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, and the power and procedure prescribed in the said enactments prevail over the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, which is a State Act, in view of Article 254 of the Constitution of India. Argued that even the assent of the President obtained for the State Act will not cure the repugnancy, as there is no specific reference to either of the Act, viz., (i) Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957; or (ii) Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957.

17. The very basis of the argument of the land owners/ interested persons is that both the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 and Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 were enacted by the Parliament tracing the legislative competency to Entry 54 of List I which deals with the regulation of mines. In the absence of any specific definition for the word "coal" in the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, and the very fact that coal and lignite are distinctly referred to as different minerals in Item 1 of Part A of First Schedule of Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, it may not be proper for this Court to construe that coal and lignite are one and the same. Therefore, the provisions of Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 are also not attracted. Therefore, we are convinced that there is no need to specifically refer the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 for obtaining the assent of the President contemplated under Article 254(2) of the Constitution of India. Hence, the contention that the notice under Section 7 of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, should have been given prior to the initiation of impugned acquisition proceedings fails. For the same reason, the challenge on the ground of repugnancy with reference to the power and procedure contemplated for determining the compensation also fails. It may be appreciated that sufficient safeguards are also provided under the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act to hear the expert witnesses for the determination of the amount payable to the land owners/ interested persons.

18. Even though the lignite is notified under Item 1 of Part A of First Schedule as "Specified Minerals", in view of the fact that the impugned areas have already been held under reconnaissance permit or prospecting license or mining lease and thus excluded from the provisions of the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, as per Section 17(2) of the said Act, the contention that the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act is repugnant to the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 also fails.

19. On the other hand, the State is empowered to enact T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act for making special provisions for speedy acquisition of lands for industrial purposes and for quick establishment of the industries. The intention behind the enactment is spelled out in the statement of objects and reasons as already referred to above, viz., for speedy industrial growth in the State. Applying the well settled principles relating the concept of pith and substance, to test the legislative competency of the State Government to enact T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act and to decide the constitutionality of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act thereupon, in the light of its purpose and object, we have no hesitation to hold that legislative competency of the State Government to enact T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act is traceable to Entry 42 of List III so far as acquisition of lands for industrial purpose is concerned. It is, therefore, difficult to comprehend that the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act inroads to the legislative competency of the Central Government under Entry 54 of List I. However, taking note of the existence of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 on the same subject of acquisition and requisitioning of property, the State Government, specifically referring the same under Section 21 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, have rightly obtained the assent of the President as contemplated under Article 254(2) of the Constitution of India and thus, the repugnancy stands rectified.

20. Of course, an argument was advanced that the power of the State to enact law for acquisition and requisitioning of property should be incidental to the field of legislations under the other entries of the three lists. In other words, the enactment of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act is inseparable to that of the powers of the Central Government to enact laws regulating mines under Entry 54 of List I (Union List). But, in our considered opinion, such an argument is totally unsustainable in law, in view of the doctrine of pith and substance, discussed above.

21. This leads to the focal point of controversy, whether the power of acquisition and requisitioning of property, either to legislate or to execute, which are traceable to Entry 42 of List III is an independent power by itself or ancillary or incidental to any of the other legislative executive powers flowing from various entries in the three lists. To analyse this, we are constrained to traverse the Constitution amending process bearing on the three relevant entries relating to the acquisition and requisitioning of property by way of Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956, which came into force on 1.11.1956. Prior to the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956, Entry 33 of List I read as follows, "Acquisition or requisitioning of property for the purpose of the Union". Similarly, Entry 36 in List II prior to the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956 read as follows: "Acquisition or requisitioning of property except for the purpose of the Union subject to the provisions of Entry 42 of List III". At that time, Entry 42 of List III read, viz., "Principles on which compensation for property acquired or requisitioned for the purposes of the Union or of a State or for any other public purpose is to be determined, and the form and manner in which such compensation is to be given". But, by virtue of the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, the three entries were repealed. Entry 33 in List I and Entry 36 in List II were deleted and a single comprehensive Entry 42 in List III was substituted to read : Acquisition and requisitioning of property.

22. The power to acquire property, therefore, could be exercised concurrently by the Union and the States. Even if prior to the deletion of Entry 33 in List I and Entry 36 in List II, there could be a possibility for an argument that as power of acquisition of property was conferred both on Union and the States to be exercised either for the purpose of the Union or for the State, it was incidental to any other legislative power flowing from various entries in the three lists and not an independent power. But, since the deletion of Entry 33 in List I and Entry 36 in List II and substitution of a comprehensive Entry 42 in List III, referred to above, it could hardly be urged with confidence that the power of acquisition and requisitioning of property was incidental to other power. Therefore, we firmly conclude that it is an independent power provided for in a specific entry. The above view is strengthened by a decision of the Constitution Bench of the Apex Court in Ishwari Khetan Sugar Mills (publication) Ltd., State of U.P., 1980 (4) SCC 136.

23. Accordingly, both the Union and the State would have power of acquisition and requisitioning of property. This position is unquestionably established by the majority decision in Rustom Cavasjee Cooper v. Union of India, (1970) 1 SCC 248 @ 282 = AIR 1970 SC 564, where Shah, J., speaking for the majority of 10 Judges held as under: Power to legislate for acquisition of property is exercisable only under Entry 42 of List III, and not as an incident of the power to legislate in respect of a specific head of legislation in any of the three lists.

24. Of course, this position would drag to a complication, viz., if power of acquisition is treated as an independent power both of the Union and the State and could be exercised by the Union and the State with respect to the same property it would lead to such a confusion that there would be no end to it. A picture of fearful constitutional impasse was drawn in State of West Bengal v. Union of India, AIR 1963 SC 1241. In that case, the State of West Bengal filed a suit against the Union of India challenging the constitutional validity of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, on the ground that the Act to the extent it applied to the land vested in or owned by the State was beyond legislative competence of Parliament. But, such wild apprehension stands effectively answered in the State of West Bengal case, referred supra, holding that such merry-go-round needs to be averted by harmonious construction and reconciliation of powers between the Union and the States. Even though the power to acquisition and requisitioning of property, may since the amendment be exercised concurrently by the Union and the States, Article 254 negatives the possibility of such conflicts by the seal of the assent by the President to the State legislations.

25. Even though the power to acquisition and requisitioning of property, may since the amendment be exercised concurrently by the Union and the States, Article 254 negatives the possibility of such conflicts by the seal of the assent by the President to the State legislations. Thus, the power of acquisition and requisitioning of property in Entry 42 of List III and the corresponding executive powers, are to be held independent, but not incidental to any other entries in the three lists. The contention that the power to acquire the lands for lignite mining operation should be traceable only to Entry 54 of List I, therefore, in our considered opinion, is liable to be rejected.

26. In pith and substance, the State Government for speedy industrial growth in the State felt the lands for industrial purpose have to be acquired speedily and enacted the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act with a conceptualized vision that more industries would be started in Tamil Nadu and the acquisition of lands for setting up such industries would be expedited to achieve the laudable object of big industrialization in the State of Tamil Nadu. Such power of the State to enact T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act or such powers conferred under the authorities under the Act for speedy acquisition of lands for industrial purpose cannot be strangled on the ground of legislative competency, as such power of acquisition and requisitioning of property conferred under Entry 42 of List III (Concurrent List) is independent by itself, but not ancillary or incidental to the power to regulate mines and minerals under Entry 54 of List I (Union List). It is thus clear that neither the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act suffers from any legislative competency nor the impugned acquisition proceedings initiated under the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act suffer for want of jurisdiction. 27.1. Next, we proceed to examine the attack on the impugned acquisition proceedings made by the land owners/interested persons, for non compliance of Rule 6 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Rules due to the failure to furnish the remarks of the requisitioning body/NLC. 27.2. Of course, our attention was invited to the decision of the Division Bench of this Court in Ramanujam N.D v. Collector of Madras & 2 Others, 1994 WLR 326. The said case arose under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, where the lands were acquired by the Madras Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board/requisitioning body to provide water supply to the residents of a locality. During the acquisition proceedings even though objections were filed by land owners/ interested persons, there was no record to show that the reply of the requisitioning body was communicated to the petitioner therein to make the enquiry contemplated under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 effective and purposeful. Therefore, it was held that the enquiry conducted under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was illegal and contrary to the relevant Rules that are applicable for 5A enquiry in the matter of acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Rule 4 of the Land Acquisition (Tamil Nadu) Rules prescribes the procedure to be followed in the matter of hearing the objections of the land owners/ interested persons to the acquisition and holding an enquiry in that regard. Rule 4 of Land Acquisition (Tamil Nadu) Rules reads as follows: "Rule (4)  (a) If a statement of objections is filed by a person who is interested in the land, it shall be summarily rejected. (b) If any objections are received from a person interested in the land and within the time prescribed in sub-section (1) of section 5-A, the Collector shall fix a date for hearing the objections and give notice thereof in Form 'B' to the objector as well as to the department or company acquiring the land. Copies of the objections shall also be forwarded to such department or company. The department or company may file on or before the date fixed by the Collector, a statement by way of answer to the objections and may also depute a representative to attend the enquiry. (c) On the date fixed for enquiry or any other date to which the enquiry may be adjourned by the Collector, the Collector shall hear the objector, or a person authorised by him in this behalf, or his pleader and the representative, if any, of the department or company and record any evidence that may be produced by both in support of the objections and in support of the need for acquiring the land." 27.3. No doubt, the said Rule 4 of the Land Acquisition (Tamil Nadu) Rules framed under Section 55 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 is akin to Rule 6 of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Rules made under Section 25 of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act. But, in view of Section 21 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 are excluded save as otherwise provided in the Act, and therefore, neither the provision relating to the 5A enquiry nor the rules related to enquiry under Section 5A, nor the ratio laid with respect to the enquiry under Section 5A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 shall have any relevancy to the acquisition proceedings of the present Act. That apart, such a situation is not contemplated expressly either in Section 3 of the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act or under Rule 6 of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Rules. What all Section 3 contemplates is only to publish notice under Section 3(2) by the Government calling upon the land owners/ interested persons to show cause as to why the lands should not be acquired and also cause a public notice in that regard, and thereafter to receive objection, forward the copy to requisitioning body and after getting statement by way of answer from the requisitioning body, to hold an enquiry and take a decision and thereafter pass an order under Section 3(1) as provided under Section 3(3) of the Act that the land is required for industrial purpose and in furtherance of the object of the Act. 27.4. In our considered opinion, in view of Section 21 of the Act, the provisions of the Act and Rules should be interpreted strictly applying the golden rule of interpretation that the literal interpretation should be adhered to in the absence of any anomaly or absurdity in reading the words of the statute as it stands, and a statute cannot be looked at with a coloured glass.

28. Lastly, we are unable to comprehend such grievance of the land owners/ interested persons that the Government failed to provide sufficient rehabilitation measures/safeguards to the land owners/interested persons, as contemplated under the National Policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation for Project Affected Families-2003, in view of the undertaking given by the respondents in the counter affidavit that rehabilitation package has been provided in order to give relief and rehabilitation measure to genuinely displaced land oustees, which, we record, would take care of the interest of the petitioners seeking sufficient rehabilitation measures/ safeguards under the National Policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation for Project Affected Families-2003.

29. In fine, all the attempts to strangulate the impugned acquisition proceedings under the provisions of T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act fail as devoid of merits and for want of legal contentions.

30. Resultantly, (i)the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act and the Rules framed thereunder does not suffer from lack of legislative competency of the State Government and therefore, the same are held constitutionally valid; (ii)the impugned acquisition proceedings initiated under the T.N.Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act does not suffer any illegality, irrationality, or procedural impropriety; and (iii)the writ petitions and connected miscellaneous petitions are dismissed. No costs. sasi/kpl/na

[na]

[PRV/9715]


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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