1. Among others, the petitioner is the owner of land bearing Sy. number 152/1A of Tagdur village, Nanjangud Taluka, measuring 3 acres 28 guntas. As a progressive farmer, the petitioner has sunk an irrigation well in the land and has installed an irrigation pump set to draw water and cultivate the same.
2. In exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 3(1) of the Karnataka Acquisition of Land for Grant of House Sites Act, 1972 (Karnataka Act 18 of 1972) (hereinafter referred to as the Act), the Deputy Commissioner, Mysore District. Mysore (hereinafter referred to as the DC) issued preliminary notification No. Li VPC 30HLA 76 dated 11-3-1976 (Published in the Karnataka Gazette Extraordinary dated 22-4-1976) (Exhibit-C) proposing to acquire Sy. No. 152/lA owned by the petitioner and another land bearing Sy. No. 149/ owned by one Smt. Madamma for purposes of providing sites to houseless and sightless people of the village, which was objected to by the petitioner and Smt. Madamma on diverse grounds. Apparently accepting the objections of the petitioner and Smt. Madamma, the DC did not pursue that notification and did not issue any final notification under Section 3(4) of the Act. With this, the petitioner expected that his problems had ended. But, also that did not happen.
3. In Notification No. LAQ.SR-2c9l/7879 dated 6-12-1978 (Annexure-D) published in the Karnataka Gazette dated 21-12-1978, the DC again proposed to acquire an extent of 2 acres of land only in Sy. No. 152/IA owned by the petitioner for the very purpose earlier proposed and appointed the Assistant Commissioner, Nanjangud Sub-Division, Nanjangud (hereinafter referred as the AC) as the Inquiry Officer under the Act, which was again opposed by him on 2-1-1979 (Exhibit-F). In that view, the AC held an inquiry overruled the objections of the petitioner and recmended to the DC to sanction the acquisition proposed in the preliminary notification. On an examination of the said report of the AC and t e records, the DC accorded his sanction in his order No. LAQ HSL SR 291/78-79 dated 11-4-1979 under Section 3(3) of the Act and issued the necessary final notification under Section 3(4) of the Act on the same day published in the Karnataka Gazette dated 31-5-1979 (Exhibit-L). In this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner has challenged the preliminary and the final notifications issued by the DC.
4. As before the authorities, the petitioner has asserted that as many as 300 sites formed in Sy. No. 315 of that village for providing house sites to the houseless and sightless simple had not been fully utilised and were still available and that being so, there was no necessity to acquire the land owned by him over which be had sunk all his fortune. Secondly the petitioner has asserted that there were considerable extent of Government land available in the village which were suitable for providing house sites to houseless and sightless people of the village and those, lands should be utilised first for providing house sites to the houseless and sightless people of the village. Lastly he has asserted that the acquisition has been initiated and Completed at the instance of the then Minister for Revenue Sri. B. Basavalingappa, who had succumbed to the influence Of one Muddaiah of Tagadur village, who was not well disposed to him.
5. In justification of their actions, the respondents have filed their return. In their return, the respondents do not deny the assertion of the petitioner that he had sunk an irrigation well and has installed a pump set for drawing water to irrigate the entire extent of 3 acres 28 guntas of land owned by him. But, the respondents have asserted that the area over which the well has been sunk is not proposed to be acquired and that even after the acquisition, the petitioner would be left with the irrigation well and an extent of 1 acre 30 guntas and some other lands that has no relevance to these proceedings.
6. The respondents do not deny the issue of the earlier abortive notification under Section 3(1) of the Act. But, for not proceeding with the preliminary notification, the respondent it have not given any explanation.
7. The respondents have not denied the plea of the petitioner that as many as 300 sites had been formed in Sy. No. 315 for the very purpose, had not been fully utilised and were still available. So far as Sy. No. 244 the respondents have stated that a major portion of the same had been allotted to Horticulture Department and the remaining extent was too small and was not sufficient to form house sites. But, the respondents who have not furnished particulars of the extent of land allotted to Horticulture Department and the extent still available in that survey number, have asserted that the remaining extent was likely to be needed for the Horticulture Department for its future development projects.
8. On the allegations of mala fides attributed by the petitioner against Muddaiah and the then Revenue Minister Sri B. Basavalingappa, the respondents have not joined issue at all, and have not denied them.
9. Sri S. Lakshminarayana, learned High Court Government pleader, appearing for the respondents Very fairly and rightly submits that the order made by the DC under Section 3(3) of the Act was not a speaking order and therefore, the said order and the final notification be quashed reserving liberty to the DC to complete the acquisition proceedings on the basis of the preliminary notification issued by him and the inquiry held by the AC.
10. The order made by the DC under Section 3(3) of the Act reads thus: 'In the circumstances reported by the Assistant Commissioner, Nanjangud Sub-Division, in the letter cited objection filed by Sri T. S. Nagaraj son of Subba Setty is overruled and sanction is hereby accorded for issue of a notification under sub-section (4) of Section 3 of the Karnataka Acquisition of Land for Grant of House Sites Act, 1972''.
The only merit of this order is its brevity and total non-application of mind to the facts of the case and the detailed objections filed by the, petitioners and the laconic report submitted by the AC. Without any doubt, the order made by the DC suffers from every one of the infirmities pointed out by this Court in Ganga Birappa v. State of Karnataka, : AIR1978Kant206 and the same is, therefore, quashed. With the final notification issued by the DC is also quashed.
11. Sri. T. R. Subbanna, learned counsel for the petitioner, strenuously contends that this is one of those rare cases in which the Court should examine every one of the pleas urged by the petitioner and invalidate the preliminary notification also without reserving liberty to the respondents to complete the acquisition proceedings on the basis of the preliminary notification issued for the D. C.
12. Almost as a rule this court, does not interfere with the preliminary notification and allows the proceedings to be completed on the basis of that notification accepting the concession made by the State on the illegalities and irregularities found in the completion of the acquisition proceedings. But, this is not one of those cases in which this court should decline to examine the serious pleas urged by the petitioner and be content invalidating the order made by the DC and the final notification issued by him. I therefore, proceed to examine the contentions urged for the petitioner to invalidate the preliminary notification also.
13. At this stage Sri. Lakshminarayana noticing the defects found in the return filed by the respondents seeks for a reasonable time to file a further statement of objections.
14. Sri. Subbanna strongly opposes the grant of any further time to the respondents to make up the deficiencies in, their return.
15. All the respondents were served in the case as early as on 4-7-1979 and they have filed their return on 9-4-1980. If the respondents have failed to file a full and satisfactory return so far, they must thank themselves for the same and cannot legitimately his court to grant any more time n the midst of the hearing of the case. I, therefore, refuse this prayer of S. Lakshminarayana.
16. Shri Lakshmiharayana contends that the allegations''of mala fides attributed by this petitioner cannot be examined in the absently of sriyuths B. Basavalihgappa and Muadaiahl being made parties to the writ petition and notified of the same.
17. The contention of Sri. Lakshminarayana has only to be stated to be reject6d. When allegations of mala fides are made against a Minister or the other person that, Is stated to have influenced the Minister, it is not necessary to implead either the Minister or the other person that is stated to have influenced the Minister. is now well settled. I see no merit. in this contention of Sri. Lakshmitiarayana and I reject , the same.
18. Sri. Subbanna contends that the acquisition was actuated by personal and legal mala fides and was not for purpose of the Act.
19. Sri. Lakshminarayana strenuously contends that the acquisition was bona, fide and was not vitiated either by personal or legal mala fides.
20. In S. Partap. Singh v. State of Punjab : (1966)ILLJ458SC the majority of the Supreme Court dealing with the case of removal of Partap Singh from Government service, has explained and meaning of personal bias and legal mala fides and the principles that should govern in deciding such pleas before Courts, and that statement? of law has not been departed, by the Supreme Court in any case, I, therefore, propose to examine the allegations of mala fides attributed by the petitioner in the light of the principles enunciated in Partap Singh's case.
21. Let me first deal with the case of the petitioner that the acquisition was actuated by legal Mata fides as that is comparatively easier to decide.
22. On an earlier occasion, a preliminary notification proposing to acquire the very land of the petitioner and another person for the very purpose had been issued and the same was objected to by him on the very grounds urged by him, the, same was not pursued and virtually dropped, are not disputed. When the then DC virtually dropped the proceeding the one and the only reasonable inference that can be drawn is that he was satisfied with the case of the petitioner and, accepted the same and, therefore did not proceed with the acquisition. But, within a year or so, a new, Deputy Commissioner , Sri. S. R. Vijay issued the preliminary notification on 6-12-1978 (Exhibit-D)
23. The proceedings on the second occasion have been initiated on the pro forma, report submitted by the Block Development Officer, Nanjangud (hereinafter ref erred to as the BDO) found in, the records in that pro forma report, the BDO has not filled up a large number of details but has mechanically proposed the acquisition of an extent of 1 acre 13 guntas of land owned by the petitioner, on the basis of which the DC has issued the preliminary notification, proposing to acquire 2 acres of land. If the BDO and, the DC had examined the earlier records and the details necessary to be examined, in the, light of the guide titles, issued by Government in its order No. DPC 15 DRH 72 dated 13-5-1972, it was very unlikely that they would have initiated the acquisition proceed-.
24. The. allegations of the petitioner that 300 sites formed in Sy; No. 315 01 the same village have not been fully utilized before the preliminary and the final notification were issued by the DC have not been denied by the respondents. When, that is so, this court must Accessorily accept this, plea of the petitioner also and hold that a number of sites formed for the Purpose of granting house Sites to houseless and sightless people of the village are still available. But, not with standing the same, the BDO and the DC have initiated acquisition proceeding contrary to the guidelines issued by. Government notifications so in its order dated 13-5-1972. When a land is proposed to be acquired even without utilising the available sites in the village, it can safety be concluded that the same is not for purposes of tile Act and is vitiated by legal mala fides.
25. Let me now deal with the case of the petitioners that the inquisitor proceedings are vitiated by the personal bias of the then Revenue Minister Sri. B. Basavalingappa.
26.On this aspect, the petitioner at Para 15, of his writ petition, has asserted thus:
'15. The petitioner submits that Sri. B. Basavalingappa, Minister for Revenue, had come to the village of the petitioner in connection with a function which took place before the issuance of the preliminary notification and in the said public meeting the said Muddaiah requested the matter for Revenue, to initi,41e acquisition proceedings in respect of the land belonging to the petitioner. The Hon'ble Minister for Revenue assured that the Acquisition proceedings will be taken up immediately in his public speech and requested the petitioner also to give up the land that for which the petitioner submitted and explained the circumstances and also brought to the notice of the Hon'ble Minister for Revenue that he has dug an, irrigation well and that he is ready and willing to purchase one acre' of land even if sites are required. for houseless persons. In spite of this, due to animosity and ill-will towards the petitioner, the said Muddaiah insisted that the land of the Petitioner should be acquired. The petitioner was also present during the said function as he is also a member of the Taluk Development Board in the presence of the petitioner, the Minister gave oral instructions to the Assist ant Commissioner, who was present at the meeting to initiate acquisition proceedings to acquire the land in question of the petitioner. Hence the petitioner submits that the land in question 'is not genuinely required for the 'purpose for which it is intended and it is done by respondents I and 2 at the behest - of the Hon'ble Minister for Revenue, though he is personally aware of the fact that the land is not suitable for house sites as there is an irrigation well situated on the land in question. Hence the submits that the land is acquired in view of the political differences between the petitioner and the harijan leader Sri Muddaiah though there are other lands available 'for acquisition of sites and also the lands which. Were made available for acquisition has not been made use of for the said purpose so far as they are lying vacant as on today.. The petitioner submits that there are no houseless and sightless persons as recommended by the Block Development Officer and the Acquisition proceedings is not at all required as there is no necessary for the same. Earlier, I have noticed that these allegations have not been denied by the respondents and, therefore this court must necessarily accept them and examine his case on that basis. What lows from this is that the acquisition had been initiated at the direction of the then Minister for Revenue Sri. B. Basavalingappa and he issued that direction only to oblige Sri Muddaiah who bore ill-will against the petitioner. The 'Direction issued by the Minister was not for the purpose of the Act and was issued only to oblige Muddaiah an enemy of the petitioner and the same has been meekly and mechanically carried out by the BDO and the DC.
27. Even the very sketch proposal submitted by the BDO, on the basis of which the DC issued the preliminary notification lends credence to the plea of the petitioner that the same had' been done only at the behest of the then Minister for Revenue.
28. In. his objection statement, the petitioner, to save his very valuable property or, which he had sunk all his fortune, had even offered to purchase another land and deliver it to Government if the authorities still felt that there was imperative necessity to provide sites to houseless and- sightless people of the village, to which aspect neither the AC nor the DC have at all adverted. Why they did so, can only be explained by the direction issued by the Minister for Revenue which they, felt, they were bound to carry without reference to the ,Purpose of the Act.
29. On an examination of all the relevant facts and circumstances and records, I am constrained to hold that the initiation of acquisition is vitiated by the personal of the then Minister for Revenue Sri, B. Basavallngappa and the preliminary notification issued by the DC is, therefore, liable to be quashed.
30. In the light of my above discussion, I hold 'that the impugned notifications are liable to be quashed. I, therefore, quash the impugned preliminary and fin4l notifications, Rule issued is made absolute with Costs., Advocate's fee Rs. 250/7.
31. Petition allowed.