1. This application by the petitioner-landholders under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India is to quash the acquisition proceedings relating to their lands notified under S. 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') for the purpose of construction of s Cooperative Sugar Factory Limited (2nd respondent herein)
2. The 2nd respondent war incorporated for the manufacture or sugar as an industrial unit. About 20 acres of land belonging to the petitioners along with about 100 acres of land belonging to third parties are sought to be acquired for the purpose of construction of sugar factory. This sugar factory is sought to be constructed pursuant to the Scheme sponsored by the Government with a view to encourage the Sugar industry as well as sugar-cane growers in the Nellore District and also to increase the production of sugar to meet acute shortage of sugar. As the land covered by the acquisition in question was found by the concerned authorities to be most suitable for the installation of the factory, the same is sought to be acquired. A notification dated 28-9-1976 ,under S. 4(1) of the Act was published in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette on 14-10-1976 . As the acquisition of the land in question is for an urgent public purpose, the enquiry under Section 5-A of the Act has been dispensed with. Except the petitioner's lands, the remaining lands belonging to other persons have already been acquired. possession of the same was taken and the same was handed over to the sugar factory by the concerned authorities Aggrieved by the acquisition proceedings. this writ petition has been tiled by the petitioners.
3. The sum and substance of the submission of Sri P. h. Choudary, learned counsel for the petitioners is four fold: (1) The acquisition sought to be made-for the cooperative sugar factory if not for public purpose.
(2) the 2nd respondent-society being a company, the provisions of Part V I of Act are attracted and, therefore, the failure to have a, enquiry under Ss. 5A and 40 (1) of the Act vitiated the entire acquisition proceedings;
(3) the provision, of S. 6(1) of the Act cannot be applied to the instant case as the same has been repeated and new provisions substituted in its place as per clause (a) of sub-sec. (2) of S .3 of Andhra Pradesh Act XXII of 1976; and (4) the payment of Rs. 100/- by the State towards the acquisition of the lands for the and respondent-society is colorable exercise of power as the amount is a paltry sum and, therefore, the provisions of law are not complied with.
4. This claim of the petitioners is resisted by the learned Advocate -General contending inter alia that the acquisition is for public purpose, that the provisions of S. 6(1) of the Act are intact and are applicable to the case on hand as the substituted provisions by the A. P. Act XXII of 1976 do not repeal S. 6(1) of the Act, that payment of Rs. 100/- in the instant case by the State Government would be sufficient requirement of low and that no enquiry under Ss. 5-A and 40 (1) of the Act need be made in the present case.
5. Upon the respective contention advanced on behalf of the parties, the following questions arise for decision;
(1) Whether the acquisition of laud for the co-operative sugar factory is or is not for public purpose?
(2) Whether C1. (a) of sub-sec. (2) of Section 3 of Andhra Pradesh Act XXII of 1976 had the effect of repealing the provisions of sub-sec. (1) of S. 6 of the Act.
(3) Whether the payment of Rs. 100/- by the State Government towards the acquisition of the land in question is or is not sufficient compliance of the provisions of law? (1) Whether the failure to make an enquiry under Ss. 5-A and 40 (1) of du Act vitiated the acquisition proceedings?
6. We shall first take up question No. 1. Admittedly, the acquisition of the petitioner's Lands along with the lands belonging to others, totaling to an extent of more than 200 acres, is for the purpose of construction of a cooperative sugar factory, in pursuance of a scheme sponsored by the Government with the object of encouraging sugar cane industry in the Nellor District and also to increase the production of sugar to meet the acute shortage of sugar in the country. It appears that the State Government has 71.5% of share appears in the factory and it has also invested huge sums of money towards the share capital. The inclusive definition of 'public purpose' in the Act not being compendious is not useful in ascertaining the ambit of that expression. Therefore we have to interpret this expression reasonably, purposefully and pragmatically. Where a co-operative society, in which the State has a major interest, wants to construct a sugar factory with a view to encourage the local sugar can growers and the industry and also to increase the production of sugar in order to meet the acute shortage of sugar in the country, it cannot be said that no public purpose is involved in such a venture. Admittedly it is not for any gain by any particular individual or group of individuals. In the present case the very scheme has been sponsored by the State Government. In R.L. Arora v. State of U.P. : 6SCR784 the acquisition of land for the purpose of construction of a factor for the manufacture of textile machinery parts was upheld. In hold that the acquisition of the land in the present case is for public purpose and, in favor of the respondents.
7. The next question that requires to be considered is with regard to the application of the provisions of Section 6(1) of the Act. The submission of Mr. Choudary is that C1. (a) of sub-sec. (2) of S.3 of the Andhra Pradesh Act XXII of 1976 repealed and substituted the provisions of sub-sec. (1) of Section 6 of the Act, and therefore, substituted provision as per C1. (a) of sub-sec. (2) of S.3 of the A.P.Act XXII of 1976 is not applicable to the present case because it applies only to cases of acquisition of land for the purpose of construction, extension or improvement or any dwelling-house for the poor. In order to appreciate the stand taken by the learned counsel, it is necessary to refer to Section 3 (2) of the State Act, which reads thus:
3. For the purpose of acquisition of land for the construction, extension or improvement of any dwelling-house for the poor, the principal Act shall have effect in relation to such acquisition subject to the following modification, namely:-
(2) in Section 6-
(a) for sub-sec. (1), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely-
(1) Where the appropriate Government or the District Collector is satisfied that any particular land is needed for the purpose of construction, extension or improvement of any dwelling-house for the poor, a declaration shall be made on that effect under the signature of a Secretary, such Government or any other officer duly authorized to certify their orders or the District Collector, as the case may be and different declarations made, from time to time in respect of different parcels of land covered by the same notification under S. 4, sub-sec. (1):
Provided that no such declaration shall be made unless the compensation to be awarded for such property is to be paid wholly or party out of public revenues or some fund controlled or managed by a local authority.'
...... ....... ....... ..... ..... ............ ........... ............' True as submitted by Mr.Choudary the words used are :shall be submitted'. It is sought to be urges that on account of substitution of the provisions contained in Section 3 (2) (a) of A.P. Act XXII of 1976, sub sec. (1) of S. 6 of the Act stands repeated by virtue of the provisions of Art. 254(2) of the Constitution of India, the State Act shall prevail in the State of Andhra Pradesh even it is repugnant to the expression 'shall be substituted' is accepted, there would be repugnance between the provisions of the State Act and the Central Act. This submission appears to be attractive at the first flush. But on a careful consideration of the relevant provisions, we are unable to agree with this contention of the learned counsel for reasons more that one. The very intendment and object of S.3 of the State Act XXII of 1976 is to effect modification to the Central Act, which is clear from the heading of that Section itself. The word 'modification' is no doubt, nor denied in the Act. The use if ' modification' in this context is of wide connotation. We may notice the meaning of 'modification' as given by (P.Ramanatha Aiyar) the Law Lexicon thus: A change; an alteration which introduces new elements into the details, or cancels some of them, but leaves the general purpose and effect of the subject-matter intact.' The expression 'modification' must be constructed to be a change or an alteration which may introduce some new elements regarding the details or cancels some of them without touching the general purpose and effect of the subject-matter. Section 3 of the State Act XXII of 1976, introduces modification of the Principal Act in so far as it is applicable to the State of Andhra Pradesh for the purpose of acquisition of land for the construction, extension or improvement of any dwelling-house for the poor and the Principal Act shall have effect in relation to such acquisition subject to modification enumerated therein. The modifications sought to be made by the State Act are four in number. No.1 pertains to Section 4 of the principal Act No.2 related to Section 6 of the Principal Act, with which we are now concerned, Nos.3 and 4 relate to Ss. 17 and 31, respectively, of the Principal Act. Hence the modifications sought to made by the State Act while applying the provisions of the Principal Act for the purpose of acquisition of land for construction, extension or improvement of any dwelling-house for the poor, are the aforesaid four.
In that broader context, at some place in the State Act the word used is 'inserted' whereas in modification No.2 the expression used is 'substituted'. Applying the rule of Beneficial Construction to the present case, we have no hesitation to hold that the expression 'substituted' used in modification No.2 with regard to S. 6(1) of the Act must be constructed to be an additional provisions applicable to cases of acquisition of land for the purpose of construction, extension or improvement of any dwelling-house for the poor in the State. Secondly, we may read S.3 (2) (a) of the State Act as a kind of substituted provisions for the Central Act only in respect of acquisitions of land for the purpose of construction, extension or improvement of any house for the poor in the State. This very provisions has been made by the State Legislature with a view to acquire land for the poor for providing dwelling-houses to them as a policy of the State.
In such a case even if the word 'substituted' is construed as substitution by the provisions contained in S.3 (2) (a) of the State Act in the place of the provisions of S. 6(1) of the Act, it does not in any way affect the case on hand. In the present case the acquisition is not for the purpose of construction, extension or improvement of any house for the poor. The acquisition is for the purpose of construction of a co-operative sugar factory. The provisions contained in S.3 (2) (a) of the Act come into play only when such acquisitions as specified in that Section are made but not otherwise. In all cases of acquisition other than the acquisition sought to be made under the provisions contained in S.3 (2) (a) of the State Act, the provisions of S. 6(1) of the Principal Act would apply. By no stretch of imagination it can be constructed that the State Legislature by anacting Act XXII of 1976 intended to repeal S. 6(1) of the Principal Act. Nor can it be justified on any other ground. If the interpretation sought to be made by the learned counsel for the petitioned is acceded to, it would result in undue hardship. We cannot also agree with the submission of the petitioner's counsel that no other construction is possible nor plausible other that the one submitted by him. We are, therefore, of the view that S. 6(1) of the Principal Act is intact as the same has not been repealed by the State Act XXII of 1976, although the word 'substituted' is used in S.3 (2) (a). We may add the Draftsman could have used an appropriate word without giving room for this type of argument or construction. However, we are of the firm view that S. 6(1) of the Principal Act is still applicable to the present case and there is no merit in the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioners. Therefore, the question is also answered against the petitioners.
8. We shall now turn to the contention that the payment of RS.100/- is colourable exercise of the power and the provisions of law are not complied with. The declaration under S. 6(1) cannot be made unless the compensation to be answered for such property out of public revenue or some fund controlled or managed by a local authority. In the present case the State Government paid a sum of RS. 100/- out of public revenues. The words used in the second proviso to sub-sec. (1) of S. 6 are 'wholly or partly'. As held by the Supreme Court in Somawanti v.State of Punjab : 2SCR774 'part' does not necessarily mean a substantial part and it will be open to the Court in every case which comes up before it to examine whether the contribution made by the State satisfied the requirement of the law. But, however, in the very same case the Supreme Court held that the decision of the Government to contribute a sum of Rs. 100/- towards the cost of acquisition of land worth about RS.45,000/- satisfied for requirements of the provisions of S. 6(1) of the Act and the notification could not be challenged as a colourable exercise of power under the Act. In a recent decision of the Supreme Court in Bai Malimabu v.State of Gujarat : AIR1978SC515 the question that fell for consideration was whether the contribution of Re.1/- only from public exchequer would lead to the conclusion that it was a colourable exercise of power. Repelling the contention raised on behalf of the landowner. Untwalia.J speaking for the court rules at p. 518 thus:
'The next submission for the appellants was that contribution of one Re.1/- from the public Exchequer by the State Government for the purposes of acquiring land for the use of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation was a colourable exercise of power and did not in effect and substance fulfill the requirement of law as engrafted in Section 6 of the Act. A complete answer is to be found in the majority decision of this court in Somavanti's case : 2SCR774 and in the case of Inderjit C. Parekh v. State of Gujarat : AIR1975SC1182 .'
9. The last submission is with regard to the need and justification for dispensing with the esquire under S. 5-A and S. 40(1) of the Act. S. 40(1) does not apply to the case on hand. In the present case as pointed out earlier, a sum of RS.100/- has been contributed by the State Government towards the cost of the land to be acquired. That being so, it is not necessary for the Government to proceed with the acquisition under part VII of the Act. See Somawanti v. State of punjab : 2SCR774 . So, on the 3rd question also we found against the petitioners.
10. We shall now advert to the dispensation of the enquiry under S. 5-A of the Act. On a consideration we are satisfied that the State Government applied its mind to the facts and opined that there is urgent need to acquire these lands for the construction of a CO-operative sugar factory. In fact, huge sums of money have been invested for the purchaser of plant and machinery and unless and until the construction of the building is made without delay. It would be a huge loss to the society as well as the State Government which had a major share therein. Without acquiring the lands and taking possession of them, buildings and the factory cannot be constructed. We are therefore, satisfied that there are no want of bona fides in the present acquisition and the State Government after applying its mind to the facts and circumstances of the case opined that there is urgent need for the acquisition of the land. Accordingly, the last question is also answered against the petitioners and in favor of the respondents.
11. For all the reasons stated above, we uphold the acquisition proceedings and dismiss the writ petition as it is devoid of any merit. In the circumstances. We direct each party to beat its own costs. Advocate's fee RS.150/-.
12. Petition dismissed.