1. The main contention urged in this writ petition is that, notification under S. 4(1), Land Acquisition Act not having been published in two daily newspapers, as required by the Central; Amendment Act 68 OF 1984, the notification itself fails and must be quashed.
2. By the Central Amendment Act, the following words are added to sub-s (1) of S. 4 after the words 'shall be published in the Official Gazette ' and before the words 'and the Collector shall cause public notice':-
'and in two daily newspapers circulated in that locality of which at least one shall be in the regional language.'
3. The notification impugned herein was published in the District Gazette on 7-11-1984 and till the matter was heard in the month of March, 1985, it is admitted, the notification was not published in to daily newspapers. The contention of the learned Government Pleader , however, is that the said requirement is not ,mandatory, but is only directory and, therefore, the non-compliance therewith does not render the notification void. I am not prepared to agree. Before this amendment, S. 4(1) required the notification to be published in two modes, viz. One, in the Official Gazette, and the second , publication in the locality of the substance of the notification (which shall be referred to, for the sake of convenience hereinafter, as ' local publication '). The local publication has been held to be mandatory by the Supreme Court, and the non-compliance therewith has been held to vitiate the very notification. The reasons for which the local publication has been held to be mandatory must equally apply to the additional requirements of publication in two daily newspapers. The idea behind the local publication, as well as the publication in two daily newspapers, is that several persons who may be interested in the land proposed to be acquired but whose names may not be found in the Official Gazette, is statutorily deemed as a public notice, the law recognized that, in practice, it is not a sufficient notice. It, therefore , provided an additional mode of publication, viz. The local publication. Now, the parliament seems to feel that, even that is not sufficient , and has provided an additional requirement of publication in two daily newspapers circulated in the locality, of which atleast on should be in the regional language. Having regard to the fact that the notification proposes to compulsory acquire the land of a person, and also because all the persons interested should be put on notice of such proposal, I am of the opinion that the said requirement is mandatory.
4. The learned Government Pleader then contended that the said Central amendment of S. 4(1) does not apply to the state of Andhra Pradesh because of the words introduced in S. 4(1) by the Andhra Pradesh Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act 9 of 1983. By the said amendment, the Andhra Pradesh Legislature provided that the local publication should be effected within 40 days of the publication of the notification in the Gazette. This amendment was brought forward to supersede a Full Bench judgment of this court, which held that the publication in the Gazette and the publication in the locality should take place simultaneously. But, I am unable to see ant inconsistency or repugnancy in the state amendment and the Central amendment. Both can co-exist, and both have to be complied with. It must also be noticed that the Central amendment is subsequent in point of time to the State amendment. The learned Government pleader cited certain decisions in support of his contention, viz. Zaverbhai v. State Bombay : 1SCR799 : Tika Ramaji v. State of U.P. : 1SCR393 and M. Karunanidhi v. Union of India : 1979CriLJ773 , but, I think it unnecessary to deal with the said decisions, because I see absolutely no repugnancy whatsoever between the state amendment and the Central amendment.
5. Another contention urged by the learned Government Pleader is that, even if there is non-compliance with one of the three requirements prescribed by S. 4(1), still the notification should not be quashed, because the Central Amendment Act further provides that the last of the three publications aforesaid should be taken as the date of publication of the notification for all purposes. He submitted that the newspaper publication can be effected even today. It is true that, the Central Amendment Act has also added the following words towards the end of sub-s. (1), viz. :
'the last of the dates of such publication and giving of such public notice being hereinafter referred to as the date of the publication of the notification'.
And it would follow that whenever question arises as to what is the date of publication of the notification, the last of the three publications viz. Gazette publication, newspaper publication, and local publication, shall be taken as the date of publication of notification for all purposes. But, such an argument is not open, where the urgency clause is invoked, in view of the Andhra Pradesh Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act 9 of 1983, which inter alia introduced sub-s.(5) of S. 17 requires that, where the appropriate authority has invoked the urgency clause in S. 17(4) and dispensed with the enquiry under S. 5-A, the collectors shall take possession of the land within three months of such invocation and that, if he fails to do so, the invocation shall fail and an enquiry under S. 5-A shall be held. Now, a combined reading of the relevant provisions introduced both by the Central and State amendments, shows the following : (i) the local publication should be effected within 40 days of the Gazette publication : (ii)where S. 17(4) is invoked dispensing with the enquiry under S. 5-a - which is very often done simultaneously with the notification under S. 4(1) - the possession of the land has to be taken within three months thereof; (iii)possession cannot be taken unless a declaration is made and published under S. 6(1) of the act and notice under S. 9(1) is issued. Indeed, a period of 15 days must elapse from the publication of the notice, mentioned in S. 9(1), before possession can be taken. Of course, where sub-s. (2) if S. 17 is attracted, this requirements of 15 days may not apply: and (iv) the declaration under S. 6(1) cannot be made unless the notification under S. 4(1) is published in the three modes aforesaid.
6. All this means that, where S. 17(4) is invoked, the newspaper publication should be effected within three months, so that there is time for publication of the declaration under S. 6(1), Issue of notice under S. 9(1), and taking of possession, all of which must take place within three months of the Gazette publication. Where, of course, S. 17(4) is not invoked, the above construction of time frame may not apply; but still it must be held that the newspaper publication must also take place within a reasonable time, is ; it is a matter to be decided in the facts of each case, having due regard to the safeguard provided towards the end of S. 4(1) by the Central Amendment Act.
7. Applying the above criteria to the facts of the present case, it would be noticed that,. While the Gazette publication is dated 7-11-1984 (the local publication is on 10-11-1984 and is well within time) so far no publication has been made in the newspapers. There was no stay of further proceedings in pursuance of the notification by this court; the stay was confined only top dispossession of the petitioners. In fact, the order dated 21-1 1985 expressly stated that all other proceedings can of on according to law. In such a case, there is no reason why the newspaper publication could not have been effected. Now, three months have elapsed since the Gazette publication. In this case, the notification under S. 4(1) and the direction under S. 17(4) were made simultaneously and published in the same notification, gazetted on 7-11-1984. For the above reasons, the notification must be held to be bad, even assuming that, with sub-s (2) of S. 17.
8. The writ petition is accordingly allowed and the notification under S. 4(1) is quashed. No costs. Advocate 's fee : Rs.200/-.
9. It is, however, made clear that this order does not preclude the authorities from acquiring this, or other appropriate land, according to law, for the said public purpose.
10. Petition allowed.