V.G. Oak, J.
1. By this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution certain Government Notificationsissued under the Land Acquisition Act are being challenged. The State of Uttar Pradesh issued a series or notifications to the effect that, certain land was to be acquired for construction of staff quarters in connection with the North Eastern Railway Headquarters Scheme. The first notification dated 2nd March 1959 was under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act (hereafter referred to as the Act), and related! to an area of 113.78 acres. The second notification dated 16-4-1959 related to the same area of 113.78 acres, and was issued under Section 6 of the Act. The third notification related to a small area of 2 acres, and was issued under Section 4 of the Act. There are 60 petitioners. Their claim is that they are tenants of the land covered by the said notifications, and their land is being illegally acquired by the State Government. The petitioners have therefore prayed for a writ of mandamus commanding the opposite parties not to proceed with these land acquisition proceedings.
2. A counter-affidavit has been filed on behalf of the apposite parties. They have maintained that the land acquisition proceedings are valid.
3. Mr. Lakshmi Saran appearing for the State raised three preliminary objections as regards the maintainability of the writ petition. His first contention is that a single petition by 60 claimants with respect to separate Government Notifications is not maintainable. There is force in this contention. In Moinuddin v. State of U. P. : AIR1960All484 , it was held that, a joint petition containing a prayer for mandamus cannot be filed on behalf of several petitioners. The three impugned Government notifications cover two separate parcels of land. Two notifications relate to an area of 113-78 acres; while the third notification relates to an area of 2 acres. Again, there are as many as 60 petitioners. All of them are not interested in both the parcels of land. According to the affidavit of Dhonrahi petitioner petitioners Nos. 1 to 53 are tenants in the land with an area of 113.78 acres. Petitioners Nos. 34, 37, 48, 52 and 54 to 60 are tenants of land measuring 2 acres. The petition is defective on account of multifariousness. There is, however, reason to believe that 53 petitioners are interested in challenging the acquisition proceedings relating to the area of 113,78 acres. I invited Mr. S.C. Khare appearing for the petitioners to exercise option. He elected to press the petition with respect to the area of 113.78 acres. I shall therefore, confine further discussion in this case to this area of 113.78 acres.
4. Mr. Lakshmi Saran's second objection is that, the petitioners have not established a subsisting interest in the property in dispute. In Schedule No. 1 attached to the petition the petitioners have described how they are interested in different portions of the total area of 113.78 acres. According to the petition, 53 petitioners are tenants of this land. In paragraph 3 of the counter-affidavit it is stated:
'There is a dispute between the Pipraich Sugar Mills and the petitioners Nos. 19 to 53 in respect of the Sirdari rights. It is the Pipraich Sugar Mills which is recorded as Sirdar of the plots. No doubt the Assistant Collector First Class Gorakhpur had passed an order in favour of the petitioners but there is a civil litigation pending between the said Mills and the petitioners in respect of these rights.'
Since the revenue court has recognized the petitioners' claim as tenants, they are prima facie tenants of the land in dispute. The opposite parties are hardly concerned with the litigation between the petitioners and the Sugar Mills. The petitioners are not required to await the result of that litigation. The petitioners have established a primafacie interest in the property in dispute. They are, therefore, entitled to file this writ petition.
5. The third objection against the maintainability of the petition is that, the authorities have already taken possession under the impugned notifications. In paragraph 7 of the counter-affidavit it has been stated that possession was taken over on 3-7-1959. The writ petition was moved on 13-7-1959. Thus according to the counter-affidavit, the authorities took possession ten days before the writ petition was moved. This allegation has been challenged in the rejoinder affidavit. In paragraph 12 of the rejoinder affidavit it is stated that there might be some paper transaction about delivery of possession. But the petitioners have continued to be in actual physical possession. In view of the conflicting statements in the rival affidavits, it is difficult to say whether possession at the moment is with the petitioners or with the opposite parties. Since there is doubt about actual possession, one cannot give such weight to this preliminary objection raised on behalf of the opposite parties. In paragraph 4 of the counter-affidavit it is stated that, petitioner No. 34 is not a tenant in the land covering 2 acres. Since the petition with respect to this area of 2 acres is being dismissed, it is unnecessary to discuss the question whether petitioner No. 34 is interested in this area of 2 acres.
6. Now I proceed to discuss the merits of the writ petition. The main contention of Mr. S.C. Khare is that the acquisition proceedings are for a Union purpose. It was not open to the State Government to initiate the acquisition proceedings. The impugned notifications mention that land is being acquired for construction of staff quarters in connection with the North Eastern Railway Head-quarters Scheme. This is a Union purpose. But it has been urged for the opposite parties that, the State Government has authority to acquire land for the benefit of the Union.
7. Section 4 of the Act provides for publication of a preliminary notification. Sub-section (1) of Section 4 states :
'Whenever it appears to the appropriate Government that land in any locality is needed or is likely to be needed for any public purpose, a notification to that effect shall be published in the Official Gazette, and the Collector shall cause public notice .......'
The expression ''appropriate Government'' has been defined in Clause (ee) of Section 3 of the Act. The expression 'appropriate Government' means in relation to acquisition of land for the purposes of the Union, the Central Government, and, in relation to acquisition of land for any other purposes, the State Government. We have seen that in the instant case it is alleged that land is being acquired for a purpose of the Union. So in the present case 'appropriate Government' means the Central Government. So it was the Central Government which could take action under Section 4 of the Act for acquiring land. Action has, however, been taken by the State Government, and not by the Union Government.
8. It has been urged for the opposite parties that the State Government has been empowered by the Central Government to take action under the Act whenever necessary. Reliance is placed upon a notification, dated 29-3-1952 issued by the Government of India. Annexure I to the counter-affidavit is a copy of that notification, dated 29-9-1952 (hereafter referred to as 1952 notification). That notification rung thus :
'In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 258 of the Constitution the Central Government hereby entrusts to the Governments of Bombay. Uttar Pradesh .......... the functions of the Central Government under the Land Acquisition Act. .......... in relation to acquisition, of land for thepurposes of the Union, within their respective territories.'
According to this notification, the Central Government authorised the U.P. Government to initiate acquisition proceedings on behalf of tile CentralGovernment.
9. Mr. S.C. Khare contended that the 1952 notification is invalid. That notification, purports to have been issued under Article 258 of the Constitution. Clause (1) of Article 258 of the Constitution is in theseterms :
'Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the president may, with the consent of the Government of a State, entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to that Government or to its officers functions in relation to any matter to which the executive power of the Union extends.'
Under this provision the President may delegate his functions to a State Government. Mr. Khare pointed out that the 1952 notification purports to be am order by the Central Government. That notification does not refer to the President of India at all. Mr. Khare therefore urged that that is not a valid notification under Article 258(1) of the Constitution.
10. Mr. Lakshmi Saran contended that, although the 1952 notification purports to have been issued by the Central Government, it should betaken as delegation by the President Reliance was placed upon The Stats of Bombay v. Purushottam Jog Naik : 1952CriLJ1269 . In that case the impugned notification ran thus :
'Whereas the Government of Bombay is satisfied with respect to the person known as J. N. ...........that with a view to preventing him from actingin a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order it is necessary to make the following order: Now, therefore, ............ the Government ofBombay is pleased to direct that the said J.N. be detained.
By order of the Governor of Bombay (Sd.) V.T.D.
Secretary to the Government of Bombay, Home Department.'
11. The High Court of Bombay held that the order was defective, as it was not 'expressed to be in the name of the Governor' within the meaning of Article 166(1) and was not accordingly protected by Article 166(2). That decision was reversed bythe Supreme Court in appeal. Their Lordships held in appeal that the order was not defective merely because it stated that the Government of Bombay was satisfied and that the Government of Bombay was pleased to direct that J.N. be detained. The order was really one expressed to be taken in the name of the Governor of Bombay within Article 166.
12. The impugned order in Naik's case : 1952CriLJ1269 , was issued under the Preventive Detention Act, 1950. According to Section 3 of that Act, action for detention could be taken if the State Government was satisfied as regards certain matters. The initial condition was the satisfaction of the State Government. The impugned order expressly mentioned that the Government of Bombay was satisfied about the necessity of detaining J. N. So, in terms, that order complied with the requirement of Section 3 of the Preventive Detention Act, 1950, Further, it was being issued under directions of the Governor of Bombay. There was, therefore. substantial compliance with Article 166 of the Constitution. In the present case the impugned notification of 1952 does not refer to the President of India at all. In Muhammad Raza Saheb v. Sadasiva Rao : AIR1926Mad297 . the Government order was expressed as by order of the Government, Ministry of Local Self-Government. The order was signed by the Secretary to the Government. It was held that the order was validly issued. According to Rule 37 of the District Municipalities Act, an order had to be issued by the Governor-in-Council. On the other hand, according to section 49 of the Government of India Act, orders had to be expressed as made by the Government of the Province and authenticated as prescribed. The impugned order in that case was issued in the name of the Government. It was authenticated by the Secretary to Government. That appears to be in accordance with the directions issued by the Governor in that respect. So it was held that the order was properly issued.
13. We have to consider whether the 1952 notification can be considered to be an order by the President of India, although the notification purports to have been issued by the Central Government. Under Article 53 of the Constitution, the Executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President and shall be exercised by him either directly Or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution. According to Clause (1) of Article 77 of the Constitution, all executive action of the Government of India shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the President. Under this Article, even if action is taken by the. Central Government, the relevant order ought to be issued in the name of the President. I do not find in the Constitution the converse proposition. There is no provision to the effect that, orders to be issued by the President might be issued in the name of the Central Government. We have seen that under Clause (1) of Article 258 of the Constitution, it is the President who can delegate his functions to the State Government. There is nothing in the Constitution to suggest that the Central Government may act on behalf of the President for purposes of Article 258. It is true that, under Article 74 of theConstitution, the President is aided by a Council of Ministers. It was open to the Council of Ministers to advise the President for issuing an order under Article 258 of the Constitution. But ultimately the order had to be issued by the President, or in the name of the President. In the instant case the 1952 notification was issued by the Central Government, and not by the President. I agree with Mr. Khare that the notification dated 29-3-1952 is not a valid notification delegating powers under Article 258 of the Constitution. The 1952 notification did not empower the State Government to take action under the Act on behalf of the Union Government. In the absence of any such delegation of powers, action in the instant case ought to have been taken by the appropriate Government (the Central Government). It was not open to the State Government to issue notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act on behalf of the Union Government. The two notifications dated 2-3-59 and 16-4-59 with reference to the area of 113.78 acres are invalid. The authorities have tried to dispossess the petitioners on the strength of these notifications. The petitioners are entitled to be restored to possession, in case the authorities have already dispossessed the petitioners. Since the petition partly succeeds, the parties may be directed to bear their own costs.
14. The petition is partly allowed. The opposite-parties are directed not to give effect to thetwo notifications, dated 2-3-59 and 16-4-59 issuedunder Sections 4 6 and 17 of the Act with respectto the area of 113.78 acres (Annexures A & B tothe petition). The opposite-parties are directed torestore the petitioners Nos. 1 to 53 to possessionover this area of 113.78 acres, in case the petitioners have been dispossessed by this time. Thepetition is dismissed as regards the other area of2 acres. Parties shall bear their own costs.