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Bahori Lal Vs. Land Acquisition Officer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Nos. 1951, 2240 and 4994 of 1964
Judge
Reported inAIR1970All414
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 3, 4, 4(1), 4(2), 5A, 6, 6(1), 8, 48(1) and 49
AppellantBahori Lal
RespondentLand Acquisition Officer and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK.N. Tripathi and ;S.C. Khare, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateShanti Bhushan and ;B.D. Agarwal, Advs. and ;R.P. Goel, Standing Counsel
Excerpt:
civil - notification of land acquisition - sections 4(1) and 6(1) of land acquisition act, 1894 - note appended to the notification stating that site-plan of land being acquired is available for inspection - no proper description of locality where land is situated - notification and declaration do not contain sufficient information - notification and declaration not valid. - - 799/viii-56-57-58, dated march 30, 1960 issued by the collector of mathura, under section 4, sub-section (1) of the land acquisition act, 1894 (1 of 1894), the governor (after considering the report made under section 5a, sub-section (2) of the said act), is pleased to declare under section 6 of the act that he is satisfied that the land mentioned in the schedule is needed fora public purpose and, under section 7.....kirty, j. 1. the three above-mentioned cases have come up before this bench as a result of two separate orders dated 4th november, 1968, passed by a division bench, and 28-10-1968, passed by a learned single judge. by order dated 4-11-1968 in writ no. 4994 of 1964 connected with writ no. 1951 of 1964, jagdish sahai and gangeshwar prasad, jj., referred the following question to a full bench:-- 'whether the description of the land sought to be acquired as given in the notifications under sections 4 and 6 of the land acquisition act issued in these cases sufficiently complied with the requirement of law?' by the order dated 28-10-1968 g. c. mathur, j., referred the following questions for decision by a full bench:-- 'no. 1:-- whether the description of the land sought to be acquired without.....
Judgment:

Kirty, J.

1. The three above-mentioned cases have come up before this Bench as a result of two separate orders dated 4th November, 1968, passed by a Division Bench, and 28-10-1968, passed by a learned Single Judge. By order dated 4-11-1968 in Writ No. 4994 of 1964 connected with Writ No. 1951 of 1964, Jagdish Sahai and Gangeshwar Prasad, JJ., referred the following question to a Full Bench:--

'Whether the description of the land sought to be acquired as given in the Notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act issued in these cases sufficiently complied with the requirement of law?'

By the order dated 28-10-1968 G. C. Mathur, J., referred the following questions for decision by a Full Bench:--

'No. 1:-- Whether the description of the land sought to be acquired without giving the numbers of the plots but by referring to a map which may be inspected in the office of the Collector meets the requirements of Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act of giving particulars of the land?

No. 2:-- Whether it makes any difference to the giving of particulars if the notification under Section 4 or Section 6 is coupled with a notification under Section 17 of the Act?'

As a result of the two aforesaid orders this Bench was constituted by the Hon'ble the Chief Justice for the decision of the questions quoted above.

2. From the questions quoted above, it will be apparent that in Writ No. 2240 of 1968 the two questions referred are of general nature without any particular reference to the particular facts of the case concerned; but the question referred under order dated 4-11-1968 has been framed with particular reference to the facts of the two cases in which referring order was made.

3. The reason and the necessity for passing both the referring orders are that there is an apparent conflict on the point in two decisions of this Court given by two separate Division Benches. These two cases are:-- Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd. v. Ram Asrey Lal (decided by Jagdish Sahai and Broome, JJ.), 1967 All LJ 188 = (AIR 1967 All 4), Shyam Singh Rawat v. State of U.P.--decided by Broome and Gupta, JJ., 1968 All LJ 487.

4. Before dealing with the questions which have given cause for reference to this Bench, it will be appropriate to briefly state the relevant facts pertaining to each of the three writ petitions concerned.

5. In Writ Petition No. 4994 of 1964 a notification which purported to be under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) was published in the U. P. Gazette dated 14-5-1960. The relevant portion of the notification reads as follows:--

'No. 799/VIII-56-57: Under Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 (I of 1894) I. D. K. Bhattacharya, Collector, Mathura, hereby notify for general information that the land mentioned in the below schedule is needed for public purposes.

SCHEDULE

District

Pargana

Mauza

Approximate Area

Mathura

Mathura

Mathura Banger

2.15 acres.

For what purposes required:-

For construction of houses by the SudamapudCo-operative Housing Society Ltd.

Note:- The site plan may be inspected in myoffice.

D. K. BhattacharyaZiladhish, Mathura.

2. Under Section 5A of the said Act, any person interested in the land may within twenty-one days after the issue of this notification make an objection to the acquisition of the land or of any land in the locality in writing to me. Thereafter another notification purporting to be under Section 6 of the Act was published in the U. P. Gazette on 20-1-1962. The material portion of this notification reads as under:--

'No. 7734-C/XII-CA-165-61: With reference to Notification No. 799/VIII-56-57-58, dated March 30, 1960 issued by the Collector of Mathura, under Section 4, Sub-section (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1 of 1894), the Governor (after considering the report made under Section 5A, Sub-section (2) of the said Act), is pleased to declare under Section 6 of the Act that he is satisfied that the land mentioned in the schedule is needed fora public purpose and, under Section 7 of the Act, to direct the Collector Mathura, to take order for the acquisition of the said land.

SCHEDULE

District

Pargana

Mauza

Approximate area

Mathura

Mathura

Marhura Banger

2.15 acres.

For what purposes required: -

For the construction of houses by the SudamapurlCo-operative Housing; Society Ltd., Mathura.

Note :- A plan of the laad may be inspected in the office ot the Collector,Mathura,

By order,

Sd./- M. C. Sharma.

6. The acquisition proceedings in this case were started at the instance of Sudamapuri Co-operative Housing Society Ltd., Mathura, (respondent No. 4 in the writ petition). An agreement between this Society and the Governor of Uttar Pradesh was entered into on 9-1-1962, which was published in the U. P. Gazette dated 15-1-1962 under Section 42 of the Act. It appears that the Land Acquisition Officer, Mathura, made an award under Section 11 of the Act on 28-7-1961 The writ petition was filed in this Court on 9-11-1964, in which it was, inter alia, prayed that the award dated 7-10-1963 and the notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act be quashed. It was mentioned in the petition that although an award had been made, the petitioner was still in possession of the land in respect of which acquisition proceedings had been taken.

7. In writ petition No. 1951 of 1964, which was filed on 15-4-1064, the validity of the same notifications and the award is involved as in Writ Petition No. 4994 of 1964. The notification under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act and the award underSection 11 of the Act are identical with the corresponding notifications and award in writ petition No. 4994 of 1964.

8. In Writ Petition No. 2240 of 1968, filed on 28-6-1968, the notification under Section 4 of the Act was published in the U. P. Gazette dated July 7, 1967. The material portion of the notification is as under:--

'No. 2011-ILA/Azamgarh-67: Under Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, (Act No. 1 of 1894), the Governor is pleased to notify for general information that the land mentioned in the schedule is needed for a public purpose namely for construction of retired Haha Nala Bund from mile 0.0.0 to mile 3,1.260 in district Azamgarh.

2. The Governor, being of opinion that the case is one of urgency, and as such the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 17 of the said Act are applicable to the land, is further pleased under Sub-section (4) of the said section to direct that the provisions of Section 5A of the said Act shall not apply.

SCHEDULE

District

Pargana

Mauza

Approximate area

Mathura

Mathura

Marhura Banger

2.15 acres.

For what purposes required: -

For the construction of houses by the SudamapurlCo-operative Housing; Society Ltd., Mathura.

Note :- A plan of the laad may be inspected in the office ot the Collector,Mathura,

By order,

Sd./- M. C. Sharma.

For what purpose required: For construction of retired Haha Nala Bund from mile 0.0,0 to mile 3.1.260 in district Azamgarh.

Note:-- A plan of the land may be inspected in the office of the Collector, Azamgarh.

By order,

Sd/-

S. K. Chaudhary,

Sahayak Sachiv.'

Subsequently on December 26, 1967 another notification was published in the U. P. Gazette, the relevant portion of which is quoted below:--

'Land Acquisition Act 1894, Act Sankhya I, 1894 ki dhara 4 ki updhara (1) ke adheen Raiyapal sarvsadharan ki soochna ke liye vigyapit karte hain ki anusuchi men ullikhit bhoomi ki sarva kanik prayoian apect zila Azamgarh men retired Haha Nala Bund ke nirman ke liye awashyakta hai.

2. Raiyapal ki rai hai ki eh mamla atyant awashyak hai our is prakar ukt bhoomi par upryukt Act ki dhara 17 ki updhara (1) ke bandh lagu hote hain. Act ki dhara 5-A ke up-bandh lagu nahin honge.

Anusuchi.

Zila Pargana Mauza

Lagbhag Chetrphalacre men.

Azamgarh Nathupur Ghazipur 7.7.59 Kis Prayoian ke liye awashyakta hai:--

Zila Azamgarh men retired Haha Nala Bund ke nirman ke hetu.

Tippani:--- Ukt bhoomi ka naqsha plan Collector Azamgarh ke karyalaya men dhekha ja sakta hai.

Agyan se

K. N. Mathur,

Sahayak Sachiv.

Sankhya 4283 (1) Ayi El. A Tad dinank Partilipi nimn likhit ki suchnarth ewamuchit karyawai hetu preshit:

1. Adhishansha Abhiyanta,, SichalKhand, Ballia.

2. Vishesh Bhoom Adhyapt Adhikari (Sichai) Azamgarh.

Agyan se,

K. N. Mathur

Sahayak Sachiv.

9. In the petition it was, inter alia, stated that although nearly one year had passed since the last notification no steps had been taken for the proposed Bund. It was further alleged that although petitioner No. 1 had gone to the Collector's Office, Azamgarh to see the plan mentioned in the three notifications, the plan was never shown.

10. From the counter affidavits of Roshan Lal Saxena, Land Acquisition clerk in the Collectorate, Mathura, filed in writ petitions Nos. 1951 of 1964 & 4994 of 1964 it is clear that complete identity of the land sought to be compulsorily acquiredat the Instance of respondent No. 4 and all material particulars in respect thereof were known to the respondents much before impugned notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act were issued. So, there did not exist any difficulty in mentioning the material particulars, e.g. plot numbers of the land, in the said notifications. No reason why the plot numbers and other particulars were not mentioned in the notifications has been stated in the counter affidavits. It has, however, been submitted that since the names of the petitioners did not stand recorded as tenants of the plots in question in the revenue records, the omission of plot numbers etc., was immaterial. This plea is untenable and without merit in view of the definition of the expression 'person interested' and the right of objection given by Section 5A of the Act to 'person interested.' Even otherwise, also, if the impugned notifications suffer from omission in regard to material particulars which are required by law to be mentioned, the legal infirmity of such notices cannot be cured by raising a plea that the person challenging the notices is not recorded as a person having a right or interest in the land. It is another matter that in an appropriate case such a person may not get any relief on the ground of his being a person without any locus standi.

11. In writ petitions No. 4994 of 1964 a supplementary affidavit was filed in February 1969, in paragraph 2 of which it was stated as follows:--

'That the area of village Mathura Banger is approximately 2385,74 acres and the population is about one and a half lacs. The whole of this village presently lies within the limits of Mathura Municipal Board.'

12. In the supplementary counter affidavit filed on behalf of opposite party No. 1, while denying that the entire mouza Mathura Banger was Included in the city of Mathura, it was stated that out of 2385.74 acres of that village 1476, 21 acres lay within the Municipal limits of Mathura and that this area was mostly abadi It was also stated that according to the 1961 census the population of the entire city of Mathura was 125808. A chart was filed showing that the total area of Mathura city was 2588.30 acres. In the supplementary counter affidavit filed on behalf of opposite party No. 4 similar averments were made.

13. Section 4 of the Act reads as follows:--

'4. (1) 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 of the substance of such notification to be given at convenient places in the said locality.

(2) Thereupon it shall be lawful for any officer, either generally or specially authorised by such Government in this behalf, and for his servants and workmen,--

to enter upon and survey and take levels of any land in such locality;

to dig or bore into the sub-soil;

to do all other acts necessary to ascertain whether the land is adapted for such purposes;

to set out the boundaries of the land proposed to be taken and the intended line of the work (if any) proposed to be made thereon;

to mark such levels, boundaries and line by placing marks and cutting trenches;

and, where otherwise the survey cannot be completed and the limits taken and the boundaries and line marked to cut down and clear away any part of any standing crop, fence or jungle;

Provided that no person shall enter into any building or upon any enclosed Court or garden attached to a dwelling house (unless with the consent of the occupier thereof) without previously giving such occupier at least seven days' notice in writing of his intention to do so.'

14. The right to objection to compulsory acquisition has been conferred under Section 5A of the Act, which reads as follows:--

'5-A(1): Any person interested In any land which has been notified under Section 4, Sub-section (1), as being needed or likely to be needed for a public purpose or for a Company may, within thirty days after the issue of the notifications, object to the acquisition of the land or of any land in the locality, as the case may be.

(2) Every objection under Sub-section (1) shall be made to the Collector in writing, and the Collector shall give the objector an opportunity of being heard either in person or by pleader and shall, after hearing all such objections and after making such further enquiry, if any, as he thinks necessary, submit the case for the decision of the (appropriate Government), together with the record of the proceedings held by him and a report containing his recommendations on the objections. The decision of the (appropriate Government) on the objections shall be final.

(3) For the purposes of this section a person shall be deemed to be interested in land who would be entitled to claim an interest in compensation if the land were acquired under this Act.'

The period of thirty days has been reduced to twenty-one days by U. P. Act 22 of 1954.

15. Then comes Section 6 providing for final declaration for any particular land needed for a public purpose or for a Company, Section 6 of the Act is quoted below:--

'6(1) Subject to the provisions of Part VII of this Act, when the (appropriate Government) is satisfied, after considering the report, if any, made under Section 5A, Sub-section (2), that any particular land is needed for a public purpose or for a Company, a declaration shall be made to that effect under the signature of a Secretary to such Government or of such officer duly authorised to certify its orders:

Provided that no such declaration shall be made unless the compensation to be awarded for such property is to be paid by a Company, or wholly or partly out of public revenues or some fund controlled or managed by a local authority.

(2) the declaration shall be published in the Official Gazette, and shall state the district or other territorial division in which the land is situate, the purpose for which it is needed, its approximate area, and where a plan shall have been made of the land, the place where such plan may be inspected.

(3) The said declaration shall be conclusive evidence that the land is needed for a public purpose or for a Company, as the case may be; and, after making such declaration, the (appropriate Government) may acquire the land in manner hereinafter appearing.'

The next provisions of which particular notice may be taken in connection with the cases before us are Sub-sections (1) and (4) of Section 17 of the Act which run thus:--

'17(1): In cases of urgency, whenever the (appropriate Government) so directs, the Collector though no such award has been made, may on the expiration of fifteen days from the publication of the notice mentioned in Section 9, Sub-section (1), take possession of any waste or arable land needed for public purposes or for a Company. Such land shall thereupon (vest absolutely in the Government), free from all encumbrances.'

(4): In the case of any land to which, in the opinion of the (appropriate Government), the provisions of Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2) are applicable, the (appropriate Government) may direct that the provisions of Section 5A shall not apply, and, if it does so direct, a declaration may be made under Section 6 in respect of the land at any time after the publication of the notifications under Section 4, Sub-section (1).'

16. Upon a perusal of the notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act in Writ Petition No. 4994 of 1964 and No. 1951 of 1964, it will be clear that in those notifications the only particulars furnishedwere the names of the district Pargana and Mauza concerned and the approximate area intended to be acquired. Thenotifications mentioned that the land notified was required for construction of houses by Sudamapuri Co-operative Housing Society Ltd., Mathura, and further that the site plan may be inspected in the office of the Collector. Mathura. The particulars furnished in Writ Petition No. 2240 of 1968 were similar to those furnished in the other writ petitions. The purpose mentioned in the impugned notification in Writ Petition No. 22-10 of 1968 was construction of retired Haha Nala Bund from 0.0.0. mile to 3.1.260 mile in district Azamgarh. It was further mentioned that the plan may be inspected in the office of the Collector, Azamgarh.

17. The question which directly arises in all these cases is whether the particulars furnished fulfilled the requirements of Sections 4 and 6 of the Act. This brings us directly to the two Bench decisions of this Court referred to above.

18. In 1957 All LJ 188 = (AIR 1967 All 4) one of the points for consideration was whether the notifications issued under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act were bad, because they did not clearly specify the land that was to be acquired. This point was point No. 4 and was dealt with by the learned Judges in the following passage in their judgment:

'We see no force in the fourth contention of Mr. Bajpai viz., the suggestion that the impugned notifications under Sections 4 and 6 are bad because they do not give sufficient particulars to enable the land that is under acquisition to be identified. Reliance is placed on the decision given by one of us in Ram Sewak v. State of U. P., (AIR 1963 All 24) but that case is clearly distinguishable, as the notification under Section 6 that was held therein to be invalid for want of sufficient particulars made no mention of any map being available for inspection showing the plots that were to be acquired. In the present instance both the notifications under Section 4 (Annexure E), and the notification under Section 6 (Annexure F), besides giving the acreage to be acquired and the names of the village where the land is, situated, incorporate a note to the effect that 'a plan of the land may be inspected in the office of the Collector, Bareilly.' Two different Division Benches of this Court have held this to be sufficient compliance with the requirements of the law vide Shamsuddin v. Govt. of U. P., (Civil Misc. Writ Petn. No. 2502 of 1961, D/- 27-3-1963 (All) disposed of by Dwivedi. J., after a reference had been answered by a Division Bench and Ranjit Singh v. State of U. P. (Special Appeal No. 323 of 1963, D/- 8-10-1963 (All). With these decisions we are in respectful agreement and accordingly hold that the impugned notifications in the present case are not vitiated by any failure to disclose sufficient particulars.'

It will be noticed that in the impugned notifications in that case the particulars mentioned were the acreage to be acquired and the names of the villages where the land was situate. Besides which, the notifications; contained a note that 'A plan of the land may be inspected in the office of the Collector, Bareilly.' It was held that the notifications were not invalid on the ground that the particulars furnished did not fulfil the requirements of Sections 4 and 6 of the Act.

19. In 1968 All LJ 487 the case of Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd., 1967 All LJ 188 = (AIR 1967 All 4 (Supra) was neither cited nor considered. The learned Judges (Broome and Gupta JJ.) relied on the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Kunwar Rampratap Singh v. Land Acquisition Officer, Deoria, D/-21-9-1961, Writ Petn. No. 1237 of 1960 (All) and held that a notification under Section 4 of the Act must give sufficient particulars of the land sought to he acquired and that the mere mention of the name of a village which has a large area and a considerable population is wholly insufficient to satisfy the requirements of law. In Shyam Singh Rawat's case, 1968 All LJ 487 (Supra) in the notification under Section 4 of the Act it was mentioned that about six acres of land were required for a public purpose and the particulars furnished were 'Zila, Mauza, Pargana Tanakpur.' The notification also contained a note to the effect that a site plan of the above land could be seen in the office of the Collector, at Nainital. It was mentioned by the learned Judges in their judgment in Shyam Singh Rawat's case, 1968 All LJ 487 that Mauza Tanakpur covered an area of G80 acres and its population according to 1951 census was 665. It was also, inter alia, observed by the learned Judges that an inspection of the site-plan in the office of the Collector at Nainital would involve 200 or 300 persons taking a journey from Tanakpur to Nainital for the purpose merely of finding out whether they had anything to do with the land sought to be acquired. The learned Judges also expressly stated that they differed from the view taken by Jagdish Sahai, J., in AIR 1963 All 24 in which the learned Judge had held that it was not necessary in every case to mention the numbers of: the plots or the names of the persons whose land was sought to be acquired, and that it was only necessary to disclose enough information to indicate to the public and to the persons concerned as to which property was being acquired. These observations had been made by JagdishSahai. J. with reference to the provisions of Section 6 of the Act.

The learned Judges again expressly differed from the view taken by Jagdish Sahai, J., in Ram Sewak's case, AIR 1963 All 24 in regard to the requirements of Section 4 of the Act, as to the particulars required to be mentioned in the notification thereunder. It may be noticed that in Ram Sewak's case, AIR 1963 All 24 Jagdish Sahai, J. with reference to the provisions of Section 6(1) of the Act observed that 'the law requires the land to be particularised in the notification under Section 6 and it requires definiteness in the matter.' The learned Judge went on to observe further that it was not necessary that in every case the number of plots should be given or the names of the persons, whose land is sought to be acquired should be given. This part of the observation of Jagdish Sahai, J., appears to have been approved by Broome and Gupta, JJ., in Shyam Singh Rawat's case, 1968 All LJ 487. The question, therefore, which is of practical importance, is as to whether in a given case the notification under Section 4 and the declaration under Section 6 of the Act should contain such particulars as would indicate to the public and to the persons concerned as to which property is being acquired. It seems to me that it cannot be laid down that Sections 4 and 6 of the Act either positively require or do not require the numbers of the plots of the land in respect of which the notification or the declaration, as the case may be, has to be published under these sections to be mentioned. It may be that in a particular case the omission to mention the numbers of plots in the notification and declaration may be of little consequence and the omission to mention the numbers of plots may not be fatal so as to render the notification and the declaration invalid. On the other hand, it may be that the non-mention of the numbers of the plots may be fatal and such omission may render the notification and the declaration invalid. The matter which has directly been canvassed in the cases before us is as to whether the mere fact that the notification and the declaration contained a note that the site-plan may be inspected in the office of the Collector is sufficient compliance of the requirements of the two sections and does away with the necessity of mentioning the plots numbers or such other particulars as may be needed to fix the identity of the land.

20. Before independently considering the questions referred to this Bench in the light of the provisions contained in Sections 4 and 6 of the Act, it would be appropriate to refer to certain cases decided by different Benches of this Courton different dates. It has already been mentioned that in Shyam Singh Rawat's case, 1968 All LJ 487, the case of Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd., 1967 All LJ 188= (AIR 1967 All 4), was not cited. It may be noted that Broome, J., was a member of the Bench which had decided the case of Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd.,1967 All LJ 188= (AIR 1967 All 4) and was also a member of the Bench which decided Shyam Singh Rawat's case, 1968 All LJ 487. Besides the Ram Sewak's case, AIR 1963 All 24, the Bench which decided the Shyam Singh Rawat's case,1968 All LJ 487 also referred to a Division Bench decision of this Court in Civil Misc. Writ No. 1237 of 1959, D/- 21-9-1961 (All). This case was decided by a Division Bench consisting of V. Bhargava and B. D. Gupta, JJ. In this case the validity of a notification under Section 4(1) of the Act was challenged. It was observed by the learned Judge that in the impugned notification the description of the land was given by stating that an area of 0.216 acres was required in the district of Deoria, Pargana Sidhuwa Jo-bana, village Padrauna. This description of the locality given in the notification, according to the learned Judges, was no description at all and did not satisfy the requirements of law. It was further observed that the description of the locality only mentioned village Padrauna without mentioning any narrower Division within the area of that village. It was further observed in this case that it did not appear to be necessary that the exact land proposed to be acquired should be described in the notifications, but there should be a sufficient description of the locality in which the land is going to be acquired, and the area covered by that description of the locality should bear some reasonable proportion to the area of the land proposed to be acquired. It was also mentioned by the learned Judges that the view which they had expressed was taken by a learned Single Judge of this Court in Ram Gopal v. State of U.P., Civil Misc. Writ No. 3639 of 1956. D/- 27-1-1959 (All). The notifications in writ No. 1237 of 1959 did not contain any note to the effect that the site-plan of the land may be inspected in the office of the Collector. It may be, however, noted that stress was laid on the words 'land in any locality'.

21. Four other unreported decisions, one by a learned Single Judge and three by Division Benches, were brought to our notice. The first decision in point of time is the judgment in Civil Misc. Writ No 2502 of 1961 (All) of Bishambhar Dayal and Takru, JJ., D/- 27-8-1963. In that case the following question was referred to the Bench for decision.

'Is a notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, which fully com-plies with the provisions of Sub-section (2) thereof valid even though it does not mention the particulars of the land which is sought to be acquired?'

In that case, it appears, that both the notification under Section 4 of the Act and declaration under Section 6 of the Act contained a note that the plan of the land may be inspected in the office of the Collector, Muzaffarnagar. The answer given by the Bench to the above question was as follows:--

'A notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, which contains reference to a map of the land to be acquired -- and the map sufficiently indicates the said land -- is a valid notification even if it does not otherwise mention the particulars of the land sought to be acquired.'

When the case was put up for final hearing before the learned Single Judge with the opinion of the Division Bench quoted above, a point was raised before the learned Single Judge that as the substance of the notification under Section 4 was not published at convenient places in the locality, the foundation of the notification under Section 6 fell down. This allegation was controverted in the affidavit and in the circumstances the submission was not accepted by the learned Judge (Dwivedi, J.) in his judgment D/- 27-3-63 in Civil Misc. Writ No. 2502 of 1961 (All). In Special Appeal No. 323 of 1963 connected with Special Appeal No. 329 of 1963 decided on 8-10-1963 (All) by Desai, C. J. and Pathak, J. one of the questions which fell for decision was whether the declaration under Section 6 of the Act was too vague, inasmuch as the land to be acquired was not specified in it. It was mentioned in the declaration that 125 acres of land in village Gokulanagri was required for a public purpose and that the area required could be ascertained from a map kept in the office of the Collector. According to the learned Judges, the declaration which mentioned the land, its area and that it was situated in a certain village and can be identified by a reference to the plan kept in the office of the Collector sufficiently complied with the requirements of Section 6 of the Act The learned Judges disagreeing with the view taken by a Division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Iftikhar Ahmed v. State of M.P., AIR 1961 Madh Pra 140, inter alia, observed that once a declaration under Section 6(1) has been issued, the only right of a person interested in the land sought to be acquired is to claim compensation, and for this purpose he would get a notice from the Collector under Section 9. The learned Judges, it seems, were of opinion that the absence of particulars in a declaration under Section 6(1) would not cause prejudice tothe person interested in the land because his only right after a declaration under Section 6(1) is to get compensation.

The last unreported case brought to our notice is Mohd. Shanaual Islam v. State of U.P., Special Appeal No. 634 of 1967, D/- 29-2-1968 (All) by Broome and Gyanendra Kumar. JJ. In that case the validity of certain notifications issued under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act had been questioned. The learned Single Judge against whose decision the Special Appeal was filed had quashed the notification under Section 6 but had left the notification under Section 4 intact In the Special Appeal the sole point for consideration was as to whether the impugned notifications under Section 4 of the Act were void on account of vagueness with regard to the description of the property. The impugned notifications mentioned the plot numbers and the approximate area sought to be acquired. They also contained a note that the plan of the land can be inspected by any one interested in the Collector's office. The plans were produced before the learned Judges at the hearing by the learned Standing Counsel. The learned Judges observed that the plans were drawn to scale and showed clearly and precisely what area was being acquired out of the plots mentioned in the notifications. The learned Judges further observed that the plans were absolutely clear and specific and free from all ambiguity. It was held that the notifications under Section 4 complied with the requirements of law and were not invalid. The learned Judges referred to the decision in the case of Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd., and observed that the incorporation in a Section 4--notification of a note to the effect that a plan of the land sought to be acquired can be inspected in the Collector's Office is sufficient compliance with the requirements of law and affords an effective reply to the argument that the notification in question is vitiated by the failure to disclose sufficient particulars. They further went on to observe that all doubts regarding the precise situation and the precise area of the land covered by the notifications were set at rest by the scale map referred to in the notifications as being available for inspection in the Collector's Office.

22. From the decisions referred to' above, it will appear that the view taken in the majority of the cases is that if notifications under Section 4 and declarations under Section 6 of the Act contain the names of the district, the pargana, the village and the acreage to be acquired with a note to the effect that the plan of the land may be inspected in the Collector's office, requirements of the law are sufficiently complied with andneither the notifications nor the declarations can be held to be invalid. It will, however, be seen that the question was independently considered by two Division Benches only, namely, the Division Bench consisting of Bishambhar Dayal and Takru, JJ. in Civil Misc. Writ No. 2502 of 1961, D/- 15-2-1963 (All) and Desai, C. J. and Pathak, J., in Special Appeal No. 323 of 1963, D/- 8-10-1963 (All) holding that in such cases the notification and the declaration would both be invalid. The opposite view was taken, upon an independent consideration by V. Bhargava, and B. D. Gupta, JJ. in Civil Misc. Writ No. 1237 of 1959, D/- 21-9-1961 (All). Apparently the views on the questions expressed by different Division Benches are conflicting and inconsistent in certain respects. Therefore, apart from the cases decided by this Court referred to above, it seems necessary to consider the questions independently, which I propose, to do now.

23. An examination of Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 4 of the Act would show that what is of primary importance is that land in any locality is needed or is likely to be needed' for a public purpose and notification to that effect has to be made. Although Section 4(1) of the Act speaks of 'land in any locality', the word land cannot be held to include any and every land in the locality. This will be clear from the third and fourth clauses of Section 4(2) in which the expressions 'whether the land is adapted for such (public) purpose' and 'the boundaries of the land proposed to be taken' respectively occur. This will further be clear from the words 'object to the acquisition of the land ............' in Section 5A of theAct which gives the right of objection to 'any person interested in any land, which has been notified under Section 4, Sub-section (1)'. It seems to me that in the context and having regard to the purpose for which the notification under Section 4(1) is to be made, the expression 'locality' is of great importance. In fact, in a sense, it may be said that the key to the requirements of the notification is to be found in a very large mea-sure in the meaning to be given to the word 'locality' in Section 4 of the Act. A comparison of Section 4 with Section 6 of the Act will show that whereas under Section 4 the notification is in respect of land in any locality, the declaration under Section 6 is in respect of the particular land which is to be acquired. In Section 6 there is no mention of the word 'locality' at all. The reason for this appears to be that the Section 4 notification has previously fixed the locality and indicated the land proposed to be acquired therein, whereas the declaration under Section 6 of the Act is made in respect of that particular land, which has been ultimately decided upon as being needed for a public purpose or a Company. The only right of objection given by the Act in regard to compulsory acquisition of any land or of any land in the locality concerned is conferred by Section 5A of the Act. This right to object can be exercised only within a period of 30 days (21 days in U.P.) from the date of the Issue of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Act. The purpose of the notification under Section 4(1) of the Act, therefore, is to give a notice to the persons who are likely to be affected by the proposed acquisition of the land in question, so that they may file objections, if they so desire. The locality in the notification under Section 4(1) of the Act, therefore, must be described in such a manner as to give reasonable notice to all persons in that locality whose land or whose interest in the land sought to be acquired will be or is likely to be affected. The word 'locality' is capable of being construed in a wide sense as also in a restricted or narrow sense. In the context and having regard to the purpose for which the notification under Section 4(1) is to be issued, a wide or extended meaning cannot be given to the word 'locality'.

According to Shorter Oxford Dictionary the word 'locality' means: (i) the fact or quality of having a place, i.e., of having a position in place; (ii) the fact of being local; (iii) the features of a particular place; and (iv) the place in which an object is or is to be found. In the context in which the word 'locality' occurs in Section 4(1) of the Act it must mean the place in which the land which is needed or is likely to be needed for public purpose is situate. In other words, the land is to be localised with reference to the particular place in which it is situate, This can only be done by an adequate description of the locality. If the description of the locality is too vague or by such description a very large area is covered, the identity of the land cannot be said to have been localised by the notification. It, has already been mentioned that the purpose of the notifications under Section 4(1) of the Act appears to be to give a notice of warning to all persons interested in the land notified that the same or part of it may be ultimately acquired by issuing a declaration in that behalf under Section 6 of the Act. The notice of warning is given for two purposes. One of the purpose is that persons interested in the land may if they so desire, file objections against the acquisition of the land notified or of any land in the locality. The second purpose is to fix the date with reference to which ultimately compensation is to be paid for the land acquired. This wouldbe clear from the first clause of Section 23, which is as under:--

'The market value of the land at the date of the publication of the notification under Section 4, Sub-section (1).'

Besides these two purposes, the object of the notification is to empower the doing of the various acts, which, upon a notification being made, can be done under Sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Act, In the circumstances, if an extended or wide meaning is given to the 'locality' the purpose of giving the notice or the warning may be defeated and, instead, the powers given under Sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Act may assume an arbitrary and oppressive proportion. This could never have been intended by the legislature. It is true that no exact meaning can be given to the word 'locality' in Section 4(1) of the Act. Whether in a given case the locality has been sufficiently described or not may depend on the nature of the land, the area of the land proposed to be acquired, the situation or the site of the land with reference to the part of the village or the city in which the land lies. If the land is situate in a very small village of which the area is very small, it may be that the description of the locality by the mention of the village may be sufficient. If, however, the land is situate in a big village of which the area is considerable, the mere mention of the village may not sufficiently answer the description of the locality. In a city the mere mention of the city in which the land is situate can hardly be accepted in any case as a sufficient description of the locality.

In the judgment given by a Division Bench of this Court in Civil Misc. Writ No. 1237 of 1959, D/- 21-9-1961 (All) this aspect of the matter has been dealt with, though not directly. This will be clear from the following observations made in the said judgment:--

'It does not appear to be necessary that the exact land proposed to be acquired should be described in the notification, and there should be a sufficient description of the locality in which the land is going to be acquired, and the area covered by that description of the locality should bear some reasonable proportion to the area of the land proposed to be acquired.'

What has been stated above may aptly be applicable to cases in which the notification under Section 4(1) does not contain any note to the effect that the plan of the land may be inspected in the office of the Collector. This will require an examination of the question as to whether such a note would obviate the necessity of giving a sufficient description of the locality according to the circumstances of the case to which the notification relates.

24. The note in a notification under Section 4(1) of the Act cannot take the place of a sufficient description of the locality itself. The site-plan or the plan of the land may fix the identity of the land that is, on an examination of the plan it may be possible to find out what is the exact area covered by the proposed acquisition and even which are the plots or parcels of land. That, however, necessarily cannot fix the locality itself. To illustrate, consider a case of a notification under Section 4(1) in respect of say, 5 acres of land in the city of Allahabad. The notification mentions that 5 acres of land situate in the city of Allahabad are proposed to be acquired. If the notification contains a note to the effect that the site-plan may be inspected in the office of the Collector, Allahabad, the plan, unless it mentions the particular locality, i.e., Mohallah of the city, would hardly indicate the mohallah in which the land is actually situate. If it is a scale map, then it may be that an expert Draftsman or an Engineer may ultimately after making calculations and doing various other things, locate the land and find out that it is situate in a particular mohallah. But, it seems to us, common people would not be able to find out on a perusal of the plan the mohallah in which the land proposed to be acquired is situate. They might even after perusing the map be unable to find out whether in respect of the land they are persons interested entitled to file objections under Section 5A of the Act or not. Such a notification, therefore, is likely to completely defeat the only right given under Section 5A of the Act to raise objections against acquisition of the land or of any land in the locality. Besides, why should it be held in the absence of a clear provision that the persons interested will be bound to take upon themselves an additional onerous duty of inspecting the site-plan in the office of the Collector merely to ascertain as to whether the land notified is one in respect of which they are or are not persons interested? Such an onerous and irksome duty cannot be cast on the citizens under Section 4(1) of the Act in the absence of a clear provision in that behalf. A note to the effect that the site-plan of the land can be inspected, in a notification under Section 4(1) of the Act, cannot, therefore, be held to be of any consequence and cannot be accepted as valid substitute for sufficient description of the land and the locality, required to be given under Section 4(1) of the Act. If, independently of such a note, the description of the locality in which the land is situate can be held to be sufficient in a particular case, the notification will be valid. If, however, independently ofsuch note, the description of the land and the locality is too vague or indefinate the notification cannot be held to be valid. Mention of plot numbers may not be indispensably necessary in a notification under Section 4 of the Act. But the notification itself must contain particulars adequately revealing the locality and the land proposed to be acquired therein. Ordinarily this can be done effectively by a proper description of the locality and the mention of the plot numbers or such other material data as may be sufficiently indicative of the land and its location. If this has been done in a given case, the requirements of Section 4(1) of the Act have been fulfilled.

25. It may also be pointed out that Section 4(1) of the Act, besides requiring the publication of a notification in the official Gazette, requires the Collector to cause public notice of the substance of the notification to be given at convenient places in the locality. This can only be done if the locality itself is sufficiently described or identified by the notification itself. Further, the fact that public notice is to be given of the substance of the notification indicates that the notification is to contain various details which can be condensed and reduced into a substance of the notification. The notification, therefore, merely mentioning the names of the district, the pargana and the village and the approximate area cannot be held to contain sufficient particulars and description either of the land or of the locality. If that were so, there would be nothing which could be condensed into a substance of the notification.

26. Coming now to the provisions of Section 6 of the Act, it will be seen on a reading of the section that the declaration is to be made in respect of the particular land which is needed for a public purpose for a Company. This would indicate that the declaration requires the land in question to be particularised. This particularisation cannot be done by merely mentioning in the notification the names of the district, the pargana and the village in which the land is situate and its area. If the land is situate in a city then again the more mention of the city and the area of the land cannot be said to particularise the land. It may be noted that in Section 6 the word 'locality' does not occur. The absence of the word 'locality' in Section 6 cannot be accepted as obviating the mention of the locality in a declaration under Section 6. Declaration under Section 6 ordinarily follows a decision finally taken by the appropriate Government to acquire a particular land compulsorily after considering the objections to the notification under Section 4(1) of the Act and considering the report of the Collector. It is, therefore,clear that the land the identity of which has been definitely fixed is to form the subject matter of a declaration under Section 6. Sub-section (1) of Section 6, requires the declaration to be made in respect of the particular land, which has been decided upon to be acquired compulsorily. There is nothing in Sub-section (1) of Section 6 from which it can be spelled out that the declaration need not contain any other particulars except the district or other territorial division in which the land is situate and its approximate area. Sub-section (2) of Section 6 in fact requires the declaration made under Sub-section (1) to be published in the Official Gazette. Besides the contents of the declaration it further requires the declaration to state the district or other territorial division in which the land is situate, the purpose for which the land is needed and its approximate area. It further requires it to be mentioned where the plan of the land may be inspected. But this is to be mentioned provided a plan shall have been made of the land, that is, if a plan has already been prepared of the land before a declaration under Section G in respect of the same is made. Sub-section (2) of Section 6 requires it to be mentioned that the plan may be inspected at a named place. This does not mean that it would not be necessary to give material particulars in the declaration and that it would be enough merely to comply literally with the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 6. The provisions of Sub-section (2) in a sense relate to additional matters to be mentioned in the declaration, which by itself must contain a sufficient description of the land and of the locality in which it is situate.

From Section 8 of the Act it will be clear that the making of a plan of the land before a declaration under Section 6 is made is not obligatory. Sub-section (2) of Section 6, therefore, in so far as it requires the mention of the place where the plan of the land may be inspected, if a map shall have been already prepared, is a provision intended to further assist the persons concerned or interested in truly ascertaining the exact land which forms the subject-matter of the declaration and which under Sub-section (3) thereof is to be conclusive evidence that the land is needed for a public purpose or a company. The provision is not intended to take the place of giving necessary particulars in regard to the land in respect of which the declaration is to be made. In this view of the matter, the mere mention in a declaration under Section 6 that the site-plan of the land may be inspected in the office of the Collector cannot be accepted as fulfilling the requirements of the law. The test must be, as in the case of a notificationunder Sub-section (1) of Section 4, as to whether the land can be sufficiently identified or fixed, without an inspection of the plan of the land, if one has already been prepared. For the same reasons, as have been stated in connection with Section 4(1) of the Act, it seems to me that it cannot be held that under Sub-section (2) an obligation or an onerous burden can be placed on the person interested in the land sought to be compulsorily acquired to go to the Collector's office to inspect the site-plan to find out whether the land in respect of which the declaration has been made is one in which he has or has not any interest.

27. It is true that after a declaration under Section 6 has been made a person has been given a right to raise any objection to the acquisition itself. That, however, does not mean that the persons concerned need not be given a sufficient notice of the declaration itself in regard to the particular land which will be compulsorily acquired. On the publication of the requisite notice the persons concerned may not be able to deal with the land any more. Their only right may be assumed to be to receive compensation for that land. But they are entitled definitely to know which land will be compulsorily acquired so that if they have got any other land at the same place which is not included in the declaration they may be free to deal with the same as they like in exercise of their rights in the remaining land. It would be no answer to say that the absence of particulars or the vagueness in the declaration under Section 6 cannot be questioned because the person interested in the land is only entitled to get compensation therefore. If the person concerned is to be deprived of his ownership of the land because of compulsory acquisition he must at least be left free to deal with such other land as may be in his ownership or possession which is excluded from the compulsory acquisition. The declaration should be such as to enable the person concerned to reasonably ascertain on a perusal of the declaration itself as to which land is the subject-matter of compulsory acquisition and which land is not. This would require the declaration to specify or give necessary particulars to fix the identity of the particular land. How this is to be done in a given case must necessarily depend on various factors as to the shape, size and situation of the land, its location in a particular village or in a particular city or in a particular mohalla of a village or a city. But, except probably in very rare cases, the mere mention of the district or other territorial sub-division in which the land is situate and its approximate area cannot furnish sufficient particulars for fixing the identity of the particular land declared under Section 6.

In practice also it is difficult to conceive of any difficulty in the way, whether of the Collector issuing notification under Section 4(1) or of the appropriate Government in making a declaration under Section 6, to mention necessary particulars in the notification and the declaration, as the case may be. If there is any difficulty in giving particulars in the notification or the declaration the difficulty of the person interested in the land will be much more in finding out which is the land in respect of which the notification or the declaration has been made. The difficulty cannot be eliminated by the authorities concerned by just adding a note in the notification or in the declaration that the site-plan o the land may be inspected in the office of the Collector. If in a particular case, due to odd shape, size or some other reasons it is not possible to fix the exact identity of the land in a declaration under Section 6 even after stating all material particulars without a delineation in a map, the declaration to be adequate must annex or append the map as an integral part of it. All persons interested then from the declaration itself will be in a position to know- the identity of the land without having to make any further enquiry or inspection or to incur expenses for such purpose.

28. After the making of the declaration under Section 6 of the Act, persons interested may not have any right to raise such objections as are open under Section 5A but it is wrong to say that they are left only with the right to receive compensation. Under Section 48(1) except in the case provided for in Section 36, the Government is at liberty to withdraw from the acquisition of any land of which possession has not been taken. So, even after a declaration under Section 6 has been made, a person interested may raise objections or make representations in consequence of which the Government may ultimately withdraw from the acquisition of the land under Section 48(1). For raising such objections or making such representations no statutory provision is needed under the circumstance stated in Section 49 of the Act, right of objection has been given against partial acquisition. This right can be exercised both after the notification under Section 4(1) and the declaration under Section 6(1) of the Act. Evidently, therefore, the dictum, in Special Appeal No. 323 of 1963 and the connected Special Appeal No. 329 of 1963 (All) that after a declaration under Section 6 the person interested is left only with the right to claim compensation and hence cannot make a grievance of lack ofparticulars in the description of the land, is only plausible but not sound.

In this connection the impact of the provisions contained in Sections 17(1) and 17(4) of the Act may also be considered. Under Section 17(4), a direction may be issued by the appropriate Government doing away with the provisions of Section 5A of the Act and under Section 17(1) the taking possession may be very much accelerated. But these acts are legally permissible only in regard to waste or arable land. Therefore, the direction under Section 17(4) that Section 5A of the Act will not apply to be valid must necessarily be in respect of waste and arable land only. The notification under Section 4(1) and the declaration under Section 6(1) of the Act apropos must relate to the waste and arable land needed urgently and must ex facie contain material particulars sufficiently indicating the identity of such land. To hold otherwise might mean that even though the land in question in reality, either in its entirety or partly, is neither waste nor arable, a person interested may be denied the right of objection under Section 5A of the Act and deprived of possession under the cover of Section 17(4) and Section 17(1) respectively. The argument that once a declaration under Section 6 of the Act has been made a person interested is left with the right merely to claim compensation and cannot challenge the declaration on the ground that it does not satisfy the requirements of law is untenable.

29. From the supplementary affidavit and supplementary counter-affidavits it would be clear that more than half of the city of Mathura is comprised of land of village Mathura Banger and that the area in question is populated by seventy thousand or more persons. The vast area in question must presumably have been splitted into more or less defined sub-areas, wards or mohallas having distinct names and identity, as invariably happens in all cities with the passage of time. Mathura is an ancient city. Since more than half of the area of the city consists of land of village Mathura Banger; it may be reasonably presumed that urbanization of that part of village Mathura Banger and its forming the major constituent unit of the city of Mathura is not of recent origin. In course of time, under such circumstances, except perhaps for purposes of making entries in the revenue records or for historical purposes the fact that a particular part or area of a city is comprised of land of a particular village fades away into oblivion. Such land or lands come to acquire distinct identities and names of their own. If one of the main objects of making a notification under Section 4(1) of the Act isto give notice to 'persons interested', the description of the land forming part of a city merely with reference to the village in which it was at one time included and in which it still continues to be shown in the revenue records may more often than not, defeat the object. Such a notice cannot but be treated as illusory. The notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act, specially those under Section 4 of the Act, were not intended by the legislature to be made and published in fulfilment of idle formalities but were intended to be adequate and effective. Whatever may be said in support of the impugned notification under Section 6 of the Act in Writ Petitions Nos. 4994 of 1964 and 1951 of 1964 on the basis of sheer literal construction of Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act, the notification under Section 4(1) of the Act cannot be accepted, in the circumstances of the case, as adequate or effective or fulfilling the requirements of law.

30. There is yet another reason why the impugned notifications in Writ Petitions Nos. 4994 of 1964 and 1951 of 1964 cannot be held to be valid. The total area of village Mathura Banger is 2385.74 acres of which 1475.21 acres is included in the city of Mathura. Neither in the notification under Section 4 nor in the one under Section 6 of the Act has it been mentioned that the land in question is situate in that part of the village which forms part of the Mathura city. This omission cannot but be treated in the circumstances of the case, as an omission on a vital point and such omission cannot be held to be cured by the note that the site-plan may be inspected in the Collector's office.

31. For all the reasons stated above the answer to the question referred in Writ Petitions Nos. 4994 of 1964 and 1951 of 1964 is in the negative.

32. The answers to the two questions referred in Writ Petition No. 2240 of 1968 are also in the negative.

H.C.P. Tripathi, J.

33. I agree.

Yashodanandan, J.

34. I agree with the conclusions arrived at by my learned brother A. K. Kirty.


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