Hari Swarup, J.
1. Certain petitioners have challenged through the present writ petition the validity of the Aliganj Street and City Expansion Scheme, an improvement scheme under the Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam. Another petition was filed earlier by some other persons in which the same scheme was challenged on various grounds, Learned counsel for the petitioners has not taken us over again the same grounds. We take it that he has argued those grounds and our judgment on those points is the same as is contained in our judgment in Writ Petition No. 137 of 1974, Mahabir Singh Kotwali v. Nagar Mahapalika LKO.
2. The first contention is that the declaration having not been made within the time limit fixed by Section 4(2) of the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act, 1967, Act No. 13 of 1967, the whole proceedings had become void and the scheme frustrated. Sub-section (2) of Section 4 reads as under:--
'Notwithstanding anything contained in Clause (b) of Sub-section (1), no declaration under Section 6 of the principal Act in respect of any land which has been notified before the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 1967, under Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the principal Act, shall be made after the expiry of two years from the commencement of the said Ordinance.'
The contention of the learned counsel is that in view of this provision, no declaration could be published under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act beyond two years from the commencement of the Act viz., 20th January, 1967. The facts relevant for the purpose are as follows:--The scheme was sanctioned under Section 360 by the Nagar Mahapalika but as it required further sanction by the State Government, it went to the State Government and the final order sanctioning the scheme was passed on 29th May, 1967. The publication of this declaration under Section 363 of the Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam was made on 16th December, 1967. There was some error in this notification and accordingly in supersession thereof another notification was published on April 26, 1969. As the amendment Act of 1967 had come into force on 20th January, 1967, this publication was beyond two years of the date of the coming into force of the Act. The contention of the learned Advocate General, however, is that Sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Act No. 13 of 1967 contemplates not the publication but only the declaration to acquire the land under Sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act.
3. Annexure A-2 is the document which shows the declaration that was made by the State Government in pursuance of the requirement of sanction under Section 361 of the Adhiniyam. Section 360 of the Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam provides:--
'The Mahapalika shall..... take such scheme into consideration together with any objection or representation received or made under ,Ss. 367 and 358 and the recommendation of the Development Committee under Section 359 and shall either abandon the scheme or sanction the scheme with such modifications, if any, as it may consider necessary;
Provided that in the case of a scheme of the estimated cost of over Rs. 10,00,000 the sanction of the State Government shall also be obtained.'
The scheme is of the estimated cost of much more Rs. 10,00,000. The order of the State Government dated May 29, 1967 reads as under:--
'With reference to the correspondence resting with your letter No. T/556/A-C, dated December 16, 1966, on the above subject. I am directed to say that under Sub-section (1) of Section 361 of the Uttar Pra-desh Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam, 1969 (U. P. Act No. II of 1969), the Governor is pleased to sanction the improvement scheme namely, 'Aliganj Street and City Expansion Scheme of the Nagar Mahapalika, Lucknow at an approximate cost of Rs. 38,86,000.00, as approved by the Chief Engineer, Town and Country Planning Department vide his letter No. 1612/ 23 (LAD) Tp/66, dated April 7. 1966, addressed to you and copy endorsed to Government. The scheme was notified by the Nagar Mahapalika under Section 357 of the said Adhiniyam in Part VIII of the U. P. Gazette dated March 17, 24 and 31, 1962 respectively.
2. I am to request you to take prompt action under Sub-section (1) of Section 363 of the said Adhiniyam for notifying this fact in the official Gazette under intimation to Government.'
Thereafter as required by Section 363 of the Adhiniyam and Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act the notification was published. This is Annexure A-4. It contains some obvious clerical errors. The revised notification published on 26-4-1969 is Annexure 2. The emphasis by the learned counsel for the petitioners is on the last paragraph of this notification which is as under:--
'This notice is in supersession of previous notice under Section 363 (1) of Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam, 1969, in respect of the Scheme published in the Uttar Pradesh Gazette and if in other papers.'
The learned counsel for the petitioners has relied upon sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 2 of Schedule II of the Adhiniyam which runs as under:--
'Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 10 and 11 of this Schedule..... the publication of a notification under Section 363 of this Act in the case of land acquired under any other improvement scheme under this Act shall be substituted for and have the same effect as a declaration by the State Government under Section 6 of the said Act, unless a declaration under the last mentioned section has previously been made and is still in force.'
In view of this the contention of the learned counsel is that the declaration contained in Section 6 can be only through publication of the notification. We are unable to accept this contention in view of the wordings of Sections 360 and 363 of the Adhiniyam and Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. Section 360 of the Adhiniyam is a provision which requires the sanction of the scheme which really means sanctioning the acquisition of land for the purposes of the scheme. This is the intention also of Sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act provides for the publication of the declaration made under Section 360. This is equivalent to Section 363 of the Adhiniyam which provides for publication of the sanction granted under Section 360 (2) of the Adhiniyam. Section 363 reads as under:--
'Whenever a scheme is sanctioned whether by the Mahapalika on its own authority or with the sanction of the State Government under the proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 360, the fact shall be announced by notification in the official gazette and it shall be incumbent on the Mahapalika, when it sanctions the scheme under its own authority, immediately to inform the State Government and to submit for the information of the State Government the details required by Sub-section (2) of Section 360.'
The reference under Sub-section (2) of Section 4 of Act No. 13 of 1967, in our opinion, is only to the notification under Section 363 and not to Section 360 of the Adhiniyam. In other words it refers only to the notification under Sub-section (2) of Section 6 and not to the declaration under Sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. In Khadim Husain v. State of U. P. (AIR 1976 SC 417) the Supreme Court had the occasion to consider this sub-section and it was held:--
'A look at the amendment introduced by Section 4 (2) of the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act, 1967, shows that it is the declaration which has to take place within two years of the expiry of the commencement of the Ordinance which came into force on 20th Jan, 1967. In fact, Section 4 (2) of the Amendment Act of 1967, set out above, itself makes a distinction between 'declaration' under Section 6 and its 'notification' under Section 4 el the principal Act. It does not say that HE notification under Section 6 of the principal Act can take place beyond the time fix-ed. The prohibition is confined to declarations made beyond the speeded period.'
4. We have thus to see if the declara-tion which was made under Sub-section (1) of Section 6 which was equivalent to Section 361 or 361 of the Adhiniyam was superseded by the notification issued on April 26, 1989. The quotation which we have given from Annexure 2 shows that what was superseded was only the publication of the declaration of the sanction and not the sanction itself. The earlier part of the notification also does not show that a fresh declaration had been made. The whole document shows that the declaration or the sanctioning of the scheme had remained the same, only the notification or publication thereof was being made afresh. It thus only superseded the publication of the declaration made on 16-12-1967 and not the declaration made under Section 360 (1) of the Adhiniyam. In this view therefore Sub-section (2) of Section 4 of Act 13 of 1967 has no applicability. The scheme cannot thus toe held to have been hit by that notification or to have become invalid because of it,
5. The other argument raised by the learned counsel for the petitioners is based on Section 350 (1-A) of the U. P. Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam which reads as under:--
'The said resolution shall specify the time-limit for the execution of the schemes, which may be extended by the Development Committee by resolution from time to time:
provided that in the case of a scheme notified before the commencement of the U. P. Nagar Mahapalika (Amendment) Act, 1972 such time-limit, if not already specified, shall be specified by a fresh resolution of the Development Committee not later than one year after the commencement of the said Act:
'Provided further that such time-limit, including extensions, if any, shall in no case exceed twenty years from the date of notification of the scheme under Section 363.'
The contention is that because the Development Committee had not passed any resolution fixing a time-limit, as contemplated by Sub-section (1-A) of Section 350, the scheme must be deemed to have become dead. It has been stated as a matter of fact in the counter-affidavit that the time-limit had been fixed by the State Government's order dated September 9, 19S9 (Annexure A-10). The relevant portion whereof runs as under:--
'..... it should be ensured that awards in respect of the entire land falling in the scheme are declared latest by April 25, 1974.'
This is contained in the letter of the State Government written to the Collector of the District. The subsequent consequent order is to the following effect:
'Necessary details of the Nazul land and other land falling in the scheme should be obtained from the Mukhya Nagar Adhikari, Mahapalika, Lucknow at once, and it should be ensured that awards in respect of the entire land falling in the scheme are declared latest by April 25, 1974.'
In view of these orders which have been passed, it cannot be held that no time limit has been fixed for the execution of the scheme. The scheme had under the Adhiniyam to be finally sanctioned by the State Government and it had in fact sanctioned it, the fixation of time limit by it cannot therefore be held to be illegal.
6. Even if there may be technical defect that the resolution by the Development Committee had not been passed, the same, in our opinion, cannot be enough to frustrate the scheme or to make it dead. The provisions of Section 350 (1) are only directory and not mandatory in character. It is obviously so because no penalty has been provided for not passing the resolution. In Remington Rand of India Ltd. v. The Workmen (AIR 1968 SC 224). The following passage from State of Uttar Pradesh v. Babu Ram Upadhya, (AIR 1961 SC 751 at p. 765) was reiterated:
'For ascertaining the real intention of the Legislature the court may consider, inter alia, the nature and the design of the statute, and the consequences which would follow from construing it one way or the other, the impact of other provisions whereby the necessity of complying with the provisions in question is avoided, the circumstances, namely, that the statute provides for a contingency of the non-compliance with the provisions, the fact that the non-compliance with the provisions is or is not visited by some penalty, the serious or trivial consequences that flow therefrom, and, above all, whether the object of the legislation will be defeated or furthered.'
Under the Adhiniyam the Land Development Committee has been assigned, the functions only for the furtherance of the scheme. It has not been given any power to nullify, frustrate or abandon the scheme. The power of abandoning the scheme has been reserved for the Nagar Mahapalika, under Section 5 of the Adhiniyam the Mahapalika and the Development Committee are separate authorities. The Development Committee is only a committee of the Mahapalika and it could not be the intention of the Legislature to give power to the Land Development Committee to frustrate a scheme by its inaction as the improvement schemes are framed for the benefit of the people. The provision must, therefore, be held to be only directory and not mandatory. Further, the title of the petitioner is lost by the acquisition of land by the sanctioning of the scheme under Section 360 of the Adhiniyam and publication thereof under Section 363 of the Adhiniyam. The rights cannot come back to the petitioners thereafter unless the scheme is abandoned under Section 367-A of the Adhiniyam. In these circumstances the omission of the Land Development Committee in passing the resolution cannot be deemed to be fatal to the scheme. We cannot, therefore, hold that the petitioners have a subsisting right in the land so as to entitle them to get the writ of a mandamus for the return of their land.
7. The learned counsel next contended that the entire proceedings for acquisition are illegal because of the vagueness of the notification issued under Section 367 of the U. P. Nagar Mahapalika, Adhiniyam. The contention is that it is not possible to know if the petitioners' land was to be acquired. The contention has no merit because the notification gives the boundaries of the area to be acquired. It gives all the four boundaries stating the numbers of the khasra plots and also in the case of northern, western and eastern boundaries, the relevant roads that form the boundary of the area, and in the case of the southern boundary the railway line passing at the place. There is also a statement in the notification that the particulars of the scheme containing a plan of the area comprised in the scheme and the statement of the land etc., proposed to be acquired can be seen at the office of the Nagar Mahapalika (Vikash Vibhag). The details given In the notification are thus sufficient for any one whose land may fall within the boundaries given in the notification to come to know that his land is sought to be acquired. Learned counsel relied in this connection on a judgment of this Court in Bahori Lal v. Land Acquisition Officer (AIR 1970 All 414) (FB). That was, however, a case in which the boundaries of the land sought to be acquired were not given. The land was mentioned as:--
That was certainly too vague because it will require every person living in the village to go to the office for finding out if his land was being acquired. The present is not such a case, the boundaries have been given. It cannot be said that the area is not defined.
8. The last contention of the learned counsel is that the execution of the scheme was hit by Article 14 of the Constitution. It was alleged in the petition that there were two persons whose land had not been acquired. They were D. N. Singh and Smt Ram Kumar Tripathi, In reply to this allegation it has been stated in the counter-affidavit that the land in favour of D. N. Singh and Smt. Ram Kumar Tripathi and others was released prior to the declaration of acquisition made on 29-5-1967 on conditions enumerated in the order itself. There was an allegation also in respect of Gulab Chand Singh and in the counter-affidavit it is stated that his land was exchanged in terms of a general resolution of the Mahapalika and the petitioners did not come forward for the exchange of this land, if they had any. There is thus no material before us for holding that the intention of Article 14 is being violated.
9. The Advocate General also contended that the petition is liable to be dismissed on the ground of laches. We, however, think that there is no material before us on the basis of which it may be possible for us to dismiss the writ petition on the ground of laches. Even though the petition was moved in 1973 and there was no allegation in the petition explaining the delay, in the rejoinder-affidavit it is stated that the petitioners had no knowledge about the acquisition proceedings. As this fact has been stated in the rejoinder-affidavit, we can neither place much reliance on it nor can we ignore it. Hence, we de not propose to decide this petition on the basis of laches.
10. In the result the petition fails and is dismissed, Costs on parties.