R.S. Narula, J.
1. Amin Chand petitioner is the owner of residential house which is situated near the Airport at Pathankot. On 22nd April 1964 an order under Section 29 of the Defence of India Act No. 51 of 1962 was passed by the competent authority directing the requisition of certain properties in Pathankot including the said house of the petitioner and further ordering the owners and occupiers of the property to deliver possession of the same to the Military Officer concerned at the spot on 28th April 1965 after removing therefrom any furniture or other movable articles contained therein. The petitioner made a representation against the above said order but it was turned down except that one month's time was allowed to him to vacate the premises and an order, dated 23rd August 1965 was passed by the competent authority (copy Annexure 'F') directing the petitioner to remove his goods, etc., from the property in question within one month from that day. Availing of the time allowed by the competent authority to the petitioner for vacating the house he moved this Court on 20th October 1965 under Article 226 of the Constitution to annul the above said orders for the requisition of his house as well as factory and other building of the Co-operative Society of which he was the President. In the writ petition the claim was to order the said property to be de-requisitioned. From the use of those words I understand the petitioner to have meant to claim annulment of the impugned orders as this Court has no powers to de-requisition any property which has been requisitioned by the competent authority under the Act.
2. In its written statement, dated 11th November 1965 the Union of India has averred that after taking into account the representation of the petitioner it was not considered desirable to exclude the property in question from requisitioning because due to the prevailing conditions in the country and proximity of the wing to the international border the security requirements were to be affected. The Government has further stated that after the rejection of the petitioner's representation, fresh notices have been issued to him on 30th August 1965 to vacate the premises and the notices were received by the petitioner on 7th September 1965 and his relative Kewal Krishan appeared before the Land Acquisition Collector, Gurdaspur-cum-Military Lands Requisitioning Officer, Jullundur, for allowing the petitioner one month's time to vacate the property and that time was consequently allowed to the petitioner upto 8th October 1965. On the 9th October 1965 the petitioner was again asked to deliver possession and instead of doing the needful at the spot, the petitioner filed this writ petition and obtained a stay order from this Court.
3. At the hearing of this petition Shri M. R. Mahajan, learned counsel for the petitioner has firstly urged that the impugned orders are liable to be set aside and quashed on the ground that they are vitiated by mala fides. The solitary allegation of mala fides made in the petition is contained in Para. 6 (iii) of the petition and is in the following words:--
'That the orders of respondent are mala fide inasmuch as the Administrative Officer of the Airport who recommends the requisition of certain properties is personally having a fancy to reside in the residential house as it is newly built, fitted with all amenities and consists of 9 commodious rooms, etc.'
In reply to the above quoted allegation of the petitioner it has been stated by the Military Land Requisitioning Officer as follows:--
'Sub-para. (iii) is denied in toto. The requisitioning is bona fide for the purposes mentioned above and for the efficient conduct of military operations in order to secure the defence of India.'
4. Beyond the above allegation and counter-allegation there is no material whatever on the record of this case to justify any possible interference on the ground of mala fides. I have, therefore, no hesitation in rejecting this plea of the petitioner.
5. It has secondly been contended on behalf of the petitioner that the residential house is in reality not required for any of the purposes specified in Section 29 of the Act. The impugned orders have admittedly been passed by the competent authority. According to those orders the requisitioning of the property in question is required for 'efficient conduct of military operations in order to secure the defence of India.' The learned counsel argues that this statement is not correct and in fact the house is required for the residence of the Administrative Officer of the Airport who has somehow taken fancy to it. Even the housing of the Administrative Officer of the Airport during national emergency may be necessary for the defence of the country or it may be advisable to avoid residence of private persons so near the Airport for security reasons. How and in which manner a certain property is required for securing the defence of India is not for this Court to conjecture upon. Once the competent authority has stated that the property is required to be requisitioned for securing the defence of India which is a permitted ground in Section 29 of the Act, and once it has been found that the order is not vitiated by mala fides or fraud, it is not open to this Court to go into the matter of the correctness of the opinion formed and expressed by the competent authority. The opinion of the competent officer of the Government in this respect is final and the purpose indicated by such an officer in his order for making requisitions cannot be assailed in any Court except possibly on the ground of mala fides. I do not, therefore, find any force even in this contention of Mr. Mahajan.
6. It was then faintly argued that the fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution under Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution 'has been violated inasmuch as the right to occupy one's own property is also 'property' within the meaning of Article 19(1) of the Constitution. It is needless for me to go into this matter in view of the fact that since October 1962 national emergency has been proclaimed in this country under Article 352 of the Constitution and consequent upon the same the provisions of Article 19 stand suspended automatically by the operation of Article 358 of the Constitution.
7. The last argument of Mr. Mahajan that has been pressed by him with great zeal is that though there may be no quarrel with the powers of the competent authority under Section 29 of the Act, the impugned orders, are liable to be struck down as they have been passed in complete disregard of the provisions of Section 44 of the same Act. The argument of the learned counsel is that Section 29, as other sections of the Act under which the power is given to any authority to interfere with the ordinary avocations of life and enjoyment of property by citizens, is subject to and is controlled by the general pro visions of Section 44 of the Act. The said section reads as follows:--
'44. Ordinary avocations of life to be interfered with as little as possible.--Any authority or person acting in pursuance of this Act shall interfere with the ordinary avocations of life and the enjoyment of property as little as may be consonant with the purpose of ensuring the public safety and interest and the defence of India and civil defence.'
The argument of the learned counsel has, in my opinion, no force. The provisions of Section 44 are merely a recognition of the general principles which must always be borne in mind by the Government of any democratic State. They are in the nature of guiding principles to the authorities and are not meant to be invoked in a Court of law. How on earth is it possible for this Court to draw a line between appropriate and inappropriate interference with the enjoyment of property by citizens under Section 29 of the Act? In any case this would be a pure question of fact, the answer to which will depend principally on the circumstances of each particular case and on the necessity and expediency of the proposed interference and its extent. It is certainly not for this Court to go into a matter like this and to hold whether in a given case the interference caused by the Administrative Officer under the Act is slightly more or less than that which was necessary for the purpose of ensuring the defence of India or for public safety, etc. I do not have the least hesitation in rejecting this contention of the learned counsel also. No other point has been urged before me in this case.
8. This petition, therefore, fails and is dismissed, but without any order as to costs.