P.N. Khanna, J.
1. This is an appeal under clause 10 of the Letters Patent against the judgment dated May 28, 1969 of Mr. Justice T. V. R. Tatachari, dismissing the appellants; writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of Indian challenging the validity of notification issued under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act in respect of certain lands situated in village Kilokari, New Delhi.
2. Briefly stated, the appellants purchased the said land measuring 16 bighas and 12 bids was bearing fields Nos. 386/2 and 387/2 situated in village Kilokari, New Delhi, for constructing residential houses for themselves and the employees of the first appellant and its allied concerns. A notification dated November 28, 1958 under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, herein called 'the Act' was published in Delhi Gazettee dated December 11, 1958 to the effect hat land including the appellants land, was likely to be taken by the Government at the expense of a Co-operative Society, called the `New Friends Co-operative House Building Society Limited', the 'Building Society'. On June 1, 1959, the appellants on learning about the said notification field their objections.
3. On July 19, 1961, the Deputy Housing Commissioner, Delhi Administration, informed the appellants by his letter of the said date that the notification covering their land had been cancelled, and that two other notifications dated 3rd June 1961, under Section 4 of the Act had been simultaneously issued on the same date (published in the Gazettee dated July 6, 1961) covering the area including the appellants' land, stating that the land was 'likely to be required to be taken by Government at the public expense for a public purpose, namely for the planned development of Delhi'. A booklet published by Delhi Administration giving information about the Government's scheme of 'Large Scale Acquisition and Disposal of Land for Urbal Development in Delhi' was enclosed with the said letter.
On August 3, 1961, the appellants filed their objections under Section 5-A of the Act. On October 27, 1961, a notification under Section 6 of the Act was published declaring that the appellants' land along with some other lands were required to be taken by the Government at the public expense for a public purpose, namely for the planned development of Delhi. On January 22, 1962, the appellants filed an application before the Land Acquisition Collector, Delhi that the notification under Section 4 and 6 were discriminatory, illegal and void. A reference was then made to the District Judge under Section 18 of the Act, after the Land Acquisition Collector has made his award.
4. In the meanwhile the appellants, not knowing about the aforesaid notification dated November 23, 1958, had submitted on March 23, 1959, a layout plan for their land to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, respondent No. 5, herein called 'the Corporation' for its sanction. On May 26, 1959, the Corporation had suggested certain changes and taken by its letter dated October 29, 1959, asked for correct documents of the appellants' ownership of their lands. On December 16, 1959 the appellants were informed by the Municipal Commissioner that sanction under Section 336 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation act had been accorded to them to erect a house on Plot No.66 without affecting, however, the rights of the Government or Delhi Development Authority or any other person. Thereupon, the Building Society filed a suit in the court of the Sub-Judge Delhi, for the issuance of a permanent injunction restraining the Corporation, the two appellants and some others from building or raising any construction over the land in question. A temporary injunction was granted by the Court. The Corporation thereupon, on revision, revoked the sanction given earlier for the building of the house in Plot No. 66 On March 23, 1961, the Building Society and the appellants entered into a settlement, and the suit was dismissed. As Delhi Administration entered into a settlement, and the suit was dismissed. As Delhi Administration was not a party to the settlement, certain negotiations took place between the Deputy Housing Commissioner, the appellants and the Building Society and it was ultimately agreed that the Building Society would offer four plots to the appellants subject to the usual terms and conditions applicable to such allotments. The arrangement was duly approved by the Chief Commissioner, Delhi.
5. On August 16, 1963 the Deputy Housing Commissioner, Delhi Administration, wrote to the appellants that with reference to their representation regarding the party built-up plot, the Delhi Administration had no objection from the point of view of acquisition to the completion of the construction and that the Corporation was being informed of the same. The Corporation on this, revived its earlier sanction to the erection of the house on the said plot No. 66. The appellants, however, on reconsideration felt dissatisfied and filed the writ petition on November 6, 1963.
6. The learned single Judge, before whom the petition came up for hearing, while repelling the arguments that it could not be said that the acquisition by the Chief Commissioner was a colourable exercise of power or that the purpose of the acquisition was a private purpose. The planned development of Delhi was held to be a public purpose which was being sought to be achieved also through the agency of Co-operative Societies, like respondent No. 6. He further held that this purpose did not cease to be a public purpose within the meaning of the Act merely because the Delhi Development Act had been enacted for similar purpose.
The appellants' grievance that they were not allowed to lead evidence before the Land Acquisition Collector was held tobe an aforethought and without justification. The acquisition in the present case was held to be under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act and not under the provisions of Delhi Development Act. References to Delhi Development Act, thereforee, were not considered relevant.
He also held that the Chief Commissioner was empowered by the President to exercise the powers and discharge the functions of the Central Government under the provisions of the Act. He had the same powers as the Central Government. He was, thereforee, the authority competent to issue the impugned, notifications. Regarding the appellants' objection to the effect that the acquisition was discriminatory inasmuch as the adjacent lands belonging to Shri. J. J. Singh, M.S. Chaturvedi and M. D. Chaturvedi were not acquired, the learned single Judge held, that the same had to be exempted in accordance with a set policy under which the lands in respect of which the lay-out plans and service plans had been sanctioned by the Competent Authority prior to 13-11-59 or had been built upon were excluded from the purview of the said notifications and this did not involve any discrimination. Even the appellants got a concession in respect of the land, plot no. 66, which had been partially built upon.
7. Mr. R. L. Aggarwal, the learned counsel for the appellants, advanced almost similar arguments before us and contended that the notification and there proceedings in consequence thereof were a colourable exercise of the powers under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act. He submitted that although it was stated that the lands were required for a public purpose, the same were in reality being acquired for the Building Society, respondent No. 6, who was to pay the whole amount of compensation. No public purpose was involved, according to the learned counsel, when the land was intended to be divided into smaller plots for the residence of a few individual members of the Society itself. No public purpose would be served when the members of the Society were to be so given plots of land after the appellants were deprived of the same and which the appellants had originally acquired for their own residence. The Government in fact, was devising this scheme for making more money by incorporating terms, in the respective lease deeds under which the lands would be given, on payment of premiums and lease money, which would be enhanced at the time of periodical revisions of the terms of the said lease deeds. The learned counsel submitted that in view of these circumstances it could not be said that the payment of compensation was to be made out of the public revenue or that the acquisition was made for a public purpose.
8. The contents of the learned counsel that the payment of the compensation for the acquisition of the land in question was not to be made out of public revenue, but was to be made by the Building Society was not raised before the learned Single Judge. The same thereforee, could not be allowed to be urged at this stage. We however, find that the contention is otherwise entirely erroneous and without any substance. The affidavit in reply sworn by Shri. K. L. Rathe, Secretary, Local Self-Government and Public Works Department, Delhi Administration states that the compensation for all lands acquired in Delhi is being paid out of a fund called the 'Revolving Fund', which had been sanctioned by the Government of India. It was further stated that the land was being acquired at public expense. There is no counter-affidavit or anything else to show that this was not correct in the present case. The reference by the leaned counsel to the two judgments of the Supreme Court in Shyam Behari v. State of Madhya Pradesh, : 6SCR636 and Girdhari Lal Amritlal Shodan v. State of Gujarat, : 3SCR437 , where it was held that no declaration under Section 6 for acquisition of land for a public purpose could be made unless either the whole or part of the compensation for the property to be acquired comes out of public revenue or from funds controlled or managed by local authority, was, thereforee, entirely irrelevant.
9. The learned counsel then submitted that this was a case in reality for the acquisition of land for the purpose of a company viz. the Building Society, respondent No. 6, and as the acquisition of land was for the construction of houses for the individual members of the Building Society, it could not be said to be a public purpose. A few private individuals banded together, should not have the advantage of acquiring the land. The company for which the land could be acquired must be engaged or be intending to engage in some industry or work which may be for a public purpose and also for the Building or work for which the land was to be acquired, must sub-serve the public purpose of the industry or work in which the company was engaged. Merely because the public would be able to visit the locality for the purpose of dealing with the persons residing in the houses constructed there it would not amount out to public purpose. For these contentions, the learned counsel relied on the observations of the Supreme Court in the two Arora cases, R. L. Arora v. State of Uttar Pradesh, : AIR1962SC764 and R. L. Arora v. State of Uttar Pradesh, : 6SCR784 . In the first case, the Supreme Court observed: 'What these provisions require is that the work should be directly useful to the public and the agreement shall contain a term how public shall have right to use the work directly themselves'. In the second case, the Supreme Court was considering the effect of Clause (aa) introduce in Section 40(1) of the Act and observed: 'We are, thereforee, of opinion that Clause (aa) does not permit acquisition of land for construction of some building or work for a company engaged or to be engaged in an industry or work, which is for a public purpose unless the building or work for which the land is acquired also sub-serves the public purpose of the industry or work in which the company is engaged'. The learned counsel contended that acquiring land from the appellants and handling it over to the Building Society, which is a company, thereforee, could be protected as it would result in private enrichment and the public would not be gaining in any way. The acquisition, thereforee, in the circumstances of the present case, was merely colourable exercise of the powers under the Act.
10. The arguments of Mr. Aggarwal lack merit as they completely ignore the over-all scheme of the Delhi Administration, of which the acquisition in question forms a small part. The process of the acquisition was entirely different from the process of disposal of the land; and was evolved as a part of a scheme of 'Large Scale Acquisition Development and Disposal of Land in Delhi' which was devised by the Administration in the peculiar circumstances which prevailed in Delhi.
According to the affidavit of Shri. K. L. Rathe, the population of Delhi urban area has quadrupled itself in the last two decades and has been increasing at a phenomenal rate. The sudden and heavy influx of displaced persons from West Pakistan into the city and suburbs of Delhi after partition of the country, the expansion of industrial and commercial activities and the setting up of the foreign embassies and missions, all contributed to an unprecedented growth of population in Delhi and its suburbs. From 7 lakhs in 1941, the population increased to 23.5 lakhs in 1961. This rapid expansion was not accompanied by an adequate programme of housing. The deficit in housing was of the order of about 66,000 dwelling units in 1951 which rose to 1,04,000 dwelling units in 1956 and to about 1,45,000 dwellings units as at present, without considering the large scale replacement needed in the case of structures which have outlived their lives or were in a deplorably the absence of any control, haphazard growth of houses in different places took pace and the services did not keep pace with such expansion. All the evils arising out of over-crowing, multiplying amenities manifested themselves in the social and economic life of Delhi. The acute problem of land and housing, if not adequately and effectually tackled, threatened to aggravate the crises. On the one side, person whose main motive was making business profits by dealing in land, started acquiring available land. On the other hand, those citizens, who wished to construct houses for bona fide residential needs were not able to get widespread disappointment and frustration. It became the duty of the Government to take up in hand the planned development of the town which became a vital necessity for the proper preservation of civic life in the capital. The Government, thereforee took in hand a comprehensive plan for regulating the growth of the city and providing accommodation for the different classes of people who had to live and work in the city. Town planning was set up in the year 1955 and interim General Plan was prepared in 1956 and then started work on the bigger project of preparing a Master Plan. The Government decided that it was necessary to acquire 34,070 acres of land in and around the city and develop it properly. The necessary notification was, thereforee, issued. The draft Master Plan giving the detailed rules ad regulations in respect of the land use, and allied matters was published in July, 1960, but the need for acquisition of large areas of such development had been decided upon by the Government before the said notification on 13th November, 1959. In order to meet the requirements of the plan, another notification was issued for a further acquisition of about 16,000 acres in October 1961. It was considered that in order to exercise a better control over the land use, freehold tenure should be discouraged. In order to prevent speculative dealings, thereforee, land was to be leased out to the purchasers subject to the conditions that the site would be built upon on an approved plan within two years and if the land and the building are sold a portion of the unearned increase in the value should be paid to the Government. Normally, no resale would be allowed for the period of ten years, except in exceptional circumstances. These conditions were devised in order to avoid private enrichment and speculative dealings in property and to ensure accommodation for the bona fide requirements of the citizens.
11. Till now the total area of land of which possession has been or is shortly likely to be taken up would be 21,000 acres. Six residential and eight industrial schemes have been sanctioned at an estimated cost of Rs. 11 lakhs and the work has been taken in hand in these cases. Further schemes are under examination and detailed work in connection with the scheme is being done. The planned development scheme makes liberal provisions for roadways, schools, playgrounds, recreation centers, green landscapes, nurseries, hospitals and other community facilities.
12. After the process of acquisition is complete the process of disposal is undertaken. Under the scheme of 'Large Scale Acquisition, Development and Disposal of Land in Delhi', the acquired land is allotted to individuals and cooperative societies on lease-hold basis in pursuance of a policy duly adopted by the Government and decided upon after keeping in view the interests of the public at large. This resettlement of the land enables the Government to exercise control not only on the immediate and present use of the land, but also secures its future use in accordance with the land use prescribed in the Master Plan. The `Planned Development of Delhi' which is thus essential in the interests of public cannot be ensured, if any developed land is left in the hands of private individuals. It is not the case of acquiring land from one person and transferring it to another. The land has to be given to individuals or societies in accordance with the plan. The resettlement of land on prescribed terms and conditions by Delhi Administration, is woolly a separate branch of activities, the considerations governing which are several and varied, based on a well thought out and evolved scheme for the planned development of the city. This scheme, according to the affidavit, is being worked out and has to be carried out by the Government on a no profit and no loss basis. It has been denied that the Administration acquired plots to be resold to lease-hold basis for earning profits for the Government.
13. It will, thus, be observed that it is not a case of acquiring land for a company or individuals. The acquisition has been made in the present case as a part of a general scheme for the planned development of Delhi which, as is shown above, is essential for the maintenance and preservation of the welfare of the public at large. This public benefit cannot be conferred by one stroke on the entire community as a unit. It has to be conferred on individual members or sections of the public. The allotment of a certain piece of land to a society for a purpose of development and the construction of houses for its members i.e. for the benefit of its few individual members cannot be torn out of its context and has to be viewed in its larger perspective, as being a part of a larger scheme, which is meant to confer a benefit on the entire public at large. Even if the benefit is enjoyed by a section of the community, it would not cease tobe public purpose.
The definition of the expression `public purpose' as given in Section 2(f) of the Act, is an inclusive definition and not compendious one. The Supreme Court in the case of Somawanti v. State of Punjab, : 2SCR774 , considered the implication of this expression. Broadly speaking, the expression `public purpose' in their Lordships' view includes a purpose in which the general interest of the community as opposed to the particular interest of the individuals is directly concerned. On page 164 of the report, it has been observed that the expression public purpose has been used in the Act in its generic sense of including any purpose in which even a fraction of a community may be interested or by which it may be benefited. The purpose of planned development of Delhi, is, thereforee, clearly a public purpose within the meaning of the Act. The learned counsel for the appellants also cited the unreported judgment of the Bombay High Court in N. N. Gamadia v. State of Maharashtra, Misc. Petn. No. 217 of 1962 (Bom) decided by Modi, J., on 6-12-1965. All the cases relied upon by the learned counsel for the appellants, including the said unreported Bombay case, are cases where the acquisition of land was made for the purpose of a company. In the Bombay case, the acquisition which was sought to be made for a house building Society, was not part of a general scheme for the planned development of the town, which would be for the benefit of the community at large, as in the present case. In any case, this aspect of the matter, viz., the planned development of the city was not considered at all in these cases. The authorities cited by the learned counsel for the appellant, thereforee, lend no assistance to decide the present case.
It may also be mentioned here that unless there is a colourable exercise of power, which as discussed above, is not the case in the present case it is for the State Government, as was observed by the Supreme Court in the said Somawanti's case. : 2SCR774 to be satisfied about, whether the purpose of which land is needed is a public purpose or not. The above view was also expessed in the judgment of a Division Bench of this Court consisting of Mr. Justice Hardyal Hardy and Mr. Justice T. V.R. Tatachari, in Nagrik Adhikar Samiti, Sara Pipal Thala Extension v. Delhi Administration. Civil Writ No. 42 of 1969, D/- 26-11-1969 (Delhi) and of another Bench consisting of one officer Mr. Justice H. R. Khanna as he then was, and Mr. Justice T.V. R. Tatachari in Uttar Pradesh Samaj Co-op. House Building Society Ltd. v. Union of India, Civil Writ No. 846 of 1968, D/- 15-4-1969 (Delhi).
14. The learned counsel for the appellant next contended that the notification is invalid as according to Section 6 of the Act the declaration can be made only 'when the appropriate Government is satisfied that any particular land is needed for a public purpose:'. The notification in the present case reads: 'Where it appears to the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, that land is required to be taken by the Government at public expense for a public purpose .............'. According to the learned counsel the satisfaction of the appropriate Government was not mentioned in the notification. Unless, thereforee, the Government was stated to be satisfied, the notification could not be held to be valid. We, however, find that in the affidavit of Shri. K. L. Rathe, Secretary, Local Self-Government and Public Work Department, Delhi Administration, it has been specifically stated that 'after careful consideration of the report and facts and circumstances of the case, the appropriate Government was fully satisfied that the land was genuinely needed for the public purpose mentioned in the notification and it was, thereforee, that the declaration under Section 6 was issued.' In view of this, the objection of the learned counsel has no bais. No statutory form has been prescribed for a declaration to be made under Section 6 of the Act. As was observed by the Supreme Court in Ganga Bishnu Swaika v. Calcutta Pinjrapole Society, : 2SCR117 , the mere fact that the notification issued under Section 6 does not show the Government's satisfaction assuming that the words 'it appears' under in the notification do not mean satisfaction, could not render the notification invalid or not in conformity with Section 6. The contention of the learned counsel, thereforee, is without any merit.
15. Mr. Aggarwal, learned counsel for the appellant, then contended that under Section 5-A of the Act the Collector should had given opportunity to the appellants to adduce evidence to substantiate their objections. This aspect of the matter was dealt with by the learned single Judge before whom the case was argued in the first instance. Shri Rathe in his affidavit had stated on oath that no prayer was made at any time before the Land Acquisition Collector for being allowed to lead evidence. As the learned single Judge has observed, the petitioners do not appear to have taken any step at any stage for producing any evidence. The grievance of the appellant is merely an afterthought. This contention of the learned counsel, thereforee, is without any basis.
16. The learned counsel then submitted that the acquisition in question is discriminatory inasmuch as the lands belonging to Shri. J. J. Singh, Shri. Khanna, Shri. M.S. Chaturvedi and Shri. M. D. Chaturvedi, have not been acquired even though they are continuous to the appellant's land. We however, find from the affidavit of Shri. Rathe that according to the policy of the Government land in respect of which layout plans and service plans had been approved by the competent authority before 13-11-1959, the date on which the preliminary notification in respect of 34,070 acres of land was issues, were excluded from the purview of the notification. Such policy was approved by the Supreme Court in Udai Ram Sharma v. Union of India, Air 1968 Sc 1138. There was a policy behind the exclusion. In his affidavit, Shri Rathe stated that in the case of the appellants, the lay-out plans and service plans had not been approved before that date. The said lands, thereforee, could not be left out of the impugned notifications. The Land of Shri. J. J. Singh, had been constructed upon before 13-11-59 and was, thereforee, not included in the notification. Similar was the case with the land of Shri. Khanna, who also constructed a building before the said date. Same was the position with respect to the land of Shri. M. S. Chaturvedi and M. D. Chaturvedi. In fact, it was pointed out by Shri Rathe in his affidavit that the lands on plot NO. 66 belonging to the appellants, which was claimed to have been built upon partially was also excluded from the purview of the said notifications. The objection of the learned counsel, thereforee was not well founded.
17. The learned counsel then submitted that the lay-out plans in this case should be deemed to have been sanctioned before 13-11-1959 in view of Sections 312 and 313 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act. The lay-out plans were also submitted by the appellants to the Corporation on March 23, 1959. Under the direction of the Corporation revised plan was submitted on November 8, 1959. The Corporation did not accord its sanction to the said plans within 60 days as required by Section 313 nor did it intimate that the sanction had been refused. The said lay-out plans according to the learned counsel were, thereforee, deemed to have been sanctioned accordant to that section, as the restrictions upon utilisation of land imposed by the said section could not be enforced by the Corporation by reason of the in action of its Standing Committee within the prescribed period. The requirements of the Government policy was thereforee, fully complied with and the case of the appellant was 'at par' with the cases of Shri. J. J. Singh, Khanna, M.D. Chaturvedi and M. S. Chaturvedi, urges the learned counsel.
18. The advantages of the exception mentioned in the notification incorporating the Governments policy would have been available to the appellants if not only the lay-out plans, but also the service plans had been sanctioned before 13-11-1959. Further the sanction, required by the Government policy, was not intended to be a 'deemed' sanction. It contemplated a positive overt act of granting sanction.
In the words of Mr. Justice Andley, who spoke for the Bench of this Court consisting of Mr. Justice Hardy and himself, in Municipal Corpn. of Delhi v. Smt. Kamla Bhandari, Letters Patent Appeal Nos. 138-D and 143-D of 1965, D/- 1-12-1969 (Delhi). 'This exception contemplates a positive overt act of sanction and, in our view, a lay-out plan which could have been 'considered as passed' would not be covered. Even if the restriction upon utilisation of the land imposed by Section 313 of the Corporation Act cannot be enforced by the Corporation authorities by reason of the inaction of its Standing Committee within the period specified in sub-section (3) and the sub-section (5) of Section 314 of the Corporation Act, it would not follow that the Chief Commissioner, acting in exercise of powers under the Land Acquisition Act, could not decide that exception (c) would apply only to such lands in respect of which there are positive overt acts of sanction by the competent authorities before the specified date'. It is, thus, manifest that in this case, the mere inaction of the Standing Committee of the Corporation to sanction or disallow the lay-out plans did not help the appellants, and the service plans had not even been submitted before the prescribed date. This would thereforee, not be a case where according to the policy of the Administration, the lay-out plan and service plan had not been passed before 13-11-1959. The appellants, thereforee, were not entitled to the benefits, which, as a matter of policy of the Administration, were given to those whose lay-out plans and service plans had been sanctioned before 13-11-59. There was, thus, no discrimination as was contended by the learned counsel for the appellants.
19. Mr. Aggarwal then contended that the Delhi Development Act, 1957 was an enactment which was passed to provide for the development of Delhi according to plan and for matters ancillary thereto. The acquisition although stated to have been made under the Land Acquisition Act was in fact made under the Delhi Development Act. The provisions of the Land Acquisition Act merely provided the procedure by which the land could be acquired under Section 15 of the Delhi Development Act, 1957. It is not necessary to examine this argument and its effect any further, as contended by Shri. S. S. Chadha, learned counsel for the Union of India, was not under the Development Act, but under the Land Acquisition Act.
As was held by the learned single Judge, the mere fact that it is also the purpose for which the Delhi Development Act was enacted, does not mean that it ceased to be a public purpose within the meaning of Land Acquisition Act. The two enactments are separate and independent. In the present case, the acquisition being not under the Delhi Development Act, the arguments of the learned counsel for the appellant has no relevance.
20. In the result, this appeal fails and is dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs.300/-
21. Appeal dismissed.