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Darshan Singh and Another Vs. Lt. Governor, Delhi and Others - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Contempt Petn. No. 52 of 1980 (Contempting Petition arising out of disobedience of order in C.
Reported in1981CriLJ820
Acts Contempt of Courts Act; Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 - Sections 20; Land Acquisition Act - Sections 4, 6, 9, 10 and 18; Delhi Development Act - Sections 30
AppellantDarshan Singh and Another
RespondentLt. Governor, Delhi and Others
.....on the petition filed under article 226 of the constitution of india, challenging the award of land acquisition collector, rejecting the claim of the ownership of the land owner - it was ruled that the court cannot get into the grievances in writ proceedings - thereforee, it was directed that proper remedy would be to apply for reference under section 18 of the land acquisition act, 1894 - section 13: [altamas kabir & cyriac joseph,jj] custody of child - welfare of child vis--vis comity of courts - the minor girl child of 3 1/2 years was brought to india by her mother. the minor girl was a citizen of u.k. being born in u.k. her parents had set up their matrimonial home in u.k. and had acquired status of permanent residents of u.k. the child with her mother was supposed to return appears that the land in dispute was the subject-matter of a notification under section 4 of land acquisition act sometime in 1964. this notification was challenged by the petitioners by means of a writ petition being c.w. 221/68. the same was, however, dismissed on 18-11-1970. l.p.a. 209/70 filed by them met with the same fate on 18-11-1971. another writ petition challenging the acquisition being c.w. 694/72 was filed which was also dismissed on 16-12-1975. 3. the proceedings under sections 9 and 10 were started by the land acquisition collector, who gave the award on 28-3-1980. by the award the collector rejected the claim of the petitioners that they were the full owners and held that they had a right to claim compensation as 'sardrakhtidars' of the land under the land.....

Sachar, J.

1. This order will dispose of the writ petition as well as an application under Contempt of Courts Act arising out of the alleged disobedience of the stay order given by this court.

2. The petitioners came to this court on the allegation that they were full owners of Khasra Nos. 351 to 353 in pursuance of the sale certificate issued under S. 20 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954, their case being that they are the full owners and not with limited right to cut trees or to be treated as occupancy tenants as the authorities were doing. It appears that the land in dispute was the subject-matter of a notification under Section 4 of Land Acquisition Act sometime in 1964. This notification was challenged by the petitioners by means of a writ petition being C.W. 221/68. The same was, however, dismissed on 18-11-1970. L.P.A. 209/70 filed by them met with the same fate on 18-11-1971. Another writ petition challenging the acquisition being C.W. 694/72 was filed which was also dismissed on 16-12-1975.

3. The proceedings under sections 9 and 10 were started by the Land Acquisition Collector, who gave the award on 28-3-1980. By the award the Collector rejected the claim of the petitioners that they were the full owners and held that they had a right to claim compensation as 'Sardrakhtidars' of the land under the Land Acquisition Act. He computed their compensation for some superstructures said to have been made by them on the land dispute. The Collector assessed the Compensation for these superstructures. The normal and the proper remedy for petitioners, if they are aggrieved by compensation awarded, for the rejection of their claim with regard to the title of land or the superstructure is obviously to ask for a reference under S. 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. The petitioners, we are told by Mrs. Pappu, the learned counsel who appears for them, have already made the reference. The claim, thereforee for compensation in whatever capacity the petitioners are claiming will necessarily have to be determined by the authorities provided under the Land Acquisition Act. This writ petition was filed stage when reference under S. 18 had yet been applied for. Now the maintain ability of the petition is difficult to for the reason that challenges to the notifications, under S. 4 and S. 6 had been already but failed. They cannot now allowed to urge the same again. So far as the grievance the petitioners may have in regard to the proceedings before the Land Acquisition Collector with regard to the determination of compensation, an adequate remedy by way of Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act has been ready availed of.

4. Show cause was issued in the Writ Petition on 1-5-1980. In reply to show cause return has been filed. The Land Acquisition Collector's award has been annexed. It is in the award that compensation assessed in respect of superstructure will be found by the Court of Additional District Judge. No doubt the owners of the land claimed by the petitioners not been accepted. But as now admittedly reference under S. 18 has been filed, all these questions of title and the amounts of compensation will be decided by Addl. District Judge. It is apparent that there need be no apprehension in minds of the petitioners that their claim to title in land and the structure and the valuation that has to be put on it will not be decided by the Additional District judge. The Writ Petition is mis-conceived because grievance, if any, cannot be corrected in the writ proceedings but by way remedy under S. 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. No occasion for the writ petition and the same is, thereforee, dismissed.

On 12-5-1980, the next date, we gave time to the respondents to file a reply and stayed demolition in the meanwhile.

On 18-7-1980 Contempt petition was filed in which it was alleged that notwithstanding the order by this court of 12-5-1980, on 2nd and 3rd of June. 1980 the respondent No. 3 Ved Prakash, respondent No. 4 Raghubir Singh and one Mr. C. B. Verma representatives of respondent took their workers in the khasra number and demolished the houses and boundary wall of Khasra No. 351, notwithstanding that the stay order obtained from this court on 12-5-1980 was shown respondents 3 and 4. The latter were said to have ignored the stay order by this is court by saying that they do not care for it. When the application came up before us for the first time on 23-7-1980 we felt that it lacked in specific allegations and thereforee directed that a fuller affidavit must be filed giving the exact position that is stated to have taken place on that day. A supplementary affidavit dated 19-9-1980 has now been filed purporting to give further details of what has allegedly happened. The first thing to notice, however, is that though in the original petition it was alleged that on 2nd and 3rd of June, 1980 respondents 3 and 4 and Mr. Varma had come with their workers to demolish the houses, the supplementary affidavit makes no mention of any happening on the said dates. The later affidavit now seems to allege what happened was that on 30-5-1980 at 10 a.m. respondents Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 came with the police officers, police constables and 100 workers and started demolition of the boundary walls and houses in Khasra Nos. 354 to 358. It is, however relevant to note that the petitioners' land was the subject-matter of the writ petition is in Khasra Nos. 351 to 353. The relevance thereforee, of the respondents 2 to 5 demolishing structures on Khasra Nos. 354 to 358 is totally extraneous to the present contempt petition. What was however, further alleged was that on 30-5-1980 the respondents 2 to 5 also started demolishing the petitioners' boundary walls in Khasra No. 351. It is however, important to note that the deponent, Satwant Singh one of the petitioners did not witness all this because even according to his averments he came to know only in the evening when he returned home. The affidavit goes on to say that the next day he came to the High Court, obtained the Certified copy in C.M. 873/80 and having obtained it by afternoon went and met these respondents 2 to 5 who had come to Khasra Nos. 354-58. According to the affidavit though he showed the stay order to the respondents 2 to 5 in the presence of Gurmit Singh, Gian Singh, Gurbachan Singh Chawla and Sat Pal, they did not care for the stay order and started demolishing the house of Sat Pal in Khasra No. 351 : they are also said to have demolished the houses of Sukh Ram in the same Khasra No. and also of Gian Chand and Gurbachan Singh.

7. Detailed counter affidavits have been filed in return in which it has been denied that the respondents 2 to 5 in any way have disobeyed the orders of the court. As a matter of fact the stand taken by respondent No. 2 is that though the award was announced on 28-3-1980 and though in the normal course possession should have been taken but having come to know of the stay order of 12-5-1980 the Land Acquisition Collector i.e. respondent No. 2 had noted in the record that because of the stay order the land covered by the award cannot be made over to the Land and Building Department of the Delhi Administration. Mr. Bandra who appears for respondent No. 2 has placed before us the original record which contains endorsement of 21-5-1980 by respondent No. 2 noting that transfer of possession in this case has been stayed because of the stay order of the Division Bench in C.W. 516/80 (which is the writ petition filed by the petitioners). He has denied that he was present on the spot on 30th or 31st May. 1980 or 2nd or 3rd June, 1980 or at any time. Counter affidavit has also been filed on behalf of respondents 3 and 5. Respondent No. 4 is one Ved Prakash stated to be the Land Assistant Director No affidavit has been filed because according to Mr. Keshav Dayal there is no person by the name of Ved Prakash who is working as Land Assistant Director. This fact was pointed out at the last hearing also. Respondents 3 and 5 have in their affidavits denied the allegations; rather a grievance has been made that the petitioner has been trying to delay the taking over of possession in pursuance of the Land Acquisition Notification by one invoice or the other. It has been specifically stated that no demolition on Khasra Nos. 351 to 353 even took place on 30-5-1980 or on 2nd or 3rd of June, 1980, it is clarified that what happened was that in the adjacent area of Khasra Nos. 354 to 358 which had come up unauthorisedly, the staff of the Delhi Development Authority in proceedings under S. 30 of the Delhi Development Act had gone and had demolished certain structures but then on a stay order given in those matters by the High Court further demolition was stopped at about 3 p.m. The stand of the respondent is that demolition operation on 30-5-1980 was in respect of unauthorised constructions which were raised in Khasra Nos. 354/58. The stand of the respondent that on 30-5-1980 the demolition was done not in disputed land but in other Khasra Nos. 354-358 is corroborated even by the affidavits filed by the petitioner who has stated that the respondents 2 to 5 had come and started demolishing the boundary walls in khasra Nos. 354 to 358. The fact thereforee, that the respondents had gone to these khasra Numbers which did not include the disputed khasra Number naturally cannot be objected to by the petitioners.

8. There are certain aspects of the matter which make it not possible to accept the version of the petitioners. The first aspect is about the date on which the demolitions are said to have taken place in alleged violation of the stay order. In the original petition and the affidavit it was clearly stated that the action by the respondents took place on 2nd/3rd June, 1980 (and not 30-5-1980 as is now alleged). All that Mrs. Pappu could point out was that the original application was filed by Darshan Singh, one of the petitioners, who is the brother of Satwant Singh, while the supplementary affidavit has been filed by Satwant Singh the petitioner. We can hardly appreciate the Explanationn because the affidavit of Darshan Singh was very clear and he also deposed that he was fully conversant with the present case; he had thus taken on the responsibility of saying that the facts mentioned in the contempt application are true and correct to his knowledge. As to why there was a mention of 2nd or 3rd of June, 1980 has not even been explained in the supplementary affidavit. What is more curious is that though there is specific mention of the persons who were said to be present at the time when stay order was shown to the respondents on 30-5-1980, no affidavit has been filed on behalf of the said persons. Not only that Sukh Ram, Gian Chand, Gurbachan Singh and Sat Pal whose houses are said to have been demolished in Khasra No. 351 even after the respondents had been allegedly shown the stay order by this court, have not filed any affidavit in support of petitioners' case. The petitioners have given no reasons, whatsoever, as to why the persons who are most affected namely - whose houses have been demolished by the respondents have not filed any affidavit. Mrs. Pappu has told us that the petitioner has his own structure (house) in Khasra No. 351. But the maximum that the petitioner alleges is that only the boundary wall has been demolished. Surprisingly that if the respondents were determined knowingly to disobey the order of this court, they should have contented themselves only with demolishing boundary wall and should have left the main structure untouched. We cannot thereforee find strong case on established facts which would show an effort by the respondents to disobey and ignore the order of this court. The respondents are alleged to have violated the stay order on 30-5-1980. Contempt application was filed on 18-7-1980. This delay also seems unexplained if the present version of alleged demolition on 30-5-1980 had any substance. The inaction of the petitioners for all this time seems unnatural.

9. The power to punish for contempt is obviously vested in the court to see that the administration of justice does not suffer by disobedience of orders of the court, and thus to dry up the fountain of justice. But the said power should not also be made use of for any extraneous or collateral purpose. Before, thereforee, the court would take any action against any alleged contemner it must be reasonably satisfied that the alleged contemner was deliberately disobeying the order of the court. On the reading of the whole petition read with the counter affidavit we are not satisfied at all that any such demolition took place on the petitioners' land which was the subject-matter of the writ petition on dates that have been mentioned in petition. We feel that the resort to the contempt application was not called for.

10. The result is that we decline to admit the writ petition as well as contempt application and both are dismissed. No costs.

11. As we have dismissed the writ petition the interim order passed on 12-5-1980 will naturally stand vacated.

12. Order accordingly.

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