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R.C. Sood and Co. Pvt. Ltd. Vs. the Union of India Through Secretary, Home Affairs, New Delhi and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. Nos. 792 of 1968 and 13 of 1969
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Delhi170
ActsLand Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act, 1967 - Sections 4; Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 1967 - Sections 5; Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 4, 6, 7 and 48; General Ceases Act, 1897 - Sections 21; Evidence Act, 1872 - S. 115
AppellantR.C. Sood and Co. Pvt. Ltd.
RespondentThe Union of India Through Secretary, Home Affairs, New Delhi and ors.
Appellant Advocate S.N. Marwah and; Ashok Marwah, Advs
Respondent Advocate S.S. Chadha, Adv.
Cases ReferredVishnu Prasad v. The State of Madhya Pradesh. These
Excerpt:
a) it was held that the acquisition proceedings declared illegal by competent court get revived on publication of necessary notifications under the land acquisition (amendment and validation) act, 1967 and earlier ordinance b) the court ruled that the provision was not applicable to acquisition proceedings preceded beyond the stage of the publication of notifications under sections 4,6,7 of the land acquisition act, 1894. c) the court ruled that the government was estopped on principle of promissory estoppel from acting contrary to representations made by it to the claimant when he had acted to his detriment on those representations. - 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.....order1. these two writ petitioners are directed against the same award under the land acquisition act and they have, thereforee, been heard together. they may be disposed of by a common judgment.2. the petitioner in writ petition no. 792 of 1968 is m/s. r.c. sood & company (p) ltd., and the petitioner in writ petition no. 13 of 1969 is m/s. gulmarg co-operative house building society limited. the respondents in both the writ petitions are the same, namely, (1) the union of india through secretary, ministry of home affairs, new delhi (2) delhi administration through chief secretary, (3) the collector, delhi and (4) the lt. governor, delhi.3. m/s. r.c. sood & company is the owner (bhoomidar) of certain land comprised in various khasra nos. mentioned in the writ petition no. 792 of 1968.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. These two writ petitioners are directed against the same Award under the Land Acquisition Act and they have, thereforee, been heard together. They may be disposed of by a common judgment.

2. The petitioner in writ petition No. 792 of 1968 is M/s. R.C. Sood & Company (P) Ltd., and the petitioner in writ petition No. 13 of 1969 is M/s. Gulmarg Co-operative House Building Society Limited. The respondents in both the writ petitions are the same, namely, (1) the Union of India through Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi (2) Delhi Administration through Chief Secretary, (3) the Collector, Delhi and (4) the Lt. Governor, Delhi.

3. M/s. R.C. Sood & Company is the owner (Bhoomidar) of certain land comprised in various Khasra Nos. mentioned in the writ petition No. 792 of 1968 measuring about 109 bighas and 7 bids was and situate in the revenue estate of village Tigri, siub-Tehsil Maharauli in the Union Territory of Delhi. m/s. Gulmarg cooperative House Building Society is the owner (Bhoomidar) of another land comprised in various Khasra Numbers mentioned in writ petition No. 13 of 1969,m measuring about 48 bighas and 14 bids was and situate in the aforesaid revenue estate of village Tigri. According to the petitioners, the said lands were earmarked for a residential colony, and the petitioners prepared the layout plans for their respective lands and submitted the same to the Delhi Municipal Corporation for sanction. In the meantime, the Delhi Administration issued a Notification (Annexure `F') under S. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act in respect of a large tract of land in which the lands of the petitioners herein were included for planned development of Delhi. The Delhi Administration issued subsequently a Notification (Annexure `G') dated September 12, 1962, under Section 6 of the Act. The Collector made an award on March 20, 1963 and the Administration took possession of the lands in question on May 13, 1963.

4. The petitioners then filed applications on September 14, 1963 under Section 18 of the Act for enhancement of compensation, and a reference was made to the Additional District Judge. The petitioners had filed earlier a writ petition No. 851-D of 1962, in the Circuit Bench at Delhi of the then Punjab High Court for getting the Notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act quashed in so far as their lands were concerned for the reasons mentioned in the writ petition. The writ petition was allowed by S.K. Kapur, J. by an order (Annexure `D') dated November 7, 1966. The learned Judge following the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Vishnu Prashad Sharma, : [1966]3SCR557 , accepted the contention of the petitioners that once a Notification under Section 6 with respect to a part of the land covered by the Notification under Section 4 (Annexure `F') was issued, the said Notification under S. 4 exhausted itself and no other Notification under Section 6 could be issued in pursuance of Notification (Annexure `F'), dated November 13, 1969, under Section 4. In the result, the learned Judge quashed the Notifications under Section 6 in so far as they related to the lands of the petitioners.

5. At that time, the reference for enhancement of compensation were pending in Court of the Additional District Judge, Delhi. In view of the order of the High Court quashing the Notifications under Section 6 in consequence of which the award of the Collector also stood cancelled, the petitioners requested the Additional District Judge to permit them to withdraw the reference, and accordingly the learned District Judge dismissed the reference as withdrawn on November 29, 1966.

6. In the meantime, on November 21, 1966, the Delhi Administration issued a fresh Notification (Annexure `B') under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act in respect of the lands of the petitioners and the same was published in the Gazatee on December 1, 1966. The petitioners filed their objections on December 21, 1966, under Section 5-A of the Act.

7. On January 20, 1967, the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance NO. 1 of 1967, was issued and on April 12, 1967 the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act No. Xiii of 1967, was enacted and the said Ordinance was repealed.

8. On June 6, 1967, the Land Acquisition authorities issued notices to the petitioners fixing June 8, 1967, as the date for the petitioners to produce evidence in support of their objections filed under Section 5-A of the Act. On June 8, 1967 the petitioners appeared before the authorities. Subsequently, the objections were rejected and a report was made for acquiring the lands of the petitioners. Thereafter, on September 28, 1967 a fresh Notification (Annexure `A') under Section 6 and 7 of the Act was issued and the same was published in the Gazette on October 19, 1967.

9. Then, on March 24, 1968, the Delhi Administration issued a Notification (Annexure `C' = R11), cancelling the two Notifications (Annexure `B' and `A') under Section 4 and 6 of the Act issued on November 21, 1966 and September 28, 1967 respectively. The petitioners then filed on July 9, 1968 an application before the Additional District Judge, Delhi, under Section 151, Code of Civil Procedure for restoration of the reference which was dismissed as withdrawn on November 29, 1968. They filed the present writ petitioner on October 14, 1968, and January 4, 1969 respectively, praying for the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to restore possession of the lands in dispute to the petitioners.

10. In opposition to the Writ petition No. 792 of 1969, a counter affidavit of Shri D.P. Bahuguna, Deputy Secretary (Land and Building), Delhi Administration dated January 4, 1969, was filed on behalf of the respondents. By way of rejoinder to the said counter-affidavit, an affidavit of Shri R.C. Sood, dated May 24, 1969, was filed on behalf of the petitioner in the said writ petition. Shri. R.C. Sood also filed an additional affidavit, dated July 22, 1969. In reply to the said additional affidavit, an additional counter-affidavit of Shri. I.K. Suri, Deputy Secretary (Land & Building), Delhi Administration dated December 6, 1969, was filed on behalf of the respondents. Shri. R.C. Stood filed an affidavit, dated January 16, 1970 in reply to the said counter-affidavit of Shri. I.K. Suri. The petitioner also filed an application C.M. NO. 290 of 1970 on February 12, 1970, supported by an affidavit for permission to add an additional prayer in the writ petition that an appropriate direction may be given to the respondents to determine the compensation in accordance with the market rate of the land in question as on September 27, 1968, or at any rate as on November 21, 1966. Shri R.C. Sood also filed a supplemental affidavit in support of the said application. In reply to the said application, a counter-affidavit of Shri. Surendra Kishore, Deputy Secretary (Land & Building), Delhi Administration, dated March 26, 1970 was filed on behalf of the Delhi Administration.

11. In Writ petition No. 13 of 1969, a counter-affidavit of Shri. M.L. Gorver, Deputy Secretary (Lands & Building), Delhi Administration, dated April 3, 1969, was filed on behalf of the respondents. By way of rejoinder, Shri. J.R. Sood, filed an affidavit, dated May 27, 1969, and an additional affidavit, dated July 22, 1969. In answer to the said rejoinder-affidavit and additional affidavit, a supplemental counter-affidavit of Shri. I.K. Suri, dated December 6, 1969, was filed on behalf of the respondents. In reply to the said supplemental counter-affidavit Shri. J.R. Sood on February 12, 1970, the petitioner filed an application, C.M. No. 298 of 1970, for permission to add an additional prayer similar to the additional prayer sought for by the petitioner in the other writ petition. The said application was supported by an affidavit and a supplementary affidavit of Shri. J.R. Stood, dated February 13, 1970. In answer to the said application a counter-affidavit of Shri. Surender Kishore, dated March, 26, 1970 was filed on behalf of the respondents in the writ petition.

12. Shri H.R. Gokhale and Shri S.N. Marwha, learned counsel for the petitioners in the two writ petitions, contended:-

(1) that the Notification (Annexure F & G) under Ss. 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, dated 13-11-1959 and 12-9-1963 have been either cancelled or withdrawn expressly or impliedly, or abandoned by the respondents, and have ceased to subsist in fact and in law.

(2) that the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance No. 1 of 1967 and the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act No. 13 of 1967 do not apply to the case of the petitioners:-

(a) in that the notifications (Annexure F & G) dated 13-11-1959 and 12-9-1962, were treated as at an end by the action of the respondents themselves and not by virtue of any judgment decree or order of any court;

(b) in that the notifications (Annexure B & A) dated 21-11-1966/1-12-1966 and 28-9-1967/19-10-1967 did not refer to and were independent of and unconnected with the said Ordinance and Act; and

(c) In that event if the Ordnance and the Act applied to the Notifications (Annexure F & G) with the result that the said Notifications are to be deemed to have been revived, then also the said Notifications have to be regarded to have been cancelled or withdrawn or abandoned by the respondents by reason of the issuance of the Notifications (Annexure B & A) and their continuance by the Acts of the respondents subsequent to the promulgation of the Ordinance and the passing of the Act;

(3) that the Notifications (Annexures B & A), dated 21-11-1966/1-12-1966 and 28-9-1967/19-10-1967, were cancelled by the respondents themselves by the Notification (Annexure C), dated 24-3-1968; and the lands in question are thus no longer under acquisition and consequently the respondents have no right to be in possession of the lands in question and should be directed to restore possession to the petitioners and alternatively.

(4) the cancellation of the Notifications (Annexure B and A), by the Notification (Annexurer C) is discriminatory and vocative of Article 14 and is liable to be quashed and the compensation of the lands in question should be assessed on the basis of their market value on 21-11-1966/1-12-1966, the date of the Notification (Annexure B), and paid to the petitioners;

13. It may be recalled that the Notifications (Annexure `F' and `G') under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act were issued in the first instance on 13-11-1959 and 12-9-1962 respectively. The Collector made his awarded on 20-3-1963. The Government took possession of the acquired lands, and the lands thereby vested absolutely in the Government free from all encumbrances by virtue of the provision in Section 16 of the Land Acquisition Act. The petitioners filed a writ petition, C.W. 851-D of 1962, and it was allowed by S.K. Kapur, J on 7-11-1966 (Annexure D) in view of the decision of the Supreme Curt in : [1965]3SCR708 and the Notifications (Annexures `F' and `G') under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act were expressly quashed. Consequently, the acquisition under the said Notifications and the award also became cancelled and ceased to subsist. The Government realised the same and issued a fresh Notification (Annexure `B') on 21-11-1966 under Section 4 of the Act. It was published in the Gazette on December 1, 1966. The argument on behalf of the petitioners was that the issuance of the fresh Notification under Section 4 shows that the Government treated the acquisition under the Notifications of 1959 and 1962 (Annexure `F' and `G') as cancelled and not subsisting, that the issuance on the fresh Notification amounted to an implied cancellation of the earlier acquisition, and that, in any case, it amounted to an abandonment of the earlier acquisition by the Government and a commencement of fresh acquisition proceedings, Shri. S.S. Chadha, learned counsel for the respondents, contended that there was no question of any implied cancellation or abandonment of the earlier acquisition by reason of the issuance of the fresh Notification as the earlier acquisition was already quashed by the order of the High Court in the writ petition prior to 21-11-1966 the date of the fresh Notification (Annexure B). It is true that the earlier acquisition had already been quashed by the High Court and there could thereforee, be no question of any implied cancellation or abandonment by the Government when they issued the fresh Notification. But, the fact remains that the earlier acquisition was quashed by the High Court which the fresh Notification was issued, and the Government commenced fresh acquisition proceedings by issuing a fresh Notification (Annexure B) under Section 4 of the Act on 21-11-1966/1-12-1966. The language used in the said Notification (Annexure B) also shows that it purported to be a fresh proceedings under Section 4 of the Act.

14. On December 21, 1966, the petitioners filed objections under Section 5-A of the Act to the fresh acquisition proceedings. At that stage, on January 20, 1967, the Government promulgated the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance No. 1 of 1967. Section 5 of the Ordinance runs as follows:-

'5. Validation of certain acquisitionsaa

(1) Notwithstanding any judgment decree or order of any court to the contrary -

(a) no acquisition of land made or purporting to have been made under the principal Act before the commencement of this Ordinance, and no action taken or thing done (including any order made, agreement entered into, or notification published) in connection with such acquisition shall be deemed to be invalid or ever to have become invalid merely on the ground -

(i) that one or more Collectors have performed the functions of Collector under the principle Act in respect of the land covered by the Same Notification under sub-section (1) of S. 4 of the principle Act; or

(ii) that one or more reports have been made under sub-section (2) of Section 5-A of the principle Act, whether in respect of the entire land, or different parcels thereof, covered by the same notification under sub-section (1) of S. 4 of the principle Act; or

(iii) that one or more declarations have been made under Section 6 of the principle Act in respect of different parcels of the land covered by the same notification under sub-section (1) of S. 4 of the principle Act in pursuance of one or more reports under S. 5-A thereof.

(b) any acquisition in pursuance of any notification published under Sub-section (1) of S. 4 of the principal Act before the commencement of this Ordinance may be made after such commencement and no such acquisition and no action taken or thing done (including any order made, agreement entered into, or after such commencement, in connection to be invalid merely on the grounds referred to in Cl.(a) or any of them.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in Cl.(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 this Ordinance, under sub-section (1) of S. 4 of the Principle Act shall be made after the expiry of two years from the commencement of this Ordinance'.

On April 12, 1967, the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act No. Xiii of 1967 was enacted and the Ordinance was repealed. Section 4 of the Act runs as follows:-

'4. Validation of certain acquisitions:- (1) Notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of any court to the contrary -

(a) no acquisition of land made or purporting to have been made under the principal act before the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 1967, (1 of 1967), and no action made, agreement entered into, or notification published) in connection with such acquisition shall be deemed to be invalid or ever to have become invalid merely on the ground:-

(i) that one or more Collectors have performed the functions of Collector under the principal Act in respect of this land covered by the same notification under sub-section (1) of S. 4 of the principle Act.

(ii) that one or more declarations have been made under Section 6 of the principal Act in respect of different parcels of the land covered by the same notification under sub-section (1) of S. 4 of the principal Act.

(b) any acquisition in pursuance of any notification published under sub-section (1) of S. 4 of the principal Act before the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance 1967 (1 of 1967), may be made after such commencement and no such acquisition and no action taken or thing done (including any order made, agreement entered into, or notification published) whether before or after such commencement, in connection with such acquisition shall be deemed to be invalid merely on the grounds referred to in Cl.(a) of any of them.

(2) 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 (1 of 1967), under sub-sc (1) of S. 4 of the principal Act, shall be made after the expiry of two years from the commencement of the said Ordinance.

(3) Where acquisition of any particular land covered by a notification under sub-section (1) of the S. 4 of the principal Act, published before the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 1967 (1 of 1967) is or has been made in pursuance of any declaration under Section 6 of the principal Act, whether made before or after such commencement, and such declaration is or has been made after the expiry of three years from the date of publication of such notification there shall be paid simple interest, calculated at the rate of six per centum per annum on the market value of such land, as determined under Section 23 of the principal Act, from the date of expiry of the said period of three years to the date of tender of payment of compensation awarded by the Collector for the acquisition of such land:

Provided that no such interest shall be payable for any period during which the proceedings for the acquisition of any land were held up on account of stay or injunction by order of a court.

Provided further that nothing in this sub-section shall apply to the acquisition of any land where the amount of compensation has been paid to the persons interested before the commencement of this Act'.

The effect of an aforesaid provisions was that the notifications (Annexures 'F' and 'G'), the award, and the acquisition of the lands in question under the said notifications and award, as well as the vesting of the lands in the Government were to be deemed to have always been valid. In other words, the acquisition by the said notifications and award, as well as the vesting of the lands in the Government, were to be regarded as revived and substituting from the dates on which the notifications and award were issued and made and the vesting took place.

15. Yet, as stated in paragraph 3 of the affidavit of Shri. R.C. Stood, dated January 16, 1970, the concerned Collector issued a notice on June 6, 1967 fixing June 8, 1967 as the date for the petitioners to produce evidence in support of the objections filed by them on December 21, 1966. It is stated by the learned counsel for the petitioners that the petitioners appeared before the Collector on June 8, 1967, and filed necessary documents and made their submissions in support of their objections. On September 28, 1967, the Government issued a notification (Annexure 'A') under Section 6 and 7 of the Act. It was published in the Gazette on October 19, 1967. The issuance of the said notification shows that the Government rejected the objection of the petitioners and declared that the lands in question were needed for the public purpose of planned development of Delhi. The Notification also contained a direction under S. 7 of the Act to the Collector of Delhi to take order for the acquisition of the lands in question.

16. The learned counsel for the petitioners contended that the provisions of the Ordinance and the Act did not apply to the case of the petitioners. The argument was that the notifications (Annexure F & G). dated 13-11-1959 and 12-9-62, were treated as at an end by the action of the respondents themselves and not by virtue of any judgment, decree or order of any Court. The said argument is not tenable. It is true that Section 5 of the Ordinance and Section 4 of the Amending Act purport to validate certain acquisitions mentioned in the said sections:-

'notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of any court to the contrary'

But as already pointed out when the notification (Annexure B) was issued on 21-11-1966/1-12-1966, the earlier notifications, the award and the acquisition there under had already ceased to subsist, and, thereforee, the Government cannot be said to have treated the earlier acquisition as at an end in issuing the fresh notification (Annexure F) under Section 4 of the Act. The issuance of the fresh notification under Section 4 shows only that the Government purported to commence fresh acquisition proceedings by the said notification. The earlier notifications, award and acquisition there under were at an end as they were quashed by the order of the High Court and not by the action of the respondents in issuing the fresh notification (Annexure B).

17. The Ordinance and the Amendment Act, when issued and enacted, were, thereforee, applicable to the notifications (Annexure F & G) of 1959 and 1962, the award and the acquisition there under were revived, and they have to be regarded as substituting from the respective dates on which they were issued and made. Thus, on the issuance of the Ordinance and the enactment of the Act, the earlier notifications (Annexure F & G) of 1959 and 1962, the award and the fresh notification (Annexure B) dated 21-11-1966/1-12-1966 issued under Section 4 of the Act was also in force.

18. The next contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners was that even in that situation i.e. even if the notifications (Annexure F & G) of 1959 and 1962, the award and the acquisition there under were revived by the Ordinance and the Amendment Act, the said earlier notifications, award and acquisition there under have to be regarded to have been cancelled or withdrawn or abandoned by the respondents by reason of their conduct in continuing the fresh acquisition proceedings by considering the objections of the petitioners and issuing the notification (Annexure A) under Section 6 and 7 of the Act subsequent to the promulgation of the Ordinance and the passing of the Amendment Act. In other words the argument was that the actions of the respondents subsequent to the promulgation of the Ordinance and the passing of the Act show that they cancelled or withdrew or abandoned the earlier acquisition, and decided to proceed with the fresh acquisition proceedings commenced by the issuance of the notification (Annexure B) on 21-11-1966/1-12-1966.

19. The above contention raises the question as to whether the Government had the power to so cancel, withdraw or abandon the earlier acquisition even after the lands had vested in the Acquisition Act empowers the Government to withdraw the acquisition of any land of which possession has not been taken'. Since the possession has not already been taken in the present case and lands vested in the Government, the learned counsel for the petitioners conceded that Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act does not apply to the present case, and stated that they do not rely on the said Section. They however, sought to reply on Section 21 of the General Clauses act which runs as follows:

'21. Where, by any Central Act or Regulation, a power to issue notifications, orders, rules or bye-laws is conferred, then that power includes a power exerisable in the like manner and subject to the like sanction and conditions (if any), to add to, amend, vary or rescind any notifications, orders, rules or bye-laws so issued'

The section merely provides, inter alia, that a power to issue notifications included as power to rescind the notifications so issued. But, in the present case, it was not merely a question of rescinding the earlier Notifications (Annexure F & G) of 1959 and 1962. The matter had proceeded further, an award was made and the Government took possession of the lands in question, with the result that the lands vested absolutely in the Government free from all encumbrances. As pointed out by the Supreme Court in the Fruit & Vegetable Merchangs Union v. The Delhi Improvement Trust, : [1957]1SCR1 'in the case contemplated by Sections 16 and 17 of the Land Acquisition Act, the property acquired becomes the property of the Government without any conditions or limitations either as to title the possession'.

In other words when the Collector took possession of the lands in question they vested absolutely in the Government free from all encumbrances and the Government became a complete owner of the lands in question Section 21 of the General Clauses Act refers only to a power to issue a notification etc and to rescind the same but does not refer to a power to divest property which vested in the Government.

20. In Air 1956 Sc 1993 (Supra) it was observed by Wanchoo J (as his Lordship then was) at p. 1602 as follows

'Then reliance is placed on Section 48 which provides for withdrawal from acquisition. The argument is that Section 48 is the only provision in the Act which deals with withdrawal from acquisition and that is the only way in which Government can withdraw from the acquisition and unless action is taken under Section 48 the notification under Section 4(1) would remain (presumably) for ever. It is urged that the only way in which the notification under Section 4(1) can come to an end is by withdrawal under Section 48(1) We are not impressed by this argument. In the first place under Section 21 of the General Clauses Act (No 10 of 1897) the power to issue a notification includes the power to rescind it. thereforee, it is always open to Government to rescind a notification under Section 4 or under Section 6 and withdrawal under Section 48(1) is not the only way in which a notification under Section 4 or Section 6 can be brought to an end.

........... .......... ...... ........ ........... .......... ...... ........ ........... .......... The argument that S. 48(1) is the only method in which the Government can withdraw from the acquisition has thereforee no force because the Government can always cancel the notification under Section 4 and 6 by virtue of its power under Section 21 of the General Clauses Act and the power can be exercised before the Government directs the Collector to take action under Section 7 ...... ........ ........... .......... ...... ........ ........... We cannot thereforee accept the argument that without an order under Section 48(1) the notification under Section 4 must remain outstanding. It can be cancelled at any time by Government under Section 21 of the General Clauses Act and what Section 48(1) shows is that once Government has taken possession it cannot withdraw from the acquisition'.

It has, thereforee to be noted that the case in which the above observations were made was not one in which possession had been taken and the property vested in the Government.

21 Shri. Chandha referred to an unreported decision of the High Court of Pepsu in Dr. Sham Lal v. Patiala and East Punjab States Union a short notice of which as published in Air 1955 Nuc 1873 as under:-

'(d) Land Acquisition Act (1894), Section 48(1) - Land vesting the Government - Government if, can withdraw from acquisition.

Where the land once vests in the Government whether the possession is taken in the normal course under Section 16 or in cases of urgency under Section 17 the Government cannot divest itself of it by withdrawing from the acquisition which is already complete except for payment of the compensation (Para 9)'.

The learned counsel also referred to the decisions in Shehagiri Rao v. Special Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Officer, Air 1965 Mys 222 at p. 223 and M/s. Jetmul Bhajraj v. The State of Bihar, : AIR1967Pat287 . In the former case it was observed by a Division Bench (A R Somnath Kyer and G.K. Govinda Bhat, JJ) that:-

'Once the Land Acquisition Officer obtained delivery of possession of the property under the Act as he did not permissible for the Government even to withdraw from the acquisition as can be seen from the provisions of Section 43 of the Act. The power of the Government once there was taking of possession under the provisions of the Act to withdraw from the acquisition and to enforce the conditions of the grant came to an end and it became incumbent on the Land Acquisition Officer to complete the acquiring according to the provisions of the Act'.

In the later case also, a Division Bench (R. L. Narasimham, C.J. and Kamla Shahi, J) observed as under:-

'So far as the application of Section 48(1) is concerned, it seems clear that the Government loses its right to withdraw from acquisition only from the date when the Collector takes possession under Section 16 of the Section 17 of the act so that the title vests free from all encumbrances in the Government'.

But, the said decisions did not deal with the provision in Section 21 of the General Clauses Act. However in view of the language under in Section 21 of the General Clauses Act it cannot be said that the said Section applies to a case where the acquisition proceedings proceeded beyond the stage of the publication of the notifications under Section 4, 6 and 7 of the Act, the Government took possession of the land, and the same vested in the Government free from all encumbrances.

22. The learned, counsel for the petitioners, however, contended that on the facts of the present case the respondents by their actions and conduct prior and subsequent to the promulgation of the Ordinance and the enactment of the Amendment Act, were estopped from contending that they had not cancelled, withdrew or abandoned the earlier acquisition, and that they had no power to do so. Reliance was placed on the decision of the Supreme Court in M/s. Vijay Cotton and Oil Mills Ltd. v. State of Gujarat : [1969]2SCR60 , In that case, the Government of Kutch took possession of certain land belonging to Vijay Cotton & Oil Mils Ltd, in 1949 under an arrangement whereby the exchange other suitable lands of equal value. The Government constructed some buildings on the land an subsequently decided to acquire the land compulsorily. Without issuing a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, the Government issued a notification under Section 6(91) of the Act on February 1, 1955, declaring that the land was needed for public purposes had already been taken. The collector made an award on April 22, 1957. The Mills objected to the amount of compensation awarded by the Collector, and Court under Section 18 of the Act. At the hearing of the reference the Government conceded before the District Judge that the Mills were entitled to the market value of the land as on February 1, 1955, and the District Judge awarded compensation accordingly. The Court and the contented that in the absence of a notification under Section 4(1) of the Act, no compensation could be awarded to the Mills. The High Court accepted the contention and allowed the appeal. Thereupon the Mills preferred an appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in allowing this appeal observed as follows:-

'The Government having constructed buildings on the land was to in a position to restore it and had no option but to acquire it compulsorily ................... On finding that there was no separate notification under Section 4(1) the Government had a choice between two courses of conduct. It could say that in the absence of such a notification the acquisition was invalid and that no compensation would be awarded under Section 23. If it did so it would be compelled to start fresh acquisition proceedings and pay a larger sum by way of compensation. The other course was to treat the notification of February 1, 1955 as a composite one under Sections 4(1) and 6(1) with the consent of the appellant and to say that the market value of the land on that day could be awarded by way of compensation. The Government elected to choose the latter course. At the hearing of the reference, it conceded that the appellant was entitled to the market value of the land on February 1, 1955. The appellant agreed to accept compensation on that footing. Having regard to the consent of both parties, it could properly be assumed that the procedure of Section 5A had been waived by the appellant and that the notification of February 1, 1955 could be treated as a composite one under Sections 4(1) and 6(1). The District Judge could thereforee lawfully award the market value of the land on that day. Relying on the concession made by the Government, the appellant acted to its detriment. It did not challenge the acquisition and took no steps to recover the land. The result is that the Government has been in adverse possession of the land for more than 12 years since 1949 and has gained an advantage which it could not otherwise obtain. In these circumstances the Government cannot be permitted to resile from the election which it deliberately made and to say that the appellant is not entitled to the market value of the land on February 1, 1955. A party litigant cannot be permitted to take up inconsistent positions in Court to the detriment of his opponents (See Rama Charan Chakrabarty v. Nimal Mondal, 15 Clj 58, Bigelow on Estoppel, 6th Ed. page 783). He cannot approbate or reprobate (see Halsbury's Laws of England, 3rd Ed. Vol. 15, Art 340). The concession cannot now be retracted. The High Court should have disposed of the appeal before it on the footing that the appellant is entitled to the market value of the land on February 1, 1955'.

23. The learned counsel relied also upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Union of India v. Anglo Afghan Agencies. Air 1968 Sc 718. In that case, the Textile Commissioner published a scheme called the Export Promotion Scheme providing incentive to exporters of woolen goods. It contained a representation that import licenses up to the value of the goods exported will be issued. The Anglo Afghan Agencies acted upon the said representation and exported goods of the F.O. B. value of about Rupees five lakhs. Subsequently, however, import certificate was granted to them for Rs. 1,99,459 only. The Agencies thereupon filed a writ petition in the High Court of Punjab for a writ or order directing the issue of a license permitting the import of goods of the value of about three lakhs. The High Court allowed the writ petition. On appeal by the Union of India, the Supreme Court, while dismissing the appeal, observed as follows:-

'We are of the view that even if the Scheme is executive in character, the respondents who were aggrieved because of the failure to carry out the terms of the scheme were entitled to seek resort to the Curt and claim that the obligation imposed upon the Textile Commissioner by the Scheme be ordered to be carried out.'

'We hold that the claim of the respondents is appropriately founded upon the equity which arises in their favor as a result of three representation made on behalf of the Union of India in the Export Promotion Scheme, and the action taken by the respondents acting upon that representation under the belief that the Government would carry out the representation made by it. On the facts proved in this case, no ground has been suggested before the Court for exempting the Government from the enquiry arising out of the acts done by the exporters to their prejudice relying upon the representation'.

'Even though the case does not fall within the terms of Section 115 of the Evidence Act, it is still open to a party who has acted on a representation made by the Government to claim that the Government shall be bound to carry out the promise made by it, even though the promise is not recorded in the form of a formal contract as required by the Constitution'.

'Under our jurisprudence the Government is not exempt from liability to carry out the representation made by it as to its future conduct and it cannot on some undefined and undisclosed ground of necessity or expediency fail by it, nor claim to be the judge of its own obligation to the citizen on an exparte appraisement of the circumstances in which the obligation has arisen.'

The learned counsel also referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in Seth Sat Narain v. Union of India, C/A. No. 646 of 1964 (SC) pronounced on September 27, 1967. In that decision, the Supreme Court considered the principle of promissory estoppel, and observed that the principle will apply only if there is either a promise or an assurance intended to be acted upon and only when the same was in fact acted upon.

24. Relying on the above observations the Supreme Court the learned counsel for the petitioners contended that the actions and conduct of the respondents prior and subsequent to the promulgation of the Ordinance and the enactment of the Amendment Act amount to a representation or promise of assurance that they will treat the earlier acquisition as abandoned and will proceed with the new acquisition proceedings, that the petitioners herein acted upon the same to their detriment, and that the respondents are, thereforee, estopped from contending that they had not abandoned or had no power to abandon the earlier acquisition or that they will not continue the new acquisition proceedings. it is clear from the decisions mentioned above that the principle of estoppel would be attracted only if there was a representation, promise or assurance on the part of the respondents, and the petitioners herein had acted upon the same to their detriment. The earlier acquisition ceased to be valid by reason of the order of the High Court in the writ petition. Before the Ordinance was promulgated and the Amendment Act was enacted, the respondents issued a fresh notification on November 21, 1966, under Section 4 of the Land acquisition Act. It was published in Gazette on December 1, 1966. This was clearly a representation that the respondents propose to commence fresh acquisition proceedings. In the meantime on November 29, 1966 the reference before the learned District Judge was dismissed as withdrawn. The petitioners filed objections on December 21, 1966 to the new acquisition proceedings. It was at that stage that the Ordinance was promulgated on January 20, 1967 and the Amendment Act was enacted on April 12, 1967. The consequence was that the earlier acquisition became valid retrospectively.

At that stage, two courses were open to the respondents. One was to proceed with the fresh acquisition proceedings, and if they did so, they would be liable to pay compensation to the petitioners on the basis of the market value as on November 21, 1966. The other course was to cancel or withdraw or abandon the fresh acquisition proceedings in view of the revival of the earlier acquisition. The respondents chose the former course and issued a notice to the petitioners on June 6, 1967 fixing June 8, 1967, as the date for hearing the objections filed by the petitioners. This again was a representation that the respondents would not rely upon the earlier acquisition, but would proceed with the fresh acquisition proceedings. The petitioners appeared before the Land Acquisition Authority on June 8, 1967. Then, on September 28, 1967 the respondents issued a notification under Section 6 and 7 of the Land Acquisition Act. This was one more representation by respondents that they would not rely upon the earlier acquisition, but would continue the fresh acquisition proceedings. The issuance of a fresh notification under Section 4, the enquiry into the objections filed by the petitioners, and the issuance of the notifications under Section 6 and 7, clearly amounts to representation by the respondents that they abandoned the earlier acquisition, and a promise or an assurance that they would proceed with the fresh acquisition proceedings, notwithstanding the revival of the earlier acquisition. The question then is as to whether the petitioners acted upon the said representation, promise or assurance.

The learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that in view of the said representation, promise or assurance, the petitioners (1) did not file an application for the revival of the reference under Section 18; (2) did not challenge the validity of the Ordinance and the Act; and (3) did not challenge the validity of the earlier acquisition proceedings on grounds which were raised in the writ petition No. 851-D of 1962., but not considered and decided by S.K. Kapur, J. in his order in the writ petition. The submission of the learned counsel is, in my opinion, well founded. It is true that the petitioners withdrew the reference on November 29, 1966 before the notification under Section 4 was published in the Gazette on December 1, 1966. and, thereforee, the petitioners cannot be said to have withdrawn the reference in view of the fresh notification under Section 4. But, after the promulgation of the Ordinance and the enactment of the Amendment Act on January 20, 1967, and April 12, 1967; respectively, the petitioners could move the District Court for restoration of the reference in view of the revival of the earlier acquisition. However, on June 6, 1967, the Land Acquisition Authority issued a notice fixing June 8, 1967, as the date for the hearing of the objections. The objections were heard on June 8, 1967 and a notification under Section 6 and 7 was issued on September 28, 1967 and published in the Gazette on October 19, 1967.

Apparently, in view of the said notice, enquiry and notification, the petitioners did not file the application before the District Court for restoration of the reference. Thus, by reason of the actions of the respondents, the petitioners did not file any application before the District Court for about one year since the date on which the reference was dismissed as withdrawn. It is thus obvious that the petitioners acted upon the representation promise or assurance of the respondents and lost a valuable right which they had under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. Again, in view of the aforesaid actions of the respondents, the petitioners did not challenge the validity of the Ordinance or the Amendment Act or their applicability to the earlier acquisition. Further, a perusal of the writ petition NO. 851-D of 1962 (Annexure E-1 to E-3) and the order of S.K. Kapur, J (Annexure D) shows that the petitioners put forward certain grounds in their writ petition for challenging the validity of the earlier acquisition proceedings, but they were left unconsidered and undecided in the view taken by the learned Judge on the basis of the decision of the Supreme Court in Air 1966 Sc 1588 (Supra). According to the averment of R.C. 13-2-1970, the petitioners would have applied for the hearing of the writ petition No. 851-D of 962 on the grounds originally taken or would have filed a fresh writ petition on the said grounds challenging the earlier notifications of 1959 and 1962 and the acquisition there under, but for the proceedings under Section 5-A and the issuance of the fresh notification under Section 6 in spite of the Ordinance and the Amendment Act. These facts show that the petitioners acted upon the representation, promise or assurance of the respondents to their detriment. It is true that after the respondents issued a notification (Annexure C) on March 24, 1968, challenging the fresh notification under Section 4, 6 and 7, the petitioners filed an application (Annexure A-1) on July 9, 1968, in the Court of the District Judge praying for the restoration of the reference. But, more than a year had elapsed by that time, and the delay would naturally be a ground against the granting of the prayer for the restoration of the reference. In fact, the respondents opposed the said application by filing a counter-affidavit (Annexure B-1), though it is not clear from the record filed by the petitioners. However, the fact remains that the petitioners suffered a detriment by reason of their acting upon the representation, promise or assurance of the respondents. In the circumstances, it has to be held that the respondents are estopped from contending or pleading that they had not abandoned the earlier acquisition, or that they had no power to do so, or that they were not bound to continue the fresh acquisition proceedings.

25. This leads us to the question as to whether the cancellation of the fresh notifications (Annexures B & A) under Sections 4, 6 and 7 of the Land Acquisition Act by the notification (Annexure C), dated March 24, 1968 was valid. The learned counsel for the petitioners contended that the said cancellation was vocative of the fundamental right of the petitioners under Art, 14 of the Constitution inasmuch as theirs was the sole instance where fresh notifications have been cancelled, and in the case of several other persons who were similarly situated as the petitioners, the fresh notifications issued subsequently under Sections 4, 6 and 7 have not been cancelled, and in fact awards were made and compensation was paid in some of them on the basis of the said fresh notifications under Section 4. For the purposes of this contention, it is sufficient to refer to the allegations in writ petition No. 792 of 1968 and the various affidavits filed by both the parties therein, as they are similar to the allegations in the writ petition NO. 13 of the 1969 and the affidavits filed therein. The petitioner alleging round NO. (7) in writ petition No. 792 of 1968 that the case of the petitioners was the solitary instance where the respondents had cancelled the fresh notifications, and that in all other cases where fresh notifications were issued under Sections 4 and 6 consequently upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Air 1966 Sc 1588 (Supra)_, or judgment of this High Court, the said notification were not cancelled, and in fact the Land Acquisition Collector made awards determining the compensation in some of those cases on the basis of market rates prevalent on or under Section 4 and the said compensation was also paid. In the counter-affidavit of Shri D.P. Bahugna, it was stated that the submissions made on ground NO. (7) were denied, that the petitioners had not given any particulars about the other cases mentioned therein, and the direction was wholly misconceived and was very vague. In answer thereto, it was stated in the rejoinder-affidavit of Shri. R.C. Stood that the facts were within the specific knowledge of the respondents and the respondents should disclose the same. However, in paragraph 13 of the additional affidavit of Shri. R.C. Stood, dated July 22, 1969, three instances were mentioned. They were:-

(1) Notification No. 7 (80) 62 L & H, dated 4-11-1966 relating to village Chaukri Mubarakabad for 68 bighas and 15 bids was of land.

(2) Notification No. 4 (14) 62 L & H dated 29-10-1966, relating to Village Wazirpur for 32 bighas and 2 bids was of land, and

(3) Notification No. 7 (80) 62 L & H dated 9-12-1966, relating to village Chaukri Mubarakpur for 99 bighas and 8 bids was of land

Regarding the said instances, Shri. L.K. Suri stated in his judicial counter-affidavit dated December 6, 1969, as follows:-

'That in reply to para 13, it is stated that some acquisition notification were quashed by the Hon'ble Court following the decision of the Supreme Court in : [1966]3SCR557 Vishnu Prasad v. The State of Madhya Pradesh. These areas of land were thereforee re-notified under Sections 4 and 6 a fresh in consequence of which fresh awards were made by the Collector and possession taken for the execution of various schemes for the Planned Development of Delhi. The Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act, 1967, came into force . The annulment of these acquisition proceedings would have further delayed the taking over of the lands, which were urgently required. These facts, however, are of no avail to the petitioners in the present case as far as the acquisition proceedings taken in respect of their land are in accordance with the law'.

It has to be noted that the respondents admitted the three instances mentioned by the petitioners, and the reason given by them that annulment of the acquisition proceedings would have further delayed the taking over of the lands, would apply with equal force to the case of the petitioner also. Replying to the above averments of Shri. I.K. Suri, Shri. R.C. Stood stated in his affidavit dated January 16, 1970 that the admission contained in the averments of Shri. I.K. Suri was proof of the intention of the Government to treat the petitioners of the Government to treat the petitioners on a different basis, that it was an act of discrimination, and that it was an act of discrimination, and that there were a number of other similar fresh notifications under Section 4 and 6 but the petitioners could not secure information or particulars of the said notifications. Further, in the application, C.M. No. 290-W of 1970, filed by the petitioners herein and in the supplemental affidavit of Shri. R.C. Stood filed with the said application, some more particulars were furnished about the three instances already mentioned by the petitioners, and the two more instances were also mentioned. The particulars regarding the five instances as given in the said supplemental affidavit may be summarised as under:-

(1) A notification No. F 15(III) 359-LSG, under section was originally issued on 13-11-1959 in respect of 34070 acres in village Chaukri Mubarakabad and several other villages. Out of the said 34070 acres, objections under S. 5-A were filed in respect of 99 bighas 8 bids was in Vbhaukri Mubarakabad. Subsequently, Notification No. F(8)/62 L & H dated 26-12-1962, was issued under Section 6. On or about 28-3-1964, an award No. 1686 was announced. The Government took possession under Section 16 on 1-5-1964. A civil writ No. 296-D/64 was filed in the High Court at Delhi challenging the proceedings covered by the aforesaid award No. 1686, the said writ petition was allowed on 23-11-1966 and the impugned notification was quashed to the extent it covered the lands of the petitioners in that writ petition.

Subsequent to the said decision, a fresh notification No. F 7(80) 62 L & H dated 9-12-1966, was issued under Section 4 for an area of 99 bighas and 8 biswas. No objections under Section 5-A were filed and a report was made to Delhi Administration accordingly. On 1-5-1967 a notification No. F.7(80)/62 L & H was issued under S. 6. On 27-11-1967 an award No. 2046, was given and possession was taken under Section 16 on 5-10-1968. The owners have been paid compensation on the basis of the market value as on the date of the fresh notification under Section 4 viz. 9-12-1966. A true copy of the Award No. 2046 has been filed as Annexure A/1.

(2) Out of the 34070 acres covered by the original notification under Section 4, dated 13-11-1959, proceedings were taken in respect of 66 bighas and 12 bids was of land situate in Chaukri Mubarakabad. Ultimately, after the issue of the Notification under Section 6 and other proceedings, award No. 1686 was given on 28-3-1964, and possession of the land was taken on 1-5-1964. The C.W. Nos. 116 of 1967 to 119 of 1967 were filed by three interested persons respectively challenging the validity of the above proceedings covered by the award No. 1686 C.W. 119 of 1967 was dismissed as withdrawn on 3-5-1967. In the meantime, a fresh notification No. F.7(80)/62 L & H dated 4-11-1966, under Section 4 was issued. It was subsequently found that this notification actually covered 68 bighas 5 bids was in which Khasra No. 104/1 was wrongly included instead of Khasra NO. 140/1. Consequently, another notification under Section 4 was issued in respect of Khasra No. 140/1 measuring 2 bighas and 3 biswas, and later a separate award was made in respect of the said Khasra No. 140/1. In respect of the land measuring 66 bighas and 12 bids was proceedings under Section 5-A were taken, but since no objections were received, a final declaration was made under Section 6 regarding the area of 66 bighas 12 bids was by Notification No. F.7(80)/62 L & H. dated 2-2-1967. An award NO. 2022 was made in respect of the said 66 bighas and 12 bids was on 29-9-1967. Possession was taken on 29-9-1967 under Section 16. A copy of the award No. 2022 has been filed as Annexure B/1. It shows that the award was made on the basis of the market value as on 4-11-1966, the date of the fresh notification under Section 4. According to the affidavit of Shri. R.C. Stood, the compensation was also paid.

(3) Out of the 34070 acres of land covered by the original notification No. F.15(III)359 Lsg dated 13-11-1959, under Section 4, a notification No. F.4(14)/61 L & H. dated 26-1-1961, under Section 6 was issued in respect of a land measuring 12 bighas 2 bids was situate in village Wazipur. In respect of this land, an award No. 1329, dated 30-5-1962, was also announced. Subsequently a fresh notification under Section 4 was issued on 10-11-1966, and after completing necessary proceedings under Section 5-A, a final notification under Section 6, No. 4(14)/61 L & H, dated 15-5-1966. In this case, no possession was taken till the date of the affidavit, viz. 13-2-1970.

(4) In respect of a land measuring 36 bighas and 11 bids was situate in village Neemri and certain other lands, the Land Acquisition Collector issued a notification No. F15(57)/64 L & H dated 11-2-1965, and an award No. 1929 was made. But, the land under reference could not be included in the Award NO. 1929 as certain writ petitions (Nos. 238, 234 and 235-D) were pending in the Court at that time. Subsequently, a fresh notification No. F15(57)/64 L & H, dated 5-5-1967 (was issued). An award No. 2045 was made on 22-11-1967, a copy of which has been filed as Annexure C/1. It shows that the market value was fixed as on the date of the fresh notification under S. 4 of the Act.

(5) The fifth instance was the requisition of Khasra No. 140/1 measuring 2 bighas 2 bids was and situate in village Chaukri Mubarakabad which has been referred to above in connection with the second instance. This land was covered by Award No. 1686, dated 28-3-1964, and possession was taken on 1-5-1964. Then, Civil Writ Nos. 116/1967 to 119/1967 were filed challenging the validity of the award NO. 1686. Out of the said writ petitions, C. W. 119/67 was dismissed as withdrawn on 3-5-1967. In the meantime, a fresh notification No. F. 7(80)/62 L & H dated 4-11-1966, was issued under Section 4. It did not include the Khasra No. 140/1, and wrongly included another Khasra No. viz. 104/1. Hence a fresh notification No. F.9(80)/62 L & H dated 26-12-1966 was issued. No. objections were received under Section 5-A. A final declaration was made under Section 6 by notification No. F 7(80)/62 L & H dated 25-5-1967, a copy of which has been filed as Annexure D-1. After the award, possession was taken under Section 16.

26. In reply to the supplemental affidavit of Shri. R.C. Stood, dated 13-2-1970, a supplemental counter-affidavit of Shri. Surendra Kishore was filed on behalf of the respondents. In this Supplemental counter-affidavit, the various facts and dates regarding the five instances mentioned by Shri. R.C. Stood were not specifically controverter. The said facts and dated have, thereforee to be taken as admitted by the respondents to be correct. The five instances clearly support the contention of the petitioners that it was only in their cases that the fresh notification were cancelled and that the said cancellation was a clear act of discrimination against them as similar fresh notification at least in the five instances cited by them, were not cancelled. In this connection, the reason given by Shri. Surendar Kishore for cancellation the fresh notification (Annexure B & A) in the case of the petitioners is significant. In Paragraph 14 of this affidavit, after stating that by virtue of the Ordinance and the Amending Act it was open to the Government to cancel the fresh notifications under Section 4, he averred as follows:-

'As already submitted above, there were number of other cases in which the acquisition proceedings have been quashed by the High Court following the law laid down in Madhya Pradesh judgment by the Supreme Court. In these cases fresh notifications were issued consequent to the quashing or earlier notifications. In the case of R.C. Stood also similar action was taken by the Government, But Shri Stood sent a notice claiming damages amounting to Rs.1,69,504/- on account of unauthorised occupation of his land from the date possession was taken by the Government in pursuance of the earlier acquisition proceedings which were subsequently quashed by the High Court. till the date fresh acquisition proceeding were completed. This notice did cause concern to the Government as apparently there was tangible substance in the notice for damages. The position was, thereforee, examined and as in the meantime Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Act, had come into force, it transpired that the judgment of the High Court dated 7-11-1966 in R.C. Stood's writ petition NO. 851-D of 1962 had no effect under Section 4 of the Amending Act, 1947. It was thereforee,, deemed proper to cancel the subsequent notifications in this case and resuscitate the earlier acquisition proceedings. This action nullified the arguments put forth by Shri Stood in his notice for damages, as by doing so the possession taken by the Government on 13-5-1963 was valid and the question of unauthorised occupation and payment of any damages to the owners did not arise.

The aforesaid action was also taken in other similar cases because none of the petitioners in those cases made any claim for damages, as was done by Shri Stood. Cancellation of fresh notifications in these cases would have also caused further delay in the completion of acquisition proceedings, It would be noteworthy to mention here that the petitioners in these cases had already delayed the process of acquisition and taking over possession by filing writ petition in the High Court and obtaining stay orders, which continued to be in force for a number of years, with the result that various development schemes for Government, were delayed inordinately causing various bottles necks ........ ......... ......... ........ ...... ........ ......... ......... ........ ...... ........ ......... ......... ........ ...... ........ ......... ......... It is thereforee obvious that Shri Stood cannot claim to have meter out discriminatory treatment in the application, of law as firstly a legally valid action had been taken and secondly this action had been taken in consequences of a cause which he himself gave rise to ........ ......... ......... ........ ...... ........ ......... ......... ........ ...... ........ ......... ...............'

27. The above averments contain a frank admission that the petitioners were dealt with in a manner different from the manner in which other persons similarly situated were dealt with, but the same was sought to be justified by the stating that while in similar cases fresh notifications were not cancelled, the fresh notifications in the case of the petitioners were cancelled for the reasons:-

(1) that the cancellation of the fresh notifications in the other cases also would have delayed the acquisition proceedings;

(2) that the petitioners issued a notice (Annexure E dated 12-9-1967) claiming damages while the other did not claim any such damages and

(3) that the petitioners delayed the acquisition proceedings by filing with petition in the High Court and obtaining an order of stay.

28. The first reason was no person at all for discrimination against the petitioners. If the object was to award delay, it would have been really achieved by dealing with the petitioners in the same manner as the others were dealt with, namely, by continuing the fresh proceedings and awarding compensation to the petitioners on the basis of the fresh notifications. The second reason also does not afford any justification for dealing with the petitioners in a different manner. On the other hand, it shows that the petitioners were penalised for having issued a notice claiming damages, and savours of vindictiveness. The third reason also is of no avail to the respondents. It reveals the resentment of the respondents that the petitioners filed a writ petition. The petitioners felt aggrieved by the actions of the respondents, and, thereforee, moved the court of law. There was nothing improper or illegal in the petitioners restoring to legal proceedings in a court of law when their proprietary interests were affected by legislative and executive measures. The reasons given in the affidavit of Shri. Surendar Kishore, in the affidavit of Shri. Surendra Kishore, far from affording a justification for the cancellation of the fresh notification in respect of the lands on the petitioners, support the continuation of the petitioners that the cancellation of a fresh notifications and acquisition proceedings (Annexure B & A) were discriminatory and violance of the grantee of equality of law and equal protection of law contained in Art. 14 of the Constitution of India. The said cancellation by the notification (Annexure C), dated 24-3-1968, is thereforee, liable to be quashed.

29. For the above reasons, the writ petitioners Nos. 792 of 1968 and 13 of 1969 are allowed, the notification (Annexure C) dated 24-3-1968 is quashed, and the respondents are directed to proceed with the acquisition proceedings in pursuance of the notifications (Annexures B and A), dated November 21, 1966/1967/October 19, 1967. and award compensation to the petitioners in the light of the findings and observations in this judgment and in accordance with law. The petitioners are entitled to their codes from the respondents which are fixed at Rs.250/- in each of the writ petition.

30. Petitions allowed.


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