1. This petitioners owned 84 bighas 11 bids was of land in village Dobhi. A ntoification under S. 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on January 22, 1965, with respect to the aforesaid land. In the said ntoice it was recited that
'land is likely to be required to be taken by Government at the public expenses for a public purpose namely for the construction of building and doing research work on vegetables'
This ntoification was followed by ntoification dated October 15,1965. Under S. 6 of the said Act. The relevant part of which reads:
'Whereas the Governor of Punjab is satisfied that land specified below is needed by the Government at public expense for a public purpose namely for the construction of building and doing research work on vegetables at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Vegetable Breeding Sub-Station.................'
(2) Aggrieved by this acquisition, the land owners petitioners filed a petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution.
(3) The first objection raised by Mr. Sachar on behalf of the petitioners is that they were nto heard on their objections filed under Section 5-A of the said Act. Mr. Sachar relied on Paragraphs 10,11, 12, 19, 21 and 24 of his petition and the replies thereto in the written-statement filed on behalf of the first respondent. In these paragraphs it has been specifically alleged that no date had been fixed by the Collector for hearing and disposing of the objections of the petitioners under S. 5-A. Reply to the paragraphs 10 to 12 is Paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 for respondent No. 2' In reply to paragraph 19, there is a general and vague statement that conditions precedent to the issue of ntoification under S. 6 were complied with. However, in paragraph 24 of the written statement one finds for the first time a positive statement that 'However, respondent NO. 2 heard the objections of the petitioners on April 12, 1965' I would like to point out that this is an extremely unsatisfactory way of replying to the allegations made in the petition. It is incumbent on the respondents to deal with each and every paragraph in a proper manner. In the affidavit accompanying the written-statement paragraph 24 has been affirmed by the deponent as true to his knowledge. It follows that the deponent had information regarding the hearing of the objections by the second respondent. In these circumstances, it was hardly proper for him to state in reply to paragraphs 10 to 12 of the petition that it was for respondent No. 2 to deal with the matter.
(4) The petition was once argued on May 18, 1967. It was adjourned because of uncertainty about the service of ntoice on the second respondent. Mr. Prithvi Raj, however, accepted ntoice for the second respondent also on that day. Still no reply affidavit has been filed on behalf of the second respondent. This necessitated my going into the records which were made available to me by the learned counsel for the respondents. I find from those records that a ntoice fixing April 12, 1965. For hearing objections under Section 5-A was sent and received by the petitioners. The petitioners appeared before the Collector on the date and made a joint statement which is signed by them. In the said statement they reiterated their objections filed by them under S. 5-A and also requested the Collector to await the result of their representation made against the acquisition to the Minister concerned. The petitioners do nto appear to have asked for any opportunity to lead evidence or address further arguments. It must, thereforee, be held that the petitioners were heard.
Mr. Sachar, the learned counsel for the petitioners, referred me to certain instructions issued by the Government in the matter of disposal of objections by the Collector. One of such instructions reads 'when the Collector receives an objection he shall fix a date for hearing and give ntoice of the date to the objector and to the officer of the department or the local body on whose application the ntoification under S. 4 has been issued, ' Mr. Sachar argued that in this case the petitioners had specifically; alleged that no ntoice had been given to the officer of the department concerned and that fact has been admitted in the reply affidavit. This according to Mr. Sachar rendered the hearing by the Collector improper and his report bad in law. Mr. Sachar also relied upon Lonappan v. Sub-Collector, Palghat, : AIR1959Ker343 in support of his contention. Decision in Lonappan's case shows that in that area there was in force a statutory rule framed under S. 55 of the Land Acquisition Act corresponding to the executive instruction in Punjab. The argument Mr. Sachar, however, is backed nto by statutory rule but by executive instructions and in my opinion non-observance of the same will nto render the hearing improper or the report by the Collector invalid unless the requirement of such a ntoice can be implied from the statute. Section 5-A requires only the persons interested in the land to be heard. Non-issue of ntoice to the department would, thereforee, nto be vocative of the statutory requirement of Section 5-A and the petitioner cannto raise such an objection. In any case it was open to the petitioners to request the Collector to issue ntoice to the department concerned. Nto having done so, they cannto be permitted to make that grievance at this stage.
This takes me to the toher objection of Mr. Sachar which is more formidable.
(6) Learned counsel for the petitioners contended that the acquisition in this case had been made for the purpose of the Union and consequently under S. 6 read with Section 3(e) of the said Act the Union Government had to be satisfied, before making a declaration under s. 6, but the ntoification issued under the said provision by the governor of Punjab showed that the Central Government never applied its mind to the matter. For disposing of this argument it is necessary to read the allegations made in the petition and the reply thereto. The respondents have, in their reply, admitted that the acquisition of the land was for the purpose of the union. In paragraph 13 of the petition it is alleged that the first petitioner representing all the petitioners met Mr. M. S. Randhava in the Agriculture Ministry of the Government of India and then came to know that no declaration under S. 6 of the Act had been issued by the Central Government. Again, in paragraph 22 it is stated:
'That the Indian Agricultural Research Institute Vegetable Breeding Sub-Station. Katrain (Kulu Valley). As already submitted is owned and managed and run by the Government of India, Acquisition of land for the purpose of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute Vegetable Breeding Sub-Station, Katrain is obviously for the purpose of the Union and the Central Government is appropriate Government as mentioned in Section 3(e) of the Act. The impugned declaration under section 6 has been issued by respondent NO. 1. State Government and nto by Central Government. There is thus no satisfaction of the appropriate Government which is Central Government and declaration under Section 6 issued by the Punjab government which is nto the appropriate Government, which is nto the appropriate Government, is of no legal effect and the impugned declaration under Section 6 is, thereforee, a nullity.'
(7) In the written statement it is nto denied that the land was acquired for the purpose of the Union. The only defense put forth is that the State Government was competent to acquire land on behalf of the Government of India. Section 3(e) of the said Act defines the expression 'appropriate Government' to mean 'in relation to acquisition of land for the purposes of the Union, the Central Government ......... ......................' Under Section 6 a declaration can be issued only after the 'appropriate Government' is satisfied, after considering the report, if any, made under Section 5-A that a particular land is needed for a public purpose. In view of the admission by the respondents that the land was acquired for the purpose of the Union. It is the Central Government that had to be satisfied before issuing the declaration. From the ntoification under Section 6 and the written statement it appears that the declaration was issued after satisfaction of the State Government only. This ntoification would, thereforee, be bad in law. The learned counsel for the respondents sought to support this ntoification on the ground that in fact the land was required for conducting research in agriculture by the State Government in collaboration with Union of India. Ntohing to that effect has been suggested even remtoely in the counter-affidavit.
It must be remembered that the individual rights under our Constitution based on the recognition of an established system and mode of thought and subject to prescribed limits. Are immutable even against invasion by the executive. The limited prtoection available to the subjects against acquisition of their property must be zealously safeguarded; of course bearing in mind that the rights of all are always superior to the rights of any. Strict adherence to the conditions precedent to the acquisition of the property is thereforee necessary. Having regard to the fact that the Central Government was never satisfied for the necessity of the acquisition of the property for the purpose of Union of India the ntoification under Section 6 must be quashed.
(8) In the result, the petition succeeds and is allowed with costs and the ntoification dated October 15, 1965, made under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act is here be quashed.
(9) Petition allowed.