Skip to content


Beopar Mandal Yusuf Sarai Market Etc. Vs. the Lt. Governor of Delhi Etc. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 1220 of 1969
Judge
Reported in14(1978)DLT193
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 4
AppellantBeopar Mandal Yusuf Sarai Market Etc.
RespondentThe Lt. Governor of Delhi Etc.
Advocates: B. Dutta and; Daljit Singh, Advs
Excerpt:
property - acquisition - section 4 of land acquisition act, 1894 - whether acquisition of land valid - facts revealed land acquired for purpose of widening road - such acquisition was for public purpose - road to be widened in view of heavy vehicular traffic and planned development of town - held, acquisition proceeding valid. - - the petitioner claims to be a society registered under the society registration act, 1860 and stated to have been formed with the object of promoting the well being of its members who are allegedly carrying on business for their livelihood in their shops situate in yusuf sarai known as yusuf sarai main market. the petitioner submits that at places the respondents are not widening the road which clearly indicates the lack of public purpose and the need for..........to have the notification no. f. 15 (5)/66-l&h; dated august 22, 1968 issued under section 6 of the land acquisition act, 1894 (hereafter called the act) (copy annexure 'e') quashed on the grounds (1) that the impugned declaration was not preceded by any notification under section 4 of the act, (2) that the public purpose of widening the road is not covered by the master plan of delhi and is not a purpose for the planned development of delhi, that there is no report of the land acquisition collector (hereafter called the collector) under section 5-a of the act recommending the acquisition of the land in question, and (3) that the declaration falls short of the legal requirements, in as much as it only states that appears to the lt. governor that the land is required to be taken by the.....
Judgment:

Prithvi Raj, J.

(1) By this civil writ petition filed under Article 226 of the constitution of India, the petitioner seeks to have the notification No. F. 15 (5)/66-L&H; dated August 22, 1968 issued under Section 6 of the land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereafter called the Act) (Copy Annexure 'E') quashed on the grounds (1) that the impugned declaration was not preceded by any notification under Section 4 of the Act, (2) that the public purpose of widening the road is not covered by the Master Plan of Delhi and is not a purpose for the planned development of Delhi, that there is no report of the land Acquisition Collector (hereafter called the Collector) under Section 5-A of the Act recommending the acquisition of the land in question, and (3) that the declaration falls short of the legal requirements, in as much as it only states that appears to the Lt. Governor that the land is required to be taken by the Government for a 'public purpose', while in a valid acquisition, it is necessary to express the satisfaction of the acquiring authority.

(2) Relevant facts for determining the contentions sought to be raised are as under. The petitioner claims to be a Society registered under the Society Registration Act, 1860 and stated to have been formed with the object of promoting the well being of its members who are allegedly carrying on business for their livelihood in their shops situate in Yusuf Sarai known as Yusuf Sarai Main Market. The petitioner contends that by notification No. F.I 5 (III) /59-LSG dated November 13, 1959 (Copy Annexure 'B') issued by the Chief Commissioner of Delhi under Section 4 of the Act, land measuring over 34,070 acres was sought to be enquired alleging that the said land was required at the public expense for the public purpose, namely, for a planned development of Delhi. The petitioner contends that the aforesaid notification dated November 13, 1959 in so far as it related to the land and buildings and the shops in the main market of Yosuf Sarai, was withdrawn by a subsequent notification No. F. 15 (111)/59-LSG published in the Delhi Gazette dated July 1, 1960 (Copy Annexure 'C'). The petitioner further contend that the shops in question were the existing shops in the lay-out plan of Green Park Extension as the approved maps of Del hi Development Authority and Municipal Corporation of Delhi will show,. It is contended that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi vide resolution No. 7 dated September 3, 1968 had released the area comprised of the shops from acquisition. The petitioner submits that the fact of the existing market shops including the lands and buildings situate thereon, were released from the general notification of acquisition by the notification referred to above (Copy Annexure 'B') is made clear by notification dated July 24, 1965 published in the Delhi Gazette on August 5, 1965 (Copy Annexure 'D') issued under Section 4 of the Act staling that the land measuring I biswa. Field No. 105/53/2 in Yusuf Sarai was the only land and field number pertaining to the Yusuf Sarai Main Market which was required to be acquired for a public purpose, namely, for the planned development of Delhi. Further the case of the petitioner is that in respect of the impugned acquisition relating to the land and buildings situate in Yusuf Sarai Main Market, there was no report of the Collector to the appropriate Government for the acquisition of the land. The petitioner accordingly contends that the acquisition is mala fide and is a fraud on power, there being no public purpose involved as the present acquisition is for widening a road from 135 ft. to 200 ft. The petitioner, thereforee, submits that already there exists a road as wide as 135 fit., and assuming there was a justification and a need for further widening the road, the land could have been acquired opposite Yusuf Sarai Main Market which is already declared a slum area and not to demolish the existing shops which are in existence for approximately 30 years and in which the petitioner and its members are carrying on business and other avocations. It is contended that the road to be widened is 'Mehrauli Road' from Safdarjung Hospital going up to Mehrauli and it is not clear from the Master Plan of the planned development of Delhi as to whether there is a need for widening of the road in Delhi Master Plan. The petitioner submits that at places the respondents are not widening the road which clearly indicates the lack of public purpose and the need for widening the road. It is further submitted that the land to be acquired, will penetrate 40 ft. into the buildings and shops situate in the main market of Yusuf Sarai and that there is a Temple behind the shop of Tek Chand Ram Autar, one of the members of the petitioner Society in which Temple, an Idol is installed but the Temple land and the Temple proper i.e. the idol cannot be subject matter of acquisition under the Act. That would, it is submitted, itself make the entire acquisition bad and illegal. The petitioner further submits that by notification dated July I, 1960 (Copy Annexure 'C'), the entire area of Green Park Extension including the existing shops having been released from the purview of the acquisition, and there being no notification under Section 4 of the Act, the members of the petitioner Society who are the owners of the buildings and shops, could not and did not file objections under the provisions of Section 5-A of the Act and that this has resulted in serious prejudice to them. For the foregoing reasons, the petitioner accordingly impugns the declaration dated August 22, 1968 (Copy Annexure 'E') alleging that the same is void, illegal and ultra vires. On behalf of the respondents, Shri K.N. Keshav, Deputy Secretary (land & Building), Delhi Administration, Delhi filed counter-affidavit and controverter the please raised by the petitioner in its writ petition. The respondents contend that the land, building/shops in dispute do not form part of Green Park Extension, the layout plan of which were approved by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi vide resolution No. 7 dated September 3, 1958. The respondents contend that the structures/shops of the petitioner were in existence at the time of the approval of the layout plan of Green Park Extension Colony and as such have been shown in the layout plan of the colony as existing shops. Actually the area does not form part of the approved portion of the colony. The area of Green Park Colony, the layout of which was approved and covered by notification dated November 13, 1959 under Section 4 of the Act was later on released from acquisition vide notification dated July I, 1960. The respondents contend that since the petitioner's land and shops etc. were not part of layout plan of Green Park Extension Colony, the question of its release from acquisition did not arise. The petitioner's averment that only I biswa out of Khasra No. 105'/53/2 of Yusuf Sarai was required for public purpose, was stated to be wrong and denied. According to the respondents, a part of Khasra No. 105/53 was notified under Section 4 vide/ notification dated August 5, 1965 as it was also required for connecting the existing 80 ft. wide road passing through the Green Park Extension from Mehrauli. The respondents contend that the land/buildings which are the subject matter of the writ petition, were notified under Section 4 of the Act issued vide notification dated November 13, 1959 for an area of 34,070 acres covering different parts of Delhi for the scheme of planned development of Delhi as envisaged in the Master Plan for Delhi, Further the petitioner's submission that there is no report of the Collector to the appropriate Government is without any basis, and that after the publication of notification under Section 4, objections under Section 5-A were invited from all the interested persons on which the Collector made areport under Sub-Section (2) of Section 5-A of the Act to the appropriate Government. The respondents submit that the appropriate Government issued the impugned declaration after consideration of the report made by the Collector and other facts and circumstances on being satisfied that the land way genuinely needed for a public purpose viz planned development of Delhi. The case of the respondents is that according to the Master Plan/Zonal Plan, the existing Mehrauli road is to be widened to 200 ft. and as such the petitioner's land and buildings etc. excepting land/structures of S/Shri Tek Chand, Ram Aytar and Mahavir Jain, comprised of Khasra No. 124/49 are essentially required for the purpose. The respondents further submit that the land on the other side of the road opposite to the petitioner's land comprised of Khasra Nos. 73 min, 74, 75, 76 and 252/114 has also been notified under Section 6 of the Act for the planned development of Delhi vide notification dated January 4, 1969. The respondents also submit that Mehrauli road from Safdarjung to Mehrauli has already been widened up to Safdarjung Hospital but further progress is held up for want of the land in dispute. They contend that the existing Mehrauli road is necessarily to be widened in view of the heavy vehicular traffic and planned development of the town. According to the respondents, Khasra Nos. 124/49 measuring 5 biswas, where the Temple in question exists is not the subject matter of acquisition and had not been notified under the impugned declaration dated August 22, 1968. The respondents further contend that the alleged tenants of the shops have no legal right to file the writ petition as they have no locus standi and as such cannot challenge the acquisition proceedings.

(3) The petitioner filed a rejoinder-affidavit to the counter filed by the respondents and reaffirmed and reiterated the contents of the writ petition. In its rejoinder-affidavit, the petitioner contends that the existing shops of Yusuf Sarai Main Market were constructed prior to 1959 and had been in occupation and possession of the members of the petitioner Society as owners and lessees between the period 1939 to 1959 and that the revised layout plan filed by the respondents with their reply-affidavit in C.M.No. 317 of 1973 includes the existing shops of Yusuf Sarai Main Market. The petitioner further submits that the precise public interest of widening the Mehrauli road did not come into existence prior to December 6, 1973 when, for the first time. Government of India in the Ministry of Works and Housing, New Delhi approved the road widening from the existing 140 ft. to 200 ft. Safdarjang Mehrauli Road- vide letter No. 2l023(4)/66-UDI dated December 6, 1973 and in that respect for the first, time, the authenticated map was published. It is further submitted that there was no mention of road widening of Safdarjaung Mehraulli Road in the Master Plan of Delhi published on September 22, 1962, neither the Zonal Plan of the area envisaged the said purpose and if there was any such purpose, the same was subject to the approval by the Central Government under Section of the Delhi Development Act. The approval of the Central Government, it is contended, was accorded on December 6, 1973. The petitioner further submits that it is not permissible in law to execute the alleged public purpose in part and that clearly amounts to fraud on power as the land/structures of S/Shri Tak Chand, Ram Aytar and Mahavir Jain are not the subject matter of the impugned declaration. Further, the petitioner contends that the land on the other side of the road, which is slum area, having been acquired could be used for the road widening purposes instead of ruining the petitioner's business and demolishing their shops.

(4) Shri B. Dutta, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the acquisition of the land and buildings of the petitioner on the basis of the impugned declaration is stated to be in pursuance of the notiflcation dated November 13, 1959 issued under Section 4 of the Act. He furtner submitted that the land and buildings of the petitioner sought to be acquired, from part of the layout plan of the Green Park Extension as per resolution No. 7 dated September 3, 1958 shown in the plan filed by the respondents. The said area, namely, layout of Green Park Extension measuring 62.1 acres, was released from acquisition and notification dated November 13, 1959 issued under Section 4 of the Act pertaining to the said area was withdrawn by a subsequent notification dated July 1, 1960 (Copy Annexure 'C'). He accordingly contended that the land and buildings of the petitioner having been released the impugned declaration under Section 6 was. liable to be quashed. The averment that the land and buildings of the petitioner sought to be acquired, form part of the Green Park Extension, the layout of which was approved by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi vide resolution No. 7 dated September 3, 1958, had been denied by the respondents in para 8 of their counter. According to the respondents, the structures/shops of the petitioner were in existence at the time of the approval of the layout plan of Green Park Extension Colony and as such, had been shown in the layout plan of the Colony as existing shops but actually the said area, the respondent submit, does not form part of the approved portion of the colony. The respondents further submit that the area of Green Park Extension, the layout plan of which was approved and covered by Section 4 notification dated November 13 1959 was later on released from acquisition vide notification dated July I, 1960 but since the petitioner's land and shops etc. were not part of layout plan of Green Park Extension Colony, the question of its release from acquisition did not arise. To this specific averment, except for a bare denial by the petitioner in its rejoinder-affidavit, the petitioner has not placed any material on the record to show that the land, structures and shops of the petitioner formed part of the Green Park Extention, the layout of which was approved by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi vide resolution No. 7 dated September 3, 1958. A perusal of the resolution No. 7 dated September 3, 1958 does not support the contention sought to be urged on behalf of the petitioner. Shri Dutta, however, submitted that the land, structures and shops of the petitioner have been shown in the plan of Green Park Area filed by the respondents and that the respondents as such cannot be permitted to say that the land, structures and shops of the petitioner do not form part of the Green Park Area. I am afraid it is not possible to sustain the submission sought to be urged by the learned counsel for the petitioner. The respondents have categorically stated in para 8 of their counter that the structures and shops of the petitioner were in existence at the time of the approval of the Jayout plan of Green Park Extension Colony and as such had been shown in the layout plan of the Colony as existing shops though actually, the said area does not form part of the approved portion of the Colony. Further, they have stated that the petitioner's land, structures and shops were not part of the layout plan of Green Park Extension and, thereforee, the question of its release from acquisition did not arise. To the above noted categorical assertion that the area on which structures and shops of the petitioner are existing, does not form part of the approved portion of the Green Park Extension Colony, there is no rebuttal except for the reliance which was sought to be placed on the plan filed by the respondents. As already noted above, the respondents have fully explained [he circumstances under which the structures and shops of the petitioner which were in existence at the time of the approval of the layout plan of the Green Park Extension Colony, were shown in the layout plan of the Colony as existing shops and not that they are part of the Green Park Extension Colony. It is, thereforee, futile to contend that notification dated July 1, 1950 (Copy Annexure 'C') released from acquisition the land, structures and shops of the petitioner which are now sought to be acquired. That being so, the grievance of the petitioner that the impugned declaration under Section 6 is not coversed by any notification under Section 4 of the Act, is. wholly misconcived.

(5) It was then contended that the notification dated November 13, 1959 issued under Section 4 of the Act (Copy Annexure 'B') does not clearly describe the land of the petitioner and that it had been misled in forming an idea of the area sought to be acquired by the notification and thus had been prevented from filling its objections. The precise contention was that according to the notification, except for staling that the land measuring 24070 acres the description of which had been given in Annexure 'II' excepting the land enumerated in para 2 of the notification, was likely to be acquired for the planned development of Delhi the notification does not after the details of the area sought to be acquired. It was contended that it was difficult, if not altogether impossible, for the petitioner to ascertain from the description of the land given in Annexure Ii under the head ing 'Block 'B' as to whether the petitioner's land, structures and shops were being acquired or not That being so, it was contended that the petitioner had been prevented from filing objections to the acquisition of the land. On a first blush, the contention appears to be attractive but on a perusal of notification (Copy Annexure 'B') it is revealed that it is not so. It is no doubt true that in Annexure Ii in Block (B), the area which was proposed to be acquired has been described as follows :

'STARTINGfrom the north-eastern corner of the Qutab Minar Gardens towards north along an imaginary straight line joining the western boundary of Abadi Ber Sarai. Thence towards north extending on the same line up to 1,000 ft. south of the area recently acquired by the Ministry of W H.S. popularly known as 1,100 acres. Thence towards south-west and north along an imaginary line running parallel to the southern and western boundary of the above mentioned 1 100 acres up to its junction with the existing Government boundary south of Arakpur Bagh Mohi. Thence towards east-south, east-north, east-south and again east along the existing boundary of the Government land up to its junction with Mehrauli Road immediately north of Yusuf Sarai. Thence towards south along the Mehrauli Road up to its junction with the northern boundary of Yusuf Sarai village Abadi. Thence towards south and east along the western and southern boundary of Green Park up to its junction with Mehrauli Road. Thence towards south along the western boundary of Mehrauli Road up to the point of start.'

A persual of the description of the land noted above, however, makes it clear that the land towards the south along the Mehrauli Road up to its junction with the northern boundary of Yusuf Sarai village, towards south and east along the western and southern boundary of Green Park up to its junction with Mehrauli Road, towards south along the western boundary of Mehrauli Road up to the northern-east corner of Qutab Minar Gardens, among other land described in Block B of Annexure Ii, was sought to be acquired. Not only this, in para 2 of the notification, it had been stated that the land measuring 34,070 acres and marked with blocks Nos. A to T and K in the map enclosed with the notification (Annexure 1), was sought-to be acquired for the planned development of Delhi, it had also been mentioned in the notification that the map (Annexure 1) to the notification could be inspected at the places mentioned in para 6 of the notification. The petitioner claims that its land, structures and buildings are near the Green Park. The petitioner had, thereforee, sufficient notice that the said land was sought to be acquired as per notification (Annexure 'B'). It was open to it to examine the map (Annexure I to the notification). If the petitioner failed to do so, it cannot make a grievance that the location of its land had not been properly mentioned in the notification and that it had thus been prevented from filing objections under Section 5-A of the Act. Equally devoid of merit was the contention urged on behalf of the petitioner that because of the notification dated July 1, 1960 (Annexure 'C') withdrawing acquisition proceeding in respect of the land measuring 62.l acres, forming part of Green Park Extension, layout plan of which were approved by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi vide resolution No. 7 dated September 3, 1958, the petitioner were misled to believe that acquisition proceedings in respect of its land, structures and buildings had been withdrawn by the aforesaid notification. The petitioner has to thank himself for entertaining such a wrong idea and cannot blame the authorities. The learned counsel for the petitioner, however, submitted that the notification under Section 4 of the Act (Copy Annexure 'D') in respect of the land, structures and shops of the petitioner stood withdrawn by notification dated July 1, 1960 (Copy Annexure 'C') and that the petitioner's land, structures and shops were not required to be acquired. This position, he submitted, was borne out from notification dated July 24, 1965 published in Delhi Gazette on August 5, 1965 issued under Section 6 of the Act staling that the land measuring 1 biswa, filed No. 105/53/2 in Yusuf Sarai was the only land and field number pertaining to the Yusuf Sarai Main Market which was required to be acquired for a public purpose, namely, for the planned development of Delhi. This submission has to be repelled in view of the position explained by the respondents in their reply-affidavit. In para 9 of their counter, they have stated that a part of Khasra No. 105/53 was notified under Section 4 vide notification dated August 5, 1965 as it was also required for connecting the existing 80 ft. wide road passing through the Green Park Extension with the Mehrauli Road. The mere fact that additional land comprised of Khasra No. 105/53 was sought to be recovered, cannot be made a ground to contend that the notification under Section 4 in respect of the land, structures and shops of the petitioner was withdrawn by notification dated July 1, 1960 or that such a belief could be entertained from the said notification.

(6) It was next contended that the impugned declaration was issued without any report from the Collector under Sub-section (2) of Section 5-A of the Act. The Department produced the relevant `file. A perusal of the file shows that objections received from individual plot holders, cooperative societies etc. were considered and dealt with by the Collector in his report made to the appropriate authority. The submiss on, thereforee, is without any basis. The next submission urged on behalf of the petitioner was that the particular public purpose for which the land was sought to be acquired, had not been mentioned in the notification under Section i and the impugned declaration. That being so, the authorities were not competent to acquire the land by mentioning the public purose as planned development of Delhi only. It was submitted that the acquisition of the land accordingly was a colourable exercise of power by the authorities. This submission has to be repelled in view of the observations of their Lordships in Li/a Ram and another Vs . Union of India and others : [1976]1SCR341 . It was observed therein that the land covered by the notification was not a small plot but a large area covering thousands of acres and that in such cases it was difficult to insist upon greater precision for specifying the public purpose because it was quite possible that the various plots covered by the notification may have to be utilised for different purposes set out in the interim plan. The land in that case was acquired for the execution of interim general plan. The said purpose was held to be specific not suffering from any vaguencess. In Aflatoon and others Vs . Lt. Governor of Delhi and others, : [1975]1SCR802 , planned development of Delhi was held to be a public purpose. In view of the settled law, the petitioner cannot make a grievance that its land could not be acquired as the public purpose, namely planned development of Delhi was, in any manner, a vague term.

(7) Lastly, it was contended that the acquisition is mala fide and a fraud on power, in that, there was no public purpose involved The aubmission was that the acquisition was sought to be made for widening a road from 135 ft. to 200 ft. If so, it was submitted, there was already a road as wide as 135 ft. and assuming that there was a justification and a need for further widening the road, the land could have been acquired opposite the Yusuf Sarai Main Market which was already declared a slum area and that there was no purpose to demolish the existinge shops of the petitioner which are in existence for approximately 30 years. It was also submitted that the road to be widened is 'Mehrauli Road' from Safdarjung Hospital going up to Mehrauli and it was not clear from the Master Plan of the planned development of Delhi as to whether there was a need for widening of the road in the Delhi Master Plan, more so, when at places the respondents are not widening the road which clearly indicates the lack of public purpose and the need for widening the road. The re pondents in para 10 of their reply ever that according to the Master Plan/Zonal Plan, the existing Mehrauli Road was to be widened to 200 ft. and as such the petitioner's land and buildings etc. are essentially required for the purpose. They have further stated that the land on the other side of the road, opposite to the petitioner's land, which comprised of Khasra Nos. 73 min, 74, 75, 76 and 252/114, had also been notified under Section 6 of the Act for the planned development of Dehli vide notification dated January 4, 1969. The respondent have also categorically stated that the Mehrauli Road from Safdarjung Airport to Mehrauli had already been widened up to Safdarjung Hospital and that further progress had been held up for want of the land in dispute. Besides, they contend that the existing Mehrauli Road was necessarily to be widened in view of the heavy vehicular traffic and planned development of the town. It being for the authorities to decide in what manner the planned development of the town is to be carried out and at what place and what road is to be widened, the contention sought to be urged on behalf of the petitioner is devoid of merit, more so, when the authorities have categorically stated that the land on the other side of the road, opposite to the. petitioner's land has also been notified and that Mehrauli Road from Safdarjung Airport to Mehrauli had already been widened up to Safdarjung Hospital and further progress had been held up for want of land in dispute. No further point was urged.

(8) In view of my discussions on the various points noted above, civil writ petition fails. The same is dismissed but in the circumstances of the case, parties are left to bear their own costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //