V.S. Deshpande, J.
(1) This and the connected writ petitions Nos. 351, 1166 and 1643 of 1973 and No. 71 of 1974 have been clubbed together because they raise common questions of fact and law relating to the validity of acquisition of lands belonging to the petitioners (described in the Schedule at the end of this judgment) under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. In 1961, a notification under section 4 of the said Act was issued in respect of 16,000 acres of land which included the land of the petitioners in C.W. No. 938 of 1973, a subsequent notification under section 4 was issued in 1963 in respect of 9500 acres of land which included the lands of the petitioners in Civil writ Nos. 351, 1166 and 1643 of 1973 and 71 of 1974. The notification of 1961 stated that the land covered by it was likely to be acquired for the planned development of Delhi. The notification of 1963 stated that the land covered were likely to be required for the development of the Narela township. The intention of the Government to acquire these lands expressed in 1961 and 1963 notifications was made certain by the issue of a notification under section 6 of the Act on 16th January 1969. This notification also contained the direction of the Government to the Collector under section 7 of the Act to take order for the acquisition of the land. It is not known if the Collector got the lands marked out and measured under section 8 were held to be unduly delayed. As the validity of section 6 notification cannot be questioned because of delay, that notification must stand. If so, the validity of section 4 notification by itself cannot be considered because the notification under section 4 cannot be quashed while the notification under section 6 stands. It is sufficient for the validity of acquisition that it has been done in pursuance of a valid notification under section 6. Reading the decisions of the Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Vishnu Prasad. : 3SCR557 and in Udai Ram Sharma v. Union of india. : 3SCR41 , together it would be clear that the notification under section 4 is exhausted after the issue of a notification under section 6 in respect of the lands governed by the latter notification. It is not possible, thereforee, to consider the validity of that part of section 4 notification which has been exhausted by a subsequent notification under section 6 of the Act. We informed the petitioners. thereforee, that we could not consider the validity of sections 4 and 6 notifications because of the delay on the part of the petitioners in filing the writ petitions.
(2) The petitioners thereafter concentrated their attack on the sub sequent part of the process of acquisition, namely, the proceedings initiated by the Collector by the issue of notices under section of the Act. It was pointed out that these objections were two-fold. Firstly, award No. 98 of 1972-73 having been already made respect of certain lands covered by section 6 notification, the whole of the said notification was exhausted. No subsequent proceeding for acquisition could be initiated under section 9 and no award could be given under seciton 11 in respect of rest of the lands covered by section 6 notification. The analogy of the reasoning in State of Madhyav Pradesh v. Vishnu Prasad (supra) holding that the issue of section 6 notification exhausted the previous section 4 notification was relied upon. Secondly, it was argued that in Ambalal Purshottam etc, v. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, : 3SCR207 , the Supreme Court had observed that it was intended by the scheme of the Act that the notification under section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act must be followed by a proceeding for determination of compensation without any unreasonable delay. It was submitted that the delay of over 4 years in issuing notices under section 9 after the publication of' section 6 notification was unreasonable.
(3) On behalf of the Union of India the second objection was answered in paper-book in Civil Writ 1643 of 1973 at pages 31-32 as follows :- 'It is further submitted that the scheme for which the land in dispute has been notified, covers an area of 9500 acres Others question as to whether under section 7 direction to the Collector could have been given with regard, to only a part of the land covered by section 6 and whether more than one directions under section 7 could be issued in respect of the land covered by section 6 just as more than one declarations under section 6 can be made in respect of the land covered by section 4 notification. In the cases before us there has been absolutely no delay between the issue of declaration under section 6 and the direction under section 7 because both are simultaneous. The decisions under sections 6 and 7 are taken by the Government. By way of contrast, the proceedings under sections 9 to 12 beginning with the enquiry into the valuation of the land and ending with the award made by the Collector are not the decisions of the Government but only of the Collector.
(4) Can it be said that the delay on the part of the Collector in starting and concluding the proceedings under sections 9 to 12 vitiates the acquisition '? The delay on the part of the Collector for taking possession under section 16 after the award is made may also stand or the same footing as the delay in making the award. On behalf of the petitioners it may be argued that already section 4 of the Act acts harshly against the petitioners as it pags the value of the land to the date of the section 4 notification even though the actual compensation on the basis of that value may be paid years afterwards. As observed by the Supreme Court in Ambalal's case (supra) the acquisition proceedings including the determination of compensation should be taken without any unreasonable delay. But every case of delay has to be judged on its own merits.
(5) Is it possible for the Collector to follow up the direction of the Government made under section 7 immediately Firstly, the area of land of which the value has to be determined is very large. The value of the land situated in different places with different advantages or drawbacks cannot be determined as of one piece. Different pieces of land would have to be differently assessed for valuation. It would follow that there would be different cases before the Collector regarding different pieces of land. Secondly, the Amending Act of 1967 has provided not only for the issue of more than one declarations under section 6 but also for more than one Collectors to perform the functions of a Collector in respect of the entire land covered by section 4. Notification thus the Act itself authorizes Splitting of the land covered not only by section 4 but also by section 6 notification. For, the functions of the Collector relate not only to the former but also to the latter. The result would be that different Collectors would be trying more than one case relating to more than one piece of
(6) All the grounds of challenge urged by the learned counselfor the petitioners having been considered above and having failed, the writ petitions are dismissed. In the circumstances, we make no order as to costs.