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Raj Kumar and anr. Vs. the Union of India and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 473D of 1963
Judge
Reported inILR1974Delhi81
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 4 and 5
AppellantRaj Kumar and anr.
RespondentThe Union of India and ors.
Advocates: L.R. Gupta,; J.K. Seth,; L.N. Sinha and;
Cases ReferredFriends Housing Society v. Delhi Administration
Excerpt:
(i) land acquisition act (1894) - section 4--notification under--requirements of --need only specify locality and not particular land in that locality--public purpose need not be particularized in the notification itself--material which existed on the date of the notification can be relied upon to explain the public purpose--purpose stated in notification 'planned development of delhi'--whether sufficient.;that a plain reading of section 4(1) shows that the preliminary notification referred to therein need only be to the effect that it appears to the appropriate government that 'land in any locality is needed or is likely to be needed for a public purpose'. the use of the words 'land in any locality' and 'is needed or is likely to be needed' shows that at the stage of the notification.....t.v.r. tatachari, j. (1) these two civil petitions, no 473-d of 1963 and 15-d of 1966, can be disposed of by a common judgment as the main points for determination are the same in both the cases, though the petitioners and the lands involved are different. (2) in civil writ petition no. 473-d of 1963, the petitioners are raj kumar and om prakash. the respondents are (1) the union of india; (2) the chief commissioner, delhi; (3) the delhi administration ; and (4) the land acquisition collector, delhi. the petitioners are stated to be owners .in equal shares of a plot of land measuring about 1157 square yards and bearing khasra nos. 1274/ 191/2/1 and 201, situate in village kilkori within the union territory of delhi, having purchased the same under a registered deed of sale, dated february.....
Judgment:

T.V.R. Tatachari, J.

(1) These two Civil Petitions, No 473-D of 1963 and 15-D of 1966, can be disposed of by a common judgment as the main points for determination are the same in both the cases, though the petitioners and the lands involved are different.

(2) In Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963, the petitioners are Raj Kumar and Om Prakash. The respondents are (1) the Union of India; (2) the Chief Commissioner, Delhi; (3) the Delhi Administration ; and (4) the Land Acquisition Collector, Delhi. The petitioners are stated to be owners .in equal shares of a plot of land measuring about 1157 square yards and bearing khasra Nos. 1274/ 191/2/1 and 201, situate in village Kilkori within the Union Territory of Delhi, having purchased the same under a registered deed of sale, dated February 16, 1959. On November 13, 1959, the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, issued a Notification No. F. 15(iii)/ 59-LSG under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, stating that the land, measuring 34070 acres and marked as Blocks Nos. A to T and X in a map which was Annexure I to the Notification and the description of which was given in Annexure Ii to the Notification, with the exception of certain lands specified in the notification, was required by the Government at the public expense for a public purpose, namely, 'the planned development of Delhi'. The petitioners applied to the Land Acquisition Collector for a certificate as to whether their plot was included in the said notification or any other land acquisition scheme of the Government or not. They received a reply (Annexure B), dated December 6. 1960, staling that their plot was not covered by any Government scheme. In spite of the said reply, it apears that a notification No. 24(1)/61-L&H;, dated 27-7-1961, was issued under section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act which included the plot of the petitioners also. On a protest by the petitioners, a notification, No. F. 4(1)/61-L&H;(i), dated September 24, 1962, (Annexure C), was issued by the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, under section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act, withdrawing the plot of the petitioners from acquisition in pursuance of the notification, dated 27-7-1961. But, on the same date, the Chief Commissioner issued another notification F. 4(l)/61-L&H;(ii) (Annexure D) under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act in respect of the plot of the petitioners staling that the same was likely to be required to be taken by the Government at the public expense for a public purpose, namely, for the 'planned development of Delhi'. According to the petitioners, no public notice of the substance of the said notification was published in the manner required by section 4 of the Act, but they, however, came to know about the notification subsequently and filed objections (Annexure E) to the notification on November 6, 1962, under section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act. Their objections, inter alia, were that no publication in the locality was made in accordance with the provisions of the Act, that the notification did not specify any public purpose and the purpose 'planned development of Delhi', mentioned in the notification was quite a vague and indefinite one and, thereforee,, if was not a public purpose, that their plot had been fully developed and, thereforee, fulfillled the purpose for which the notification had been issued, and that the notification was consequently unnecessary, void, illegal, and ineffective. According to the petitioners, no opportunity of an oral hearing of the objections filed by them was afforded to them, and all that the Land Acquisition Collector did was to as petitioner I to make a statement before one Tilak Ram, a Kanungo employed in the Collector's Office. Then, on March 29, 1963, a notification, No. F. 4(1)/ 61-L&H; (Annexure F), was issued under section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act in respect of the plot of the petitioner declaring that the-said plot was required .to be taken by the Government at the public expense for a public purpose, namely, for the 'planned development of Delhi'. It was followed by further notifications under sections 9 and 10(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. Thereupon, the petitioners filed the present Civil Writ Petition, C.W.P. No. 473-D of 1963, praying that the notifications under sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act issued in respect of their plot be quashed, and that respondents I to 3 be forbidden from aequiring the plot of the petitioners and from dispossessing the petitioners from the said plot.

(3) In Civil Writ Petition No. 15-D of 1966, the petitioner is Jai Rani Dass. The respondents are the same as in the other Writ Petition. By a sale deed, dated M^y 14, 1955, the petitioner purchased from one Nathu a 1/4th share of khasra No. 2778/738 measuring 1 bigha 15 bids was (the l/4th share coming to about 443 square yards) being Plot No. 10, Kailash Park, New Delhi. According to the petitioner, the said plot formed part of the Kailash Park Colony which was specifically excepted from the notification, dated November 13, 1959, issued under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act. This was, however, denied by the respondents according to whom the said plot was not part of Kailash Park colony and was, thereforee, covered by the notification, dated November 13, 1959. On September 21, 1963, the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, issued a notification, No. F. 1(35)/ 63-L&H; (Annexure R-1), under section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act declaring that the lands mentioned therein including khasra No. 2784/738/2 min, were required to be taken by the Government at the public expense for a public purpose, namely, 'planned development of Delhi'. It was followed by notifications under section 9 and 10 of the Act, and an award No. 1724 was made by the Collector on August 11, 1964. According to the petitioner, he was unaware of the aforesaid notifications, and, thereforee, did not file any objections and did not appear before the Collector. Alleging that he came to know about the award a month previously, the petitioner filed the present Civil Writ Petition, C.W.P. No. 15-D of 1966, praying that the notifications under section 4 and 6 and the acquisition proceedings in pursuance of the same including the award be quashed.

(4) The two Civil Writ Petitions came up originally before one of us (B. C. Misra J.), and it was felt in respect of one of the contentions raised in the writ petitions that it was necessary to consider the effect of the recent decision of the Sc in Munshi Singh V. Union of India, since : [1973]1SCR973 , upon two decisions of single Judges of this Court relied upon by the parties. The two Civil Writ Petitions were, thereforee, directed to be placed for disposal by a larger Bench, and that is how the two Civil Writ Petitions have come up before this Division Bench for disposal.

(5) Mr. L. R. Gupta, learned counsel for the petitioner in Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963, and Mr. Tiwari, learned counsel for the petitioner in Civil Writ Petition No. 15-D of 1966, contended, firstly, that the purpose stated in the notifications, dated November 13, 1959, and September 24, 1962, under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, namely 'the planned development of Delhi', was not of the nature of a public purpose at all within the meaning of the said section. Section 3(f) of the Land Acquisition Act defines public purpose as follows :-

'The expression 'public purpose' includes the provision of village sites in districts in which the appropriate Government shall have declared by notification in the Official Gazette that it is customary for the Government to make such provision.'

(6) Referring to the said definition, the Supreme Court pointed out in Smt. Somavanti and others v. The State of Punjab and others, : [1963]2SCR774 , that it is an inclusive definition and not a compendious one and, thereforee, does not assist very much in ascertaining the ambit of the expression 'public purpose', and then observed in paragraph 24 that 'broadly speaking the expresion 'public purpose' would, however, include a purpose in which the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of individuals, is directly and vitally concerned'. The Supreme Court further observed in paragraph 36 that 'whether in a particular case the purpose for which land is needed is a public purpose or not is for the State Government to be satisfied about', that 'if the purpose for which the land is being acquired by the State is within the legislative competence of the State the declaration of the Government (under section 6) will be final subject, however, to one exception'. namely, that 'if there is a colourable exercise of power the declaration will be upon to challenge at the instance of the aggrieved party', that 'the power committed to the Government by the Act is a limited power in the sense that it can be exercised only when there is a public purpose, leaving aside for a moment the purpose of a company', that 'if it appears that what the Government is satisfied about is not a public purpose but a private purpose or no purpose at all, the action of the Government would be colourable as not being relatable to the power conferred upon it by the Act and its declaration will be a nullity', and that 'subject to this exception the declaration of the Government will be final'.

(7) In the present case, the purpose stated in the notifications is 'planned development of Delhi'. It has been explained in the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents, inter cilia, that in the last two decades (prior to the notifications), the population of Delhi urban area had quadrupled itself and had been increasing at a phenomenal rate from 7 lakhs in 1941 to 23.5 lakhs in 1961, that after the partition of the country in 1947, there was a heavy influx of displaced persons from West Pakistan into the city and suburbs of Delhi which naturally created serious housing and allied problems throughout Delhi, that in the absence of any control, haphzard and ad hoc growth of houses in different areas took place and the services did not keep pace with such expression, that all the evils arising out of over-crowding and lack of proper civil amenities manifested themselves in the social and economic life of Delhi, and a large number of slums grew up in different parts of the city and were continually increasing, that the problem of land and housing in the city became acute and those citizens who wished to construct houses for bona fide residential purposes were not able to get sites at reasonable prices, as a sub- stantial part of the available land suitable for development in the near future had passed into the hands of private parties, many of whom lacked financial resources for development and construction of buildings, and whose main motive was making business profits by dealing in land, and that in the circumstances the Government considered it necessary to take effective measures to check the haphazard growth of dwellings and houses of various kinds in different parts of the city, and to ensure the orderly and planned development of the city so as to provide accommodation for the different classes of people who had to live and work in Delhi. It is obvious from the above Explanationn that the purpose of planned development of Delhi is one in which the general interest of the community and not the particular interest of individuals is directly and vitally concerned, and that the said purpose is clearly of the nature of a public purpose as distinguished from a private or individual purpose.

(8) A similar view had, in fact, been taken in some earlier decisions of the High Court of Punjab and this Court, vide Pandit Leela Ram and others V. Union of India, Civil Writ No. 76-D of 1961, decided on May 8. 1954 by Falshaw C. J. and Mehar Singh J; (3) The Uttar Pradesh Samaj Co-operative House Building Society Ltd,, New Delhi V. Union of India, 1970 D.L.T. 554, decided on April 15, 1969, by H. R. Khanna and T. V. R. Tatachari Jj ; (4) The Nagrik Adhikar Samiti and others V. The Delhi Administration and others, Civil Writ Petition No. 42 of 1969 decided on November 26, 1969 by Hardayal Hardy and T. V. R. Tatachari JJ; (5) Krishna Kumar Chopra V. Union of India, I.L.R. (1970) I Delhi 45. decided on December 22, 1969 by S. N. Andley and V. D. Misra JJ; (6) M/s. Delhi Chemical and pharmaceutical Works and another V. Union of India and others, : AIR1971Delhi88 and T. R. Khanna V. The Delhi Administration, Civil Writ Petition No. 200-D of 1964 decided on December 14, 1972 by S. Rangarajan J. Thus, the contention on behalf of the petitioners that the purpose of 'planned development of Delhi' mentioned in the notifications, dated November 13, 1959, and September 24, 1962, issued under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act is not of the nature of a public purpose at all within the meaning of section 4 of the said section cannot be accepted,

(9) The second contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners was that even if the purpose of 'planned development of Delhi' is held to be of the nature of a public purpose, as distinguished from a private purpose, it cannot still be held to be a public purpose, in the eye. of law as it is vague, indefinite and uncertain. In support of this contention, reliance was placed upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Munshi Singh's case (supra). Before adverting to the said contention and the decision, it is necessary to refer to the provisions in section 4, 5 and 5A of the Land Acquisition Act. The said sections are as follows :-

'Preliminary Investigation Publication of preliminary notification and powers of officers thereupon 4. (1) Whenever it appears to the appropriate Government that land in any locality is needed or is likely to be needed for any public purpose, a notification to that effect shall be published in the Official Gazette, and the Collector shall cause public notice of the substance of such notification to be given at convenient places in the said locality. (2) Thereupon it shall be lawful for any officer, either generally or specially authorised by such Government in this behalf, and for his servants and workmen,- to enter upon any survey and take levels of any land in such locality; to dig or bore into the sub-soil ; to do all others acts necessary to ascertain whether the land is adapted for such purpose; to set out the boundaries oi the land proposed to be taken and the intended line of the work (if any) proposed to be made thereon ;' to mark such levels, boundaries and line by placing marks and cutting trenches; and, where otherwise the survey cannot be completed and the levels taken and the boundaries and line marked, to cut down and clear away any part of any' standing crop, fence or jungle; Provided that no person shall enter into any building on upon any enclosed court or garden attached to a dwelling house (unless with the consent of the occupier thereof) without previously giving such occupier at least seven days' notice in writing of his intention to do so. Payment for damages 5. The Officer so authorised shall at the time of such entry pay or tender payment for all necessary damage to be done as aforesaid, and, in case of dispute as to the sufficiency of the amount so paid or tendered, he shall at once refer the dispute to the decision of the Collector or other Chief revenue-officer of the district, and such decision shall be final. Objections Hearing of objections 5 A. (1) Any person interested in any land which has been notified under section 4, sub-section (1), as being needed or likely to be needed for a public purpose or for a Company may, within thirty days after the Issue of the notification, object to the acquisition of the land or of any land in the locality, as the case may be. (2) Every objection under sub-section (1) shall be made to the Collector in writing, and the Collector shall give the objector an opportunity of being heard either in person or by pleader and shall, after hearing all such objections and after making such further inquiry, if any, as he thinks necessary, either make a report in respect of the land which has been notified under section 4, sub-section (1), or make different reports in respect of different parcels of such land, to the appropriate government, containing his recommendations on the objections, together with the record of the proceedings held by him, for the decision of that Government. The decision of the appropriate Government on the objections shall be final. (3) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to be interested in land who would be entitled to claim an interest in compensation if the land were acquired under this Act.

(10) These three sections deal with preliminary investigation and objections to the proposed acquisition. Section 4(1) provides for the publication of a preliminary notification in the manner indicated therein to the effect that it appears to the appropriate Government that , land in any locality is needed or is likely to be needed for a public purpose. Upon such notification, the concerned officer, his servants and workmen are empowered by section 4(2) to lawfully enter upon and do all the operations mentioned in the said sub-section on any land in the notified locality. Section 5 provides for payment for any damage caused by such operations, and is not material for the purposes of the present cases. Section 5A(1) provides for objections by any person interested in any land which has been notified under section 4(1) objecting to the acquisition of the land or of any land in the locality, as the case may be. Section 5A(2) prescribes the manner in which the objections are to be filed before and heard by the Collector, and also requires the Collector to make a report, after healing the objections and making such further enquiry as he may think necessary, to the appropriate Government containing his recommendations upon the objections for the decision of that Government. The sub-section declares that the decision of the said Government on the objections shall be final. It may be stated here that section 6 then provides that when the appropriate Government is satisfied, after considering the report of the Collector made under section 5A, that any particular land is needed for a public purpose a declaration shall be made to that effect in the manner indicated in the section.

(11) The argument on behalf of the petitioners was that the purpose of 'planned development of Delhi' mentioned in the notification under section 4(1) was vague, indefinite and uncertain, and the public purpose so stated did not furnish sufficient information and data as to how the proposed development would be made and to what particular use the lands including those of the petitioners covered by the notification would be put, and that, consequently, the petitioners and others similarly effected by the notification were not in a position to put forward objections in an effective manner under section 5A to the proposed acquisition of their lands. In answer to the said argument, the Solicitor General, Shri Lal Narain Sinha, urged, firstly, that the notification under section 4(1) being a preliminary one, the Government had only to specify the locality and there was no need to specify any particulars regarding the lands in the locality, and secondly, that there was also no need to set out the particulars of any scheme for the development mentioned in the notification, and that even otherwise, sufficient particulars and information regarding the development of Delhi were published and made available to the public, and it could not, thereforee, be said that the public purpose mentioned in the notification under section 4(1) vague, indefinite and uncertain.

(12) As regards the first of the aforesaid two aspects, the learned Solicitor General cited a number of decisions. Before referring to the said decisions, we may state that a plain reading of section 4(1) shows that the preliminary notification referred to therein need be only to the effect that it appears to the appropriate Government that 'land in any locality is needed or is likely to be needed for a public purpose'. The use of the words 'land in any locality' and 'is needed or it likely to be needed' shows that at the stage of' the notification under section 4(1), it is not absolutely necessary that the Government should have made up its mind either that any particular land or lands in a locality is needed or is likely to be needed for the public purpose mentioned in the notification. The Government may not, in fact, be in possession of all the necessary data on which it can decide which land or lands in the locality would be suitable for the public purpose that is intended to be met by the acquisition. Investigation has, thereforee, to be made in order to secure the necessary data, and that is why section 4(2) empowers the concerned officer, his servants and workmen to enter upon and carry out the various operations mentioned therein on 'any land in such locality'. The sub-section contemplates that the officer, his servants and workmen may have to survey, take levels, dig or bore into the subsoil and do all other act necessary to ascertain whether the 'land is adapted for the public purpose, and then 'to _set out the boundaries of the land proposed to be taken and the line of the work (if any) proposed to be made thereon'. It is only after such investigation or probe that the Government would have all the necessary data and would be in a position to decide which particular land in the locality is adapted or suitable for the public purpose. It is thus apparent that in the notification under section 4(1), the appropriate Government, unless it has already decided about any particular land, need specify only the' locality, and need not particularise any land in that locality.

(13) A similar view was taken in the decisions cited by the learned Solicitor General. In Babu Barkya Thakur V. The State of Bombay, : [1961]1SCR128 , while dealing with a notification under section 4(1) for acquisition of a land needed for a company, in which the words 'for a public purpose' did not occur, the Supreme Court observed at page 140 as under :-

'The purpose of the notification under S.4 is to carry on a preliminary investigation with a view to finding out after necessary survey and taking of levels, and, if necessary, corporation adapted for the purpose for which it was sought to be adapted for the purpose for which it was sought to be acquired. It is only under S.6 that a firm declaration has to be made by Government that land with proper description and area so , to be identifiable is needed for a public purpose or for a company. What was a mere proposal under S. 4 becomes the subject matter of a definite proceeding for acquisition under the Act. Hence it is not -correct to say that any defect in the notification under section 4 is fatal to the validity of the proceedings, particularly when the acquisition is for a company and the purpose has to be investigated under S. 5A or S. 40 necessarily after the notification under S.4 of the Act.'

(14) In State of Madhya Pradesh and others V. Vishnu Prasad Sharma and others, : [1966]3SCR557 , the Supreme Court made the following observations:-

'Section 4 specifies the locality in which the land is acquired and provides for survey to decide what particular land out of the locality would be needed (page 566-D) ;'

'THEnotification under section 4(1) thus informs the public that land is required or would be required in a particular locality and thereafter the members of the public owning land in that locality have to make objections under section 5A(page 566-G);'

'But as we read these three sections together we can only find that the scheme is that S. 4 specifies the locality,. ... followed by objections and making up of its mind by the government what particular land out .of that locality it needs (page 567-A) ;' 'At the stage of section 4 the land is not particularised but only the locality is mentioned (page 567-B) ;'

(15) In Smt. Gunwant Kaur and others V. Municipal Committee, Bhatinda and others, : AIR1970SC802 , it was stated in the notification under section 4(1) that land specified in the schedule to the notification was needed for a public purpose. In the schedule, the land was described as khasra No. 2030 and 11 sets of persons were shown as owners of different pieces of land. Thus, the notification did not, as observed by the Supreme Court in paragraph 7, set out with precision the parts of khasra No. 2030 belonging to different owners sought to be acquired. The notification merely set out the areas intended to be acquired out of khasra No. 2030, but the location of the areas under khasra No. 2030 could not thereby be ascertained and no plans demarcating the land to be acquired were published or made available to the owners of the land. The aggrieved owners filed a writ petition in the High Court contending that they had no, opportunity of making their objections under section 5A, for the notification give no notice to them that the land in their occupation was intended to be acquired. The High Court rejected the petition in liming. On appeal, the Supreme Court held 'that the pleas raised by the petitioners about the infirmity in the notification and the proceedings for compulsory acquisition were serious, and that the High Court was not justified in dismissing the petition in liming.

(16) In Narenderjit Singh V. The State of U.P. and others, the Supreme Court observed in paragraphs 9 and 10 that section 4(1) does not require that the identity of the lands which may ultimately be acquired should be specified, but it enjoins upon the Government the duty to specify the locality in which the land is needed and that the defect in a notification under section 4(1) cannot be cured by giving full particulars in the notification under section 6(1).

(17) In M/s. Tinsukia Development Corporation Ltd., v. State of Assam and another, Air 1961 Assam 133(13) (F.B.), one of the contentions was that the notification under section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act was vague as from a perusal of the notification the area was not clear and it could not be clearly found out which was the land which was sought to be acquired, and should, thereforee, be quashed. The Full Bench held in paragraph 23 that the purpose of the notification under section 4 of the Act was to carry on a preliminary investigation with a view to finding out after necessary survey whether the land was adopted for th6 purpose for which it was sought to be acquired, that it was only under section 6 that a declaration was to be made by the Government that any particular land with proper description of area so as to be identifiable was needed for a public purpose or for a company, that what was a mere proposal under section 4 becomes the subject matter of a definite proceeding for acquisition under section 6, and that any vagueness in the notification under section 4, thereforee, could not vitiate the entire acquisition proceeding. It was further held that in that case, after the notification was issued under section 4, the petitioners did file objection before the Collector under sections 5A, and it could not, thereforee, be said that they were in any way misled by the absence of a proper description of the land in the notification under section 4, and that the boundary of the land which was declared to be needed for a public purpose under section 6 was clearly set out in the notification under section 6, and the acquisition proceedings could not, thereforee, be held to be illegal for vagueness of the notification under section 4.

(18) In Iftikhar Ahmed V. State of Madhya Pradesh and another, A.I.R. 1961 M.P. (141) (14), a Division Bench held that although at the ' stage when a notification under section 4(1) of the Act was issued, the Government was not in a position to say definitely which particular piece of land was proposed to be taken, all the same, the locality, in which the land to be acquired was, and which should be reasonably a small one to show the whereabouts of the land, had to be given, that under section 6 it was the particular land that should be specified in the notification, and that in the case before them all that the notifications under sections 4 and 6 stated was that an area of six acres of land in Bhopal city was proposed to be acquired, and the notifications being thus vague, the proceedings for acquisition were rendered invalid by the omission to specify sufficient particulars of the land.

(19) In State of West Bengal V. Bhutnath Chatterjee, : AIR1965Cal620 a Division Bench held that the notification under section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act need not specify correctly the area within which lands are proposed to be acquired, that what section 4(1) requires is that the notification should mention the 'locality' within which the land proposed to be acquired lies, that the term 'locality' being itself rather vague, vagueness is necessarily implicit in the contemplated notice, that section 4(1) does not require the land to be defined and identified, and that the specification and ascertainment of the land is to be done subsequently by proceedings under section 4(2).

(20) In Bahori Lal V. Land Acquisition Officer, : AIR1970All414 , it was held by a Full Bench that mention of plot numbers may not be indispensably necessary in a notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, but the notification must contain particulars adequately revealing the locality and the land proposed to be acquired therein, and that a note in the notification under section 4(1) and the declaration under section 6(1) of the Act to the effect that the site plan of the land proposed to be acquired is available for inspection at the office of the Land Acquisition Officer, is of no consequence and cannot be accepted as valid substitute for sufficient description of the land and the locality in which it is situate, required to be given under the aforesaid provisions.

(21) In Tulsa Singh V. The State of Haryana and others, , the notification under section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act indicated the locality as 'near railway station, Barara'. It was held by a Division Bench that the said specification hardly gave any of where the land in question was situated, and that the notification had hardly complied with the provisions of section 4(1), and consequently the very foundation of the acquisition proceedings was lacking and the subsequent proceedings taken on the basis of the same were ineffective and invalid.

(22) Thus, the first aspect urged by the learned Solicitor General was quite correct. But, it has to be noted that the first aspect urged by the learned Solicitor General as well as the decisions cited by him were as regards the description of the locality or land in the locality, while the contention on behalf of the petitioners was as regards the public purpose mentioned in the notification. thereforee, the first aspect urged and the decisions cited by the learned Solicitor General are not of any assistance in the present case.

(23) As already stated, the argument on behalf of the petitioners was that the purpose 'planned development of Delhi' mentioned in the notification under section 4(1) was vague, indefinite and uncertain, and the said argument was based on the decision of the Supreme Court in Munshi Singh's case (supra). In that case, a notification was issued under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act by the U.P. Government declaring its intention to acquire land measuring about 34000 acres in fifty villages of Ghaziabad for 'planned development of the area'. There was a note in the notification staling that a plan of the land may be inspected in' the Office of the Collector, Meerut. By a subsequent notification, the proposed area was reduced to 6158 acres. Munshi Singh and others made an application to the Special Land Acquisition Officer, Ghaziabad, for supplying a copy of the scheme of the planned development for which the notification under section 4 had been issued to enable them to make representations at the hearing of objections under section 5A of the Acquisition Act. It was mentioned, inter alia, in that application that the Government had not published the scheme of the planned development and without a copy of the scheme for which the notification had been published 'no forceful arguments could be submitted'. The Special Land Acquisition Officer made an order on that application staling that the scheme of the planned development was not necessary for a notification under section 4 of the Act and, as such, no such scheme of the planned development was available in his office. Subsequently, the State Government sanctioned the Master Plan of Ghaziabad. In a writ petition filed by Munshi Singh and others, it was contended that the notification under section 4 was too vague and afforded no adequate basis for the lodging of objections under section 5A of the Acquisition Act. The contention was negatived by the High Court.

(24) On appeal, the Supreme Court pointed out in paragraph 3 that the plea of Munshi Singh and others was that they did not get any effective or reasonable opportunity of objecting under section 5A of the Acquisition Act in-as-much as the purpose shown was extremely vague and there was no definite scheme before the State Government at the material time to show how the land would be developed and to what use it would be put. In the return filed on behalf of the Government, it was stated that the planned development of the area was there when the notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued although the scheme at that stage had not been finalised in details. The Supreme Court also pointed out that the order of the Special Land Acquisition Officer showed that the scheme was not available with him and was not supplied to Munshi Singh and others. On the contentions of Munshi Singh and others, the Supreme Court held-

(a) that public purpose which has to be stated in the notification under section 4(1) has to be particularised, as otherwise the various matters mentioned in section 4(2) cannot be carried out and the officer concerned or his servants and workmen cannot do any act necessary to ascertain whether the land is suitable for the purpose for which it is being acquired (paragraph 6); (b) that section 5A embodies a very just and wholesome principle that a person whose property is being or is intended to be acquired should have a proper and reasonable opportunity of persuading the authorities concerned that acquisition of the property belonging to that person should not be made (paragraph 7); and he can do so only if the notification under section 4(1) while mentioning the public purpose gives some definite indication or particulars of the said purpose which would enable the persons concerned to object effectively if so desired by filing proper or cogent objections under section 5A which he has a right to do under that provision (paragraph 9, Col. I, page 1156) ; (c) that the purpose 'planned development of the area' mentioned in the notification in Munshi Singh's case was inadequate because- (i) there was no indication whatsoever whether the development was to be of residential and building sites or of commercial and industrial plots; and (ii) it was not possible for any one interested in the land sought to be acquired to find out what kind of planned development was under contemplation, i.e. whether the land would be acquired and the development made by the Government or whether the owners of properties would be required to develop a particular area in a specified way (paragraph 8); (d) that if the Master Plan which came to be sanctioned subsequently had been available for inspection by the persons interested in filing objections or even if the knowledge of its existence on the part of the said persons had been satisfactorily proved the position may have been different and the persons could not have then claimed that they were unable to file objections owing to the lack 'of any indication in the notification under section 4 of the nature of the development for which the area was being acquired (paragraph 8): (e) (that the public purpose mentioned in the notification under section 4 in the case of Arnold Rodricks was stated with sufficient particularity, namely, for development and utilisation of the land as an industrial and residential area. and once the purpose was so stated, the persons interested could certainly object effectively, but the mere words 'planned development of the area' as were to be found in the notification in Munshi Singh's case, were wholly insufficient and conveyed no idea as to the specific purpose for which the lands were to be utilised (paragraph 9); and (f) that owing to the vagueness and indefiniteness of public purpose stated in the notification in Munshi Singh's case, and the absence of either awareness or knowledge of the scheme or the Master Plan on the part of Munshi Singh and others, they were wholly unable to object effectively and exercise their right under section 5A.

(25) In this connection, the learned Solicitor General referred to an observation of the Supreme Court in the case of Arnold Rodricks (supra). At page 888 of the report, while narrating the facts of the case, it was stated at 'B' that the petitioners in that case filed their statement of objections and took the objection that the purpose. for which the lands were required, viz. development and utilisation of the said lands as an industrial and residential area, was vague and was not genuinely or properly a public purpose. Then, at page 903-D. it was observed as follows:-

'Lastly, he contended that the Government had not before issuing the notifications prepared any scheme. This is true that the Government has not uptil now prepared any scheme for the utilisation of the developed sites. But the notification itself shows that the sites would be used as residential and industrial sites. There is no law that. requires a scheme to be prepared before issuing a notification under s. 4 ors. 6 of the Act. We have, however, no doubt that the Government will, before disposing of the sites, have a scheme for their disposal.'

Relying on the said observation, the learned Solicitor General sought to urge that in the present case there was no need to set out any particulars of any scheme of development of Delhi in the notification under section 4, and that the contention of the petitioners stands answered against them by this decision. We do not think so. In the aforesaid case of Arnold Rodricks, the reference to vagueness was in connection with the disposal of the land subsequent to the acquisition with the object of securing further development. The contention was that the object of securing further development was a very vague expression (see p. 908-F), and that there was no scheme or anything to show what the further development comprised of. It was in answer to the said contention that the observation at page 903-1) set out above was made about the absence of any need for a scheme before the issuance of the notification under section 4. No contention like that of the petitioners in the present case about their inability to put forward objections effectively under section 5A in view of the vagueness of the public purpose mentioned in the notification was raised or considered and decided in the case of Arnold Rodricks. Further, the said decision was noticed and distinguished in Munshi Singh's case. The observation in the case of Arnold Rodricks relied upon by the learned Solicitor General is not, thereforee, of any assistance to him. As held in Munshi Singh's case, the public purpose has to be particularised and some definite indication or particulars of the public purpose have to be given in the notification under section 4(1) to enable the persons concerned to object effectively if so desired by filing proper or cogent objections under section 5A.

(26) The learned Solicitor General then sought to urge that present case was different from the case of Munshi Singh as sufficient particulars and information regarding the development of Delhi had been published and made available to the public, and it could not, thereforee, be said that the public purpose mentioned in the notification under section 4(1) was vague, indefinite and uncertain on the basis of the decision of Supreme Court in Munshi Singh's case. For a proper appreciation of the argument, it is necessary to refer to certain facts stated in the affidavit of Shri Krishna Pratap dated July 3, 1973, filed on behalf of the respondents, and which have not been controvertee by the petitioners in their affidavit in reply to the aforesaid affidavit.

(27) After staling that the population of Delhi urban area had increased enormously between 1941 and 1961, and that serious housing and allied problems were created throughout Delhi on account of the influx of the displaced persons from West Pakistan into the city and suburbs of Delhi, it was averred that there was a rapid expansion of Delhi which was, however, not accompanied by an adequate programme of housing, that in the absence of any control, haphazard and ad hoc growth of houses in different areas took place and the services did not keep pace with such expansion, that the problem of land and housing in the city became acute and those citizen who wished to construct houses for bona fide residential purposes were not able to get sites at reasonable prices, as a substantial part of the available land suitable for development in the near future had passed into the hands of private parties, many of whom lacked financial resources for development and construction of buildings, and whose main motive was making business profits by dealings in land, and that in those circumstances the Government considered it necessary to take effective measures to check the haphazard growth of dwellings and houses of various kinds in different parts of the city, and to ensure the orderly and planned development of the city so as to provide accommodation for different classes of people who had to live and work there.

(28) For that purpose, the Delhi (Control of Building Operations) Ordinance was promulgated in 1955. It was later replaced by the Delhi (Control of Building Operations) Act, 1955. Simultaneously, the urgency to prepare a comprehensive plan for the development of the city was felt acutely, and the Union Government set up an organisation called the Town and Country Planning Organisation in, 1955 which functioned under the Ministry of Health, and which was charged with the task of preparing a comprehensive plan for the proper and planned growth of the capital. As the preparation of 'the Master Plan was likely to take a considerable time, the Town and Country Planning Organisation prepared an interim plan which was called Interim General Plan for Greater Delhi, and the said interim plan gave broad uses of land in different areas of Delhi. The said interim plan came into force from 1956 onwards and it covered an area of 70290 acres out of which 31500 acres were developed area, and the remaining 38790 acres were mainly vacant agricultural lands including some unutilised Government owned lands. About 3000 acres of land which formed part of the land covered by the Interim General Plan was notified under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act on September 3, 1957, while the remaining 34000 acres of land was notified under section 4 on November 13, 1959. The Delhi (Control of Building 0pera.tions) Act, 1955 was replaced by the Delhi Development Act, 1957, which came into force on December 30, 1957. Under this Act, the Delhi Development Authority was constituted and charged with the responsibilities of operating a Master Plan for Delhi. The Town and Country Planning Organisation which had already started on the project of preparing a Master Plan was allowed to continue to do the work on behalf of the Delhi Development Authority. The said Organisation prepared a Draft Master Plan and the same was adopted by the Delhi Development Authority by their Resolution No. 34, dated February 1, 1960. As provided in section 10 of the Delhi Development Authority Act, 1957, the Draft Master Plan was published by the Authority on July 8, 1960, with a view to invite objections and suggestions from members of the public, local bodies, etc. to enable them to take into consideration various points of view in finalising their recommendations to the Government. The Draft Master Plan was finalised after considering all the objections and suggestions received from numerous quarters and was approved by the Government of India. The Draft Master Plan which was so approved was the Master Plan which came into force with effect from September 1, 1962. The area covered by the Master Plan over and above the area covered by the Interim General Plan was notified under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, on October 24, 1961.

(29) Thus, according to the affidavit, the planning of the development of Delhi started right in 1955 when' the Town and Country Planning Organisation started on the project and brought out an Interim General Plan which culminated in 1962 when the finalised version of the Master Plan came into force from September 1, 1962. It was stated in the affidavit that the trerid of future development of the city had already been set out in the Interim General Plan which was a public land priced document on sale to the general public in the open market and, thereforee, the public in general had sufficient, knowledge of the lines on which Development of Delhi would be made in future. It was further averred in the affidavit that before issuing the notification under section 4 on November 13, 1959, the Government had decided that in order to ensure proper development and continuous use of the lands for the purposes envisaged in the Interim General Plan and then in the Master Plan under preparation, it was necessary that the development should be by the Delhi Development Authority, Government agencies like the Central Public Works Department, Municipal Corporation of Delhi and other local bodies, and also that the land after development should be sold on lease-hold basis with strict stipulations that the 'user' will not be changed by the purchaser and, if it was changed, the land and the property standing thereon could be resumed by the Lesser. Similarly, it was decided that the Co-operative Societies which would be allotted land on lease-hold basis would be required to effect development to the satisfaction of the Lesser and use the buildings constructed strictly for residential or industrial use as provided in the plan. The question of leaving development of land covered by the Plan in the hands of private colonizers was eliminated from the beginning, and the Government had made up its mind to acquire all the aforesaid lands, develop them and then dispose them of on lease-hold basis.

(30) It was also averred that even before the Draft Master Plan was published in July, 1960, it had become a matter of public discussion. A few news items appeared in the Times of India and other newspapers on various dates prior to the issuance of the notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act on November 13, 1959, in respect of 34,000 acres of land for the planned development of Delhi (vide Annexures R-I to R-III). Thus, according to the affidavit, so far as Delhi was concerned, there was a definite Plan of development of which the public was aware before the notification under section 4 was issued on November 13, 1959.

(31) The facts set out above show that the case of Munshi Singh and others is clearly distinguishable from the present cases. In Munshi Singh's case, the Government had not published any scheme of the planned development, and no scheme was available with the Special Land Acquisition Officer or supplied to Munshi Singh and others. On the other hand, in the case of Raj Kumar and Om Parkash, petitioners in Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963, the notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on September 24, 1962, by which date the Master Plan had come into force. In the case of Jai Ram Dass, petitioner in Civil Writ Petition No. 15-Dx of 1966, the notification under section 4 was issued on November 13, 1959, and by that date the Interim General Plan had been published.

(32) As regards the Master Plan, the learned counsel for the petitioners contended that no reference to it was made in the notification under section 4 and it could not, thereforee, be looked into. The argument was that the public purpose for which the lands of the petitioners were sought to be acquired had to be particularised in the notification itself, and no material, even if it existed on the date of the notification, could not be relied upon to explain the public purpose aliende, as section 4 or any other provision in the Land Acquisition Act does not lay down any obligation on the person interested in the land proposed to be acquired to look into anything beyond, the notification. There is no force in this argument for two reasons. In the first place, the Master Plan was prepared and published in pursuance of the provisions in the Delhi Development Act and was available for inspection by any member of the public, and so every one has to be presumed to have known the Master plan. In the second place, the point is no longer rest Integra as in Munshi Singh's case the Supreme Court observed that if the Master Plan had been available for inspection by the persons interested in filing objections or even if the said persons had knowledge of its existence, they could not have then claimed that they were unable to file objections owing to the lack of any indication in the notification under section 4 of the nature of the development for which the area in that case was being acquired.

(33) It was then contended on behalf of the petitioners that even if the Master Plan could be taken into consideration, it only contained a broad pattern of the land use, and unless the specific purpose for which the lands of the petitioners would be utilised was known it could not be said that it was possible for them to put forward effective objections under section 5A. It was argued that if, for instance, the purpose for which the lands of the petitioners would be utilised had been stated to be residential purpose, the petitioners would have been able to urge under section 5A that their lands were already being used for residential purpose and there was, thereforee, no necessity for acquisition of the said lands. Reliance was placed upon the decision of a Full Bench of this Court in B. T. Menghani v. Delhi Development Authority and others. Civil Writ Petition No. 465 of 1970, (18) decided on December 3, 1973. In the case before the Full Bench, certain persons were being prosecuted under sub-section (2) of section 29 of the Delhi Development Act, 1957, for an alleged contravention of the Master Plan of Delhi by using or permitting the use of their buildings otherwise than in conformity with the Master Plan which was alleged to be prohibited by section 14 of the Delhi Development Act. The main question for determination by the Full Bench was whether there could be no prosecution or imposition of penalty before the Zonal Development Plan in respect of the Zone in which the premises in question was situated came into force. The Full Bench held on an interpretation of section 14 of the Delhi Development Act-

(a) that the Master Plan may provide not only for the user of land as distinguished from that of building in the various Zones, but also for the user of builiding on such land; (b) that a perusal of section 8 of the Act makes it clear that it is the Zonal Development Plans which are expected to contain, inter alia, the site plan of each Zone and the use plan of such Zone or site in that Zone, and it is the domain of the Zonal Development Plans to provide for the uses to which buildings in a Zone or in an area in a Zone or upon the site in an area in a Zone may be put; (c) that the prohibition contained in section 14 would be effective in any Zone if any of the plans, i.e. the Master Plan or the Zonal Development Plan, has come into operation in such zone, and that if there is a user of any land or building otherwise than in conformity with either the Master Plan or the Zonal Development Plan after such plan has come into operation, it would bo actionable under sub-section (2) of section 29 of the Development Act, and it cannot, thereforee, be said that the prohibition in section 14 can become operative only after the Master Plan and the Zonal Development Plan have all come into operation in a Zone; (d) that in the Zones with which the Full Bench was concerned the Master Plan was in operation, but none of the Zonal Development Plans was in operation' (e) that the question for consideration, thereforee, was whether the petitioners before the Full Bench had used their respective buildings as distinguished from the land upon which they were constructed otherwise than in conformity with the Master Plan; (f) that the use Zones described in the Master Plan are reflected in what is described as the 'land use plan' annexed to the Master Plan, and that the said land use plan does not indicate with reference to any building in any area the use to which the building or buildings in that area are to be put or the use of particular sites in a Zone, but merely contains various colours indicative of the use, namely, residential, commercial, industrial, Governmental, recreational, public and semi-public facilities and agricultural, and shows the circulation pattern; (g) that by reason of the provisions regarding uses in use Zones mentioned in the Master Plan or the land use plan annexed to it, it is not possible to say that the use of any building as distinguished from land in any zone or of the site of such building has been specified, and, thereforee, it cannot be said with respect to a particular building or a group of buildings in a Zone that such and such is the user thereof as specified by the Master Plan; (h) that the Master Plan has not thus specified any user of building as distinguished from land, and there was, there fore, no question of any mis-user or of a user of building which is not in conformity with the Master Plan: and (i) that consequently the prohibition contained in section 14 was not attracted and no penalties could be imposed by reason of sub-section (2) of section 29 of the Delhi Development Act.

It is thus clear that the Full Bench decided only that the Master Plan and the land use plan attached to it contained only the land use and not the site use or building use, and that consequently there could not be any prosecution under section 29(2) read with section 14 of the Act for any alleged contravention of the Master Plan by using or permitting the use of a building of the person concerned otherwise than in conformity with the Master Plan.

(34) But, section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act is concerned with land and not building. Even according to the aforesaid Full Bench decision, the Master Plan and the land use plan annexed to it contained information regarding land use in the various zones, namely, residential, commercial, industrial, Governmental, recreational, public and semi-public facilities and agricultural, and showed the circulation pattern. In the decision in Munshi Singh's case. the Supreme Court observed that the public purpose mentioned in the notification under section 4 in the case of Arnold Rodricks, namely, for development and utilisation of the land as an industrial and residential area, was a statement with sufficient particularity, and that once the purpose was so stated the person interested could certainly object effectively under section 5A. It has also to be noted that public purpose stated in the case of Arnold Rodricks was with reference to the entire land sought to be acquired and not with reference to each part of the land in which each objector was interested, and yet, in Munshi Singh's case, the Supreme Court regarded it as a statement with sufficient particularity. There is thus no force in the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioners that the particular purpose for which the land of the petitioners would be used 'hould he available, and that the same would be available only after the Zonal Development Plans are prepared and published. Chapter I of the Master Plan and the land use plan attached to it indicate with sufficient particularity the use to which the area in each Zone would be put, namely, residential, commercial, industrial, etc. It has, thereforee, to be held that the information given in the Master Plan and the land use plan attached to it gives sufficient particulars of the public purpose of planned development of Delhi to enable the persons interested to make effective objections under section 5A.

(35) As regards the Interim General Plan, the learned counsel for the petitioners contended that the information contained therein was of an interim nature, and even otherwise it was not sufficient for making effective objections under section 5A. A cyclostyled copy of the Interim General Plan for Greater Delhi which was printed by the General Manager, Government of India Press, New Delhi, and published by the Manager of Publications, Delhi, in 1956, has been produced before us. It consisted of nine Chapters and a number of appendices including several maps. In Chapter I, the relation of the Interim General Plan to the Comprehensive Master Plan yet to be prepared was indicated at page 3 as under:-

'The Comprehensive General Plan is prepared following thorough study, and necessarily takes a considerable amount of time in preparation. But, in some communities where there is considerable pressure for development, it is often not possible to defer major decisions until this thorough and complete study has been made. In such cases, the Interim General Plan serves to guide development until a more thoroughly studied general plan is prepared, reviewed by the public, and adopted by the administrative authority. The Interim General Plan is prepared in a short period of time, and without the benefit of extensive research, and cannot, thereforee, be a substitute for a comprehensive plan. It is in the nature of a stopgap operation. The Interim General Plan has all the characteristics of a Comprehensive Plan, except that where the Comprehensive Plan is long range, the Interim Plan is short range. It is only concerned with change and development in the immediate future during which time a more thorough and detailed study will be made. Thus, it is rarely that an Interim Plan will recommend bold and sweeping changes, as its major concern is to prepare the ground for planning and to avoid some of the more obvious mistakes that might raise difficulties later on-'

(36) Chapter Ii, by way of introduction, dealt with the historical background. Chapter Iii dealt with land use, while Chapters Iv to Ix dealt with population, circulation, public utilities and services, slum clearance and re-development, objectives and policies, interim general plan-major recommendations regarding land use, schools and recreation, circulation, public utilities and services, and implications for future planning. In Chapter Viii, the nature and scope of the Interim General Plan was summed up at page 62 as under:-

'From the principles and objectives discussed in earlier chapters of the report, and on the basis of the preliminary surveys undertaken, the Interim General Plan has evolved. To develop a comprehensive Plan for the Capital Region, it is necessary to conduct detailed planning analysis of the factors: physical, economic, social, political and cultural, which form the basis of urban living. Because so much study remains to be done, the present plan has been called as Interim, while the specific subjects which must engage attention of the people and authorities concerned in the future, are recognised and mentioned in the proposals, For this tentative plan the proposals arc mainly confined within the urban core as indicated on the Land Use Plan. It was not possible during this stage to ascertain with precision the potentials of population, economic base and lirbanisation on a long range basis. thereforee, the recommendations of the Interim General Plan are meant primarily as a guide for the physical development of, this area, before a comprehensive Plan for the whole National Capital Region is developed. This plan is thus a beginning, and not the end, to a long range comprehensive Plan. In fact this may be taken as a 'plan for planning'.'

(37) The above extracts show that the Interim General Plan contained various proposals and recommendations as a guide turn development in the immediate future to the extent possible, until a more thoroughly studied general or comprehensive plan is prepared. It was thus no doubt of an interim nature, but it had all the characteristics of a comprehensive or Master Plan, except that where the comprehensive plan is of long range, the Interim General Plan was of short range. The proposals and recommendations related to various aspects of development of the National Capital Region (Delhi). In particular, land use was dealt with and proposals and recommendations were made concerning land used by Government offices. Industrial Land use, business and commercial areas, shopping facilities, wholesale markets and commercial offices, residential land use and density, zoning, educational institutions, schools, vocational and technical schools, colleges, other research institutions, recreational areas, other community facilities, medical facilities, police stations, and post and telegraph offices. A map named as land use map (Map No. 20), was one of the maps annexed to the Interim General Plan. The entire region of Delhi was divided and demarcated, indicating on the map by different colours the various uses to which the divisions were proposed to be put. The said uses represented by the colours were set out in the margin of the map under the captions. Residential. Commercial, Industrial, Public and Semi-public, Recreational, Agricultural and Circulation.

(38) Thus, unlike the situation in Munshi Singh's case where there was no scheme of development at all and the public purpose was merely stated in the notification as 'planned development of the area', the Interim General Plan regarding Delhi set out the nature of the development that was being proposed. The fact that it was an interim plan is immaterial as it is in the very nature of town planning, particularly of the magnitude of Delhi, that it has to be done by steps and not all at once. Again, it is true that the Interim General Plan dealt with the land use of the various divisions of the region in general and not with reference to the sites or plots of individuals in those divisions. But, the question arises as to whether such a detailed plan or scheme is necessary even at the stage of the notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act the purpose of which is to carry on a preliminary investigation. It has to be noted that it was not stated in the decision in Munshi Singh's case that the particulars or information regarding the public purpose should be with reference to each site or plot of every individual within the area sought to be acquired. It was not so stated, because the only object in requiring the particularisation of the public purpose at the stage of the notification under section 4 is to ensure that the right of persons interested to object effectively under section 5A is not rendered illusory, and for that purpose it is sufficient if the particularisation is such as to enable such persons to object effectively under section 5A, if they so desire. In the present case, the Interim General Plan, together with the appendices and maps annexed to it, as pointed out earlier, contained information and particulars of the nature of the development proposed and recommended which was sufficient to enable persons interested to file objections under section 5A. The Interim General Plan was not a final word on the matter of the development of Delhi. It contained only proposals and recommendations. It was, thereforee, quite open to the persons interested to file objections under section 5A suggesting why all or some of the proposals and recemmendations should not be accepted, and urging that the acquisition of their sites or plots would not be necessary if their suggestions are accepted. It has, thereforee, to be held that the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioners that the Interim General Plan did not contain information or particulars of the public purpose of planned development of Delhi sufficient to enable the persons interested to object effectively under section 5A, cannot be accepted.

(39) There are two decisions of single Judges of this Court, T. R. Khanna v. The Delhi Administration and others. Civil Writ Petition No. 200-D of 1964, decided on December 14, 1972, (8) and Friends Housing Society v. Delhi Administration. : AIR1973Delhi275 . In the former case, a writ petition was filed in respect of a land covered by the notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, dated November 13, 1959, with which we have been dealing in the present cases. Notification under section 6 in respect of that land was issued on June 20, 1963. There was no prayer in the writ petition for quashing the notification under section 4 in so far as it pertained to the land of the petitioner in that case. The prayer was confined to the quashing of the land acquisition proceedings from and after the stage of the issue of the notification under section 6. The said prayer was not granted on the ground that the Master Plan was available by the date of issue of the Notification under section 6. The decision in Munshi Singh's case was distinguished on the ground that in Munshi Sirigh's case the Master Plan was not available even by the date of issue of the Notification under section 6. The decision in T. R. Khanna's case was thus based on the facts of that particular case find is not, thereforee, of assistance in the present cases.

(40) In the case of Friends Housing Society (supra), the notification under section 4 was the same notification, dated November 13. 1959, and the notification under section 6 was issued on August 16, 1962, in respect of the land of the Friends Housing Society. Referring to the decision in Munshi Singh's case (supra), it was held that since even the Draft Master Plan had not been published by the date, November 13, 1959, on which the notification under section 4 was issued, the persons interested could not file effective objections under section 5A In that view, the acquisition proceedings in respect of the land of Friends Housing Society from the stage of the declaration under section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act were set aside. It has to be noted that the decision was based entirely on the fact that the Draft Master Plan was not available by the date of the notification under section 4. Though a passing reference was made to the Interim General Plan in the course of the narration of the facts in paragraph 8 of the judgment, the information and particulars given in the Interim General Plan regarding the development of Delhi were not considered and discussed perhaps because the Interim General Plan and the maps attached to it were not placed before the Court and no contention based on the same was urged. The learned counsel for the petitioners cannot, thereforee, derive any assistance from the said decision.

(41) For the foregoing reasons, we hold that the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners that the purpose of 'planned development of Delhi' mentioned in the notifications under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, dated November 13, 1959, and September 24, 1962, was vague, indefinite, and uncertain and was not, thereforee, a public purpose in the eye of law, cannot be accepted.

(42) The third contention on behalf of the petitioners was that the acquisition of the lands of the petitioners was inala fide and a colourable exercise of their power by the respondents. As stated earlier, the notification under section 4, dated November 13, 1959, did not cover the land of Raj Kumar and Om Parkash, petitioners in Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963. However, a notification was issued under section 6 in respect of those lands on July 26-27. 1961. On noticing the defect, the said notification under section 6 was withdrawn on September 24, 1962, and on the same date another notification was issued under section 4 in respect of the same lands. The argument of the learned counsel for the petitioners was that the exclusion from the original notification under section 4, the inclusion in the notification under section 6 and its withdrawal, and the subsequent inclusion in another notification under section 4, establishes mala fides on the part of the respondents. Beyond staling the aforesaid facts in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the writ Petition, the petitioners did not put forward any plea of inala fides or colourable exercise of power in the said paragraph. In reply to the said paragraphs, it was stated in the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents that the notification under section 6 was issued on July 26-27, 1961, due to a clerical mistake, and that the defect was rectified as soon as it came to their notice. There was no averment in the counter affidavit regarding the alleged mala fides or colourable exercise of power apparently because no such pica was put forward in the writ petition. Then, for the first time, the petitioners stated in paragraphs 10 and 11 of their rejoinder that the' inclusion of the land in the notification under section 6 was not due to a clerical mistake, but that it was done deliberately with malicious design, and the acquisition was a colourable exercise of their powers by the respondents. The said allegations were denied in the affidavit of Shri K. N. Kashyap filed in reply to the rejoinder. The allegation of mala fides and colourable exercise of power appear to be just an after-thought on the part of the petitioners. There is no reason to disbelieve the averments in the counter affidavit that the issuance of the notification under section 6 in respect of the land of the petitioners was by a clerical mistake, and that the said defect was rectified as soon as it c,ame to the notice of the respondents. The mere facts that the land was excluded from the notification under section 4 in the first instance, and that subsequently a notification under section 4 was issued covering the same, arc not by themselves sufficient to infer any mala fides, nor can the action be regarded as a colourable exercise of their power by the respondents. The contention has, thereforee, to be rejected as being without any basis.

(43) The fourth contention was that there was absolutely no need for the acquisition of the lands of the petitioners in as much as (a) the extents were too small for acquisition for the large purpose of planned development of Delhi, and (b) they had already been developed by the petitioners in a manner which was quite in accordance with the Master Plan. This contention also is untenable. The power to acquire the lands admittedly vests in the respondents, and so the mere fact that the extents of the lands were small does not render the acquisition illegal. As regards the plea that the petitioners had already developed their lands in a manner which was in accordance with the Master Plan, it is not clear from the averments as to what the alleged development was and how it was in accordance with the Master Plan. In the affidavit of the respondents filed in reply to the rejoinder of the petitioners it was stated that the lands of the petitioners were required for the scheme of 'planned development of Delhi and, as such, could not be left out from the purview of acquisition, that in accordance with the scheme of planned development of Delhi as envisaged in the Master Plan, all lands falling in the urbanisable limits of Delhi except those areas for which lay-out/service plans had already been approved by the Competent Authority were to be acquired, developed and re-settled on lease-hold basis, and that the lands of the petitioners were not a part of any approved colony and as such had to be acquired. When the scheme of development was to acquire the lands in the urbanisable limits of Delhi, develop the same and resettle them on lease-hold basis, the mere fact that I he petitioners had developed the lands in a manner which was in accordance with the Master Plan, assuming the same to be true and correct, Is of no consequence. According to the scheme, the lands were to be acquired, developed or further developed in such a manner as may be necessary, and ultimately re-settled on lease-hold basis. When that was the scheme, it is obvious that any development made by the petitioners is no answer to the acquisition. The contention of the learned counsel has thus no substance.

(44) The fifth and the last contention urged by the learned counsel for the petitioners in Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963 was that the objections filed by the petitioners were not dealt with in accordance with the provisions in section 5A and the petitioners were not given a proper and sufficient opportunity to substantiate the objections filed by them under section 5A in as much as the Land Acquisition Collector, without giving a personal hearing to the petitioners, merely asked petitioner I, Raj Kumar, to make a statement betore one Tilak Ram, a Kanungo employed in his Office, and no further proceedings or inquiry were held by the Collector at all. This was stated in paragraph 13 of the Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963. In reply to the same, it was merely stated in paragraph 13 of the counter affidavit that a full opportunity was allowed to the petitioners. The petitioners, however, reiterated in paragraph 13 of their rejoinder that a reasonable opportunity of hearing was not afforded to them. Then, in the affidavit of Shri K. N. Kashyap filed on behalf of the respondents in reply to the rejoinder, it was stated in paragraph 13 thereof that full opportunity was afforded to the petitioners, that. as required by law, objections under section 5A were invited from all the interested persons including the petitioners within thirty days from the issuance/publication of the notice No. F. IV/1/62 L&H; (ii). dated September 24, 1962, issued under section 4 of the Act, that the objections filed by the petitioners were barred by time as they were filed on November 6, 1962, whereas the notification dated September 24.1962, was published on October 4, 1962, that the petitioners admitted in paragraph 12 of the Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963 that their objections under section 5A were filed by them on November 6, 1962, and that as those objections were barred by time the question of giving them opportunity of being heard, as required by section 5A of the Act, did not arise. The petitioners filed a supplemental rejoinder in which they stated that no objection was raised either by the Land Acquisition Collector or by the respondents that the objections filed by them were barred by limitation, that it was true that the notification dated September 24, 1962, was published on October 4, 1962, but no public notice of the substance of the said notification was caused to be made or given by the Collector, on the said date, that the said public notice of the notification, as required under the mandatory provision in section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, was caused to be made or given by the Land Acquisition Collector at convenient places of the locality only on October 8, 1962, that the said public notice was affixed by the Process-server outside the Court of the A.D.M., and the Offices of the Land Acquisition Collector, the Tehsildar, and the Village Panchayat only on October 8, 1962, that the said fact was also noted on the relevant file and confirmed by a report of the Naib Tehsildar, dated June 29, 1963, in his report known as 'Chief Data' submitted by him to the Land Acquisition Collector, that the respondents did not raise this objection of limitation in their counter affidavit, and that the said objection has now been taken in the counter to the rejoinder falsely, illegally and maliciously with .an intent to cover up the non-compliance of the mandatory provisions of section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act that a reasonable opportunity of hearing should be given to the petitioners regarding their objections. A supplemental counter affidavit of Shri Krishan Pratap, Deputy Secretary, Delhi Administration, dated July 3, 1973, was filed on behalf of the respondents, but the aforesaid averments of facts by the petitioners were not controverter, and have, thereforee, to be taken as correct. According to the said averments, the publication under section 4(1) was made in the locality on October 8, 1962. As held in State of Mysore v. Abdul Razak Saheb. Air 1963 Supreme Court 2361, 2362 (20), (paragraph 5), section 4(1) requires that there should both be a notification in the Gazette as also a public notice in the locality in which the property proposed to be acquired is situate, and it is only when the notification is published in the Official Gazette and it is accompanied by or immediately followed by the public notice, that a person interested in the property proposed to be acquired can be regarded to have had notice of the proposed acquisition. Section 5A(1) .requires that the objection to the proposed acquisition should .be filed within thirty days 'after the issue of the notification'. The words 'issue of the notification' used in section 5A(1) have to be understood in the light of the provision in section 4(1) under which the notification is required to be published. As pointed out by the Supreme Court in Abdul Razak Saheb's (supra), it is only when the notification is published in the Gazette and public notice of the substance of it is given in the locality that a person interested can be regarded to have had notice of the proposed acquisition. Obviously, such a person can file his objections to the proposed acquisition only after he had notice of the same. So, reading section 4(1) and section 5A(1) together, it is clear that the 'issue of the notification' has to he regarded as effected on the date of the public notice given in the locality under section 4(1), and the period of thirty days has to be reckoned from the date of such public notice. thereforee, the objections filed by the petitioners under section 5A on November 6. 1962. were within the prescribed period of thirty days and were, thereforee, in time.

(45) The question then is whether the objections of the petitioners were heard by the Collector of Land Acquisition in accordance with the provisions in section 5A(2). The said sub-section requires that the Collector should give- the objector 'an opportunity of being heard either in person or by pleader'. In Lt. Governor of Delhi and others v. Mandir Sita Ramji and another, : AIR1973Delhi218 , it was held by a Division Bench of this Court (Hardayal Hardy CJ. and Prakash Narain J.) that it is settled law that the provisions of section 5A with regard to the affording of a hearing are mandatory. In Hanuman Prasad Gupta v. Lt. Governor, Union Territory of India, (1972) 74 P.L.R. (Delhi Section) 272 (22), Hardayal Hardy and M.R.A. Ansari JJ. observed that the only opportunity which the objectors have, is to appear and present their point of view before the Collector, that it is not as if the Collector is merely to act as a Post Office for receiving objections and transmitting them to the appropriate Government, and that he has to apply his own mind to the objections and, if necessary, to supplement the material placed before him by the objectors, by making his own inquiry, and then to submit a report which must contain his recommendation on the objections. In Neru'Bhavi Chickchanappa v. State of Mysore, 1967 (2) Mysore Law Journal 375, 376 (23), it was held by Somnath lyer and Kalghate JJ. that the power to hear objections under section 5A is a statutory power confided to the Collector (Dy. Commissioner in that case), and that the said power has to be exercised only by the Collector (Dy. Commissioner in that case) and no other- In the present case, i.e. Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963, the Collector did not give the petitioners an opportunity of being heard in person or by pleader. All that the Collector did was to get a statement of petitioner I, Raj Kumar. recorded by a Kanungo, and the same cannot be said to be a hearing by the Collector on the objections filed by the petitioners. It has, thereforee, to be held that the mandatory provision in section 5A(2) regarding hearing of objections was not followed, and the acquisition proceedings in respect of the land of the petitioners, in Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963, from and after the stage of the hearing of the objections under section 5A are liable to be quashed. We accordingly allow Civil Writ Petition No. 473-D of 1963 and quash the acquisition proceedings from and after the stage of the hearing of the objections under section 5A. In the circumstances, the parties arc directed to bear their own costs in the Writ Petition.

(46) No such defect in the hearing of the objections in respect of the land of the petitioner in Civil Writ Petition No. 15-D of 1966 has been pleaded by the petitioner, Jai Ram Dass. In fact, the petitioner had not filed any objections at all. He alleged in the Writ Petition that his land was situate in Kailash Park Colony which was excepted from the notification under section 4, dated November 13, 1959. and that he did not, thereforee, file any objections to the said notification. In reply to the said allegation, it was averred in the counter affidavit of Shri Jagmohan, Secretary of the Delhi Administration, that what had been exempted from the notification was the approved Jay-out plan of the Kailash Park Colony, that the land of the petitioner (Khasra No. 2778/738) did not form part of the said approved layout plan of Kailash Park Colony, and that the land of the petitioner was, thereforee, covered by the notification under Section 4, dated November 13, 1959. The petitioner did not file any rejoinder to the counter affidavit, and so the aforesaid averments in the counter affidavit stand uncontroverter. Thus, the petitioner's land was covered by the notification, dated November 13, 1959, and we have held above that the public purpose mentioned therein was not vague or indefinite or uncertain. The Civil Writ Petition No. 15-D of 1966. thereforee, fails and is dismissed, but in the circumstance without costs.

(47) B. C. Misra J.-I have pursued the judgment prepared by my learned brother. I, however, wish to add a few words of my own, since I had delivered the judgment in Friends Housing Society v. Delhi Administration, : AIR1973Delhi275 , by winch I had quashed the impugned notification. In that case, I had found that the lay-out plan of the colony in dispute had been deemed to be sanctioned under the law since it had not been rejected within the prescribed time and this entitled the colony to be excluded in terms of the Press-note. Moreover, in that case no material had been placed before the Court with regard to the existence and details of the Interim General Plan or any other available material prior to the impugned Section 4 notification or the subsequent publication of the draft Master Plan in July, 1960. or the final Master Plan in September, 1962. In view of the averments in the case, r had quashed the notification. In the present case, sufficient material has been brought out by the counsel for the respondents. As a result, I entirely agree with the reasoning and conclusions of my learned brother and fully concur in the judgment.


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