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Munni Lal and ors. Vs. Lt. Governor of Delhi and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 426 of 1981
Judge
Reported inILR1984Delhi469
ActsLand Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 4
AppellantMunni Lal and ors.
RespondentLt. Governor of Delhi and ors.
Advocates: L.M. Sanghvi,; K.L. Rathi,; A.M. Singhvi,;
Cases ReferredAflatoon v. Lt. Governor.
Excerpt:
land acquisition act - section 4--notifications issued in november 1980 are valid--public purpose, explained--'planned development of delhi'--explained & discussed. upholding the validity of three notifications issued in november, 1980 under the provisions of section 4 of the land acquisition act and dismissing the writ petitions. ; 1. the public purpose indicated in the notifications under section 4 is 'planned development of delhi'. whether 'planed development of delhi' can be regarded as a public purpose or whether land can be acquired for planned development of delhi only in the manner as envisaged by the master plan which was drawn up in 1962, are as far as this court is concerned, no longer rest integra.; the development of a town or a part of it is a long term project. in.....b.n. kirpal, j.(1) the challenge in these connected writ petitions is to the validity of acquisition proceedings which have been initiated by the issuance of notifications under section 4 of the land acquisition act on 5th and 25th november, 1980.(2) the main arguments have been addressed in civil writ petition no. 426 of 1981. with regard to the validity of notification under section 4 of the act and, thereforee, it is necessary to advert to the facts in this case in some detail. the facts of the other cases are similar to civil writ petition no. 426 of 1981. except the date of the notification and the villages in respect of which the said notification under section 4 has been issued.(3) the undisputed facts are that the land of the petitioner munni lal is situate in village satbari......
Judgment:

B.N. Kirpal, J.

(1) The challenge in these connected writ petitions is to the validity of acquisition proceedings which have been initiated by the issuance of Notifications under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act on 5th and 25th November, 1980.

(2) The main arguments have been addressed in Civil Writ Petition No. 426 of 1981. with regard to the validity of Notification under Section 4 of the Act and, thereforee, it is necessary to advert to the facts in this case in some detail. The facts of the other cases are similar to Civil Writ Petition No. 426 of 1981. except the date of the Notification and the villages in respect of which the said notification under section 4 has been issued.

(3) The undisputed facts are that the land of the petitioner Munni Lal is situate in village Satbari. There is in existence a Master Plan of Delhi which came in to effect on 1st September, 1962 under the provisions of the Delhi Development Act. The said Master Plan covers the whole of the Union Territory of Delhi and indicates the land use therein. According to the Master Plan, village Satbari is shown in the agricultural green belt an,d is outside the urbanizable limits. The land therein can be used for agricultural and allied purposes and certain uses such as places of worship, school, library etc. are also permitted after obtaining approval from the specified Authorities.

(4) On 5th November, 1980 the Lt. Governor issued notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act in which it was, inter alia, stated that land in villages Tughlakabad. Tigri, Deoli, Khanplur, Said-ul-ajaib, Neb Sarai, Hauz Rani and Khirki were required for public purpose, namely, 'for Planned Development of Delhi'. Three types of lands were, however, exempted from the purview of this notification and they were Government land, land already notified under section 4 or 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, and land in respect of which lay out plan/building plans were sanctioned by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi before 5th November. 1980. By the said notification persons could file objections to the acquisition within thirty days of the publication of the Notification. On 17th November, 1980 a similar notification under section 4 of the Act was issued in respect of a number of villages including village Komdli, which is the subject matter of challenge in other writ petitions. On 25th November, 1980 land in revenue estates of villages Chhatarpur, Satbari, Maidangarhi, Shayoorpur and Rajpur Khurd was notified as, being proposed to be acquired for the Planned Development of Delhi.

(5) In pursuance to the said notifications under section 4 of the Act, some of the petitioners filed objections under section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act. As already mentioned hereinabove, no further notification under section 6 of the Act has been issued except in the case of village Kondli.

(6) Without waiting for the issuance of the notification under section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, the present petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India wherein it is prayed that the notification, under section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act should be quashed. The main contentions of the petitioner, which were argued before us, were that when land was already being used as per the Master Plan, it could not be acquired for a purpose of 'Planned Development of Delhi' unless there was another specific plan in existence. It was submitted that there had been no application of mind at the time when the notification under section 4 was issued and, in any case. there had been a colourable exercise of power in Issuance of the Notification as the real purpose in issuing the notification was to freeze the land. In this connection it was stated that the requirement of the land, if any, after a long period of time, say twenty years, was too remote and acquisition for land to be used after twenty years was not contemplated by the Land Acquisition Act. In other words, the contention is that the need of the land to be acquired should' be in present} or in any case in the near or forseeable future. It was also contended that delay in the acquisition of land, after the issuance to section 4 notification, would also vitiate the entire acquisition proceedings. It was lastly contended that no effective opportunity had been granted to the petitioners to exercise their right of filing objections under section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act, to the proposed acquisition. In this connection, it was submitted that what was the scheme for which the acquisition was proposed to be made was not made known to the public and the term 'Planned Development of Delhi' was vague and did not give sufficient indication to the affected persons so a to enable them to file effective representations under section 5A of the Act.

(7) Though rule had been issued as far back as on 4th May, 1981, no detailed return was filed in the case. Only a short affidavit by way of answer to the show cause notice, which had been filed prior to the issue of the rule, was on the record.

IN that short affidavit it was stated that it was proposed to acquire the land for the public purpose, namely, Planned Development of Delhi and that the land would be used according to the provisions of the Master Plan. During the course of the hearing the Court felt the need to see the records of the respondents. On our repeated directions, some files were shown to us. Supplementary affidavits were also filed by the respondents after the Court had given them more time to do so. Ultimately, at the time of hearing some more records were relied upon after inspection of the same had been ordered by the Court to be given to the petitioners. We are mentioning these facts, because repeated adjournments had to be granted, which had resulted in the loss of valuable time of the Court, because of the hesitating manner in which the records were being made available by the respondent to the Court. If a detailed and a comprehensive affidavit had been filed on behalf of the respondents, then it may not have become necessary to look into the records. For reasons best known to the respondents this was not done. Time and again the Court wanted to see different files containing documents which had been referred to in the pleadings and in the affidavits which had been filed in Court, but we are sorry to note that for reasons best known to the respondents all the material which was relevant for the decision of the case was not readily forthcoming. We are, thereforee, proceeding to decide the matters in issue on the basis of such documents as have been filed in Court.

(8) It is now well established that in the notification issued under section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, it has to be stated that the land is likely to be needed for any public purpose. The notification is to be published in the Official Gazette and the Collector is required to cause public notice of the substance of the said notification to be given at convenient places in the said locality. The main reason why the public has to be made aware of the issuance of such a notification is to enable interested persons to file objections to the proposed acquisition. These objections are required to be filed under section 5A within 30 days after the issue of the notification. It is after the notification under section 4(1) is issued that, under the provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 4, authorised officers can enter upon and survey the land and, mark out the boundaries etc.

(9) The provisions of section 5A require that objections, which have been filed under sub-section (1), are to be heard by the Collector. Sub-section (2) of Section 5A further provides that after hearing such objections, and making such further enquiry as may be necessary, the Collector is to make a report in respect of the land which has been notified under section 4(1), containing his recommendations, on the objections so filed, so as to enable the Government to take a final decision. The decision of the appropriate Government on the objections so filed and the need to acquire the land is final. It is only thereafter, when the Appropriate Government is satisfied that any particular land is needed for a public purpose, that a notification under section 6 is issuer containing a declaration to the said effect. Sub-section (3) of section 6 provides that the said declaration is conclusive evidence that the land is needed for the public purpose.

(10) The reading of the aforesaid sections makes it clear that land can be acquired only for a public purpose and, further, what is the public purpose for which the land is required should be made known to the public so as to enable the persons interested to make an effective representation under section 5A(1) of the said Act. After the objectors have been heard under section 5A, the Government must be satisfied that the public purpose does exist which requires the issuance of a notification under section 6 of the Act.

(11) In the present case the public purpose indicated in the notification under section 4 is 'Planned Development of Delhi'. The questions as to whether Planned Development of Delhi can be regarded as a public purpose or, whether land can be acquired for Planned Development of Delhi only in the manner as envisaged by the Master Plan, which was drawn up in 1962, are as far as this Court is concerned, no longer rest in- tegra. These questions arose for consideration before a Division Bench of this Court in the case of P. S. Gill and others v. Union of India and others (1979) Tlr 1 Delhi 601 (1). In that case land was sought to be acquired, which wax situated in the Cantonment area, for the public purpose, namely, 'Planned Development of Delhi'. Notifications were issued under section 4 and also under section 6 of the Act. As in the present case, reference was made to a number of decisions of the Supreme Court, especially to the cases of Arnold Redricks and another v. State of Maharashtra and others, : [1966]3SCR885 , Munshi Singh v. Union of India, : [1973]1SCR973 . Aflatoon v. Lt. Governor. : [1975]1SCR802 . At page 623 it was observed by this Court as follows :

'AS we shall discuss later in relation to another contention of the petitioners, the concept of planned development of Delhi is of a much wider amplitude and deeper content plan mere realignment of roads, restriction on construction and provision old civil amenities. Metropolitan cities all over the world had grown so rapidly and enormously beyond their original boundaries as to call for large scale planning of not only the cities proper but of contiguous area's as well as their proper development. Planning bodies have been charged with the task of planning layouts for suburban areas in accordance with modern standards. Such a gargantuan task of development needs a poten statutory sanction or its implementation and the 1957 Act, the provisions of which we shall discuss later in detail, is the instrument by means of which the ideal of a mere beautiful and well planned greater Delhi is to be translated into reality. It contemplates wholesale acquisition and distortion of. land, with or without development, in such manner as to ensure the desired objectives.'

AT page 658 of the report this Court had the occasion to deal with the question as to whether a notification would be valid even if the Master Plan did not actually cover the Cantonment area, the land in which area was the subject matter of the acquisition in that case. This Court dealt with this question in the following words :

'BUT we think that the purpose of acquisition would be a public purpose, even if we assume that the plans did not actually cover the Cantt. area but left plans for the development to this area to be drawn up in future. In considering this aspect, the crucial point for determination is the meaning that should be assigned to the words 'planned development of Delhi' used in the notifications. This expression ordinarily connotes the development of Delhi according to plan. It does not necessarily mean development in accordance with a plan already in existence but also takes in development in accordance with a plan that may be drawn up. It is a very wide expression. The public purpose to be achieved is that certain areas in Delhi are likely to grow rapidly in an unsystematic manner resulting in several problems and that this can be prevented only by the Government acquiring those lands developing then. or getting them developed and then reorganizing and redistributing them in a systematic and organized manner. There is no justification to restrict this comprehensive purpose by confining it to the four corners of the plans actually drawn up. It only requires that the proposed development should not be haphazard or unsystematic but should be according to plan. It seems to ns that the attempt to restrict the content of the wide concept of 'planned development' merely because actual blue prints of the I.G.P. and M.P. are available and to construe the words 'planned development of Delhi' as referable to development within the four corners of these plans would not be correct. We do not think that the concept of 'public purpose' requires that. even at the stage when the lands are proposed to be acquired, there should be ready a complete comprehensive or detailed scheme or plan as to the manner in which they are To be developed and the actual use to which they are proposed to be put. In Re- dericks case : [1966]3SCR885 it was held that. the existence of a scheme or plan at the stage of proposed acquisition is not necessary. At the same time, it should not be entirely something in the air. not even conceived of in the mind of the Government. What is-necessary is that there should be an indication of the broad lines of development for which it will be acquired and that is there in this case.'

THE aforesaid observations clearly bring out that at the stage when land is proposed to be acquired there need not be any detailed or comprehensive scheme or plan which should be drawn up. In other words, if there is a decision that a particular area is to be acquired for the purposes of development. utilisation and disposal then that would be sufficient for 'acquiring ..the land 'for Planned Development of Delhi'. Again at page 661 it was observed as follows :

'IN our opinion, the validity of the acquisition does not depend upon the situs of the land wherever the land may be, what the Act enables the Central Government to do is to take into account the real potentialities and necessitie., of planned development. If the exigencies of the situation require that to prevent unsystematic and irregular expansion in certain areas, it is necessary to acquire Jands for the purpose of development the Central Government may do so.'

THESE observations were no doubt made with reference to the provisions of section 15(1) of the Delhi Development Act, 1957, but the said observations are fully applicable to the present acquisition proceedings. Section 15(1) of the D.D. Act reads as follows :

'15(1).If in the opinion of the Central Government, any land is required for the purpose of' development, or for any other purpose, under this Act, the Central Government may acquire such land under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.' As.per the said provision the acquisition of land take place only under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. In fact the provision of section 15(1), to our mind. clearly indicates that if land is required '.for the purpose of development' then the same can be acquired under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act.

TO put if differently, section 15(1) of the D.D.. Act regards acquisition of land for the purpose, of development as being acquisition for a public purpose as contemplated by the Land Acquisition Act.

(12) Dealing with the question as to whether the acquisition of land for planned development could be circumscribed by the provisions of the Master Plan or not, this Court in P. S. Gill''s case at page 662 observed as follows :

THE above analysis of the 1957 Act shows that there is no reason to limit concept of 'planned development' to the development as envisaged in the Master Plan that was drawn up in 1962. I' ^ no doubt true that when it was prepared in 1962 the master lan was expected to meet the situation of population and colony explosions till 1981 but the rate if growth of the metropolitan area of Delhi has been rapid beyond imagination. From the note put up to L.G, in the proceedings for issue of a declaration under Section 6 of the 1894 Act, it is seen that in the area presently under consideration there as a rapid mush-room growth of colonies which had to be controlled and restricted. It was, thereforee, necessary that this area should be developed a planned basis and that the .haphazard growth should 'not be allowed to continue. The lands were, thereforee, taken over and this appears to clearly fall with the concept of planned development. It has been pointed out by the Supreme court in Redericks' case : [1966]3SCR885 that it is not necessary that 'planned development' can be conceived of only in the context of a scheme already prepared and ready at the stage of aquitsition. In the Aflateen's case : [1975]1SCR802 . purpose was considered to be sufficiently specific and particular inspire of the fact that the matter plan had not by that time been drawn .up. Munshi Singh (AIR 1973 S.C.) was decided on facts which showed no conception at all of planned development even the areas proposed to be acquired varied vastly in the two Notifications issued. Here the acquisition is in context of a concept adumbrated in the Act, sufficiently outlined in the Act and found necessary to be invoked in view of the actual situation prevailing in the area. The decision shows that what is necessary is not that there should be a specific and detailed plan in accordance with which a particular use of the land can be predicted at the. time of acquisition; all that should be made out is that there is a necessity for the Government to take over the lands to ensure systematic and regular development on lines broadly indicated and widely known. The public purpose is that the lands in a particular area should be brought under control because if left without control there is a likelihood of unscrupulous persons proceeding to exploit the situation ana creating serious problems for the community. In matters of planning acquisition cannot wait until a regular blue print is ready. The process of actual planning is long drawn out and necessarily involves delay on no mean scale. The practicalities of the situation over reach the policies in this regard very much before expectation Actual Planning will always be quite far behind the necessities of the situation. There strict the scope of acquisition to the outlines of a plan actually drawn up would be practically to put a stop to effective efforts at. planned development. We have thereforee come to the conclusion that the acquisition for planned development of- the Cantonment area is in order even on the assumption that the M.P. only incidentally 'touched upon, but did not actually plan for, the development of these areas.'

THEaforesaid observations would clearly show that the reliance of the counsel for the petitioners in the present case on Munshi Singh's case, is misplaced.. .The concept of 'Planned Development of Delhi' is.very clear and unambiguous and it means that land which is acquired will be developed and disposed of in a systematic and proper manner. Another reason why land is so -acquired is to prevent .haphazard growth which may, at- a later date, be difficult to control and may result in the creation of slums. Such acquisition can take place even if, at the time of the acquisition, the blue prints or the detailed plans which show the manner in which the developed land will be utilised, doss not, exist.

(13) The aforesaid observations in P. S. Gill's case (supra) are a .complete answer to the contention raised on behalf of the- petitioners that 'the requirement of land after a long period of lime was too remote and was not contemplated by the Land Acquisition Act.. - As held in P. S. Gill's case the development of a town or a part of it is a long term project. In order to undertake such project, whole-of the area which is proposed to be developed, has to be taken as one composite unit bythe town planners and' necessary plants drawn up. It is not as if the whole area can be developed simultaneously. Such development must necessarily' take place in different stages. The mere fact that a part of the area will actually be developed at a later stage cannot mean that the said area cannot be acquired along with all the other areas which are to be developed as a part of a single or a comprehensive scheme of developirient.

(14) There is also no force in the contention of the petitioners that a notification under section 4 could not be issued unless the land. use In the.Master Plan was changed and the land was permitted to be used for a purpose other 'than that which is mentioned in the existing Master Plan. 'from the affidavits on record, as well as the contentions which were raised at the Bar, .it is the case of the respondents that the land which is sought to be acquired may. ultimately be .'used for purposes other than those which were prescribed in the existing Master Plan. In our opinion, merely because at the time of the issuance of section 4 notification the Master Plan does not permit the land, which is sought to be acquired, to be used for, say, residential purposes does not mean that the acquisition proceedings cannot take place for acquiring land for the purposes of setting up residential colonies- or projects. There is a prohibition under the D.D. Act against the land being used contrary to the provisions of the Master Plan. But the Master P?an can always be amended. If there is a scheme for the utilisation of the land for a public purpose, then the powers under the Land Acquisition Act can certainly be exercised in order to acquire land for such a purpose. It cannot be presumed that the land which is so acquired will be utilised in a manner contrary to the provisions of the Master Plan. rif the- scheme of the Government is to acquire the land for being utilised for residential purposes then it cannot be assumed that the Government will not amend the provisions of the Master Plan and change the land use of the area in question. If land is actually used by the D.D.A. in a manner contrary to the provisions of the Master Plan then it is only at that stage that such use of the land can be challenged. At this stage, we are of the opinion, it is not open to contend that land cannot be acquired for a purpose. other than as shown in the Master Plan.

(15) In any case. there is enough material on record to show' that the amendment of the Master Plan was being contemplated and exercise in this behalf was being undertaken. In P. S. Gill's case (supra) it has been noted that the Master Plan, which was prepared in the year 1962, was expected to meet the situation of the 'population and colony explosions till 1981'. In the affidavit dated 7th May, 1983 of Shri Nathu Ram filed on behalf of Delhi Development Authority, ir has been, inter' alia, stated that sometime in the year 1977 the D.E.A.. was directed to revise the existing Master Plan. With this object in view, vide order dated 20th May, 1978 the Lt. Governor, who is also the Chairman of Delhi Development Authority, approved the re-organisation of the JPIaii,mng Department with immediate effect and perspective planning wing was established for the revision of the Master Plan. A Committee known as Baweja Committee had also been constituted. In the year 1978 the said Committee had recommended the grant of money's to undertaken development of about 2500 acres of land annualy. for residential purposes. This report was. accepted by the Empowered Committee, which had been set-up by the Central Government, and it was decided to make available 50 to 60 thousand acres of land for residential purposes alone for estimated population of 60 to 70 lakh people for living, work, circulation, recreation and other activities. It is further stated in the said affidavit that out of the total area af the union territory of Delhi of 3.64 lakh acres only an area of 1.10 lakh acres is within .the present urbanisable limits as fixed in the Master Plan for Delhi for the-years 1961 81. The remaining area is for agricultural and rural use. It is averred that it was decided to re-organise and utilise the existing vacant areas within the urbanizable limits to adjust a population of 25 to 30 lakh persons. As the total increase in, the population was expected 'to be to the tune of about 60 to 70 lakh persons/it had become necessary to extend the unrealizable limits of the Union Territory of Delhi. Our attention has also been drawn to a proposal dated 8th December, l'978 of the Director, Special Planning of the D.D.A. who had recommended the acquisition of 12,000 hectares of additional land for residential purposes for the next twenty vears' from 1981 to 2001, In the said' affidavit of Shri Nathu Ram it is stated that these proposals ere submitted to the Vice Chairman, D.D.A. on 9th January, 1979 and the same were approved by the D.D.A. vide its resolution No. 7 of February, 1979. We have no reason to disbelieve the averments made in the said affidavit. The only conclusion which would follow from the aforesaid facts is that there was a proposal to revise the Master Plan and the thinking and work in this behalf had been initiated as far back as in the year 1977. It is categorically stated in the said affidavit of Shri Nathu Ram that the land, which is sought to be acquired would be utilised in accordance with the revised plan and that the green belt, in view of the changed circumstances, would no longer remain inviolable.

(16) From the aforesaid, it would follow that at the time when the impugned notification was issued, exercise was underway for amending the Master Plan. In our opinion, no objection can be taken to the acquisition proceedings being initiated for acquiring land for public purpose simultaneously with the . proceedings which were being undertaken for the amendment of the Master Plan. The scheme and proposal was very much in cxM.cnce and the details to prepare the blue prints were being worked out.

(17) There is also no tc.r^e in the contention of the petitioners that there has been, in this case, no application of mind. In our opinion, there was enough material before the Lt. Governor which justified the issuance of the notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act. Firstly, there was the aforesaid report of the Director of the D.D.A, dated 18th December, 1978 of requirement of additional 12,000 hectares of land for residential purposes. The said report also stated that additional land was also required turn industrial use, commercial use, recreational use, for public and semi-public facilities,, for circulation, roads, railways and transport facilities and. for Government office purposes. This report had been accepted, as already noted, by the D.D.A. in the aforesaid resolution No. 7 of Fcbri.;arv. 1979. Furthermore, from the affidavits of Shri Ranbir Singh. Director, Land Management. Delhi Development Authority and Shri J, C. Gambhir, Additional Director (Planning), Delhi Development Authority, it is.clear that both of them were called on 5tli November, !980 by the Lt, Governor to explain to him the ^.-oposals for acquisition of additional land for 13 the purpose of development by way of extending the urban limits having regard to the revised plan under process. It is stated by Shri Ranbir Singh that they were accompanied by Shri V. S. Aailawadi, the then Vice-Chairman of the D.D.A. and the matter was discussed in detail which culminated in the issuance of the impugned notification under section 4 dated 5th November, 1980. It is also averred by them .that all the relevant material was placed before the Lt. Governor for his consideration. In the affidavit of Shri R. C. Gupta, Director' (City .'Planning), Delhi Development Authority, it has been stated that he initiated the proposal for additional acquisition of 12,000 hectares of land for residential purposes and the same was approved by the D.D.A. vide its resolution dated 13th.February, 1979 Shri V. S. Ailawadi, who was the then Vice-Chairman of the D.D.A., has stated in paragraphs 2 and 3-of his affidavit as follows :

'2.That during my tenure in the Delhi Development Authority exercise for the revision of the Master Plan for the period 1981 to 2001 Ad including future requirements of Lands was being carried on. This matter was discussed .in ' detail with the Lt. Governor, Delhi, at Raj Niwas, in a. meeting held on 5th November, 1980 in the presence of Shri D. S. Mishra, Secretary, Lands and Building) Department, Delhi Administration and Sh. R. K. Ahoo]'a, Deputy Commssioner, Delhi. Sh. Ranbir Singh, Director Land and Management, C'DA and Shri J. C. Gambhar, Additional Director 'Planning' Dda, also present with the relevant records, }n this meeting various aspects including requirements, suitability and desirability of further acquisition of lands were considered. Prior to this I had also sent a note to Lt. Governor on 1st November, 1980 wherein I had called his attention concerning certain developments which made it necessary that the acquisition be notified immediately.

3.That during the course of. discussion it was also suggested to the Lt. Governor that in the first instance lands contiguous to urbanizable limits which have been are being developed may be notified for acquisition to meet with the future land requirements.'

(18) The aforesaid note dated 1st November, 1980, which was brought to the notice of the Lt. Governor, reads as follows-.:

L.G.may kindly approve in principle so that further action may be taken for notifying this area under the Land Acquisition Act.'

IN addition to the aforesaid affidavits, an affidavit of Shri D. S. Mishra has also been filed. He was Secretary, Land & Building Department, Delhi Administration from 16th August, 1980 to 24th August, 1981. He has stated that during his tenure in the Delhi Administration exercise for revision of the Master Plan for the period 1981 2001 was being carried on. He further stated that this matter was discussed in detail with the Lt. Governor in a meeting held on 5th November, 1980 which was attended by him, Shri V. S. Ailawadi, Shri R. K. Ahooja, Deputy Commissioner, Delhi, Shri Ranbir Singh and Shri J. C. Gambhir. He has lastly stated that during the course of discussion it was suggested to the Lt. Governor that in the first instance lands contiguous to urbanizable limits which have been I arc being developed may be notified for acquisition to meet with the future land requirement is.

(19) From the aforesaid affidavits it is clear, and there is no reason to disbelieve any of the said deponents, that there was an exercise which was going on with regard to the revision of the Master Plan. The question of fragmented and unplanned activities was causing, some concern and it was suggested to the Lt. Governor that land. which was contiguous to the one which was being or would be developed should be notified for acqusition to meet the future land requirements. The Lt. Governor is no stranger to Delhi. He had been the Vice-Chairman of the D.D.A., which is the authority which has been developing land in Delhi. After discussion with the aforesaid officials, the Lt. Governor passed an order dated 5th November, 1980 to the effect that some villages mentioned therein should be notified. The relevant portion of the said order of the Lt. Governor is as follows :

'IT is necessary to notify, under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, certain areas which should be acquired for the purpose of development to meet increasing demands of housing, institutions, parks, playgrounds, etc. The studies made in connection with the formulation of the Second Master Plan make this conclusion fairly clear.

2.If these lands are n-)t immediately notified for acquisition, they would be subjected to speculation and illegal colonisation under the cover of setting up farm houses. Unhealthy trends ip this respect are already discernible. Subtle techniques appear to have been evolved to circumvent the provisions of Municipal Bye-laws and the Delhi Land Reforms Act. The most vulnerable area in this regard is the area in the South of Mehrauli-Badarpur Road up to the border of the Union Territory.

3.In the first instance, .the lands in the revenue estates of the following villages should be notified. : Hauz Rani Neb Sarai Delhi Khanpur Khirki ' Tigri Tughlakabad; and Said-ul-ajaib. Proposals in this respect had separately been submitted to me by the Vice-Chairman, Delhi Development Authority.'

(20) We may at this stage also refer to the note dated 15th November, 1980 which was put up to the Lt. Governor for Issuance of notification .in other villages, including Sathbari. The said note reads as follows :

'IN continuation of notification issued under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act on 5th November, 1980 relating to 8 villages of South Delhi, as per Lt. Governor's approval at page 2'ante a survey of certain villages was done by ADM(LA), Secretary (Land & Building), Delhi Administration and Director (Land Management), Delhi Development Authority. It was found that large scale farms are being sold at site in the Revenue Estate's of villages Chhatarpur, Satbari, Maidangarhi, Shayoorpur and Rajpur Khurd. ill South Delhi. The matter was discussed with the 'Lt. Governor in the meeting. It was initiated by the Dda that they arc preparing second Master Plan for the areas and it was decided that the Lt. Governor may kindly be requested to accord approval fur issue of the notification under section 4 of the' Land Acquisition Act in respect of the entire Revenue Estates of the above said villages except the following lands for the reasons as already .indicated at page I and 2/N;

(a) Government land; (b) The land already notified, either under section 4 or under section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894; and (c) The land in respect of which layout plans/ buildings plans were sanctioned by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi before 5th November, 1980.

IN view of the above, Lt. Governor's approval to issue notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act for a public purpose, viz. planned development of Delhi may accordingly be obtained.'

THIS note was approved by the L.t. Governor on 25th November, 1980 and thereafter the impugned notification under section 4 was issued on that date.

(21) In our opinion, thereforee, the aforesaid facts clearly show that there was a definite scheme or decision which required that large areas of land should be acquired for the purpose of further development in the Union Territory of Delhi.

(22) It is not for this Court to go into the question as to whether the facts which existed were sufficient to enable the Lt. Governor to form an opinion that land should be acquired or not. As long as some material exists on the basis of which such opinion can be formed and the material is relevant and has a nexus with the object sought to be achieved then the said opinion, which in its very nature has to be subjective, cannot be challenged on the ground of insufficiency of material or facts.

(23) It was then contended that the petitioners did not have sufficient information on the basis of which an effective representation or objections under section 5A could be filed. It was. urged that it was not made known to the public at the time when the impugned notifications under section 4 were issued that there was going to be an amendment of the Master Plan. . It was also not made known as to how the land which was proposed to be acquired would be used. The submission was that, in the absence of such particulars being made known, no effective representation or objections under section 5A could be filed. We are unable to agree with this submission. The expression 'Planned Development of Delhi' is not a vague or an indefinite term. With the passage of 'time, and in view of the various decisions of this Court, it is clear to every one in Delhi that acquisition lor 'Planned Development of Delhi' means that the land which is proposed to be acquired will be developed and then utilised or disposed of by the D.D.A. In Munshi Singh's case (slipJ-a) there..was po .plan in existence at the time when the notification under section 4 was issued. Moreover, at that time the concept of Planned Development', as, it now exists in Delhi,. was,, not known. The expression 'planned Development-of Delhl'. was first used when, prior to the coming into force of the. Master Plan, large areas were notified for acquisition under .section 4 of the Act in November, ;1959. When the Master Plan came into existence, the land use in the Union Territory of Delhi was mdicated. Under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act only those areas were acquired for Planned Development of Delhi' which feel 'within the urbanizable limits of Delhi. The areas which were shown as reserved for green belt and agricultural rural areas-, though covered by the MasterPlan, were not touched or affected. In a period of 20 years from 1961 to 1981 it has become clear that Planned Development of Delhi' means development of Delhi according to a plan. and simultaneously preventing construction and other activities taking place in an unplanned and haphazard manner. The public, purpose for which the land is to be acquired js, thereforee, development of land... It is not important as to what use the land will be put.after it has been developed. In a.me^opolitan city like Delhi land is put to different uses. What is important is that land is put to use after it has been systematically developed. Besides housing, land has to be provided to different institutions, playgrounds have to be made available to the general public, parks may have to be laid and commercial centres established. The expression 'Planned Development of Delhi', thereforee, with the passage of time is welt understood. The meaning of this expression is obvious and is 'understood by one and all. It means what it says, namely, development of land according to a plan or in a planned manner..

(24) When, thereforee, in the notification under section 4 it was stated that land- was proposed to be acquired for 'Planned Development of Delhi', that was sufficient indication of the public purpose for which the land .was proposed to be required. and the petitioners and other persons affected by the notifications could file effective representations or objections to the proposed acquisition. It was not necessary that the details of the utilisation of the land after acquisition should have been disclosed to the public at the time of the issuance of section 4 notification. The land which was notified had not till then been developed in any organized or a systematic manner. That is the land which was proposed to be acquired by the impugned notifications.

(25) It was contended that the public was not aware that another Master Plan was going to be notified. Even if we were to believe that prior to the promulgation of notifications people did not know about the proposal to amend the Master Plan, we, however, find from the documents filed by the petitioners themselves, that at least after issuance of the 'impugned notifications it was brought to the notice of every one that such an exercise was being undertaken. The petitioners have filed Annexures P-12 along with their affidavit dated 24th October, 1983 which contains an extract of a newspaper report dated 25th November, 1980 published in 'Navbharat Times'. In this report it is stated that on 24th November, 1980 the then Minister for Works and Housing Shri Bhisham Narain Singh told the Lok Sabha that the second Master Plan for Delhi was not yet ready. The report further stated that the firs Master Plan was for the period 1961 to 1981 and the second Master Plan was being prepared for the period 1981 to 2001. Annexed to the. said affidavit dated 24th October, 1983 is also the evening news of Hindustan Times dated 8th December, 1980. In a report in the said paper, it has been stated as follows :

'ADDA spokesman, however, said the notifications were issued to end speculation and for integrated development of land there............ The Dda spokesman said the notifications (namely, notifications under section 4) would end marketing in land without acquiring proper titles and also control and regulate the activity.'

(26) It is evident from the aforesaid newspaper reports that the public was certainly made aware about the proposed second Master. Plan which was b?ing prepared and also the reason as to why the notification^ under section 4 had been issued This was the additional material which was available to the petitioners with regard to which they. could file objections under: section 5A of 'the Act.

(27) We hasten to add that the proposal to acquire lane vitally affects the owners and other persons interested in the said lands. The only effective right which, such owners have is to be able to file objections under section 5A. If the public purpose for which the land is sought to be acquired is not known then this 'right of filing objections would be frustrate When the objections are filed they have to be duly considered and decided. If we had felt that the petitioners and the other land owners did not have knowledge of facts which would e able them to file objections under section 5A then we would have had no hesitation in holding that further proceedings for acquisition would not be valid. In the present case, however we are of the opinion that apart from the material referred hereinabove, regarding the proposed second Master Plan etc., the public purpose for which the land was proposed to be acquired was, as .stated in the notification, not vague or unambiguous and that effective objections could be filed. In fact in. Munni Lal's case detailed objections have been filed, the reading of which leaves no manner of doubt in our mind that the petitioner knew the purpose for which the land was. sought to- be acquired.-

(28) While relying on Radhey Sham Gupta and others v. State of Haryana and others, (5) and, Patel Shankarbhai Mahijibhai and etc. etc. v. State of Gujarat and others, : AIR1981Guj67 , it was sought to be contended that tile impugned notifications have been issued with a view to freeze the land and this is not permissible. It is contended that even after the issuance of the notification under section 6 of the Act .inordinate delay takes place before notice under section 9 is issued and the acquisition proceedings completed. In our opinion, however, it is not necessary for us to decide in this case as to whether the issuance of a notification under section 4 with the object of freezing the land price is ' valid' or not because in the present case we are satisfied that this is not the object.

(29) The land is proposed to be acquired for Planned Development of Delhi. We cannot presume, at this stage, that there will be delay in the completion of the acquisition proceedings. The allegation that m the past there has been inordinate delay in issuing notices under section 9 of the Act. can be no ground for us to assume that there will be such a delay in the present c:isc also. If any such delay does take place then the petitioners can seek to redress their grievance at that stage.'. Raising such an allegation in these cases, when only notification under section 4 has been issued is', in our opinion, premature.

(30) Shri K. L. Rathee, appearing for some .of 'the petitioners, sought to contend that in the affidavit which was filed In response to the show cause notice which had been issued, the case of the respondents was that the land would be used as per the. Master Plan. It was sought to be contended that the respondents cannot now be permitted to argue to the contrary. Ii is true that in the original reply it was stated that the land, which will be acquired, for Planned Development of Delhi, would be used in accordance with the Master Plan. 'I'lu reply, however, has to be read as a whole. In the said reply it is also stated, that ''it may be' stated that Delhi Development Authority and the Central Government have powers to amend the Master Plan in accordance with section 11A of the Delhi Development Act and in case the Authority or the Central Government finds such necessity to use this land for any use other than the uses allowed in agricultural green belt or rural zone, the amendment to change the land uses will be done by adopting the procedure but it is not necessary to amend the Master Plan before issuing notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act'. Reading the reply as a whole thereforee, it is evident that the case of the respondents, even at the stage of the filing of the reply to the show cause notice, was !h;it acquisition could take place without amendment of lhc 'vaster Plan but the land will be put to use in accordance with the provisions of the Master Plan then in existence. It was also contended that large chunks of land which had earlier been acquired have not yet been. utilised and, thereforee, the present acquisition is a colourable exercise of power. We are nol impressed by this argument. Most of the land which had been notified under section 4 i'n November. 1959 has been acquired and developed. The respondents have contended, and it is evident from the record produced before us. that even after taking into consideration the land available from the previous acquisition, the requirement of additional land for future development is estimated to be 50 to 60 thousand acres. As already noted, it takes time to acquire, development and utilise the land. It is possible that by the time acquisition proceedings now initiated are completed the land which had been acquired earlier would stand fully developed and utilised. Even if the land acquired earlier is in the process of being acquired and/or developed that does not mean that the present acquisition is bad. As there is some material on record which shows that the proposed acquisition is for Planned Development of Delhi the same, in our opinion, cannot be challenged because land acquired earlier has not been fully utilised.

(31) Shri Jai Ram Singh, appearing in Civil Writ Petition No. 579 of 1983, which pertains to village Deoli, sought to contend that publication of the notice under section 4(1) had not been effected in the locality. At the time of hearing, we were taken, through the records and we find that due notice was given in the village in question and notice had also been given to the Village Pradhan. It was then contended that in the impugned notification exemption has beep granted to those areas in respect of which building plans have been sanctioned. The submission is that as long as this exemption exists there can be no Planned Development of Delhi if pockets are exempted. It is primarily for the acquiring authority to judge as to what land it seeks to acquire. One of the reasons why the land is sought to be acquired, as has been indicated in the affidavits on behalf of the respondents, is to prevent haphazard growth. The idea of exempting lands in regard to which building plans have been sanctioned by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi appears to be that such areas cannot he regarded as unplanned areas and, thereforee, it will not be necessary to acquire that land. Even if these lands have been exempted from the operation of section 4 notification at this stage but if, at a later stage, the Government feels that the exemption to such pockets is not conducive to the Planned Development of an area then there is nothing to prevent the authorities from acquiring the said land at a later date.

(32) For the aforesaid reasons the aforesaid writ petitions challenging the validity of the notifications dated 5th November, 1980 and 25th November, 1980 issued under section 4 of the Act are (dismissal but with no order as to costs.


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