G.C. Jain, J.
(1) This appeal is directed against the judgment of a learned Single Judge of this Court, dated November 5, 1976. It was dismissed by us by a short order dated February 1, 1984. Now we proceed to give our reasons for that order.
(2) Sunlight Insurance Co., Ltd., now represented by Life Insurance Corporation of India, purchased a piece of land measuring about 78,500 sq. yards abutting on the Ring Road and situate in the revenue estate of Mohd. Pur Munirka village, Tehsil and District Delhi. The said Company, it is stated, developed the said land and demarcated the same into plots of various sizes. To encourage the sale of plots, it is stated to have constructed three houses which were purchased by respondents on, hire-purchase basis.
(3) On 6.11.58 a notification u/s 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, ('the Act') was issued stating that the land mentioned therein was likely to be required to be taken by the Govt. at the 'Public expense for a public purpose, namely, for 'Housing Scheme'. It was followed by a notification u/s 6 of the Act dt. 7.1.69. It was declared in the said notification that the land mentioned therein was required to be taken by the Govt. at the public expense for a public purpose, namely, for the housing scheme- The land covering the three houses purchased by the respondents was admittedly covered by these notifications. :
(4) The sespondents, on 6.5.69, filed a petition u/Art. 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India for quashing the acquisition proceedings and restraining the appellants from interfering with their possession of the said houses in any manner on various grounds. One of the grounds (No. XIV) was that the Government has changed the purpose for for which the land was originally sought to be acquired. It was now seeking to utilise the said land as a shopping centre instead of of a housing scheme.
(5) The appellants resisted the application. In reply to ground No. Xiv, it was averred that there was 'no change in the public purpose for acquisition of the land in dispute as alleged. Under the 'Housing Scheme' provisions for amenities like roads, community centres, parks, shopping centre, schools, district centres, etc. for residents have to be made while constructing the houses. The area in question is to be utilised for a District Centre which forms p;irt of the 'Housing Scheme'.
(6) The learned Single Judge held that the appellants intended to use the land in dispute for a district centre. The said purpose was different from the purpose given in the notification, namely, housing scheme and, thereforee, the notification u/s 6 was not valid and was liable to be quashed. With these findings he quashed notification u/s 6 of the Act to the extent that it covered the three houses which had been purchased by the respondents.
(7) The main contention raised by Shri R.K. Mehra, learned counsel for the appellants, is that the public purpose, namely, 'Housing Scheme' would include in its fold the construction of a district centre.
(8) A district centre is admittedly sought to be constructed in pursuance of the Master Plan prepared by the DDA. The Master Plan defines 'district centre' thus : In order to decentralize commercial activity, it is proposed to develop 15 District Centres in the outlying planning Divisions. These will provide within easy traveling distance alt the facilities for every 1.5 to 2.5 lakhs of population. They are composite centres and will have retail shopping, general business, commercial and professional offices, forwarding and booking and local Government offices, aemas, restaurants other places of entertainment. They will have work-cum-industrial centres (flatted) with small scale and light manufacturing, repair shops and service industires. Some of the District centres will also have central Government offices.'
(9) It is clear from the above description that the district centre will have shops, offices, Government offices, cinemas and restaurants but no residential quarters/houses. Such a place, in our opinion, could not be covered by the notified use, namely, housing scheme.
(10) 'HOUSE' according to Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Volume Ii, means 'a structure intended or used for human habitation : a building that serves as one's residence or domicile esp. as contrasted with a place of business.' 'Scheme' according to the said Distionary, inter alia, means :
'A plan or programme of something to be done : a planned undertaking.' A housing scheme, thereforee, means a plan for constructing residential quarters/houses. This is the meaning of housing scheme in common parlance as well. A district centre would not be covered by the housing scheme.
(11) Mr. Mehra pointed out that under the Master Plan residential colonies are also required to have schools, parks, health centres and shopping facilities and, thereforee, the district centre which contained shopping facilities would be covered by the purpose 'housing scheme'. We do not agree. Merely because a residential colony contains shops, schools, park etc. it would not cease to be a residential colony. It would not acquire the status of a commercial area. But to fall within the the definition of a housing scheme it roust have mainly living quarters or houses besides shopping facilities etc. District centre has no living quarter or house at all. A district centre would, thereforee, not be covered by the purpose of housing scheme. Thus there was a clear change of user and the acquisition proceedings were liable to he quashed for that reason. This view finds support from a D.B. decision of this Court in Delhi Administration v. Shri Avtar Singh Lpa 368/70, D./20.11.80.
(12) Learned counsel for the appellants tried to canvass before us that the area in question was not to be utilised for a district centre. He, however, cannot be allowed to do so in view of the clear admission in Ground No. Xiv of the counter affidavit. Even in para 8 of the grounds of appeal it was admitted that the area in question was to be utilised for a district centre.
(13) It was also urged that there was no violation of the Master Plan. This contention has no relevancy. The acquisition proceedings have not been quashed on the ground of any violation of the Master Plan. In our opinion, the authorities had diverted to a public purpose other than the one stated in the declaration and for that reason the proceedings were rightly quashed.