S.B. Majmudar, J.
1. The petitioners in this petition challenge the inaction on the part of the respondents in not taking any further steps under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, hereinafter referred to as 'the Act' having once notified the petitioners' land under Sections. A and 6 of the Act.
2. The petitioners along with some others claim to be the owners of Section No. 20/2 of village Vastrapur in Ahmedabad City. They had purchased this land under two sale deeds. The contention of the petitioners is that at the time of purchase this land was under the green-belt and the purchasers could not form a cooperative housing society nor could they get it registered at such; that the lands were purchased by the petitioners for the purpose of building their own houses for residence by forming a cooperative housing society as and when the land was freed from the green-belt. The petitioners state that they are till today desirous of constructing their own houses and they are in possession of the land until-now. It appears that the respondents by a notification dated February 4, 1971 under Section 4 of the Act had notified for acquisition the said land of the petitioners for public purpose for the Indian Institute of Management regarding expansion programme for its activities. This notification was followed by Section 6 notification published in the Gujarat Government Gazette of January 3, 1974. It is the case of the petitioners that in spite of the said two notifications having been issued, and in spite of the further fact that proceedings under Section 9 of the Act were also initiated by the Land Acquisition Officer, nothing further has been done and the matter seems to have gone into cold-storage. The petitioners contend that the State of Gujarat had acquired 64 Acres of land for the purpose of the Indian Institute of Management and its activities but even the said lands are not fully utilised by the Institute. Hence there was no reason for the institute to get acquired more lands. That type of contention will not be open to the petitioners for the simple reason that they had challenged the aforesaid notifications under Sections 4 and 6 by filing Special C.A. No. 1031 of 1975 before this Court. In the said Special Civil Application after the issuance of notice, the notice was discharged at admission stage on July 29, 1975 by a Bench of this Court consisting of the learned Chief Justice and S.N. Patel J. Hence the challenge to Sections 4 and 6 notifications so far as the petitioners are concerned came to an end.
3. But the petitioners' present grievance is that even thereafter the respondents had done nothing in the matter. They did not proceed with the acquisition proceedings and they had not declared the award under Section 12. Thus, the situation is under a stalemate and the petitioners are suffering unnecessarily on account of the inactivity of the respondents and that they have been restrained by the notification under Section 4 from dealing with the land while on the other hand the respondents in spite of Sections 4 and 6 notifications and in spite of the fact that Section 9 proceedings are initiated, have done nothing so far and they are sitting tight over these proceedings with, the result that the petitioners are not able to build their houses nor do they get compensation which they would be entitled under the provisions of the Act. The petitioners hive, therefore, filed the present petition praying for a writ of certiorari or mandamus directing the respondents to release the petitioners' land from acquisition or in any case to declare the award and pay compensation to the petitioners under the provisions of the Act.
4. The said grievance of the petitioners is completely justified under the provisions of the Act. Once Section 4 notification is followed by Section 6 notification and once the proceedings under Section 9 are initiated, the Land Acquisition Officer is duty bound to proceed further and to declare the award and take possession of the land unless in the meantime the State decides to release the; land from acquisition unexercised of its power under Section 48 of the Act. In the present case no such eventuality has taken place and there is no justification for such gross inactivity on the part of the respondents. What has been pressed in service by Mr. J.R. Anabatic, the learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the respondents is that the respondents are in a quandary because after the notification under Section 6 of the Act the Land Acquisition Officer could not take further steps on the ground that some land might be vesting in the Government under the provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulations) Act, 1976, and hence the Government had asked the Special Land Acquisition Officer not to proceed further with the proceedings until the position is clarified. Whether the position gets cleared up or not is de hors the provisions of the Act and is totally irrelevant for deciding the present question in controversy. The Government is bound, once the machinery under the Act has been set in motion, to carry on with that machinery and id have the award made so that the rights of the parties may be finalized.
5. If the Government finds that it does not want the land, it should make up its mind quickly, denitrify the land and let the parties know exactly where they stand. Citizens cannot be expected to wait indefinitely as their rights to immovable properties freeze under the provisions of the Act. More than two years and 9 months have passed arid it is unfortunate that the Government is still not clear and is not sure about the exact position. A citizen cannot be asked to wait till the slow moving process of the Government ultimately starts moving. Under these circumstances, there is no justification for the Government for not proceeding further with the acquisition of the land and not passing the award.
6. We, therefore, allow this Special Civil Application and direct that so far as the petitioners' lands are concerned, respondent No. 1 shall make his award as expeditiously as possible and latest within eight weeks from to-day. In view of this relief it is not necessary to grant to the petitioners other relief's which they have prayed for as they do not survive. Rule is accordingly made absolute to that extent with costs.