T. Sathiadev, J.
1. The substantial point taken in this writ petition is that, by issuing an errata beyond the period contemplated under proviso to Section 6(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, (I of 1894) (hereinafter referred to as the Act), the State cannot acquire the lands involved in the errata issued on 28th December, 1978 and again by another errata dated 27th February, 1980.
2. This is an interesting matter in which land acquisition proceedings have been pending for more than seven years, and the State has committed more than one error in acquiring the lands of the petitioners. Having been acquainted with the procedure to be adopted under the Land Acquisition Act, which was framed as early as 1894, it is startling to note that such procedural errors could be committed by the State and to the detriment of the citizen.
3. The first notification under Section 4(1) of the Act was made on 14th March, 1973, and an extent of 25.6 cents in S. No. 9103 in Surampatti village in Erode taluk, which is involved in this writ petition, was not notified as part of the said notification. Section 5-A enquiry was held on 18th June, 1973, and the petitioners participated therein. On 10th March, 1976, Section 6(1) declaration was made, and it was then for the first time, the land in question was included in the declaration. There being no antecedent notification made under Section 4(1) for the said lands, petitioners brought this infirmity to the notice of the authorities, when an enquiry was conducted under Section 9(3) on 6th July, 1977. It was thereafter on 20th December, 1978, Government issued an errata to the Section 4(1) notification, dated 14th March, 1979, to the effect that the lands covered by S. No. 910|2 was also included. Again Section 9(2) enquiry was conducted on 29th October, 1979. An objection was taken that this notification is beyond the three years period and that the lands have not been precisely described. This resulted in the State coming forward with a further errata on 27th February, 1980, mentioning the extent of the land as 35.6 cents in S. No. 9108. Again, another enquiry was proposed to be held under Section 9(2) of the Act, and since three enquiries have been so conducted, the petitioners apprehending that the authorities may dispossess them by further pursuing with the illegal action, have filed the present writ petition for the relief of a writ of mandamus to restrain the authorities from proceeding to pass an award and take possession of the lands.
4. Mr. P. Chidambaram, learned Counsel for the petitioners, by referring to first proviso to Section 6(1) of the Act, which is to the following effect--
Provided that no declaration in respect of any particular land covered by a notification under Section 4, Sub-section (1) published after the commencement of the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 1967 shall be made after the expiry of three years from the date of such publication.
contends that when certain lands have not been already notified, beyond the period of three years from the notification already made in respect of the other lands, after the publication of the Section 6 declaration, no errata should be published, so as to include a land, which was never included as part of Section 4(1) notification.
5. It is needless to state that the first errata published on 20th December, 1978, was subsequent to the Section 6 declaration and by a subsequent errata published, lands which could not have been included under Section 6 declaration, cannot be acquired. It is the admitted case that the extent involved in this writ petition was not included on the Section 4(1) notification. After the first notification was made under Section 4(1), the two errata were published beyond the period of three years contemplated under the first proviso to Section 6(1) of the Act. On the face of it, the illegality speaks for itself, but somehow, the State could not comprehend the scope of the said proviso. In this context, it will be useful to refer to the decision in Mothaliandan v. State of Madras I.L.R. (1965) Mad. 638, wherein this Court has held that there could be no legal sanction after the stage of publication of the declaration under Section 6 to enlarge the extent of land to be acquired on the ground that a mistake had crept in the Section 4(1) notification.
6. Not stopping with the error committed in first notification and first errata, the State comes forward with a further errata on 27th February, 1980. There has to be a limit on the part of the authorities in committing mistakes. Stern action should have been taken against those responsible for this, so that in future such omissions are not committed. In respect of land acquisition proceedings, having been acquainted with the procedure that should be adopted in acquiring lands during the past 85 years it cannot be claimed that such errors could be repeated more than once, and of what cannot be done in view of proviso to Section 6(1). By committing such errors, It is the affected citizens who undergo the (sic) agony of land acquisition proceedings for seven long years and then seek for remedies in Court. It is by such errors committed, the successful completion of land acquisition proceedings also gets stalled. It is claimed that award had been passed, but is now of no benefit to the State. Taking note of the errors committed and the protracted course for seven long years the petitioners had to undergo in participating in the Section 5-A enquiry, and thereafter in three enquiries under Section 9(3) of the Act costs are awarded in this writ petition.
7. In the light of what has been held above the petitioners are entitled to the relief as prayed for and hence this writ petition is allowed with costs. Advocate's fee fixed at Rs. 400.