A. Alagiriswami, J.
1. The petitioner is the owner of survey No. 161/2 of an extent of 6-20 acres in Manathal Village, Omalur Taluk, Salem District. A notification under Section 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act with regard to this land was published in the Fort St. George Gazette dated 22nd June, 1966 and after dispensing with the enquiry under Section 5-A by the same notification a declaration under Section 6 was also published in Fort St. George Gazette on the same day. This writ petition is filed to quash those proceedings.
2. In reply it is stated that possession of the land has been taken on 3rd February, 1967, though the order of stay in this case was passed only on 8th February, 1967. The main attack of the petitioner in this case is with regard to the use of the emergency provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and dispensing with the enquiry under Section 5-A. I consider that there is considerable justification for this attack. From page one of the note file of the Collector produced in response to the rule nisi issued in this case it is seen that the question of acquiring the land for Harijans has been pending from the year 1959 and that papers were pending with the Revenue Inspector for a very long time. On 18th April, 1963, the Collector asked him to expedite the matters. Even so, three years passed before the notification under Section 4(1) was published. The authorities, who slept over it for four years in the first instance and for another three years even after their attention had been drawn, cannot certainly be allowed to put forward the excuse that the urgency provision was invoked because it was feared that there may be an outbreak of epidemic in that locality. It should not be made a cloak for the tardy actions of the authorities and as a cover for their laziness. A mere mechanical repetition that the provision for house sites for Harijans is urgent, as they are living in a congested quarter, should never be allowed as an excuse for dispensing with the enquiry under Section 5-A of the Act which would take only a month or two. I am not satisfied that in this case there was any emergency justifying the resort to the emergency provision.
3. The writ petition is allowed and that part of notification which in exercise of the powers under Section 17 dispensed with the enquiry under Section 5A is quashed, as also the declaration under Section 6. The notification under Section 4(1) itself will stand. It is open to the authorities to hold fresh enquiry and proceed further with the matter. I consider that this is a case where the petitioner should have her costs from the respondent. This sort of lackadaisical procedure followed by resort to emergency provisions should never be tolerated and the persons responsible must be taught a lesson. The respondent will pay the costs of the petitioner. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.