S. Mohan, J.
1. These three writ petitions can be dealt with under a common judgment. The facts in these writ petitions are as follows:
2. During the Fifth World Tamil Conference held at Madurai in January, 1981, the participants including the foreign delegates expressed the need for the establishment of a Tamil University in order to fulfil the long-felt aspirations of the Tamil enthusiasts and the people of Tamil Nadu. Tamil being one of the ancient classical languages, has contributed to the enrichment of civilisation in India in the fields such as art, culture, medicine and philosophy, to mention a few. Notwithstanding all these, there had been no separate University for Tamil. The Tamil language has its impact not only on the people of India, but has a deep impact on people in foreign countries, particularly, the research scholars. The establishment of a Tamil University would help research in Tamil language, linguistics, art and culture by Tamil scholars.
3. It was with this object that it was decided to establish the Tamil University at Thanjavur to help in this direction and to develop research in various facets of Tamil language. An Ordinance called the Tamil University Ordinance X of 1981 was promulgated to achieve this object. Thereafter that Ordinance was replaced by the Tamil University Act IX of 1982. Inter alia it provides under Section 3 as under:
3. Establishment of the University.-
(1) For furthering the advancement of learning and prosecution of research in Tamil there shall be established a University by the name 'the Tamil University'.
(2) The University shall be a body corporate, shall have perpetual succession and a common seal and shall sue and be sued by the said name.
(3) The University shall be of the unitary and residential type.
(4) No institution affiliated to, or associated with, or maintained by, any other University in the State shall be recognized by the University for any purpose, except with the prior approval of the Government and the concerned University.
(5) The headquarters of the University shall be located within the limits of the Thanjavur Municipality or in any place within a radius of twenty-five kilometers around those limits.
The objects and powers of the University are catalogued under Section 4, which may be extracted in full:
4. The University shall have the following objects and powers namely:
(1) to function as a high-level research centre;
(2) to impart training to those residing within and beyond India who desire to study Tamil;
(3) to facilitate and regulate research in fields like Art. Culture, Music, Stage-plays, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Literature, Grammar, Linguistics, History, Religion, Philosophy, Geography, Soil Sciences, Astronomy, Navigation and Shipping, Astrology, Siddha Medicine, Engineering Sciences and Handicrafts that have developed on the basis of the Tamil language;
(4) to translate books in other languages into Tamil according to the needs in consonance with the objectives of the University and also to translate books in Tamil into other languages;
(5) to preserve and publish palm-leaf manuscrpits and rare ancient books;
(6) to search for and compile epigraphs relating to Tamil language, Tamil culture and History of the Tamils and publish them with its findings based on research;
(7) to compile and publish Tamil words, expressions, colloquial terms, words peculiar to Industries and Agriculture, which are used by Tamil Nadu and also in other countries where Tamils live;
(8) to provide for research on ancient times with an eye on furture scientific developments;
(9) to provide for research and determine the procedures regarding development of Tamil language embodying in itself all the educational fields existing in the developing world and evolving suitable approach therefor;
(10) to institute degrees, titles, diplomas and other academic distinctions;
(11) to confer degrees, titles, diplomas and other academic distinctions on persons who shall have carried out research in the University or in any other centre or institution recognised by the University under conditions prescribed;
(12) to confer honorary degrees or other academic distinctions in the prescribed manner and under conditions prescribed;
(13) to supervise and control hostels and to regulate and enforce discipline among the students of the University and to make arrangements for promoting their health, and general welfare;
(14) to prescribe conditions under which the award of any degree, title, diploma and other academic distinctions to persons may be withheld;
(15) to co-operate with any other University, authority or association or any other public or private body having in view the promotion of purposes and objects similar to those of the University for such purposes as may be agreed upon on such terms and conditions, as may, from time to time, be prescribed;
(16) to establish and maintain University libraries, research stations, museums for research and publication bureau;
(17) to institute research posts and to appoint persons to such posts;
(18) to institute and award fellowships, including travelling fellowships, scholarships, medals and prizes in the manner prescribed;
(19) to establish, maintain or recognise hostels for students of the University and residential accommodation for the staff of the University and to withdraw any such recognition;
(20) to fix fees and to demand and receive such fees as may be prescribed;
(21) to hold and manage endowments and other properties and funds of the University;
(22) to borrow money with the approval of the Government on the security of the property of the University for the purposes of the University;
(23) to organise advanced studies and research programmes based on a deep understanding of the trends in Tamil language;
(24) to enter into agreement with other bodies or persons for the purpose of promoting the objectives of the University including the assuming of the management of any institution under them and the taking over of its rights and liabilities; and
(25) to do all such acts and things, whether incidental to the objects and powers aforesaid or not as may be necessary or desirable to further the objects of the University.
The rest of the provisions of the Tamil University Act is not material for the purpose of this case.
4. The Government decided to acquire about 1000 acres near Thanjavur Town limits for the formation of this Tamil University. Accordingly, a compact block of 972.79 acres of lands in 107 Neelgiri Therkku Thottam and 120 Pillaiyarpatti villages of Thanjavur taluk were selected. In G.O. Ms. No 1607, Education. Science and Technology, dated 29th July, 1981, sanction was accorded for acquisition of these lands. The details are as under:
Patta lands Poramboke lands
Therkku Thottam 75.95 122.76
120 Pillaiyarpatti 671.32 102.76
In view of the urgency in relation to the acquisition of these lands for the establishment of Tamil University, the Government sanctioned the employment of three units of special staff headed by Tahsildars with supporting staff in G.O. Ms. No. 1607, Education, dated 29th July, 1981, referred to above. The proposed area of acquisition was distributed among the three special Tahsildars as follows:
107 Neelagiri 120 Pillaiyarpatti
Special Tahsildar-I 332.82 196.82
Special Tahsildar-11 37.08 266.19
Special Tahsildar-III 5.05 208.31
The Government in their G.O. Ms. No. 2724, Education (TUI) dated 16th December, 1981 approved the Section 4(1) Notification in respect of 141.54 acres and that was published in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette on 27th January, 1982. The extent covered by the said notification was split up into five convenient blocks by the Special Tashildars II for holding enquiry under Section 5-A of the Land Acquisition Act, hereinafter referred to as the Act. Accordingly Section 5-A enquiry took place on 23rd March, 1982. There was no objection from landowners in respect of the lands covered by Block II during 5-A enquiry. In respect of the remaining blocks there were objections. Those objections were referred to the Requisitioning Department, namely the Tamil University, and its remarks obtained. The remarks of the requisitioning Department were also communicated to the landowners and their acknowledgements obtained, as required by the rules. Those objections, after a careful consideration, were overruled and recommendations were made by the Commissioner for Land Administration to the Government to go ahead with the acquisition. The Government approved the Draft Declaration under Section 6. The declaration under Section 6 was issued on 11th August, 1982.
5. The award enquiry in respect of lands covered by Block it was completed and possession was handed over to the Tamil University on 30th August, 1982. In respect of lands covered by Block II the award enquiry was completed on 9th September, 1982, and the award was passed on 10th September, 1982 and possession was handed over to the Tamil University on 11th September, 1982. The award enquiry in respect of lands covered by Blocks III and V was conducted, but the award could not be pronounced for want of publication of errata in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette. The award enquiry in respect of lands covered by Block I stood posted to 27th September, 1982 by the Special Tahsildar-II.
6. The particulars as to the extent, No. of Block, name of unit and the relevant Government orders in respect of these lands are as under:
G.O. No. & Date Extend No. of Name of G.O. No. & date
Block Unit of 4(1) notification.
G.O. Ms. No. 1641 24.97 V S.T. II G.O. Ms. No. 2724
dated 26-7- 82 dated 16-12-81
G.O. Ms. No, 1642 32.07 II -do- -do-
G.O. Ms. No. 1643 16.38 VIII S.T. III G.O. Ms. No. 2825
dated 26-7-82 dated 31-12-81
G.O. Ms. No. 1644 27.96 VII -do- -do-
G.O. Ms. No. 1645 25.61 III S.T. II G.O. Ms. No. 2724
dated 26-7-82 dated 16-12-81
G.O. Ms. No. 1646 29.13 III S.T. III G.O. Ms. No. 2802
dated 26-7-82 dated 28-12-1981.
7. In respect of lands covered by Block II, award was passed and possession was handed over to the Tamil University. As regards Block I, award could not be passed in view of the orders of stay passed by this Court. Similarly, in view of the stay orders of this Court award has not yet been passed in respect of blocks III and V of Special Tahsildar (sic)I. The area covered by Block VIII is 16.38 acres an4 in respect thereof this Court stayed the operation of G.O. Ms. No. 1643. The petitioners in W.P. No. 7296 of 1982 are neither landowners nor interested persons in that block and their names had not been notified in the declaration and directions under Sections 6 and 7 of the Act. The award enquiry stood posted to 20th September, 1982 and was then adjourned.
8. It is at this stage; W.P. No. 7296 of 1982 has been preferred by the petitioners therein to quash the notification under Section 4(1) of the Act made in G.O. Ms. No. 2724, Education (T.U.I.) dated 16th December, 1981 and the consequential declaration under Section 6 of the Act in G.O. Ms No. 1641 to 1646, Education, Science and Technology dated 26th July, 1982.
9. Similarly, W.P. No. 7748 of 1982 has been filed by the petitioners therein to quash G.O. Ms. No. 1508, Educational, Science and Technology dated 13th July, 1982(2 Government Orders) and the consequential declaration under Section 6 of the Act in so far as it relates to the lands of the petitioners.
W.P. No. 7826 of 1982 has been filed by the petitioner therein to quash G.O. Ms. No. 2825, Education (T.U.I.) dated 31st December, 1981 and the consequential declaration under Section 6 of the Act published in G.O. Ms. No. 1644, Education, Science and Technology dated 26th July, 1982 in so far as it relates to the lands of the petitioner therein.
10. Mr. Gopalan, learned Counsel for the petitioners, does not contend that there is any procedural flaw in the conduct of land acquisition proceedings. However, it is urged that Section 4(1) notification is vague; it does not give details and the public purpose; merely saying, 'formation of Tamil University' cannot amount to public purpose; and the Tamil University may later on use the lands for providing quarters for its staff and that cannot be a public purpose at all and on the other hand that will be a purely private purpose. The second argument of the learned Counsel for the petitioners is that in so far as the Tamil University has come to be incorporated under the local statute, namely, the Tamil University Act IX of 1982, it is a company within the meaning of Section 3(3) of the Act and therefore acquisition cannot be done under part II of the Act and it can be done only under part III. In support of this, reliance is placed on State of Punjab and Ors. v. Raja Ram and Ors. : 2SCR712 The learned Counsel also distinguishes the ruling in Pandit Jhandu Lal and Ors. v. The State of Punjab and another : 2SCR459 on the ground that because of the peculiar definition occuring in the Punjab Act, public purpose came to be upheld in that case, but that is not the position here. In State of West Bengal and Ors. v. P.N. Talukdar and Ors. : AIR1965SC646 , the Supreme Court has held that the construction of staff quarters would not be public purpose within the meaning of the Act. From this point of view, the acquisition cannot be supported in law. Where, therefore, there is an intermixing of purposes, the acquisition must be held to be bad. Here it is worse than intermixing, because the notification under Section 4(1) and the declaration under Section 6 of the Act are very vague.
11. The learned Government Pleader, on the other hand, would submit that the establishment of a University is undoubtedly a public purpose. It is to benefit the public that the University is going to be established. As to what is the meaning of public purpose can be gathered from the ear list of the decisions, namely, Belegal Gundachar and another v. The State of Madras, represented by the Collector of Bellary and Ors. : AIR1953Mad537 As a matter of fact, this Court has taken the view in Alagappa Chettiar v. Revenue Divisional Officer : AIR1969Mad133 , that the construction of staff quarters for the University would be a public purpose. Likewise in Jagannatha Iyer v. State of Madras : (1978)1MLJ19 , an approach road for a colony was held to be a public purpose. Again in Maheswar v. Assam State A.I.R. (1956) Gua 190, it was. held that where for the establishment of a school lands were acquired, it was held to constitute a public purpose. In Arjan Singh v. State of Punjab , the acquisition of land for the establishment of a technical institute was held to be a public purpose. In Jatadhar Mitra and Ors. v. State of West Bengal and Ors. : AIR1970Cal90 , it was held that quarters for members of the staff of an educational institution would constitute a public purpose and in view of the public purpose, if the Government decided to contribute from public coffers it was enough to follow the procedure under part II and there was no necessity to follow the procedure under Part VII. Having regard to these decisions, it must be held that the purpose in the present case is undoubtedly a public purpose. The learned Government Pleader further submits that as regards following of procedure under part II, this Court had occasion to deal with the ruling of the Supreme Court in State of Punjab and Ors. v. Raja Ram and Ors. : 2SCR712 , in its judgement dated 14th February 1983 in Muniammal v. The Government of Tamil Nadu represented by the Deputy Secretary, Industries Department and another W.P. Nos. 8742 of 1982 etc, this Court held that since the acquisition was for SIPCOT, the procedure under Part II could be followed and it was not necessary that the procedure under Part VII must be followed. In that case reliance was placed on the decision in Pandit Jhandu Lal and Ors. v. The State of Punjab and another : 2SCR459 for that conclusion. There is no possibility of distinction merely because of the definition. The essence of the matter is, if the purpose is public purpose, then, even though it is for a company, there is no bar for acquiring the lands under Part II. There is no necessity to follow the procedure under Part VII. In fact, the earliest of the decisions of this Court in A. Natesa Asari v. The State of Madras and another : AIR1954Mad481 has laid down the same in a categoric fashion. The view of the Supreme Court is also uniform in this regard, as seen from Smt. Somawanti and Ors. v. The State of Punjab and Ors. : 2SCR774 ; Jage Ram and Ors. v. The State of Haryana and Ors. : 3SCR871 ; and the latest Munubhat Jethalal Patel and another v. State of Gujarat and Ors. : AIR1984SC120 . Then again in Mulchand Chandak and Ors. v. The State of Bihar and Ors. : AIR1974Pat380 , it was held that where it is for the construction of plant and township for the company and the cost of the acquisition was to be paid by the Central Government from out of public revenue, it would be a public purpose, and there was no need to follow the procedure under Part VII. In view of the abundant case-law referred to above, the learned Government Pleader submits that both the contentions of the petitioners have to be rejected.
12. Having regard to the above arguments, two questions arise for my consideration, namely: (1) Does the establishment of a Tamil University amount to a public purpose and (2) whether it is necessary on the part of the Government to have followed the procedure under Part VII of the Act?
13. I will take up question No. 1 first. The act is based on the well-accepted principle of eminent domain, with the power of Government to acquire lands for any public purpose. Such a public purpose is a sine qua non for every acquisition. Unfortunately, there is no specific definition of 'public purpose' in the Act excepting what is contained in Section 3(f). That says:
the expression 'public purpose' includes the provision of village-sites in districts in which the appropriate Government shall have declared by notification in the Official Gazette that it is customary for the Government to make such provision.
Therefore, without drawing any succour from the enactment, I have necessarily to refer to some of the leading cases to ascertain the meaning of 'public purpose'.
14. The earliest case which can usefully be referred to is Belegal Gundachar and another v. The State of Madras, represented by the Collector of Bellary and Ors. : AIR1953Mad537 . It was observed therein:
It must now be taken as well-established that the power of the State to acquire property compulsorily is a power to acquire it only for a public purpose. Public purpose is a content of the power itself.
Referring to State of Bihar v. Kameshwar Singh : 1SCR1020 , this Court extracted the observations of Mahajan, J., in that case thus:
Public purpose is an essential ingredient in the very definition of the expression 'eminent domain' as given by Nichols and Ors. constitutional writers. The exercise of the power to acquire compulsorily is conditional on the existence of a public purpose... Jurisdiction to acquire private property by legislation can only be exercised for a public purpose. It may be the purpose of the Union or the purpose of the State or any other public purpose. Private property cannot be acquired for a private purpose.
In this background a question arose, whether the scheme under which the Government proposed to provide for the utilisation of the available water in Government sources of supply for the extension of cultivation would be a public purpose. The Division Bench noted that there was no definition of 'public purpose' either in the Constitution or any other relevant statute. Indeed as the Supreme Court pointed out, the expression 'public purpose' is not capable of precise definition, nor does it have a rigid meaning. Quoting the Supreme Court, it was observed:
The definition of the expression is elastic and takes its colour from the statute in which it occurs, the concept varying with the time and state of society and its needs.
The following passage in Rottschaefer on Constitutional Law which summarised the effect of the decisions on the aspect of the law of eminent domain, as stated in paragraph 8 of the above decision may be extracted:
It is frequently sufficient if the use to which the private condemnor is to put the property is one of widespread general public benefit not involving any right on the part of the general public itself to use the property. The adoption of this general test has expanded the scope of valid public uses to include uses by private parties in purely private activities. The public benefit that has been relied upon to sustain such exercises of the power of eminent domain has usually consisted in that derived from the development of a State's important natural resources rendered possible by such exercises of that power. It is on that basis that one private person has been permitted to condemn land for the purpose of conveying water in ditches across that land in order to properly irrigate his own, and to condemn a right of way across another's land for an aerial bucket line necessary for the working of the condemnor's mine. The same considerations are frequently invoked in sustaining the condemnation of property required by drinage or irrigation districts for the accomplishment of their objectives, and condemnation of land and water rights to be used for developing power for general public distribution.
15. In this background, let me take up specific cases. The first is, Alagappa Chettiar v. Revenue Divisional Officer : AIR1969Mad133 , that was a case of construction of staff quarters for the University. It was held therein:
On the other hand, there are a series of decisions which deal with the expression 'public purpose' from the broader point of view mentioned above. Instances of such decisions are State of Bihar v. Kameshwar : 1SCR1020 , where at page 289 the Supreme Court has referred to the observations of the Judical Committee in Hamabai Framies v. Secretary of State 28 M.L.J. 179, where the Privy Council extracted with approval the judgment of Batchelor, J:
General definitions are, I think, rather to be avoided where the avoidance is possible and I make no attempt to define precisely the extent of the phrase 'public purpose' in the lease; it is enough to say that in my opinion, the phrase whatever else it may mean, must include a purpose, that is an object or aim, in which the general interest of the community as opposed to the particular interest of individuals, is directly and vitally concerned.
The Supreme Court thereafter added:
And it is well that no hard and fast definition was laid down, for the concept of 'public purpose' has been rapidly changing in ail countries of she world. The reference in the above quotation to the general interest of the community, however, clearly indicates that it is the presence of this element its an object or aim which transforms such object or aim into a public purpose.
A Bench of this Court in Vijiapuri v. N.T.C. Talkies Ltd : (1959)2MLJ454 ., has referred to several previous decisions including the Supreme Court decision just now referred to and laid down the following broad principles for understanding the scope of the expressions 'public purpose':.an acquisition can be for a public purpose, even though all the members of the public do not take the benefit, but only a section of it fakes the benefit; public purpose in an acquisition may be served even though the acquisition is for the benefit of particular members of the public, provided the object of acquisition advances a public purpose. In this category may be included advancement of public prosperity, public welfare and the convenience of the public.
In the present case in the sale effected by the petitioner about 8 or 9 members of the University staff seem to have taken part and succeeded in making the highest bids for the plots. But the plots thus acquired would become their private property and will descend to their heirs and which they can alienate. On the other hard, the proposed acquisition will not benefit any specified number of individuals (who may happen to be teachers of the Annamalai University), in the sense that an absolute right is conferred on them to the houses which they can alienate or pass on to their descedants. The benefit thus conferred by the acquisition is on the teaching staff of the University who form a section of the public, however small it may be, they are still a defined section of the public, who happen to be at any given moment engaged in teaching the students of the University. The object of the acquisition is clearly to provide such teaching staff with quarters, which are proximate to the University campus. The connected file which I perused shows the Revenue Divisional Officer made a report that the lands in question are in close proximity to the University area and will therefore enable the teaching staff to go conveniently from their residence to the place of teaching. In this sense the acquisition serves a public purpose, namely, the purpose of enabling the teaching staff to live in close proximity to the University campus and afford to them the necessary convenience. Though the teachers for the time being may be benefited by the acquisition, the benefit to the University by such acquisition as well as to the students studying in the institution though remote is nevertheless real. In a decision of the Bombay High Court in Municipal Corporation, Bombay v. Ramchordas : AIR1925Bom538 , it was held that building of quarters for municipal servants must be held to be a measure likely to promote public convenience and the acquisition of lands for that purpose was held to fall within the scope of the Land Acquisition Act. I am therefore satisfied that the attack made on the present acquisition on the basis of the decision in State of West Bengal v. P.N. Talukdar : AIR1965SC646 ., which was a decision exclusively confined to part III of the Act cannot be supported. On the other hand the authorities support the view that a purpose of the present kind can be clearly viewed as a public purpose within the meaning of section. 4 in the larger and more generic sense of that term.
16. The next of the decisions is Maheswar v. Assam State A.I.R. 1956 Gua190 where in it was observed:
Section 3(f), Land Acquisition Act describes what the expression 'public purpose' includes. No definition of the expression is given. The expression however has been interpreted to include a purpose, i.e., an object or aim, in which the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of individuals is directly concerned, It is not necessary that the land should be made available to the public at large. All that is necessary is that it should serve the general interest of the community.
The land sought to be acquired was admittedly contiguous to the school land. It was being used in a manner which was obviously detrimental to school interests. No control could be exercised on its use, if the ownership did not vest in the school. The sheds on the land were also unsightly and created a sort of an obstruction to the school from the road. Land also was, needed for a playground. Held that the land was needed for the purposes of the school and as such fell within the ambit of the expression 'public purpose.'
17. In Arjan Singh v. State of Punjab, at was held:
The expression 'public purpose' is not capable of precise and comprehensive definition which may be considered to be of universal application and no useful purpose would be served by attempting to define it. The concept of public purpose is not static. It changes in accordance with the conditions of the society from time to time and in accordance with the conditions prevailing in the country and in the world. Broadly speaking, its purpose is to promote the public health and general welfare. In each case all the facts and circumstances will require to be closely examined in order to determine whether a public purpose has been established.
Establishing a technical institute to give technical education is obviously a public purpose in view of the urgent requirement for qualified engineers and technicians in the country and the shortage of such persons at present.
18. In view of the above rulings, it is clear that where, there is a purpose, that is, an object or aim in which the general interest of the community as opposed to the particular interest of individuals is directly and vitally concerned, it must be held to be a public purpose. But at the same time one word of caution has to be attached. It is not necessary that the land should be made available to the public at large. All that is necessary is, it should serve the general interest of the community. Undoubtedly the establishment of a University, though it is called a formation in the Section 4(1) notification, would serve the interest of the community as a whole, leave alone the benefit that the Tamil population wherever they are may acquire. Even assuming that quarters are built for the members of the staff of the Tamil University, as laid down by Ramakrishnan, J., in Alagappa Chettiar v. Revenue Divisional Officer : AIR1969Mad133 , it would still be a public purpose. As the learned Judge observed, the benefit conferred is or the teaching staff of the University who form a section of the public, however small it may be, they are still a defined section of the public who happen to be at any given moment engaged in teaching the students of the University.
19. Finally, to quote the words of the Supreme Court in Smt. Somawanti and Ors v. The State of Punjab and Ors. : 2SCR774 :
'Public purpose' as explained by this Court in Babu Barkaya Thakur's case : 1SCR128 , means a purpose which is beneficial to the community. But whether a particular purpose is beneficial or is likely to be beneficial to the community or not is a matter primarily for the satisfaction of the State Government.
20. I have already quoted Section 4 of the Tamil University Act. The objects and powers mentioned, therein, namely, to function as a high level research centre; to impart training to those residing within and beyond India who desire to study Tamil; to facilitate and regulate research in fields like Art, Culture, Music, Stage-plays, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Literature, Grammar, Linguistics, History, Religion, Philosophy, Geography, Soil Sciences, Astronomy, Navigation and Shipping, Astrology, Siddha Medicines, Engineering Sciences and Handicrafts that have developed on the basis of the Tamil language; to translate books in other language into Tamil according to the needs in consonance with the objectives of the University; to provide for research on ancient times with an eye on future scientific developments; to provide for research and determine the procedure regarding development of Tamil language embodying in itself all the educational fields existing in the developing world and evolving suitable approach therefor, etc., would undoubtedly constitute 'public purpose'. I do not think that there is any intermixing of purpose. The formation of the University is comprehensive enough to take within itself all the objects set out in Section 4 of the Tamil University Act, already extracted.
21. For all these reasons, I overrule the first of the contentions raised on behalf of the writ petitioners and hold that the acquisition is undoubtedly for a public purpose
22. Then comes the second question, namely, whether the procedure under Part VII has to be followed. In A. Natesa Asari v. The State of Madras and another : AIR1954Mad481 there is a clear illustration of the law on the subject. The very contentions urged by Mr. Gopalan were raised in that case in the following manner:
The second objection of Mr. Rajah Ayyar is this. He contends that under the scheme of the Land Acquisition Act there are two distinct powers conferred on the Government for acquiring property, one for a public purpose and the other for a company and that Sections 6 to 37 are applicable to acquisitions for a public purpose while Sections 38 to 44 forming Part VII apply to acquisitions for companies. He contends that the two powers are distinct and alternative. In this case it is not disputed that the Government is acquiring the properties for the benefit of a house-building co-operative society. Cooperative societies are companies within the definition of that term in the Land Acquisition Act and it is accordingly contended that the Government is bound to proceed only under Part VII relating to companies and not under Sections 6 to 37. Mr. Rajah Ayyar argues that the Government ought to have taken action under Section 40 and made enquiries as to the necessity for acquisition and otherwise satisfied all the requirements of the sections in Part VII and that they have not done. What they have done is only to act under Sections 6 to 37 as in the case of acquisitions for public purposes. This he says is an illegal exercise of the power and therefore, the acquisition is invalid.
The learned Judges repelled the said contention in the following words:
We are unable to agree that there are two distinct alternative and mutually exclusive powers with reference to acquisition of property. Section 4 under which proceedings are commenced only recites that the acquisition should be made for a public purpose. Then we come to the sections relating to acquisitions of land for companies. Section 49(1)(a) provides that the acquisition might be made for erection of dwelling houses for workmen employed by the company or for the provision of amenities directly connected therewith. There may be a doubt as to whether this can be regarded as a public purpose. But the legislature was anxious to confer power on the Government to acquire properties in the case of companies even in cases coming under Section 40(1)(a). Therefore, in our opinion, the true scope of Section 40 is not to abridge the rights of the Government to acquire property for public purpose whether it is for a company or not but to enlarge that power so as to enable them to acquire property even in cases coming under Section 40(1)(a) irrespective of the question whether the purposes are public or not.
Reliance was placed by the learned advocate for the petitioner on the language of Section 6 where it is stated that the land may be acquired for a public purpose or for a company. It is argued that the use of this disjunctive is clear to show that the two purposes are alternative and that therefore, they are mutually exclusive.
23. A similar argument was addressed in the case in Ezra v. The Secretary of State I.L.R. (1902) Cal. 36 : 7 CW.N. 249. Dealing with this contention, the learned Judges observed as follows:
If we have fully apprehended the argument on the point the contention seems to be this: Section 6 provides that 'whenever it appears to the Local Government that any particular land is needed for a public purpose or for a company, a declaration should be made to that effect.' The words 'public purpose' and 'company' are used disjunctively and if the land is required for a company, it must be so stated without any reference to a public purpose.
This argument the learned Judges reject as fallacious A bench of this Court consisting of Satyananayand Rao and Raghava Rao, JJ., also observed as follows:
The use of the words 'public purpose' and a 'company' in the disjunctive in the section does not exclude and is not inconsistent with the view that the purpose, even in the ease of acquisition for a company, should be a public purpose.
We think that where there is a public purpose, the powers of the Government to acquire land are not excluded because the acquisition is for the benefit of a company. In fact, we are unable to see any antithesis in two such dissimilar things as 'public purpose' and 'company'. In our judgment the proper construction to be put upon this section is whenever there is a public purpose an acquisition can be made by the Government whether it is for a company or not. But in case of a company where the acquisition is sought to be made for one of the purposes mentioned in Section 40 that could validly be done without reference to the question whether it is a public purpose or not. In that view, we do not find that there is any prohibition in the Act against the Government acquiring lands for a company when there is a public purpose and following the procedure prescribed in Sections 6 to 37. In this view this objection also must be overruled.
This affords a complete answer to the contention of the writ petitioners.
24. The march of law in this regard is undoubtedly uniform and it is this principle which had come to be approved by the Supreme Court in very many cases. The first is Pandit Jhandu Lal and Ors. v. The State of Punjab and another : 2SCR459 . That was a case of building residential quarters for industrial labour, which was held to be a public purpose. The question that came up for consideration in that case was, whether the procedure under Part VII ought to be followed. The Supreme Court held that there was no necessity to follow the procedure under Part VII and that it was enough if the procedure under Part II of the Act was followed. The Supreme Court observed:
Now, Section 6 itself contains the prohibition to the making of the necessary declaration under that section in these terms - Provided that no such declaration shall be made unless the compensation to be awarded for such property is to be paid by a company, or wholly or partly out of public revenues or some fund controlled or managed by a Local authority. Section 6 is in terms made subject to the provisions of Part VII of the Act. The provisions of Part VII, read with Section 6 of the Act, lead to this result that the declaration for the acquisition for a company shall not be made unless the compensation to be awarded for the property is to be paid by the company. The declaration for the acquisition for a public purpose, similarly cannot be made unless the compensation, wholly or partly, is to be paid out of public funds. Therefore, in the case of an acquisition for a company, simpliciter, the declaration cannot be made without satisfying the requirements of Part VII. But, that does not necessarily mean that an acquisition for a company for a public purpose cannot be made otherwise than under the provisions of Part VII, if the cost or a portion of the cost of the acquisition is to come out of public funds. In other words, the essential condition for acquisition for a public purpose is that the cost of the acquisition should be borne, wholly or in part, out of public funds. Hence, an acquisition for a company may also be made for a public purpose, within the meaning of the Act, if a part or the whole of the cost of acquisition is met by public funds. If, on the other hand, the acquisition for a company is to be made at the cost entirely of the company itself, such an acquisition comes under the provisions of Part VII. As in the present instance, it appears that part at any rate of the compensation to be awarded for the acquisition is to come eventually from out of public revenues, it must be held that the acquisition is not for a company simpliciter. It was not, therefore, necessary to go through the procedure prescribed by Part VII.
However, Mr. Gopalan, learned Counsel for the petitioners, would urge that the notification under Section 4 of the Act stated that it was for the construction of a labour colony under the Government sponsored housing scheme for industrial workers and the Act, namely, the Land Acquisition Act (Punjab Amendment) Act (II of 1954) amended Section 17 of the Act and in the amended Section 17(2)(b), the construction of labour colonies under a Government sponsored Housing Scheme had been included in the category of works of 'public utility'. The very contention was noted in that case and that was why it was observed as follows:
As already indicated, even apart from the indication given by the (amended) Section 17 quoted above, this Court has held, in the recent decision in Babu Barkaya Thakur v. State of Bombay : 1SCR128 , that building of residential quarters for industrial labour is public purpose. Hence even apart from the amended provision of Section 17, it is clear on the authorities that the purpose for which the land was being acquired was a public purpose.
25. The next of the cases is Smt. Somawanti arid others v. The State of Punjab and Ors. : 2SCR774 . That was a case in which acquisition was for a factory of a kind which was held to be beneficial for public, even though it was a private venture. The compensation was a very huge amount, i.e., more than Rs. 4,00,000/-, and a sum of Rs. 100 was contributed by the Government. It was common ground that there was no compliance with the provisions of Part VII and that could be seen from a reading of paragraph 13 of the said judgment at page 158. Notwithstanding the non-following of the procedure in Part VII, the acquisition was upheld and the acquisition was under Part II.
26. Ratilal v. State of Gujarat : AIR1970SC984 , was a case of acquisition for a co-operative society, which is on a par with the company. In view of the definition under Section 3 of the Act, it was held that though the acquisition was for 20 persons, still it was for a public purpose and there was no need to follow the procedure under Part VII.
27. In Jage Ram and others v. The State of Harayand and Ors. : 3SCR871 , relying upon the decision in Smt. Somawanti and Ors. v. The State of Punjab and Ors. : 2SCR774 , it was held as follows:
There is no denying the fact that starting of a new industry is in public interest. It is stated in the affidavit filed on behalf of the State Government that the new State of Haryana was lacking in industries and consequently it had become difficult to tackle the problem of unemployment. There is also no denying the fact that the industrialization of an area is in public interest. That apart, the question whether the starting of an industry is in public interest or not is essentially a question that has to be decided by the Government. That is a socio-economic question. This Court is not in a position to go into that question. So long as it is not established that the acquisition is sought to be made for some collateral purpose, the declaration of the Government that it is made for a public purpose is not open to challenge. Section 6(3) says that the declaration of the Government that the acquisition made is for public purpose shall be conclusive evidence that the land is needed for a public purpose. Unless it is shown that there was a colourable exercise of power, it is not open to this Court to go behind that declaration and find out whether in a particular case the purpose for which the land was needed was a public purpose or not, see Smt. Somawanti v. The State of Punjab : 1SCR373 and Raja Anand Brahma Shah v. State of U.P. : 1SCR373 On the facts of this case there can be hardly any doubt that the purpose for which the land was acquired is a public purpose.
In view of the pleadings referred to earlier it is not open to the applicant to contend that the State Government had not contributed any amount towards the cost of acquisition. We were informed at the bar that the State Government had contributed a sum of Rs. 100 towards the cost of the land which fact is also mentioned in the award of Land Acquisition Officer. That being so, it was not necessary for the Government to proceed with the acquisition under Part VII of the Act, see Somawanti's case : 2SCR774 .
28. In Manubhai Jethalal Patel and another v. State of Gujarat : AIR1984SC120 the acquisition was for the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, which admittedly was a statutory corporation. The contention that the procedure under Part VII ought to have been followed was rejected in that case in the following manner:
However, Mr. Gopal Subramaniam, learned Counsel for the appellants in all these appeals raised two other contentions. The first contention canvassed by him on behalf of the appellants is that the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation is a company within the meaning of the expression in the Companies Act as well as in Part VII of the Land Acquisition Act and this being an acquisition for a company it was obligatory to comply with the provisions contained in Part VII as well as Company Acquisition Rules and that admittedly having not been done, the acquisition is contrary to law, illegal and invalid. Land is indisputably acquired for the benefit of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation which is a company. Even where land is acquired for a company, the State Government has the power to acquire land for a public purpose from the revenue of the State. In other words, this is an acquisition for public purpose with contribution from the State revenue. The State is acquiring land to carry out a public purpose with the instrumentality of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation. It is not an acquisition for a company with the funds exclusively provided by the company which would attract Part VII of the Land Acquisition Act. In our opinion, the High Court is right in reaching the conclusion that neither Part VII of the Land Acquisition Act nor the Company Acquisition Rules would be attracted. Therefore, we are in agreement with the conclusions reached by the High Court.
29. The only isolated case is State of Punjab and Ors. v. Raja Ram and Ors. : 2SCR712 , which seems to suggest that in the case of a company, the procedure under Part VII must be followed, but in fact it is not so.
30. As a matter of fact, I have held in my judgment in Muniammal v. The Government of Tamil Nadu represented by the Deputy Secretary Industries Department, Madras W.P. Nos. 8742 of 1982 etc. dated 14th February, 1983 regarding this particular point as follows:
Whether Part II could be invoked for the purpose of a company provided it is for a public purpose. The land acquisition reflects power of eminent domain of Government, viz., acquisition for a public purpose. Such a public purpose therefore is the sine qua non for every acquisition. There is a clear dichotomy, between the Governmental purpose and the private purpose. The Governmental purpose acquisition is under Part II. For private purpose, like company under Part VII. This dichotomy is factually maintained by the various provisions of the Act. After the issue of Section 4(1) Notification, when the Government comes to issue the Section 6 declaration, it has to make up its mind:
(i) whether the compensation is to be paid wholly or partly out of public revenue or
(ii) to be paid by a company.
We are not concerned with local authority, and therefore, I am omitting the same. Here again, it requires to be noted, as Sub-section (1) of Section 6 clearly states, this is subject to the provisions of Part VII of the Act. It cannot be again said now that an acquisition under Part II, even for a company, provided the purpose, because the language of subsection (1) is very clear and unambiguous. It says...any particular land is needed for a public purpose or for a company. Therefore, the effect of Sub-section (1) is subject to the provisions of Part VII, either the acquisition can be for a public purpose or for a company. But where it is for a public purpose, there is nothing that prevents the Government from resorting to Part VII. I do not think any authority is needed for this, having regard to the unambiguous language of the section, which I have referred to above. However, I may quote Jhandu Lal v. State of Punjab : 2SCR459 , the Supreme Court observed:
Now, Section 6 itself contains the prohibition to the making of the necessary declaration under that section in these terms-
Provided that no such declaration shall be made unless the compensation to be awarded for such property is to be paid by a company, or wholly or partly out of public revenue or some fund controlled or managed by a local authority.
Section 6 is in terms, made subject to the provisions of Part VII of the Act. The provisions of Part VII, read with Section 6 of the Act, lead to this result that the compensation for the acquisition to be awarded for the property is to be paid by a company. The declaration for the acquisition for a public purpose, similarly, cannot be made unless the compensation wholly or partly, is to be paid out of public funds.
Therefore, in the case of an acquisition for a company, simpliciter, the declaration cannot be made without satisfying the requirements of Part VII. But, that does not necessarily mean that an acquisition for a company for a public purpose cannot be made otherwise that under the provisions of Part VII, if the cost or a portion of the cost of the acquisition is to come out of public funds. In other words, the essential condition for acquisition for a public purpose is that the cost of the acquisition should be borne, wholly or in part, out of public funds. Hence, an acquisition for a company may also be made for a public purpose, within the meaning of the Act, if a part or whole of the cost of acquisition is met by public funds. If, on the other hand, the acquisition for a company is to be made at the cost entirely of the company itself, such an acquisition comes under the provisions of Part VII. As in the present instance, it appears that part at any rate of the compensation to be awarded for the acquisition is to come eventually from out of public revenues, it must be held that the acquisition is not for a company simpliciter. It was not, thereefore, necessary to go through the procedure prescribed by Part VII.
The question is whether this settled principle has been deviated or departed from. State of Punjab v. Raja Ram : 2SCR712 , is the case wherein the attempt on behalf of the Food Corporation of India, where the acquisition was under Part II was to justify the acquisition as though the Corporation was a Government Department. That is evident from the following argument:
Learned counsel for the appellant then urged that the Corporation is a Government Department. We are unable to accept this submission also. A Government Department has to be an organisation which is not only completely controlled and financed by the Government but has also no identity of its own. The money earned by such a Department goes to the exchequer of the Government and losses incurred by the Department are losses of the Government.
Under the circumstances, it was held:
Even the conclusion, however, that the Corporation is an agency or instrumentality of the Central Government does not lead to the further inference that the Corporation is a Government Department. The reason is that the F.G. Act has given the Corporation an individuality apart from that of the Government. In any case, the Corporation cannot be divested of its character as a 'Company' within the meaning of the definition in Clause (e) of Section 3 of the Land Acquisition Act, for it completely fulfils the requirements of that clause, as held by us above.
The Corporation being a 'Company' compliance with the provisions of Chapter VII of the Land Acquisition Act had to be made in order to lawfully acquire any land for its purpose. It is not denied that such compliance is completely lacking in the present case.
Therefore, a careful reading of this decision clearly discloses that this question, whether acquisition could be had even for a company, provided the purpose is a public purpose did not arisse for consideration in that case at all. For the same reason, the decision reported in C. Suryanarayana Reddy v. Government of Andhra Pradesh : AIR1983AP17 , has no application.
31. In this view, I hold that there is absolutely no necessity to follow the procedure under Part VII. The declaration under Section 6 of the Act makes it abundantly clear that the entire compensation is to come from out of the public revenue. As a matter of fact, the Government have issued the following two Government orders, namely G.O. Ms. No. 474, Education Department dated 19th March, 1982 and G.O. Ms. No. 222, Education, Science and Technology Department dated 3rd March, 1983:
G.O. Ms. No. 474, Education Department, dated 19th March, 1982