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N. Chenniappan and ors. Vs. the Government of Tamil Nadu, Represented by Secretary to Government, Housing Department and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1980)2MLJ224
AppellantN. Chenniappan and ors.
RespondentThe Government of Tamil Nadu, Represented by Secretary to Government, Housing Department and anr.
Cases ReferredValjikhai v. State of Bombay
Excerpt:
- .....listed in the schedule to the notification were notified for acquisition under section 4(1) of the land acquisition act, and the same was published on 14th march, 1973. notices inviting objections to the enquiry under section 5-a of the act were also published in the notice boards of the revenue divisional officer's office, the taluk office etc., and in the public places as required by the rules. the registered owners were also served, either in person or by affixture, with personal notice for an enquiry under section 5-a of the act, to be conducted on 18th june, 1973. number of people objected to the acquisition, including some of the petitioners and the-enquiry was conducted, as notified, on 18th june, 1973. after consideration of the objections and overruling the same, the declaration.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V. Ramaswami, J.

1. These are a batch of cases in which the validity of certain acquisition proceedings for the purpose of construction of houses under the low income group and middle in-come group schemes in Erode and Surampatti Villages, is questioned . Large extents of land measuring a total of about 156.78 acres comprised in various survey numbers listed in the schedule to the notification were notified for acquisition under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, and the same was published on 14th March, 1973. Notices inviting objections to the enquiry under Section 5-A of the Act were also published in the notice boards of the Revenue Divisional Officer's Office, the Taluk Office etc., and in the public places as required by the rules. The registered owners were also served, either in person or by affixture, with personal notice for an enquiry under Section 5-A of the Act, to be conducted on 18th June, 1973. Number of people objected to the acquisition, including some of the petitioners and the-enquiry was conducted, as notified, on 18th June, 1973. After consideration of the objections and overruling the same, the declaration under Section 6 of the Act was published by the Government on 10th March, 1976. The award enquiry is stated to be pending. At this stage, these writ petitions have been filed.

2. One common question of law which is raised in all these writ petitions is that the acquisition should have been as for a company, under Part VII of the Land Acquisition Act, and, since, in these cases, the procedure prescribed under Part VII has not been followed, the whole acquisition proceedings are invalid. Mr. Parasaran, learned Counsel, leading the arguments in this batch of cases, contended that under Section 3 of the Tamil Nadu State Housing Board Act, 1961, the Board shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and, as such, the provisions of Part IV of the Land Acquisition Act, alone should have been followed. He referred to Section 158 of the Housing Board Act, which provides that the Board shall be deemed to be a local authority for the purposes of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and the Local Authorities Loans Act, 1914, but contended that the fiction created under this provision of deeming the Board as a local authority shall be restricted in its application to the extent that the acquisition without a contribution from the public funds could be valid, but the acquisition itself has to be under Part VII. In other words, the fiction enables the Government to acquire the land for purposes of the Housing Board without public contribution as required by law, but it does not enable the corporate character itself to be lost in the matter of acquisition of land for the Housing Board. I am unable to agree with this contention of the learned Counsel. The very purpose of deeming the Board to be a local authority for the purposes of the Land Acquisition Act, will be defeated if this limited construction of the deeming provision is to be made. It is true, it is not possible to extend a fiction beyond the purpose for which it was created. But, I am sure, the purpose for which the fiction was created was in order to enable the acquisition of lands for the purposes of the Housing Board under the normal provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, because, if it were otherwise, there was no need for deeming the Board as a local authority for the purposes of the Land Acquisition Act. There is no possibility also to apply the deeming provision only to a limited purpose of applicability of the Land Acquisition Act, and not for the entire provisions of the Act. I may also add that the Act has received the assent of the President and therefore, the deeming provision shall prevail oven the definition of local authority' in Section 3(31) of the General Clauses Ac, 1897, as held in the decision of the Supreme Court in Valjikhai v. State of Bombay : [1964]3SCR686 . The acquisition under Part II of the Land Acquisition Act, is, therefore, valid.

3. In Writ Petition Nos. 1855 and 2330 of 1977 and 643, 879 and 880 of 1978, another common question arises for consideration. In the Section 4(1) notification the lands sought to be acquired, among others, are Town Survey Nos. 321 and 311. But, while giving the Town Survey numbers in the schedule, in the place where T.S. No. 311 is to be referred, T.S. No. 321 is given in addition to T.S. No. 321 Which is also to be there. That is, in both the places, the same T.S. No. 321 is given instead of T.S. Nos. 311 and 321. The mistake in giving the survey number was noted by the Government later on during the Section 5-A enquiry and, by a rectification notification published on 3rd October, 1973, an errata was published rectifying the mistake and directing that in the place of T.S. No. 321 it shall be read as T.S. No. 311. It may be mentioned that except in the case of the petitioner in Writ Petition No. 1855 of 1977, the names of the other writ petitioners were found in the Section 4(1) notification itself and some of them took part in the Section 5-A enquiry, filed their objections and they were considered before the declaration under Section 6 was made. Therefore, those petitioners could not raise any legal grievance by reason of the error in notifying the survey number in the Section 4(1) notification. But, so far as the petitioner in Writ Petition No. 1855 of 1977 is concerned, originally at the time when the Section 4(1) notification was published, the name of one Indrani Ammal, wife of Kandaswami Mudaliar was shown as part-owner of that survey number. It appears she owns an extent of 0.095 hectares. This property was purchased by the petitioner on 14th June, 1973, subsequent to the notification, but prior to the errata notification. The argument of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that since the correct town survey number was not shown in the original notification under Section 4(1) and the petitioner had purchased the site only on 14th June, 1973, even it the errata is to be treated as a notification under Section 4(1) there should have been a fresh enquiry under Section 5-A after notice to the petitioner after 3rd October, 1973 and, there being no such enquiry, so far as this extent belonging to the petitioner is concerned, the acquisition proceedings are liable to be set aside. The notice intended to be served on Indrani Ammal under the rules was served by affixture at her house as she was stated to be away from Erode. But, as already noticed, wide publicity was given about the acquisition proceedings as required by the rules and number of people had filed their objections as well. In fact, though T.S. No. 311 was not specifically mentioned, some of the owners whose names were mentioned in the Section 4(1) notification had also filed their objections for the acquisition and taken part in the Section 5-A enquiry. Therefore, the petitioner's vendor, Indrani Ammal should have also been deemed to have had notice of the acquisition proceedings and should have taken part in the enquiry on 18th June, 1973 and if, knowing full well that the land had been notified under Section 4(1) of the Act, she had sold the property on 14th June, 1973, the petitioner shall also be deemed to have knowledge of the acquisition proceedings and, if he wanted to object to the acquisition he should have taken part in the enquiry on 18th June, 1973, as he represents that he had purchased the property even on 14th June, 1973. Not having done so, it is not possible for him now to contend, taking a technical objection, that there was an error in giving the town survey number though the names of the owners have been fully set out in the notification itself. As already stated, T.S. No. 311 is owned by number of persons and none of them other than the petitioner herein or his vendor, has, at any time, stated that they did not have notice of the acquisition proceedings or they were not aware of the said proceedings. It is, therefore, difficult to believe that the petitioner or his vendor would not have been aware of the acquisition proceedings, and it is not possible to interfere -with the acquisition proceedings at this stage merely on the ground that there was an error in the Section 4(1) notification in giving the survey number and that was rectified only on 3rd October, 1973. It may be mentioned that the rectification was prior to the declaration under Section 6. Very often it is seen that a rectification of the extents and the survey numbers and the names of the parties is necessitated by reason of the enquiry held under Section 5-A. Merely because such rectifications are called for, the acquisition proceedings themselves cannot be questioned unless grave injustice has been caused to any of the parties. I am not satisfied that the petitioner had been, in any way, prejudiced or grave injustice had been caused to him by reason of the mistake in giving the survey number. This objection of the petitioner has, therefore, to be overruled.

4. The petitioner in Writ Petition No. 2330 of 1977, who is also interested in T.S. No. 311, contended that neither the petitioner's name nor his vendor's name appears in the Section 4(1) notification and that therefore, so far as he is concerned, the notification and the declaration will have to be set aside. It appears the petitioner purchased the property on 20th October, 1975. If that were so, his name could not find a place in the Section 4(1) notification. It is true, his vendor had purchased the property in 1972 from one Karuppanna Gounder. But, the notification under Section 4(1) showed Karuppanna Goundar's name, and not the name of the petitioner's vendor. The petitioner does not state in his affidavit that his vendor, after purchase from Karuppanna Gounder, had got his name registered in the land register. Normally, the notification under Section 4(1) takes note of the names of pattadars whose names stand registered against the particular survey number, and it is probably because the land registry had not been transferred in the name of the petitioner's vendor that his name had not been shown. Further, the petitioner's vendor did not state that he was not aware of the acquisition and he had not filed any affidavit to the effect that by the non-mention of his name in the Section 4(1) notification, any of his rights were affected. He might not have been aware of the acquisition and he might have sold the property to the petitioner without informing the petitioner about the acquisition. Such things are possible and cannot be ruled out. In those circumstances, the acquisition cannot be interfered with on the ground that the petitioner's name or his vendor's name does not find a place in the Section 4(1) notification. Even in Writ Petition No. 2466 of 1977, though the purchase by the petitioner was earlier to the notification, there was no mutation of Ms name in the register and therefore, his name was not shown in the notification and, on that ground, the acquisition proceedings cannot be questioned.

5. The petitioners in Writ Petition Nos. 1124 and 1163 of 1978 raised a further contention. We have already noticed that among the lands sought to be acquired, T.S. Nos. 311 and 321 were included. But, while mentioning T.S. No. 311, an error was committed by referring to the land as T.S. No. 321. When the errata was issued, instead of referring to the particular property, it is generally stated that instead of T.S. No. 321 it may be read as T.S. 311. On the basis of this, learned Counsel contended that T.S. No. 321 which was also sought to be acquired has been with--drawn from acquisition. It is an ingenuous argument, but cannot be accepted. The petitioners in these cases took part in the Section 5-A enquiry and they did not object to the acquisition at any stage on the ground that the property bearing T.S. No. 321 which belonged to them was withdrawn from acquisition. In fact, the petitioners have not raised any specific ground in the writ petitions themselves that there was any withdrawal of the acquisition proceedings. Therefore, I cannot permit the learned Counsel to argue that T.S. No. 321 had been withdrawn from acquisition. The only amendment that was effected was to read T.S. No. 311 in the place of T.S. No. 321 which was wrongly mentioned for T.S. No. 311, and the amendment was not to correct T.S. No. 321 which was also a property sought to be acquired.

6. Learned Counsel for the petitioners in Writ Petition Nos. 578 and 1148 of 1973 also contended that though the acquisition proceedings mention the town survey numbers, there are different lands bearing the same town survey numbers both within and outside the, municipal limits, and the notification has not specified as to which of the properties were sought to be acquired. This point also has not been specifically taken. Apart from that, there was no dispute or difference as to the identity of the lands to be acquired at any time during the proceedings in the Section 5-A. enquiry or later. It is now, for the first time, that the learned Counsel wants to raise this contention which cannot be permitted.

7. No other points are raised in these writ petitions. Accordingly, all these writ petitions are dismissed. There will be no orders as to costs.


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