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The Metal Corporation of India Ltd. and anr. Vs. Union of India (Uoi) and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMatter No. 551 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1970Cal15,73CWN676
ActsMetal Corporation of India (Acquisition of Undertaking) Act, 1966; ;Constitution of India - Articles 31, 31(2), 32, 226, 245 and 246; ;Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Section 11; ;Constitution of India (4th Amendment) Act; ;Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 23, 24 and 28; ;Transfer of Property Act, 1882 - Section 6; ;Metal Corporation of India (Acquisition of Undertaking) Act, 1965
AppellantThe Metal Corporation of India Ltd. and anr.
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi) and anr.
Appellant AdvocateC.K. Daphtry, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAttorney General
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredState of Madhya Pradesh v. V.P. Sharma.
Excerpt:
- orderb.c. mitra, j.1. this is an application for appropriate writs and orders directing the union of india (respondent no. 1) not to give effect to the metal corporation of india (acquisition of undertaking) act, 1966, and for orders striking down, cancelling and declaring void the said act and also for orders prohibiting the union of india from enforcing and/or giving effect to the metal corporation of india (acquisition of undertaking) ordinance, 1965. there is also a prayer for an injunction restraining the union of india from selling, charging and dealing with the petitioner's undertaking and also the petitioner's properties both movable and immovable including lead and zinc ore and lead and zinc metals and silver smelter of the petitioner.2. in 1944 the petitioner no. 1 (hereinafter.....
Judgment:
ORDER

B.C. Mitra, J.

1. This is an application for appropriate Writs and Orders directing the Union of India (respondent No. 1) not to give effect to the Metal Corporation of India (Acquisition of Undertaking) Act, 1966, and for orders striking down, cancelling and declaring void the said Act and also for orders prohibiting the Union of India from enforcing and/or giving effect to the Metal Corporation of India (Acquisition of Undertaking) Ordinance, 1965. There is also a prayer for an injunction restraining the Union of India from selling, charging and dealing with the petitioner's undertaking and also the petitioner's properties both movable and immovable including lead and zinc ore and lead and zinc metals and silver smelter of the petitioner.

2. In 1944 the petitioner No. 1 (hereinafter referred to as the company) was Incorporated as a public company under the Indian Companies Act, 1913. The company initially commenced its business in 1944 with a share capital of Rs. 35 lacs. The authorised capital of the company at present is Rs. 5 crores divided into 7000, 5 per cent tax free cumulative preference shares of Rupees 100/- each; 1,93,000, 6 per cent tax free redeemable cumulative preference sharesof Rs, 100/- each and 30,00,000 ordinary shares of Rs. 10/- each. The paid-up share capital of the company is Rupees 2,46,64,2357-. The petitioner No. 2 is a share-holder of the company and is at present a Director. The petitioner No. 2 claims to make this application for self and for the benefit of all the share-holders of the company.

3. The company obtained the lease of 20 Sq. miles of the mining land at Zawar in Rajasthan from the Government of Rajasthan for a term of 20 years with options for two further terms of like period and commenced prospecting. A Geological survey of the area was made and survey reports were prepared. The company had a lead smelter at Tundoo near Dhanbad and started smelting of lead and silver metals. Subsequently the company also installed a zinc smelter at Udaipur, Rajasthan.

4. On October 22, 1965, the President of India promulgated an Ordinance namely the Metal Corporation of India (Acquisition of Undertaking) Ordinance, being Ordinance No. 6 of 1965, for the purpose of acquiring the entire undertaking of the company. Pursuant to this Ordinance the Central Government took over possession, control and administration of the assets and undertaking of the company on October 23, 1965. This was followed by a writ petition by the company in the Punjab High Court on October 26, 1965, in which the company challenged the vires of the ordinance on various grounds. In the meantime, the Parliament passed an Act namely the Metal Corporation of India (Acquisition of Undertaking) Act being Act No. 44 of 1965, on the same terms and conditions as contained in Ordinance No. 6 of 1965. Thereupon the company filed another writ petition in the Punjab High Court for a declaration that the Act was ultra vires the Constitution. The Punjab High Court by a judgment dated March 14, 1966, held that the impugned Ordinance and the Act violated Article 31(2) of the Constitution and could not therefore be enforced against the company. Thereafter the Union of India preferred an appeal from the judgment, and order of the Punjab High Court to the Supreme Court and this appeal was dismissed with costs by the Supreme Court on September 5, 1966. The judgment of the Supreme Court was followed by another Ordinance on September 13, 1966 namely the Metal Corporation of India (Acquisition of Undertaking) Ordinance, being Ordinance No. 10 of 1966, for the purpose of acquiring the undertaking of the company. During all these proceedings the Government of India remained in possession of the company's assets and undertaking. An Act was passed by Parliament namely the Metal Corporation of India (Acquisitionof Undertaking) Act, 1966, being Act No. 36 of 1966, incorporating the terms of the said Ordinance No. 10 of 1966, and this Act came into force on December 3, 1966.

5. On February 23, 1967, the company moved the Supreme Court for a Rule nisi on an application under Article 32 of the Constitution. This application came up for admission on March 6, 1968. when directions were given for notices to be served on the respondents. After service of notice on the respondents, the application came up for hearing on March 20, 1968, and was dismissed in limine. Thereafter the present writ petition was moved challenging the vires of Act No. 36 of 1966 on various grounds set out under paragraph 69 of the petition. I must at once point out that although Article 14 and Article 19(1) (f) and (g) of the Constitution have been invoked by the petitioners in the grounds set out in the petition the only ground urged at the hearing of the application was that the impugned Act was violative of Article 31(2) of the Constitution.

6. The issue of the Rule nisi by this Court was followed by a notice of motion dated September 16, 1968, taken out by the petitioners' solicitors for an order of injunction restraining the respondents from investing any further sum of money in the undertaking of the company including mines and smelters, and also an injunction restraining the respondents from undertaking any expansion of the mines and the smelters by investing further sums of money. This application for injunction was directed to stand to trial along with the Rule and is now before me for disposal.

7. The first ground of attack urged by Mr. C.K. Daphtry, learned counsel for the company was based on the preamble of the impugned Act. It was argued that although on the basis of the preamble there might be a public purpose in acquiring the mine at Zawar, and although the exploitation of the mine by the Government might be in public interest there was not and could not be, any public purpose in acquiring the company's smelter at Dhanbad and the other plant and machinery, which belonged to the company. It was further argued that there could also be no public purpose in acquiring zinc and lead which had already been processed by the company and was ready for sale and disposal. Furthermore there could be no public purpose, it was contended, in acquiring cash balances, cash in hand and other moveable properties of the company which had nothing whatsoever to do with the mines.

8. This contention on behalf of the petitioners cannot be accepted. nO doubtthe preamble says that the object is to exploit zinc and lead deposit in the mines. But it also says that there is another object, namely to utilise those minerals in such manner as to subserve the common good. Utilisation of the minerals cannot in my view be done, merely by extracting the ore from the mines, but the ore so extracted must be processed in order to make the minerals marketable, and for this processing, the smelters and other plant and machinery of the company would be needed. Therefore it seems that there is hardly any force in the contention that acquisition of the smelter and other plant and machinery cannot be for a public purpose. The learned Attorney-General appearing for the Union of India contended, and I think rightly, that the acquisition under the impugned Act is not confined to the mine or the minerals or the plant and machinery or other assets of the company: but it is acquisition of the company's undertaking as a going concern. He further referred to the meaning of the word 'exploit' as given in the New English Dictionery at page 439, in which it is stated that to exploit means to turn to industrial account (natural resources). Relying upon this definition of the word 'exploit' the Attorney-General submitted that exploitation does not mean merely extraction of the ore, but includes turning of the ore to industrial account, and for this purpose the smelter and other plant and machinery of the company would be absolutely necessary.

9. The learned Attorney-General next contended that there was very substantial and valid reason for acquisition of the entire undertaking by the Central Government. He submitted that the company's undertaking was one integrated unit, and all the different assets of the company namely mines, minerals, plant, machinery, smelter, plans and survey reports form part of this integrated unit. The mine at Zawar, was the only source in this country, of the two minerals zinc and lead, and it was argued that although large sums were obtained by the company on loan from the Industrial Finance Corporation of India, it failed to carry out the mining operations, and even to clear plant and machinery which had been imported on its account In support of this contention a reference was made to the allegations in the petition and in the affidavit-in-opposition. In paragraph 8 of the petition it is said that the company obtained a loan of Rs. 35 lacs from the said Corporation. In paragraph 9 of the petition it is said that a group of businessmen joined the company and brought in additional share capital and loan to the extent of Rs. 25 lacs. In paragraph 11 it is said that the company obtained a further loan of Rs. 75 lacsfrom the Industrial Finance Corporation who also guaranteed a foreign exchange loan of up to Rs. 4.50 crores for purchase of plant, machinery and equipment. In paragraph 25 of the petition it is said that the Central Government was inspired by a desire to make it impossible for the company to carry on its business, because of financial deadlock and that the company's financial position was brought to such a pass, that it was not able to clear the valuable mining machinery which had arrived at Bombay, and the company was faced with labour unrest for its inability to pay the wages in due time. In paragraph 8 of the affidavit in-opposition affirmed by Aravamudha Krishnan on November '20, 1958, it is said, that in 1948 the company applied to the Industrial Finance Corporation for a loan of Rs. 46,75,000/-. The Corporation granted a loan of Rs. 30,00,000 upon a guarantee given by the Central Government. This guarantee was given to enable the company to develop the zinc and lead mines of the company, which were the only deposits of importance in India. These materials it is further said were strategic materials, and for this the country was entirely dependent upon imports. The guarantee was given by the Central Government under an agreement whereby the Central Government had the absolute option to acquire all assets of the company on the basis of cost incurred minus depreciation permissible under the Income-Tax Act.

10. In paragraph 9 of the said affidavit it is said that in 1952 the company was again in financial distress, and applied to the said Corporation for a further loan of Rs. 20 lacs. Thereafter an enquiry was made into the activities of the company, and it was found that development work done by the company was inadequate and unsatisfactory, that the financial position of the company was unsound, that the company did not have sufficient resources for proper development of the mineral deposits, and it would be uneconomical to sanction a further loan or to stand guarantee for a further loan. In paragraph 12 of the said affidavit it is said that an industrial licence was granted to the company on January 6, 1960, to set up a zinc smelter, and for this purpose the said Corporation granted a loan of Rs. 75 lacs, which was to be repaid in instalments to commence from June 1, 1966. The Corporation also stood guarantee for Rs. 4.25 crores for payment for plant, machinery and equipment to be imported from abroad. The company defaulted in making payments due to the foreign suppliers of plant, machinery and equipment and the said Corporation as guarantor had to make payment to the foreign suppliers under the terms of the guarantee, and thetotal payment made by the Corporation came up to Rs. 1.31 crores.

11. Relying upon the averments in the petition and the affidavit-in-opposition. the learned Attorney General submitted that having regard to the large loans obtained by the company upon guarantees given by the Central Government, and also, having regard to the default made by the company in repayment of the loan, and further having regard to the company's present financial position in which on its own admission it was unable to clear imported plant and machinery, and pay wages to its labourers, there was no force in the contention on behalf of the company that the acquisition of the company's undertaking was mala fide and the further contention that there was public purpose in the acquisition of the company's mine only, and there was no public purpose in acquiring the other assets of the company. The entire undertaking of the company was one integrated unit and this integrated unit, it was argued, was taken over as a going concern.

12. In my opinion there is good deal of force, in this contention of the learned Attorney General. The company repeatedly approached the said Corporation for loan, and obtained loans upon guarantees given by the Central Government. Under the agreement mentioned earlier the Central Government had the absolute option to acquire all the assets of the company on the basis of cost incurred less depreciation permissible under the Income-Tax Act. If in these circumstances the Central Government decided to acquire the undertaking for the purpose of development and exploitation of the mine, I do not see how it can be said that in acquiring the undertaking of the company under the special Act, the Central Government was inspired by any improper or ulterior motive.

13. The next point to be considered Is the contention raised on behalf of the respondents that this application is barred by res judicata. This contention is based on the company's petition under Article 32 of the Constitution before the Supreme Court for a Rule nisi, which as I have noticed earlier, was dismissed by the Supreme Court on March 20, 1968. It was argued by the learned Attorney General that the grounds of attack in this writ petition, are the same as those in the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution before the Supreme Court. The parties In this petition are the same as those in the petition before the Suprme Court; and although numerous grounds have been taken in the petition before this Court, the main ground canvassed on behalf of the petitioners was that theimpugned Act was ultra vires Article 31(2) of the Constitution, and that was also the ground on which the petitioners applied to the Supreme Court for a Rule nisi under Article 32 of the Constitution. It was therefore argued that this writ petition was clearly barred by res judicata. It was further contended that the petitioners' right to move the Supreme Court under Article 32 was itself a fundamental right, and the dismissal of the petitioners' application by the Supreme Court was a dismissal on merits, although the order was not a speaking order. It was next contended that a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution before the High Court, could be dismiss-ed on grounds other than that there was no invasion of fundamental rights, namely that the petitioners were guilty of laches or delay, or that there was an alternative remedy. But a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution before the Supreme Court could be dismissed only on the ground that there was no invasion of the fundamental rights of the petitioners. Delay, laches or the existence of alternative remedy, it was submitted, were no grounds for dismissal of a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. As the application under Article 32 of the Constitution was dismissed in limine, it was contended, that although the order was not a speaking order, it was a dismissal on merits, and the effect of the dismissal was that there was no invasion of the fundamental rights of the petitioners under Article 31(2) of the Constitution. The dismissal of the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, it was argued, completely barred the petitioners' right to move this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution challenging the vires of the impugned Act on the ground of violation of Article 31(2) of the Constitution.

14. In support of the contention mentioned above the learned Attorney General firstly relied upon a decision of the Supreme Court Kharak Slngh v. State of U.P. : 1963CriLJ329 for the proposition that when a person moved a petition before the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution, the existence of an alternative remedy would not bar his right to relief in that application, and that when such an application was moved before the Supreme Court, it was not only the right but the duty of the Supreme Court to afford relief to the petitioner by making appropriate orders Reliance was also placed on another decision of the Supreme Court Daryao v. State of U.P., : [1962]1SCR574 . In that case before moving the application under Article 32 before the Supreme Court, the petitioners had moved the High Court for a similar writ under Article 226, and the High Court had rejected the petition. It was argued that the dismissal of the petition by the High Court under Article 226, created the bar of res judicata against a similar petition filed in the Supreme Court under Article 32, on the same or similar facts and praying for the same or similar writs. It was held that the Rule of res judicata was founded on consideration of public policy, and it was in the interest of the public at large that a finality should attach to the binding decision pronounced by courts of competent jurisdiction, and that individuals should not be vexed twice over with the same kind of litigation. It was further held that the rule of res judicata was admissible even in dealing with fundamental rights in petition filed under Article 32, and that if the High Court pronounced judgment in a writ petition rejecting the prayer for issue of appropriate writs such judgment must remain binding between the parties unless it was attacked by adopting the procedure prescribed by the Constitution itself. In that case the Supreme Court also rejected the contention that the plea of res judicata could not be invoked as the earlier decision was the decision of the High Court which was not competent to deal with a petition under Article 32, and In rejecting this contention it was held that the jurisdiction of the High Court in dealing with a writ petition filed under Article 226 was substantially the same as the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in entertaining an application under Article 32. I set out below the observation of the Supreme Court at p. 1464 of the report on this question:

'It is the assertion of the existence of a fundamental right and its illegal contravention in both cases and the relief claimed in both the cases is also of the same character. Article 226 confers jurisdiction on the High Court to entertain a suitable writ petition, whereas Article 32 provides for moving this Court for a similar writ petition for the same purpose. Therefore, the argument that a petition under Article 32 cannot be entertained by a High Court under Article 226 is without any substance; and so the plea that the judgment of the High Court cannot be treated as res judicata on the ground that it cannot entertain a petition under Article 32 must be rejected.'

Dealing with the question of the High Court's power to dismiss a writ petition on the ground of laches or existence of alternative remedy, the Supreme Court held that the High Court might refuse to issue a writ on either of those two grounds. But where a citizen moves the! Supreme Court under Article 32, the right to move the Court under Article 32, being itself a fundamental right, theSupreme Court ordinarily issued an ap-propriate writ or order if a fundamental right had been illegally contravened. But a writ petition before the High Court, it was held, might be rejected on the ground of laches or the existence of alternative remedy; and if the High Court refused to exercise its discretion on the ground of laches or existence of alternative remedy, the decision of the High Court could not generally be pleaded in support of the bar of res judicata. But if the matter was considered by the High Court on merits and the petition was dismissed on such consideration on the around that no fundamental right was proved or its breach was not established, or shown to be constitutionally justified, there was no reason why such decision should not be treated as a bar against the competence of a subsequent petition filed by the same party on the same fact and for the same relief under Article 32. The conclusion of the Supreme Court on the question of the bar of res judicata as stated at pp. 1465 and 1466 was as follows:

'We hold that If a writ petition filed by a party under Article 226 is considered on the merits as a contested matter and is dismissed the decision thus pronounced would continue to bind the parties unless it is otherwise modified or reversed by appeal or other appropriate proceedings permissible under the Constitution. It would not be open to a party to Ignore the said judgment and move this Court under Article 32 by an original petition made on the same facts and for obtaining the same or similar orders or writs. If the petition filed in the High Court under Article 226 is dismissed not on the merits but because of the laches of the party applying for the writ or because it is held that the party by an alternative remedy available to it, then the dismissal of the writ petition would not constitute a bar to a subsequent petition under Article 32 except in cases where and if the facts thus found by the High Court may themselves be relevant even under Article 32. If a writ petition is dismissed in limine and an order is pronounced in that behalf whether or not the dismissal would constitute a bar would depend upon the nature of the order. If the order is on the merits it would be a bar; if the order shows that the dismissal was for the reason that the petitioner was guilty of laches or that he had an alternative remedy it would not be a bar, except in cases which we have already indicated. If the petition is dismissed in limine without passing a speaking order then such dismissal cannot be treated as creating a bar of res judicata. It is true that, prima facie, dismissal in limine even without passing a speaking order in thatbehalf may strongly suggest that the Court took the view that there was no substance in the petition at all; but in the absence of a speaking order it would not be easy to decide what factors weighed in the mind of the Court and that makes it difficult and unsafe to hold that such a summary dismissal is a dismissal on merits and as such constitutes a bar of res judicata against a similar petition filed under Article 32'.

Reiving on this decision it was argued that the instant case now before me is a converse case, as in this case the earlier petition was before the Supreme Court, under Article 32. But even then it was contended that the bar of res judicata applied to the present petition as the only ground urged in this petition was violation of the fundamental rights under Article 31(2), and the same question was agitated in the petition under Article 32 before the Supreme Court. On the question that the order of the Supreme Court was not a speaking order but was a summary dismissal in limine, it was argued by the learned Attorney General that although the order was not a speaking order, it was a dismissal on merits on the ground that no fundamental right of the petitioner was invaded. The question of rejection of the application under Article 32, it was submitted, on any other ground namely laches or the existence of alternative remedy could not arise, as those were not grounds on which the Supreme Court would reject an application under Article 32. The only ground on which the Supreme Court rejected the application under Article 32, it was submitted was that no fundamental right of the petitioner under Article 31(2) had been violated; and that being so although the order of the Supreme Court was not a speaking order the present petition was barred by res judicata as the same questions had been raised and canvassed on behalf of the petitioners as was done in the petition under Article 32.

15. Reliance was also placed on an unreported decision of the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 1 of 1964 (SC), Khairati Lal v. Life Insurance Corporation of India. In that case the Life Insurance Corporation Tribunal made an order on August 3. 1959. After the order was made an application was made to the Supreme Court for special leave against that order. That application was dismissed on August 31, 1959. After the order was made execution proceedings had been started and in those proceedings it was urged that the order sought to be executed had been passed by the Tribunal without jurisdiction and this objection was rejected and thereafter the appellant applied to the Supreme Court for specialleave, to appeal against the order of rejection. It was contended that the earlier dismissal by the Supreme Court of the application for leave to appeal against the order of the Tribunal passed on August 31,1959 created a bar of res judicata against the subsequent application for special leave. It was held that the objection was well-founded and that as soon as the appellant's application for special leave was dismissed on the earlier occasion, it meant that the challenge to the validity of the order of the Tribunal was rejected and that being so the appellant could not raise that point once more.

16. Reliance was also placed on another decision of the Supreme Court K.K. Kochunni Moopil Nayar v. State of Madras : AIR1959SC725 in which it was held that the right to enforce a fundamental right conferred by the Constitution was itself a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 32 and the Supreme Court could not refuse to entertain a petition under that Article simply because the petitioner might have some other adequate alternative legal remedy.

17. In my opinion this contention of the learned Attorney General must be upheld. The parties to the present writ petition are the same as those in the petition before the Supreme Court. The questions canvassed in this writ petition are identical with those raised in the petition before the Supreme Court namely violation of the fundamental right of the petitioners under Article 31(2). The dismissal of the petition by the Supreme Court in limine must be taken to be a dismissal on the ground that no fundamental right of the petitioners had been violated. The question of delay or laches was not raised by the respondents to the petition in the Supreme Court and was not considered by the Court. The only ground on which the Supreme Court should be taken to have dismissed the petition was that no fundamental right under Article 31(2) of the Constitution had been infringed. The absence of a speaking order, in my view, makes no difference in this case, because the dismissal by the Supreme Court must have been on the ground that no fundamental right of the petitioners had been violated. For these reasons the contention of the learned Attorney General that the present petition is barred by res judicata must be upheld. This conclusion on the question of the bar of res judicata would have been enough to dispose of the writ petition. But since various other questions on merits have been canvassed before me I should now proceed to deal with them.

18. The next point urged by Mr. Duftry was directed against the provisions in the impugned Act and the schedule thereto regarding payment of compensation. Sub-section (2) of Section 1 of the Act provides that the Act shall be deemed to have come into force on October 22. 1965. Section 3 of the Act provides that the undertaking of the company shall be deemed to have been transferred to, and vested in, the Central Government on October 22, 1965. Paragraph I of the schedule provides that the compensation to be paid by the Central Government shall be an amount equal to the value of the properties and assets of the company as on the commencement of this Act. The impugned Act became a statute on December 3, 1966. The contention was that although the impugned Act came into operation on Decembers, 1966, by the deeming provisions in sub-section (2) in Section 1 and in Section 3, the Act has been brought into force on an earlier date namely October 22, 1965, which date has also been fixed as the date on which the company's undertaking vested in the Central Government, and by paragraph I of the schedule the company is to be awarded compensation on the basis of the valuation of the assets on a date much earlier than the date on which the Central Government's act in taking possession became lawful namely December 3, 1966. In other words, it was argued that prior to December 3, 1966, on which date the Act became a statute, the possession of the company's undertaking by the Central Government was unlawful as the earlier Ordinance and the Act namely Ordinance No. 6 of 1965 and Act No. 44 of 1965 were struck down and declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court The provisions to pay compensation on the basis of valuation on October 22, 1965, by the deeming provision in the Act, it was argued, were violative of Clause (2) of Article 31 of the Constitution. Mr. Duftry. however, conceded that Parliament had the power to legislate retrospectively; but he argued the provision for payment of compensation on the basis of valuation on a date earlier than the date on which the taking of possession was made retrospectively lawful was invalid as it violated Article 31(2). It was further submitted that there was no nexus between the date of valuation namely October 22. 1965, and the object of payment of compensation for the acquisition. He further argued that there was no principle in fixing October 22, 1965, as the date of valuation of the undertaking and the assets, and therefore the provision for payment of compensation must be held to be unconstitutional and on that ground the Act should be struck down.

19. The next contention on behalf of the petitioners was directed against Sub-section (2) of Section 10 of the Act whichprovides that notwithstanding that separate valuations are calculated under the principles specified in the schedule, the amount of compensation should be deemed to he a single compensation to be given for the undertaking as a whole. It was argued that under this Sub-section although separate valuations were made in respect of separate items of assets, the compensation was to be deemed to be a single compensation for the undertaking as a whole. In Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the Act the various assets and rights of the company have been enumerated, but several other items of assets namely goodwill and know-how had been left out and there-fore there was no provision in the Act for payment of compensation for such items of assets. Therefore it was contended there was no provision for compensation of the properties acquired by the Central Government under the Act in accordance with Clause (2) of Article 31.

20. The next argument of Mr. Duftry was that under Clause (b) of paragraph II of the schedule the only compensation for the mine was the premium paid up to commencement of the Act, In respect of the leasehold properties reduced in the case of each premium by an amount which bears to such premium the same proportion as the expired term of the lease bears to the total term of the lease. It was contended that the payment of compensation for the mine as provided in the said Clause (b) in paragraph II is entirely illusory, as there was crores of rupees worth of minerals in the mine, for which no compensation was payable. It was therefore argued that there was total expropriation of the minerals without payment of any compensation. It was further contended that in prescribing payment of compensation only on the basis of premium paid, without any reference to the minerals, no principle was laid down and the provision was entirely arbitrary. In computing valuation the potential value of the land, it was argued, was left out altogether.

21. It was next argued, that under paragraph I of the schedule the compensation was to be calculated on the basis of valuation of the properties and assets less the liabilities calculated in accordance with paragraph III. Therefore it was argued that while liabilities were to be deducted, the Central Government was taking advantage of the assets which were acquired by making payments which created the liabilities, namely payment made for acquiring know-how, for which no compensation was to be paid under the Act, though the liabilities for acquiring such know-how was to be deducted out of the total value of the assets.

22. The next attack of Mr. Duftry was directed against paragraph IV of the schedule which dealt with the question of interest. It was argued that while there was provision for payment of interest from October 22, 1965 being the date on which the Central Government took possession to October 13, 1966, being the date on which Ordinance No. 10 of 1966 was promulgated, there was no provision for payment of interest from October 14, 1966, until six months after the date of determination of the compensation by the Tribunal under Sub-section (3) of Section 10 of the Act. It is on these grounds that the provision for payment of compensation in the Act and the schedule were attacked, and it was contended firstly that the Act was bad as no principles had been laid down for determination of the compensation; secondly that the provision for compensation was illusory and thirdly that there was no provision for compensation with regard to certain items of assets, fourthly that there was no relation between the date namely October 22, 1965, with regard to which the valuation was to be made and the compensation prescribed by the Act.

23. The last contention of Mr. Duftry was that under the proviso to Sub-section (3) of Section 10 of the Act if compensation was not paid within six months from the date of determination, the Central Government should pay interest on the amount of compensation at 4% per annum from the date of expiry of the said period. It was argued that under the Act the Central Government had been given the option of not paying compensation at all, if interest was paid on the amount of compensation at 4% per annum. It was submitted that the Central Government might choose never to pay compensation to the company but to go on paying interest at 4% per annum. Therefore it was argued the provision for payment of compensation became entirely nugatory, and in effect and in substance, the Act entitled the Central Government to acquire the company's properties without payment of any compensation, not even the compensation prescribed by the Act itself.

24. In support of the contentions mentioned above Mr. Duftry relied upon a decision of the Supreme Court P. Vajravelu Mudaliar v. Special Deputy Collector, Madras : [1965]1SCR614 . In that case a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was passed notifying that the petitioner's lands were needed for a public purpose. The first notification was followed by another notification under Section 4(1) read with Section 17(4)of the said Act and the Collector was authorised to take possession of the lands. The Madras legislature subsequently passed an amending Act providing for acquisition of lands for housing scheme and laying down principles for fixing compensation which were different from those prescribed in the Land Acquisition Act The validity of the amending Act was challenged on the ground that it infringed Articles 14, 19 and 31(2) of the Constitution. The Supreme Court after reviewing several of its earlier decisions namely the State of West Bengal v. Mrs. Bela Banerjee : [1954]1SCR558 and State of Madras v. Namashivaya Mudaliar : [1964]6SCR936 in which it was held that compensation under Article 31(2) should be a 'just equivalent' of what the owner had been deprived of and if the compensation fixed was not a 'just equivalent' of what the owner had been deprived of. The question of compensation would be a 'justiciable issue. These decisions were given before the Constitution (4th Amendment) Act 1955, whereby Article 31(2) was amended. The amendment provided inter alia that a law providing for compulsory acquisition of properties shall not be called in question in any Court on the ground that the compensation provided by that law was not adequate. With regard to this amendment it was held that neither the principles prescribed for arriving at the 'just equivalent' of what the owner had been deprived of nor the just equivalent itself could be questioned by the Court on the ground of the inadequacy of the compensation fixed but it was also held in that case at p. 629 of the report (SCR) = (at p. 1025 of AIR) that 'if the legislature though ex facie purports to provide for compensation or indicates the principles for ascertaining the same, but in effect and substance takes away a property without paying compensation for it, it will be exercising power which it does not possess. If the legislature makes a law for acquiring a property by providing for an illusory compensation or by indicating the principles for ascertaining the compensation which do not relate to the property acquired or to the value of such property at or within a reasonable proximity of the date of acquisition or the principles are so designed and so arbitrary that they do not provide for compensation at all, one can easily hold that the legislature made the law in fraud of its powers. Briefly stated the legal position is as follows: If the question pertains to the adequacy of compensation, it is not justiciable; if the compensation fixed or the principles evolved for fixing it disclose that the legislature made the law in fraud of powers in the sensewe have explained, the question is within the jurisdiction of the Court'. The result of the amending Act was that if the State Government acquired land for housing purposes, the claimant got only the value of the land at the date of the publication of the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, or an amount equal to the average market value of the land, during the 5 years immediately preceding such date whichever is less. Under the amendment he will get a solatium of only 5% of such value instead of 15% under the Land Acquisition Act The Supreme Court held that the amending Act prescribed the principles for ascertaining the value of the property acquired, and that in the context of continuous rise in land prices depending upon abnormal circumstances, it could not be said that the fixation of average price over 5 yean was not a principle for ascertaining the price of the land in or about the date of acquisition. Dealing with the question of exclusion of potential value of land, it was held that if such value was excluded it could not be said that the compensation awarded was just equivalent of what the owner had been deprived of; but such exclusion only pertained to the method of ascertaining the compensation. Exclusion of potential value means that one of the elements that should properly be taken into account in fixing compensation was omitted, and such omission resulted in inadequacy of compensation but that did not constitute fraud on powers. For these reasons the Supreme Court held that the amending Act did not offend Article 31(2) of the Constitution. It was further held that the amending Act violated Article 14 of the Constitution and for that reason was void. I am not however, in this case concerned with the question of infraction of Article 14 of the Constitution, and therefore it is not necessary to go into the reasons for striking down the amending Act in that case under Article 14. It is to be noticed that the Supreme Court for the first time considered the effect of the amended Article 31(2) in the decision mentioned above.

25. The same question, however, came up before the Supreme Court in a later decision in Civil Appeal No. 1377 of 1961 State of Gujarat v. Shri Shantilal Man-gal Das, (unreported) (since reported in : [1969]3SCR341 ) and in this case the Supreme Court considered its earlier decision in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case : [1965]1SCR614 (Supra).Before proceeding to deal with the dedsion of the Supreme Court in Shantilal Mangal Das's case. Civil Appeal No. 1377 of 1968 unreported ; (since reported in : [1969]3SCR341 ). I shall briefly referto the facts in that case. The appeal in that case came to the Supreme Court from a judgment of the Gujarat High Court which had declared that Sections 53 and 67 of the Bombay Town Planning Act 27 of 1955, ultra vires and unconstitutional. By a resolution passed in 1927 the Municipality of Ahmedabad declared its intention to make a Town Planning Scheme in respect of a specified area. The Provincial Government sanctioned the scheme and a draft scheme was then prepared under which the area of a plot being Plot No. 221 was reconstituted into two plots namely Plot No. 176 and Plot No. 178. Plot No. 176 was reserved for the owner, and the entire original plot No. 221 and plot No. 178 was reserved for the local authority for constructing quarters for municipal employees. Although the declaration of intention, preparation of draft schemes and the final scheme were made under the Bombay Town Planning Act of 1915, intimation of the amount of compensation due to the owner of the original Plot No. 221 was given under the Bombay Town Planning Act of 1955, by Section 90 of which the Act of 1915 was repealed Sections 53 and 67 of the 1955 Act which were declared ultra vires by the Gujarat High Court provided that all lands required by the local authority shall vest absolutely in the local authority free from all encumbrances, and the original plot which were to be reconstituted was to become subject to the right settled by the Town Planning Officer. The provisions relating to payment of compensation and recovery of contribution were vital for the scheme, as the owner of the reconstituted plot, who got the benefit of the scheme, was to make contribution towards the expenses of the scheme, and the owner who lost his property was to be compensated for such loss. For the purpose of determining the compensation the legislature adopted the basis of market value of land acquired, but the land was valued not on the date of extinction of the owner's interest, but on the date of the declaration of intention to make the scheme. The High Court of Gujarat took the view that method of computing compensation infringed Article 31(2) of the Constitution. It was held by the Supreme Court that Sections 53 and 67 of the impugned Act in that case did not infringe the fundamental rights under Article 31(2) of the Constitution, as the Actspecified the principles on which the compensation was to be determined and given. On the question of computation of the compensation on the basis of market value on a date anterior to the date of extinction of interest of the owner, it was held that computation of compensation on the basis of market value on theanterior date was still determination on a principle specified. On the question whether an Act for compulsory acquisition of property could be challenged on the ground that the provision for compensation was not a just equivalent of what the owner was deprived of the Supreme Court referred to its two earlier decisions in Mrs. Bela Banerjee's case, : [1954]1SCR558 and Subodh Gopal Bose's case, ( : [1954]1SCR587 ) in which it was held that the principles prescribed by the legislature for computing compensation, as well as the amount determined by the application of those principles were justiciable. After the two decisions mentioned above the Constitution (4th Amendment) Act, 1955, was passed and Clause (2) of Article 31, amongst other clause was substituted by the new Clause (2), and various other amendments were also made but the amendment made in Article 31 was not retrospective with the result that in cases where land was acquired under a statute enacted before April 27, 1955, the law declared in Mrs. Bela Banerjee's case, : [1954]1SCR558 and Subodh Gopal Bose's case, ( : [1954]1SCR587 ) continued to apply. The amendment of the Constitution in 1955 relating to acquisition of property and compensation was followed by the Constitution (7th Amendment) Act, 1956, which came into force on November 1, 1956. By this amendment Entries 32 of List 1 and 36 of List 2 were deleted from the 7th schedule and Entry 42 of List 3 was amended and as amended it runs as 'acquisition and requisition of property'. By reason of this amendment, the power of acquisition and requisitioning of property is not in the concurrent list, and there is no reference to the principles on which compensation for acquisition or requisition is to be determined.

26. On the question of the right to challenge the vires of an Act on the ground of adequacy of compensation, the Supreme Court held as follows:

Reverting to the amendment made in Clause (2) of Article 31 by the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act 1956, it is clear that adequacy of compensation fixed by the Legislature or award according to the principles specified by the legislature for determination is not justiciable. It clearly follows from the terms of Article 31(2) as amended that the amount of compensation payable, if fixed by the Legislature, is not justiciable, because the challenge in such case, apart from plea of abuse of legislative power, would be only a challenge to the adequacy of compensation. If compensation fixed by the Legislature and by the use of the expression 'compensation' we mean what the Legislature justly regards as properand fair recompense for compulsory expropriation of property and not something which by abuse of legislative power though called compensation is not a recompense at all or is something illusory, is not justiciable, on the plea that it is not a just equivalent of the property compulsorily acquired, is it open to Courts to enter upon an enquiry whether the principles which are specified by the Legislature for determining compensation do not award to the expropriated owner a just equivalent? In our view, such an enquiry is not open to the Courts under the statutes enacted after the amendments made in the Constitution by the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act. If the quantum of compensation fixed by the Legislature is not liable to be canvassed before the Court on the ground that it is not a just equivalent, the principles specified for determination of compensation will also not be open to challenge on the plea that the compensation determined by the application of those principles is not a just equivalent. The right declared by the Constitution guarantees that compensation shall be given before a person is compulsorily expropriated of his property for a public purpose. What is fixed as compensation by statute, or by the application of principles specified for determination of compensation is guaranteed: It does not mean however that something fixed or determined by the application of specified principles which is illusory or can in no sense be regarded as compensation must be upheld by the Courts, for, to do so, would be to grant a charter of arbitrariness and permit a device to defeat constitutional guarantee. But compensation fixed or determined on principles specified by the Legislature cannot be permitted to be challenged on the somewhat indefinite plea that it is not a just or fair equivalent. Principles may be challenged on the ground that they are irrelevant to the determination of compensation, but not on the plea that what is awarded as a result of the application of those principles is not just or fair compensation. A challenge to a statute that the principles specified by it do not award a just equivalent will be in clear violation of the constitutional declaration that inadequacy of compensation provided is not justiciable.'

After having held as above the Supreme Court proceeded to consider the effect of its decision in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 . After quoting the passage set out above at p. 629 of the report (SCR) ; (at p. 1025 of AIR) it was held that the observations namely:

'If the question pertains to the adequacy of compensation, it is not justiciable; if the compensation fixed or theprinciples evolved for fixing it disclose that the legislature made the law in fraud of powers in the sense we have explained, the question is within the jurisdiction of the Court.'

were not necessary for the purpose of the decision in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case. In other words, that those observations were obiter. It was held that in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case it was found that principles were specified for ascertaining the value of the property acquired and those principles were not irrelevant for the determination of compensation and that if there was inadequacy in the compensation by the application of those principles, it wag not open to question having regard to the amended provision in Article 31(2). It was further held that when Parliament expressly enacted under the amended clause that 'No such law shall be called in question in any Court on the ground that the compensation provided by that law is not adequate', it was intended clearly to exclude from the jurisdiction of the Court an enquiry that what was fixed or determined by the application of the principles specified as compensation did not award to the owner a just equivalent of what he was deprived and that any other view was contrary to the plain words of the amendment and was also contrary to the ultimate decision of the Court in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 (Supra). Thereafter the Supreme Court proceeded to hold as follows:

'In our view, Article 31(2) as amended is clear in its purport. If what is fixed or is determined by the application of specified principles is compensation for compulsory acquisition of property, the Courts cannot be invited to determine whether it is a just equivalent of the value of the property expropriated. In P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case the Court held that the principles laid down by the impugned statute were not open to question. That was sufficient for the purpose of the decision of the case, and the other observations were not necessary for deciding that case, and cannot be regarded as a binding decision.'

Thereafter the Supreme Court overruled its earlier decisions Union of India v. Metal Corporation of India Ltd. : [1967]1SCR255 , as in that case it was held that the clause in the earlier Act that compensation was to be equal to the cost price in the case of unused machinery and written down value as understood in the Income-tax Act were irrelevant to the fixation of the value of the machinery as on the date of acquisition. In disagreeing with the observations in the Metal Corporation's case and in overruling the same, the Supreme Court heldthat Parliament had specified the principles for determining compensation of the undertaking of the company and those principles expressly related to the determination of compensation payable in respect of unused machinery and also used machinery and that the principles were set out for determination of compensation and were not irrelevant to such determination and the compensation was not illusory.

27. The effect of the decision of the Supreme Court in Shantilal Mangal Das's case, CA No. 1377 of 1968 - ( : [1969]3SCR341 ) is that if the impugned Act either fixed the compensation or laid down principles, on which such compensation was to be computed, neither compensation fixed nor the principles on which such compensation was to be committed could be called in question in Court and the issues arising out of such questions were not justiciable. The observations in the earlier decision in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case that if a law lays down principles which were not relevant to the property acquired or to the value of the property at or about the time it is acquired, such principles were not principles contemplated by Article 31(2) and that if the legislature indicated principles for ascertaining the compensation which did not relate to the property acquired or to the value of such property or that the principles so specified were arbitrary and did not provide for compensation would be bad on the ground that the legislature made the law in fraud of powers were declared to be obiter and not necessary for the purpose of the decision.

28. Mr. Duftry strongly relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in : [1965]1SCR614 (Supra) and submitted that the observations of the Supreme Court in Shantilal Mangaldas's case. : [1969]3SCR341 that the earlier observation in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 regarding the right to challenge the principles laid down for ascertaining compensation were obiter was not a good law. He argued that the decision of the Supreme Court in P. Vajravelu Muda--liar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 clearly laid down that the principles for computing compensation could be challenged under certain circumstances mentioned therein and that was still good law so far as this Court is concerned, and applying those principles the provisions in the Act relating to payment of compensation and also those in the schedule to the Act whereby compensation was to be computed as on the basis of the value on October 22, 1965, must be held to be bad as therewas no relation between the valuation of the properties and the date fixed for computing the valuation and therefore it was no principle at all.

29. The learned Attorney General on the other hand contended that the Supreme Court in the later decision in Shantilal Mangaldas's case, : [1969]3SCR341 had clearly held that its observations in the earlier decision in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 were obiter, and therefore this Court in considering the question of the vires of the impugned Act on the basis of a challenge to the principle specified for computing compensation must be guided by and must follow the later decision of the Supreme Court In Shantilal Mangaldas's case. : [1969]3SCR341 . In my opinion the contention of the learned Attorney General on the implications of the two decisions of the Supreme Court discussed above must prevail. In the later decision in Shantilal Mangaldas's case, : [1969]3SCR341 , the Supreme Court quite plainly dissented from its observation in earlier decision in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 regarding the right to challenge the vires of the Act on the ground that if principles were prescribed for computing compensation by the legislature in fraud of its powers such principles would be violative of Article 31(2). I must at this stage note that Mr. Duftry very frankly conceded that if it was held that the observations of the Supreme Court in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 regarding principles prescribed in the statute for computing compensation were not necessary for the purpose of that decision as held by the Supreme Court in Shantilal Mangaldas's case. : [1969]3SCR341 his contention regarding the vires of the Act must fail. In my view the Supreme Court in its later decision in Shantilal Mangaldas's case, : [1969]3SCR341 , held that its earlier observations in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 mentioned above were not necessary for the purpose of the decision in that case. This court is bound by these observations and the contentions of Mr. Duftry regarding the vires of the impugned Act on the ground of violation of Article 31(2) must therefore fail.

30. I should, however, refer to some other cases on which the learned Attorney General relied in repelling the contention of Mr. Duftry on this aspect of the case. The first decision to be dealt with is a decision of the Supreme Court Udai Ram Sharma v. Union of India AIR 1968 SC 1138. In that case notifications under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act were published in 1957 and 1959 and thereafter several declarations under Section 6 of the Act were published, long afterwards in 1961 to 1966. Writ petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution were filed by the owners of the land challenging the validity of the Land Acquisition Proceedings on the basis of the Judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. V.P. Sharma. : [1966]3SCR557 . In this case notifications under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act were issued on May 16, 1949. declaring that land might be needed for a public purpose. Thereafter notifications were issued under Section 6 of the Act, from time to time, and some lands in one village were acquired in 1956. In August 1960 a fresh declaration under Section 6 of the Act was issued proposing to acquire land in another village. The owners of the land affected by the second declaration under Section 6 filed a writ petition under Art 226. This matter ultimately came up before the Supreme Court and it was held that once a declaration under Section 6 was made, the notification under Section 4(1) was exhausted and the latter section was not a reservoir from which the Government might from time to time draw out land and make declarations with respect to it successively. In other words it was held that there could not be successive declarations under Section 6 with respect to land in a locality specified in one notification under Section 4(1) of the Act. The decision of the Supreme Court in : [1966]3SCR557 was followed by an Ordinance dated January 20, 1967, named the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance (1 of 1967). This ordinance was followed on April 12, 1967, by an Act named the Land Acquisition (Amendment and Short Title Validation) Act 1967. Section 3 of the Amending Act amended Section 6 of the old Act by empowering different declarations to be made from time to time in respect of different portions of land covered by the same notification under Section 4(1) of the Act. The other material change made by the amendment was that it was provided by Clause II of Section 3 of the Amending Act that no declaration in respect of any particular land covered by a notification under Section 4(1) published after the commencement of the said ordinance shall be made after the expiry of three years from the date of such publication. The ordinance mentioned above was repealed by Section 5 of the Amending Act. The challenge before the Supreme Court was based on the ground that the amendment was hit by Article 31(2), as the sole purpose was to avoid payment of enhanced compensation whichwould be necessary if a fresh notification was issued under Section 4. It was contended that the date of notification under Section 4 published in 1959, must be treated to be an arbitrary date divorced from the acquisition which was sought to be made 8 or 9 years afterwards, when the value of the land was substantially higher and that payment of compensation on the basis of a notification under Section 4 published 8 or 9 years before the declaration under Section 6, had no relation to the acquisition. The Supreme Court dealing with the question of retrospective operation of the Act, held that the power to legislate for validating actions taken under a statute, which, were not sufficiently comprehensive is ancillary or subsidiary to the power to legislate on any subject within the competence of the legislature, and such Validating Acts could not be struck down merely because courts of law had declared actions taken earlier to be invalid for want of jurisdiction. Dealing with the question that the Amending Act violated Article 31(2). it was held that it was true that the underlying principle of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was that all increments due to the setting on foot of acquisition proceedings were to be ignored, because the ever spiralling prices all over India had forced land values upwards, but it could not be said that because owners of land were to be deprived of all the increments due to spiralling of prices, it must be held that there was a violation of Article 31(2). It was further held that the Amending Act did not derogate from the principle that the valuation on the date of issue of notification afforded the criterion for determining compensation of the land to be acquired, but it kept the notification under Section 4 alive for more than one declaration under Section 6, and therefore it could not be said of the Validating Act that it fixed an arbitrary date for valuation of the property which bore no relation to the acquisition proceedings. The Supreme Court reaffirmed its earlier decision In P. Vajravelu Mudaliar's case, : [1965]1SCR614 that the omission of one of the elements that should be taken into account in fixing the compensation might result in the inadequacy of compensation but did not constitute fraud on powers.

31. Relying upon the decision of the Supreme Court mentioned above, the learned Attorney General contended that there was no force in Mr. Duftry's contention that Article 31(2) had been violated as no compensation was provided for items of assets like good-will and know-how. It was argued that in Udai Ram Sharma's case, AIR 1968 SC 1138 the Supreme Court held that omission to provide for compensation of one or other of the elements of assets would not constitute a fraud on powers, and on that ground the statute providing for acquisition could not be challenged. In my view this contention of the learned Attorney General must be upheld. It is true that in Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the Act, there is no mention of assets like good-will and know-how and therefore no compensation is payable for the assets as such. But it cannot be overlooked that the Act provides for acquisition of the company's undertaking as one integrated unit and even if there is no provision for payment of compensation for one or other items of the assets, it cannot be said that the Act is ultra vires Article 31(2) on the ground that it provides for acquisition of property without payment of compensation.

32. The next question to be determined is the contention of the learned Attorney General that the application is barred on the ground of laches and delay. The petition under Article 32 of the Constitution before the Supreme Court was dismissed on March 6, 1962 (1968?), and the present petition was moved and the Rule nisi was obtained on August 6, 1968. There was therefore a gap of just about a year and a half between the dismissal of the petition before the Supreme Court and the Rule nisi issued by this Court The learned Attorney General submitted that this delay on the part of the petitioners barred their right to relief under Art 226. He further argued that the Central Government had spent crores of rupees in developing the mines and the company's undertaking and had therefore altered its position to its disadvantage. Mr. Duftry on the other hand contended that the delay of only about 18 months cannot defeat the petitioner's right to appropriate writs under Article 226, if they could satisfy the court that fundamental rights had been violated. As regards the contention of the learned Attorney General that crores of rupees had been spent by the Central Government he drew my attention to sub-paragraph (e) of paragraph 29 of the affidavit-in-opposition affirmed by Aravamudha Krishnan on November 20, 1968 in which it is alleged that the Central Government had spent about Rupees 5.16 crores by about September 5, 1966. It was submitted that this money was spent by the Central Government at a time when the previous Act and Ordinance had been declared to be unconstitutional and the challenge to the new Act was pending before the Supreme Court. Quite apart from the question of the money spent by the Central Government in development of the company's undertaking and thereby altering its position to its disadvantage, the delay in moving this court under Article 226. in my view, is not fatal to this application. When a p


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