Special Civil Application No. 3169 of 2016. Case: Madhusudan Dalsukhram Bhatt Vs Special Land Acquisition Officer and Ors.. Gujarat High Court

Case Number:Special Civil Application No. 3169 of 2016
Party Name:Madhusudan Dalsukhram Bhatt Vs Special Land Acquisition Officer and Ors.
Counsel:For Appellant: Dhruv K. Dave, Advocate
Judges:Anant S. Dave and Alpesh Y. Kogje, JJ.
Issue:Constitution of India - Article 226; Land Acquisition Act, 1894 - Sections 11, 18, 26, 28A, 28A(1), 28A(2), 3(d), 4, 4(1), 6
Judgement Date:March 15, 2017
Court:Gujarat High Court
 
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Judgment:

Alpesh Y. Kogje, J.

  1. RULE. Learned AGP Ms.Maithili Mehta waives service of Rule on behalf of respondent No. 1, 2 and 4 and learned Advocate Mr. M.B. Gandhi waives service of Rule on behalf of respondent No. 3.

  2. This petition under Article 226 and other relevant Articles of the Constitution of India is filed praying for quashing of communication dated 10.10.2014 issued by respondent Nos. 1 and 2 - office of the Special Land Acquisition Officer. By the impugned communication, the respondents had declined to entertain the application made by the petitioner under Section 28-A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 ("the Act, 1894" for short).

  3. The facts in brief are as under:-

    3.1 The petitioner was the original owner of land bearing revenue survey No. 165 paiki of village Ranoli, Dist. Vadodara, admeasuring 2731 sq. mtr. and the said land was acquired for public purpose by Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation under the provisions of the Act, 1894.

    3.2 The notification under Section 4 of the Act is dated 06.03.1981 and the award under Section 11 was pronounced by the Special Land Acquisition Officer on 19.09.1984.

    3.3 Being aggrieved by the award under Section 11, some of the owners, other than the petitioner, whose lands were acquired under the same notification, preferred references in the District Court at Vadodara. The said references being LRC Case Nos. 290 of 1989 to LRC Case No. 306 of 1989 were decided by 8th Joint Civil Judge (Senior Division), Vadodara by partly allowing the references under its order dated 04.05.2002 and enhanced the compensation at the rate of Rs. 2,76,000/- per hectare (Rs. 227.60 per sq. mtr.) as against the compensation fixed by the Special Land Acquisition Officer by calculating the price of the land at Rs. 6.70 per sq. mtr.

    3.4 Based on the award dated 04.05.2002 passed in the Land Reference Cases mentioned hereinabove, the petitioner made an application under Section 28-A to the competent officer. Such application under Section 28-A is claimed to have been made on 06.08.2002.

    3.5 The award in the Land Reference Cases dated 04.05.2002 was subject matter of challenge by the respondent - GIDC in First Appeal No. 1109 of 2003 and the said First Appeal came to be partly allowed by this Court by oral judgment dated 27.09.2011 and the market value of the land was fixed at the rate of Rs. 12 per sq. mtr. as against the price fixed by the Reference Court.

    3.6 The aforementioned oral judgment in the First Appeal was challenged by the claimants before the Apex Court. However, the SLP thus preferred came to be dismissed, confirming the oral judgment of the High Court on 16.04.2012.

    3.7 It appears that after this, the respondents issued the impugned communication dated 10.10.2014 in response to the application dated 06.08.2002 filed by the petitioner with the competent authority under Section 28-A of the Act, 1894 and under this communication, it was conveyed to the petitioner that the petitioner is not entitled to the benefit under Section 28-A as Section 28-A was inserted in the Act by way of amendment on 24.09.1984 whereas the application proceedings initiated by publication of notification under Section 4 was on 06.03.1981.

    3.8 It is this decision of the respondents, disentitling the petitioner to the benefit of the award of the Reference Court, which was subsequently partly modified by this Court and confirmed by the Apex Court, which is the subject matter of the present petition. The only ground is that considering the operation of Section 28-A to be prospective and Section 4 notification being prior to 1984, the application was not maintainable.

  4. Heard Mr. Dhruv K. Dave, learned Advocate for the petitioner, learned AGP Ms.Maithili Mehta for respondent No. 1 - Special Land Acquisition Officer and learned Advocate Mr. M.B. Gandhi for respondent No. 3 - GIDC.

  5. Mr. Dhruv K.Dave, learned Advocate for the petitioner contended that the impugned communication dated 10.10.2014 is based on an erroneous understanding of Section 28-A and its applicability after insertion of Section 28-A by an Amendment Act 68 of 1984 on 24.09.1984.

    5.1 He submitted that such interpretation is directly against interpretation of the same Section by this Court in judgment in the case Ramjibhai Harkhabhai v. Second Extra Special Land Acquisition Officer & Anr., reported in 1992 (1) GLH, 194. He submitted that considering the fact that though Section 4 notification is of the year 1981, prior to insertion of Section 28-A, yet the award under the same notification is that of 19.09.1986 and therefore, benefit of Section 28-A needs to be extended to the case of the petitioner.

    5.2 He submitted that considering date of the award, on the basis of which Section 28-A application is filed, such application is therefore within period of limitation prescribed by the Section and therefore also, case ought to have been considered by the competent authority.

    5.3 He submitted that application under Section 28-A was on 06.08.2002 and rejection of the same by the impugned communication is dated 10.10.2014. Prior to this, the respondent authority never...

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