10 December 2004
Supreme Court


Case number: C.A. No.-005591-005591 / 1999
Diary number: 7155 / 1999



CASE NO.: Appeal (civil)  5591 of 1999

PETITIONER: M/s Anand Buttons Ltd.

RESPONDENT: State of Haryana & Ors.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/12/2004

BENCH: Shivaraj V. Patil & B.N. Srikrishna


With Civil Appeal Nos. 5592, 5593, 5594, 5595, 5596 & 5597 of 1999


       These seven appeals by special leave impugn the common judgment  rendered by the Division Bench of the Punjab & Haryana High Court  dismissing a group of writ petitions challenging the acquisition proceedings  under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as the ’Act’).  The principal contention in the writ petitions before the High Court was that  the acquisition proceedings were vitiated by discrimination and arbitrariness  and, thus, violative of the Fundamental Rights under Article 14 of the  Constitution of India.  Although, seven appeals have been filed in this Court,  the arguments were addressed by the learned senior counsel appearing for  the appellant in Civil Appeal No. 5591 of 1999 in the matter of M/s Anand  Buttons Ltd.  v.  State of Haryana & Ors.. The counsel for the other  appellants have adopted the arguments addressed in the said case.  

Facts:         With a view to achieve the goal of rapid industrialization of the State,  the State of Haryana constituted the Haryana State Industrial Development  Corporation as a nodal agency for the development of industrial  infrastructure in the State.  New integrated industrial parks and estates were  developed by the state-Corporation keeping in view the Functional Plan  prepared by the Planning Board for the National Capital Region in  accordance with the provisions of the National Capital Regional Planning  Board Act, 1985.

       In order to fulfil the objective set out in the Functional Plan over an  area of 30,242 Sq. Kms., of which 13,413 Sq. Kms. fell within the Haryana  sub-region, 41 Industrial Estates of Haryana were targeted for rapid  industrial development.  Kundli  Industrial Estate was developed in phases  by acquiring land in accordance with the provisions of the Act. For  development of Phase-IV, which is located along National Highway No. 1,  the Government of Haryana (Industries Department) issued a preliminary  notification under Section 4 of the Act for acquisition of 93 kanals 10 marlas  of land (including the lands of the appellants) situated in Village Kundli.   The appellants filed objections under Section 5A of the Act, opposing the  acquisition of their lands on several grounds. The objections raised by the  appellants were considered by the Land Acquisition Collector, Sonepat, who  by his report dated 17.1.1997, recommended that the lands of these  appellants be exempted from acquisition. Being not satisfied with this report,  the State Government forwarded a copy of this report to the Director of  Industries, Haryana and asked for his comments.  Simultaneously, the  District Town Planner of the Haryana State Industrial Development  Corporation was also entrusted with the task of examining the report of the



Land Acquisition Collector.  As a result of this exercise, it was  recommended by the Director of Industries, Haryana as well as the District  Town Planner of the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation that  the lands of M/s Dinar Spinning Mills (P) Ltd., M/s Amar Elastomers (P)  Ltd. and M/s K.C. Fibre Ltd. may be exempted but the lands of the other  persons affected by Section 4 notification be acquired.  The Director of  Industries also addressed a memo dated 23.4.1997 to the Commissioner and  Secretary to the Government of Haryana, Industries Department,  recommending acquisition of land except in the aforesaid three cases.  The  State Government, after considering the reports submitted to it under   Section 5A of the Act, made a declaration under Section 6 of the Act.  As a  result of the decision taken by the State Government, the lands of only three  industrial units, namely, M/s Dinar Spinning Mills (P) Ltd., M/s K.C. Fibre  Ltd. and M/s Industrial Rollers Co. were exempted from acquisition and the  lands of all the present appellants were included in the declaration under  Section 6 for acquisition.  The present appellants challenged the acquisition  of their lands by individual writ petitions before the High Court of Punjab &  Haryana.  

The case made out by M/s Anand Buttons Ltd. (Appellant in Civil  Appeal No. 5591 of 1999) was that, it had taken several steps in order to  establish an industry and had expended  considerable amount of time, energy  and money in pursuing its objective of establishment of an industrial unit.  It  was pointed out that on 4.3.1994 the appellant had purchased land in Village  Kundli, Tehsil and District Sonepat for establishing a large and medium  sector industrial unit for manufacturing of polyster buttons. On 8.3.1994, the  appellant applied to the Director of Industries for grant of permission for  change of land use from agriculture to industrial. The Director of Industries  required from the appellants that before grant of such permission, a path way  of  33 feet wide strip of land for widening the road, had to be necessarily  given up in front of the land in order to enable a connecting road to the  industrial estate. This condition was complied with by the appellant  company which gifted the said land to the Gram Panchayat, as required by  the Director of Industries.  On 22.12.1995, the Director of Industries,  Haryana, granted land use justification certificate in favour of the appellant.   On 2.7.1996, the appellant was granted permission for change of user of land  from agriculture to industrial purpose. On 13.8.1996, the appellant submitted  building plan for approval of construction of its factory building to the  District Town Planner, Sonepat.  On 26.8.1996, the District Town Planner  called upon the appellant to pay certain processing fee for clearance of the  building plans. While this matter was under process, on 14.10.1996, a  notification under Section 4 of the Act was issued for acquisition of land,  which included the land of the appellant, proposed to be developed for the  purpose of setting up an industrial unit.  On 23.11.1996, the appellant  submitted a fresh set of building plans along with requisite processing fee to  the District Town Planner.  The appellant also raised its objections under  Section 5A of the Act.  The Land Acquisition Collector recommended  exemption of the appellant’s land and submitted his report to the Director of  Industries. This report was considered and rejected in the case of the  appellant.  The appellant challenged the acquisition proceedings by its writ  petition, C.W.P. No. 4135 of 1998.  As already said, this writ petition came  to be dismissed by the common judgment of the High Court. The cases of  the other appellants are also similar. All the appellants had raised objections under Section 5A, mainly on  the following two grounds: (a)  That each of them had been persuaded to gift 3 Kanals 11 Marlas  of land to the Gram Panchayat, Kundli for increasing the width of the  passage with an understanding that they will be granted permission to  change the user of land. Hence, the Director of Industries and the State  Government were estopped from acquiring the land in question.

(b) Each of the appellants objected to the acquisition on the ground  that they are desirous of setting up an industrial unit and, since the  acquisition was itself intended for setting up of an industrial estate, no  purpose would be served by acquiring their lands when all the formalities



had been completed.  

The principal contention advanced by the appellants against the  acquisition proceedings before the High Court was that the decision of the  State Government, not to grant exemption from acquisition to their lands,  was arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.   

The appellants contended that, in the case of M/s K.C. Fibres and     M/s Amar Elastomers, exemption had been granted from acquisition,  although, they were guilty of raising construction on their lands in violation  of the provisions of Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas  (Restriction of Unregulated Development) Act, 1963. It was urged that the  appellants, who had strictly followed the law and applied for requisite  permission and were granted permission, were being discriminated against.   A subsidiary contention urged was that the State Government should be  estopped from acquiring the land after having persuaded the appellants to  give up certain land for a passage as a condition for granting for change of  user or land.

The High Court has carefully considered and evaluated the  contentions urged by the petitioners-appellants in the light of the material  placed before it. The High Court noticed that the cases of all the seven units  were examined and recommended for exemption from acquisition by the  Land Acquisition Collector, who was of the view that, each one of the units  had taken considerable steps towards establishment of an industrial unit. The  General Manager, District Industries Centre, Sonepat,  after examining the  individual cases, reported that the facts found in the report of the Land  Acquisition Collector were correct, but made no recommendation with  regard to the acquisition proceedings. He reported: "all the parties have been   heard in person except the representative of M/s Anand Buttons Ltd., who  did not turn up for verification of the facts on the given date."  The General  Manager, District Industries Centre pointed out: "all the parties have  expressed their desire to set up an industry on this land within a period of  two years, if released. But none of them has so far taken up a tangible step  on the land. The land of all these parties put together, is surrounded by  Industrial Area already existing at HSIDC, Kundli. These parties have also  stated that they would not sell the plot further but will themselves set up an  industry on it." In the case of M/s Kundli Agro Pvt. Ltd., however, he  suggested that its case deserves a "sympathetical attitude", in view of the  land of 3 Kanals and 11 Marlas gifted by it for making a path way. Finally, it  was reported, "keeping all these things in view, the Headquarter may take a  suitable action."

The State Government did not file an affidavit in reply to oppose the  writ petitions, but, instead, authorized the Director of Industries and the  District Town Planner of the Haryana State Industrial Development  Corporation to do so.  The affidavits filed by these officers showed that     M/s Dinar Spinning Mills, M/s Industrial Roller Co. (who were the  subsequent purchasers of land from M/s Amar Elastomers) and M/s K.C.  Fibres had, not only constructed the factory building after obtaining the  permission, but had also started manufacturing of goods.  In all other cases,  including the case of M/s Anand Buttons Ltd., there were no tangible steps  taken for erection of factory building, much less had industrial production  commenced.  The State Government took the view that there was justifiable  difference between the cases of M/s Dinar Spinning Mills, M/s Industrial  Roller Co., M/s K.C. Fibres on the one hand and those of the present  appellants on the other. Although, M/s K.C. Fibres was alleged to have  carried out a construction in violation of the provisions of the Punjab  Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas (Restriction of Unregulated  Development) Act, 1963 and the Rules framed thereunder, the said illegality  appears to have been compounded and the construction had been  regularized.

The affidavits filed by the Director of Industries and the District Town  Planner also suggest that the acquisition of land was for setting up of Phase-



IV of Industrial Estate, Kundli, which work was being supervised by the  Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation appointed as the nodal  agency by the State Government for rapid industrialization of the State.  The  High Court pointed out that, in these circumstances, the failure of the State  Government itself to file a return would not be fatal, as the nodal agency,  who was entrusted with the work, had filed affidavits of the competent  officers, who were in the know of facts. It also came to the conclusion that  the action of the Director of Industries, Haryana, calling upon for comments  from the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation, and the action  of the State Government in considering their comments before taking a final  decision for issuance of the notification under Section 6 of the Act, was  neither vitiated, nor illegal.  The High Court also noticed that the land of the  present appellants was sandwiched between Phase-I and Phase-II of the  Industrial Estate, Kundli. Consequently, leaving a part of the open land  would jeopardize the planned development of the industrial establishment.

This reasoning of the High Court cannot be faulted for the simple  reason that the authority, who has to carry out the planned development of  the industrial estate, is in the best position to judge as to which land can be  exempted from the acquisition without jeopardizing the development  scheme. It is not possible for the court to sit in appeal over the exercise of  such satisfaction by the authority vested with the task of implementing the  development plan.

The learned counsel for the appellants urged that the decision taken  for exempting M/s Dinar Spinning Mills (P) Ltd., M/s Amar Elastomers (P)  Ltd. and M/s K.C. Fibre Ltd. was not a principled one and that there was no  uniform yardstick applied for exemption of the said units from acquisition. It  was urged that, although the State Government had ostensibly decided to  exempt the said three units on the basis of construction put up and industrial  units being set up, this was really not true in the case of these three units.  In  our view, it is unnecessary for us to enter into this controversy.  Even if we  assume that the three units, who were exempted, did not qualify under the  standard adopted by the State Government for exemption, at the highest, it  would make the exemption granted to them vulnerable. None of them was  made party to the writ petitions filed before the High Court, nor was any  relief claimed against them. Even assuming that the exemption granted to  the said three units was erroneous and illegal, Article 14 does not mandate  that the appellants should be granted similar illegal and unjustified relief.  As  said by this Court in Union of India and Anr.  v.  International Trading  Co. and Anr. , to which one of us, (Shivaraj V. Patil, J.) was a party, (vide  Para 13): "\005..It is not necessary to deal with that aspect because  two wrongs do not make one right. A party cannot claim  that since something wrong has been done in another  case direction should be given for doing another wrong.   It would not be setting a wrong right, but would be  perpetuating another wrong.  In such matters there is no  discrimination involved.  The concept of equal treatment  on the logic of Article 14 of the Constitution of India (in  short "the Constitution) cannot be pressed into service in  such cases.  What the concept of equal treatment  presupposes is existence of similar legal foothold.  It  does not countenance repetition of a wrong action to  bring both wrongs on a par.  Even if hypothetically it is  accepted that a wrong has been committed in some other  cases by introducing a concept of negative equality the  respondents cannot strengthen their case.  They have to  establish strength of their case on some other basis and  not by claiming negative equality."

It is trite law that not only land but also structure on land can be  acquired under the Act. As to whether in a given set of circumstances certain  land should be exempted from acquisition only for the reason that some  construction had been carried out, is a matter of policy, and not of law.  If



after considering all the circumstances, the State Government has taken the  view that exemption of the lands of the appellants would render askew the  development scheme of the industrial estate, it is not possible for the High  Court or this Court to interfere with the satisfaction of the concerned  authorities.  We see no ground on which the appellants could have  maintained that their lands should be exempted from acquisition.  Even if  three of the parties had been wrongly exempted from acquisition, that gives  no right to the appellants to seek similar relief.

It is rightly pointed out by the High Court that, merely because a  representation was made by the Director, Town and Country Planning, that  upon gift of certain land to the Gram Panchayat for widening of the passage,  permission for change of user of land would be granted, such a promise is  not one capable of being enforced against the State Government. The High  Court has rightly pointed out that, if the appellants are so desirous, they may  seek invalidation of the gifts in favour of the Gram Panchayat on the ground  of failure of the Director, Town and Country Planning to fulfil his  commitment. That, however, does not render the acquisition proceedings  illegal.

No other ground has been made out. In our view, therefore, no fault  can be found with the judgment rendered by the Division Bench.  We find  no merit in the appeals, which are hereby dismissed.

No order as to costs.