01 November 1996
Supreme Court


Case number: Transfer Petition (Civil) 20 of 1995






DATE OF JUDGMENT:       01/11/1996




JUDGMENT:      With transferred  cases No. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31/1995                      Nos.13961-14029/96 With Civil  Appeals/arising out  of SLP (C) Nos. 2395, 2397, 2399, 2400,  2401, 2421, 394, 484, 305, 430-432, 1026, 1084, 2403, 740,  744, 2439,  2440, 1212,  802, 2608,  2669, 2601, 2815, 3434,  3611-3613, 3964,  5563, 5344, 4463, 4465, 4243, 5398, 4161,  4181. 1264, 1270, 2523, 2527, 2528, 3968, 3969, 4344, 5738,  5749, 5781, 5911, 5914, 5916, 5771, 6060, 6061, 6064, 6066, 5567, 7908,  6362, 7700, 8012, 8018, 8019, 8026, 8027,  8036,   7889  &  7875/1996.  SLP(C)  No.21671/96  (CC 1607/96)                       J U D G M E N T      Faizan Uddin, J.      Leave granted, 1    .The appellants  in the  appeals enumerateted    herein above had challenged the acquisition proceedings  in respect of their respective lands acquired under he Land Acquisition Act, 1894  for purposes  of planed  development of  Delhi by filing various writ phitions before the High Court of Delhi. The said  write petition  were dismissed  by a Full Bench of the Delhi  High Court  by judgment  dated December  14, 1995 against which  these appeals  have been preferred by special leave. Various  notifications were  issued from time to time under Section  4 of  the  Land  Acquisition  Act,  1894  for acquisition   of    land   for   the   public   purpose   of planneddevelopment of  Delhi. The  said notification covered the land  belonging to  the transfer petitioners, appellants and some other persons. The transfer petitioners like others had also  filed writ  petitions in  the High  Court of Delhi being writ petitions No. 2179, 2178, 2140, 2139, 2197, 2083, 2138, 2144,  2199/1983 and  civil writ  petitions  No.  810- 812/1984 challening  the  acquisition  of  their  respective lands on  various grounds. These writ petitions were pending in the  High Court. However, during the course of hearing of writ petition (C) No. 4677/1985 pending before this Court it was felt  necessary  to  transter  all  the  aforesaid  writ petitions from  Delhi High Court to this Court. Consequently on the  basis of Interlocutory Applications No. 20 and 21 of 1995 in  W.P. (C)  No. 4677/1985  this court  by order dated



December 14,  1994 directed that all the aforementioned writ petitions be  transferred to  this court.  This is how those writ petitions  stand transferred  to this  court which have been registered  as transfer  cases Nos. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27,  28, 29,  30 and 31 of 1995. As said earlier besides the aforementioned  transfer  cases  large  number  of  writ petitions filled  by various  persons were  already  pending before the  High Court  of Delhi challenging the acquisition of their  respective lands for the public purpose of planned development of Delhi which were dismissed by a full Bench of the High  Court of  Delhi by  the impugned  common  judgment dated December  14, 1995  against which the appeals referred to above  have been filed by special leave. Since the common question of  law and facts arise in all these transfer cases and appeals  and, therefore,  they were clubbed together and are being disposed of by this common judgment. 2.    The  facts in  brief leading to the transfer cases and the appeals may he narrated thus:-      Various notifications  under  Section  4  of  the  Land Acquisition Act  (hereinafter referred  to as  the Act) were issued from  time to  time between  1959 and  1965  for  the acquisition of  several  thousand  acres  of  land  for  the common,  public  project,  namely,  planned  development  of Delhi. Declarations under Section under Section 6 of the Act were also  made between  the years  1966 and 1969, while the making of the awards was deferred till the year 1979-80. The master plan  of Delhi  was brought  into force  in September 1962 giving the details of the facts and circumstances under which it became imperative to have a development plan of the city of  Delhi.  It  is  common  knowledge  that  after  the partition  of  the  country  there  was  enormous  and  huge migration of  population into  India mainly  at Delhi  which resulted into  a phenomenal  growth  of  population  of  the settlers in  Delhi besides considerable growth of industrial and  commercial  activities,  which  gave  rise  to  various residential and  occupational problems  as a result of which various sub standard structures, complexes and colonies came into being  without proper  layouts and  other essentials of life. No  lands was available at reasonable price and within the reach  of common  man. It was in these circumstances and with a view to give a proper shape to the city of Delhi, the capital of  India, the Central Government had set up a Delhi Development Authority  in 1950  and later in December 1955 a Town  Planning   Organisation   was   set   up   under   the administrative control of Delhi Improvement Trust to monitor the planning  development in  the National Capital Territory of Delhi. It was in this background that planned development of Delhi  was conceived  of and  to achieve  that  objective various notifications under Section 4 of the Act were issued from time  to time  between the  period from  13.11.1959 and 21.11965   whereby large  chunks of  land were  sought to be acquired. after  issuance of  notices under Section 9 and 10 of the  Act a spate of writ petitions were filed challenging the acquisition  proceedings on  various grounds whose lands were sought  to be  acquired, most  of which  were dismissed including the  Letters Patent Appeal by the High Court by an earlier  judgment dated April 29,1972 vide I.L.R. (1971) 3.   The said  judgment was challenged in appeal before this Court which  was also dismissed by judgment dated August 23, 1974 by a Constitution Bench of this Court which is reported in 1975  (1) SCR  8O2 = AIR 1974 SC 2077 Aflatoon & Ors. Vs. Ltd.  Governor   of  Delhi,  in  which  amongst  others  the contentions before  this Court  were  raised  that  (1)  the public purpose specified in the notification under Section 4 of the  Act was  vague as neither master plan nor zonal plan



was in existence on the date of notification; (2) that there was  inordinate   delay  in   finalising   the   acquisition proceedings by reason of which the land owners were deprived of the  benefits of  the appreciation  of price  between the date of  notification under Section 4 and the date of taking possession of  the property;  (3) that provisions of Section 23 of  the Act  laying down  that the compensation should be determined with reference to the market value of the land as on the  date of  notification under Section 4 of the Act was unreasonable  restriction   and  affecting  the  fundamental rights of  the land  owners. but this Court repelled all the contentions and dismissed the appeals and the writ petitions by maintaining  the validity of notices issued under Section 4 of  the Act laying down that in the case of an acquisition of large  areas of  land belonging to different persons, the specification of  public purpose  can only be with reference to the acquisition of the whole area for it may be difficult to specify  the particular  purpose for which each and every item of  land comprised in the area is needed but unlike the case  of   an  acquisition   of  a   small  area.  The  said Constitution Bench  of this Court dispelled the challenge of the acquisition  proceedings  on  the  ground  of  delay  by holding that  the appellants  of that  case did not move the Court in the matter even after the declaration under section 6 was  published in  the year  1966 but  they  preferred  to approach the  Court with  their writ  petitions only in 1970 when notices under Section 9 were issued. This Court further took the  view that  the appellants of that case allowed the Government to  complete the  acquisition proceedings  on the basis of  the notifications  under Section 4 and declaration under Section  6 of  the Act which were available to them at the time  when the notifications were published and if their objection is  allowed to  stand it would amount to putting a premium on dilatory tactics adopted by them. On the question of delay  in  completing  the  acquisition  proceedings  the Constitution Bench  in the aforementioned case observed that about 600 objections were filed under Section 5-A of the Act and civil  writ petitions  were also  filed challenging  the validity of  the acquisition  proceedings. Consequently  the Government unnecessarily  had to  wait for disposal of those objections and  petitions before  proceeding further  in the matter and,  therefore, it  was bound to result in delay. It was further  held that  the Land Acquisition Act being a pre constitution  Act  its  provisions  are  not  liable  to  be challenged on  the ground  that they  are not  in conformity with the  requirement of  Article 31(2) of the Constitution. The land  owners, therefore,  could not  complain about  the payment of  compensation computing  with  reference  to  the market value  of the  land as  on the  date of  notification under section  5 and Section 23 of the Act could not be held to be  bad, as  such a  challenge is  precluded in  view  of Article 31(5)  of the  Constitution. This Court further held that it  is true  that there could be no planned development of Delhi  except in  accordance with the provisions of Delhi Development Act after that Act came into force but there was no  inhibition  in  the  acquisition  of  land  for  planned development of  Delhi under  the Act  before the master plan was ready. 4.   Before the  High Court  a number  of controversies  and objections were  raised and the acquisition proceedings were sought  to   be  challenged  on  various  grounds  including challenge to the validity of the declarations made from time to time  under Section  6 of  the Act using the notification issued under  Section 4 of the Act as the reservoir and that more than  one declarations  under Section 6 of the Act were



issued which  according to  the transfer petitioners and the appellants were  not permissible.  A plea  was  raised  that after the  lapse of  a long  period and  inordinate delay in completing the  proceedings, the  proceedings must result in the abandonment  of the acquisition proceedings and no award on the basis of such proceedings can validly be made. It was also contended that more there one award is not contemplated by law  in respect of the land, which was the subject matter of one  declaration issued  under Section  6 of  the Act.  A further contention  raised before  the High  Court was  with regard  to   the  interpretation  of  Section  55  of  Delhi Development Act,  1957 (hereinafter referred to as the Delhi Act). It  was contended  that some  of the  land owners  had issued notice  to the  Central Government  under sub-section (1) of  Section 55  of the  Delhi Act  with  regard  to  the requirement of  the designated land under the master plan or sta zonal development plan but the Central Government failed to acquire  the land  within a  period of  6 months from the date of  receipt of  the said  notice as  required  by  sub- section (2)  of Section 55 and, therefore, the said omission on the  part of  the authorities to complete the acquisition proceedings within  the  stipulated  time  would  result  in abandonment of  the acquisition  proceedings  completely  in respect of  such land  to which  Section 25 of the Delhi Act was applicable.  It was also contended before the High Court by some  of the  transfer petitioners  and  appellants  that according  to   Article  31-A   of  the   Constitution   the appropriate value  of the  land forming  part of  an  estate which is  sought to  be acquired  would be  the market value prevailing at the time of award and not the value prevailing on the  date of  notification under  Section 4 of the Act as contemplated in  Section 23  thereof. The  appellants of the civil writ  petition No.  325/1982 (Ram  Phal  Vs  Union  of India) before the High Court took the plea that the Central Government had  issued an order under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act  withdrawing the  acquisition proceedings in respect  of  their  land  and,  therefore,  the  acquisition proceedings in respect of the said land be quashed. The High Court repelled all the aforementioned contentions as well as some other  grounds on  the basis  of which  the acquisition proceedings were sought to be quashed and dismissed the writ petitions by  the common  judgment as  said earlier  against which these appeals have been preferred. To some extent same grounds are  advanced by  the learned  counsel appearing for the land owners in the transfer cases. 5.   The main  attack by  learned counsel  appearing for all the  appellants   and  those   representing   the   transfer petitioners  was   advanced  for  quashing  the  acquisition proceedings  on  the  ground  of  delay  in  completing  the acquisition proceedings. M/s. Soli Sorabjee, Venugopal, P.N. Lekhi, Kapil  Sibal, Rajiv  Dhavan, H.N.  Salve, G.L. Sanghi learned senior counsel and host of other advocates appearing for the  appellants made  a concerted  effort to  show  that there was  unreasonable delay  of about  15 to  20 years  in completing the acquisition proceedings by the respondents by reason of  which  the  land  owners  were  deprived  of  the reasonable and  real price of their properties who have been offered only  a pittance  of compensation after a long lapse of time  while the  prices have  gone up  many times high in between the  period from  the  date  of  notification  under Section 4  to the  date  of  making  the  award  and  taking possession of the properties. It was submitted that the main purpose in  issuing the notifications under Section 4 of the Act during  the period  from 1959  - 1965  was to freeze the price of the land causing great loss to the land owners. The



decision rendered  in the  case of  Ram Chand  Vs. Union  of India 1994  (1) SCC  44 was  sought to  be distinguished  by contending that  the same cannot stand as a bar in cases for the reason  that though  the award had been made in the year 1980 but  no possession  was taken from the land owners and, therefore, Ram  Chand’s case has no application to the facts of the  present case.  Shri Soli Sorabjee further added that there is  internal inconsistency  in  the  decision  of  Ram Chand’s case and the same cannot be taken to be an authority on  the   proposition  in   all  situations   but  different principles have  to be applied on circumstances of each case when the  fact situation  is different.  It  was  vehemently urged by  all  the  learned  advocates  that  the  award  of interest at  the rate  of 12 percent after the expiry of two years from  August 1974  in respect of the awards made prior to the amendment of Section 23 of the Act would not mitigate the loss suffered by the land owners. The 18th report of the Public Accounts  Committee of  the  7th  Lok  Sabha  on  the working of  the Delhi  Development Authority was also sought to be  pressed in  service  to  support  the  aforementioned submissions in addition to various decisions of this, Court. It was  stated that  the Public  Accounts Committee  in  its report dated  26.4.1981 at page 101 stated in para 5.29 that it is well known fact that the D.D.A. acquires land from the land owners  at a  very low rate and after development sells it at  exorbitant rates thereby earning huge profits. It was stated that  even  where  land  is  acquired  for  a  public purpose, a  reasonable compensation  has to  be paid  but in cases where  land is  acquired and  later sold by auction or for commercial  purposes, as has happened in most cases, the ommittee  feels   the  land  owners/farmers  should  not  be compelled to  part with  their holdings at throw away price, the  committee   therefore   recommended   that   the   Land Acquisition Act may be suitably amended so that the interest of the farmers are properly safeguarded. 6.   After  giving   our  thoughtful  consideration  to  the submissions made  above, it may be stated that the report of the Public Accounts Committee referred to above and on which great emphasis  was laid  is nothing but recommendations for the necessary  amendment in  the Act. The recommendations of any authority  howsoever high  it may  be cannot be enforced unless the same take the shape of law. The provisions of the Land  Acquisition  Act  as  they  stand  today  have  to  be interpreted and applied in accordance with existing position of law  and in  its true  sense of perspective in respect of which this  Court has  made authorotative  pronouncements on the points  raised and  contended by the learned counsel. In the present  case as  stated earlier  after issuance  of the notifications and  notices under Section 9 and 10 of the Act not only  large number  of objections were filed by the land owners whose  land was sought to be acquired but a number of writ  petitions   were  filed   in  the   Delhi  High  Court challenging the   validity of the notification under Section 4 as  well as  the declaration  under  Section  6  in  which interim orders  of stay  were passed by the High Court which resulted in  the considerable  delay. Thus  the  authorities alone were not responsible for the delay but the land owners were  equally   responsible  for   the  same   .   In   such circumstances and  on consideration  of several decisions of this Court  including those  rendered in  the case  of Bihar State Housing  Board Vs. Ram Behari Mahato AIR 1988 SC 2134; and Ujjain  Vikas Pradhikaran  Vs. Raj  Kumar Johri 1992 (1) SCC 329  this Court  in the  case of  Ram Chand Vs. Union of India 1994  (1)   SCC 44  took the  view that  in  any  case there. was  no justification for the authorities to make the



award in 1980/1981/1983 when the declaration under Section 6 was made  in 1966-69,  but at  the same time, in view of the facts  of   delay  caused   by  land  owners  themselves  in approaching the  Courts and the developments already made on the  lands   for  public   use,  quashing   of   acquisition proceedings would  not be  appropriate. But at the same time in the  said decision this Court also took the view that the land owners  alone were not responsible for the entire delay that was  caused in  completing the acquisition proceedings. This Court in the said decision pointed out that all those writ petitions  were dismissed  by this  Court on August 23, 1974 in  the case of Aflatoon Vs. Ltd. Governor of Delhi yet no effective  steps were taken by the respondents till 1980- 81  and   in  some  cases  even  till  1983  for  which  the respondents could  give no  justification for  that delay on their part  in completing  the acquisition  proceedings even after the  judgment of  this Court  in Aflatoon’s case. This Court  having   regard  to   the   fact   that   the   Delhi Administration and  Delhi Development Authority after taking possession of  the lands various developments have been made and  third  party  interest  have  also  been  created  and, therefore, having  regard  to  the  larger  public  interest declined to  quash the acquisition proceedings on the ground of delay  but at the same time having regard to the interest of the  land owners who were likely to suffer loss in rating the price  of  the  land  with  reference  to  the  date  of notification  under   Section  4,  directed  payment  of  an additional amount  of compensation  to be  calculated at the rate of  12 percent per annum after expiry of two years from August 23,  1974, the  date of  judgment of  this  Court  in Aflatoon’s case  (supra) till  the date of the making of the awards by  the Collector  to be calculated with reference to the market  value of  the lands  in question  on the date of notification under  Section 4(1)  of the Act. We do not find any inconsistency  in the  said decision  (Ram Chand’s case) and find ourselves in respectful agreement to the view taken by this  Court in  the case  of Ram  Chand (supra). The same principle has  to be  applied in  those cases  in which  the possession  is   not  taken   and  there  is  no  reason  to distinguish  such   cases  from   the  application   of  the principles laid  down in  Ram Chand’s  case  merely  on  the ground that  possession is  not taken  from some of the land owners. In  this connection the fact could not be lost sight of that  the land  owners have  enjoyed possession all these years and  have taken  the benefit  of the usfruct and other advantages out  of the  said land and, therefore, they stand even in an advantageous position than those land owners from whom the possession was taken earlier. 7.   It was  then contended  that it  was not  open  to  the Government to issue more than one declaration under  Section 6 of  the Act  with regard  to the land comprised within one notification under  Section 4 of the Act. In  other words it was submitted  that the  notification under Section 4 cannot be treated  as a  reservior from  which  land could be taken from time to time and declaration one after the other may be made under  Section 6  of the  Act which  is not permissible under the  Act and,  therefore, the  acquisition proceedings were  liable   to  be,  quashed  on  this  ground.  In  this connection we feel it necessary to mention some of the facts and circumstances which are relevant to the submissions made above and  to see  whether the submissions have any merit or not to  the facts  and circumstances of the present case. It may be  stated that  similar question was raised before this Court in  the case of State of M.P. Vs. Vishnu Prasad Sharma AIR 1966  SC 1593  decided by  a Bench  comprised  of  three



learned Judges  of this  Court. The  majority view taken was that the  provisions in Section 17(4) of the Act do not lead to the  conclusion that  Section 6  of the  Act contemplates successive  notification  following  the  notification  made under Section  4 of  the Act. It was held that the intention of Section  4, 5-A  and  6  of  the  Act  was  not  to  have successive declarations  under Section  6. It  was  observed that even  in a  case of  emergency there can at the most be only  two   notifications  under  Section  6  following  one notification under  Section 4(1),  one relating  to the land which is  covered by  S.17 (1) and the other relating to the land which  is not  covered by  Section 17(1), provided both kinds of  land are notified by one notiication under Section 4(1) of  the Act.  In order to meet the situation created by the judgment in the case of Vishnu Prasad Sharma (supra) the President  of   India  promulgated   the  Land   Acquisition (Amendment Validation)  Act No.  13 of  1967, Section  2  of which purported  to amend  Section 5-A  of the Principal Act permitting more  than one award in respect of the land which had been  notified under  Section 4 of the Act; Section 3 of the said  amendment Act  purported to amend Section 6 of the Principal Act by empowering different declaration to be made from time  to time  in respect  of different parcels of land covered by  the same  notification made  under Section  4(1) irrespective of  whether one report or the different reports had been  made under  sub-Section 2  of Section  5-A of  the Principal Act.  Further Section 4 of the Amendment Act, 1967 purported to  validate all  acquisitions  of  land  made  or purported to  have been  made under the Principal Act before the commencement  of the  ordinance dated  January 20, 1967, notwithstanding that more than one declaration under Section 6 had  been made in pursuance of the same notification under Section 4(1)  and notwithstanding  the  judgment  decree  or order of  any Court  to the  contrary. The  validity of  the aforesaid Amending  Act has been upheld by this Court in the case of Uday Ram Sharma Vs. Union of India 1968 (3) SCR 41 = AIR 1968  SC 1138  which has been further reaffirmed by this Court in  the case of Aflatoon  (supra). Some of the learned counsel appearing  for the  appellants  contended  that  the aforementioned Amending  Act was  promulgated with a view to over reach  the decision  of this Court rendered in the case of Vishnu  Prasad Sharma  but such a submission could not be accepted in  view of  the decision of this Court referred to above upholding the validity of the said Amending Act. 8.   Dr. Siddhu learned counsel appearing for the appellants in the  civil appeal arising out of SLP (C) No. 2669/1978 as well as  some other  counsel  contended  that  the  land  in village Masodpur  sought  to  be  acquired  is  in  personal cultivation of  the land  owner which is a small area and by virtue  of  the  second  proviso  of  Article  31-A  of  the Constitution it  will not be lawful for the State to acquire any portion  of such  land as  is within  the ceiling  limit applicable to  the land  owner under  any law  for the  time being in  force. It  was also asserted that the market price of the  land prevailing  on the  date  of  taking  over  the possession of the land should be ascertained and paid to the land owner  and not  the price  prevailing on  the  date  of notification under Section 4 of the Act. Reliance was placed on the  decision rendered  by this Court in the case of D.G. Mahajan Vs.  State of Maharashtra AIR 1977 SC 915 wherein it has been  observed that  the second  proviso of Article 31-A confers a  right and this right is higher than the one under clause (2)  of Article  31 on  a person  in respect  of such portion of  land under his personal cultivation as is within the ceiling  limit applicable  to him  and  if  the  Act  by



creating an  artificial concept  of a family unit and fixing ceiling on holding of agricultural land by such family unit, enables land within the ceiling limit to be acquired without payment of  full market  values it  would be  taking away or abridging the  right conferred  by the  second proviso. Thus even according  to this decision the land within the ceiling limit may  be acquired  but on  payment of  the full  market value. The  question, therefore,  arises whether  the market value prevailing  on the  date of  the award  or  taking  of possession of the land or the one with reference to the date of notification  made under  Section  4(1)  of  the  Act  is payable as the just and proper compensation. 9.   In the present case it may be noted that the provisions of sub-Section  (1) of  Section 23  of the  Act provide  the payment of  the  compensation  of  such  land,  building  or structure prevailing  on the  date  of  publication  of  the notification  under   sub-Section  (1)  of  Section  4,  the validity of  which was  upheld by  this Court in the case of Aflatoon (supra) wherein it was observed at page 809-F.G. of the report as under:      "The Land Acquisition Act is a pre-      Constitution  Act.  Its  provisions      are not,  therefore, liable  to  be      challenged on  the ground that they      are  not  in  conformity  with  the      requirement of  article 31(2). What      the appellants and writ petitioners      complain is  that their  properties      were  acquired   by   paying   them      compensation     computed      with      reference to  the market  value  of      the land  as on  the  date  of  the      notification under S. 4 and that S.      23 is,  therefore,  bad.  This,  in      substance,   is   nothing   but   a      challenge  to   the   adequacy   of      compensation. Such  a challenge  is      precluded  by   reason  of  Article      31(5).   In    other   words,   the      appellants and the writ petitioners      cannot  challege  the  validity  of      S.23    on    the    ground    that      compensation  payable   under   its      provisions   is    in    any    way      inadequate,   because,    such    a      challenge would  fly in the face of      Article 31(5)."      That being  to, the  argument advanced  by the  learned counsel could  not be accepted. Here a reference may also be made to the decision in the case of P.V. Mudaliar Vs. Deputy Collector 1965  (1) SCR  614 (621-H)  in which  it has  been observed as under:      "Under Article  31(2) and  (2A)  of      the  Constitution   a  State     is      prohibited from  making a  law  for      acquiring land  unless it  is for a      public purpose  and unless it fixes      the  amount   of  compensation   of      specifies   the    principles   for      determining    the     amount    of      compensation.  But   Article   31-A      lifts the  ban to  enable the State      to implement  the pressing agrarian      reforms. The  said  object  of  the      Constitution is implicit in Article



    31-A.  If   the  argument   of  the      respondents be  accepted, it  would      enable the  State  to  acquire  the      lands of citizens without reference      to   any    agrarian   reform    in      derogation  of   their  fundamental      rights    without     payment    of      compensation   and   thus   deprive      Article 31(2)  practically  of  its      content. If  the intention  of  the      parliament  was   to  make  Article      31(2) a  dead letter  it would have      clearly  expressed  its  intention.      This Court cannot by interpretation      enlarge the  scope of Article 31-A.      On the  other hand the Article , as      pointed  out   by  us  earlier,  by      necessary implication,  is confined      only to aqrarian reforms. Therefore      , we  held that  Article 31-A would      apply  only   to  a  law  made  for      acquisition by  the  State  of  any      "estate" or  any rights  therein or      for extinguishment  or modification      of such rights if such acquisition,      extinguishment or  modification  is      connected with agrarian reform." (emphasis supplied)      In the same report it has been further observed at page 631-D as under:      One of  the  elements  that  should      properly be  taken into  account in      fixing the compensation is omitted:      it results in the inadequacy or the      compensation  but  that  in  itself      does not constitute fraud on power,      as we  have explained  earlier. We,      therefore ,  hold that the Amending      Act does  not offend  Article 31(2)      of the Constitution."      A reference  may also  be made  to the  decision in the case of Nagpur Improvement Trust Vs. Vithal Rao 1973 (1) SCC page 500 para 35 which reads as under:      "The learned  counsel was  not able      to satisfy  us that  the above case      was distinguishable.  We are of the      opinion that  the case  was rightly      decided and  must govern this case.      In this  view of  the matter, it is      not necessary  to refer  to all the      cases referred to us at the Bar. We      may mention  that Mr. Tarkunde also      placed reliance  on  Article  31(A)      (l)(a) of  the Constitution.  It is      now well settled that Article 31(A)      (1)(a) has  relevance  to  agrarian      reforms  and  development.  It  has      nothing to  do with  acquisition of      land for building of a capital of a      State. 10.  further, a Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of Vajravalu  Vs. Sp.  Dy. Collector  -  AIR  1965  SC  1017 observed in para 14 page 1083 Col. IT as under:-      " A scrutiny of the amended Article      discloses  that   it  accepted  the



    meaning    of    the    expressions      "Compensation" and  "principles" as      defined by  this Court  in Mrs Bela      Banerjee’s case,  1954 SCR 558 (AIR      1954 SC  170). It  may be  recalled      that  this   Court  in   the   said      expressions and then stated whether      the principles  laid down take into      account all the elements which make      up the  true value  of the properly      appropriated  and  exclude  matters      which are  to be  neglected,  is  a      justiciable issue to be adjudicated      by the  Court.  Under  the  amended      Article, the  law fixinq the amount      of compensation  or laying down the      principles   governing   the   said      fixation cannot  be  questioned  in      any court  on the  ground that  the      compensation provided  by that  law      was inadequate." 10.  It is  thus clear from these decisions that Article 31A has got  nothing to do with acquisition of land for building of a  capital of a State. In the present case before us also the land  is not  said to  be acquired  for purposes  of any agrarian  reforms   and  development  but  for  the  planned development of Delhi and that being so the argument advanced by  the  learned  counsel  in  this  behalf  that  the  land belonging to  a small  agriculturist  within  celling  limit cannot  be  acquired  or  the  value  of  the  land  of  the agriculturists sought to be acquired should be determined on the price/value prevailing on the date of award or taking of possession and  not on  the value  prevailing on the date of notification under  Section 4(1)  cannot be accepted. In the case of  Ram Chand (supra) also in para 4 of the report this Court while dealing with Article 31-A took the view that the Constitution ensures under the second proviso to Article 31- A that  where any law makes provision for the acquisition by the State,  of land  held by  a person,  under his  personal cultivation, within  the ceiling  limit,  it  shall  not  be lawful for  the state  to acquire  any portion  of such land "unless the  law relating  to the  acquisition of such land, building or  structure provides  for payment of compensation at a  rate which  shall not  be less  than the  market value thereof".   It has  been further  observed in  the same para that by  Constitution (Forty  Fourth Amendment)  Act,  1978, clause (f)  of Article  19 and  Article 31 have been deleted and, as  such, to  hold property  is no  more a  fundamental right. But still the mandate under second proviso to Article 31-A continues  regarding payment of market value in respect of the land, the subject matter of acquisition, and that the Act provides  for payment  of compensation in respect of the acquisition made,  at the  market value of the land, as such it is  consistent with  the second  proviso to Article 31-A. But in view of sub-section (1) of Section 11 and sub-section (1) of  Section 23  the market  value of  such land is to be fixed with  reference to  the date  of  the  publication  of notification under  section 4, sub-section (1), irrespective of the  dates on  which declaration under Section 6 or award under Section  11 are  made or  possession  is  taken  under Section 16  of the  Act. In  this view  of  the  matter  the contentions raised  with regard to Article 31-A could not be accepted  and  are  accordingly  rejected.  The  acquisition procedings, therefore,  could not be quashed on that account also.



11.  Dr. Sidhu  learned counsel appearing for the appellants in appeal  arising out  of SLP  (C)  No.  2669/1996  further submitted that  Khasra No.  364/21 was  not  notified  under Section 6 of the Act as the land to be acquired yet an award has been  made in  respect thereto also which deserves to be quashed to  the extent of the land of the said khasra No. He submitted that  forgery was committed by changing the khasra No.  264/21    into  khasra  No.364/21  as  in  the  gazette notification the  land notified was khasra No.264/21 and not khasra No.  364/21. This  contention of  the learned counsel may be  disposed of  without going  into the  merits of  the submissions in  view of  the fact  that the  learned counsel himself admitted  that a review against  the said mistake is pending in the High Court itself. 12.  Learned counsel  for the  appellants  as  well  as  the counsel  appearing   for  the   transfer  petitioners   also strenuously urged  with great force that the land was sought to be  acquired for  the planned  development of  Delhi and, therefore the  provisions of  Delhi Development,  Act,  1957 became applicable  to  such  acquisition  of  land  and  the acquisition or  land can  be made  only in  accordance  with master plan  and zonal  plans to  be framed  under the Delhi Development Act.  It was  contended that  on the issuance of the notification  under Section 4 of the Act for acquisition of the  land for  planned development  of Delhi it has to be inferred that the land which was notified under Section 4 of the Act  for  planned  development  of  Delhi  is  the  land designated for  compulsory acquisition within the meaning of Sub-Section (1)  of Section  55 of  the Delhi Act but as the land sought  to be  acquired was not so acquired  within the period of  six months  from the  date of  service of  notice under sub-section  (2) of  section 55 of the said Act by the land owners,  therefore after the expiry of the period of 10 years of  the coming into force of the master plan, the land sought to be acquired went out of the compulsory acquisition and the  same would  be deemed  to have  been released  from acquisition.  It  was  submitted  that  sub-section  (2)  of Section 55  provides that the owner of the land may serve on the Central  Government a  notice requiring  his interest in the land  to be acquired and if the Central Government fails to acquire the land within the period of six months the same shall have the effect as if the land were not required to be kept as  an open  space or unbuilt or were not designated as subject to  compulsory acquisition.  It  was  asserted  that since some  of the  land owners  whose land was sought to be acquired had given such notice to the Central Government but the Central  Government did  not acquire the land within the specified period and, therefore, the acquisition proceedings must  be   quashed  on   that  account.   After  a   careful consideration of  the submissions  made above, we are of the view that  there is  absolutely no merit in this contention. It must  be shown  that the particular land is designated in the master  plan of  zonal development  plan  which  is  the subject matter of acquisition. 13.  It may  be pointed  out that in the present case before us no  zonal development  plans were prepared with regard to the  said   land.  In   the  master   plan   there   is   no particularisation of  any land  which  can  be  said  to  be required for  compulsory acquisition  under the  Delhi  Act. Neither Section 55 nor any other provisions of the Delhi Act contain any  inhibition for  acquisition of the land for the public purposes  of planned  development of  Delhi under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. As said earlier, the notifications under section 4 of the Act were already issued between the  period from  1959 to 1965  as a result of which



the application of Section 55 of the Delhi Act was locked up by virtue  of acquisition process under the Land Acquisition Act. This  apart the  land cannot  be  acquired  within  the period of  six months  as contemplated  in Section 55 of the Delhi Act unless an agreement under Section 11(2) of the Act has reached  because  if  the  objections  are  filed  under Section 5-A  or in response to notice under Section 9 and 10 the proceedings  are  bound  to  consume  considerable  time beyond the  prescribed limit  of  six  months  contained  in Section 55  of the  Delhi Act.  It is for these reasons that Section 15(1)  was enacted  in the  Delhi Act which provides interalia that  if in  the opinion of the Central Government any land is required for the purpose of development , or for any other  purpose, under  the said  Act, (Delhi Act) so the Central  Government   may  acquire   such  land   under  the provisions of  the Land  Acquisition Act   1894.  It is thus distinctly clear  that despite  the enforcement of the Delhi Development Act,  1957 Section 15 (1) thereof lays down that the land  for the  purposes of  development may  be acquired under the  provisions of  the  Land  Acquisition  Act.  This contention was also advanced before the High Court, The Full Bench of  the High  Court after considering the arguments at length and  taking all  the facts  and circumstances  of the case into consideration recorded the following conclusion:-      Assuming that the argument advanced      by Mr.  Lekhi is  correct that once      the land is notified for compulsory      acquisition in  Section 4  and 6 of      the Land  Acquisition Act, it would      be   deemed   to   have   been   so      designated in the master plan, even      then the  provisions of  Section 55      would not  come into force till the      zonal  development   plan  is  also      prepared and  thereafter  10  years      period had  elapsed and the land so      designated is  not acquired  within      the stipulated period after service      of notice,  only in that situation,      it may  be possible to say that the      land has gone out of the expression      of compulsory  acquisition used  in      Section 55  of the  Act. It  is not      possible   to    agree   with   the      contentions that the land is deemed      to be designated for the purpose of      master plans it would not be deemed      to be  designated by same inference      for   the    purpose    of    zonal      development plan."      We find  ourselves in  agreement with the view taken by the High Court referred to above. Thus the argument based on the provision  of Section  55 (1)  and (2)  of the Delhi Act have no merit and, therefore, the same cannot be sustained. 14.  A half  hearted argument  was also  advanced  to    the effect that  the life   span of the master plan was 20 years but the  acquisition proceedings  are not  yet complete  and therefore, the  notifications issued  for acquisition of the land for  planned development of Delhi have lost their value and the  acquisition proceedings  should be  quashed.  These argument is  also without  any merit  for the  simple reason that Delhi  is the capital of the largest democratic country of the  world. There is inflow of more than a lacs of people every year  to this  city. It is ever expanding cosmopolitan commercial and  industrial city  with multifarious  national



and  international   activities.  The   city  of   Delhi  is confronted with  serious housing  problems due  to  enormous growth and  ever expanding  population.  Consequently  Delhi Development is  a continuous  unending process  for which no terminal point  for the  completion of  such process  can be visualised. In  these facts and circumstances simply because there is a delay which in the facts and circumstances of the present case  was bound  to  occur,  it  cannot  justifiably contended  that   the  notifications  issued  were  rendered ineffective. As  pointed out  by the  High Court  and in our opinion rightly  so that  large tracks of land was sought to be acquired  for purpose  of constructing  huge  residential colonies and  commercial areas and, therefore, the delay was bound to  occur in  completing the  acquisition proceedings. However, the   Legislature  appears to  have taken notice of such delays and it was for these reasons that it came to the rescue of  land owners  by amending the Land Acquisition Act by  introducing  Section  11-A  in  the  Act  providing  the completion of  the acquisition  proceedings within  the time frame stipulated  therein in  order to  save the land owners from undue  loss with  regard to the price of land sought to be acquired compulsorily. 15.  Shri P.N.  Lekhi, Shri  Rajiv Dhavan  and various other counsel appearing  for the  appellants  contented  that  the Government by  its order dated August  4, 1995 had withdrawn its notification issued under Section 4 of the Act involving certain areas  of land  sought to be acquired in exercise of its power under Section 48 of the Act and, therefore, it was submitted that  if one  part of the land is released for the public purpose the whole land covered under the notification will  stand   released  as  the  Government  cannot  give  a differential treatment  which will  be get by the principles enunciated in  Article 14  of the  Constitution. As  against this the  learned counsel  for the  respondents refuted  the allegation with  regard to  the withdrawal  of certain  land from the acquisition for the planned development of the city of Delhi. Alternatively it was submitted that the withdrawal of certain land included in the notification under Section 4 could be  effected only by denotifying the release and since there is  no such  notification denotifying  the release  it could not  be regarded  as a  release within  the meaning of Section 48  of the Act. In other words Section 48 of the Act may be  applied only  when the  release is  published in the official gazette  in the  same manner  as  the  notification under Section  4 and  declaration under Section 6 of the Act are published in view of the provisions contained in Section 21 of the General Clauses Act and since no such notification was published  in the official gazette mere information give with regard to the withdrawal from acquisition will be of no consequence. Various decisions were cited for and against by the parties  at the Bar but we do not propose to burden this judgment by  citing them  all except  those which  are  most relevant on the point in controversy. 16.  It may be noticed that Sub-Section (1> of Section 48 of the Act contemplates that except in the case provided for in Section 36,  the Government  shall be at liberty to withdraw from the acquisition of any land of which possession has not been  taken.   This  Section   thus  confers  power  on  the Government to  withdraw any  land from  the acquisition  but such  power   can  be   exercised  only  before  taking  the possession of  the land  sought  to  be  acquired.  In  this connection  before   we  proceed  to  examine  the  relevant decisions  it   would  be   appropriate  to   refer  to  the observations made by the Full Bench of the High Court in the impugned judgment  with  regard  to  this  controversy.  The



original record  in which  the Minister concerned is said to have passed the order for withdrawal was produced before the High  Court  which  was  perused  by  the  Full  Bench.  The photostat copies  of the  notings were also placed on record of the  High Court  and after  the perusal  of the  original record the  Full Bench  found that in fact no order has been made by  the Minister  concerned which  may be said to be an order for withdrawal of acquisition. The High Court observed that mere  communication of  the misconstrued  orders by the officials would  not have  the effect  of an  order  of  the Government withdrawing from acquisition. The High Court on a careful  perusal   of  the  original  file  and  the  noting contained therein  and approved  by the Minister came to the definite conclusion  that the Minister had directed that the matter be  taken up with the N.C.T Delhi for denotifying and for release  of the land immediately which was indicative of the fact  that the Minister had not himself passed the order for releasing the land from acquisition and the release from acquisition was  left to  the decision  of N.C.T,  Delhi and since N.C.T  Delhi did  not give  its consent the release of the said land was not denotified. The High Court, therefore, took the  view that the communication sent to the appellants concerned purporting  to be an order under Section 48 of the Acat is  invalid and the land acquisition proceedings cannot be quashed  on the  basis of  such invalid communication. In our opinion  the view taken by the High Court cannot be said to be erroneous calling for any interference by this Court. 17.  Here it  would be  relevant to  refer to  some  of  the decisions of  this Court  on the  question of release of the land under Section 48 and its validity under the law. In the case of Chandra Bansi Singh & Ors. Vs. State of Bihar & Ors. 1984 (4)  SCC page  316 this Court observed that perhaps the appellants wanted  to persuade this Court to strike down the entire notification  so that  when a  fresh notification  is issued they  may be   able  to get  a higher compensation in view of sudden spurt and rise in the price of land and other commodities in  between the  period when the acquisition was made and  when the  actual possession  was taken. This Court took the  view that  it was  not acceptable  to  uphold  the aforesaid process  of reasoning. The release was declared to be bad  as a  result of which the entire notification issued under Section  4 would  be deemed  to be  valid and the land specially belonging to the land owner would form part of the acquisition. It has been further held that the release being a separate  and subsequent  act of  the Collector, could not invalidate the entire notification but would only invalidate the portion  released, with  the result  that  the  original notification would  be restored  to its position as it stood on the  date of  its notification.  Assuming therefore, that there was  release of  certain areas  of land  belonging  to certain land  owners, the  entire  notification could not be rendered invalid.  Further this  Court in  a recent decision rendered in  State of Maharashtra Vs. Uma Shankar Rajabhau & JT 1995  (8) SC 508 took the view in para 3 of the report as follows:-      "It is  brought to  our notice that      after the  notification was quashed      by the High Court, no further steps      were taken by the Government. It is      not necessary  since  it  is  being      challenged in the appeal in respect      of these  three plots. A submission      was made  that the Corporation does      not need these three plots of lands      for the employees. So long as there



    is no  notification published under      Section   48(1)    of    the    Act      withdrawing from  the  acquisition,      the Court cannot take notice of any      subsequent  disinclination  on  the      part of the beneficiary." 18.  The same  view was  expressed  by  this  Court  in  yet another decision in the case of U.P. Jal Nigam Vs. M/s Kalra Properties (P)  Ltd. In  this view  of the matter even if we assume that  there was  an order for release of certain land from the  acquisition the  same could not be given effect to in the  absence of a notification denotifying the acquisiton of land. 19.  Some of  the learned  counsel for  the appellants  also submitted that  even the  land shown  in the green colour in the master  plan which has been sought to be acquired but it is not  understood as  to for  what purpose the said land is being acquired.  It was  also submitted that there are large number of structures and complexes raised on the land sought to  be   acquired  in   which  schools,   sports  and  other recreational activities  are  going  on  Shri  G.L.  Sanghi, learned counsel appearing for the appellants in Civil Appeal arising out of SLP (c) No.5771/1996 and Civil Appeal arising out of  SLP (c)  No.740/1996  as  well  as  other  advocates appearing for  some other  appellants submitted  that  there exist factories,  workshops, godowns  and MCD school besides residential houses  and quarters  over the land belonging to the appellant Partap Singh situated at Roshanara Road, Sabzi Mandi, Delhi  which has  been acquired  and that there exist modern and  well developed farm house with modern facilities in the  land belonging  to the  appellant  Roshanara  Begum, where there  are a good number of other structures and fruit bearing trees.  Consequently  these  areas  do  not  require further development  as  they  are  already  developed  and, therefore,  the   said  land   should   be   released   from acquisition. Mr. Sanghi , learned counsel appearing for some of the  appellants urged  that the  concerned appellant  had developed  a   sports  complex  providing  modern  amenities therein and  if the  same is demolished there would be great national waste. It was, therefore, urged that such Complexes and built  up areas  should be deleted from the acquisition. It may  be pointed  out that  in the  master plan  the  land indicated in  green  colour  is  reserved  for  recreational facilities. The recreational facilities are also part of the planned development  of Delhi and it cannot be disputed that recreational amenities  are also  part of  the life  of  the people and  an important  feature of  a  developed  society. Therefore, no  legitimate  objection  can  be  made  in  the acquisition of such land which are shown in green colour. So far as the structures and constructions made on the land are concerned there  is no  material to show that they were made before the  issuance of  notification under Section 4 of the Act. It  is also  not clear  whether such constructions were raised with  or without  necessary sanction/approval  of the competent authority. No grievance therefore can legitimately be raised  in that  behalf as  the same would be regarded as unauthorised and made at the risk of the land owners. Here a reference of  a decision  of this Court in the case of State of U.P.  Vs. Pista  Devi - AIR 1986 SC 2025 may be made with advantage, para 7 of which reads as under:      "It was  next contended that in the      large extent of land acquired which      was about 412 acres there were some      buildings here and there and so the      acquisition of  these parts  of the



    land  on   which   buildings   were      situated  was   unjustified   since      these  portions   were  not  either      waste  to  or  arable  lands  which      could be  dealt with under S. 17(1)      of the Act. This contention has not      been considered  by the High Court.      We  do   not,  however,   find  any      substance in it. The Government was      not acquiring  any  property  which      was   substantially    covered   by      buildings. It  acquired  about  412      acres of  land on  the outskirts of      Meerut city  which was described as      arable land  by the  Collector.  It      may be  true that  here  and  there      were a  few superstructures.  In  a      case of  this nature  where a large      extent of  land is  being  acquired      for  planned   development  of  the      urban area  it would  not be proper      to leave  the small  portions  over      which  some   superstructures  have      been   constructed   out   of   the      development  scheme.   In  such   a      situation  where   there  is   real      urgency it  would be  difficult  to      apply S. 5-A of the Act in the case      of few  bits of  land on which some      structures  are   standing  and  to      exempt the  rest  of  the  property      from its application."      In the  present  case  also  a  large  extent  of  land measuring  thousands   of  acres   has  been  acquired  and, therefore, it  would not  be proper  to leave out some small portions here  and there over which some structures are said to be  constructed out  of the planned development of Delhi. We may,  however, add  here that  during the  course of  the arguments Shri  Goswami learned  counsel appearing  for  the respondents-State made  a statement that the Government will consider each  of the structures and take a decision in that respect. We,  therefore, leave  this issue to the discretion of the respondent. 20.  After overall  consideration of  the issues involved in these transfer  cases and  the appeals  we find no ground to take a  different view  than the one taken by the High Court in the  impugned  judgment.  Consequently,  the  acquisition proceedings could  not be  quashed on  any grounds.  We also find ourselves  in respectful  agreement with the view taken by  this   Court  in   the  case   of  Ram   Chand  (supra). Consequently. the appeals fail and are hereby dismissed. The transfer cases are allowed in terms of the order made in the case  of  Ram  Chand  (supra)  directing  that  the  tranfer petitioners and  the appellants  shall be paid an additional amount of  compensation to  be calculated  at the rate of 12 per cent  per annum,  after the expiry of two years from the date of  decision of  Aflatoon’s case  i.e. August  23, 1974 till the  date of  making of the awards by the Collector, to be calculated with reference to the market value of the land in question  on the  date of notification under Section 4(1) of the  Act. In  the facts  and circumstances of the case we make no order as to costs.