05 October 1964
Supreme Court


Case number: Writ Petition (Civil) 144 of 1963






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/10/1964


CITATION:  1965 AIR 1017            1965 SCR  (1) 614  CITATOR INFO :  F          1967 SC 637  (4)  R          1967 SC1110  (13)  R          1968 SC 377  (12,13,16)  R          1968 SC 394  (7,18)  R          1968 SC1138  (9,33,59,61)  R          1968 SC1425  (10,21)  D          1969 SC 453  (7)  D          1969 SC 634  (1,18,30,47,48,54)  E          1970 SC 564  (97,98,99,100,123,194,196,197,  R          1972 SC2240  (16)  RF         1972 SC2301  (61)  F          1973 SC 689  (21,30)  RF         1973 SC1461  (483,624,757,1075,1077,1549,20  RF         1975 SC1193  (22)  R          1978 SC 215  (15)  E          1979 SC 248  (10,11,12,14,16,25)  RF         1980 SC1438  (17)  RF         1980 SC1955  (29)  RF         1986 SC 468  (24,26,27,30)  R          1987 SC 579  (7)

ACT: Constitution  of  India, Art. 31-A-Whether  after  amendment applied  only  to  acquisition  of  "estates"  for  agrarian reform.-Article  31(2)-Whether after amendment  compensation required to be "Just equivalent"-Whether a law not providing for  "Just  equivalent" amounted to fraud on  power  Whether issue  justiciable-Land Acquisition (Madras Amendment)  Act, 1961-Whether violative of Art. 31(2) or of Art. 14.

HEADNOTE: The petitioners’ lands were notified for acquisition for the purpose  of  housing schemes and proceedings in  respect  of compensation   payable  to  them  in  accordance  with   the provisions  of the Land Acquisition (Madras Amendment)  Act, 1961, were pending.  The constitutional validity Of this Act was challenged by them on the -round that it infringed Arts. 14, 19 and 31(2) of the Constitution. It  was  contended  on behalf of the  respondents  that  the



Amending Act was protected by Art. 3 1 -A and therefore  its validity  could not be questioned on the ground that it  was hit  by  Arts. 14, 19 and 31; that  after  the  Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1955, the expression  "compensation" carried  a meaning different from that given to it  in  Mrs. Bela Banerjee’s case; and that after the said amendment  the adequacy  of  compensation for land acquired  ceased  to  be justiciable. HELD:     (i)  Article 31-A applied 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,  etc.,  was  connected  with agrarian  reform.   This continued to be the  position  even after  the  amendment  of Art. 3 1 -A  by  the  Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act 1964.  Under Art. 31(2) and (2A) of the Constitution, the State was prohibited from making  a law  for acquiring land unless it was for a  public  purpose and unless it fixed the amount of compensation or  specified principles for determining the amount of compensation.   But Art.  31A  lifted the ban to enable the State  to  implement pressing  agrarian  reforms and this object is  implicit  in Art.  31A.  This was a restricted exception,  as  otherwise, the  State  would be in a position to acquire  the  land  of citizens  without  reference  to  any  agrarian  reform   in derogation  of their fundamental rights and without  payment of  compensation and thus deprive Art. 31(2) practically  of its content. [621 H; 622 A-D]. The  object of slum clearance for which the land was  stated to  have been acquired under the Amending Act could  not  be related  to agrarian reform in its limited or  wider  sense. [622 E-F]. K.   K.  Kochuni v. State of Madras [1960] 3 S.C.R. 887  and Ranjit  Singh  v.  State  of Punjab,  [1965]  1  S.C.R.  82, considered and followed. (ii0  it  was well-settled before art 31(2) was  amended  in 1955  that a person who’s land was qcquired was entitled  to compensation   i.e  .; a "just equivalent " of the  land  of which  he was deprived .the amended art 31(2) also  contains the expression s "compensation " and "principles" and there- fore  the  legislature must be taken to  have  accepted  the meaning given to 615 these expressions in Mrs. Bela Banerjee’s case.  It  follows therefore  that  by virtue of Art. 31(2), a  legislature  in making a law of acquisition or requisition must provide  for a  "just equivalent" of what the owner has been deprived  of or  specify the principles for the purpose  of  ascertaining such "just equivalent". [625 E-F, H; 626 A, D-F]. State  of West Bengal v. Mrs. Bela Banerjee,  [1954]  S.C.R. 558  and  State of Madras v. Namasivaya Mudaliar,  [1964]  6 S.C.R. 936, followed. The  effect  of the amended Art. 31(2) is  that  a  question which  pertains  to  the adequacy  of  compensation  is  not justiciable.  For determining compensation in respect of any property  acquired,  there  may be many  possible  modes  or principles of valuation; where the adoption of one principle may give a higher and of another, a lesser value, the  Court cannot  say that the law should have adopted  one  principle and  not  the  other,  for this would  relate  only  to  the question of adequacy.  On the other hand, if a law lays down principles  which are not relevant to the property  acquired or  to the value of the property at or about the time it  is acquired,  it  may  be said that  they  are  not  principles contemplated  by  Art. 31(2).  If a law says that  though  a house  is  acquired,  it shall be valued as  land,  or  that



though  a  house  site is acquired, it shall  be  valued  as agricultural  land, or that though it was acquired in  1950, its  value in 1930 should be given, or though 100 acres  are required, compensation should be given only of 50 acres, the principles  do not pertain to the domain of adequacy and  in such   cases  the  validity  of  the  principles  could   be scrutinised.  Therefore the Court would have jurisdiction to deal  with  the matter if the legislature,  though  ex-facie purporting  to  provide for compensation or  indicating  the principles  for  its ascertainment, in  fact  and  substance takes  away  property  without  providing  compensation,  or provides for illusory compensation, or for its ascertainment on  arbitrary principles, for in that case  the  legislature would  be  enacting a law in fraud of its power  under  Art. 31(2). [627 B-H; 628 A-B; 629 B-E]. Gajpati Narayan Deo v. State of Orissa, [1954] S.C.R. 1  and Gullapalli  Nageswara  Rao  v.  A.P.  State  Road  Transport Corporation, [1959] Supp. 1 S.C.R. 319, referred to. The  impugned provisions of the Amending Act, which  provide for  compensation on the basis of the value of the  land  at the date of publication of the Notification under s. 4(1) of the  Land Acquisition Act, 1894, or the amount equal to  the average market value of the land during 5 years  immediately preceding  such  date, whichever is less, for payment  of  a solatium of only 5 per cent instead of 15 per cent under the Principal  Act and for the exclusion of any compensation  by reason of the suitability of the land for any use other than the  use to which it was put, only pertain to the method  of ascertaining the compensation and do not constitute a  fraud of  power.  The Amending Act did not therefore  offend  Art. 31(2) of the Constitution. [639 E-H; 631 A-D]. Sri Raja Vyricherla Narayana Gajapatraju Bahadur Guru v. The Revenue Divisional Officer, Vizianagram, I.L.R. [1939]  Mad. 532, referred to. (iii)     A  comparative study of the principal Act and  the Amending Act showed that if land was acquired for a  housing scheme  under  the Amending Act, the claimant  would  get  a lesser value than what he would get for the same or  similar land  acquired for some public purpose under  the  Principal Act.   The discrimination between persons whose  lands  were acquired  for  housing schemes and those  whose  lands  were acquired for other public purposes was not sustained on  the principle   of   reasonable   classification   founded    on intelligible  differential which had a rational relation  to the object sought to be achieved.  Although it was contended that the Amending Act was passed to meet an urgent demand so as  to find a way out to clear up slums, the Act as  finally evolved was not confined to any LlSup./65-14 616 such  problem and land could be acquired under the  Amending Act for housing schemes with other objectives.  The Amending Act therefore clearly infringed Art. 14 of the  Constitution and was void. [633 B-E; 635 A-B].

JUDGMENT: ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ Petitions Nos. 144, 227 and 228 of 1963. Petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution of India for  the enforcement of fundamental rights. A.   V. Viswanatha Sastri, C. S. Prakasa Rao and R.  Gopala- krishnan, for the petitioner (in W. P. No. 144/63). A.   V. Viswanatha Sastri, G. A. Pias, T. N. Sambasivan and



N.   S.  Mani, for the petitioners (in W. Ps.  Nos. 227  and 228 of 1963). A.   Ranganadham  Chetty, R. Viswanathan and A.  V.  Rangam, for the respondents (in W. P. No. 144 of 1963). R.   Ranganadham  Chetty and A. V.  Rangam, for the  respon- dents (in W. P. Nos. 227 and 228 of 1963). S.   S.  Shukla,  for  the interveners (W.  P.  No.  144  of 1963). C.   K.  Daphtary,  Attorney-General, N. S.  Bindra,  R.  H. Dhebar and B.  R. G. K. Achar, for the Attorney-General  (in W. P. No. 144 of 1963). B.   R. L. Iyengar, R. H. Dhebar and B. R. G. K. Achar,  for the Advocate-General, Gujarat (in W. P. No. 144,/63). C.   K. Daphtary, Attorney-General, R. H. Dhebar and B.   R. G. K. Achar, for the Advocate-General, Maharashtra, (in W.   P. No. 144/63). R.   N.  Sachthey and B. R. G. K. Achar, for  the  Advocate- General, Rajasthan (in W. P. No. 144/63). I. N Shroff, for the Advocate-General, Madhya Pradesh (in W. P. No. 144/64). The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Subba  Rao. J. These three petitions filed under Art. 32  of the  Constitution raise the question of  the  constitutional validity  of  the Land Acquisition (Madras  Amendment)  Act, 1961  (Madras  Act  23  of  1961),  hereinafter  called  the Amending Act.  We shall briefly state the facts relevant  to the  question raised.  The petitioner in Writ  Petition  No. 144  of 1963, P. Vajravelu Mudaliar, is the owner  of  lands bearing survey Nos. 4-2, 40-7 and 43-1 of Peruakudal Village and of extents 1.82, 1.39 and 3.72 acres respectively.  By a notification  dated November 7, 1960, and ,published in  the Fort.  St. George Gazette, dated November 16, 617 1960, the Government issued a notification under s. 4(1)  of the Land Acquisition Act (Act 1 of 1894), hereinafter called the  Principal Act, notifying that, among other  lands,  the said  lands  of  the petitioner were  needed  for  a  public purpose,  to  wit,  for  the  development  of  the  area  as "neighborhood"  in  the Madras City in accordance  with  the Land  Acquisition and Development Scheme of the  Government. On November 23, 1960, the Special Deputy Collector for  Land Acquisition  issued a notification under s. 4(1), read  with s.  17(4),  of  the  Principal  Act,  and  under  the   said notification  the  first respondent was authorized  to  take possession   of   the  petitioner’s   lands.    The   Madras Legislature subsequently enacted the Amending Act  providing for the acquisition of lands for housing schemes and  laying down principles for fixing compensation different from those prescribed  in the Principal Act.  The petitioner  questions the validity of the Amending Act, inter alia, on the  ground that   it   infringes  Arts.  14,  19  and  31(2)   of   the Constitution. The  petitioner in Writ Petitions Nos. 227 and 228 of  1963, Most Rev.  Dr. L. Mathias, Archbishop of Madras, owns  lands bearing  survey  Nos. 17-2-B-1 and 127/2B  of  extent  50.53 acres and 0.62 acre respectively in Urur, near Madras  City. By  notification dated November 13, 1961, and  published  in the Fort St. George Gazette, the Government of Madras issued a notification under s. 4(1) of the Principal Act notifying, among  other  lands, that the said lands of  the  petitioner were   needed  for  a  public  purpose,  to  wit,  for   the development  of  the area as the "neighbourhood"  in  Madras City in accordance with the Land Acquisition and Development Schemes  of  the  Government.  It was  also  stated  in  the notification that in view of the urgency, under s. 17(4)  of



the Principal Act, the application of the provisions of s. 5 (a)   of  the  said  Act  was  dispensed  with,   and   that compensation  in  respect of the said acquisition  would  be paid in accordance with the provisions of the Amending Act. The said petitioner (W.  P. No. 228 of 1963) also owns lands bearing  survey  Nos.  153/1  and  154/2  at   Thiruvanmiyar Village, Chingleput District, of the extent 21.56 and  10.50 acres respectively totalling about 32 acres.  The said lands were  also notified for acquisition and the  petitioner  was told  that he would be paid compensation under the  Amending Act. The  said  petitioner in these two petitions  questions  the constitutional  validity  of the said Amending  Act  on  the ground,  inter alia, that it offends Arts. 14, 19 and  31(2) of the Constitution. 618 To the three petitions the Special Deputy Collector for Land Acquisition,  West Madras, and the Government of Madras  are made  parties.  In their counters the  respondents  pleaded, among others, that the said Act was saved under Art. 31-A of the  Constitution and, therefore, its validity could not  be questioned  on the ground that it infringes either Art.  14, Art. 19 or Art. 31(2) of the Constitution; and that even  if Art. 31-A was not attracted, the provisions of the  Amending Act would not infringe any of the said three provisions.  In these  petitions.some interveners are represented  by  their counsel  and  this  Court  had also  given  notices  to  the Advocates-General  of  various States.  We  have  heard  the arguments   advanced   on   behalf   of   the   petitioners, interveners,  and  the State of Madras and  the  counsel  on behalf  of the Advocates-General of some of the  States  who supported the State of Madras. Mr.  A. V. Viswanatha Sastri, learned counsel for the  peti- tioners, raised before us the following points : (i) As  the Madras  State Housing Board Act, 1961, and the Madras  Town- Planning  Act, 1920, are special statutes providing for  the execution  of  housing  and improvement  schemes  and  town- planning schemes respectively, property for the said schemes can   be  acquired  only  after  following   the   procedure prescribed  thereunder  and the Government has no  power  to acquire land for the said purpose under the Amending Act  in derogation  of  the provisions of the former Act.  (ii)  The acquisition, though it purports to be for a housing  scheme, is  really  intended  for selling  the  lands  acquired  and raising  revenue  for  the State and  it  is,  therefore,  a colourable exercise of the State’s power. (iii) The Amending Act  offends Arts. 14 and 19 of the Constitution.  And  (iv) the  Amending Act is also bad, because it does  not  provide for payment of compensation within the meaning of Art. 31(2) of the Constitution. Mr. A. Ranganadham Chetty, learned counsel for the State  of Madras  contends that, (i) the Government in its  discretion has the power to acquire land for housing purposes under any one  of the three Acts, namely, the Housing Board  Act,  the Town  Planning Act and Amending Act; (ii) by reason  of  the Constitution  (Seventeenth  Amendment) Act, 1964,  which  is retrospective  in operation, the petitioners  are  precluded from  questioning  the validity of the Amending Act  on  the ground that it infringes Art. 14, Art. 19 or Art. 31 of  the Constitution;  (iii)  the  Amending Act  does  not  infringe either  Art.  14 or Art. 19 of the  Constitution;  and  (iv) after  the  Constitution (Fourth Amendment)  Act  1955,  the expression "compensation" carries a meaning 619 different  from  that given to it in  Mrs.  Bela  Banerjee’s



case(1), and thereafter the adequacy of the amount given for acquisition of land ceased to be justiciable. Mr. Palkhivala, appearing for some of the interveners elabo- rated  the contention of Mr. A. V. Viswanatha  Sastri  based upon  the meaning of the expression "compensation"  in  Art. 31(2)  of the Constitution.  We shall consider his  argument in the relevant context in the course of our judgment. The first question need not detain us, for though Mr. Viswa- natha  Sastri raised the point that the Government can  only acquire the lands for housing schemes in conformity with the provisions of either the Madras Town-Planning Act, 1920,  or the Madras State Housing Board Act, 1961, but not under  the provisions of the Amending Act, he did not pursue the matter in view of the following two decisions of this Court : Patna Improvement  Trust v. Smt.  Lakshmi Devi(1), and  Nandeshwar Prasad v. U. P. Government(3).  Therefore, nothing more need be said about this. Mr.  A.  Ranganadham  Chetty relied  upon  the  Constitution (Seventeenth  Amendment) Act, 1964, and contended that  Art. 31-A, as amended, precluded the petitioners from questioning the  validity  of  the Amending Act on the  ground  that  it infringed  Art. 14, Art. 19 or Art. 31 of the  Constitution. By  the said amendment, in the definition of the  expression "estate"  sub-cl.  (a) of cl. (2) was substituted by  a  new sub-clause defining the said expression.  The material  part of the amended sub-cl. (a) of cl. (2) reads : "the  expression  "estate" shall, in relation to  any  local area, have the same meaning as that expression or its  local equivalent has in the existing law relating to Land  tenures in force in that area and shall also include-- (ii) any land held under ryotwari settlement." From  the  material  on record  we  cannot  definitely  hold whether  the  lands  in question  are  held  under  ryotwari settlement.  But assuming for the purpose of these petitions that the said lands are held under ryotwari settlement,  the question  arises  whether  the  impugned  law  provides  for acquisition  by  the  State of any "estate"  or  any  rights therein  or the extinguishment or modification of  any  such rights.  The scope of this provision fell to be (1) [1954] S.C.R. 558.    (2) [1963] Supp. 2 S.C.R. 812. (3)  A.I.R. 1964 S.C. 1217. 620 considered  by this Court in K. K. Kochuni v. The  State  of Madras(1).   There it was held that though the impugned  Act dealt  with an estate, it was not saved by Art. 31-A of  the Constitution,  as  the Act had nothing to do  with  agrarian reform,  but  simply  conferred on  junior  members  of  the tarawad  joint rights which they had not got before  in  the sthanam properties.  Mr. Ranganadham Chetty criticized  this decision on the ground that the said view was based only  on a  part of the statement of "objects and reasons"  and  that the  omitted part thereof supported a wider construction  of the  provisions so as to include acquisition of a  land  for slum  clearance or other such social purposes.  The  omitted part of the statement reads thus : "(ii)  The proper planning of urban and rural areas  require the beneficial utilisation of vacant and waste lands and the clearance of slum areas." It  is  true  that in the said  decision  the  statement  of objects and reasons relevant to the question raised  therein was extracted; but it was made clear that it was referred to only for the limited purpose of ascertaining the  conditions prevalent at the time the Bill was introduced in  Parliament and  the  purpose for which the amendment was made.   It  is commonplace that a court cannot construe a provision of  the



Constitution  on the basis of the statement of "objects  and reasons",  and  this  Court did not  depart  from  the  said salutary rule of construction.  The real basis of that deci- sion is found at p. 900 and it is :               "The  definition  of  "estate"  refers  to  an               existing  law  relating to land tenures  in  a               particular  area indicating thereby  that  the               Article is concerned only with the land tenure               described  as  an  "estate".   The   inclusive               definition  of  the rights of such  an  estate               also  enumerates  the  rights  vested  in  the               proprietor and his subordinate tenure holders.               The last clause in that definition, viz., that               those  rights  also  include  the  rights   or               privileges   in  respect  of   land   revenue,               emphasizes  the  fact  that  the  Article   is               concerned with land-tenure.  It is, therefore,               manifest  that the said Article deals  with  a               tenure  called " estate" and provides for  its               acquisition    or   the   extinguishment    or               modification of the rights of the land  holder               or  the various subordinate tenure-holders  in               respect  of  their rights in relation  to  the               estate.   The contrary view would  enable  the               State to divest a proprietor               (1)   [1960] 3 S.C.R. 887, 900.                                    621               of  his estate and vest it in another  without               reference to any agrarian reform." his judgment, therefore, in effect, held that Art. 31-A  (i) (a)  should  be confined to an agrarian reform and  not  for acquiring property for the purpose of giving it to  another. This  Court  in  Ranjit  Singh v.  The  State  of  Punjab(1) considered  the  scope of the said decision.   The  question that  arose  in that was whether the  East  Punjab  Holdings (Conservation  and  Prevention of Fragmentation)  Act,  1948 (Act  50  of 1948), as amended by the East  Punjab  Holdings (Consolidation   and  Prevention  of   Fragmentation)   (2nd Amendment  and Validation) Act, 1960 Act 27 of.  1960),  was protected by Art. 31-A against an attack in the ground  that the  said Act infringed the fundamental rights  under  Arts. 13,  14,  19  and  31  of  the  Constitution.   This   Court considered  the earlier decisions of this  Court,  including the  decision  in  K..K.  Kochuni  v.  State  of  Madras(2). Adverting  to Kochuni’s case, Hidayatullah J., speaking  for the Court, observed :               "But  that  was a special case and  we  cannot               apply it to cases where the general scheme  of               legislation is definitely agrarian reform  and               under   its  provisions  something   ancillary               thereto in the interests of rural economy  has               to  be undertaken to give full effect  to  the               reforms."               Apropos the Act before it, this Court observed               "The   scheme  of  rural   development   today               envisages  not only equitable distribution  of               land  so that there is no undue  imbalance  in               society  resulting in a landless class on  the               one  hand and a concentration of land  in  the               hands  of a few, on the other,  but  envisages               also  the  raising of economic  standards  and               bettering rural health and social conditions." That  judgment, therefore, accepts the view that  Art.  31-A was enacted only to implement agrarian reform, but has given a  Comprehensive meaning to the expression "agrarian  reform



so  is  to include provisions made for  the  development  of rural economy. Under  Art.  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 (1) [1965] 1 S.C.R. 82. (2) [1960] 3 S.C.R. 887. 622 or  specifies the principles for determining the  amount  of compensation.   But  Art. 31-A lifts the ban to  enable  the State to implement the pressing agrarian reforms.  The  said object of the Constitution is implicit in Art. 31-A.  If the argument of the respondents be accepted, it would enable the State to acquired the lands of citizens without reference to any  agrarian  reform  in derogation  of  their  fundamental rights without payment of compensation and thus deprive Art. 31(2)  practically  of  its content.  If  the  intention  of Parliament  was to make Art. 31(2) a dead-letter,  it  would have clearly expressed its intention.  This Court cannot  by interpretation enlarge the scope of Art. 31-A.  On the other hand,  the  Article,  as  pointed  out  by  us  earlier,  by necessary implication, is confined only to agrarian reforms. Therefore, we held that Art. 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. Mr.  Ranganadham  Chetty  contended  that  acquisition   for housing under the Amending Act is for slum clearance and for relieving  congestion  of  housing  accommodation  and  that acquisition  for such a purpose would be in connection  with agrarian  reform  in the enlarged sense of  that  expression accepted by this Court.  Even accepting the argument of  the learned counsel that the Act was conceived and enacted  only for  the  purpose of slum clearance which became  an  urgent problem  for the city of Madras, we cannot hold that such  a slum clearance relates to an agrarian reform in its  limited or  wider  sense.   That  apart. the  Amending  Act  in  its comprehensive  phraseology  takes  in  acquisition  for  any housing  scheme, whether for slum clearance or for  creating modem  suburbs  or  for  any  other  public  purpose.    The provisions  of  the  Amending Act are not  confined  to  any agrarian reform and, therefore, do not attract Art. 31-A  of the Constitution. If  Art.  31 -A of the Constitution is out of the  way,  Mr. Viswanatha  Sastri,  learned  counsel  for  the  petitioners contended  that  the Act is bad as it does not  provide  for compensation i.e., a "just equivalent" for the land acquired under the Amending Act and, therefore, it offends Art. 31(2) of  the  Constitution.   This aspect is  elaborated  by  Mr. Palkhivala,  who appeared for one of the interveners in  the petitions.   He narrated the following four situations;  (i) when the law provides for adequate compensation but there is difference of opinion as to the adequacy of it 623 in  a given case; (ii) where the law provides for  partially inadequate  consideration based on valid principles  related to  the property at the time of acquisition; (iii) where  it fixes  arbitrarily  the  compensation  based  on  principles unrelated  to the property or to the time of acquisition  or to both; (iv) where the compensation fixed is illusory;  and contended that in the first situation compensation is  paid, that  in  the  second  it is a  moot  question  whether  the question of adequacy of compensation is justiciable or  not,



and  that  in  the third and  fourth  situations,  the  said question  is clearly justiciable.  Mr.  Ranganadham  Chetty, appearing for the State, on the other hand, argued that  the question of adequacy of consideration, however it arose, was not  justiciable  in  a court of  law.   To  appreciate  the contentions  it  is  necessary  to  consider  the  following questions  (i)  what was the scope of the relevant  part  of Art.  31  (2) of the Constitution  before  the  Constitution (Fourth  Amendment) Act, 1955 ? (ii) why was that  amendment brought  about  ? (iii) what was the  change  the  amendment introduced ? and (iv) what was the effect of the amendment ?               Article  31(2) before the said amendment  read               as follows:               "No   property..........   shall   be    taken               possession   Of   or   acquired   for   public               purposes.......... unless the law provides for               compensation for the property taken possession               of or either fixes the amount of  compensation               or  specifies the principles on which and  the               manner  in  which the compensation  is  to  be               determined and given." In  Mrs. Bela Banerjee’s(1) case this Court was called  upon to  consider the question whether compensation provided  for under  the  West Bengal Land Development and  Planning  Act, 1948, was in compliance with the provisions of Art. 31(2) of the  Constitution.   Under  the  said  Act  lands  could  be acquired  many years after it came into force, but it  fixed the market value that prevailed on December 31, 1946, as the ceiling  on compensation without reference to the  value  of the  land at the time of acquisition.  In that context  this Court  considered  the  provisions  of  Art.  31(2)  of  the Constitution  and  came to the following conclusion,  at  p. 563-564 :               "While  it  is true that  the  legislature  is               given  the discretionary power of laying  down               the   principles  which  should   govern   the               determination of the amount               (1)   [1954] S.C.R. 558.               624               to  be  given to the owner  for  the  property               appropriated, such principles must ensure that               what   is  determined  as  payable   must   be               compensation,  that is, a just  equivalent  of               what  the owner has been deprived of.   Within               the  limits of this basic requirement of  full               indemnification of the expropriated owner, the               Constitution   allows   free   play   to   the               legislative  judgment  as to  what  principles               should  guide the determination of the  amount               payable.   Whether such principles  take  into               account  all  the elements which make  up  the               true  value of the property  appropriated  and               exclude matters which, are to be neglected, is               a  justiciable issue to be adjudicated by  the               court." By  applying  the said principles this Court held  that  the provisions of the said Act fixing a ceiling on  compensation without  reference  to the value of the land  was  arbitrary and,  therefore,  was  not in compliance with,  in  law  and spirit,  the requirement of Art. 31(2) of the  Constitution. This  decision  lays  down three  points,  namely,  (i)  the compensation  under Art. 31(2) shall be a "just  equivalent" of what the owner has been deprived of; (ii) the  principles which the Legislature can prescribe are only principles  for ascertaining a "just equivalent" of what the owner has  been



deprived  of; and (iii) if the compensation fixed was not  a "just equivalent" of what the owner has been deprived of  or if  the  principles did not take into account  all  relevant elements  or  took  into  account  irrelevant  elements  for arriving  at  the just equivalent, the  question  in  regard thereto  is  a justiciable issue.   This  Court,  therefore, authoritatively  interpreted Art. 31(2) of the  Constitution and  laid down its scope.  This view was reiterated by  this Court  in State of Madras v. Namasivaya Mudaliar(1).   There the  question was whether ss. 2 and 3 of the Madras  Lignite (Acquisition  of Land) Act XI of 1953 which sought to  amend the Land Acquisition Act 1 of 1894 were invalid because they infringed  the  fundamental  rights under  Art.  31  of  the Constitution  of  owners of lands whose property was  to  be compulsorily  acquired.  Under that Act,  compensation  made ,Payable for compulsory acquisition of land was the value of the  land on April 28, 1947, together with the value of  any agricultural  improvements made thereon after that date  and before  Publication of the notification under s. 4(1).   The result  of  that  Act  was to  freeze  for  the  purpose  of acquisition  the  prices  of land in the area  to  which  it applied and the owners were (1)  [1964] 6 S.C.R. 936. 625 deprived of the benefit of appreciation of land values since April  28,  1947, whenever the notification  under  s.  4(1) might  be issued and also of  non-agricultural  improvements made in the land after April 28, 1947.  That Act was  passed before  the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act,  1955,  was enacted  and, therefore, the question fell to be  considered on  the Article as it existed before the  amendment.   After noticing  the  relevant provisions and the case-law  on  the subject, Shah J., speaking for the Court, said :               "Fixation   of  compensation  for   compulsory               acquisition of lands notified many years after               that  date, on the market value prevailing  on               the  date on which lignite was  discovered  is               wholly  arbitrary  and inconsistent  with  the               letter  and spirit of Art. 31 (2) as it  stood               before  it  was amended  by  the  Constitution               (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1955.  If the owner is               by   a  constitutional   guarantee   protected               against   expropriation   of   his    property               otherwise than for a just monetary equivalent,               a law which authorises acquisition of land not               for  its true value, but for value  frozen  on               some date anterior to the acquisition, on  the               assumption that all appreciation in its  value               since  that date is attributable  to  purposes               for  which  the  State may  use  the  land  at               sometime  in  future,  must  be  regarded   as               infringing the fundamental right."               It  may,  therefore, be taken as  settled  law               that  under  Art. 31(2)  of  the  Constitution               before  the  Constitution  (Fourth  Amendment)               Act,  1955, a person whose land  was  acquired               was  entitled  to compensation i.e.,  a  "just               equivalent"  of  the  land  of  which  he  was               deprived.  The Constitution (Fourth Amendment)               Act,  1955 amended Art. 31(2) and the  amended               Article reads               "No property shall be compulsorily acquired or               requisitioned  save for a public  purpose  and               save  by authority of law which  provides  for               compensation  for the property so acquired  or



             requisitioned  and either fixes the amount  of               compensation  or specifies the  principles  on               which  and  the  manner  in  which,  the  com-               pensation  is to be determined and given;  and               no such law shall be called in question in any               court  on  the ground  that  the  compensation               provided by that law is not adequate." A scrutiny of the amended Article discloses that it accepted the   meaning   of  the   expressions   "compensation"   and "principles as, 626 defined  by this Court in Mrs. Bela Banerjee’s case(1).   It may be recalled that this Court in the said case defined the scope  of 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  property  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 fixing 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.   If  the definition   of   "compensation"   and   the   question   of justiciability  are kept distinct, much of the cloud  raised will be dispelled.  Even after the amendment, provision  for compensation   or   laying  down  of  the   principles   for determining  the compensation is a condition for the  making of a law of acquisition or requisition.  Legislature, -if it intends  to  make  a  law  for  compulsory  acquisition   or requisition,  must provide for compensation or  specify  the principles for ascertaining the compensation.  The fact that Parliament used the same expressions, namely, "compensation" and  "principles"  as  were  found in  Art.  31  before  the Amendment is a clear indication that it accepted the meaning given  by  this  Court to those  expressions  in  Mrs.  Bela Banerjee’s case(1).  It follows that a Legislature in making a  law  of acquisition or requisition shall -provide  for  a just  equivalent of what the owner has been deprived  of  or specify  the principles for the purpose of ascertaining  the "just  equivalent" of what the owner has been  deprived  of. If Parliament intended to enable a Legislature to make  such a  law  without providing for compensation  so  defined,  it would   have   used   other   expressions   like    "Price", "consideration" etc.  In Craies On Statute Law, 6th Edn., at p.  167,  the relevant principle of construction  is  stated thus : "There is a well-known principle of construction, that where the  legislature  used  in an Act a  legal  term  which  has received  judicial interpretation, it must be  assumed  that the  term  is  used  in  the sense  in  which  it  has  been judicially interpreted unless a contrary intention appears." The  said  two  expressions  in  Art.  31  (2),  before  the Constitution  (Fourth  Amendment)  Act,  have  received   an authoritative  interpretation  by the highest court  in  the land  and it must be presume that Parliament did not  intend to  depart from the meaning given by this Court to the  said expressions. (1)  [1954] S.C.R. 558. 627 The  real  difficulty is, what is the effect  of  ouster  of jurisdiction of the court to question the law on the  ground that  the.   "  compensation  provided by  the  law  is  not adequate?  It will be noticed that the law of acquisition or requisition is not wholly immune from scrutiny by the court. But  what is excluded from the court’s jurisdiction is  that



the  said  law cannot be questioned on the ground  that  the compensation provided by that law is not adequate.  It  will further   be   noticed  that  the   clause   excluding   the jurisdiction of the court also used the word  "compensation" indicating  thereby that what is excluded from  the  court’s jurisdiction  is the adequacy of the compensation  fixed  by the Legislature.  The argument that the word  "compensation" means  a  just  equivalent for the  property  acquired  and, therefore,  the  court can ascertain whether it is  a  "just equivalent"  or not makes the amendment of the  Constitution nugatory.   It  will be arguing in a circle.   Therefore,  a more   reasonable   interpretation  is  that   neither   the principles  prescribing the "just equivalent" nor the  "just equivalent" can be questioned by the court on the ground  of the  inadequacy of the compensation fixed or arrived  at  by the  working  of the principles.  To illustrate : a  law  is made  to  acquire  a  house;  its  value  at  the  time   of acquisition  has  to  be  fixed; there  are  many  modes  of valuation, namely, estimate by an engineer, value  reflected by  comparable  sales, capitalisation of  rent  and  similar others.  The application of different principles may lead to different results.  The adoption of one principle may give a higher value and the adoption of another principle may  give a  lesser  value.  But nonetheless they  are  principles  on which  and the manner in which compensation  is  determined. The  court  cannot obviously say that the  law  should  have adopted one principle and not the other, for it relates only to  the question of adequacy.  On the other hand, if  a  law lays down principles which are not relevant to the  property acquired  or  to the value of the property at or  about  the time  it  is  acquired, it may be said  that  they  are  not principles  contemplated by Art. 31(2) of the  Constitution. If  a law says that though a house is acquired it  shall  be valued as a land or that though a house site is acquired  it shall be valued as an agricultural land or that though it is acquired  in  1950  its value in 1930 should  be  given,  or though  100 acres are acquired compensation shall  be  given only  for  50 acres, the principles do not  pertain  to  the domain  of  adequacy but are principles unconnected  to  the value of the property acquired.  In such cases the  validity of  the  princilples can be scrutinized.  The law  may  also prescribe  a compensation which is illusory; it may  provide for the acquisition of a property worth 628 lakhs  of rupees for a paltry sum of Rs. 100.  The  question in  that  context  does not relate to the  adequacy  of  the compensation,  for  it  is  no  compensation  at  all.   The illustrations given by us are not exhaustive.  There may  be many  others falling on either side ,of the line.  But  this much  is clear.  If the compensation is illusory or  if  the principles  prescribed  are irrelevant to the value  of  the property at or about the time of its acquisition, it can  be said  that the Legislature committed a fraud on  power  and, therefore, the law is bad.  It is a use of the protection of Art. 31 in a manner which the Article hardly intended. This  leads us to the consideration of the question  of  the ,scope  of  the  doctrine of fraud on  power.   In  Gajapati Narayan  Deo v. The State of Orissa(1), Mukhejee J.,  as  he then was, .explained the doctrine thus :               "It  may be made clear at the outset that  the               doctrine  of colourable legislation  does  not               involve  any  question of bona fides  or  mala               fides  on  the part of the  legislature.   The               whole   doctrine  resolves  itself  into   the               question   of  competency  of   a   particular



             legislature to enact a particular law.  If the               legislature is competent to pass a  particular               law, the motives which impelled it to act  are               really irrelevant.  On the other hand, if  the               legislature lacks competency, the question  of               I  motive  does not arise at all.   Whether  a               statute  is  constitutional  or  not  is  thus               always a question of power."               The   learned   Judge   described   how    the               Legislature  may transgress the limits of  its               constitutional power thus :               "Such transgression may be patent, manifest or               direct,  but it may also be disguised,  covert               or indirect and it is to this latter class  of               cases   that   the   expression    "colourable               legislation"  has  been  applied  in   certain               judicial pronouncements."               Court  again  explained the said  doctrine  in               Gullapalli  Nageswara  Rao v.  Andhra  Pradesh               State Road Transport Corporation (2) thus:               "Me legislature can only make laws within  its               legislative competence.  Its legislative field               may  be circumscribed by specific  legislative               entries  or  limited  by  fundamental   rights               created by the Constitution.  The  legislature               cannot over-step the field of its competency,               (1) [1954] S.C.R. 1, 10-11.               (2) [1959] Supp. 1 S.C.R. 319,329.               629               directly   or  indirectly.   The  Court   will               scrutinize  the law to ascertain  whether  the               legislature  by device purports to make a  law               which, though in form appears to be within its               sphere,  in  effect  and  substance,   reaches               beyond it.  If, in fact, it has power to  make               the  law,  its motives in making the  law  are               irrelevant." When  a  Court  says  that a  particular  legislation  is  a colourable   one,   it  means  that  the   Legislature   has transgressed its legislative, powers in a covert or indirect manner;  it  adopts a device to outstep the  limits  of  its power.   Applying  the  doctrine to the  instant  case,  the Legislature cannot make a law in derogation of Art. 31(2) of the  Constitution.   It can, therefore, only make a  law  of acquisition  or requisition by providing for  "compensation" in the manner prescribed in Art. 31(2) of the  Constitution. 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 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 sense we have explained,  the question is within the jurisdiction of the Court.



The  next question is whether the Amending Act was  made  in contravention  of  Art.  31(2)  of  the  Constitution.   The Amending Act prescribes the principles for ascertaining  the value of the property acquired.  It was passed to amend  the Land  Acquisition Act, 1894, in the State of Madras for  the purpose  of enabling the State to acquire lands for  housing schemes.   "Housing  Scheme" is defined to mean  "any  State Government  scheme the purpose of which is increasing  house accommodation" and under s. 3 of the Amending Act, s. 23  of the  Principal  Act is made applicable to  such  acquisition with certain modifica- 630 tions.   In  s. 23 of the Principal Act, in sub-s.  (1)  for clause first, the following clause is substituted :               "first,  the market value of the land  at  the               date  of the publication of  the  notification               under  section 4, subsection (1) or an  amount               equal to the average market value of the  land               during  the five years  immediately  preceding               such date, whichever is less."               After clause sixthly, the following clause was               added               "seventhly, the use to which the land was  put               at   the  date  of  the  publication  of   the               notification  under  section  4,   sub-section               (1)."               Sub-section (2) of S. 23 of the Principal  Act               was  amended  by substituting  the  words,  in               respect  of solatium, "fifteen per centum"  by               the words "five per centum".  In s. 24 of  the               Principal  Act after the clause seventhly  the               following clause was added :               "eighthly,  any increase to the value  of  the               land acquired by reason of its suitability  or               adaptability for any use other than the use to               which  the  land was put at the  date  of  the               publication of the notification under  section               4, sub-section (1)." Under  S.  4  of the Amending Act, the provisions  of  s.  3 thereof shall apply to every case in which proceedings  have been started before the commencement of the said Act and are pending.   The  result of the Amending Act is  that  if  the State Government acquires a land for a housing purpose,  the claimant gets only the value of the land at the date of  the publication  of  the  notification  under  S.  4(1)  of  the Principal Act or an amount equal to the average market value of the land during the five years immediately preceding such _date, whichever is less.  He will get a solatium of only  5 per centum of such value instead of 15 per centum under  the Principal  Act.  He will not get any compensation by  reason of  the suitability of the land for any use other  than  the use  for which it was put on the date of publication of  the notification.   The second principle is only for a  solatium and it is certainly within the powers of the Legislature  to fix the quantum of solatium in acquiring the land.  Nor  can we  say that the first principle amounts to fraud on  power. In  the context of continuous rise in land prices from  year to  year depending upon abnormal circumstances it cannot  be said that the fixation of average price over 5 years is  not a  principle  for ascertaining the price of the land  in  or about the date of acquisition.  The third principle 631 excludes what is described by Courts as the potential  value of the land acquired.  When a land is acquired, compensation is  determined  by reference to the price  which  a  willing



vendor  might  reasonably expect to obtain  from  a  willing purchaser.   The Judicial Committee in Sri  Raja  Vyricherla Narayana  Gajapatraju Bahdur Garu v. The Revenue  Divisional Officer,  Vizianagaram(1)  held in clear terms that  in  the case  of  compulsory  acquisition, "the land is  not  to  be valued  merely by reference to the use to which it is  being put   at   the   time  at  which  its  value   has   to   be determined........  but  also by reference to  the  uses  to which it is reasonably capable of being put in the  future." In awarding compensation if the potential value of the  land is excluded, it cannot be said that the compensation awarded is  the just equivalent of what the owner has been  deprived of.   But such an exclusion only pertains to the  method  of ascertaining  the  compensation.  One of the  elements  that should  properly  be  taken  into  account  in  fixing   the compensation  is omitted : it results in the  inadequacy  of 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  Art. 31(2) of the Constitution. Mr.  Viswanatha Sastri then contended that though the  lands were  being acquired for the ostensible purpose  of  housing schemes;  the  real purpose was to provide revenue  for  the State. it is stated that the acquisition is made for and  on behalf  of the State Housing Board at Rs. 50 or Rs.  60  per ground,  that the said Board sells the lands so acquired  to private individuals, including the original owners  thereof, if the Housing Board so pleased, at a price of Rs. 300/- per ground,  and  that  it is a device to get  revenue  for  the State.  On behalf of the State counter-affidavits are  filed in  the  three petitions denying that the  lands  are  being acquired  for filling the coffers of the State  and  stating that   the  schemes  for  acquisition  are  worked  out   at no-profit-no-loss  basis.   It  appears  from  the  counter- affidavits  and  the  documents  filed  that  there   cannot possibly   be  any  sinister  motive  behind  the   proposed acquisition.   Madras is a growing, city.  By letter  dated, October  20, 1959, the Government of India suggested to  the States for taking on hand development schemes.  The  Govern- ment of Madras had considered the question of development of the  "neighborhoods"  of the Madras city for  relieving  the growing- congestion and overcrowding in the city; and  after making the necessary enquiries and investigations, by  order dated,. (1)  I.L.R. [1939] Mad. 532.  Sup.  CI/65-- 632 February  13, 1960, it directed the State Housing  Board  to take immediate steps for preparing composite layouts for the "West  Madras"  and  Vyasarpadi areas after  fixing  up  the limits of the areas in the manner indicated by the Board and for  the  acquisition  and  development  of  the  areas   as "neighborhoods" in accordance with the Land Acquisition  and Development Scheme of the Government of India.  It  directed the  said Board to give priority to the "West  Madras"  over the  Vyasarpadi"  area  in  the  matter  of  preparation  of composite layouts and acquisition. pursuant to the direction schemes   were  framed  and  acquisition  proceedings   were initiated.  It is stated in the counter-affidavit               "The  lands are being acquired with a view  to               develop  them into composite housing  colonies               making provision therein to persons in various               strata of society, from slum dwellers upwards,               and  eventually  providing for  high  schools,               elementary  schools,  dispensaries,   shopping               centres, police stations, and playgrounds  and



             all other community needs, etc.". It  is  a composite scheme involving heavy  expenditure  and adjustments  of  civil  demands of the rich  and  the  poor. Whatever profit is made in the sales of land will be  pumped back  for improving the colony and for  providing  amenities for  the  poorer classes of the society.   Except  the  bare statement  by the petitioners in their affidavits  that  the lands cheaply acquired are being sold at higher prices,  the averments  of  the State that the acquisition is part  of  a larger  scheme of building up of a housing colony on  modern lines  providing  for the rich and the poor alike  have  not been  denied.   It  is not necessary to  pursue  the  matter further.   The  petitioners have failed  to  establish  that their  lands are being acquired as a device to  improve  the revenue  of  the State.  Indeed, we are satisfied  that  the lands are being acquired bona fide for developing a  housing colony. The  last  contention of Mr. Viswanatha Sastri is  that  the Amending Act is hit by Art. 14 of the Constitution.  The law on  the  subject is well-settled.  Under Art. 14  the  State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or  the equal protection of the laws within the territory of  India. But  this  does not preclude the Legislature from  making  a reasonable  classification for the purpose  of  legislation. It has been held in a series of decisions of this Court that the  said classification shall pass two tests,  namely,  (i) the  classification  must  be  founded  on  an  intelligible differential which distinguishes persons and things left 633 out  of  the group; and (ii) the differential  must  have  a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the statute in question.  To ascertain whether the impugned  Act satisfies  the  said two tests, three questions have  to  be posed, namely, (i) what is the object of the Act ? (ii) what are the differences between persons whose lands are acquired for  the housing schemes and these whose lands are  acquired for purposes other than housing schemes or between the lands so  acquired? and (iii) whether those differences  have  any reasonable  relation to the said object.  On  a  comparative study  of  the Principal Act and the Amending Act,  we  have shown  earlier,  that if a land is acquired  for  a  housing scheme  under the Amending Act, the claimant gets  a  lesser value than he would get for the same land or a similar  land if  it is acquired for a public purpose like hospital  under the   Principal   Act.   ’Me  question   is   whether   this classification between persons whose lands are acquired  for housing  schemes  and persons whose lands are  acquired  for other public purposes has reasonable relation to the  object sought to be achieved.  The object of the Amending Act is to acquire  lands  for  housing schemes.  It  may  be,  as  the learned  counsel  contends, the Amending Act was  passed  to meet  an  urgent demand and to find a way out  to  clear  up slums,   a  problem  which  has  been  baffling   the   city authorities  for a long number of years, because of want  of funds.   But the Act as finally evolved is not  confined  to any  such  problem.   Under the Amending Act  lands  can  be acquired for housing schemes whether the object is to  clear slums or to improve housing facilities in the city for  rich or  poor.   It may be assumed that in the  Madras  city  the housing  problem  was rather acute and  there  was  abnormal increase   in   population  and   consequent   pressure   on accommodation,  and that there was also an urgent  need  for providing  houses for the middle-income groups and  also  to slum-dwellers.  However laudable the objects underlying  the Amending  Act  may  be,  it was so  framed  that  under  the



provisions thereof any land, big or small, waste or fertile, owned by rich or poor, can be acquired on the ground that it is  required for a housing scheme.  The housing scheme  need not be confined to slum clearance; the wide phraseology used in the Amending Act permits acquisition of land for  housing the  prosperous  section  of the  community.   It  need  not necessarily cater to a larger part of the population in  the city  it  can be confined to a chosen few.  The  land  could have  been  acquired  for all the said  purposes  under  the Principal  Act  after paying the market value of  the  land. ’Me  Amending  Act empowers the State to  acquire  land  for housing schemes at a 634 price  lower than that the State has to pay if the same  was acquired under the Principal Act. Now what are the differences between persons owning lands in the  Madras city or between the lands acquired which have  a reasonable  relation  to the said object.  It  is  suggested that  the differences between people owning lands rested  on the  extent,  quality  and  the  suitability  of  the  lands acquired  for the said object.  The differences  based  upon the  said  criteria have no relevance to the object  of  the Amending  Act.   To  illustrate : the  extent  of  the  land depends  upon the magnitude of the scheme undertaken by  the State.   A  large  extent  of land may  be  acquired  for  a university   or  for  a  network  of  hospitals  under   the provisions  of  the  Principal Act and also  for  a  housing scheme  under  the  Amending Act.  So too,  if  the  housing scheme is a limited one, the land acquired may not be as big as  that  required for a big university.  If waste  land  is good  for a housing scheme under the Amending Act,  it  will -equally  be suitable for a hospital or a school  for  which the said land may be acquired under the Principal Act.   Nor the  financial position or the number of persons owning  the land  has any relevance, for in both the cases land  can  be acquired  from rich or poor, from one individual or  from  a number  of  persons.   Out of adjacent  lands  of  the  same quality and value, one may be acquired for a housing  scheme under  the Amending Act and the other for a  hospital  under the  Principal Act; out of two adjacent plots  belonging  to the  same individual and of the same quality and value,  one may be acquired under the Principal Act and the other  under the Amending Act.  From whatever aspect the matter is looked at,  the alleged differences have no reasonable relation  to the  object  sought  to be achieved.  It is  said  that  the object  of  the  Amending  Act in  itself  may  project  the differences in the lands sought to be acquired under the two Acts.  This argument puts the cart before the horse.  It  is one  tying  to  say that the  existing  differences  between persons  and  properties have a reasonable relation  to  the object  sought to be achieved and it is totally a  different thing  to say that the object of the Act itself created  the differences.   Assuming that the said proposition is  sound, we  cannot  discover any differences in  the  people  owning lands  or  ill. the lands on the basis of the  object.   The object  is  to acquire lands for housing schemes  at  a  low -price.  For achieving that, object, any land falling in any of  the said categories can be acquired under  the  Amending Act.   So  too, for a public purpose any such  land  can  be acquired under the Principal Act.  We, 635 therefore,  hold  that discrimination is writ large  on  the Amending Act and it cannot be sustained on the principle  of reasonable  classification.   We, therefore, hold  that  the Amending  Act clearly infringes Art. 14 of the  Constitution



and is void. In  this view it is not necessary to express our opinion  on the  question whether the Amending Act infringes Art. 19  of the  Constitution. In  the, result it is hereby declared that the Amending  Act is  void.   We  direct  the  issue  of  writs  of   mandamus restraining   the  respondents  from  proceeding  with   the acquisition under the provisions of the Amending Act.   This order will not preclude the respondents from continuing  the proceedings  under  the provisions of the  Land  Acquisition Act,  1894, in accordance with law.  The petitioner in  Writ Petition No. 144 of 1963 will get one set of costs, and  the petitioner  in Writ Petitions Nos. 227 and 228 of 1963  will get one set of costs.  One hearing fee. Petitions allowed. 636