Acquisition Proceedings U/s. 33(2) KHB Act Without Housing Scheme In Existence Would Not Render Such Proceedings Void - SC
A three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice C.T. Ravikumar has held, "...initiation of proceedings for acquisition invoking the power under Section 33(2) of the KHB Act without the housing scheme being in existence or the housing scheme not having been sanctioned under Section 24(2) thereof, would not render such proceedings null and void."
Counsel Balaji Srinivasan appeared for the Appellant before the Apex Court.
A common question arose in the batch of appeals before the Court, which was culled out in the following words:
"In all these Appeals a common question arises for consideration viz., "whether initiation of proceedings for acquisition of land for the purposes of the Karnataka Housing Board, invoking the power under Section 33(2) of the Karnataka Housing Board Act, 1962, without the housing scheme being in existence or the housing scheme not having been sanctioned under Section 24(2) thereof, would render such acquisition proceedings void and non-est". Certain allied questions may also call for consideration."
The Karnataka Housing Board Act (KHB Act) was enacted with an object to provide for measures to be taken to deal with and satisfy the need for housing accommodation. There are different modes of acquisition provided under the Act. Hence the issue before the Court.
The Court noted that the construction of Section 33(2) of the KHB Act would be a point to answer the stated common question involved in the appeals.
On consideration of the authorities and the dicta already laid down, the Court made the following pertinent observations:
"Thus, a perusal of the decisions in Mohammed Yousef's case and L. Krishnan's case (supra) would disclose that both the decisions were rendered with reference to the provisions under the L.A. Act and the TNHB Act. It is true that a two-Judge Bench of this Court in Mohammed Yousef's case, after referring to the provisions under the Madras State Housing Board Act, 1961, which was later renamed as 'TNHB Act', held that a proceeding under the Land Acquisition Act read with Section 70 of the Housing Board Act could be commenced only after the framing of the scheme for which the land is required, and not before. But then, upon doubting the correctness of the decision in Mohammed Yousef's case, two learned judges of this Court referred the appeals (decided under L. Krishnan's case) to a three-Judge Bench. It is in those appeals that the three-Judge Bench in L. Krishnan's case observed that unfortunately neither the provisions in sub-Sections (2) and (3) of Section 25 and Section 36 of Act 17 of 1961 nor earlier Constitution Bench decisions of this Court, were brought to the notice of the Bench which rendered the decision in Mohammed Yousef's case."
The Court held that the contention that initiation of acquisition for the purposes of the KHB Act, prior to the sanction and/or publication of housing scheme concerned/land development scheme concerned is null and void in view of the decision in Mohammed Yousef's case is untenable.
On the interpretation of various provisions of the KHB Act, the Supreme Court opined as follows:
"Going by the scheme of the KHB Act, it deals with the subject of execution of housing schemes, land development schemes and labour housing schemes under Section 24. Bearing in mind the provisions under Sections 18-23 we will consider the scope and purport of Section 24 of the KHB Act. A careful scrutiny of sub-Sections (1) and (2) of Section 24 would bring forth their distinct differences. Section 24(1) prescribes that after the programme has been sanctioned and published by the State Government the board shall, subject to the provisions of Section 23, proceed to execute the housing scheme, land development scheme and labour housing scheme included in the programme. Thus, Section 24(1) states in unequivocal terms as to when the KHB shall proceed to execute the housing schemes, land development schemes and labour housing schemes included in the programme. Indisputably, in terms of the said statutory mandate KHB could proceed to execute any of the aforesaid schemes included in the programme only after the sanction and publication of the programme wherein the scheme concerned is included."
The Court noted that there can be no doubt that for executing a housing scheme, land development scheme and labour housing scheme, the necessary extent of land has to be acquired.
The Court held that Section 33(2) of the KHB Act empowers the KHB to take steps for compulsory acquisition of any land or any interest therein, required for the execution of a housing scheme in the manner provided in the L.A. Act, as modified by KHB Act.
Hence, the Court answered the common question negatively and to the effect that initiation of proceedings for acquisition invoking the power under Section 33(2) of the KHB Act without the housing scheme being in existence or the housing scheme not having been sanctioned under Section 24(2) thereof would not render such proceedings null and void.
Cause Title - The Karnataka Housing Board & Anr. v. State Of Karnataka & Ors.