Bangalore Development Act A Legislation By Incorporation Would Override Provisions of Land Acquisition Act - Supreme Court
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Sanjiv Khanna while referring to Offshore Holdings Private Limited v. Bangalore Development Authority and others has held that Bangalore Development Authority Act being legislation by incorporation, the provisions of Land Acquisition Act would have limited applicability subject to the supremacy of the provisions of the BDA Act.
In this case, a Peripheral Ring Road encircling Bangalore city was proposed to be set up by the Bangalore Development Authority which was subsequently sanctioned by the Government of Karnataka. The road was to provide connectivity to various destinations in all directions for onward traffic without entering the city, thus, minimizing congestion in Bangalore city. Notifications were issued by the Bangalore Development Authority for the acquisition of lands for the Peripheral Ring Road. Several writ petitions were filed before the Karnataka High Court, which were clubbed with the case of Sri Sudhakar Hegde v. State of Karnataka.
The Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court held that the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 are made applicable to the Bangalore Development Authority were in the nature of legislation by reference. Furthermore, it was held that in view of the repeal of the Land Acquisition Act by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, during the pendency of the writ petitions, it would be the corresponding provisions under the 2013 Act in so far as they are applicable which would regulate the acquisition proceedings. Additionally, the High Court held that the proceedings could not lapse merely by the virtue of Section 24 of the 2013 Act. This impugned judgment was challenged before the Supreme Court.
Mr. S.K. Kulkarni assisted by Mr. M Gireesh Kumar appeared for the Appellant while Senior Advocate, Mr. Manan Mishra, appeared for the Respondent before the Apex Court
The primary issue in this case was –
- Whether the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 will be applicable to acquisitions under the Bangalore Development Authority Act?
It was contended by the Appellant i.e. the Bangalore Development Authority, that the above judgment has upset the budget calculation of the project. Moreover, it was claimed that the High Court had failed to refer and consider the Supreme Court case of Offshore Holdings Pvt. Ltd. v. Bangalore Development Authority. It was argued that Section 36 of the BDA Act clearly mandated legislation by incorporation. Thus, it was submitted by the Appellant to uphold the non-application of the 2013 Act to the BDA Act.
The Supreme Court noted that the BDA Act was enacted by the Legislature of the State of Karnataka to provide for the establishment of a Development Authority for the development of the city of Bangalore. The primary object of the BDA Act was to carry out a planned development and acquisition, is merely an incident of such planned development. Chapter IV of the BDA Act dealt with 'Acquisition of Land' which contained Sections 35 and 36. Section 36 provided that the acquisition under the Act would be governed by the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, so far as they are applicable.
The Bench observed, "The intention of the Legislature is to take recourse for the provisions of the LA Act to a limited extent and subject to the supremacy of the provisions of the BDA Act. This is evident from the expression "so far as they are applicable" employed in sub-section (1) of Section 36. In Offshore Holdings Private Limited (supra), a Constitution Bench of this Court, after considering the scheme of the BDA Act and having regard to the language employed in Section 36, held that it is legislation by incorporation."
The Court referred to the case of C.N. Paramsivam v. Sunrise Plaza Ltd. to assert that the incorporation of an earlier Act into the later Act was a legislative device used for the sake of convenience. This was done in order to avoid the verbatim reproduction of the provisions of the earlier Act into the later Act. It was stated that once the incorporation was made, the provisions of the incorporated statute became an integral part of the statute in which it was transferred. Hence, there existed no need to refer to the statute from which the incorporation was made and any subsequent amendment made in it had no effect on the incorporating statute.
The Bench further asserted, "The 2013 Act repeals only the LA Act and not any other Central or State enactment dealing with acquisition. Therefore, what is sought to be saved under Section 24 of the 2013 Act is only acquisitions which had been initiated under the LA Act and not those acquisitions which had been initiated under any other Central or State enactment. The expression contained in Section 24 of the LA Act cannot be given extensive interpretation by adding words into the provision, in the absence of the provision itself giving rise to any such implication. We are of the view that 2013 Act would not regulate the acquisition proceedings made under the BDA Act."
Hence, in view of the above view, the Supreme Court held that the Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court was not justified in the impugned judgment which was even clubbed with the case of Sri Sudhakar Hegde v. State of Karnataka to hold that the provisions of Land Acquisition Act that are applicable to the BDA Act are in the nature of legislation by reference. According to the Apex Court, the Karnataka High Court had erred in holding that in view of the repeal of the Land Acquisition Act, the 2013 Act would regulate acquisition proceedings under the BDA Act. It was clarified by the Court that since the Land Acquisition Act had been incorporated into the BDA Act so far as they are applicable, the provisions of 2013 Act will not be applicable for the acquisitions made under the BDA Act.
Thus, the Supreme Court overruled the case of Sri Sudhakar Hegde v. State of Karnataka as well as the other connected matters.