High Court Ought To Have Heard All Appeals Together With Respect To Same Acquisition To Avoid Further Conflicting Orders - SC
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna has held that the High Court ought to have ensured that all the appeals with respect to the same acquisition, where the notifications were challenged were heard together in order to avoid any further conflicting orders under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
In this case, Respondent Nos. 1 to 3 purchased the land in question from Gajanand Mali and Nandkishore who were the predecessors-in-title. With respect to the land in question a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was issued. Gajanand Mali and Nandkishore and other landowners submitted their objections. The Land Acquisition Officer rejected the objections that led the original landowner to prefer a Writ Petition which was dismissed by the learned Single Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The appeal was however allowed by the Division Bench that set-aside the impugned order and remanded the matter back to the Land Acquisition Officer. A fresh petition was filed which challenged the notification under Section 4 of the Act of 1894 and under Section 6. The petition was dismissed by the Single Judge and was affirmed by the Division Bench as not maintainable. This appeal was pending before the Apex Court. However, in the year 2008, Respondent Nos. 1 to 3 herein preferred the present a petition before the Single Judge which dismissed the said Writ Petition primarily on the ground of delay and latches. The Division Bench allowed the said appeal and quashed and set aside the order passed by the Single Judge. This impugned judgment had been challenged before the Supreme Court.
Counsel Rajnish Kumar Jha appeared for Plaintiff while Counsel Pratibha Jain and Counsel Guarav Goel represented the Respondent Nos. 1 to 3 before the Apex Court.
The Court observed that the Madhya Pradesh High Court had not at all noted and/or considered that with respect to the very acquisition and the notifications under Sections 4 and 6, appeals were pending before the High Court. Without noticing the same, the High Court had allowed the appeal and set aside the order passed by the learned Single Judge.
Additionally, the Court opined that the very acquisition and the notifications under Sections 4 and 6 were the subject matter of other proceedings pending before the High Court and in order to avoid any further conflicting orders and even otherwise on the basis of proprietary the High Court, instead of deciding the present appeal separately ought to had ensured that all the appeals with respect to the same acquisition, where the notifications were challenged, were heard together, which had not been done in this case.
Thus, the Supreme Court set aside the impugned judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court and remanded it back to the Division Bench of the High Court to decide the present appeal within a period of six months from the date of receipt of the present order. Hence, the present appeal was accordingly allowed to the aforesaid extent.