"When A Statute Provides For A Time Period To Do Something, The Authority Should Be Given Such Time"- SC While Upholding LA Proceedings
A Supreme Court Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna in a land acquisition case has stressed that when a statute provides certain things to be done within the stipulated time mentioned in the Act, the Authority is to be given such time, more particularly while dealing with the scheme which has been framed for the entire area and for the public purpose.
Relying on the case of Sanjai Gandhi Grah Nirman Sahkari Sanstha Maryadit v. State of M.P. and others, the Court took the considered view that "As per section 56 of the Adhiniyam r/w Rule 19 and for the purposes of land acquisition under section 56 of the Adhiniyam, within three years from the date of publication of the final town development scheme under section 50, the Town and Country Development Authority shall proceed to acquire the land required for the implementation of the scheme. The words used are “proceed to acquire” and not “actual acquisition”. The intention of the legislature thus seems to be very clear and unambiguous. Therefore, when the Statute provides certain things to be done within the stipulated time mentioned in the Act, the Authority is to be given such time, more particularly while dealing with the scheme which has been framed for the entire area and for the public purpose. In the present case, Scheme No. 97 has been framed and the lands have been acquired for residential, park and industrial purposes. Any other meaning may frustrate the purpose of framing of the scheme for residential, part and industrial purposes."
ASG Balbir Singh, assisted by Counsel Sanjay Kapur, appeared for the Indore Development Authority. Senior Counsel Basava Prabhu S Patil, Senior Counsel Subash Samvatsar and Senior Counsel NK Mody, Counsel Puneet Jain, and Counsel Mayank Kshirsagar appeared for the writ petitioners.
In this case, the Indore Development Authority approached the Supreme Court aggrieved by a Judgment passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court which the High Court had ordered against the finalization of Scheme No. 97 under Section 50 of the Madhya Pradesh Nagar Tatha Gram Nivesh Adhiniyam, 1973 and the subsequent land acquisition proceedings undertaken by the State of Madhya Pradesh under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
The Apex Court noted that as per Section 56 of the Adhiniyam, "the Development Authority may at any time after the date of publication of the final town development scheme under section 50, but not later than three years therefrom, proceed to acquire by agreement the land required for the implementation of the scheme and, on its failure so to acquire, the State Government may, at the request of the Development Authority, proceed to acquire such land under the provisions of the Act, 1894. Thus, under section 56 of the Adhiniyam, within three years the Development Authority was required to proceed to acquire by agreement the land required for the implementation of the scheme and only thereafter and on its failure so to acquire, the State Government may, at the request of the Development Authority, proceed to acquire such land."
Consequently, the Court held that "when within three years various steps were taken for implementation of the scheme including the steps to acquire the land by negotiations and even thereafter on failure to acquire the land by negotiations approaching the State Government to acquire the land under the Land Acquisition Act, the High Court has erred in declaring that the scheme has lapsed under section 54 of the Adhiniyam. The High Court has adopted too narrow a meaning while interpreting and/or considering section 54 of the Adhiniyam."
Further, the Court also held that "was for valid reasons or valid grounds has not prejudiced or affected the integrity of the scheme. The end result of the release of some land is that the total area of the scheme is lesser to that extent but the integrity of the scheme remains the same. At this stage, it is required to be noted that some of the lands have already been used by the authority for the purpose of a park which is used for the benefit of local people." As a result, the Court found that the quashing of the entire proceedings by the High Court was unsustainable.
Accordingly, the appeals were allowed, and the impugned Judgment of the High Court was quashed and set aside.
Cause Title: Indore Development Authority v. Burhani Grih Nirman Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit Sneh Nagar and Others