Read Order: Kishan Chand and others v. State of Haryana and others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, April 13, 2022: While dealing with a case wherein in 2953 plots were planned and floated for allotment but due to non-availability of land, Haryana Urban Development Authority was not able to offer plots to 236 allottees, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in light of observations made by the Supreme Court in Ram Swaroop (Dead) through LRs & Anr. vs. State of Haryana & Others, SLP (Civil) No.16421 of 2021 reiterated that the opinion of the State Government cannot be disputed by the landowner at the drop of the hat. 

The petitioners, before the Bench of Justices Ritu Bahri and Ashok Kumar Verma sought quashing of the order of the Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning-cum-Principal Secretary, Urban Estate Department, whereby representation made by the petitioners under Section 101-A of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (2013 Act), was dismissed. Further prayer was made for quashing the notification of 2000 issued under Section 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 as also the Award of 2003. 

Before this, the petitioner filed two petitions before the High Court which were eventually dismissed by the Court. In the said petitions the petitioner challenged the concerned notification on two grounds, first of which was that the land was being acquired for residential purposes and the petitioners/builder had already requested for grant of CLU for that very purpose and secondly, that the acquisition was made without application of mind and the plea that the acquired land would be used for by carving out residential plots was an afterthought plea taken at the time of filing of the written statement.

Contrary to this plea, the Court observed while dismissing these petitions, that the land was acquired for multiple purposes like commercial, residential and institutional. In total 2953 plots were planned and floated for allotment, but due to the non-availability of land, Haryana Urban Development Authority was not able to offer plots to 236 allottees. It was further observed that the petitioner/builder purchased the land after the issuance of notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act. Since the land was acquired for a public purpose and after floating out the plots, an offer could not be made to 236 allottees, the notifications issued under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act were upheld. 

The petitioner-Kishan Chand and others made a representation for release of their land under Section 24 (2) of 2013 Act and vide speaking order of 2017, Chairman, Zonal Committee-cum-Zonal Administrator, HSVP, Gurugram, rejected the case for the release of land. This order was challenged by the petitioners via petitions wherein the land was handed over to HSVP. The amount of compensation was sent to the Court of Additional District Judge. 

As per the planning of HSVP, the land was to be utilized for the planned development of Sector 57-II, Gurugram. The land in question was essential for the intended purpose of acquisition and it was not covered under the provisions of Section 101-A of the 2013 Act, where the sine qua non is that the acquisition is “unviable or non-essential.” With these observations, the representation of the petitioners was rejected.

After considering the above-stated fact-sheet, the Court observed that in the present case, even way back in the year 2013 when a writ petition challenging the above-said notification was dismissed via an order of 2013, it was observed that 236 allottees could not be offered the plots. Hence, the Court added that the utility of the acquired land was there and under no circumstances, it could be said that the acquisition was not made for public purpose. 

Here, the Court made reference to the Apex Court in Ram Swaroop’s Case(Supra) wherein, the Top Court held while relying on Raghubir Singh & another vs. State of Haryana and Others, Civil Appeal No.2714-2715 of 2021 that it was the bounden duty of the State to examine the relevant facts and form suitable opinion as may be advised, regarding lands having become unviable or non-essential or not. The opinion of the State Government cannot be disputed by the landowner at the drop of the hat. 

Further, after looking into the decisions of courts on the matter under scrutiny, the Court opined that in the facts of the present case, land vested in the State and the same was being utilized for allotment of plots.

Moreover, the Court added that while dismissing the earlier writ petition it was observed that 236 plots were less, which could not be offered to the allottees. 
Resultantly, finding no merits, the present petition was dismissed. 

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