IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.3790 OF 2017
Jasveer Singh and Anr. …APPELLANT(S)
State of U.P. and Ors. …RESPONDENT(S)
CIVIL APPEAL NO.3787 OF 2017
RAJINDER Singh …APPELLANT(S)
State of U.P. and Ors. …RESPONDENT(S)
CIVIL APPEAL NO.3786 OF 2017
BHAG Singh …APPELLANT(S)
State of U.P. and Ors. …RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
ADARSH KUMAR GOEL, J.
1. These appeals have been preferred against the Order of the High Court
of Allahabad in Writ C. No. 59918 of 2014 rejecting the prayer of the
appellants for quashing the land acquisition proceedings initiated vide
notification dated 18th August 1981 under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894. The acquisition was “for the construction of New
Broad Gauge Railway Line between Rampur and Haldwani” in the District of
Rampur. Urgency clause was invoked. Possession of the land was taken on
19th September, 1986. The award was made on 22nd September, 1986. The
appellants preferred reference under Section 18 for enhancement of
compensation which was decided vide Award dated 7th December, 1988 by the
District Judge, Rampur. First appeals against the said award were decided
by the High Court on 29th January, 2004. This Court vide order dated 12th
September, 2005 in Civil Appeal Nos. 5714-15 of 2005 remanded the matters
to the High Court having regard to the grievance of the appellant against
denial of statutory benefits.
2. On 19th December, 2005 the appellants filed a writ petition before
the High Court seeking quashing of the acquisition proceedings which was
decided by the High Court on 3rd December, 2010 directing redetermination
of compensation. The said order was set aside by this Court on 16th
October, 2012 in Civil Appeal No.7535 of 2012. It was observed that :
“After considering the pros and cons, without entering into serious
controversies and making any comment on the merit of the case, we are of
the considered opinion that in view of the judgment and order of this Court
dated 26th November, 2010, which was passed in presence of the counsel for
both the parties, the High Court ought not to have heard the matter at all.
Thus, the judgment and order impugned before us has lost its sanctity.
Therefore, the same is hereby set aside.
However, in order to meet the ends of justice, we remand the case to the
High Court to hear the writ petition afresh expeditiously preferably within
a period of six months from the date of production of the certified copy of
the order before the Hon’ble Chief Justice. The matter may be assigned to
any particular Bench by the Hon’ble Chief Justice for final disposal. The
parties shall be at liberty to raise all factual and legal issues involved
in the case. The High Court is requested to deal with the relevant issues
More so, if the respondents are so aggrieved regarding withdrawal of their
appeals, which had been remanded by this Court for determining the
entitlement of interest under Section 23-(1A) of the Land Acquisition Act,
1984 and an application is made by the respondent to revive the same, the
High Court may consider and decide the said application in accordance with
Law. All the matters shall be heard simultaneously by the same Bench if
the appeals are restored. “
3. Thereafter, the High Court considered the contention of the
appellants that the award in respect of compensation was no award in the
eye of law and though the possession was taken long back and railway line
had been laid out, the acquisition proceedings were liable to be set aside
and compensation was liable to be awarded at present market rate. The High
Court rejected the said plea vide judgment dated 30th May, 2014 in Writ-C
No.77449 of 2005. It was observed that objection of the appellants
against the award had already been considered and remand by the Supreme
Court on 12th September, 2005 was only in respect of statutory benefits.
For the first time plea was sought to be raised in the writ petition
against validity of acquisition which was impermissible in view of law laid
down by this Court in Aflatoon versus Lt. Governor of Delhi, Swaika
Properties Pvt. Ltd. versus State of Rajasthan, Sawaran Lata versus
State of Haryana and Banda Development Authority, Banda versus Moti Lal
Agarwal. Judgment of this Court in Royal Orchid Hotel versus G.
Tayarama Reddy was distinguished as that case related to fraudulent
exercise of power of eminent domain. The High Court concluded :
“ 45. Taking into consideration the entire facts and circumstances of the
case, we are of the view that the writ petition is highly barred by latches
and deserves to be dismissed on the ground of latches alone.
46. As has been observed above, the petitioners’ main grievance is for
enhancement of compensation, for which the petitioner has already filed
First Appeal No.880 of 1993 and First Appeal No.401 of 1998 which appeals
are being allowed by order of the date, we see no reason to entertain the
47. Although, various submissions on merits challenging the entire
acquisition proceedings have been raised by learned counsel for the
petitioners, but we having taken the view that the writ petition is highly
barred by latches, we do not find it necessary to enter into the
submissions raised by learned counsel for the petitioners on merits. ”
4. The appellant thereafter preferred S.L.P. (Civil) No. 27109 of 2014
which was dismissed. However, it was observed that appellants are at
liberty to work out their grievance based on the new Land Acquisition Act
(2013) by preferring appropriate proceedings. The appellant thereafter
filed W.P. No.77449 of 2005 from which these appeals have arisen.
5. The High Court dismissed the writ petition with the following
“ From the facts as noticed herein above, we are of the considered opinion
that not only the Award had been made, the petitioners had also filed a
Reference Application which was rejected and against the Reference Order,
they filed First Appeal, referred to above, which has also been dismissed.
There is substance in the allegations made. ”
6. We have heard learned counsel for the parties.
7. Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that in the present
case the award should be held to have not been validly made and on that
ground the proceedings should be held to have lapsed.
8. We are unable to accept the above submission. It is seen from the
above resume of the proceedings that the appellants were paid compensation
and possession was duly taken. The appellants also preferred reference on
which higher compensation was awarded and matter attained finality upto
this Court. The appellants thereafter filed a writ petition challenging
the acquisition proceedings which was held to barred by delay and latches
against which SLP was dismissed by this Court. Of course, an observation
was made that the appellants could prefer appropriate proceedings based on
their grievance under the 2013 Act.
9. The grievance of the appellants against acquisition proceedings on
the ground that the award was not a valid award was rejected and SLP was
dismissed by this Court but permitting a fresh challenge. The fact remains
that the challenge of the appellants is barred by laches and the said
finding does not suffer from any infirmity. Even if the appellants were
permitted to lay a fresh challenge, they are required to overcome this
legal bar which in our view the appellants have not been able to overcome.
10. We, thus, do not find any error in the view taken by the High Court.
The appeals are dismissed.
[ADARSH KUMAR GOEL ]
[ Rohinton Fali Nariman ]
May 01, 2017
 (1975) 4 SCC 285
 (2008) 4 SCC 695
 (2010) 4 SCC 532
 (2011) 5 SCC 394
 (2011) 10 SCC 608