Whether the subsequent purchasers/assignees/power of attorney holders, etc., have locus standi to file a petition for a declaration of lapse of acquisition proceedings under Section 24(2) of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as “the 2013 Act”), is the only issue arising for consideration in these cases.=Thus, the subsequent purchaser, the assignee, the successor in interest, the power of attorney, etc., are all persons who are interested in compensation/land owners/affected persons in terms of the 2013 Act and such persons are entitled to file a case for a declaration that the land acquisition proceedings have lapsed by virtue of operation of Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act. It is a declaration qua the land wherein indisputably they have an interest and they are affected by such acquisition. For such a declaration, it cannot be said that the respondents/writ petitioners do not have any locus standi.- In the peculiar facts and circumstances of these cases, the appellants are given a period of six months to exercise its liberty granted under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act for initiation of the acquisition proceedings afresh.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6112 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 13551 of 2015)
GOVT. OF NCT OF DELHI … APPELLANT (S)
VERSUS

MANAV DHARAM TRUST AND ANOTHER … RESPONDENT (S)

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6113 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.14802 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6115 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.15451 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6118 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.15454 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6120 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.16995 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6123 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.17006 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6128 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.17248 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6131 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.17740 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6134 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.18480 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6136 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.18485 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6138 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.19204 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6140 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.19452 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6142 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.19555 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6146 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.22067 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6149 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.22069 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6152 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.22994 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6156 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.22995 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6160 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.23742 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6163 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.24957 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6164 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.24963 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6166 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.25524 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6170 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.26493 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6173 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.26606 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6186 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.26724 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6190 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.27318 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6194 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.27485 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6197 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.27729 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6203 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28002 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6206 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28579 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6209 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28745 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6213 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28768 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6216 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28922 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6219 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 28927 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6224 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 28929 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6228 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.29537 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6233 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 30148 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6237 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 30211 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6240 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 30224 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6242 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30228 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6246 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30234 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6249 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30238 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6260 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30243 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6264 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30244 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6267 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30275 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6270 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30733 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6272 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30734 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6274 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30735 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6276 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.31250 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6279 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.31366/2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6281 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.31673 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6283 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.32614 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6285 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.32617 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6287 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.32640 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6289 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 32642 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6291 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.32643 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6292 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.32645 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6294 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.32647 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6296 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.33344 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6298 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.34619 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6300 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.35231 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6302 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.35243 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6125 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.545 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6127 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.848 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6129 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1686 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6130 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1698 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6132 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1700 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6133 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.2070 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6135 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.2839 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6137 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.4221 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6141 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.7016 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6143 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 7564 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6145 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.7568 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6147 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.7609 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6150 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.7735 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6153 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.7761 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6155 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8770 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6157 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8793 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6159 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8798 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6161 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8808 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6167 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8811 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6169 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8812 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6172 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8813 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6175 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8817 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6176 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 8818 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6178 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8819 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6180 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8820 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6181 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8829 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6182 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8836 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6184 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.9061 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6185 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.9184 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6187 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.10009 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6189 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.10495 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6191 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11339 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6193 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11349 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6195 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11356 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6198 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11372 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6200 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11380/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6202 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11383 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6205 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11448 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6207 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11458/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6210 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.17354 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6212 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.19966 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6214 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.19972 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6217 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.19976 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6218 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.23083/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6221 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.23085/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6222 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.23095/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6225 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.23642/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6227 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.23646/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6230 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.23659 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6231 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.24307 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6234 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.24313 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6236 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.24321 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6239 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.25136 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6241 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28183 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6243 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28270 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6245 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28272 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6248 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 28274/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6250 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28279 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6252 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28281 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6253 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28661 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6255 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28668 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6256 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30426 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6259 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.31440 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6262 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.31442/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6263 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.31444 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6265 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.31480/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6266 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.32231 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6269 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.32996 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6119 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.35159 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6121 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.35160 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6122 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.35163 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6139 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.36421 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6144 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.36792 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6148 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.37159 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6151 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.37657 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6154 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38279 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6158 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38283 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6162 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38284 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6168 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38286 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6171 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38292 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6174 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38295 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6177 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38300 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6179 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38303 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6183 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38354 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6188 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38358 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6192 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38364 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6196 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38367 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6199 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38370 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6201 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38373 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6204 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1498 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6208 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1499 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6211 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1639 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6215 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1724 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6220 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1726 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6223 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1728 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6226 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1729 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6229 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1730 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6232 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.1731 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6235 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.3826 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6238 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.6911 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6244 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8928 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6247 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8929 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6251 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.9586 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6254 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.9734 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 6257-6258 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos.10556-10557 of 2017)

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6261 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11873 of 2017),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6268 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.25536 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6271 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38374 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6273 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.28305 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6275 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30167 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6278 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.30170 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6280 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.13381 of 2015),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6282 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.7731 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6284 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.7754 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6286 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.8762 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6288 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11404 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6290 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.11479/2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6293 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38296 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6295 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38299 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6297 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38355 of 2016),

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6299 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38360 of 2016)

AND

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6301 OF 2017
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.38366 of 2016)

J U D G M E N T

KURIAN, J.:

Leave granted.
Whether the subsequent purchasers/assignees/power of attorney holders,
etc., have locus standi to file a petition for a declaration of lapse of
acquisition proceedings under Section 24(2) of The Right to Fair
Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as “the 2013 Act”), is the
only issue arising for consideration in these cases.

The High Court has taken the view in favour of such people. Thus, aggrieved
the NCT of Delhi and Delhi Development Authority are in appeals before this
Court.

At the outset, we may note that in these cases, the land acquisition
proceedings have otherwise lapsed by the operation of Section 24(2) of the
2013 Act since either compensation was not paid or possession was not taken
within five years prior to 01.01.2014, the date of coming into force of the
2013 Act. Thus, the dispute is only on the locus standi.
Shri Amarendra Saran, learned Senior Counsel leading the arguments on
behalf of the appellants submits that in all these cases, the transfer is
in violation of The Delhi Lands (Restrictions on Transfer) Act, 1972
(hereinafter referred to as “the Delhi Act, 1972”). The transfers in favour
of the writ petitioners are hence void, and accordingly, the beneficiary of
an illegal/void transaction is not entitled to file a case for any relief.
Reliance is placed on Sections 3,4,8, and 9 of the 1972 Act, which read as
follows:

1 “3. Prohibition on transfer of lands acquired by Central Government –
No person shall purport to transfer by sale, mortgage, gift, lease or
otherwise any land or part thereof situated in the Union territory of Delhi
which has been acquired by the Central Government under the Land
Acquisition Act, 1984 or under any other law providing for acquisition of
land for a public purpose.
2 4. Regulation on transfer of lands in relation to which acquisition
proceedings have been initiated.
No person shall, except with the previous permission in writing of the
competent authority, transfer or purport to transfer by sale, mortgage,
gift, lease or otherwise any land or part thereof situated in the Union
territory of Delhi, which is proposed to be acquired in connection with the
Scheme and in relation to which a declaration to the effect that such land
or part thereof is needed for a public purpose having been made by the
Central Government under section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the
Central Government has not withdrawn from the acquisition under section 48
of that Act.
xxx xxx xxx
3 8. Restrictions on registration of transfers of land –
Notwithstanding any thing contained in any other law for the time being in
force, where any document required to be registered under the provisions of
clause (a) to clause (e) of sub-section (1) of section 17 of the
Registration Act, 1908, purports to transfer by sale, mortgage, gift, lease
or otherwise any land or part thereof referred to in section 4, no
registering officer appointed under that Act shall register any such
document unless the transferor produces before such registering officer a
permission in writing of the competent authority for such transfer.
4 9. Penalty –

If any person contravenes the provisions of section 3 or section 4, he
shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three
years or with fine or with both.”
Learned Senior Counsel and other learned Counsel further submitted that the
issue is no more res integra in view of the following decisions of this
Court:
(i) U.P. Jal Nigam, Lucknow Through Its Chairman and another v. Kalra
Properties (P) Ltd., Lucknow and others[1],

(ii) Sneh Prabha (Smt.) and others v. State of U.P. and another[2],

(iii) Meera Sahni v. Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and others[3],

(iv) V. Chandrasekaran and another v. Administrative Officer and
others[4],

(v) Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment
Corporation v. Subhash Sindhi Cooperative Housing Society, Jaipur and
others[5] and
U.P. Jal Nigam, Lucknow (supra), is a case where this Court considered the
consequences of a transfer of the land after issuance of notification under
Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter referred to as
“the 1894 Act”) in the State of Uttar Pradesh. It was held that any
encumbrances created by the owner after Section 4(1) Notification is
published, does not bind the Government and such a purchaser does not
acquire any title to the property. Therefore, such a purchaser cannot
challenge the validity of the notification or the regularity of the process
of taking possession of the land. To quote paragraph-3:

“3. … It is settled law that after the notification under Section 4(1) is
published in the Gazette any encumbrance created by the owner does not bind
the Government and the purchaser does not acquire any title to the
property. In this case, notification under Section 4(1) was published on 24-
3-1973, possession of the land admittedly was taken on 5-7-1973 and pumping
station house was constructed. No doubt, declaration under Section 6 was
published later on 8-7-1973. Admittedly power under Section 17(4) was
exercised dispensing with the enquiry under Section 5-A and on service of
the notice under Section 9 possession was taken, since urgency was acute,
viz., pumping station house was to be constructed to drain out flood water.
Consequently, the land stood vested in the State under Section 17(2) free
from all encumbrances. It is further settled law that once possession is
taken, by operation of Section 17(2), the land vests in the State free from
all encumbrances unless a notification under Section 48(1) is published in
the Gazette withdrawing from the acquisition. Section 11-A, as amended by
Act 68 of 1984, therefore, does not apply and the acquisition does not
lapse. The notification under Section 4(1) and the declaration under
Section 6, therefore, remain valid. There is no other provision under the
Act to have the acquired land divested, unless, as stated earlier,
notification under Section 48(1) was published and the possession is
surrendered pursuant thereto. That apart, since M/s Kalra Properties,
respondent had purchased the land after the notification under Section 4(1)
was published, its sale is void against the State and it acquired no right,
title or interest in the land. Consequently, it is settled law that it
cannot challenge the validity of the notification or the regularity in
taking possession of the land before publication of the declaration under
Section 6 was published.”

In Sneh Prabha (supra), this Court reiterated the position that any
alienation of land after the publication of the notification under Section
4(1) of the 1894 Act does not bind the Government or the beneficiary under
the acquisition. It has also been held that once the possession of the land
is taken under Section 16 of the Act, the land vests with the Government
free from all encumbrances and the absolute title is vested in the
Government. To quote from paragraph-5:

“5. … It is settled law that any person who purchases land after
publication of the notification under Section 4(1), does so at his/her own
peril. The object of publication of the notification under Section 4(1) is
notice to everyone that the land is needed or is likely to be needed for
public purpose and the acquisition proceedings point out an impediment to
anyone to encumber the land acquired thereunder. It authorises the
designated officer to enter upon the land to do preliminaries etc.
Therefore, any alienation of land after the publication of the notification
under Section 4(1) does not bind the Government or the beneficiary under
the acquisition. On taking possession of the land, all rights, titles and
interests in land stand vested in the State, under Section 16 of the Act,
free from all encumbrances and thereby absolute title in the land is
acquired thereunder. If any subsequent purchaser acquires land, his/her
only right would be subject to the provisions of the Act and/or to receive
compensation for the land. In a recent judgment, this Court in Union of
India v. Shivkumar Bhargava considered the controversy and held that a
person who purchases land subsequent to the notification is not entitled to
alternative site. It is seen that the Land Policy expressly conferred that
right only on that person whose land was acquired. In other words, the
person must be the owner of the land on the date on which notification
under Section 4(1) was published. By necessary implication, the subsequent
purchaser was elbowed out from the policy and became disentitled to the
benefit of the Land Policy.”
In Meera Sahni (supra), this Court dealt with the provisions under the
Delhi Act, 1972. After referring to U.P. Jal Nigam and Sneh Prabha cases
(supra), in paragraph-21 of the judgment, it was held that … “it is by
now well settled law that under the Land Acquisition Act, the subsequent
purchaser cannot challenge the acquisition proceedings and that he would be
only entitled to get the compensation”.

In V. Chandrasekaran (supra), this Court again addressed the issue as to
whether the subsequent purchaser can challenge the acquisition proceedings.
After referring to some of the earlier judgments, at paragraph-18, the law
has been laid down as follows:

“18. In view of the above, the law on the issue can be summarised to the
effect that a person who purchases land subsequent to the issuance of a
Section 4 notification with respect to it, is not competent to challenge
the validity of the acquisition proceedings on any ground whatsoever, for
the reason that the sale deed executed in his favour does not confer upon
him, any title and at the most he can claim compensation on the basis of
his vendor’s title.”

In Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation
(supra), this Court held that such transactions after initiation of
acquisition proceedings would be void and would not be binding on the
Government. To quote paragraph-13:

“13. There can be no quarrel with respect to the settled legal proposition
that a purchaser, subsequent to the issuance of a Section 4 notification in
respect of the land, cannot challenge the acquisition proceedings, and can
only claim compensation as the sale transaction in such a situation is void
qua the Government. Any such encumbrance created by the owner, or any
transfer of the land in question, that is made after the issuance of such a
notification, would be deemed to be void and would not be binding on the
Government. …”

On behalf of the respondents, it has been mainly contended that the
subsequent purchasers are persons interested and they have every right to
file a case to protect their interests. It was also pointed out that under
the Delhi Act, 1972, there is no absolute bar on transfer since under
Section 5, the transfer was possible with the permission of the Competent
Authority and that under Section 5, the Competent Authority cannot refuse
to grant the permission except on any of the grounds under sub-Section (3)
of Section 5. To quote Section 5:

5 “5. Application for grant of permission for transfer under section 4 –
6 xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx
(3) The competent authority shall not refuse to grant the permission
applied for under this section except on one or more of the following
grounds, namely:-
(i) That the land is needed or is likely to be needed for the effective
implementation of the Scheme;
(ii) That the land is needed or is likely to be needed for securing the
objects of the Delhi Development Authority referred to in section 6 of the
Development Act;
(iii) That the land is needed or is likely to be needed for any development
within the meaning of clause (d) of section 2 of the Development Act or for
such things as public building and other public works and utilities, roads,
housing, recreation, industry, business, markets, schools and other
educational institutions, hospitals and public open spaces and other
categories of public uses.”
It was also contended that the 2013 Act has not exempted the acquisitions
under The Delhi Development Act, 1957, and for that matter the Delhi Act,
1972 under the Fourth Schedule to Section 105.

Yet another contention was that in all these cases, the challenge was not
to the acquisition proceedings but for a declaration under Section 24(2) of
the 2013 Act to the effect that by virtue of operation of the said
provision, the acquisition proceedings have lapsed.

“Person interested”, under the 1894 Act, is defined under Section 3(b) of
the Act, which reads as follows:

“3(b) the expression “person interested” includes all persons claiming an
interest in compensation to be made on account of the acquisition of land
under this Act; and a person shall be deemed to be interested in land if he
is interested in an easement affecting the land;”
Under the 2013 Act, “person interested” has been given a much wider meaning
under Section 3(x). To quote:
“3(x).     “person interested” means—

all persons claiming an interest in compensation to be made on account of
the acquisition of land under this Act;

the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who have lost
any forest rights recognised under the Scheduled Tribes and Other
Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006;

a person interested in an easement affecting the land;

persons having tenancy rights under the relevant State laws including share-
croppers by whatever name they may be called; and

any person whose primary source of livelihood is likely to be adversely
affected;”

Thus, under the 2013 Act, all persons claiming interest in compensation to
be paid on account of the acquisition of land under the 2013 Act, are
persons interested. Among others, any person whose primary source of
livelihood is likely to be adversely affected is also a person interested.
“Land owner” under the 2013 Act is defined under Section 3(r), which reads
as follows:
“3(r)      “land owner” includes any person,—

whose name is recorded as the owner of the land or building or part
thereof, in the records of the authority concerned; or

any person who is granted forest rights under the Scheduled Tribes and
Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
or under any other law for the time being in force; or

who is entitled to be granted Patta rights on the land under any law of the
State including assigned lands; or

any person who has been declared as such by an order of the court or
Authority;
Thus, among others, a person whose name is recorded as owner of the land or
building or part thereof in the records of the Authority concerned, is a
land owner.

“Affected family” has been defined in the 2013 Act under Section 3(c)
which reads as follows :-

“3(c) ?affected family? includes—
a family whose land or other immovable property has been acquired;
a family which does not own any land but a member or members of such
family may be agricultural labourers, tenants including any form of tenancy
or holding of usufruct right, share-croppers or artisans or who may be
working in the affected area for three years prior to the acquisition of
the land, whose primary source of livelihood stand affected by the
acquisition of land;
the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have lost
any of their forest rights recognised under the Scheduled Tribes and Other
Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (2 of
2007) due to acquisition of land;
family whose primary source of livelihood for three years prior to the
acquisition of the land is dependent on forests or water bodies and
includes gatherers of forest produce, hunters, fisher folk and boatmen and
such livelihood is affected due to acquisition of land;
a member of the family who has been assigned land by the State
Government or the Central Government under any of its schemes and such land
is under acquisition;
a family residing on any land in the urban areas for preceding three
years or more prior to the acquisition of the land or whose primary source
of livelihood for three years prior to the acquisition of the land is
affected by the acquisition of such land;”

This definition of affected family also indicates that even a family
residing in the lands sought to be acquired, be it an owner or not, is an
affected family, and if a family or a person is affected, necessarily, he
has a right to approach the Court to protect his interests.

It is also to be specifically noted that the challenge made by the writ
petitioners in the Miscellaneous Application filed by them is not to the
acquisition or to the regularity of the process of acquisition including
the taking of possession. Their only prayer is for a declaration that the
proceedings qua the land referred to in the Application have lapsed by
virtue of the operation of Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act.

All the decisions cited by the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the
appellants, no doubt, have categorically held that the subsequent
purchasers do not have locus standi to challenge the acquisition
proceedings. But in the present case, the challenge is not to the
acquisition proceeding; it is only for a declaration that the acquisition
proceedings have lapsed in view of the operation of Section 24(2) of the
2013 Act, and therefore, the ratio in those cases has no application to
these cases.

It is one thing to say that there is a challenge to the legality or
propriety or validity of the acquisition proceedings and yet another thing
to say that by virtue of operation of a subsequent legislation, the
acquisition proceedings have lapsed.

In all the decisions cited by the learned Senior Counsel for the
appellants, which we have referred to above, this Court has protected the
rights of the subsequent purchaser to claim compensation, being a person
interested in the compensation, despite holding that they have no locus
standi to challenge the acquisition proceedings.

The 2013 Act has made a sea change in the approach on the acquisition of
land and compensation thereof. The only lapse under the 1894 Act was under
Section 11A where what would lapse is the … “entire proceedings for the
acquisition of land” whereas under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, what gets
lapsed is the land acquisition proceedings initiated under the 1894 Act
which has culminated in passing of an award under Section 11 but where
either possession was not taken or compensation was not paid within five
years prior to 01.01.2014. In other words, the land acquisition proceedings
contemplated under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act would take in both,
payment of compensation and taking of possession within the five year
period prior to 01.01.2014. If either of them is not satisfied, the entire
land acquisition proceedings would lapse under the deeming provision. The
impact of deemed lapse under Section 24(2) is that pervasive. To quote R.F.
Nariman, J. in Delhi Development Authority v. Sukbhir Singh and others[6].
To quote:

“… As is well settled, a deeming fiction is enacted so that a putative
state of affairs must be imagined, the mind not being allowed to boggle at
the logical consequence of such putative state of affairs … In fact,
Section 24(2) uses the expression “deemed to have lapsed” because the
Legislature was cognisant of the fact that, in cases where compensation has
not been paid, and physical possession handed over to the State/vesting has
taken place, after which land acquisition proceedings could be said to have
been ended. …” (Paragraph-27).
Thus, on account of the lapse, the encumbrance created in favour of
the State comes to an end, and resultantly, the impediment to encumber the
land also comes to an end. Even, according to the appellants, the transfers
were illegal and void for the reason that there was an impediment for the
transfer. Once the acquisition proceedings lapse, all impediments cease to
exist.

As we have already noted above, the whole face of land acquisition has
changed by the 2013 Act. Section 105 of the 2013 Act has provided that the
provisions of the Act shall not apply to the enactments specified in the
Fourth Schedule. So far, only 13 Acts have been notified under the Fourth
Schedule. Neither The Delhi Development Act, 1957 nor The Delhi Lands
(Restrictions on Transfers) Act, 1972 is included in the Fourth Schedule.

The main purpose of the 2013 Act is clearly stated in the preamble which
reads as follows :-

“An Act to ensure, in consultation with institutions of local self-
government and Gram Sabhas established under the Constitution, a humane,
participative, informed and transparent process for land acquisition for
industrialisation, development of essential infrastructural facilities and
urbanisation with the least disturbance to the owners of the land and other
affected families and provide just and fair compensation to the affected
families whose land has been acquired or proposed to be acquired or are
affected by such acquisition and make adequate provisions for such affected
persons for their rehabilitation and resettlement and for ensuring that the
cumulative outcome of compulsory acquisition should be that affected
persons become partners in development leading to an improvement in their
post acquisition social and economic status and for matters connected
therewith or incidental thereto.”
There is a clear indication that the Act proposes to protect the interest
of those persons, among others who are affected by the acquisition. The
subsequent purchasers/successors, etc., in the cases before us, are all
people affected by the acquisition, and therefore, also they are entitled
to seek a declaration on lapse under the 2013 Act.
The High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru in Suryaprakash and others v.
State of Karnataka and others[7] has considered a situation of lapse and
locus standi of the subsequent purchaser to file a writ petition for a
declaration on lapse, though not under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act. At
paragraph-16, it has been held:
“16. … the principle that transferee of land after the publication of
preliminary notification cannot maintain a writ petition challenging the
acquisition, cannot be made applicable to a case where the acquisition
itself has been abandoned and has stood lapsed due to efflux of time on
account of the omission and inaction on the part of the acquiring
authority, particularly because, it is because of the lapse of time and the
abandonment of the acquisition, right accrues to the original owner to deal
with his property including by way of the sale and the purchaser will
acquire right to protect his interest. Hence, the judgment in the case of
Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation v.
Subhash Sindhi Cooperative Housing Society, Jaipur and others (2013) 5 SCC
427, will have no application to the facts of the present case.”
We are of the view that this decision, in principle, applies to the
facts of these appeals as well.
Thus, the subsequent purchaser, the assignee, the successor in interest,
the power of attorney, etc., are all persons who are interested in
compensation/land owners/affected persons in terms of the 2013 Act and such
persons are entitled to file a case for a declaration that the land
acquisition proceedings have lapsed by virtue of operation of Section 24(2)
of the 2013 Act. It is a declaration qua the land wherein indisputably they
have an interest and they are affected by such acquisition. For such a
declaration, it cannot be said that the respondents/writ petitioners do not
have any locus standi.

Thus, we do not find any merit in these appeals and they are accordingly
dismissed. All Interlocutory Applications for Impleadment and Intervention,
other than those by Legal Representatives, are also rejected. Applications
for Impleadment of Legal Representatives are allowed. There shall be no
order as to costs.

In the peculiar facts and circumstances of these cases, the appellants are
given a period of six months to exercise its liberty granted under Section
24(2) of the 2013 Act for initiation of the acquisition proceedings afresh.

We make it clear that we have not gone into the inter se disputes between
the parties in some cases or other claims regarding the ownership.
…………………..J.
(KURIAN JOSEPH)

.……………………J.
(R. BANUMATHI)

New Delhi;
May 4, 2017.
———————–
[1]

(1996) 3 SCC 124
[2] (1996) 7 SCC 426
[3] (2008) 9 SCC 177
[4] (2012) 12 SCC 133
[5] (2013) 5 SCC 427
[6] (2016) 8 SCALE 655
[7] MANU/KA/3319/2016 (Writ Petition No. 10286-291 of 2014, decided on
05.12.2016).
———————–
REPORTABLE

———————–
33

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