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Physical possession is important while transferring the property : High Court Of Calcutta

Acquisition of the land in question and also the three writ petitions pertain to a common grievance of the petitioners were filed, this was held in the judgement passed by a single bench judge comprising The Hon’ble Justice Suvra Ghosh, in the matter W.P.A. 10142 of 2020 Ainuddin Sek Vs. State of West Bengal & Ors With W.P.A. 10143 of 2020 Kalpana Pal Vs. State of West Bengal & Ors With W.P.A. 10151 of 2020 Taimina Bibi Vs. State of West Bengal & Ors.

The petitioner’s grievance in the three writ petitions was against the respondents about the matter is that though they have acquired right, title and interest in respect of land in plot no. 142, under registered deeds of sale and, own such property, but the respondents claim to have acquired the property comprising 0.70 acres. The respondents have neither awarded any compensation for the same to the petitioners nor taken physical possession of the land in question.

Similarly, the petitioner in WPA 10143 of 2020 acquired rights, title and interest in respect of 0.14 acres of land in plot no. 142 under purchase from Hrishikesh Dey and Dipak Kumar Dey and also the petitioner in WPA 10151 of 2020 acquired right, title and interest in respect of 0.14 acres of land in plot no. 142 under purchase by registered deed from the same person.

The learned Advocate for the petitioners admittedly the petitioners purchased the land in question after the publication of the notification under section 4 as well as mentioned the publication of the declaration under section 6 of the 5 Act of 1894. Advocate submits that a supplementary award amounting to Rs. 1,68,982.00/- was prepared and sent to the Collector for approval, the same has not been approved to date. Drawing the attention of this court to section 24 of the Act of 2013.

The respondents no. 1-4 and respondent no. 5 have filed separate affidavits enclosing documents and have submitted that at the instance of respondent no. 5 acquisition proceeding was initiated by the concerned authority of the Government of West Bengal in respect of about 84.135 acres of land including an area of 70 decimals in plot no. 142. Notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Admittedly the petitioners purchased the land after issuance of notification under section 4, publication of the declaration under section 6 and after passing of the award when the land was vested with the State. The award in the name of Lakshmikanta Manna has been deposited in the treasury which is sufficient compliance.

Learned advocate for the respondents has drawn the attention of the court to the fact that though the acquisition proceeding was concluded in 2008 and the award declared in May 2008, the present writ petitions have been filed only in 2020, i.e., after a delay of about 12 years.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed in Shiv Kumar and Another v/s. Union of India and Others reported in (2019) [10 Supreme Court Cases 229]. Also, the other question for consideration is whether physical possession of the land was taken by the respondent in terms of section 24(2) of the Act of 2013, was answered by The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the judgment of Indore Development Authority (supra) has dealt with the term “physical possession” in detail. It speaks that the two conditions specified in section 24(2) for lapse of proceedings are – (I) possession of the acquired land has not been taken and (II) compensation has not been paid. If possession is taken but compensation is not paid there would be no lapse.

The Hon’ble High Court perused the facts and the arguments presented, and thereby, opined that -“(I)The petitioners being admittedly subsequent purchasers of the land in question have no authority to challenge the validity of the acquisition proceedings on any ground whatsoever and can at best claim compensation based on their vendor’s title,(II) As physical possession of the land has been taken by the State and utilised by the beneficiaries to the acquisition in compliance with section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, the proceedings shall not be deemed to have lapsed. (III) Due to delay and laches on the part of the petitioners in claiming remedy such demand has become stale and has lost weight. With the above observation, W.P.A. 10142 of 2020, W.P.A. 10143 of 2020 and W.P.A. 10151 of 2020 are dismissed”.

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Judgement Reviewed by: Mandira BS 

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