A decree obtained under Land Acquisition Act is an executable decree and no contempt can be maintained for non-compliance with such decree: Supreme Court of India

The weapon of contempt is not to be used in abundance or misused. the Land Acquisition Act is a complete code by itself and lays down detailed procedure for the acquisition of land, payment of compensation, and common law principles of justice, equity and good conscience cannot be extended contrary to provisions of the Statute. Such an observation was made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court before Hon’ble Justice R. Subhash Reddy & Hon’ble Justice Hrishikesh Roy in the matter of M/s. Soorajmull Nagarmull vs Sri Brijesh Mehrotra & Ors [CONTEMPT PETITION(C) NOS.726­728 OF 2017].

The facts of the case were that land admeasuring 29.38 acres belonging to the petitioner were acquired under provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The notification under Section 4(1) of the Act was issued at the first instance on 25.03.1981. Pursuant to abovesaid notification, possession of the land along with the structures was taken on 20.08.1981. Said land was subsequently declared as a protected forest under Section 29 of the   Indian Forest Act, 1927.  Notification to that effect was issued under Indian Forest Act on 04.09.1990. As no award was passed pursuant to the notification issued under Section 4(1) of the Act, a fresh notification under Section 4(1) of the Act was issued on 24.05.1995 and there was also further notification to the same effect on 17.08.1996. When the subsequent notification was issued, the same was challenged before the High Court. The said writ petition was allowed in the year 1998. 

The Hon’ble Supreme Court noted that the latest notification issued under Section 11 of the 2013 Act respondents have not invoked the urgency clause at all.  When the notification was issued under Section 11 of the 2013   Act,   without invoking the urgency clause, the question of extending the benefits as per Section 40 of the 2013 Act will not arise.

Additionally, the Hon’ble Supreme Court referred to the case of J.S. Parihar v. Ganpat Duggar  &  Ors. (1996) 6 SCC 291 wherein it was held that once there is an order passed by the Government on the basis of directions issued by this Court, there arises a fresh cause of action to seek redressal in an appropriate forum. Furthermore, the Hon’ble Supreme Court wherein it was held that the weapon of contempt is not to be used in abundance or misused.  It is further observed that discretion given to the court in dealing with the proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act is to be exercised for maintenance of court’s dignity and majesty of law and further an aggrieved party has no right to insist that the court should exercise such jurisdiction, inasmuch as contempt is between contemner and the court.

Finally, the Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the instant appeal in view of the above.

Click Here To Read The Judgment.

Judgment Reviewed by: Rohan Kumar Thakur

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