The protection granted by the without prejudice principle implies that parties to the without prejudice discussions can use the substance or details of the negotiations and the fact that an offer or concession was made as evidence in a dispute. this was upheld in the High Court Of Bombay and was pronounced by the honorable judges R. D. DHANUKA & S. M. MODAK, JJ on 03.02.2022 in MAHADEV SADHU INGALE DECD. THROUGH LHRS V. THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND ORS (Writ Petition No. 1150 Of 2020).
On March 15, 2002, the Land Acquisition Officer issued an award under Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (‘the said Act’). The Petitioners were notified on August 2, 2004, that they would be entitled to compensation under Section 12(2) of the Act mentioned above. The Petitioners’ position is that they got the payment as mentioned above without prejudice to their rights and claims.
Mr.Nikam, learned counsel for the Petitioners, drew the Judge’s attention to the application made at the Office of the Deputy Collector on September 13, 2004, under Section 18 of the Act mentioned above for the reference of the claim to the Competent Court, which is affixed at Exh.A to the Petition. He claims that the Deputy Collector was the Sangli Land Acquisition Officer No.6. It is contended that the Petitioners filed the application mentioned above under Section 18 of the Act without prejudice to the Petitioners’ rights and contentions after receiving the Respondents’ compensation.
The learned A.G.P. for the Respondent Nos. 1 & 2 relied on the averments made in paragraph No. 4 of the said Affidavit and would submit that because the papers were not traceable on the record of the respondent No. 2 and the Petitioners only reconstructed the documents in the year 2019. The Deputy Collector correctly considered the reconstruction date of the papers and proceedings in rejecting the Petitioners’ application under Section 18 of the Act.
The Learned Judge contends, “The record in the Office of Respondent No.2 was not traceable and was allowed to be reconstructed according to the Petitioners’ letter dated March 30, 2019, but the date of reconstruction of the papers and proceedings on June 17, 2019, could not be considered the date of filing such application under Section 18(2)(a) of the said Act.” The application was filed on September 13, 2004, which was within the time limit set out in Section 18(2)(a) of the said Act. Thus, the Respondents should have taken the date of filing as September 13, 2004, rather than the date of reconstruction of the papers and proceedings in the said application filed under Section 18 of the said Act.
The impugned Order was made without consideration on Respondent No.2 in dismissing the application because it was submitted beyond 15 years, which violates Section 18(2)(a) of the Act.
Reviewed by Rangasree