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Necessary evidence to be produced in front of the District judge: Rajasthan HC remanded the case back as it held that the decision could not be considered contradictory to the evidence

CASE TITLE – Akha Ram & Ors. v. National Highway Authority of India

CASE NUMBER – S.B. Civil Misc. Appeals No. 1805/2023, 1806/2023, 1807/2023, 1808/2023, 1993/2023, 1994/2023, 1996/2023 & 1999/2023

DATED ON – 22.05.20244

QUORUM – Hon’ble Justice Rekha Borana

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

The present appeals have been filed against the orders passed by the District Judge, Jalore whereby the applications/objections under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act of 1996’) as filed by the claimants-objectors have been rejected as being non-maintainable. A Notification dated 20.08.2018, in terms of Section 3A of the National Highways Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act of 1956’) was issued for acquisition of land for the purposes of construction of National Highway No.754K of Amritsar-Kandla Project under Bharat Mala Project in Jalore District. Vide the said notification, the khatedari land of the claimants was proposed to be acquired. The objections qua the said acquisition were invited vide communication dated 07.09.2018 and the objections were even filed by the claimants on 18.09.2018. However, the said objections were rejected and the final declaration in terms of Section 3D of the Act of 1956 was made on 05.08.2019. The gazette publication of the said declaration was made on 06.08.2019. the acquisition proceedings were finalised and the amount to be paid qua the acquisition was determined by the Competent Authority i.e. the Land Acquisition Officer cum Sub Divisional Officer, Jalore on 21.11.2019. The said amount was determined on basis of the DLC rates as prevalent at that point of time. An application was preferred by the claimants before the Collector on 24.06.2021. The said application was nomenclated to be under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereafter referred to as ‘the Act of 1894’). However, an application for an amendment was preferred subsequently with the prayer for the said application to be read to be one under Section 64 of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act of 2013’). Ultimately, the application as preferred before the Collector was decided vide order dated 25.08.2022, the Collector proceeded on to dismiss the application as preferred by the claimants while observing that the arbitration application as preferred by the claimants stands rejected. Aggrieved of the order dated 25.08.2022 as passed by the Collector vide which, the determination/Award dated 21.11.2019 was affirmed, application/objections under Section 34 of the Act of 1996 was/were preferred by the claimants before the District Judge, Jalore. Vide Order dated 19.08.2023, the learned District Judge, Jalore proceeded on to reject the said application/objections on the premise that the same was/were not maintainable before the Court.

 

ISSUE

Whether the claimants can challenge the award passed by the Collector/Arbitrator in terms of Section 3G(5) of the Act of 1956 by filing objections under Section 34 of the Act of 1996.

 

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Section 3G (5) of the National Highways Act, 1956, lays down the specifications for determination of compensation by Arbitrator.

Section 3G (6) of the National Highways Act, 1956, lays down the process by which Objections to Arbitrator’s award under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 can be made.

Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, lays down the process to challenge an arbitration award.

 

CONTENTIONS BY THE APPELLANTS

The Learned counsel for the appellants admitted that the application as preferred before the Collector was inadvertently nomenclated first, to be under Section 18 of the Act of 1894 and subsequently under Section 64 of the Act of 2013. Counsel submitted that, in fact, the said application was in terms of Section 3G(5) of the Act of 1956 and even the Collector decided the same treating it to be under the said provision only. He submitted that the operative portion of the order as passed by the Collector makes it clear that the Collector treated the application to be under Section 3G(5) of the Act of 1956 and he, acting as an Arbitrator, dismissed the application treating it to be so. Therefore, in terms of Section 3G(5) of the Act of 1956, once an application under the said provision is rejected, i.e. the claim of the claimants is rejected by the Arbitrator, objections in terms of Section 34 of the Act of 1996 would lie as that was the only remedy available to the claimants in terms of Section 3G(6) of the Act of 1956. Counsel submitted that admittedly, the acquisition in question was an acquisition in terms of the Act of 1956 for the purposes of a National Highway and hence, the acquisition or the proceedings for compensation would be governed by the said act only. Even if the claimants preferred any application under any provision of the Act of 1894, the same could not have governed the dispute and such wrong mentioning of the provision could not have made the Act of 1894 applicable. Counsel further submitted that Section 3G(5) of the Act of 1956 provides that if the amount determined by the competent authority is not acceptable to either of the parties, the same shall be determined by the Arbitrator to be appointed by the Central Government on an application by either of the parties. Therefore, the application as preferred by the claimants was definitely in terms of the said provision. The learned counsel for the appellants submitted that the Order impugned deserves interference even for the reason that no such objection pertaining to jurisdiction or maintainability of the objections was raised even by the respondent Union of India.

 

CONTENTIONS BY THE RESPONDENTS

The Learned counsel appearing for the NHAI submitted on merits that the award in question is totally in conformity with law and does not deserve any interference. However, counsel was not in a position to refute the submission as made by learned counsel for the appellants that the application/objections as preferred by the claimants was/were very much maintainable before the District Judge in terms of Section 34 of the Act of 1996.

 

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan noted that it is an admitted position on record that acquisition of the land in question was for the purposes of National Highways in terms of the Act of 1956. Meaning thereby, the provisions of Section 3G of the Act of 1956 would govern the procedure for determination of compensation. They held that the provision under the Act of 1996, which provides for a challenge to an award passed by the Arbitrator, is definitely Section 34. Therefore, the application as moved before the District Judge in the present case, raising a challenge to the award as passed by the Collector/Arbitrator in terms of Section 3G(5) of the Act of 1956, was definitely in terms of Section 34 of the Act of 1996. The fact that the application as preferred before learned Collector was infact in terms of Section 3G(5) of the Act of 1956 was also evident to them from the fact that no prayer for reference of the same in terms of Section 64 of the Act of 2013 was made in the same. The High Court stated that had the application been intended to be made under Section 64 of the Act of 2013, a prayer for reference of the same definitely would have been made, which was clearly not made. They stated that the provisions of the Act of 2013, relating to the determination of the compensation in accordance with the First Schedule, rehabilitation and resettlement in accordance with the Second Schedule and infrastructure amenities in accordance with the Third Schedule were only made applicable to all cases of land acquisition under the enactments specified in the Fourth Schedule to the said Act. Meaning thereby, all aspects contained under Sections 26 to 28 of the Act of 2013, for determination of compensation, were made applicable to the National Highways Act, 1956 also. The effect of the Act of 2015 was that the beneficiary provisions of Sections 26 to 28 of the Act of 2013 were made applicable to all the land acquisition proceedings. But then, only the said provisions of the Act of 2013 were made applicable to the Act of 1956 and nothing more than that. Meaning thereby, Section 64 of the Act of 2013 as relied upon by the learned District Judge was not applicable in the present matter. And so far as the finding of learned Judge regarding there being no notification in terms of Section 3G(5) of the Act of 1956 appointing an Arbitrator is concerned, the High Court held that the finding cannot be said to be contrary to the material as no such notification was placed on record before the learned District Judge. And since it had been placed before the High Court, due to which the orders impugned were quashed and set aside, and held that the matter is remanded back to the learned District Judge, Jalore for decision afresh on the application/objections as preferred by the claimants treating them to be under Section 34 of the Act of 1996.

 

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Judgement Reviewed by – Gnaneswarran Beemarao

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Judicial Determination of Compensation for Arbitrary Land Acquisition in the Kottayam Corridor Project: Ensuring Fair Remuneration under LARR Act 2013: Kerala High Court

Judicial Determination of Compensation for Arbitrary Land Acquisition in the Kottayam Corridor Project: Ensuring Fair Remuneration under LARR Act 2013: Kerala High Court

Case title: R. ASOKAN & ORS VS State of Kerala & ORS
Case no.: W.P. (C) NO.26234 of 2023
Dated on: 19th April 2024
Quorum: Justice Hon’ble Mr. Justice Viju Abraham.

FACTS OF THE CASE
The writ petition is filed seeking to declare that the action on the part of the respondents in acquiring the properties of the petitioner for the ‘Kottayam Corridor Project’ without following due process of law and without payment of compensation amount is arbitrary, illegal and violative of the fundamental rights and constitutional rights guaranteed to the petitioner under Articles 14,19,21 and 300A of the constitution of India and for other consequential reliefs. Petitioners are absolute owners in possession and enjoyment of different extents of land in Nattakam and Panachikkadu Village in Kottayam District, as is evident from Exts.P1 to P4. The 1st respondent formulated a project by the name ‘Kottayam Development Corridor’ as part of a larger proposal for the development and expansion of the town. The 1st respondent after realizing that such project would require full co-operation and voluntary surrender by the land owners, called for a meeting on 08.10.2011 and on the basis of the promises and assurances given by the respondents that their demand for conversion of the remaining extent of land after the surrender, would be accepted, the petitioners granted permission for effecting construction in their property and surrendered. By Ext.P5 minutes of the meeting which was attended by the Minister and the other officials wherein it was reiterated that the land owners surrendering the lands will be permitted to convert an equal extent of their remaining lands and that exemption will be granted for effecting changes in the BTR records to enable change in the zoning for carrying out the project. While so, Ext.P6 order was issued by the 1st respondent stating that those land owners who have surrendered their whole extent of land will be allotted with Government land to an extent of 50% of the total surrendered land and such of the land owners who have surrendered a portion of their holdings will be allowed to convert paddy land (excluding wetland) to an extent of 50% of the land which they have surrendered to State Government. Petitioners submit that a conjoint reading of Exts.P5 and P6 would clearly denote that respondent No.1 reneged on its initial promise to the landowners and instead of allowing them to convert an equal extent of the surrendered property for construction, the new order stipulated that the landowners including the petitioners herein would only be allowed to convert 50% of the surrendered land for construction purposes. While contempt of court proceeding was pending, the 1st respondent issued Ext.P8 order holding that change of character of remaining lands of persons who have surrendered portions of their lands for road widening cannot be permitted as the same will be in violation of the provisions of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wet Land Act, 2008.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT
The Petitioners submitted that action on the part of the respondents in taking over possession of their property without taking recourse to acquisition proceedings or following due process of law is arbitrary and violative of the constitutional rights of the petitioners guaranteed under Article 300A of the Constitution. In the said circumstances, the petitioners have approached this Court. Despite the unilateral modification, petitioners decided not to raise any objection against Ext.P6. Even thereafter, no action was taken from the side of the 1st respondent. And further submitted that a conjoint reading of Exts.P5 and P6 would clearly denote that respondent No.1 reneged on its initial promise to the landowners and instead of allowing them to convert an equal extent of the surrendered property for construction, the new order stipulated that the landowners including the petitioners herein would only be allowed to convert 50% of the surrendered land for construction purposes.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS
The respondent submitted that the petitioners have handed over lands for the Kottayam Corridor Project based on the G.O. (Rt)No.5925/2015/RD dated 13/11/2015, on condition that those who handover land for the Kottayam Corridor Project will be allowed to reclaim paddy land (except wetland) equal to 50% of the extent of land handed over to Government and those who handover their whole extent of land will be given land equal to 50% of the land transferred to Government but as per the G.O.(Rt.)4064/2018/RD dated 04.10.2018, the benefit earlier granted was cancelled and those persons who handed over land for Kottayam Corridor Project will be compensated for the exact extent of land they have actually surrendered at the rate of Market Value which was prevalent at the time of surrendering of their land by fixing land value as per LARR Act, 2013. It is also stated that in the case of the petitioners who have surrendered large extents of their land for the Kottayam Corridor Project, the benefit of G.O.(Rt.)4064/2018/RD dated 04/10/2018 will be made applicable and that those persons who handed over land to Kottayam Corridor Project would be compensated for the exact extent of land they have actually surrendered at the rate of Market Value which was prevalent at the time of surrendering of their land by fixing land value as per LARR Act, 2013 and the same will be done on the basis of negotiation or on payment the value of land at the time of taking possession of the land for the project.

ISSUES
• Whether respondent should initiate proceedings as per the LARR Act 2013 and pay compensation in accordance with the provisions of the said Act?

LEGAL PROVISIONS
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution 1950: The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Article 300(A) of the Indian Constitution 1950: That a person can be deprived of his property only through an Act passed by the Parliament/State Legislature and not by executive order or fiat
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution 1950: Protection of Life and Personal Liberty No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
44th Constitution Amendment Act: The government enacted the 44th Amendment Act in 1978 to reverse some modifications made under the 42 Amendment Act of 1976. It was passed to ensure that everyone has the same right to choose their type of government.

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT
The petitioners surrendered their land as early as in 2015 only on an assurance given, as evident from Ext.P5 that they would be permitted to convert equal extent of land that they have surrendered. Thereafter, the Government retracted from their promise and imposed a further condition as per Ext.P6. Even Ext.P6 was modified by the Government by Ext.P8 order wherein they have given away all the promises given to the petitioners and ordered that the land will be acquired as per the provisions of LARR Act, 2013 fixing the land value as on the date of surrender. The right to property was initially a fundamental right guaranteed as per the Constitution of India, by the 44th Constitution Amendment Act, the said right is no longer a fundamental right but it is still a constitutional right and a part of human right. Though democracy governed by the rule of law, the State cannot deprive a citizen without the sanction of law. The facts of the present case reveal that the land was taken over from the petitioners without paying any compensation solely based on the undertaking given to the petitioners regarding certain benefits to be extended to the petitioners as is evident from Ext P5 and P6, the Government has even retracted from the said promises and the present stand taken as per Ext P8 order and as per the counter affidavit is that they will be granted compensation as per LARR Act 2013 at the rate of market value which was prevalent at the time of surrendering of their land.
From 2015 onwards, the land is in possession of the Government and the same has been utilized for the ‘Kottayam Corridor Project’ without even paying any compensation till this date. In the said backdrop, the question to be considered is as to whether the stand taken by the Government that the petitioner will be paid compensation based on the value of the land as on the date of the surrender of the property is legally sustainable or not. Taking into consideration the fact that the property was taken over almost a decade back without giving a single penny towards compensation, the decision now taken to acquire the land fixing the land value as on the date of taking possession will cause serious hardships to the petitioners. I am of the opinion that the same will not be adequate compensation in view of the fact that petitioners will not be able to purchase now even a small extent of land which the petitioners could have purchased had the compensation amount been given at the time of taking possession itself. In other words, Article 300-A only limits the powers of the State that no person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law. There is no deprivation without due sanction of law. Deprivation by any other mode is not acquisition or taking possession under Article 300-A. Yet another aspect to be considered is that in the matter of taking over the property of a citizen, the authorities are bound to follow the procedure established by law. When the authorities are given power under the LARR Act 2013 to acquire the land, they are bound to follow the procedures prescribed therein, if not, the taking over of the property becomes arbitrary. On the basis of the same, the award will be passed in accordance with law, at any rate within an outer limit of 3 months from the date of receipt of a copy of the judgment and thereafter, the compensation amount/award amount shall be paid to the claimants/petitioners along with all statutory benefits within a further period of one month. Since the property has already been taken over and a road has been formed long back, it is made clear that the proceedings now directed to be initiated by this court as per the provisions of the LARR Act 2013 including issuance of Section 4 notification for the purpose of ascertaining the land value as on the date of the said notification and the passing of the award are intended only for fixing adequate compensation to be paid to the petitioners and therefore it is made clear that the proceedings shall be treated as deemed acquisition proceedings and only steps provided as per the LARR Act 2013 that are required for fixation of adequate compensation alone need be initiated by the respondents. The petitioners will be entitled to pursue the statutory remedies available to them for further enhancement of compensation, if so desired.

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Judgement Reviewed by – HARIRAGHAVA JP

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Delay In the Restoration Application Has Been Condoned by The Supreme Court, Invalidating the Verdict of Both the Trial Court and The High Court in the Land Acquisition Case

Case Title – Vijay Laxman Bhawe Since Deceased Through His Legal Heirs Vs. P & S Nirman Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. 2024 INSC 394

Case Number – Civil Appeal Arising Out of SLP (C) No. 4034 of 2023

Dated on – 8th May, 2024

Quorum – Justice B. R. Gavai

FACTS OF THE CASE
The case of Vijay Laxman Bhawe Since Deceased Through His Legal Heirs Vs. P & S Nirman Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. 2024 INSC 394, whirls around a dispute concerning certain lands in Sonkhar Village, Thane, Maharashtra, acquired by the Government of Maharashtra for public purposes. Special Civil Suit No. 269/2002 was instituted contesting the legality of the land acquisition. The original Appellant died in the year 2005, and his legal heirs sought to continue the suit. The Trial Court dismissed the suit for want of prosecution in the year 2011. Various applications for condonation of delay and restoration of the suit were instituted subsequently by different parties, including the legal heirs and a private company claiming to be an assignee of the legal heirs of the original Appellant.

ISSUES
The main issue of the case whirled around whether the decision of the Trial Court to entertain the application instituted by the private company for condonation of delay?

Whether the delay in instituting the application for restoration would be condoned based on the “Sufficient Cause”?
Whether the decision of the High Court affirming the decision of the Trial Court was sustainable?

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANTS
The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the Trial Court erred in entertaining the application from a party (the private company) not involved in the original suit.

The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the original suit was frivolous, and the decision of the Trial Court to entertain the application was unjust.
The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the delay in instituting the application for restoration of the suit should not have been condoned.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS
The Respondents, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the private company had acquired rights through an Agreement for Sale with the legal heirs of the original Appellant.

The Respondents, through their counsel, in the said case contented that since the legal heirs did not pursue their application for restoration of the suit diligently, the private company was justified in filing its own application.
The Respondents, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the decision of the Trial Court was correct and that it should not be intervened with.

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT
The court in the case of Vijay Laxman Bhawe Since Deceased Through His Legal Heirs Vs. P & S Nirman Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. 2024 INSC 394, observed that the decision of the Tril Court to entertain the application of the Private Company was improper as it was a stranger to the proceedings of this case. The court also observed that the delay in filing the application for the restoration of the suit by the legal heirs was pending since the year 2019, and that there was no compelling reason for the Trial Court to entertain the application of the private court later. The court in this present case, ruled that the reasons cited by the Trial Cort and the High Court for condoning the delay did not constitute “sufficient cause” as per the established legal principles. Thus, the Supreme Court allowed the Appeal, quashed the judgments of the Trial Court and the High Court, and directed the Trial Court to consider the application instituted by the legal heirs on its own merits. The court disposed off the pending applications without costs.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Sruti Sikha Maharana

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“Merits of Case not necessary for Granting Delay in Condonation,” Principles For Condonation Of Delay Under Limitation Act laid down by Supreme Court.

Case title: Pathapati Subba Reddy (Died) By L.Rs. & Ors. v. The Special Deputy Collector (LA)

Case no.: Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 31248 Of 2018

Order on: 8th April 2024

Quorum: Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Bela M. Trivedi

FACTS OF THE CASE

In the village of Gandluru, District Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, certain lands were acquired for the Telugu Ganga Project in 1989. Dissatisfied with the compensation offered, 16 claimants filed a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act. During the pendency of the reference, three of the claimants passed away, but their heirs were not substituted. Eventually, the reference was dismissed along with others, upholding the collector’s award.

Several years later, some heirs and legal representatives of one of the deceased claimants, Pathapati Subba Reddy, sought to file an appeal challenging the dismissal. However, they did so after an inordinate delay of 5659 days. They cited reasons such as lack of awareness of the reference due to living away from the ancestral home.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

The appellants, heirs of the deceased claimant No. 11, sought to explain the delay by citing lack of awareness of the reference due to living in a different household. They argued that they promptly filed the appeal upon discovering the reference.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

The respondent argued against condoning the delay, highlighting the lack of due diligence by the claimants in pursuing the reference earlier. They also emphasized that most claimants had accepted the reference court’s decision, implying acquiescence to the dismissal. Few Judgements which were relied on:

  • Bhag Mal alias Ram Bux and Ors. vs. Munshi (Dead) by LRs. and Ors. [1]:

it has been observed that different provisions of Limitation Act may require different construction, as for example, the court exercises its power in a given case liberally in condoning the delay in filing the appeal under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, however, the same may not be true while construing Section 3 of the Limitation Act. It, therefore, follows that though liberal interpretation has to be given in construing Section 5 of the Limitation Act but not in applying Section 3 of the Limitation Act, which has to be construed strictly.

  • Lanka Venkateswarlu vs. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors.[2]:

where the High Court, despite unsatisfactory explanation for the delay of 3703 days, had allowed the applications for condonation of delay, this Court held that the High Court failed to exercise its discretion in a reasonable and objective manner. High Court should have exercised the discretion in a systematic and an informed manner. The liberal approach in considering sufficiency of cause for delay should not be allowed to override substantial law of limitation. The Court observed that the concepts such as ‘liberal approach’, ‘justice-oriented approach’ and ‘substantial justice’ cannot be employed to jettison the substantial law of limitation.

  • Imrat Lal & Ors. vs. Land Acquisition Collector & Ors.[3]:

In this case also the matter was regarding determination of compensation for the acquired land and there was a delay of 1110 days in filing the appeal for enhancement of compensation. Despite findings that no sufficient cause was shown in the application for condoning the delay, this Court condoned the delay in filing the appeal as a large number of similarly situate persons have been granted relief by this Court.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Section 3 of the Limitation Act, in no uncertain terms lays down that no suit, appeal or application instituted, preferred or made after the period prescribed shall be entertained rather dismissed even though limitation has not been set up as a defence subject to the exceptions contained in Sections 4 to 24 (inclusive) of the Limitation Act.

Section 5 of the Limitation Act, Extension of prescribed period in certain cases. – Any appeal or any application, other than an application under any of the provisions of Order XXI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), may be admitted after the prescribed period if the appellant or the applicant satisfies the court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period.

ISSUE – The key issue was whether the High Court was justified in refusing to condone the inordinate delay in filing the appeal.

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Court analysed the principles underlying the law of limitation, emphasizing the need for finality in litigation and the mandatory nature of Section 3. It discussed the discretionary power of courts to condone delay under Section 5, contingent upon the demonstration of “sufficient cause” by the appellant.

The Court cited precedents to underscore the necessity of exercising caution in condoning delays, particularly when negligence or lack of due diligence is apparent. It emphasized that while the court may adopt a liberal approach, it should not disregard the statutory provisions or the need for substantial cause for delay.

Ultimately, the Court upheld the decision of the High Court, reasoning that the claimants had failed to demonstrate sufficient cause for the delay. It highlighted their lack of diligence in pursuing the reference earlier and noted that most claimants had accepted the reference court’s decision. Consequently, the Special Leave Petition was dismissed.

The case underscores the importance of diligence and awareness in pursuing legal remedies and the stringent application of limitation laws. It reaffirms that while courts may exercise discretion in condoning delays, such discretion is not absolute and must be exercised judiciously.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Chiraag K A

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[1] (2007) 11 SCC 285

[2] (2011) 4 SCC 363

[3] (2014) 14 SCC 133

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No limitation would be applied in the cases where there is misrepresentation involved in acquiring land : Bombay HC

TITLE : Shri Hanumant Baburao Neharkar v State of Maharashtra

CORAM : Hon’ble Justice Sandeep V. Marne

DATE :  22nd  December, 2023

CITATION : WP No 11287 of 2018

FACTS

The petitioner challenge the order passed by the Revenue minister in Revision Application filed by the respondent. The revenue minister has set aside the order passed by the Additional Commissioner and additional collector. The land which was allotted to the Respondent 5 was allotted jointly to him and to the petitioners together. The respondent filed appeal before the additional commissioner which was rejected. The revenue minister set aside the orders passed by additional collector and held that the land is solely allocated to respondent 5 alone and the petitioners have no right title and interest in the property.

The alternate property was initially allocated to Baban who had two sons. The property should have been allotted to the sons in natural course since on the day of allocation, Baban has passed away. However, the occupancy price was paid by the respondent 5, who is a son of Baban and the land was subsequently allocated to him. The heirs of the property were aggrieved by the said decision.

LAWS INVOLVED

Misrepresentation :

Misrepresentation is an untrue statement of a fact made by one party to another which changes the course of decision. It is defined under Section 18 of the Indian Contract Act,1872.

“a misrepresentation is a form of a statement made preceding to the contract being completed. There are two varieties of statement that can be performed before a contract is formed, these will either:

  1. Form part of the contract.

Not form part of the contract, therefore it becomes a representation

ISSUES

Whether the sole allotment of land to Respondent 5 by the Revenue minister is valid?

JUDGEMENT

It was submitted by the counsel appearing for the respondent that the application filed by the petitioners is barred by limitation as it was filed 25 years later the allotment. Since this was an alternate property, the statutory provisions of the Rehabilitation Act,1986 was interpreted. According to the Act, the entire family will be granted one alternate land in a beneficial zone. The court held that since the alternate land allotted in the name of Respondent 5 was obviously meant for the entire family and only for the respondent 5. The court also held that the sole allotment of Respondent 5 was an act of misinterpretation and no limitation would apply.  The respondent took advantage of his father’s death and did not communicate the same to the other son about the application of allotment. The court held that the Respondent 5 acted through misrepresentation in getting the land.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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