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Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Shivkumar vs Union Of India on 14 October, 2019

1

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8003 OF 2019
(ARISING OUT OF S.L.P. (C) NO.24726/2019
D.NO.25495 OF 2019)

SHIV KUMAR ANR. …APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

UNION OF INDIA ORS. …RESPONDENT(S)

JUDGMENT

ARUN MISHRA, J.

1. The question involved in the matter is whether a purchaser of

the property after issuance of notification under Sectionsection 4 of the Land

Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short, “the 1894 Act”), can invoke the

provisions contained in Sectionsection 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation

and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and

Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short, “the Act of 2013”).

2. Notification No.F.10(29)/96/LB/LA/11394, dated 27.10.1999,

was issued for the acquisition of the land situated in the revenue

estate of Village Pansali, Delhi, for the public purpose of the Rohini
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
NARENDRA PRASAD
Date: 2019.10.15
17:36:50 IST

Residential Scheme under planned development of Delhi. It was
Reason:

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followed by the declaration under Sectionsection 6 issued on 3.4.2000.

Possession was taken on 12.5.2000. Subsequently, the petitioners

purchased the land on 5.7.2001 by way of Registered Sale Deed

executed by one Satya Narain, the Power of Attorney holder of original

owners. The purchasers then participated in the proceedings for the

determination of compensation under Sectionsections 9 and Section10 of the 1894

Act. The award was passed on 3.4.2002. In the meanwhile, an

unauthorized colony came up with the name of Deep Vihar, Pansali,

Pooth Kalan, Delhi. The petitioners claimed that they continued in the

actual physical possession of the land even after passing of the award

on 17.09.2008 and the same formed part of the unauthorized colony.

The Government of NCT of Delhi provisionally regularised the colony.

SectionThe Act of 2013 came in force from 1.1.2014. The respondents never

took the actual physical possession of the land; as such, the

acquisition has lapsed. The purchasers/ petitioners filed a writ

petition at the High Court of Delhi. A Division Bench of the High

Court has dismissed the writ application.

3. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the purchasers

submitted that the High Court has erred in rejecting the writ

application on the ground that the purchasers after issuance of

notification under Sectionsection 4 of the 1894 Act cannot question the land

acquisition. The decision runs contrary to the dictum laid down by
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this Court in SectionGovernment (NCT of Delhi) v. Manav Dharam Trust Anr.

(2017) 6 SCC 751. Learned counsel further submitted that the High

Court has also erred in dismissing the writ application on the ground

that petitioners have admitted that the property is part of the

unauthorized colony of Deep Vihar.

4. Shri K.M. Natraj learned Additional Solicitor General has

supported the impugned judgment and order and submitted that the

purchase made after the notification issued under Sectionsection 4 of the

1894 Act and declaration under Sectionsection 6 is void. The purchasers had

acquired no right, and they cannot question the land acquisition, nor

they can invoke the provisions contained in Sectionsection 24 of the Act of

2013. It was further submitted that decision in Manav Dharam Trust

(supra) is per incuriam because of a large number of decisions of this

Court holding that sale made after issuance of notification under

Sectionsection 4 is void.

5. It is crystal clear that for seeking the relief under Sectionsection 24, the

proceedings for taking possession under Act of 1894 have been put

into question as illusory one, and possession continues with

appellants. The decision in Manav Dharam Trust (supra) has been

mainly relied upon by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the

purchasers/ petitioners in which a Division Bench opined that

subsequent purchasers are affected by the acquisition. Therefore, they
4

are entitled to seek a declaration of the lapse of acquisition under the

Act of 2013. It has further opined that since declaration is sought, the

challenge is not to the acquisition proceedings. Because of the

operation of Sectionsection 24(2) of the 2013 Act, the ratio of the various

cases decided by this Court under the Act of 1894, has no application

to such situations. It has observed thus:

“21. 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. However, in the present case, the challenge is
not to the acquisition proceedings; it is only for a declaration that the
acquisition proceedings have lapsed because of the operation of
Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, and therefore, the ratio in those cases
has no application to these cases.

22. 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 the operation of subsequent legislation,
the acquisition proceedings have lapsed.

23. 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.

28. Thus, the subsequent purchaser, the assignee, the successor in
interest, the power-of-attorney holder, etc., are all persons who are
interested in compensation/landowners/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 respondent-writ petitioners do not have any locus standi.”

6. First, we advert to the legal position concerning the purchases

made on 5.7.2001, made after notification under Section 4 had been

issued under the Act of 1894. Law is well settled in this regard by a
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catena of decisions of this Court that an incumbent, who has

purchased the land after Sectionsection 4 notification, has no right to

question the acquisition.

6(a). In U.P. Jal Nigam, Lucknow through its SectionChairman Anr. v. Kalra

Properties (P) Ltd., Lucknow Ors. (1996) 3 SCC 124 it was observed :

“3. ……That apart, since M/s. Kalra Properties, the 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 the
publication of the declaration under Section 6 was published.”

6(b). SectionIn Sneh Prabha (Smt.) Ors. v. State of U.P. Anr. (1996) 7 SCC

426 it has been laid down that subsequent purchaser cannot take

advantage of land policy. It was observed:

“5. Though at first blush, we were inclined to agree with the
appellant but on a deeper probe, we find that the appellant is
not entitled to the benefit of the Land Policy. It is settled law
that any person who purchases land after the publication of the
notification under Section 4(1), does so at his/her 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 a public purpose, and the acquisition proceedings
point out an impediment to anyone to encumber the land
acquired thereunder. It authorizes 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 SectionUnion of India v.
Shri Shivkumar Bhargava and Ors. [1995] 1 SCR 354
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considered the controversy and held that a person who
purchases land subsequent to the notification is not entitled to
an 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.”

6(c). SectionIn Meera Sahni v. Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Ors. (2008) 9

SCC 177, the Court had relied upon the decision described above and

observed thus:

“21. In view of the aforesaid decisions, it is by now well-settled
law that under the SectionLand Acquisition Act, the subsequent
purchaser cannot challenge the acquisition proceedings and that
he would be only entitled to get the compensation.”

6(d). SectionIn V. Chandrasekaran Anr. v. Administrative Officer Ors.

(2012) 12 SCC 133, the Court has considered various decisions and

opined that the purchaser after Section 4 notification could not

challenge land acquisition on any ground whatsoever. The Court

observed:

“15. The issue of maintainability of the writ petitions by the
person who purchases the land subsequent to a notification
being issued under Section 4 of the Act has been considered by
this Court time and again. SectionIn Leela Ram v. Union of India AIR
1975 SC 2112, this Court held that anyone who deals with the
land subsequent to a Section 4 notification being issued, does
so, at his own peril. SectionIn Sneh Prabha v. State of Uttar Pradesh
AIR 1996 SC 540, this Court held that a Section 4 notification
gives a notice to the public at large that the land in respect to
which it has been issued, is needed for a public purpose, and it
further points out that there will be “an impediment to anyone
to encumber the land acquired thereunder.” The alienation after
that does not bind the State or the beneficiary under the
acquisition. The purchaser is entitled only to receive
compensation. While deciding the said case, reliance was
placed on an earlier judgment of this Court in SectionUnion of India v.
Shiv Kumar Bhargava and Ors. (1995) 2 SCC 427.

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18. In view of the above, the law on the issue can be
summarized 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.”
(emphasis supplied)

6(e). In Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corpn.

v. Subhash Sindhi Cooperative Housing Society, Jaipur Ors. (2013) 5

SCC 427, it is laid down:

“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. (Vide: Gian Chand v.
Gopala and Ors. (1995) 2 SCC 528; Yadu Nandan Garg v. State
of Rajasthan and Ors. AIR 1996 SC 520; Jaipur Development
Authority v. Mahavir Housing Coop. Society, Jaipur, and Ors.
(1996) 11 SCC 229; Secretary, Jaipur Development Authority,
Jaipur v. Daulat Mal Jain and Ors. (1997) 1 SCC 35; Meera
Sahni v. Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and Ors. (2008) 9 SCC
177; Har Narain (Dead) by L.Rs. v. Mam Chand (Dead) by
L.Rs. and Ors. (2010) 13 SCC 128; and V. Chandrasekaran and
Anr. v. The Administrative Officer and Ors. JT 2012 (9) SC

260).”

(emphasis supplied)

6(f). A Three­Judge Bench in SectionRajasthan Housing Board v. New Pink

City Nirman Sahkari Samiti Ltd. Anr., (2015) 7 SCC 601, in the

context of Sectionsection 4 as well as section 42 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act
8

which also prohibited the transactions from being entered into with

SC/ST persons, has observed:

“33. The other decision relied upon by the Society is SectionV.
Chandrasekaran and Anr. v. Administrative Officer and Ors.
2012 (12) SCC 133] wherein this Court laid down thus:

17. SectionIn Ajay Kishan Singhal v. Union of India: AIR 1996
SC 2677; SectionMahavir and Anr. v. Rural Institute, Amravati
and Anr. (1995) 5 SCC 335; SectionGian Chand v. Gopala and
Ors. (1995) 2 SCC 528; and SectionMeera Sahni v. Lieutenant
Governor of Delhi and Ors. (2008) 9 SCC 177, this
Court categorically held that a person who purchases
land after the publication of a Section 4 notification
with respect to it, is not entitled to challenge the
proceedings for the reason, that his title is void and he
can at best claim compensation on the basis of vendor’s
title. In view of this, the sale of land after issuance of a
Section 4 notification is void, and the purchaser cannot
challenge the acquisition proceedings. (See also: SectionTika
Ram v. the State of U.P. (2009) 10 SCC 689).

18. In view of the above, the law on the issue can be
summarized 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.

34. Reliance has been placed on SectionDossibai Nanabhoy
Jeejeebhoy v. P.M. Bharucha 1958 (60) Bom.LR 1208] so as to
contend that the ‘person interested’ in the land under Section 9
of the Land Acquisition Act would include a person who claims
interest in compensation to be paid on account of acquisition of
land ad the interest contemplated Under Section 9 is not
restricted to legal or proprietary estate or interest in the land but
such interest as will sustain a claim to apportionment, is the
owner of the land. In our opinion, the decision is of no avail.
The instant transaction being void as per Section 42 of the
Rajasthan Tenancy Act, and the property was inalienable to
non-SC. Obviously, the logical corollary has to be taken that no
right in apportionment to compensation can be claimed by the
Society.”

9

6(g). SectionIn M. Venkatesh Ors. v. Commissioner, Bangalore Development

Authority, etc. (2015) 17 SCC 1, a three­Judge Bench has opined:

“16. That brings us to the question of whether Prabhaudas Patel
and other respondents in SLP (C) No. 12016 of 2013 were
entitled to any relief from the Court. These respondents claim
to have purchased the suit property in terms of a sale deed
dated 22-8-1990, i.e., long after the issuance of the preliminary
Notification published in July 1984. The legal position about
the validity of any such sale, post-issuance of preliminary
notification, is fairly well settled by a long line of the decisions
of this Court. The sale in such cases is void and non-est in the
eye of the law giving to the vendee the limited right to claim
compensation and no more. Reference may in this regard be
made to the decision of this Court in SectionU.P. Jal Nigam v. Kalra
Properties (P) Ltd, wherein this Court said: (SCC pp. 126-27,
para 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 the
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 inquiry 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 floodwater.
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, the respondent had
purchased the land after the notification under Section
4(1) was published, its sale is void against the State, and
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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 the publication of the
declaration under Section 6 was published.

(emphasis supplied)”

7. It has been laid down that the purchasers on any ground

whatsoever cannot question proceedings for taking possession. A

purchaser after Section 4 notification does not acquire any right in

the land as the sale is ab initio void and has no right to claim land

under the Policy.

8. When we ponder as to beneficial provisions of the Act of 2013,

they also intend to benefit landowners mentioned in the notification

under Section 4, not for the benefit of such purchasers who purchase

the land after it has been vested in the State.

9. Sub­section 4 of Section 11 of the Act of 2013, which is akin to

Sectionsection 4 of the Act of 1894, contains a prohibition that no person

shall make any transaction or cause any transaction of land or create

any encumbrance on land from the date of publication of such

notification. Section 11(4) is extracted hereunder:

“11. Publication of preliminary notification and power of officers
thereupon.–
xxxxx
(4) No person shall make any transaction or cause any transaction of
land specified in the preliminary notification or create any
encumbrances on such land from the date of publication of such
notification till such time as the proceedings under this Chapter are
completed:

11

Provided that the Collector may, on the application made by the
owner of the land so notified, exempt in special circumstances to be
recorded in writing, such owner from the operation of this subsection:

Provided further that any loss or injury suffered by any person due
to his wilful violation of this provision shall not be made up by the
Collector.”

Without seeking exemption from the Collector, there is a total

prohibition on any transaction of land. Whereas the legal position

under the Act of 1894 was that a transaction effected after Sectionsection 4

notification was illegal and void.

10. When we consider other provisions, the ‘affected family’ has been

defined under Sectionsection 3(c) of the 2013 Act. The definition reads as

under:

“3. Definitions.–In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

(c) “affected family” includes—

(i) a family whose land or other immovable property has been acquired;

(ii) 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;

(iii) the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have
lost any of their forest rights recognized under the Scheduled Tribes and
SectionOther Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act,
2006 (2 of 2007) due to acquisition of land;

(iv) 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, fisherfolk and boatmen,
and such livelihood is affected due to acquisition of land;

(v) 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;

(vi) 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
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source of livelihood for three years prior to the acquisition of the land is
affected by the acquisition of such land;”

The affected family includes landowners for whose benefit land is

held before the acquisition. A person acquiring interest after Sectionsection

11 notification cannot be said to be included in the “affected family” at

all.

11. Definition of ‘family’ is in Sectionsection 3(m), it is extracted hereunder:

“3. Definition.–In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—
…..

(m) “family” includes a person, his or her spouse, minor children,
minor brothers and minor sisters dependent on him: Provided that
widows, divorcees, and women deserted by families shall be
considered separate families;

Explanation.—An adult of either gender with or without spouse or
children or dependents shall be considered as a separate family for the
purposes of this Act.”

12. The definition of ‘landowner’ is in Sectionsection 3(r), the same is

extracted hereunder:

“3. Definition.–In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—
…..

(r) “landowner” includes any person,— (i) whose name is recorded as
the owner of the land or building or part thereof, in the records of the
authority concerned; or

(ii) any person who is granted forest rights under the Scheduled Tribes
and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights)
Act, 2006 (2 of 2007) or under any other law for the time being in
force; or

(iii) who is entitled to be granted Patta rights on the land under any law
of the State including assigned lands; or (iv) any person who has been
declared as such by an order of the court or Authority;”
13

Landowner is a person who is recoded as the owner of land or

building. The record of date of issuance of preliminary notification

under Sectionsection 11 is relevant. A purchaser after Sectionsection 11 cannot be

said to be a landowner within the purview of Sectionsection 3(r).

13. Person interested is defined in Sectionsection 3(x) thus :

“3. Definition.–In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

(x) “person interested” means—

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

(ii) the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who have
lost any forest rights recognized under the Scheduled Tribes and SectionOther
Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (2
of 2007);

(iii) a person interested in an easement affecting the land;

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

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

14. A rehabilitation and resettlement scheme has to be prepared

under Section 16. Section 17 deals with the review of such a scheme.

An approved scheme to be made public under Section 18. Section 19

deals with the publication of declaration and summary of

rehabilitation and resettlement scheme. After inquiry, Award is

passed by the Collector under Section 23. The Collector is required to

consider, among other things, the interest of the person claiming the

compensation, rehabilitation, and resettlement while making an

award.

14

15. Section 24 of the Act of 2013, which deals with land acquisition

made under the Act of 1894, is also relevant. The same is extracted

hereunder:

“24. Land acquisition process under Act No. 1 of 1894 shall be
deemed to have lapsed in certain cases – (1) Notwithstanding
anything contained in this Act, in any case of land acquisition
proceedings initiated under the SectionLand Acquisition Act, 1894,—

(a) where no award under section 11 of the said Land Acquisition
Act has been made, then, all provisions of this Act relating to the
determination of compensation shall apply; or

(b) where an award under said Sectionsection 11 has been made, then
such proceedings shall continue under the provisions of the said
SectionLand Acquisition Act, as if the said Act has not been repealed.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), in case of
land acquisition proceedings initiated under the SectionLand Acquisition Act,
1894 (1 of 1894), where an award under the said Sectionsection 11 has been
made five years or more prior to the commencement of this Act but the
physical possession of the land has not been taken, or the compensation
has not been paid the said proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed
and the appropriate Government, if it so chooses, shall initiate the
proceedings of such land acquisition afresh in accordance with the
provisions of this Act:

Provided that where an award has been made, and compensation in
respect of a majority of land holdings has not been deposited in the
account of the beneficiaries, then, all beneficiaries specified in the
notification for acquisition under Sectionsection 4 of the said SectionLand Acquisition
Act, shall be entitled to compensation in accordance with the provisions
of this Act.”
(emphasis supplied)

16. Section 24 (2) provides that in case the award has been passed

five years or more prior to the commencement of the Act, but the

physical possession of the land has not been taken, or the

compensation has not been paid, the said proceedings shall be

deemed to have lapsed. It is not the case set up that compensation
15

had not been paid to purchasers/owners. The only case set up is that

physical possession has not been taken and proceedings of taking over

possession have been questioned to take advantage of provisions

under Section 24(2) of the Act of 2013. Whereas, averment in the writ

petition itself indicates that possession had been taken over in the

year 2000 and that unauthorized colonies have come up in the area.

Thus, it is clear that possession, if any, is illegal, and in fact, the

actual physical possession had been taken, and re­entering in

possession in an unauthorized manner can confer no right. There is

nothing to doubt that actual physical possession had been taken in

2000. Thus, Section 24(2) is not attracted in the case.

17. Even otherwise, proviso to Section 24(2) does not recognize a

purchaser after Section 4 notification inasmuch as it provides that

where an award has been made, and the compensation in respect of a

majority of land holdings has not been deposited in the account of the

beneficiaries, then, all beneficiaries specified in the notification for

acquisition issued under the Act of 1894, shall be entitled to

compensation under the provisions of the Act of 2013. The proviso

makes it clear that in case of compensation concerning the majority of

landholding has not been deposited, then recorded owner(s) at the

time of issuance of notification under Sectionsection 4 of the Act of 1894 shall

have the right to receive the compensation. Purchasers after Sectionsection 4
Section16

notification have not been given the right to receive the higher

compensation under the provisions contained in the act of 2013

18. SectionThe Act of 2013 presupposes that a person is required to be

rehabilitated and resettled. Such a person who has purchased after

Sectionsection 4 notification as sale deed is void under the Act of 1894,

cannot claim rehabilitation and resettlement as per policy envisaged

under the Act of 2013, as his land has not been acquired, but he has

purchased a property which has already been acquired by the State

Government, he cannot claim even higher compensation, as per

proviso to Sectionsection 24(2) under the Act of 2013. An original landowner

cannot be deprived of higher value under the Act of 2013, which

higher compensation was not so contemplated when the void

transaction of sale had been entered, and right is conferred under

proviso to Section 24(2) on recorded owners under Act of 1894. We

have come across instances in which after notifications under Sectionsection

4 were issued and, the property was purchased at throwaway prices

by the builders and unscrupulous persons, such purchases are void

and confer no right even to claim higher compensation under Section

24(2) of the Act of 2013 as it is to be given to the owner as mentioned

in the notification.

19. Given that, the transaction of sale, effected after Sectionsection 4

notification, is void, is ineffective to transfer the land, such
17

incumbents cannot invoke the provisions of Sectionsection 24. As the sale

transaction did not clothe them with the title when the purchase was

made; they cannot claim ‘possession’ and challenge the acquisition as

having lapsed under Sectionsection 24 by questioning the legality or

regularity of proceedings of taking over of possession under the Act of

1894. It would be unfair and profoundly unjust and against the policy

of the law to permit such a person to claim resettlement or claim the

land back as envisaged under the Act of 2013. When he has not been

deprived of his livelihood but is a purchaser under a void transaction,

the outcome of exploitative tactics played upon poor farmers who were

unable to defend themselves.

20. Thus, under the provisions of Section 24 of the Act of 2013,

challenge to acquisition proceeding of the taking over of possession

under the Act of 1894 cannot be made, based on a void transaction

nor declaration can be sought under Sectionsection 24(2) by such

incumbents to obtain the land. The declaration that acquisition has

lapsed under the Act of 2013 is to get the property back whereas, the

transaction once void, is always a void transaction, as no title can be a

+cquired in the land as such no such declaration can be sought. It

would not be legal, just and equitable to give the land back to

purchaser as land was not capable of being sold which was in process

of acquisition under the Act of 1894. SectionThe Act of 2013 does not confer
18

any right on purchaser whose sale is ab initio void. Such void

transactions are not validated under the Act of 2013. No rights are

conferred by the provisions contained in the 2013 Act on such a

purchaser as against the State.

21. ‘Void is, ab initio,’ a nullity, is inoperative, and a person cannot

claim the land or declaration once no title has been conferred upon

him to claim that the land should be given back to him. A person

cannot enforce and ripe fruits based on a void transaction to start

claiming title and possession of the land by seeking a declaration

under Section 24 of the Act of 2013; it will amount to conferment of

benefit never contemplated by the law. The question is, who can claim

declaration/ rights under Sectionsection 24(2) for the restoration of land or

lapse of acquisition. It cannot be by a person with no title in the land.

The provision of the Act of 2013 cannot be said to be enabling or

authorizing a purchaser after Section 4 to question proceeding taken

under the Act of 1894 of taking possession as held in U.P. Jal Nigam

(supra) which is followed in M. Venkatesh (supra) and other decisions

and consequently claim declaration under Section 24 of the Act of

2013. What cannot be done directly cannot be permitted in an

indirect method.

19

22. The provisions of the Act of 2013 aimed at the acquisition of land

with least disturbance to the landowners and other affected families

and to provide just and fair compensation to affected families whose

land has been acquired or proposed to be acquired or are affected and

to make adequate provisions for such affected persons for their

rehabilitation and resettlement. The provisions of Act of 2013 aim at

ousting all inter­meddlers from the fray by ensuring payment in the

bank account of landholders under Sectionsection 77 of the Act.

23. The intendment of Act of 2013 is to benefit farmers etc.

Subsequent purchasers cannot be said to be landowners entitled to

restoration of land and cannot be termed to be affected persons within

the provisions of Act of 2013. It is not open to them to claim that the

proceedings have lapsed under Section 24(2).

24. Apart from that the claims have been made on transactions

based on the power of attorneys, agreements, etc.; as such also they

are not entitled to any indulgence and cannot invoke provisions of

Sectionsection 24(2) of the 2013 Act. The Court has considered the question

of the validity of transactions in the form of power of attorney in Suraj

Lamp and Industries Pvt. Ltd. through SectionDirector v. State of Haryana

Anr. (2012) 1 SCC 656, and has held that no rights could be accrued
20

on such transactions as this is not a legal mode of transfer. This Court

has observed :

“20. A power of attorney is not an instrument of transfer in
regard to any right, title, or interest in an immovable property.
The Power of Attorney is a creation of an agency whereby the
grantor authorizes the grantee to do the acts specified therein,
on behalf of the grantor, which when executed will be binding
on the grantor as if done by him (see Section 1A and Section 2
of the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882). It is revocable or
terminable at any time unless it is made irrevocable in a manner
known to law. Even an irrevocable attorney does not have the
effect of transferring title to the grantee.

21. SectionIn-State of Rajasthan v. Basant Nehata 2005 (12) SCC 77
this Court held:

“13. A grant of power of attorney is essentially governed by
Chapter X of the Contract Act. By reason of a deed of power of
attorney, an agent is formally appointed to act for the principal
in one transaction or a series of transactions or to manage the
affairs of the principal generally conferring necessary authority
upon another person. A deed of power of attorney is executed
by the principal in favor of the agent. The agent derives a right
to use his name and all acts, deeds, and things are done by him
and subject to the limitations contained in the said deed, the
same shall be read as if done by the donor. A power of attorney
is, as is well known, a document of convenience.

Execution of a power of attorney in terms of the provisions of
the SectionContract Act as also the SectionPowers-of-Attorney Act is valid. A
power of attorney, we have noticed hereinbefore, is executed by
the donor so as to enable the done to act on his behalf. Except
in cases where power of attorney is coupled with an interest, it
is revocable. The done in exercise of his power under such
power of attorney only acts in place of the donor subject, of
course, to the powers granted to him by reason thereof. He
cannot use the power of attorney for his own benefit. He acts in
a fiduciary capacity. Any act of infidelity or breach of trust is a
matter between the donor and the done.

An attorney holder may, however, execute a deed of
conveyance in the exercise of the power granted under a power
of attorney and convey title on behalf of the grantor.

Scope of Will

14. A will is the testament of the testator. It is a posthumous
disposition of the estate of the testator directing the distribution
21

of his estate upon his death. It is not a transfer inter vivo. The
two essential characteristics of a will are that it is intended to
come into effect only after the death of the testator and is
revocable at any time during the lifetime of the testator. It is
said that so long as the testator is alive, a will is not be worth
the paper on which it is written, as the testator can at any time
revoke it. If the testator, who is not married, marries after
making the will, by operation of law, the will stands revoked.
(see Sections 69 and Section70 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925).
Registration of a will does not make it any more effective.

Conclusion

15. Therefore, a SA/GPA/WILL transaction does not convey
any title nor create any interest in an immovable property. The
observations by the Delhi High Court, in SectionAsha M. Jain v.
Canara Bank 94 (2001) DLT 841 that the “concept of power of
attorney sales have been recognized as a mode of transaction”
when dealing with transactions by way of SA/GPA/WILL are
unwarranted and not justified, unintended misleading the
general public into thinking that SA/GPA/WILL transactions
are some kind of a recognized or accepted mode of transfer and
that it can be a valid substitute for a sale deed. Such decisions
to the extent they recognize or accept SA/GPA/WILL
transactions as concluded transfers, as contrasted from an
agreement to transfer, are not good law.

16. We, therefore, reiterate that immovable property can be
legally and lawfully transferred/ conveyed only by a registered
deed of conveyance. Transactions of the nature of ‘GPA sales’
or ‘SA/GPA/WILL transfers’ do not convey title and do not
amount to transfer, nor can they be recognized or valid mode of
transfer of immovable property. The courts will not treat such
transactions as completed or concluded transfers or as
conveyances as they neither convey title nor create any interest
in an immovable property. They cannot be recognized as deeds
of title, except to the limited extent of Section 53A of the
Transfer of Property Act. Such transactions cannot be relied
upon or made the basis for mutations in Municipal or Revenue
Records. What is stated above will apply not only to deeds of
conveyance in regard to freehold property but also to transfer of
leasehold property. A lease can be validly transferred only
under a registered Assignment of Lease. It is time that an end is
put to the pernicious practice of SA/GPA/WILL transactions
known as GPA sales.

17. It has been submitted that making declaration that GPA
sales and SA/GPA/WILL transfers are not legally valid modes
of transfer is likely to create hardship to a large number of
persons who have entered into such transactions, and they
22

should be given sufficient time to regularize the transactions by
obtaining deeds of conveyance. It is also submitted that this
decision should be made applicable prospectively to avoid
hardship.”

No right can be claimed based on a transfer made by way of

execution of Power of Attorney, Will, etc., as it does not create any

interest in immovable property.

25. In Manav Dharam Trust (supra), even the provisions of the Act of

2013 have not been taken into consideration, which prohibits such

transactions in particular provisions of Sectionsection 11, including the

proviso to Sectionsection 24(2). Apart from that, it was not legally permissible

to a Division Bench to ignore the decisions of the larger Bench

comprising of three Judges and of Co­ordinate Bench. They were not

per incuriam and were relevant for deciding the issue of taking

possession under Act of 1894, at the instance of purchaser. In case it

wanted to depart from the view taken earlier, it ought to have referred

the matter to a larger bench. It has been ignored that when a

purchase is void, then no declaration can be sought on the ground

that the land acquisition under the Act of 2013 has lapsed due to

illegality/irregularity of proceedings of taking possession under the Act

of 1894. No declaration can be sought by a purchaser under Section

24 that acquisition has lapsed, effect of which would be to get back

the land. They cannot seek declaration that acquisition made under
23

the Act of 1894 has lapsed by the challenge to the proceedings of

taking possession under the Act of 1894. Such right was not available

after the purchase in 2000 and no such right has been provided to the

purchasers under the Act of 2013 also. Granting a right to question

acquisition would be against the public policy and the law which

prohibits such transactions; it cannot be given effect to under the

guise of subsequent legislation containing similar provisions.

Subsequent legislation does not confer any new right to a person

based on such void transaction; instead, it includes a provision

prohibiting such transactions without permission of the Collector as

provided in Section 11(4).

26. Thus, we have to follow the decisions including that of larger

Bench mentioned above, laying down the law on the subject, which

still holds the field and were wrongly distinguished. The binding value

of the decision of larger and coordinate Benches have been ignored

while deciding the Manav Dharam Trust case (supra), it was not open

to it to take a different view. The decision in Manav Dharam Trust

(supra) is per incuriam in light of this decision of this Court in

SectionMamleshwar Prasad v. Kanahaiya Lal, (1975) 2 SCC 232, SectionA.R.

Anutulay v. R.S. Nayak, (1988) 2 SCC 602, SectionState of Uttar Pradesh v.

Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd., (1991) 4 SCC 139, SectionState of B. Shama

Rao v. Union Territory of Pondicherry, AIR 1967 SC 1480, SectionMunicipal
24

Corporation of Delhi v. Gurnam Kaur, (1989) 1 SCC 101, SectionNarmada

Bachao Andolan (III) v. State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 2011 SC 1989,

Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd. v. State of Odisha, (2015) 2 SCC 189 and

SectionSant Lal Gupta v. Modern Coop. Societies Ltd. 2010 13 SCC 336.

27. We hold that Division Bench in Manav Dharam Trust (supra)

does not lay down the law correctly. Given the several binding

precedents which are available and the provisions of the Act of 2013,

we cannot follow the decision in Manav Dharam Trust (supra) and

overrule it. Shri S.N. Bhatt, learned counsel submitted that in case

this Court does not agree with the Manav Dharam Trust (supra), the

case may be referred to Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India under the

provisions of Order VI Rule 2 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013. He

has relied upon the decision of this court in SectionVineeta Sharma v. Rakesh

Sharma (2019) 6 SCC 162 in which, in view of the conflict of opinion of

two Division Bench judgments of this Court as to the interpretation of

Sectionsection 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 the matter was referred to

the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India, for constituting an appropriate

Bench. However, in the instant case, the issue is different, whether we

have to follow the decision in Manav Dharam Trust (supra) or the

earlier decisions of this Court mentioned above. It is apparent that

the decisions of the Three Judges Bench are binding on us, and in

view of other consistent decisions of this Court, we have to follow
25

them. It is not appropriate to refer the case to larger Bench under

Order VI Rule 2 of Supreme Court Rules. We find no fault in the

Judgments laying down the law that the purchase after Sectionsection 4 is

void as against the State. We are not impressed with the submission

raised on behalf of the purchasers to refer the matter for the

constitution of a Larger Bench to the Hon’ble Chief Justice. When

decisions of Larger Bench and other Division Bench are available, the

case cannot be referred to a Larger Bench.

28. Concerning the illegal colony, averments have been made that

the colony is an unauthorized and provisional order was passed to

regularise it. The plea taken is contradictory and shows the falsity of

the claim raised by the purchasers. That, apart predecessors of the

purchaser obtained the land­based on Power of Attorney, Agreement

to Sell, and Will on 9.12.1982. As per averments made in the writ

application, Bijender Singh, who was owning ½ share, sold the share

to Satya Narain by the documents like Agreement to Sell, Power of

Attorney, or Will. It has also been averred that Om Prakash sold the

remaining ½ share to Satya Narain on 11.3.1984 by way of Agreement

to Sale, Power of Attorney, or Will. The purchase made through

Agreement to Sale, Power of Attorney, or Will by Satya Narain did not

confer a title upon him to transfer it to the purchasers apart from the

fact that it was void in view of purchase after Section 4. Based on
26

purchase made from such owners whose title was not perfect,

purchasers had no derivative title in the eye of law. There was no

legally recognized title deed in favor of Satya Narain.

29. Resultantly, we hold that no interference is called for in the

judgment and order passed by the High Court. Accordingly, the

appeal is dismissed.

…………………………. J.

(ARUN MISHRA)

…………………………. J.

(M.R. SHAH)

…………………………. J.

(B.R. GAVAI)
NEW DELHI;

OCTOBER 14, 2019.

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