Repeated acquisition of lands of the same family = whether by resorting to repeated acquisition of the properties belonging to the same person, the State is not acting contrary to the dictates of Article 14 of the Constitution. This question was answered in the affirmative.= The real question is not whether the petitioners will be left with 4 or 5 acres of land or a bit more or, that whether they are running some business or not. where there was no other possibility of providing house sites to the persons displaced in a project and the acquisition is found so inevitable, such cases may fall under exceptions, warranting acquisition of the properties belonging to the same family more than once. = The State and its Officials should display a reasonable and rational attitude in dealing with the properties of the private citizens As held by the Division Bench in K.Ramulu (cited supra), in the quest for providing house sites to one section of poor people, others cannot be ruined. The petitioners have succeeded in proving that acquisition of their lands is not inevitable in the face of availability of the land admeasuring Ac.5-20 cents comprised in Survey No.449 belonging to Mente Narayana Swamy. Such being the admitted position, I do not find any justification, whatsoever, in the action of the respondents in insisting on acquisition of the petitioners’ land.


reported in/published inhttp://164.100.12.10/hcorders/orders/2010/wp/wp_1449_2010.html


* The Hon'ble Sri Justice C.V.Nagarjuna Reddy

 

+ Writ Petition No.1449 of  2010

 

% Date: 21-12-2011

 

Between:

 

# Thumurouthu Mallikarjuna Rao and another
..... Petitioners
AND

$ 1.The State of Andhra Pradesh,
Rep. by its Secretary, Revenue
(L.A.) Secretariat, Hyderabad and 4 others.
.....Respondents

^ Counsel for the Petitioners:                                  Mr.S.Subba Reddy

! Counsel for Respondent Nos.1, 4 & 5:      AGP for Land Acquisition

 

Counsel for respondent No.2:                     GP for Social Welfare

 

Counsel for respondent No.3:                     AGP for Irrigation

 

< Gist:

 

> Head note:


? Cases referred:
1. (1988) 1 LS 343 = (1988) 1 APLJ 494

                  

 



The Hon'ble Sri Justice C.V.Nagarjuna Reddy

 

Writ Petition No.1449 of  2010

 

Date: 21-12-2011

 

Between:

 

Thumurouthu Mallikarjuna Rao and another
..... Petitioners
AND

1.The State of Andhra Pradesh,
Rep. by its Secretary, Revenue
(L.A.) Secretariat, Hyderabad and 4 others.
.....Respondents

Counsel for the Petitioners:                                     Mr.S.Subba Reddy

Counsel for Respondent Nos.1, 4 & 5:        AGP for Land Acquisition

 

Counsel for respondent No.2:                     GP for Social Welfare

 

Counsel for respondent No.3:                     AGP for Irrigation






The Court made the following :






Order:
The petitioners, whose family is subjected to acquisition of properties for the second time, filed this Writ Petition seeking intervention of this Court by restraining the respondents from perpetrating injustice on them.
The family of the petitioners appeared to be once very wealthy in terms of agricultural lands.  This appeared to have, obviously, made them a soft target for the respondents to take away their lands whenever they contemplate acquisition.  The petitioners have pleaded before respondent Nos.4 and 5 that during the lifetime of their father as much as Ac.40-93 cents of land was acquired for providing house sites and that therefore, there is no justification for acquiring further land, which will virtually reduce them to the status of small farmers.  In order, dated
26-12-2009, passed by respondent No.4, disposing of the petitioners’ objections, a finding is rendered by him that earlier an extent of Ac.27-13 cents belonging to the petitioners’ family was acquired.  Respondent No.4 has, however, sought to lend some justification in seeking to proceed with the further acquisition of Ac.3-73 cents for the purpose of provision of house sites to Yeleru Reservoir Project displaced persons of Lakkavaram Village by observing that even after acquisition of the said extent of Ac.27-13 cents, there was a family partition, during which an extent of Ac.11-00 cents was given to each of the two sons, i.e., petitioners herein, by their father and that the petitioners are doing business.  In their affidavit, the petitioners categorically asserted that they are not doing any business.  Petitioner No.1 stated that out of the extent of Ac.11-00, which he has got in partition, he has alienated Ac.5-00 cents in Survey No.451/1 on 19-06-2006 to one Alamanda Nooka Raju and others in connection with his sister’s marriage.  The status of Petitioner No.1, whose land is now proposed to be acquired, is virtually reduced to that of a small farmer.  It is the pleaded case of the petitioners that one Mente Narayanaswamy, who owns Ac.5-20 cents in Survey No.449, gave a statement before the Tahsildar, Yeleswaram, that he is ready and willing to part with his land.  While referring to this aspect, respondent No.3, in his order, dated 26-12-2009, has stated that there is a dispute regarding ownership of the said land and that the same is occupied by a third party. With reference to the objections raised by the petitioners that there are several Government lands in various survey numbers such as Survey Nos.205/1, 205/38-2, 285, 327, 273/3 etc., the said objection was rejected on the ground that an extent of Ac.58.15 cents in Survey No.205/1 was already proposed for acquisition for provision of house sites to weaker sections in phase-III Indiramma Programme.
Now, the question that needs to be addressed in this Writ Petition is, whether the respondents have given a fair treatment to the petitioners’ family ?  
Our Constitution has initially recognized the property right as fundamental right.  However, by the Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978, with the deletion of Article 31, the property right ceased to be a fundamental right, but, it is, nevertheless, continued to be a constitutional right by shifting the Article 31 out of Part III and reinserting the same as Article 300-A of the Constitution, which mandates that no person shall be deprived of his property save by the authority of law.  It is trite that every law should be fair and reasonable and the power exercised under such law shall conform to the mandates of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.  A Division Bench of this Court in K.Ramulu vs.  State of A.P.[1] dealt with a more or less similar issue and posed a question, whether by resorting to repeated acquisition of the properties belonging to the same person, the State is not acting contrary to the dictates of Article 14 of the Constitution.  This question was answered in the affirmative.  It would be instructive to reproduce their Lordships’ view expressed in a lucid manner hereunder:
“We proceed on the basis that the petitioner’s land has been acquired repeatedly for public purpose and the petitioner’s ownership has been reduced from 20 acres to Ac.2-15 guntas.  We hold the mere taking of possession is not deterring factor for issuing a writ.  The question is whether the State action in these circumstances would be justified in acquiring those lands.  We hold that the State in subjecting one particular person’s property to repeated acquisitions is acting contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution.  By resorting to such acquisitions, the State is imposing the social burdens of Land Acquisition Act on selected individuals and is thereby violating the equality rule of Article 14.  It should have been better known that power of eminent domain is inherently an unjust power and the reasons whose duty it is to administer such law must administer it taking care to distribute its burdens equally well on all.  (See 1981-I-A.L.T. 106 (F.B.).  It follows that in any land acquisition case and more particularly in a case like this, it becomes the duty of the Government to explain the unavoidable necessity of acquiring a particular piece of land from the same person by showing that there were no other lands available for acquisition, either private or public.  In the absence of such an allegation and proof by the Government, we hold that the Collector had acted unconstitutionally and even without any consideration for the fate of the owner of a small extent of land. The State power cannot be allowed to be used monstrously by these small officials even for glorified purposes contrary to Article 14.  The fact that this land is being acquired for housing the Harijans is wholly irrelevant so far as the complaint of the petitioner under Article 14 is concerned.  The law does not permit a small farmer to be ruined in the name of accommodating a poor Harijan.  The end of providing house sites to Harijans may be right and laudable but it is an elementary rule of the Constitution that means adopted to achieve such an end must also be right.  Unless it is shown that house sites cannot be made available to Harijans except by acquiring these Ac.2-15 guntas of land from the petitioner, the State shall not be permitted to go on with these acquisitions.  As that was not done, Section 4 (1) notification has to be set aside.  In the circumstances, we see no justification whatsoever in State issuing the said section 4 (1) Notification.  It is, accordingly, set aside.  We direct the property to be restored back to the petitioner, even in case the Government has taken possession of the land, within one week from the date of receipt of this order.”
In my opinion, the law laid down by the Division Bench in the above-reproduced judgment applies, in all fours, to this case.  The real question is not whether the petitioners will be left with 4 or 5 acres of land or a bit more or, that whether they are running some business or not. Perhaps, in a case where there was no other possibility of providing house sites to the persons displaced in a project and the acquisition is found so inevitable, such cases may fall under exceptions, warranting acquisition of the properties belonging to the same family more than once.  But, in the present case, it is admitted that the person viz., Mente Narayana Swamy has given a statement expressing his willingness to part with his land.  It is not the case of the respondents that the said land is not suitable for acquisition.  The only ground, on which the said offer was spurned, is that some third party is in occupation of the same and that there are some civil disputes.    The respondents, while exercising their power of eminent domain, are not deterred by such civil disputes.  Even if the property is in the hands of some third party, still it can acquire the same by initiating the proceedings under the Act.  In the absence of any legal bar, it passes ones comprehension as to why the respondents should not acquire the said land when its owner has come forward to give away the same.  The State and its Officials should display a reasonable and rational attitude in dealing with the properties of the private citizens As held by the Division Bench in K.Ramulu (cited supra), in the quest for providing house sites to one section of poor people, others cannot be ruined. 
 The petitioners have succeeded in proving that acquisition of their lands is not inevitable in the face of availability of the land admeasuring Ac.5-20 cents comprised in Survey No.449 belonging to Mente Narayana Swamy.  Such being the admitted position, I do not find any justification, whatsoever, in the action of the respondents in insisting on acquisition of the petitioners’ land.
For the above-mentioned reasons, the Writ Petition is allowed with costs of Rs.10,000/- and the impugned acquisition proceedings are quashed.
As a sequel, interim order, dated 29-01-2010, extended by further orders, shall stand vacated, and WVMP.No.1580 of 2010 in/& WPMP.No.1922 of 2010 are disposed of as infructuous.

______________________

          (C.V.Nagarjuna Reddy, J)

21st December, 2011

Note:
LR copy.
      (B/o)
       LUR



[1] (1988) 1 LS 343 = (1988) 1 APLJ 494

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