M/S Natesan Agencies … vs State Rep. By The Secretary To … on 5 February, 2020


Supreme Court of India

M/S Natesan Agencies … vs State Rep. By The Secretary To … on 5 February, 2020

Author: Uday Umesh Lalit

                                      IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                           INHERENT JURISDICTION

                                  REVIEW PETITION (C) D. No. 46265 OF 2019

                                                        IN

                                        CIVIL APPEAL No. 5397 OF 2010



         M/S. NATESAN AGENCIES (PLANTATIONS)                               ……Petitioner(s)

                                     Vs.

         STATE REP. BY THE SECRETARY TO GOVT.
         ENVIRONMENT & FOREST DEPARTMENT                                   …….Respondent(s)


                                                    ORDER

Delay Condoned.

2. Put in a nutshell, the relevant background aspects of this matter are as

follows: The appellant firm had taken the land in question on lease for a period

of 5 years (from 01.07.1972 to 30.06.1977) from its owner, Sri Nanamamalai

Jeer Mutt, Nanguneri, for plantation and co-related purposes. By the

notification dated 06.03.1976 issued under the Wild Life (Protection) Act,

1972, the land in question was proposed to be included in the wild life

sanctuary. However, a fresh long-term lease for a period of 25 years (from

01.07.1977 to 30.06.2002) was made in favour of the appellant. The appellant

and the Mutt attempted to get the land in question excluded from the
Signature Not Verified
sanctuary but remained unsuccessful. On the other hand, proceedings for
Digitally signed by
MUKESH KUMAR
Date: 2020.02.06
10:26:01 IST
Reason:

award of compensation in relation to the land in question remained under

contemplation. However, instead of making any award, the collector issued
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the order dated 19.11.1993, excluding the land in question from the limits of

wild life sanctuary. Being aggrieved by such exclusion, the Mutt and the

appellant filed a writ petition before the High Court, which was allowed by the

Single Judge but then, the Division Bench of High Court, in its judgment dated

18.09.1997, did not approve the order so passed by the Single Judge and,

while acknowledging the power of the Government to withdraw from the

notification, dismissed the writ petition but left it open for the appellant and the

Mutt to approach the appropriate forum in relation to their claim for damages.

Thereafter, on 08.06.1998, the appellant instituted the civil suit for damages

against the State while alleging that it had been prevented from using the land

in question from the year 1976 to the year 1993.

3. The civil suit so filed by the appellant was decreed by the learned Single

Judge of the High Court but, the Division Bench reversed the decree and

dismissed the suit by way of its judgment and decree dated 26.02.2007 in

OSA Nos. 193 of 2002 and 178 of 2003.

4. Having examined the matter in its totality, this Court found that after

issuance of the notification dated 06.03.1976 and inclusion of the subject land

therein, there was no occasion for the appellant acquiring any further right in

the land after expiry of the term of lease on 30.06.1977 and hence, the alleged

second lease for a period of 25 years was of no effect; and the appellant had

no right to claim damages from the State. It was also found that there was

nothing on record to suggest that appellant was prevented by the State from

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going inside the forest and collecting usufructs and hence, there was no basis

for the appellant to maintain an action for damages.

5. The question of limitation, though left unanswered by the Division

Bench of High Court, was also examined by this Court and it was found that in

the earlier proceeding, the appellant sought exclusion of the land from

sanctuary and asserted that State ought to take the land and pay

compensation whereas the claim in the present suit was founded on the

ground that the plaintiff had suffered loss due to the proceedings under Wild

Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and then, due to exclusion of the land in question

from acquisition. It was, therefore, found that the relief claimed in the present

suit was different and matter-in-issue was not the same as that of the earlier

proceeding and hence, the appellant was not entitled to the benefit of Section

14 of the Limitation Act.

6. Having examined the record and the grounds stated, we are unable to

find any error apparent on the face of the record calling for review of the

judgment dated 20.08.2019.

7. The review petition is, therefore, dismissed.

………………………….J.

(UDAY UMESH LALIT)

……..…………………….J.

(DINESH MAHESHWARI)

New Delhi,
Dated: 05th February, 2020
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