The Executive Engineer vs The State Of Maharashtra on 15 January, 2020


Supreme Court of India

The Executive Engineer vs The State Of Maharashtra on 15 January, 2020

Author: Uday Umesh Lalit

Bench: Uday Umesh Lalit, Hon’Ble Ms. Banerjee, M.R. Shah

                                                              REPORTABLE
                                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                  CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                                  CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 246­255 OF 2020


          The Executive Engineer,
          Nimna Dudhna Project, Selu,
          District Parbhani, Maharashtra                     …Appellant


                                      Versus

          The State of Maharashtra & Others
          Etc. Etc.                                          …Respondents




                                           JUDGMENT

M.R. SHAH, J.

Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned

common judgment and order dated 17.07.2017 passed by the
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by

High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Bench at Aurangabad in
INDU MARWAH
Date: 2020.01.15
18:31:22 IST
Reason:

First Appeal Nos. 4083­4092 of 2016 whereby the High Court has

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partly allowed the said first appeals preferred by the original

claimants and has enhanced the amount of compensation for the

lands acquired, the acquiring body – The Executive Engineer,

Nimna Dudhna Project has preferred the present appeals.

2. Learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the appellant has

vehemently submitted that as such there was a delay of five and

a half years in preferring the first appeals. It is submitted that

assuming that the High Court is justified in enhancing the

amount of compensation at par with the other land

owners/claimants, as there was a huge delay of five and a half

years, the High Court ought not to have saddled the interest

liability for the period of delay upon the appellants. It is

submitted that for the delayed period the claimants shall also not

be entitled to any statutory benefits.

2.1 It is submitted by the learned Advocate that as such there

was a huge delay of five and a half years and therefore as such

the same was not required to be condoned by the High Court. It

is submitted that in any case the High Court is not justified in

granting the statutory benefits and the interest on the enhanced

amount of compensation for the period of delay. In support of his

above submission, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the

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appellant has heavily relied upon the decisions of this Court in

the cases of Market Committee, Hodal v. Krishan Murari, (1996) 1

SCC 311; Collector (LA) v. Katiji, (1987) 2 SCC 107; Dhiraj Singh

(D) through LRs v. State of Haryana, (2014) 14 SCC 127; and K.

Subbarayudu v. Special Deputy Collector (LA), (2017) 12 SCC 840.

3. While opposing the present appeals, learned Advocate

appearing on behalf of the respondents/original claimants has

vehemently submitted that as such the original claimants

claimed the parity in compensation with other land owners. It is

submitted that at the time when the High Court condoned the

delay, the same was not conditional, namely, to deny the

statutory benefits and the interest for the interregnum period –

delayed period. It is submitted that the order condoning the

delay had attained finality and therefore subsequently it is not

open for the appellant to submit that the High Court ought not to

have awarded the statutory benefits and the interest for the

delayed period.

3.1 It is further submitted by the learned Advocate appearing on

behalf of the respondents/original claimants that even otherwise

as per the settled proposition of law, all claimants/land owners

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are entitled to the same compensation for the land acquired for

the same project vide the same notification.

3.2 Making the above submissions, it is prayed to dismiss the

present appeals.

4. We have heard the learned counsel for the respective parties

at length.

At the outset, it is required to be noted that the dispute in

the present appeals is only with respect to award of statutory

benefits and interest for the delayed period. It is not in dispute

that there was a huge delay of five and a half years in preferring

the appeals before the High Court challenging the judgment and

award passed by the Reference Court. However, considering the

fact that in other matters the delay was condoned, the High

Court condoned the delay and entertained the appeals and

enhanced the amount of compensation at par with other land

owners/claimants whose lands were acquired for the same

project vide the same notification. Therefore, as such, no fault

can be found with the order passed by the High Court condoning

the delay. It is required to be noted that as such the order

condoning the delay has attained finality as the same was not

challenged by the appellant at the relevant time. Be that as it

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may, the issue which is required to be considered is, whether for

the delayed period the claimants shall be entitled to the statutory

benefits and the interest under the Land Acquisition Act?

4.1 The aforesaid issue is not res integra. In the case of Dhiraj

Singh (supra), while condoning the delay in preferring the appeal

before this Court, while enhancing the amount of compensation

at par with other similarly situated land owners, this Court has

denied the interest on the enhanced amount of compensation for

the period of delay in approaching the High Court by way of

LPAs. Similar view is expressed by this Court in the case of K.

Subbarayudu (supra) and while condoning the delay in preferring

the appeal, this Court has denied the interest for the period of

delay. Merely because at the time of condoning the delay no

such condition was imposed that the claimants shall not be

entitled to the interest on the enhanced amount of compensation

for the period of delay, the appellant who is otherwise a public

body cannot be saddled with the liability to pay the interest for

the period of delay, which is not at all attributed to them. Under

the circumstances, the common impugned judgment and order

passed by the High Court awarding the interest on the enhanced

amount of compensation for the period of delay in preferring the

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appeals deserve to be quashed and set aside and the impugned

common judgment and order passed by the High Court is

required to be modified to the aforesaid extent.

4.2 In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, all

these appeals are allowed in part. The common impugned

judgment and order passed by the High Court is modified to the

extent denying the interest to the respondents/original claimants

on the enhanced amount of compensation for the period of delay

in preferring the appeals. Rest of the judgment and award

passed by the High Court is confirmed. No costs.

………………………………J.

                                     [ASHOK BHUSHAN]


NEW DELHI;                           ………………………………J.
JANUARY 15, 2020.                    [M.R. SHAH]




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