In the present matter relating to acquisition of land, initially the notifications issued under sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (Act) were challenged which however was turned out. In later round of litigation a writ of mandamus was sought seeking direction against authority to release the residential house in question. The plea was rejected on the ground that no objection under Section 5-A of the Act for release of the house was filed and since the petitioner being a post-acquisition vendee, had no locus standi to question the acquisition. Thereafter the present writ petition was filed on the ground that the acquisition proceedings undertaken vide relevant notification have lapsed in view of the provisions of S. 24(2) of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 ('2013 Act').

The Petitioner in the present case claimed to be the owner of the acquired land vides sale deed executed much after the acquisition notification under section 4 of the Act.

Thus, the primary question that arose for consideration was as to whether the Petitioner had any locus-standi to file the present Writ Petition and claim that the acquisition proceedings have lapsed?

The Court observed it is a settled proposition of law that any person who purchases land after publication of the notification u/s. 4(1), does so at his/her own peril. The object of publication of the notification u/s. 4(1) is notice to everyone that the land is needed or is likely to be needed for public purpose and the acquisition proceedings point out an impediment to anyone to encumber the land acquired thereunder. It authorises the designated officer to enter upon the land to do preliminaries etc. Therefore, any alienation of land after the publication of the notification u/s. 4 (1) does not bind the Government or the beneficiary under the acquisition. The subsequent purchaser cannot challenge the acquisition proceedings and that he would be only entitled to get the compensation.

It was held that the petitioner in the instant matter got executed the Lease Deed after issuance of S. 4 notification and the so-called Sale Deed much later after passing of the Award, thus, had no locus standi to question the acquisition proceedings much less to claim the benefit under 2013 Act and also that no fresh cause of action accrued to the petitioner on coming into force of the 2013 Act. No person can be permitted to circumvent the law in the manner suggested by the petitioner by trying to invoke misplaced sympathy. The provisions of the beneficial legislation cannot be permitted to be misused to the undue advantage of a person, who managed to hold on to the acquired land without any right whatsoever for years. It would amount to giving a premium on a wrong doing, which cannot be permitted.

[National Packing Industries v State of Haryana and others]

(P&H HC, 08.08.2014)

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