2015(3) ALL MR 134
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY (PANAJI BENCH)

F. M. REIS, F. M. REIS AND Z. A. HAQ, JJ.

Mr. Arjun Mahadev Harmalkar Vs. The State of Goa & Ors.

Writ Petition No.210 of 2006,Misc. Civil Application No.515 of 2008

5th November, 2014.

Petitioner Counsel: Mr. N. SARDESSAI and Mr. L. RAGHUNANDAN
Respondent Counsel: Ms. PRIYANKA KAMAT, Mr. SHIVAN DESAI, Mr. AMEY KAKODKAR

(A) Land Acquisition Act (1894), Ss.5A, 6 - Land acquisition - Objections to - Petitioner asked for change of land zone - Petitioner was granted conversion sanad - Petitioner was granted construction license - Petitioner constructed residential house on said land - S.6 notification issued regarding land of petitioner - Objections raised by petitioner to acquisition were not objectively examined by Acquisition Officer - Notification u/S.6 was issued based on recommendations of Acquisition Officer - Notification is liable to be set aside. 2012 ALL SCR 370, 2013 ALL SCR 1689, 2013 ALL SCR 2381, 2013(1) ALL MR 817 Ref. to. (Paras 12, 13)

(B) Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (2013), S.24(2) - Acquisition proceedings - Lapse of - Award passed 5 years prior to coming into force of Act of 2013 - Physical possession of land has not been taken - Compensation awarded by Land Acquisition Officer has not been paid - Acquisition proceedings in respect of land of petitioner are deemed to have lapsed in terms of S.24(2) of the Act of 2013. (Paras 14, 15)

Cases Cited:
Hindustan Petroleum Ltd. Vs. Darius Shapur Chennai & Ors., 2014 ALL SCR (O.C.C.) 243=2005(7) SC 627 [Para 4]
Kamal Trading (P) Ltd. Vs. State of W.B., 2012 ALL SCR 370=2012(2) SCC 25 [Para 8]
Usha Stud & Agricultural Farms (P) Ltd. Vs. State of Haryana, 2013 ALL SCR 1689=2013(4) SCC 210 [Para 9]
Women’s Education Trust Vs. State of Haryana, 2013 ALL SCR 2381=2013(8) SCC 99 [Para 10]
Estefania Dias e Pereira & Anr. Vs. State of Goa & Ors., 2013(1) ALL MR 817=2013(2) Mh.L.J. 190 [Para 11]
Pune Municipal Corpn. Vs. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki, 2014(2) ALL MR 923 (S.C.)=2014(3) SCC 183 [Para 14]


JUDGMENT

F. M. REIS, J. :- Heard Mr. N. Sardessai, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner, Ms. Priyanka Kamat, learned Additional Government Advocate for the respondent nos. 1 and 2, Mr. Shivan Desai, learned counsel appearing for the respondent no.5 and Mr. Amey Kakodkar, learned counsel appearing for the intervenor in M.C.A. No. 515 of 2008.

2. The above petition inter-alia seeks to quash and set aside Notifications dated 29.07.2005 and 18.04.2006 in respect of the property belonging to the petitioner and also the impugned award dated 25.08.2006 in respect of the property surveyed under No. 103/92 of Saligao Village of Bardez Taluka.

3. Briefly, the facts of the case as pointed out by the petitioner are that the petitioner purchased the property admeasuring 775 square metres from survey No. 103/92 situated at Salmona, Saligao village by registered sale deed dated 07.04.1999. On 09.07.2004, the Pollution Control Board informed the local Village Panchayat that the water of Salmona spring contained coliform and fecal coliform and the water is not fit for drinking and consequently requested the panchayat to stop the people from dumping the garbage on the back side of the spring. Thereafter, the petitioner applied for change of zone from Orchard to Settlement in the Regional plan and notification was issued on 28.11.2002 calling for the objections. The State Government after considering all the materials, approved the proposal of the petitioner for the change of zone from Orchard to Settlement. The respondent no.2 thereafter issued a conversion sanad on 11.06.2004 to the petitioner for the change in land use and permitting the petitioner to use an area 583 square metres out of the area 775 square metres under the said survey number on payment of conversion fees. Subsequently, Mapusa Planning and Development authority granted development permission on 07.01.2005 to the petitioner for the construction of a residential house. The Village Panchayat on 21.02.2005 issued a construction licence in favour of the petitioner upon certain conditions. There was a statement made on 22.3.2005 by the respondent no.4 who was the then Tourism Minister that the Tourism Department intending to start acquiring land around Salmona spring to prevent it from being developed commercially. It is further the contention of the petitioner that on account of pressure from certain quarters under the Government directions were issued to acquire the land including the petitioner's property surveyed under No. 103/92 in March, 2003. The petitioner thereafter made a representation to the Governor on 28.03.2005 bringing to his notice that the petitioner has constructed a residential house to a great extent and any move to acquire land by the Government will put the petitioner and his family to the financial loss and mental stress. The Village Panchayat unanimously resolved on 30.03.2005 to oppose the proposal of land acquisition for the development of Salmona spring. Subsequently, the petitioner received a notice from the Director of Panchayats dated 11.04.2005 and the Village Panchayat Saligao were asked to show cause why the permission granted by the Village Panchayat to the petitioner for construction of a residential house should not be suspended under Section 178 of the Goa Panchayat Raj Act, 1994. The Gram Sabha on 24.04.2005 passed a resolution opposing the proposed acquisition by the Government as the development of the spring by the Tourism Department will lead to commercialization of the place. The department of Tourism on 02.05.2005 informed the petitioner that the matter regarding acquisition of the land in respect of survey No. 103/92 is under consideration of the Government and necessary notification is expected to be published after finalization of the matter. The Director of Panchayats by judgment and order dated 13.05.2005 withdrew the show cause notice issued to the petitioner and the local Village panchayat. Subsequently, on 01.08.2005 a Notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 ( herein after referred to as 'the said Act of 1894') was issued stating therein that the land of the petitioner admeasuring an area of 660 square metres out of total 775 square metres along with the land of the other people is needed for public purpose. The provisions of Section 17 of the said Act was also invoked by the State Government. The petitioner thereafter filed a Writ Petition bearing No. 314/2005 before this Court on 06.08.2005. In the meanwhile on 24.08.2005 a Notification dated 23.08.2005 was issued by the respondent no.1 revoking the notification of change of land use in the Regional Plan for Goa 2001. The Collector of North Goa on 29.08.2005 issued an order revoking the conversion sanad issued in favour of the petitioner though the petitioner had already constructed a residential house in the said property. Thereafter on 30.08.2005 a statement was made by the learned Advocate General that the petitioner would be heard under Section 5A of the said Act of 1894 and as such Writ Petition was disposed off. The petitioner thereafter filed a Writ Petition No. 363/2005 before this Court challenging the Notification dated 23.08.2005 and the said order dated 29.08.2005 issued by the Collector revoking the conversion sanad. Thereafter, the learned Advocate General made a statement that the said Notification dated 23.08.2005 as well as the order dated 29.8.2005 have been withdrawn by the Government and consequently, Writ Petition came to be disposed off. Thereafter, the petitioner received a notice from the Land Acquisition Officer calling for the objections in connection with the said acquisition as the petitioner once again filed written objection to that effect. Thereafter, the Land Acquisition Officer fixed the date of hearing and the petitioner remained present on 21.03.2006 for such hearing. In the meanwhile, the panchayat granted no objection certificate for electricity of the said bungalow. The respondent no.2 thereafter issued a certified copy of the report under Section 5A of the said Act of 1894 on 17.04.2006. Subsequently, a Notification under Section 6 of the said Act of 1894 came to be issued on 18.04.2006 in respect of the said acquisition. Being aggrieved by the said Notification, the petitioner filed the above petition for the reliefs stated herein above. As the award was passed thereafter in terms of Section 11 of the said Act of 1894, the petitioner amended the Writ Petition seeking to quash the said award. The respondent nos.1 and 4 have filed their affidavits to the above petition to which an affidavit in rejoinder came to be filed by the petitioner. The petitioner has also filed additional affidavits to the petition.

4. Mr. N. Sardessai, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner has raised two main contentions in support of the above Writ Petition. His first contention is that the petitioner has raised specific objection in the course of inquiry under Section 5A of the said Act of 1894 inter-alia disputing the necessity of the land acquisition and the fact that the petitioner has got a residential house located in their own property which is not at all required for the purpose of acquisition of other land by excluding the house of the petitioner. The learned counsel further pointed out that the petitioner has also specifically pleaded the malafides and colourable exercise of powers on the part of the State Government at the instance of the respondent no.4 who was the then Tourism Minister. All such malafides have been incorporated in their objections which are not at all considered by the Land Acquisition Officer. The learned counsel further pointed out that apart from that there was no effective and purposeful hearing by the Land Acquisition Officer on the objections raised by the petitioner under Section 5A of the said Act of 1894. The learned counsel thereafter has taken us through the objections which are at page 103 and pointed out the specific allegations were made by the petitioner and the malafides attributed under the proposed acquisition. The learned counsel thereafter has taken us through the report under Section 5A of the said Act of 1894 and pointed out that all the objections have not at all been examined by the Land Acquisition Officer and only a sweeping observation has been made in the report stating that the objections raised by the petitioner do not deserve to be considered keeping in mind the larger interest of the public. The learned counsel further pointed out that as there was no effective hearing nor discussion in respect of the specific objections raised by the petitioner before the Land Acquisition Officer, the report submitted by the Land Acquisition Officer stands vitiated and the subsequent notification under Section 6 of the said Act of 1894 as well as the award passed under Section 11 of the said Act of 1894 deserves to be quashed and set aside. The learned counsel further pointed out that it is now well settled by the Apex Court that only opportunity given to the land owner is to oppose an acquisition by filing objection during the course of the inquiry under Section 5A of the said Act of 1894. The learned counsel as such points out that in the present case as all the objections raised by the petitioner have not been duly considered nor examined by the Land Acquisition Officer the opportunity reserved to the petitioner to oppose the acquisition has been taken away without at all examining such objections. The learned counsel in support of his submissions has relied upon the judgment of the Apex Court reported in 2005(7) SC 627 : [2014 ALL SCR (O.C.C.) 243] in the case of Hindustan Petroleum Ltd., Vs Darius Shapur Chennai and others.

5. Next contention of Mr. Sardessai, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner is that the award was passed in the year 2006 which is more than five years prior to the coming into force of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 ( herein after referred to as "the Acquisition Act of 2013"). The learned counsel further submits that the physical possession of the acquired land has not been taken by the respondents nor the compensation fixed in the award has neither been paid to the petitioner nor deposited in terms of the provisions of said Act of 1894. The learned counsel as such submits that in terms of Section 24 (2) of the Acquisition Act of 2013, as the physical possession has not been taken nor the compensation has been paid nor deposited in terms of the said Act of 1894, the acquisition proceedings are deemed to have been lapsed. The learned counsel as such submits that the petitioner is entitled for the reliefs sought in the present petition to quash and set aside the acquisition proceedings in respect of the residential house occupied by the petitioner. The learned counsel further pointed out that the petitioner is occupying the residential house located in the acquired land and as such grave prejudice will occasion to the petitioner in case the house is acquired by the State Government. The learned counsel further pointed out that the spring is much beyond the said house and the consequential necessity for acquiring the residential house belonging to the petitioner is not at all justified.

6. On the other hand, learned Additional Government Advocate has pointed out that the petitioner was given an adequate hearing in terms of the provisions of Section 5A of the said Act of 1894 and as such the question of alleging that there was no effective hearing for the petitioner in respect of the objections cannot be accepted. The learned counsel further pointed out that the allegations of malafides have not been established by the petitioner by any material on record and as such the contention of the petitioner is totally farfetched and without any basis in law. The learned counsel further pointed out that the land in terms of the provisions of the said Act of 1894 also includes the construction located therein and consequently the respondents are entitled to acquire the disputed residential house provided such area is required for public purpose. The learned counsel further pointed out that in the present case the fact that the land is being acquired for public purpose has not been disputed. Consequently, the question of alleging that the acquisition is malafide or colourable exercise at the instance of the respondents is totally misplaced. The learned counsel thereafter has taken us through the report under Section 5A of the said Act of 1894 and pointed out that all the substantial objections raised by the petitioner have been duly examined by the Land Acquisition Officer while making such report. With regard to the applicability of Section 24(2) of the Acquisition Act of 2013, it is the contention of the learned Additional Government Advocate that in the present case, the possession has not been taken by the Government in view of the statement made by the learned Advocate General and as such according to the learned counsel as the acquisition itself was challenged in the proceedings before this Court which were pending as on the date of the said Acquisition Act of 2013 came into force, the period for which the proceedings were pending have to be excluded for the purpose of five years as provided in Section 24 of the said Acquisition Act of 2013. The learned counsel further pointed out that though the amount has not been deposited before the Reference Court nor paid to the petitioner nevertheless, the said amount has been deposited in the revenue account of the State Government in terms of the Circular issued by the Government which is placed on record. The learned counsel as such points out that as the amount has been deposited in the revenue account, it is not open to the petitioner to contend that there was any error committed by the respondents in the respondents not paying or depositing the compensation. The learned counsel further pointed out that the Government could not take possession of the land in view of the statement of the learned Advocate General and as such the requirements in terms of Section 24(2) of the said Acquisition Act of 2013 have not been satisfied and consequently, the contention of the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner that the acquisition proceedings have lapsed cannot be accepted. The learned counsel as such pointed out that there is no merit in the above petition and consequently, the petition deserves to be rejected.

7. We have carefully examined the contentions of the learned counsel and with their assistance gone through the records produced in this Court. Upon hearing the learned counsel, the main contentions which is required to be examined in the present Writ Petition is whether the acquisition proceedings stand vitiated as the report under Section 5A of the said Act of 1894 has not dealt with all the objections raised by the petitioner before the Land Acquisition Officer. Next aspect is to be examined is whether the acquisition proceedings itself have lapsed in view of the provisions of Section 24(2) of the Acquisition Act of 2013.

8. Dealing with the first contention referred to herein above, before we proceed to examine the facts in the present case, it would be appropriate to note the observations of the Apex Court in this connection in the Judgment reported in 2012(2) SCC 25 : [2012 ALL SCR 370] in the case of Kamal Trading (P) Ltd. v. State of W.B., wherein it has been observed at para 14 to 16, thus :

"14. It must be borne in mind that the proceedings under the LA Act are based on the principle of eminent domain and Section 5-A is the only protection available to a person whose lands are sought to be acquired. It is a minimal safeguard afforded to him by law to protect himself from arbitrary acquisition by pointing out to the authority concerned, inter alia, that the important ingredient, namely, "public purpose" is absent in the proposed acquisition or the acquisition is mala fide. The LA Act being an expropriatory legislation, its provisions will have to be strictly construed.

15. Hearing contemplated under Section 5-A(2) is necessary to enable the Collector to deal effectively with the objections raised against the proposed acquisition and make a report. The report of the Collector referred to in this provision is not an empty formality because it is required to be placed before the appropriate Government together with the Collector's recommendations and the record of the case. It is only upon receipt of the said report that the Government can take a final decision on the objections. It is pertinent to note that declaration under Section 6 has to be made only after the appropriate Government is satisfied on the consideration of the report, if any, made by the Collector under Section 5- A(2). As said by this Court in Hindustan Petroleum Corpn. Ltd.3, the appropriate Government while issuing declaration under Section 6 of the LA Act is required to apply its mind not only to the objections filed by the owner of the land in question, but also to the report which is submitted by the Collector upon making such further inquiry thereon as he thinks necessary and also the recommendations made by him in that behalf.

16. Sub-section (3) of Section 6 of the LA Act makes a declaration under Section 6 conclusive evidence that the land is needed for a public purpose. Formation of opinion by the appropriate Government as regards the public purpose must be preceded by application of mind as regards consideration of relevant factors and rejection of irrelevant ones. It is, therefore, that the hearing contemplated under Section 5-A and the report made by the Land Acquisition Officer and his recommendations assume importance. It is implicit in this provision that before making declaration under Section 6 of the LA Act, the State Government must have the benefit of a report containing recommendations of the Collector submitted under Section 5-A(2) of the LA Act. The recommendations must indicate objective application of mind."

9. In another Judgment of the Apex Court reported in 2013(4) SCC 210 : [2013 ALL SCR 1689] in the case of Usha Stud & Agricultural Farms (P) Ltd. v. State of Haryana the Apex Court has observed at para 30 thus :

"30. The ratio of the aforesaid judgments is that Section 5-A(2), which represents statutory embodiment of the rule of audi alteram partem, gives an opportunity to the objector to make an endeavour to convince the Collector that his land is not required for the public purpose specified in the Notification issued under Section 4(1) or that there are other valid reasons for not acquiring the same. That section also makes it obligatory for the Collector to submit report(s) to the appropriate Government containing his recommendations on the objections, together with the record of the proceedings held by him so that the Government may take appropriate decision on the objections. Section 6(1) provides that if the appropriate Government is satisfied, after considering the report, if any, made by the Collector under Section 5-A(2) that particular land is needed for the specified public purpose then a declaration should be made. This necessarily implies that the State Government is required to apply mind to the report of the Collector and take final decision on the objections filed by the landowners and other interested persons. Then and then only, a declaration can be made under Section 6(1)."

10. It would be also advantageous to note the observations of the Apex Court in another Judgment reported in 2013(8) SCC 99 : [2013 ALL SCR 2381] in the case of Women's Education Trust v. State of Haryana, wherein it has been observed at para 35 thus :

"35. What is most surprising is that the High Court did not even deal with the issue relating to application of mind by the Government to the report submitted by the Land Acquisition Collector under Section 5-A(2) along with his recommendations. The documents produced before the High Court and this Court do not show that the State Government had objectively applied mind to the recommendations made by the Land Acquisition Collector and felt satisfied that the land in question deserves to be acquired for the purpose specified in the notification issued under Section 4(1). The record also does not contain any indication as to why the State Government did not consider it proper to accept the recommendations of the Land Acquisition Collector. Therefore, there is no escape from the conclusion that the impugned acquisition is ultra vires the provisions contained in Section 6 of the Act."

11. In another Judgment of the Division Bench of this Court (where one of us F. M. Reis, J. was a party, ) reported in 2013(2) Mh. L. J. 190 : [2013(1) ALL MR 817] in the case of Estefania Dias e Pereira & anr. vs. State of Goa & Ors, this Court dealing with the report of the Land Acquisition Officer under Section 5A of the said Land Acquisition Act of 1894 and taking note of the Rules framed by the appropriate Government has observed at para 15 to 17 thus :

"15. The report in this case does not meet this fundamental requirement. For instance, the petitioners contend that the acquisition is only for the benefit of two houses, whereas the authorities contended that it would benefit five houses. The report merely states that the acquisition will improve the accessibility in the village and will add a long way towards the benefit of the public and that the acquisition is required for the construction of the motorable road to the residents of the Deussua village. This is merely a conclusion. There is absolutely nothing to indicate any application of mind on the rival contentions as to why the Collector preferred one version against the other. The Collector has a duty not merely to hear and note the objections, but to make a recommendation about the same to the Government. A recommendation posits a view being taken on the objections and the response thereto. The report must therefore indicate what prompted him to make a recommendation. It must disclose his mind. (emphasis supplied)

16. It was obvious during the course of hearing that an attempt was made to support the order on the basis of affidavits filed in this Court and submissions advanced only during the hearing of this writ petition. In other words, we were invited to discharge functions of the Land Acquisition Officer under section 5-A of the Act. We are not inclined to do so, especially in the facts and circumstances of the present case. Had the matter been clear and uncomplicated, we may have done so with a view not to delay the acquisition proceedings. We, however, find that the nature of the objections are such that they require consideration and possibly a further inquiry. It is essential that the objections and the answers thereto are considered by the authorities.

17. In the circumstances, the impugned report under section 5-A dated 28th October, 2010 is set aside qua the land of the petitioners alone. Respondent No. 2 is directed to file a fresh report, after hearing the petitioners and furnishing reasons in support thereof.

12. Keeping in mind the said observations of the Apex Court as well as of this Court, we shall now proceed to examine the facts of the present case. On perusal of the objections which were raised before the Land Acquisition Officer by the Petitioner, we find that amongst various grounds, it was the contention of the Petitioners that the said acquisition was malafide, arbitrary exercise of power at the behest of the politicians, etc. Various other contentions in connection with the legality of the residential bungalow which admittedly exists in the acquired land were raised by the Petitioner in the objections filed under Section 5-A of the said Act of 1894 at exhibit 5. The records reveal that a conversion sanad and a construction licence issued for the existing bungalow just some time before the Section 4 Notification were also produced. The records also reveal that the construction licence was sought to be revoked though the bungalow was almost complete. Only after a Writ Petition was filed by the petitioner such orders of revocation was withdrawn. The report submitted by the Land Acquisition Officer is found at exhibit A-A. On minutely perusing the said report, we find that all such objections raised by the Petitioner have not been objectively examined by the Land Acquisition Officer whilst making the recommendations to the Government in connection with the subject matter of the acquisition in the above Petition. As pointed out herein above, it is well settled that an inquiry as provided in Section 5-A of the said Act of 1894 is an only protection available to the person whose lands are sought to be acquired, whereby he can raise his objections to the proposed acquisition. As such, the recommendations which the Land Acquisition Officer is expected to submit to the appropriate Government, must indicate objective application of mind to all the objections raised by the Petitioner. The fact that the bungalow was already in existence when the proposed acquisition was initiated can be noted from the contents of the letter dated 12.09.2005, wherein it has been inter alia stated by the Office of the Mamlatdar of Bardez that the construction of the bungalow is fully completed including plastering. However, minor works such as electrical wiring and fixing of tiles, doors, frames, etc., is not completed by the Petitioner herein. This further shows that in fact the bungalow of the Petitioner in the disputed land was substantially completed but for some minor finishing works referred to herein above. The records also disclose, prima facie, that the distance from the spring to the bungalow belonging to the Petitioner located in the property surveyed under no. 103/92 is more than 120 metres. The survey plan which is on record also suggests that even at the collection point which is apparently within the vicinity of the plot belonging to the Petitioner, there are other properties which have not been acquired. All these aspects have not been dealt with or examined by the Land Acquisition Officer whilst making the recommendations to the State Government in terms of the provisions of the said Act of 1894. As already pointed out herein above, the Land Acquisition Officer is expected to deal with every objections raised by the land owner to the acquisition whilst making the recommendations in terms of the said Act of 1894. The Collector is duty bound to afford a reasonable opportunity to the land owners to raise the objections and give them a hearing and make a report to the appropriate Government containing his recommendations on every objections raised by the objector after holding an inquiry as it thinks necessary. The statute thus mandates that this shall be done and the mandate of the statute has to be duly and punctiliously observed. Thus, the provisions of Section 5-A of the said Act of 1894 embodies a very just and wholesome principle to the effect that the land owners whose lands are intended to be acquired should be given a reasonable opportunity of persuading the authorities that his property should not be acquired. In the present case, it would be pertinent to note that the subject matter of the acquisition includes a residential bungalow belonging to the Petitioner. This right which is given to the land owners cannot be considered to be empty formality but a substantive right to ensure that the objections which have been raised by the Petitioner are duly examined by the Land Acquisition Officer whilst making these recommendations.

13. As noted herein above, the report of the Land Acquisition Officer itself does not meet the requirements as emphasized herein above, the Land Acquisition Officer has not examined all the objections which appear to be relevant for the purpose of examining whether the residential bungalow of the Petitioners should be recommended for acquisition. In such circumstances, we find that the contention of Mr. Sardessai, learned Counsel appearing for the Petitioner, that as the report does not meet the test observed by the Apex Court herein above, the Notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act based on such recommendations of the Land Acquisition Officer, stand vitiated and deserve to be quashed and set aside is to be accepted.

14. With regard to the second contention of Mr. Sardessai, learned Counsel appearing for the Petitioner, this Court whilst disposing of another Writ Petition no. 447 of 2006, has examined the provisions under Section 24(2) of the said Acquisition Act of 2013 after taking into consideration the ratio laid down by the Apex Court in different Judgments. In the present case, it is undisputed that the Award in the present case was passed on 25.08.2006 which is five years prior to the coming into force of the said Acquisition Act of 2013 on 01.01.2014. The physical possession in the present case has admittedly not been taken though there was a statement recorded by the Advocate General that the possession would not be taken till the petition is disposed off. In the present case, it is also undisputed that the compensation as awarded by the Land Acquisition Officer has not been deposited in the Reference Court as provided under Section 31 of the said Act of 1894. On perusal of the said Award, we find that there is a remark therein to the effect that the amount awarded is to be kept under revenue deposit until the final decision in the above Writ Petition. Thus, in such circumstances, the undisputed facts would disclose that the Award was passed five years prior into coming into force of the said Acquisition Act of 2013 and that the amount of compensation has neither been paid to the petitioners nor deposited in the Reference Court but in the revenue deposit as admitted by Government in the additional affidavit. In this connection, the Judgment of the Apex Court reported in 2014(3) SCC 183 : [2014(2) ALL MR 923 (S.C.)] in the case of Pune Municipal Corpn. v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki, would be relevant as it has been observed at para 20 thus :

"20. From the above, it is clear that the award pertaining to the subject land has been made by the Special Land Acquisition Officer more than five years prior to the commencement of the 2013 Act. It is also admitted position that compensation so awarded has neither been paid to the landowners/ persons interested nor deposited in the court. The deposit of compensation amount in the Government treasury is of no avail and cannot be held to be equivalent to compensation paid to the landowners/persons interested. We have, therefore, no hesitation in holding that the subject land acquisition proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act."

This Judgment of the Apex Court has been followed by subsequent Judgments of the Apex Court which we have dealt with whilst disposing off the said Writ Petition no. 447 of 2006. The objects and reasons of the enactment of the Acquisition Act of 2013 has also been dealt with by this Court whilst disposing off the said Writ Petition.

15. For the reasons stated in the said Judgment passed today in Writ Petition no. 447 of 2006 and taking note of the fact that it is not in dispute in the present case that the amount of compensation as awarded in the Award has neither been paid nor deposited in terms of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, we find that the acquisition proceedings in respect of the land of the petitioner are deemed to have lapsed in terms of Section 24(2) of the said Acquisition Act of 2013. On this ground also, the acquisition proceedings in respect of the land of the petitioner are deemed to have lapsed.

16. For the aforesaid reasons, the impugned Notification dated 29.07.2005 and 18.04.2006, at exhibit A and B hereto with regard to the Petitioners' land surveyed under survey no. 103/92 of Saligao Village, are quashed and set aside. Rule is made absolute in the above terms with no Orders as to costs.

Ordered accordingly.