(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.16991 of 2005)
Markandey Katju, J.
- Leave granted.
This appeal has been
filed against the impugned judgment of the Bombay High Court (Aurangabad
Bench) dated 12.4.2005 in Writ Petition No.455 of 2004.
counsel for the parties and perused the record.
The petitioner has
prayed for quashing the award dated 4.2.2003 published by the Special
Land Acquisition Officer in respect of Renapur Medium Project at village
Talegaon (Ghat). The High Court had dismissed the writ petition and
hence this appeal.
The short point
before us is whether the award was illegal in view of Section 11A of the
Land Acquisition Act (hereinafter referred to as "the Act").
The date of last
publication of the notification under Section 4 of the Act was 18.2.1999
(in Gazette). The last publication of the declaration under Section 6 of
the Act was 28.2.2000 whereas the award was published on 4.2.2003.
According to the learned counsel for the appellant the award ought to
have been published on or before 28.2.2000 which was the date of the
last declaration under Section 6 of the Act. Learned counsel has invited
our attention to Section 11A of the Act which states:
"11A. The collector
shall make an award under Section 11 within a period of two years from
the publication of the declaration and if no award is made within that
period, the entire proceedings for the acquisition of the land shall
In our opinion the
submission of learned counsel for the appellant is clearly correct in
view of the clear provision of Section 11A of the Act. In view of
Section 11A an award has to be made within two years from the date of
publication of the declaration under Section 6. Failure to adhere to
this time frame is fatal to the award, as the provision is mandatory.
Learned counsel for
the respondent submitted that after the declaration under Section 6 of
the Act dated 28.2.2000 the acquiring body had intimated to the Land
Acquisition Officer vide its communication dated 2.1.2001 proposing
deletion of some of the area which was proposed to be acquired. The
original declaration under Section 6 was regarding acquisition of 155.26
hectares, but thereafter 107.99 hectares was proposed to be deleted.
Hence the final area which was proposed to be acquired was to the extent
of 36.8 hectares. Accordingly, a corrigendum to that effect was issued
on 25.1.2003, and hence, it is submitted that the award dated 4.1.2003
was well within time. We do not agree.
In our opinion under
Section 11A what has to be seen is the date of last publication of the
declaration under Section 6, and not any subsequent corrigendum to the
said declaration. The only circumstance under which the period between
the declaration under Section 6 and the award can be extended is
mentioned in the explanation to Section 11A which states : "In computing
the period of two years referred to in Section 11A, the period during
which any action or proceeding to be taken in pursuance of the said
declaration is stayed by an order of a Court is excluded."
There is no mention
in Section 11A that the period after the publication of the declaration
under Section 6 and the publication of any corrigendum to the said
declaration has also to be excluded. We will be adding words to the
statute if we put such interpretation to Section 11A, and it is well
settled the Court should not add or delete words in a statute.
In view of the above
reasons this appeal is allowed. The impugned award is quashed. The
impugned judgment is set aside. There shall be no order as to costs.
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