S. 24 of Land Acquisition Act: Arun Mishra, AK Goel JJ. refer cases to CJI for constituting appropriate Bench

Murali Krishnan February 22 2018
Arun mishra

After the happenings in court room 4 of Supreme Court yesterday which was followed by an order requesting other Benches to defer hearing in cases related to Section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act, two Benches seem to have already taken note of the same.

Interestingly, these Benches are headed by Justices Arun Mishra and AK Goel, the very same judges whose judgment had come under fire yesterday in court room 4.

A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, while hearing certain Land Acquisitions matters today, ordered that in the light of the order passed yesterday in State of Haryana and Others versus M/s G.D. Goenka Tourism Corporation Limited and Another, it would be appropriate to place the matter before the Chief Justice of India for constitution of appropriate Bench.

“In view of the order of this Court dated 21.2.2018 in Special Leave Petition(C)...... CC 8453 of 2017 titled as State of Haryana and Others versus M/s G.D. Goenka Tourism Corporation Limited and Another, that has been placed before this Court, we consider it appropriate that these matters be referred to the Hon'ble the Chief Justice to constitute an appropriate Bench and to see whether we can proceed with the hearing or not.

Since a larger issue is involved, we refer the matters to the Hon'ble Chief Justice to be dealt with by an appropriate Bench, as His Lordship may consider appropriate.”

Similar order has been passed by the Bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit.

"A copy of order dated 21.02.2018 in SLP(C) No. 5552/2018 CC. No.8453/2017 titled “State of Haryana and Ors. Vs. M/S. G.D. Goenka Tourism Corporation Limited & Anr.” has been shown to this Court by Mr. Rohatgi, senior Advocate.

We are of the view that having regard to the nature of the issues involved in the matter, the issues need to be resolved by a larger Bench at the earliest.

These matters may be placed before the appropriate Bench tomorrow i.e. 23rd February, 2018, as per orders of Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India."

However, what is interesting is that these Benches have referred the matter to Chief Justice of India for constituting appropriate Bench on the ground that a larger issue is involved.

The order passed by the three-judge Bench yesterday had requested other Benches to defer similar cases so that the three-judge Bench could consider whether the matter should be referred to a larger Bench or not.

Whether this would lead to more conflict or resolve the existing discord, only time will tell.

The controversy itself stems from the judgment, Indore Development Authority Vs. Shailendra (Dead) Through Lrs. And Ors, which was delivered on February 8 by a three judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, AK Goel and M Shantanagoudar.

This judgment pertaining to Section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had, by a 2:1 majority, held a 2014 judgment passed by the Supreme Court in Pune Municipal Corporation case to be per incuriam.

The catch was that the Pune Municipal Corporation judgment was also rendered by a three-judge Bench which had Justices Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph on it.

When some land acqusition matters came up yesterday before a Bench of Justices Lokur, Joseph and Deepak Gupta, the judgment in Indore Development Authority was brought to their notice by the parties.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi said that a three-judge Bench cannot hold a decision by another three judge Bench to be per-incuriam. He submitted that once a three-judge Bench decides not to agree with a judgment rendered by another three-judge Bench, the matter should be referred to a larger bench. He, therefore, requested that the matter be sent to a larger Bench and also prayed that an interim order be passed in order to avoid chaos that Indore Development Authority judgment could create.

The Bench also echoed Rohatgi’s views with Justice Joseph, in particular, taking strong objection to the judgment of Indore Development Authority.

Subsequently, the Court passed an order yesterday directing High Courts not to take up cases relating to Section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. Further, it also requested other Benches of the Supreme Court to defer the hearing in any matter relating to land acquisition.

Read the orders passed today.

State of Haryana v. Maharana Pratap Charitable Trust


Indore Development Authority v. Shyam Verma