COLLECTOR OF LAND ACQUISITION & ORS. Vs. M/S. ANDAMAN TIMBER INDUSTRIES

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

I.A. NO. 7 OF 2014

IN

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1810 OF 2009

COLLECTOR OF LAND ACQUISITION & ORS. ……APPELLANTS

Vs.

M/S. ANDAMAN TIMBER INDUSTRIES ……RESPONDENTS

 

The learned Attorney General of India, Mr. Mukul  Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of the appellants has contended that the land bearing Survey No. 22/3-23 measuring 8.86 hectares in Shore point Village, Bamboo flat, South Andaman, was recorded as Grant in favour of Krishi Gopalan Shilpa Shikshalaya, Calcutta. Thereafter, it was allotted in favour of the respondent herein by way of a licence deed in Form – AG-3, which was executed on 2.1.1990 by the Deputy Commissioner, Port Blair in exercise of his power under Clause(ii) of Section 146 of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Land Revenue and Land Reforms Regulation,1966 (for short “The Regulation, 1966”) for commercial purpose, subject to the general provisions of the said Regulation made therein with certain conditions for a period of 30 years, which was effective from 1.1.1968. The relevant conditions in Clauses 6 and 7 of the Form AG-3, upon which strong reliance has been placed by the appellants which terms of the licence state that the granting authority has the power of cancellation or modification of the licence and it can resume forthwith the whole or part of the land under licence and in the event of cancellation or resumption of the licence as aforesaid, no compensation shall be paid to the licensee. Further, the licence is subject to the payment of premium of Rs.1,06,320/-. Further, reliance was placed upon the notifications issued under Sections 4(1) (2), 6(1), 7 and 17 (1) & (4) of The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short “the L.A.Act”), to show that, what was proposed to be acquired by the respondent were pieces and parcels of the land along with the trees and structure if any, standing thereon which are needed for public purpose namely, for the development of Port related facilities. The learned Attorney General further submits that the land was granted by way of licence to the respondent for the purpose of running the respondent’s timber industry, hence, he cannot be called as an interested person in terms of Section 3 (b) of the L.A. Act, as the land was granted in his favour as a licensee. It is further contended that under the provision of Section 146 clause (i) of the Regulation, 1966, a licence can be granted in favour of the licensee in respect of the government land for a maximum period not exceeding 30 years with an option for renewal for a like period i.e. upto 60 years, for the purpose of cultivation of rubber crop, a longer period may be specified by the Chief Commissioner with the approval of the Government. Reliance was also placed by him upon the provision of Section 38(1) of the Regulation, 1966 to substantiate the plea of the appellants that all the land in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is vested absolutely with the Government, save as provided by or under this Regulation, no person shall be deemed to have acquired any property therein or any right to or over the same by occupation, prescription or conveyance or in any other manner whatsoever, except by a conveyance executed by or under the authority of the Government….read more