Once such allotment is declared null and void, it is presumed that there was no such allotment at any point of time. If there was no such allotment, said allotments having been declared null and void
The present writ applications were filed in relation to allotment of lands in favour of the Petitioners, cancellation of such allotment by later order and initiation and continuance of the Land Acquisition Proceeding without consideration of the objections filed under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (Act).
It was the contention of Parties that once the proceedings under the Act has been initiated and objections were called, without disposing of objections made, no other proceeding could be initiated. Further contention was that if the allotments made in favour of the Petitioners were not in accordance with the Rules, before initiating the land acquisition proceeding, the State Government should have taken the exercise of finding out as to whether such allotments were legal or not. The land acquisition proceeding having been initiated on the basis that the Petitioners were the land owners, it was no more open for the State to say that the allotments made in favour of the Petitioners were in contravention of the Rules.
State on other hand contended that once the allotment in favour of the Petitioners was declared to be null and void, they had no right to challenge the land acquisition proceeding, not being owners of the properties sought to be acquired and further when the order passed by the State Government declaring the allotment made in favour of the Petitioners null and void not been challenged, the Petitioners cannot challenge the acquisition proceeding so long they are not declared owners of the properties sought to be acquired and therefore, even if the land acquisition proceeding had reached the stage of award, the same was not open to be challenge at the instance of the Petitioners who were no more owners of the lands acquired under notification issued under Section 4 of the Act.
The Court observed that the process for examining the legality of allotments made in favour of the Petitioners started much after Section 4 Notification was issued. Even by the time the State Government started the process of examining the legality of the allotments made in favour of the Petitioners, objections under Section 5A of the Act had already been filed. However, undisputedly in course of the proceeding under the Act, it was brought to the notice of the Government that the allotment made in favour of the Petitioners was without approval of the State Government and accordingly the Vigilance Department was directed to conduct enquiry. On the basis of the interim report submitted by the Directorate of Vigilance, notices were issued to all the Petitioners to show cause as to why such allotments should not be cancelled or declared null and void and be resumed. No reply was submitted and therefore, the State authorities accepted the Vigilance report and declared the allotments null and void.
Once such allotment is declared null and void, it is presumed that there was no such allotment at any point of time. If there was no such allotment, said allotments having been declared null and void, it was not open for them to challenge the land acquisition proceeding as they were not the owners of the properties sought to be acquired under the said proceeding.
It was further held that since all the allotments were made without prior approval of the Government by then concerned official, such allotments were rightly declared to be null and void and without jurisdiction.
[Rohini Golmei vs. State of Manipur]
(Manipur HC, 28.02.2014)