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HIGH COURTs OUGHT TO HAVE HEARD APPEALS DEALING WITH SAME SUBJECT MATTER TOGETHER NOT SEPARATELY: SC

THE HIGH COURT OUGHT TO HAVE HEARD APPEALS DEALING WITH SAME SUBJECT MATTER TOGETHER INSTEAD OF DECIDING THE PRESENT APPEAL: SC

Cause Title: M.P. Housing Board and Another v. Satish Kumar Batra and Others

Case Number: Civil Appeal No. 1116/2022

Quorum: Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B. V. Nagarathna

Judgment Date: 10/02/2022

Author: Pragash B, Advocate, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court




Background of the Case

The appeal has been preferred against the impugned Judgment passed by the Honourable Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench on 18.09.2020 in Writ Appeal No. 392/2009. A Writ Petition was filed before the Honourable High Court in WP No. 2624/2008 in which the learned Single Judge has passed a Judgment dated 09.09.2009. In appeal, the Division Bench of the High Court has allowed the said appeal preferred by the respondents 1 to 3 herein and has set aside the judgment passed by the learned Single Judge. The Division Bench held that the respondents 1 to 3 herein shall be entitled to same relief, which has been extended to the similarly placed persons namely one Gajanand Mali, who was the petitioner in the Writ Petition No. 651/1995.

Respondents 1 to 3 purchased the land from Gajanand Mali and Nandkishore, the predecessor-in-title. A notification was issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1984 on 12.07.1994 and objections under Section 5A were invited as per the Act. Gajanand Mali and Nandkishore and other landowners submitted their objections and the Land Acquisition Officer rejected the same. Aggrieved by the same, Gajanand Mali filed the Writ Petition in Writ Petition No. 651/1995 which was dismissed by the learned Single Judge by an order dated 16.04.2001. Then the said Gajanand Mali filed the Letters Patent Appeal No. 228/2001 and the same came to be allowed by the Division Bench setting aside the order passed by the Single Judge and remanded the matter back to the Land Acquisition officer for deciding the objections afresh.

Then Gajanand Mali and other predecessors in title filed Writ Petition No. 830/1997 challenging the notification under Section 4 of the Act dated 12.07.1994 and notification under Section 6 dated 26.05.1995. The said writ petition was dismissed by the learned Single Judge dated 19.07.2004 against which Letters Patent Appeal No. 329/2004 which was also dismissed by the Division Bench as not maintainable. Then on appeal before the Honourable Supreme Court of India, the said Gajanand Mali withdrew the appeals before the Court with liberty to prefer the appeal as in meantime in view of the change in law, the Letters Patent Appeal were held to be maintainable.

The said Gajanand Mali thereafter had preferred Writ Appeal No. 447/2009 against the order passed by the learned Single Judge dated 19.07.2004 in Writ Petition No. 830/1997 which is reported to be pending. Then the respondents 1 to 3 had filed Writ Petition No. 2624/2008and the same was dismissed by the learned Single Judge through order dated 09.09.2009 on the ground of delay and laches. On a Letter Patent Appeal by the respondents 1 to 3, the Order dated 09.09.2009 was set aside and held that the respondents 1 to 3 are also entitled to the same relief granted in favour of Gajanand Mali, the writ petitioner in Writ Peition 651/1995.

Findings of the Court

The Honourable Apex Court of India observed that

However, the High Court has not at all noted and/or considered that with respect to the very acquisition and the notifications under Sections 4 and 6 dated 12.07.1994 and 26.05.1995 respectively. Writ Appal No. 447 of 2009 filed by the predecessor-in-title of the respondent Nos. 1 to 3 i.e., Gajanand Mali is pending before the High Court. Without noticing the same, the High Court has allowed the appeal and set aside the order passed by the learned Single Judge.” (Para 3)

Since the very acquisition and the notifications were the subject matter of other appeals pending before the same High Court, the Honourable Court instead of deciding the present appeal separately ought to have ensured that all the appeals with respect to the same acquisition, where the notifications were challenged, are heard together. (Para 4)

6. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above and on the aforesaid ground alone and without further entering into the merits of the case and without expressing anything on merits in favour of either parties, the impugned judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court dated 18.09.2020 passed in Writ Appeal No. 392 of 2009 is hereby quashed and set aside. The matter is remanded to the Division Bench of the High Court to decide Writ Appeal No. 392 of 2009 along with Writ Appeal No. 447 of 2009 in accordance with law and ……… The Division bench to finally decide and dispose of the appeals being Writ Appeal No. 447 of 2009 and Writ Appeal No. 392 of 2009 at the earliest and preferably within a period of six months from the date of receipt of the present order.

All concerned are directed to cooperate the Division Bench of the High Court for early disposal of the aforesaid appeals within the time stipulated hereinabove.

Present appeal is accordingly allowed to the aforesaid extent. However, in the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.

Pending applications, if any, also stand disposed of.


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