The Writ of Certiorari was filed before The High Court of Orissa under Article 226 of The Constitution of India, 1949, praying to quash the compensation roll under Annexure-3 and the impugned order passed by Claim Commission, Bhubaneswar. The Hon’ble High Court dismissed the writ petition stating it was devoid of merits.
Brief Facts of the Case
The Petitioner Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. (MCL) is a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd. incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 having its registered office at Jagriti Vihar, Burla in the district of Sambalpur and it is carrying out mining activities of coal in different areas of Odisha such as Basundhara, Garjanbahal, and Orient Area Lakhanpur etc.
The Central Government issued a preliminary notification under section 4(1) of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957 giving notice of its intention to prospect for coal in different revenue villages in the district of Sundargarh. Thereafter, notification under section 7(1) of the 1957 Act was issued with an intention to acquire the lands in [in respect of village – Sardega, Gopalpur, Jhupurunga, Ratnansara, Tikilpara, Bankibahal, Balinga, Kulda, Siarmal, Tumulia, Lalma, Garjanbahal, Bangurkela, Karlikachhar, Gopalpur, Kiripsira] of Sundargarh district. In pursuance of the notification under section 7(1), declaration of acquisition under section 9(1) of the 1957 Act was made in respect of the aforesaid villages. Thereafter the notified lands along with all rights therein vested absolutely in the petitioner company (MCL) in pursuance of the notification under section 11(1) of the 1957 Act.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide order passed in SLP in 2007 in the case of MCL directed to establish a Commission to prepare its report as envisaged in the scheme, first in respect of the lands in the village of Gopalpur in the district of Sundargarh. The Commission was also asked to determine the rate or amount of compensation/mesne profit payable to landholders. Therefore the learned Commission prepared the reports/schemes i.e. Gopalpur and recommended the cut-off date to be September 2010 for assessment of compensation of the lands of Gopalpur which were accepted by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
Issues before the Court
The Petitioner Company filed a Writ Petition against the opposite party no. 4 that they with a malafide intention and by adopting the fraudulent means, constructed a new house in village Siarmal after the cut-off date i.e. September 2010 to get compensation and R&R benefit including employment under category-I from the petitioner company at the cost of public exchequer which is illegal and arbitrary.
It is the further case of the writ petitioner that the learned commission without hearing the petitioner company and without determining the age of the structures or without taking assistance of any other scientific agency approved the compensation roll on the basis of unilateral measurement of the staff of the commission.
Arguments before the Court
It was argued before the court that – whether the house of the opposite party no.4 was constructed after the cut-off date or not and whether the said opposite party no.4 adopted fraudulent means to get the new structure measured by influencing the survey staff of the commissioner in order to extract compensation and R&R benefits.
It is the case of the petitioner company that while passing the impugned order, the learned commission has ignored the order passed by the Civil Court that the Claim Commission is to hear the grievance of the oustees and adjudicate upon. The Claim Commission wherein after hearing the petitioner company, the names of the Roshan Patel and ten others were deleted from the compensation roll for the structures/houses constructed after cut-off date i.e. September 2010.
In the recall petition, the petitioner company categorically stated that there was no structure over the case land as on cut-off date i.e. September 2010 as per the satellite imaginary and hence the opposite party no.4 was not entitled to get any amount of compensation for the structure.
The question of awarding compensation in favour of opposite party no.4 in respect of house/structure constructed was neither filed by opposite party no.4 of the respective writ petition of awarding compensation nor did the Commission pass any order on any date directing payment of compensation. The amount of compensation has been offered by MCL in the compensation roll prepared by it and not by the commission and the same was approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
For the second argument, the Hon’ble Supreme Court directed that the learned Claims Commission only to hear the land oustees not the petitioner company and it reveals that the Claims Commission can delete/modify the compensation roll, a similar observation was made by the learned Claims Commission, Bhubaneswar while disposing of Civil (Misc.) case.
Court’s Decision to Dismiss Writ Petition
The Claim Commission rejecting the petitions filed by petitioner company for modification/recall of the earlier order passed by the Commission appears to be correct and there is no illegality or perversity in the same.
It also finds no infirmity in the compensation roll prepared under Annexure-3.
It also finds that the learned counsel for the petitioner company failed to produce the authenticated satellite imagery of 13th November 2010 of village Siarmal indicating the status of plots of the opposite party no. 4.
Accordingly, The High Court of Odisha dismissed the writ petition of the petitioner company as it is devoid of any merits.
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