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Land Acquisition Act: Constitution Bench hearing cases concerning interpretation of Section 24 of the Act assembles.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta resumes his submissions.
The colon used at the end of section 24(2) shows that the Legislature intended for the proviso to be applicable only to this specific provision and not to 24(1)(b), Mehta while arguing on the rules of interpretation of statutes with respect to punctuation marks
Colon at the end of Section 24(2) denotes that the proviso is the exception to the text immediately preceding the colon, which is the general principle under Section 24(2), Mehta
The legislature would never have intended to end the provision under Section 24(2) with a colon. A colon means that the legislature is taking a pause between general principle and its exception, Mehta
Mehta argues on meaning of proviso under S. 24(2) and why it should not be read with S. 24(1)(b):

If a proviso is lifted from where the legislature placed it and read it along with another provision, it will not be a process of interpretation but that of legislating
If award is made five years or before, possession not taken, and compensation not paid, it would lead to complete lapse process would have to be initiated afresh under new Act, Mehta
Justice Bhat: 24(1)(b) will per se apply when award is paid. If you visualise the provisions, 24(1)(b) is a principle, S. 24(2) is an exception to it and the proviso under S. 24(2) is an exception to the exception
Mehta: Legislature wanted to balance out the exigencies and therefore it was said that if majority people have been paid then it will not be equitable for the proceedings to lapse and thus a proviso was added to S.24(2)
Justice Bhat: Justice 24(1)(a) and 24(1)(b) are in trie sense the transitional provisions
Mehta: Legislature wanted to give maximum benefit under the new Act and therefore the proviso is under S.24(2) and not under 24(1)(b) because it would not work otherwise
Mehta: The proviso cannot be treated as a proviso to S. 24(1)(b) as the sub-section makes no reference to "deposit"
Justice Bhat: We return to the first question then, what is the meaning of lapsing
Mehta: “Or” has to be read as “and” and there will be complete lapse if both are not done.

Justice Mishra: Proviso is saving the lapse. If there is no vesting, there will be lapse
Mehta: There is one more anomalous situation which would arise if "or" is not read as "and"
Bench assembles for the post lunch session
Mehta: Section 24 can't be used to give cause of action for twenty years
Justice Indira Banerjee: There is a difference. Section contemplates not taking possession, it does not contemplate wrongful possession
Mehta: My submission is that S. 24(2) needs to be narrowly construed
Justice Mishra: Five years is reasonable time for payment to be made. Lapsing should be enforced if you have failed
Mehta: Possession gives me vested right.

Justice Bhat: But it's not restrospective right
Senior Advocate Anup Chaudhary makes submissions
Chaudhary: If possession is not taken, then proceedings would lapse. If no compensation paid, then no lapsing. Or has to be read as or.
Chaudhary: The two will have to be read together if you make it conjunctive
Justice Mishra: If possession is not taken but compensation is paid, the proviso will come into play?

Chaudhary: Yes
Chaudhary: There will be enhanced compensation if the minority land owners not paid. The proviso comes into play when possession is taken but compensation not paid.
ASG Pinky Anand making submissions now
Anand: For all purposes, S 24 is in the context of the old Act,
Anand arguing on the interpretation of "account", says if the legislature meant for it to be bank account, "bank account" would have been specified
Anand: Account of beneficiary has to be construed to be all the accounts in the treasury
Anand concludes and ayas her arguments are addition and supplementary to those made by SG Tushar Mehta..anand seeks liberty to add in rebuttal later.
Counsel for AAI Mumbai submits that there cannot be different consequences for the same proceedings
Counsel for AAI Mumbai, Advocate RM Bhangde adds that the words "proceedings" has been used throughout S.24 while the word "majority" is used only in S.24(2)
Bhangde: My concern is regarding the words "deposited in the account of beneficiary" have to be construed as paid
Bhangde: There are three provisions in old and new Acts provide for consequence of non payment, S.34 of old Act, Sections 24 and 77 of the new Act. The legislature has dealt with different consequences
Justice Saran: Section 77 deals with payment in new Act. In proviso under Section 23, it only deals with deposit in line with provisions of old Act
Bhangde: The legislature intended different interpretations of the words "paid" and "deposited" and has used them separately and provided for different consequences
Bhangde: Unless the entire possession of the land is not taken, there can't be full lapse.

Bhangde submits a note and concludes arguments
Bench rises for the day.
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