The Bench upheld the Constitutional validity of the Land Acquisition (Goa Amendment) Act, 2009 (Goa Act 7 of 2009) which was promulgated by the Governor of Goa on 11.04.2009 and notified in the Official Gazette on 30.04.2009.
A two Judge Bench of Supreme Court of India comprising of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Prafulla C Pant in Goa Foundation & another v State of Goa & another has ruled that even an amendment made to overcome any judicial pronouncement, on a closer scrutiny would be conferred legitimacy if such an exercise was a normal adjunct of legislative power. The Bench upheld the Constitutional validity of the Land Acquisition (Goa Amendment) Act, 2009 (Goa Act 7 of 2009) which was promulgated by the Governor of Goa on 11.04.2009 and notified in the Official Gazette on 30.04.2009.
An Amendment Act of 2009 (Act 7 of 2009) was passed by the Legislative Assembly of Goa amending Section 41 of the Land Acquisition, Act, 1894 by addition of Sub-sections 6 to 9 which was notified on 30/04/1999.The amendment contained a clause which provided that any agreement entered into between the Government and the Company, prohibiting the Company to construct any building or structure in the acquired land, shall deemed to have been deleted with retrospective effect from 15/10/1964. The petitioner contended that the above amendment had the effect of the nullifying the Judgment of Supreme court dated 20/01/2009, which had attained finality for all purposes. It was further urged that the State amendment was repugnant to the provisions of the central act under Article 254 of the Constitution of India, 1950.
The Bench however the repelled the contentions of the petitioner on both the above counts . It held that there was indeed no repugnancy between the state amendment as well as central act. It held that the State Amendment, by no means, sets the law in a collision course with the Central/Principal enactment. It only made certain additional provisions to provide for something that is not barred under the Principal Act. It was further held there was no variance /deletion on the terms of the agreement in whatsoever manner. The bench opined as follows “the State amendment seeks to bring the agreement executed under Section 41 in harmony with Section 40 (1) (aa) of the principal Act. The use of the acquired land for construction of the hotel is consistent with what has been recorded by this Court in the earlier judgment, namely, that the acquisition is for the purposes contemplated by Section 40 (1) (aa) of the principal Act. In such a situation the amendment only removes the embargo on construction by deleting Clause 4 (viii); in fact it really facilitates construction for purpose of the hotel.”
The bench lastly placed thrust in its reasoning ,that the whole exercise should be to see that a balancing act is to employed while examining the powers exercised between the Legislature and Judiciary. It further remarked that though interesting and tempting questions are urged , as they may be, same need not be gone into on the strength of well developed cannons of judicial disciplines and restraint. It was hence observed as follows:- “where the Court’s judgment is purely declaratory, the courts will lean in support of the legislative power to remove the basis of a Court judgment even retrospectively, paving the way for a restoration of the status quo ante. Though the consequence may appear to be an exercise to overcome the judicial pronouncement it is so only at first blush; a closer scrutiny would confer legitimacy on such an exercise as the same is a normal adjunct of the legislative power.”
Read the Judgment here.