Land Dispute Resolution: Supreme Court Judgement in General Cement Pipe Company Limited vs. State of Gujarat

In a recent significant development, the Supreme Court of India rendered a crucial judgement in the case involving General Cement Pipe Company Limited against the State of Gujarat. The case pertained to a challenging land dispute resolution, with various legal intricacies involved. The Court’s decision sheds light on the complexities of the matter and sets important precedents for future similar cases. Let’s delve into the details of this important legal battle and the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling.


  • The appellant, M/s General Cement Pipe Company Limited, claimed leasehold rights in a land admeasuring 5160 sq m in village Chandlodia, Ahmedabad.
  • On 26 August 1985, the competent authority declared 4160 sq m of the land as excess vacant land.
  • The appellant filed an appeal challenging the declaration before the Urban Land Tribunal on 20 July 1990.
  • Possession of the excess land was sought to be taken over by the competent authority on 6 July 1990.
  • The appellant filed an application for exemption under Section 20 on 19 July 1990.
  • A notice under Section 10(6) was issued on 6 July 1990 regarding taking over possession of the excess land.
  • The appellant filed a Writ Petition seeking to set aside the rejection of the application under Section 20 on 7 July 2005.
  • Possession of the excess land was attempted to be taken over on 24 July 1990 despite an order of status quo from the Civil Court on the same day.
  • Another Writ Petition was filed by the appellant on 3 March 1998 seeking various reliefs before the High Court of Gujarat.
  • A Single Judge of the High Court dismissed the SCA by a judgment dated 7 July 2005.
  • The Division Bench set aside the order dated 16 July 1999 and remitted the writ proceedings back to the Single Judge for fresh disposal.
  • On 5 October 1998, the application under Section 20 was rejected as the land had vested in the State.
  • An appeal from the Single Judge’s decision was dismissed by a Division Bench on 24 January 2013.

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  • The submission in support of the appeal is that possession could not have been taken over in breach of the order of injunction passed by the Civil Court and was in fact not taken over.
  • The possession was purportedly taken over even before the order under Section 10(2) was passed.
  • The land owners argue that in view of the order passed in the appeal under Section 33 preferred by them, there was no need for them to initiate proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution.
  • The land owners state that it was only upon the judgment of the Division Bench that they found it necessary to assert their grievance before the Court.
  • They have submitted that since actual possession was not taken over, the proceedings under the Act of 1976 would stand abated due to the repeal of the legislation.
  • Mr. Preetesh Kapur, Senior Counsel for the State of Gujarat, argued that the suit filed in the Civil Court was not maintainable and seemed to be collusive.
  • The argument was made that the suit was clearly collusive in nature and should not be entertained by the court.
  • The State of Gujarat pointed out that the proceedings in the Civil Court appeared to be suspicious and possibly fraudulent.
  • Mr. Preetesh Kapur emphasized the lack of validity in the suit filed before the Civil Court and urged the court to reject it.

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  • The Division Bench of the High Court held that possession of the land was indeed taken over on 24 July 1990 despite a restraining order of status quo.
  • The suit filed against the State was seen as a collusive attempt to prevent the State from taking possession.
  • It was noted that the order of status quo was not served on the competent authority under the Act of 1976.
  • The proceedings under Section 20 would not survive following the repeal of the Act of 1976 by the Repealing Act of 1999.
  • There was no order for the grant of an exemption under Section 20 on the date of the repeal.
  • The appellant in the main appeal claimed interest under a rent note from the original landowners.
  • The Division Bench of the High Court rejected the claim that possession could not be taken due to the presence of structures on the land.
  • The appellant’s averment before the High Court was seeking an interim injunction against the landlords, not the competent authority under the Act of 1976.
  • A claim of acquiring a right was not considered an enforcement of an accrued right.
  • There was no indication of the order of status quo being served on the competent authority before possession was taken over.
  • Section 3(1) of the Repealing Act contains the saving provision.
  • The provision states that the repeal will not affect the validity of an order granting exemption under Section 20(1) of the Act.
  • It also specifies that any action taken under such an exemption order will remain valid, even if there is a judgment of any court to the contrary.
  • On the repeal of the Act of 1976 by the Repealing Act which came into force on 31 March 1999, only actions saved are those in Sections 3(1)(a), (b) and (c) of the Repealing Act.
  • The petitioner in the Special Leave Petition was not a party to the proceedings before the Single Judge.
  • The petitioner did not question the correctness of the Single Judge’s order.
  • The petitioner merely got itself impleaded as a respondent to the Letters Patent Appeal.
  • The appellant did not challenge the order of vesting or the consequences under the Act of 1976.
  • Possession was taken over before the date of repeal (31 March 1999).
  • No interference with the judgment of the High Court was found necessary based on the above reasons.

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  • Special Leave Petition (SLP) dismissed
  • No order given for costs
  • Appeal dismissed for lack of merit
  • Challenge found to have no substance
  • No costs imposed


Case Number: C.A. No.-006022-006022 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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