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Supreme Court held the validity of section 24(2) of the LARAR Act 103 and said, laps of land acquisition proceeding is unsustainable

Kavya Sharma ,
  27 February 2023       Share Bookmark

Court :
THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Brief :

Citation :
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 946 OF 2023

CAUSE TITLE:

Government of NCT of Delhi and Ors v Krishan Kumar & Ors.

DATE OF ORDER:

FEBRUARY 17, 2023

JUDGE(S):

HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE SHAH

PARTIES:

Appellant: Government of NCT of Delhi and Ors

Respondent: Krishan Kumar & Ors.

SUBJECT:

The Hon’ble Supreme Court (hereinafter referred to as ‘Supreme Court’ or ‘the Court’), has set aside the impugned order of the Delhi High Court and held that order was not in accordance with the section 24(2) of the Act of 2013 and therefore there is no such laps of the land acquisition.  

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS:

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

  • Section 24(1) (b) – states when the award, before five years of the enforcement of the Act of 2013, has been passed then the proceedings should continue in accordance of the Act of 2013. 
  • Section 24(2) – states that the land acquisition proceedings can be lapsed on various grounds. 

BRIEF FACTS:  

  • The present writ petition has been filed against the order of Delhi High Court by the government of NCT, Delhi. 
  • High court gave an order that land acquisition of the disputed land has been lapsed with respect to section 2 of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. 

QUESTIONS RAISED:

  • Whether under section 24(2) of the Act of 2013 the word compensation has to be understood subjected to ‘nor’ or ‘and’?
  • What is the adequate interpretation of the term ‘paid’ under section 24(2) of the Act of 2013? 
  • Whether there is any new cause of action regarding section 24(2) of the Act of 2013?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT

  • The council has specified that the case was file by the land acquisition collector GNCTD where he stated that the disputed land was acquired under section 4 of the act 
  • At the time of declaration of the award by LAC, the possession proceeding was initiated and on 10th April 1997 the disputed land went in favour of Khasra Nos. 154/2 (3-05) and 155/2 (4-12). Necessary procedure was followed in handling the possession to the beneficiary department. 
  • It has to be noted that there was no formal statement submitted with respect to the writ petition with regard to the possession of the land acquired by the petitioner. 
  • Council stated that the court made a mistake by declaring that the land acquisition has lapsed with respect to the section 24(2) of the Act of 2013. 
  • The transfer of the ownership has not been clearly stated by the High Court. Even the original writ petitioner declared that the entire proceedings regarding the land acquisition is deemed to be lapsed.
  • In accordance with the rule established by this Court in the case of Indore Development Authority Vs. Manoharlal and Ors., (2020) 8 SCC 129, the LAC had submitted possession procedures for review.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT

  • The council has argues that there was a failure of payment of the compensation amount to the recorded owner and the same amount is deposited in RD on 30.1.82. 
  • It was clearly stated that the government has taken the absolute vacant possession of the said land and the same needs to return back to the petitioner. 

ANALYSIS BY THE COURT:

  • It has been stated by the court that there is no lapse of procedures because the award was not rendered as of the 2013 Act's start date. According to the rules set forth in the 2013 Act, compensation must be decided.
  • If the judgement was made within the five-year timeframe, except for the period covered by a temporary injunction, then the procedures must progress in accordance with Section 24(1)(b) of the 2013 Act under the 1894 Act as if it had not been removed.
  • A deposit of remuneration in court is not considered "paid" under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act's primary body. Section 24(2) is only applicable when the concerned authority fails to provide the compensation or to take the possession within five years before the enforcement of the Act of 2013. 
  • It is to be noted that section 24(2) of the act should be read as section 24(2) of the act and not as section 24(1)(b) of the Act of 2013. 
  • The court applied the principle laid down in the case of Indore Development Authority. It emphasised that the order by the High Court regarding the lapse of acquisition proceeding in not in according with the law and deserves to be quashed. 
  • The writ petition is therefore set aside and there shall be no deemed lapsed.

CONCLUSION

In the above case the High Court made no determination regarding the LAC's claim that the contested properties were taken into possession on April 10, 1997, and were then promptly transferred to the DDA, the recipient agency.

Initially it was the case of the original petitioner and since they did not claim to be in possession, then they had to acknowledge this if they wanted their possession to be returned or no.

Supreme Court while giving the judgment made some observations relying on the case of Indore Development Authority. 

  • There will be no lapse of the land acquisition proceeding if property has been removed but no remuneration has been given. Similar to this, there will be no lapse if remuneration has been given but ownership has not been seized.
  • Land purchase procedures do not end if compensation is not deposited (in court). Compensation under the 2013 Act must be given to "landowners" as of the date of notice for land seizure under Section 4 of the 1894 Act if there has been a five-year or longer period of non-deposit with regard to the majority of properties.
  • Interest may be awarded under Section 34 of the Land Purchase Act of 1894 in the event that the duty under Section 31 has not been met.

Therefore it can be concluded that section 24 of the Act restricts the land owners to raise question on the legality of the method of acquiring the possession of the disputed land when the proceedings are already concluded. 

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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