Date of Judgement:
10th November 2021
Justice AM Khanwilkar
Justice Sanjiv Khanna
Appellant –The Executive Engineer, Gosikhurd Project Ambadi, Bhandara, Maharashtra Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation
Respondent – Mahesh and Others
The Supreme Court, in this case, observed that the two year period for lapse of proceedings under the 1894 Act won't apply after the notification of 2013 Act.
- Section 11A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894: Period within which an award shall be made from the date of the publication of the declaration. (Two years in this case)
- Section 24(1)(a) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013: Where no award under section 11 has been made, then, all provisions relating to the determination of the compensation shall apply.
- Section 25 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013: Period within which an award shall be made from the date of publication of the declaration (Twelve months in this case).
- The issue arose before the apex court after the State of Maharashtra issued a notification on 16th June 2011, under section 41 of the 1894 Act for the acquisition of 103.86 hectares of land on June 16, 2011, which was followed by the publication of declarations, the last of which was dated August 8, 2012.
- The Special Land Acquisition Officer, On October 30, 2014, reportedly made an award in terms of clause (a) to Section 24(1) of the 2013 Act.
- The order of the Special Land Acquisition Officer was challenged before the Bombay High Court.
- The writ petition was allowed by the High Court, challenging this award holding that in terms of Section 11A of the 1894 Act, the award ought to have been passed within two years from the date of the declaration under Section 6, that is, before 8th August 2014.
- Whether the two-year period mentioned under Section 11A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 will apply even after the repeal of the 1894 Act, or the twelve-month period specified in Section 25 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, 2013 will apply for the awards made under Section 24(1)(a) of the 2013 Act?
- Clarifying the requirement under Section 11A of the Act the Supreme Court stated, “Section 11A requires that an award under Section 11 must be passed within a period of two years from the date of publication of the declaration and if no award is so made, the proceedings for acquisition of land shall lapse.”
- The Court mentioned that Section 24 (1) (a) would apply since the land acquisition proceedings initiated under the 1894 Act had not culminated in an award till the repeal of the 1894 Act and this section precluded the necessity to issue a fresh notification under the 2013 Act.
- The bench further discussed a judgment in Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal and Others where it was held that the provisions of the 2013 Act would apply if proceedings for acquisition were initiated under the 1894 Act but no award under Section 11 of the 1894 Act had been made.
- Further, it was highlighted from the judgment that the Constitution Bench held that the 2013 Act operates prospectively. It was found that Section 114 of the 2013 Act affects a repeal but with certain savings, in accordance with Section 24. Therefore, the acquisition proceedings are preserved under the 1894 Act till the stage of the making of the award.
- After a detailed analysis of the two provisions, the Court concluded that the provision is to be construed as prospective.
- It was held that in the awards made and published under Section 24 (1) (a) of the 2013 Act, Section 25 of the 2013 Act would apply.
- It was further held that the limitation period for passing an award under Section 24 (1) (a) would commence from January 1, 2014, the date when the 2013 Act came into force.
- Therefore, the appeals were allowed, concluding that the acquisition proceedings had not lapsed and the award was legal and valid.
In consequence, the Court held that in cases covered under Section 24(1)(a) of the 2013 Act, the limitation period for passing of an award under Section 25 of the 2013 Act would commence from 1st January 2014, that is, the date when the 2013 Act came into force.
Awards passed under Section 24(1)(a) would be valid if made within twelve months from 1st January, 2014. This order is subject to the condition that a declaration that has lapsed in terms of Section 11A of the 1894 Act before or on 31st December, 2013 would not get revived.
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1. When was the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 repealed?
2. What is the new name of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013?