SC: Land owners can appeal against acquisition of land

The Supreme Court has ruled that right to file objection by the land owners against the acquisition of their land by the state cannot be taken away as this right has the flavour of Fundamental Rights under the Constitution. 

The ruling was seen to have far-reaching consequences for the Special Economic Zones policy of the Government. 

A bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph, while allowing the appeal of the land owners of Narwana in district Jind, Haryana, noted " It has been emphasised that a Right under Section 5 (A) of the Land Acquisition Act is not merely statutory but also has the flavour of Fundamental Rights under Article 14 and 19 of the Constitution".

In the present case Haryana government had proposed to acquire around 42 acres of land in Narwana, for setting up of a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). 

A notification was issued in 1995 and another notification issued in November 2005 and urgency clause of section 17 (4) was invoked by the State Government to deny an opportunity to the land owners of filing their objections against the acquisition of their lands. 

The main contention of the land owners was that the STP, which is being set up near a coal and grain market will be health hazard for the residents of the area. 

The apex court directed the Land Acquisition Collector-cum- District Revenue officer Jind, to consider the objections to be filed by the land owners and dispose of the same within a month and then the Government would be at liberty to take appropriate consequential steps after disposal of the objections. 

The apex court also noted that section 17 of the Act can be pressed into service only in exceptional circumstances.


Published in Property Law
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