Context: Recently, Supreme Court upheld proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 will not lapse if the compensation has been tendered by deposit in treasury in the Indore Development Authority case.
Background: Previous cases related to section 24(2) of Land Acquisition act
- Pune Municipal Corporation case: SC upheld held that in case land owners are not willing to accept the compensation, the same has to be deposited in Court. Mere deposit of compensation in treasury can not be deemed as payment as per Section 24(2).
- Indore Development Authority Case 2017: Correctness of Pune Municipal Corporation case was doubted.The larger bench upheld that Pune Municipal Corporation Case to be per incuriam(Lack of due regard).
More about the recent judgement:
- Recently, The Supreme Court reaffirmed its February 2018 ruling on Section 24 on land acquisition compensation awards in the Indore Development Authority case.
- The court has also overruled an earlier ruling in the Pune Municipal Corporation case of 2014 under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013.
- The Court held that land owners cannot insist that the amount should be deposited in Court so as to sustain the land acquisition proceedings under the old act on the commencement of the new law.
- The “or” in the act would be interpreted as “and”: The court also upheld the proceedings under old Land Acquisition Act will lapse only if there is failure to take possession "and" failure to pay compensation.
- No Lapse: if possession has been taken and compensation has not been paid.
- No lapse: if compensation has been paid and possession not taken of the land.
What was the issue?
- Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013: As per this provision, compensation proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 will lapse on the commencement of the 2013 Act, if "compensation has not been paid”.
- Proceedings will lapse: According to this act government has to initiate “fresh Proceedings” under the 2013 act to provide fair compensation if the physical possession has not been taken or the compensation is not paid.
- The issue was whether deposit of compensation by the government in treasury can be deemed as payment to landowner as per Section 24(2) of the 2013 Land Acquisition.
Land acquisition in India
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement(Amendment) Act 2013: It regulates land acquisition and provides laid down rules for granting compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to the affected persons in India.
Salient features of the act:
- The consent of 80% land owners required for private projects. The consent of 70% land owners required for Public-Private Partnership projects.
- No consent is required for government projects.
- SIA(Social Impact Assessment) is mandatory for all projects except: (i) in cases of urgency as outlined in Section 40 or (ii) for irrigation projects where an Environmental Impact Assessment is required.
- Compensation & rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) provisions:
- The Act exempted 13 laws (such as the National Highways Act, 1956 and the Railways Act, 1989) from its ambit. These laws also govern the process of acquisition of land for specific sectors. However, the act required that compensation and R&R provisions of these laws be brought in consonance with it by January 1, 2015.
- If land acquired under the Act remains unutilised for five years from taking possession, it must be returned to the original owners or a land bank.
- The Act provides for the establishment of a Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Authority which may be approached in case a person is not satisfied with an award under the Act.
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