Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Supreme Court observes paying compensation to citizen for acquisition of their land is not charity

The Supreme Court has observed that the State is not doing charity by paying compensation to citizens when their land is acquired by the government as they are all entitled to such payment.

The Apex Court under the bench Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta said that Article 300-A of the Constitution is still a constitutional right.

The Court made it clear that the State and its instrumentalities cannot project that they are being gracious in compensating such landowners.

The Court said that not paying a citizen his rightful compensation is depriving a citizen of his Constitutional Right.

In the above case the land of the petitioner was used for 20 years and then the state showing graciousness by paying the compensation started beating drums that the State has been gracious but in legal view, is unacceptable.

The State is not doing charity by paying compensation to the citizen for acquisition of land.

In the above case, the Court was dealing with a contempt case against officials of the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) who had failed to adequately compensate certain landowners whose land was acquired by the authority in 2004.

The Court noted that the GDA had taken seven long years to conclude that the land acquired was not residential land but agricultural land.

An argument on behalf of the GDA that the delay has worked out well for the landowners since they would now get a “handsome amount” as compensation under the 2013 Land Acquisition Act, instead of a lesser amount under the earlier 1956 land acquisition law also failed to impress the Court.

The Court said that State should be think that they held the land of a citizen for a period of 20 years and then taking a plea that the land owners are getting benefited, is something unpalatable.

The Court concluded that there was no wilful disobedience of the court’s orders by the GDA and disposed of the contempt case.

However, the Court clarified that it has not decided on the validity of the compensation award and that the landowners were still free to challenge the same if required.

The Court added that any such challenge should be decided on within six months, the Court added.

The Court further said that if the GDA or its officers make an attempt to prolong the proceedings, the Court or the authorities would be free to draw an adverse inference and decide the proceedings within the aforesaid period.

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