Friday, June 2, 2023

Uttarakhand High Court dismisses PIL claiming illegal acquirement of villagers land for development of Alaknanda Dham

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The Uttarakhand High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed claiming that the lands belonging to someone has illegally acquired the villagers of several villages for the development of the Alaknanda (AHPL) Dam.

The petitioner (Dinesh Chauhan) seeks the relief that the lands of the villagers should be acquired afresh under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Other related reliefs have also been sought by the petitioner.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Alok Kumar Verma is of the view that the present petition, as a public interest litigation, is not maintainable, since the petitioners whose lands are alleged to have been illegally acquired can, and should, raise their grievance in their own name by filing their own petition(s), if they have any grievance in that regard.

“This Court cannot presume that the original land owners have any outstanding claims or grievance in regard to the acquisition of their land.”

The contention of counsel for the petitioner is that the land owners are poor, and they cannot afford to file writ petitions. The Bench cannot accept this submission. The fact that they were land owners itself negates this submission of counsel for the petitioner , observed the Bench.

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