The Supreme Court has allowed Civil Appeals filed by the State of Tamil Nadu against a Judgement of the Madras High Court, which had directed the State to consider allotment of lands to persons whose property was acquired for MRTS (Mass Rapid Transport System) Project.

The Land acquisition process for the MRTS Project was initiated by the State Government in 2003. The petitioners unsuccessfully challenged the acquisition proceedings before the Madras High Court, which dismissed the petitions and directed the State Government to consider the representation made by the petitioners for allotment of land. The State Government rejected the petitioners’ claim, which was challenged before the Madras High Court through a writ petition. The High Court directed the State Government to consider the petitioners’ request as a special category of displaced persons.

The Bench consisting of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi heard the appeals filed by the State Government and overturned the High Court’s Judgement. The Supreme Court observed that the land was acquired for the purpose of MRTS Project (Railways) on behalf of the Ministry of Railway, Government of India and not for the State Government or State Authority. The private respondent(s) have been duly compensated in conformity with the mandate of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Therefore, they cannot expect any further relief, much less from the State Government or, for that matter, the Tamil Nadu Housing Board. Therefore, the High Court’s direction to TN Housing Board to allot separate land for the displaced persons was found to be erroneous.

The court noted that there is no special scheme formulated for the displaced persons by the Central Government for providing alternative housing sites to project affected persons and observed that in the absence of such a scheme, it is unfathomable that the High Court could still issue a direction to the State Government and Tamil Nadu Housing Board, in exercise of writ jurisdiction.

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