The Allahabad High Court has directed the National Highway Authority of India to pay compensation to the persons whose land was acquired for the purpose of construction of the National Highway-II.

The Bench of Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Manjive Shukla observed that “The fact remains that the land holders of village Bheekampur, the land subject matter of dispute, herein, alongwith 8 other villages, had been dispossessed/ deprived of their landed property and the construction of National Highway-II between the aforesaid section of the road has been completed without payment of compensation to them, which is nothing but a clear violation to the constitutional mandate under Article 300-A of the Constitution of India.”

Advocate Manoj Kumar appeared for the petitioner and CSC Neeraj Dube appeared for the respondent.

The case of the petitioners was that their land adjoining with the National Highway-II was acquired for widening of 2-lane to 4-lane National Highway in the year 2015-16. Notice under Section 3G (4) of the National Highway Act, 1956 was issued to the petitioners and their objections were invited by the competent authority.

The petitioners approached the authorities and submitted the revenue papers to put forth their claim for disbursement of compensation. But the compensation was not determined by the competent authority. Aggrieved by the same, the petitioners approached the High Court.

The High Court noted that for 3 years, nothing was done by the competent authorities to pay the compensation to the petitioners and said that “...the authorities have slept over the matter for a period of more than 3 years since after the notices were issued in the year 2018 and they were reactivated only when the present writ petition has been filed.”

Moreover, “From the affidavits of respondent nos. 3 and 4, it is more than evident that the concerned authorities who were responsible for preparation of the award and for payment of compensation to the landowners are shifting the responsibility of non-payment of compensation by non-declaration of award, upon each other.” observed the Court.

The High Court directed to conduct an inquiry into the involvement of the officials of the National Highways authority, especially the Project Director, Project Implementation Unit, Kanpur, NHAI as also the District Level Authorities, especially the competent authority within the meaning of National Highways Act, 1956.

Further, it also directed to recover the financial loss caused to the State and Central Government, due to delay in determination of compensation for the land holders due to levy of interest on the amount determined under the award, from the personal pockets of the guilty officials.

Cause Title: Rajesh Chandra @ Rakesh and Another v. State of U.P. And 2 Others

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