The Karnataka High Court has allowed a family to alienate a part of their property which was already notified for acquisition.

The Bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit observed that “...In the exceptional circumstances of this case, denying relief to terminally ailing citizens, especially when their property in question is the only means of holding the body & soul together, by securing medical treatment, would render the constitutional guarantee to life a mere farce.”

“To put it in the words of late Antonin Scalia of U.S. Supreme Court, the Constitution will be nothing more than a ‘parchment guarantee’. Therefore, petitioners need to be permitted to alienate or encumber a reasonable portion of the property that is still in the initial process of acquisition so that they can keep their life boat afloat.” the bench further added.

Advocate Gireesha Kodgi appeared for the petitioners and AGA R. Srinivasa appeared for the respondent.

In this case, five members of the family approached the High Court seeking permission to alienate their property which was notified for acquisition under the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Act. The petitioner and her two sons are suffering from cancer. The family needed funds for medical treatment and this property was the only source of income for them.

The Counsel for the respondent- Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) submitted that the acquisition process was delayed due to disputes with other property owners and the buyers of the property would have the right to claim compensation when the acquisition is completed.

The High Court said that once the land was put in acquisition process by the issuance of Preliminary Notification, no transaction to the prejudice of acquisition could be entered into by the owners.

The High Court, ruling in favour of the petitioners, remarked that “Where the life of citizen depends upon a certain property and the same is being taken away in an acquisition process though lawfully launched, the delayed accomplishment of the said process and the delay that would eventually brooked in the payment of compensation till such accomplishment happens, in the given circumstances of the case, would metaphorically amount to taking away the ‘oxygen mask’ from the gasping patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).”

Accordingly, the writ petition was allowed.

Cause Title- T.G Shanthamma & Ors. V. The State of Karnataka

Click here to read/download the Judgment