The Karnataka High Court held that in the absence of any material to establish that there was real exigency by dispensing an inquiry, proceedings under Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, is not sustainable in law.

The subject land was initially proposed to be acquired by the State government via notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (the Act). However, the owners objected to the proposed acquisition. Subsequently, an order was passed to acquire the subject land by invoking Sections 17(1) and (4) of the Act. The final notification under Section 6(1) of the Act was issued for acquiring the subject lands for the establishment of the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP).

A Single Bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar observed, “The purpose of invoking the emergency clause under Section 17 to enable the acquiring Authority to take possession of the land urgently, even before the completion of the acquisition process, in cases where delay would be detrimental to the interest of the public.

Advocate Anil Kale represented the petitioners, while AGA Hanamantharay Lagali appeared for the respondents.

The petitioners had argued that the order passed to acquire the subject lands by invoking Section 17(1) and (4) of the Act was done without application of mind since no reasons were assigned for invoking the emergency clause.

The Court stated that though the order was passed to acquire the subject land by invoking the urgency clause, the preliminary notification was issued after nearly six months. “The 4(1) notification having been issued, it was incumbent upon the respondents to issue the final notification within one year from the date of publication of preliminary notification,” the Court noted.

The Court also took note of how the Government authorities “sat over the matter and did not take any steps for issuing final notification.” Therefore, the very purpose of invoking the emergency clause was not achieved.

The Court further remarked that the State Government had not assigned any reason for invoking Section 17(4) of the Act independently and therefore, the order passed was “without application of mind.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petition.

Cause Title: Sadashiv & Anr. v. The State Of Karnataka & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024:KHC-D:3357)


Petitioners: Advocate Anil Kale

Respondents: AGA Hanamantharay Lagali; Advocate S.S. Badawadagi and G.I. Gachchinamath

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