The Supreme Court has reiterated that an enhancement given between 8% to 15 % is permissible as per its catena of decisions and in the case has modified the order of the High Court from a 12% enhancement to a 10%.

A Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar was hearing the appeals preferred by the State of Haryana.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court allowed the first appeals in part preferred by the original land owners by enhancing the amount of compensation for the lands acquired at Rs. 2,98,54,720/ per acre with all other statutory benefits.

In 2010, a large chunk of land came to be acquired by the State of Haryana for public purpose under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, of 1894. The land acquisition officer declared the award at a rate of Rs. 60 lakhs per acre.

Later, the reference court enhanced the compensation to Rs. 1,56,24,000/ per acre from Rs. 60 lakhs per acre when a reference under section 18 was made at the instance of the original land owners.

The state preferred appeals against the award passed by the reference court were dismissed by the High Court. Also, the High Court partly allowed the appeals preferred by the land owners and awarded the compensation at Rs. 2,98,54,720/ per acre.

In the Supreme Court, AAG Nikhil Goel, appearing on behalf of the State of Haryana, submitted that the High Court has erred in relying upon the judgment passed in State of Haryana Vs. Ram Chander by the Supreme Court with respect to the lands acquired in January, 2008, where the Supreme Court determined the compensation at Rs. 2,38,00,000/ per acre.

On the other hand, counsel appearing on behalf of the land owners submitted that once the appeals preferred by the State were dismissed, it is not open for the State now to challenge the impugned order passed by the High Court.

It was further submitted that from 09.03.2007 till 31.03.2008 there was an increase in prices and therefore, the High Court has not committed any error in granting the enhancement of 12% on Rs. 2,38,00,000/ per acre.

Reliance was placed on the decision of the Apex Court in Ramrao Shankar Tapse Vs. Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and Ors, where it has been observed that a cumulative increase of 10 to 15% per year in the market value of land may be accepted.

The Supreme Court noted that “even on merits also, this Court considered and accepted the sale instances produced on behalf of the land owners ranging between 2007 and 2008. Therefore, as such determination of the compensation at Rs. 2,38,00,000/ per acre with respect to the land acquired vide notification issued on 25.01.2008 can be said to be the base”.

The Court specifically observed that it shall not be treated as a precedent in any other case.

The Court further said that considering the time gap between the 2008 notification and the 2010 notification, an enhancement given between 8% to 15 % is permissible as per the catena of its decisions.

However, the Court in view of the fact that the acquisition proceedings came to be initiated in the month of January 2008, said that it will not be safe and/or prudent to grant the cumulative increase of 12%.

In the facts and circumstances of the case and even considering the sale instances produced on record, we are of the opinion that if instead of 12% enhancement on Rs. 2,38,00,000/, 10% increase is accepted it can be said to be a just compensation and it may meet the ends of justice”, it said.

Thereafter, the Apex Court directed the State of Haryana to pay the compensation to the original land owner(s) at the market value of Rs. 2,87,98,000/ along with all other statutory benefits within a period of six weeks.

Cause Title- State of Haryana & Anr. v. Subhash Chander & Ors.

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