The Supreme Court on Monday, in a Special Leave Petition challenging an order of the Orissa High Court has enhanced the compensation of Rs. 50000 which was offered in 2008 to a war-widow, to Rs 5 Lakhs considering it is 2023 now. While passing the order, the bench further clarified that such an order was being passed considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, and that the same shall not be treated as a precedent.

It is to be noted that in the matter, through an order dated July 16, 2021, the Court had already closed the issue with regard to the relief for allotment of land to the petitioner. However, notices were issued only with respect to the amount of compensation to be paid.

A bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah while enhancing the compensation, observed, "The amount of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand only) has been offered in the year 2008, whereas the petitioner had lost her husband in the year 1983 and today we are in the year 2023".

"In the facts and circumstances of the present case, we feel that an amount of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand only) is too inadequate in lieu of allotment of five acres of land. As such, we enhance the said amount to Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakhs only), to be paid by the respondent(s) within a period of two months from today".

Advocate Avijit Patnaik appeared for the petitioner and AOR Ramendra Mohan Patnaik appeared for the respondent.

In the matter, the petitioner’s late husband was working in the Navy between 1955 to 1966 died in the year 1983. Therefore, she had filed the petition before the High Court for a mandamus to issue to the respondents to allot 5 acre land as per a scheme of the government.

Under the Scheme of the Government, war-widows were entitled to allotment of 5 acres of agricultural land. However, due to scarcity of land available for implementation of such projects, the government revised its policy.

Therefore, she had also sought quashing of a Gazette Notification dated February 19, 2014 in the matter of monetary grant in lieu of agricultural land to landless Jawans, who have served in the forward areas during October 26 1962 to January 31, 1964.

Now the issue with regard to the allotment of land under the scheme was closed by the High Court and subsequently by the Supreme Court. The reason for the same was that the petitioner was offered twice, however, she declined to accept.

The division bench of the High Court in its impugned order had noted, "The ingredients for applying the doctrine of legitimate expectation do not exist in the present case since the Petitioner who had repeatedly refused the offers for allotment of land by insisting that the land which would be allotted in a particular location within Cuttack city when in fact at the same time she was insisting she needs the land for agricultural purposes. The Court, accordingly, was of the opinion that the respondents was thus justified in not allotting the land and offering Rs.50,000/- as compensation as per the Government’s Resolution".

Consequentially, the Court disposed of the Special Leave Petition.

Cause Title: Pratima Mohanty v. State Of Odisha & Ors.

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