The Supreme Court in a land acquisition case has observed that the acquisition proceedings shall not lapse if the award has not been made as on the commencement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 i.e., January 1, 2014.

The Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice MM Sundresh placed reliance on the judgment of Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal and Ors. wherein it was observed –

"Under the provisions of Section 24(1)(a) in case the award is not made as on 1-1-2014, the date of commencement of the 2013 Act, there is no lapse of proceedings. Compensation has to be determined under the provisions of the 2013 Act."

In this case, the Delhi High Court had declared that the acquisition with respect to the land in question has lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, 2013.

Aggrieved, the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Land Acquisition Collector approached the Apex Court.

Counsel Astha Tyagi and Counsel Nishit Aggarwal appeared for the Appellants while Counsel Manish K. Bishnoi appeared for Respondent No. 1 before the Court.

It was the case of Respondent No. 1 that the actual possession of the land in question has not been taken over as the land in question is occupied by the encroachers and that the area in question is known as 'Sanjay Mohalla.'

The Court noted that the High Court had specifically observed that there was a categorical assertion made in the counter affidavit filed by the Land Acquisition Collector that the possession of the subject land had been taken over, however, the compensation had not been paid to the recorded owner.

The Court further noted that there may be illegal occupants and/or encroachers, but that does not mean that the possession of the land in question was taken over and/or handed over to the beneficiary department.

While placing reliance on Indore Development (supra), the Court held that the impugned order of the High Court is quashed and set aside.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeals.

Cause Title - Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Anr. & Ors. v. Shiv Dutt Sharma and Anr.

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