Land Acquisition Proceedings Shall Not Lapse If Award Not Made As On Commencement Of LA Act 2013- SC Reiterates
The Supreme Court by way of six separate judgments in land acquisition matters has reiterated that land acquisition proceedings shall not lapse if an award is not made as on the commencement of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
In five out of the six matters, the Government of NCT Delhi had approached the Apex Court assailing the judgment of the Delhi High Court had declared that the land acquisition proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 with regard to the lands in question is deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Land Acquisition Act 2013.
The Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar while pronouncing the judgment in all six cases noted the impugned judgment of the High Court and observed that while declaring the acquisition proceedings under the Act 1894 is deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(3) of the 2013 Act, the High Court had heavily placed reliance on the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. Vs. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki and Ors., (2014) 3 SCC 183.
The Court thus noted that the High Court had failed to notice and consider the specific case of the Appellants that at the relevant time, the possession could not be taken over due to the pendency proceedings at the instance of the landowners challenging the acquisition proceedings.
Furthermore, the Bench observed that when due to the pendency of the land acquisition proceedings, the possession could not be taken over, thereafter, it would not be open for the landowners to contend that as the possession was not taken over, the land acquisition proceedings be deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act.
Additionally, while placing reliance on the judgment of Indore Development Authority Vs. Manoharlal and Ors., (2020) 8 SCC 129, the Court referred to the observations of the Constitution Bench of the Apex Court where it was held –
"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."
The Court thus observed, "In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court declaring that the land acquisition proceedings with respect to the land in question has lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013 is unsustainable and the same deserves to be quashed and set aside and is accordingly quashed and set aside."
Accordingly, the appeal was allowed.
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