Land Acquisition| Landowners Not Entitled To Interest On Enhanced Compensation For Period Of Delay In Filing Appeals Before HC: SC
The Supreme Court while adjudicating upon a land acquisition case held that the landowners were not entitled to interest on enhanced compensation for a period of delay in filing appeals before the High Court.
Further in this context, the Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice MM Sundresh noted -
"...while condoning the delay in filing/refiling the appeals on condition that the landowners shall not be entitled to interest on the enhanced amount of compensation, if any, the landowners shall not be entitled to interest for the period of delay in filing/refiling the said appeals before the High Court."
Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appeared on behalf of the claimant i.e., the landowner whereas, Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul represented the Jhajjar Thermal Power Plan before the Court.
Brief Facts of the case –
The lands situated at village Jharli were acquired for Jhajjar Thermal Power Plant. Notification under Section 4 and Declaration under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 were issued in the year 2007. The Land Acquisition Collector declared and awarded compensation of Rs. 16 lakhs per acre under Section 11 of the 1894 Act.
However, the Reference Court enhanced the compensation to Rs. 17,64,350/- per acre. The High Court allowed appeals preferred by the State i.e., the acquiring body, and dismissed the ones preferred by the landowners reducing the compensation to Rs. 16 lakhs.
Therefore, the appeal was filed before the Supreme Court.
The Apex Court observed in this case that the lands acquired in both cases are just across the Bahu Road. Hence, once the landowners whose lands have been acquired for Arawali Power Project are held to be entitled to compensation of Rs. 25 lakhs per acre, the landowners whose lands have been acquired for Jhajjar Thermal Power Plant cannot be denied the just and reasonable compensation.
The Court while allowing the appeals held that the judgment and order passed by the High Court are modified and directed that the landowners whose lands were acquired for Jhajjar Thermal Power Plant shall be entitled to compensation of Rs. 22 lakhs per acre.
The Court also observed –
"…. so far as the landowners in the appeals arising out of RFA Nos. 4322/2016, 4682/2016, 804/2017 and 805/2017 are concerned, they shall not be entitled to any interest on the enhanced amount of compensation for the period of delay in filing/refiling the appeals before the High Court."
Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeals.
Cause Title – Jaspal Singh & Others v. The State of Haryana and Others