Land Acquisition Act| Landowners Aggrieved By Compensation Are Not Bound By Negotiated Price Agreed By Other Owners: SC
The Supreme Court has observed that it is true that the landowners who are aggrieved by the amount of compensation determined by the Land Acquisition Officer are not bound by the negotiated price agreed by the other landowners but the same can be a relevant consideration for determining the compensation.
The two-Judge Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice C.T. Ravikumar held, “… the High Court rightly took into consideration the negotiated price for which the other various landowners sold their land for the very project for a sale consideration of Rs. 1,00,000/- per cent. It is true that the landowners who are aggrieved by the amount of compensation determined by the Land Acquisition Officer are not bound by the negotiated price agreed by the other landowners, however, the same can be said to be a relevant consideration for determining the compensation in the present case.”
The Bench while dealing with a batch of appeals said that if a 60% rise to the negotiated price is given, the same can be said to be just and fair compensation.
Senior Advocates Sudhi Vasudevan and Jayanth Muth Raj appeared for the appellant while Senior Advocate V. Chitambaresh and Advocate C.K. Sasi appeared for the respondents
In this case, the appellant was aggrieved with the judgments passed by the Kerala High Court whereby it determined and awarded the compensation for the lands acquired at the rate of Rs.1,35,000/- percent. In all the appeals, the lands in question came to be acquired for the purpose of setting up an IT Park at Kozhikode.
The Supreme Court after hearing the arguments of both parties noted, “… out of the total acquisition, with respect to 145 landowners for 28.89 acres, the requiring authority purchased the land on the basis of negotiations at the sale consideration of Rs. 1,00,000/- per cent. Therefore, many landowners accepted the compensation at negotiated price of Rs. 1,00,000/- per cent. However, the present landowners were not satisfied and therefore at their instance the references were made under section 18 of the Act.”
The Court further noted that the land with respect to the sale exemplar was sold for a commercial purpose, namely, Mall and hence, the High Court rightly discarded the same.
“So far as the other sale exemplars are concerned, the same are post-acquisition and therefore also the High Court has rightly discarded the same. … it appears that the High Court has determined and awarded compensation at Rs. 1,35,000/- per cent by giving 35% rise to the negotiated price of Rs. 1,00,000/- per cent. However, taking into consideration the location of the lands; the lands being garden lands having road access and Thondayad junction is about 2 kilometres away from the acquired land, we are of the opinion that granting 35% rise to the negotiated price of Rs. 1,00,000/- per cent can be said to be on a lower side”, asserted the Court.
The Court, therefore, held that the claimants or landowners are entitled to just compensation.
“It goes without saying that the claimants shall be entitled to all the statutory benefits including interest which may be available under the Act, 1894 on the enhanced amount of compensation. The acquiring body is hereby directed to deposit the enhanced amount of compensation as above with the Reference Court within a period of six weeks from today and on such deposit the original claimants shall be permitted to withdraw the same”, directed the Court.
Accordingly, the Court partly allowed the appeals and modified the judgment of the High Court to the extent of awarding compensation at the rate of Rs. 1,60,000/- percent, instead of Rs. 1,35,000/- percent.
Cause Title- Rajalakshmi v. The Special Tahsildar (LA) Koyilandy & Another