Land Acquisition Act| There Won’t Be Any Deemed Lapse U/s. 24(2) On Ground That Amount Of Compensation Wasn’t Paid- SC
The Supreme Court while dealing with a batch of appeals has held that there shall not be any deemed lapse under Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (2013 Act) on the ground that the amount of compensation was not paid.
The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice M.R. Shah and Justice Manoj Misra asserted, “… there shall not be any deemed lapse under Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013 on the ground that the amount of compensation was not paid. … once the compensation was offered, which as such was offered pursuant to the consent award under Section 11 of the Act, 1894, but the land owner refused to accept the same, how there can be any deemed lapse of acquisition under Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013?”
The Bench while referring to the case of Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal and Ors. (2020) 8 SCC 129 reiterated that taking over the possession of the land by drawing panchnama is legally permissible and can be said to be taking over the possession legally.
Advocate Deepanwita Priyanka represented the appellants while Senior Advocate Nakul Diwan represented the respondent.
In this case, the appellants were aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order passed by the Gujarat High Court whereby it allowed a writ petition and declared that the acquisition with respect to a land is deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(2) of the said 2013 Act. The question before the Supreme Court was whether there shall be deemed lapse of acquisition under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act as observed and held by the High Court.
The Supreme Court after hearing the arguments of both parties observed, “… for a deemed lapse under Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013, there shall be a lapse on the part of the Acquiring Body / beneficiary in not taking the possession and not paying the compensation. … because of the reluctance on the part of the original land owner, the physical and actual possession of the land could not be taken by the Acquiring Body.”
The Court said that there was no lapse at all on the part of the Authority neither in offering/paying the compensation nor in not taking the possession.
“… the Division Bench of the High Court has materially erred in declaring that the acquisition with respect to the land in question is deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013. … The consent award under Section 11 of the Act, 1894 ought not to have been set aside in the manner in which it is set aside. The High Court has not at all properly appreciated and considered the conduct on the part of the land owner”, noted the Court.
The Court further noted that once the land owner refuses to accept the amount of compensation offered by the Acquiring Body, thereafter it will not be open for the original land owner to pray for lapse of acquisition on the ground that the compensation has not been paid.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeals and quashed and set aside the judgment of the High Court.
Cause Title- State of Gujarat & Ors. v. Jayantibhai Ishwarbhai Patel
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