No Lapse Of Acquisition Proceedings, If Award Not Made As On Commencement Of LA Act 2013 - SC Reiterates
The Supreme Court's Bench of Justice MR Shah and BV Nagarathna has reiterated that if the award is not made as on the date of commencement of the Right to Fair Compensation & Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, there is no lapse of land acquisition proceedings.
The Bench placed reliance on Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal and others, (2020) 8 SCC 129, where it has been specifically observed that 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 Bench was dealing with an appeal challenging the Delhi High Court's Order whereby the High Court declared that the acquisition proceedings with respect to the subject land had lapsed in terms of Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (2013 Act).
The undisputed facts in the present case are that the possession of the land in question was already taken over by the appropriate authority in the year 1987. It is also an admitted position that the subject land was utilized in 1987 for a park by East Delhi Municipal Corporation.
However, despite this and while relying upon the decisions of the Supreme Court in Pune Municipal Corporation and another v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki and others and Sree Balaji Nagar Residential Association v. State of Tamil Nadu, the High Court declared that the acquisition proceedings in respect of the subject land had lapsed in terms of Section 24(2) of the Act, 2013.
Being aggrieved, Appellant-Union of India approached the Supreme Court.
Advocate Sujeeta Srivastava appeared on behalf of the appellants and Advocate S.K. Rout appeared for respondents.
The Supreme Court noted that its Constitution Bench in Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal and others (2020) had overruled the decisions in the cases relied upon by the High Court.
The Supreme Court had observed that under the provisions of Section 24(1)(a) in case the award is not made as on the date of commencement of the 2013 Act, there is no lapse of proceedings.
The Court had held that the deemed lapse of land acquisition proceedings under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act takes place where due to inaction of authorities for five years or more prior to commencement of the said Act, the possession of land has not been taken nor compensation has been paid. In other words, in case possession has been taken, compensation has not been paid then there is no lapse.
Therefore, the Court held thus "In such a situation no relief of lapse of acquisition proceedings can be countenanced in this case in view of the law laid down by this Court in the case of Indore Development Authority (supra). Once it is held that there is no lapse of acquisition proceedings under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act, the land which has stood vested with the appellant continues to do. Also, there is no question of payment of any compensation to the writ petitioners in respect of the suit land as per the Act, 2013."
Accordingly, the Judgment of the Delhi High Court was set aside.
Cause Title- Union of India & Anr. v. Subhash Chander Sehgal & Ors.