The Supreme Court remanded three decades old land acquisition cases to Karnataka High Court.

The Court was deciding a batch of appeals preferred against the judgments of the High Court by which compensation for an acquired land was enhanced.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice K.V. Viswanathan ordered, “The parties are directed to appear before the High Court of Karnataka at Kalaburagi Bench on 18.03.2024. We request the High Court to take up these matters also, along with the Rajshekhar’s case (supra) and other cases, which are already part heard before the High Court. Since the acquisition is more than three decades old, we request the High Court to decide the matters expeditiously and preferably within three months from the date of this judgement.”

Senior Advocate Naveen R. Nath appeared for the appellants while Senior Advocates Anand Sanjay M Nuli and Kiran Suri appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the appellant i.e., Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited (Corporation) claimed to be the beneficiary of an acquisition. The Corporation was entrusted with the assignment to plan, execute, and operate drinking water and irrigation projects and schemes in the State. About 13,000 acres of land was acquired by the State for the Corporation for various projects like (1) Bennethora Project (2) Gandori Nala Project (3) Lower Mullamari Project and (4) Amarja Project.

Certain civil appeals also referred to a fifth project namely the Upper Tunga Project. This huge chunk of land measuring 13,000 acres also included the parcels of lands owned by the respondent-land owners of different villages. The acquisition was carried under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The batch of appeals before the Apex Court pertained to the Bennethora Project, Lower Mullamari Project and Amarja Project situated in Kalaburagi, Karnataka.

The Supreme Court in the above regard observed, “It is not in dispute that a batch of cases has been remanded by this Court for reconsideration by the High Court, as seen above. It is also an admitted fact that those matters pertain to the same broader acquisition, though they possibly pertain to different projects. In a peculiar situation where some of the judgments of the High Court attained finality as the compensation amount, as enhanced, stands paid whereas the others are still subject matter of adjudication, we deem it appropriate to remand these cases also to the High Court so that a holistic view pertaining to the subject acquisition, at least project wise, can be taken by the High Court. The High Court will make an endeavour to infuse uniformity in the matter of award of compensation, to the extent it is possible, in accordance with law.”

The Court added that High Court, while undertaking this exercise, will not reduce the compensation to a rate which has already been paid to some of the land owners and which has attained finality and that the rest of the contentions from both sides are kept open to be gone into by the High Court.

Accordingly, the Apex Court disposed of the civil appeals.

Cause Title- The Executive Engineer, KNNL v. Subhashchandra & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 208)


Appellants: Senior Advocate Naveen R. Nath, AOR Hetu Arora Sethi, Advocates Abhimanyu Verma, Lalit Mohini Bhat, and Disha Gupta.

Respondents: Senior Advocates Anand Sanjay M Nuli, Kiran Suri, Advocates Suraj Kaushik, Agam Sharma, Nanda Kumar, Dharm Singh, AOR Nuli & Nuli, Advocates Sharanagouda Patil, Harshvardhan Malipatil, Jyotish Pandey, AOR Supreeta Sharanagouda, Advocates S. J. Amith, S. Anuradha Bhat, and AOR Harisha S.R.

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