Governments acquiring land, neither possession taken nor compensation paid; Acquisition is invalid : Supreme Court [Read the Judgment]

Governments acquiring land, neither possession taken nor compensation paid; Acquisition is invalid : Supreme Court [Read the Judgment]

The Supreme Court of India delivered a judgement that is going to bring in relief to persons whose land has been acquired by the government, but neither possession taken nor compensation paid despite years having gone by.

Addressing a bunch of petitions involving a common question of law, the Bench comprising of Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice C. Nagappan said, “we are of the view that physical possession of the land belonging to the appellants have neither been taken by the respondents nor compensation paid to them even though the award was passed on  06.08.2007, and more than five years have lapsed prior to date on which the Act of 2013 came into force. Therefore, the conditions mentioned in Section 24(2) of the Act of 2013 are satisfied in this case for allowing the plea of  the  appellants  that  the  land  acquisition proceedings  are  deemed  to  have  lapsed  in  terms  of Section  24(2)  of  the  Act  of  2013.”

The appeals in the Apex Court were filed by persons who continued to have possession of the land despite a notification was issued by the government regarding its acquisition. Importantly, the persons whose land was ‘acquired’ were not paid any compensation till date.

In a similar instance, the Government of Maharashtra had acquired land which belonged to Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co, for laying of railway tracks in Vikhroli, Mumbai. However, even after ten years, the government took no steps to use the land but it changed the land use and made it to build a road. The change in land-use was challenged by Godrej, which claimed that the Government did not have the power to do so. However, the submission failed to find favour with the Bombay High Court and the petition was dismissed.

This judgment will surely bring a sigh of relief to litigants who are battling it out against the Government in courts regarding the same issue.

You may read more of Live Law’s coverage on Land Acquisition here.