1 March 2023 1:41 PM GMT
The Bombay High Court recently held that the Collector can pass a compensation award in favour of persons having share in the property under acquisition to the extent of their share even if other interested persons claiming share do not appear before the Collector.A division bench of Justice RD Dhanuka and Justice MM Sathaye upheld the compensation award for acquisition of certain land for...
The Bombay High Court recently held that the Collector can pass a compensation award in favour of persons having share in the property under acquisition to the extent of their share even if other interested persons claiming share do not appear before the Collector.
A division bench of Justice RD Dhanuka and Justice MM Sathaye upheld the compensation award for acquisition of certain land for the Bullet Train Project under the Fair Compensation Act. The award was challenged on the ground that it was passed without the petitioners’ consent.
“We are not inclined to accept the submission made by Mr. Joshi, learned counsel for the Petitioners that even if one or more persons interested claiming certain share in the property under acquisition are absent, no award can be made under Section 23-A of the Fair Compensation Act, 2013 in favour of other persons interested having certain share in the property under acquisition to the extent of their share”, the court held.
The petitioners are a family of five claiming to have 12.5 percent share in lands (writ lands) in Village Varvada, District Palghar. They alleged that the respondents (29 individuals) illegally submitted the writ lands for acquisition under Section 23A of the Fair Compensation Act, 2013 behind their back. In 2010, the petitioners had filed a suit against the respondents for partition and separate possession of the writ lands. In 2013, the Civil Court temporarily restrained the respondents from creating any third-party interest on the writ lands. The High Court confirmed this interim order.
In March 2022, the writ lands were acquired for the Bullet Train Project with the consent of the respondents and the compensation amount was disbursed to the them. Hence the present writ petition.
The petitioners claimed that no notice under Section 21 of the Act, 2013 was issued to them. Thus, the disbursement of compensation in favour of the respondents is invalid
The respondents contended that the award is only an offer and was made by the Competent Authority under the Act, 2013 only in respect of persons interested to appeared before him and give written consent. However, the petitioners did not appear before it.
The Competent Authority submitted that it issued notice to all parties but the petitioners did not appear. The respondents appeared and consented to the acquisition of the writ lands. The share of the each of the petitioner is 1.55% of the land and accordingly the compensation is Rs. 3,11,560/- each, it added.
The court noted the petitioner have only claimed a small portion of the land.
Section 23A(1) of the Act, 2013 provides that if all persons interested in the land who appeared before the Competent Authority have consented to the award, the Authority may make the award without making any further enquiry.
Thus, the court did not accept the petitioners’ submission no award could be made if some interested persons did not appear before the Competent Authority.
The court noted that the award under the section 23A isn't final and binding on the petitioners. They have a remedy for enhancement of the claim under section 64 of the Fair Compensation Act 2013.
Further if according to the petitioners the respondents could not transfer their share to the acquiring body due to the Civil Court’s interim order, they can adopt appropriate proceedings against the respondents before the Civil Court, the court observed.
“The award made under Section 23-A of the Fair Compensation Act, 2013 by the Competent Authority cannot be set aside by this Court in this Writ Petition in view of there being the disputed questions of fact and the issue of title of the Petitioners being sub-judice before the Civil Court. The question as to whether the Petitioners have any rights over the writ property or not is pending before the Civil Court”, the court added.
Case no. – Writ Petition No. 14582 of 2022
Case Title – Dilip Babubhai Shah and Ors. v. Additional Resident Deputy Collector and Ors.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Bom) 129
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