Allahabad High Court has reprimanded the Uttar Pradesh for the "unsound" practice of taking possession of private land without an acquisition or giving any compensation.
A bench of Justice Shashi Kant Gupta and Justice Pankaj Bhatia also reminded the government that the right to property might no longer be a fundamental right but it still is a constitutional right and also a human right.
The court has directed the Chief Secretary to take action against all erring officials who take possession of private land without due process of law.
"We are constrained to record our strong displeasure on the trend of taking possession of the private land of the citizens without acquisition or giving any compensation to them. Such practice is unsound and should be deprecated in no uncertain language. State authorities for the purpose of widening the road are taking the possession of the private land without acquisition or giving any fair compensation as provided under the relevant law.
"Before taking the possession, compensation as provided under the relevant statute has to be paid by the authorities. Under no circumstances the State should either acquire the land or take possession in contravention of the Right to Fair Compensation Act or any other relevant statute or prescribed procedure under the law. The act of the authorities concerned is in violation of the Article 14 and Article 300A of the Constitution of India. Under Section 300A of the Constitution of India, no person can be deprived of his property except by authority of law," said the court.
"Article 300A proclaims that a person cannot be deprived of his property merely by executive fiat without any specific legal authority or without support of law made by a competent legislature. Although right to property is no longer the fundamental right but still it is a constitutional right," said the court.
The bench made the observations while hearing the plea of one Gayatri Devi and two others who claimed that their lands have been acquired unlawfully by the government for constructing Link Road from village Shitalpur (Tikari) to Gorapur (Bakseda) Sikandra.
The government counsel admitted that no compensation had been paid to the petitioners in lieu of the said land.
With the court's attention being drawn to a government order dated 12.5.2016, wherein it has been provided that when the land is being acquired without giving any compensation, the matter shall be considered by the committee which will submit its report within two months to the District Magistrate for appropriate action, the bench directed the petitioners to make a representation before the committee.
The court then directed "Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow to ensure that action be taken against the erring officials who take the possession of the land from the owners illegally without adhering to the statutory provisions".
Read the Order