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Bullet Train Project | High Court Cannot Usurp Powers Of Statutory Authority Under Fair Compensation In Land Acquisition Act: Gujarat HC

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17 Aug 2022 2:41 PM GMT
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The Gujarat High Court has emphasised that Chapter VIII of the Land Acquisition Act has prescribed the establishment of the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority which is 'couched with appropriate powers' to examine the issues which may arise in the process of land acquisition and compensation distribution.

Accordingly, the Bench comprising Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri refused to entertain the writ petition moved by a woman seeking compensation for a property, purportedly owned by her at the time, acquired by the government for its 'Bullet Train Project'.

"Extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court cannot be converted into a fact finding and adjudicating authority and as such, we are of the considered opinion that present petition is not entertainable."

The Petitioner, an old woman, had sold her society flat to one Sachin Chunilal Agrawal by a registered sale deed on 7.7.2020. A portion of land of the society was acquired by the government and compensation was entrusted to the society for its distribution to each member. Vide cheque dated 27.10.2020, compensation qua the said flat was credited to Agarwal's account.

The case of the Petitioner was that she was the owner of the flat at the relevant point of time when land acquisition was notified and that Agarwal's name was not found on cut-off date as occupier, hence he was not entitled to receive any amount of compensation and she is entitled to compensation under the provisions of the Act.

Primarily, the Bench observed that the Petitioner had taken a 'No-Due Certificate' from the society in which the flat was situated and thereafter, the flat was sold to the current owner for full consideration. Therefore, all rights, interest etc were transferred in favour of the purchaser, including common facilities.

"It is no-doubt a settled position of law that once property has been transferred through lawful document and registered transaction, rights of seller gets extinguished by virtue of said event."

Prima facie, the High Court found that the entitlement to compensation by the Petitioner was a 'disputed question'. However, whether or not she was entitled could be examined under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Per the Bench, 'the writ jurisdiction is not the proper forum' for ventilating such grievances.

The bench observed:

"Section 6 of the Act has prescribed the powers of authority and procedure before it, whereas Section 64 has provided a reference to the authority. Chapter-IX of the Act provides apportionment of compensation and Section 76 contained under said Chapter deals with procedure when dispute as to apportionment arise. Said statutory provisions are sufficiently providing a mechanism for ventilating the grievance and as such, petitioner is not remediless."

Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.

Case No.: C/SCA/1424/2022

Case Title: REKHABEN SHASHIKANT GADE v/s STATE OF GUJARAT & 4 other(s)

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 334

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