Road Building and Widening Does Not Enjoy Blanket Exemption From Land Acquisition Law : Delhi HC [Read Judgment]

Road Building and Widening Does Not Enjoy Blanket Exemption From Land Acquisition Law : Delhi HC [Read Judgment]

Delhi High Court has passed an order restraining the Municipal Corporation from utilising a part of private land for the purpose of road widening, without acquiring it under the law and in the absence of any compensation paid to the owners.

In the present case, the question before the court was can the New Delhi Municipal Corporation widen a road by utilising a part of land from a plot owned by a private party, without acquiring such land and without paying any compensation to the owner. Moreover, it was pointed out that the cited land was situated in an unauthorised colony which was later regularised by the Central Government.

It also appeared from the records that a report dated 28.05.2001 made by the Additional District Magistrate (Land Acquisition), Delhi had confirmed that there has been no notification for acquisition of the subject land under section 4 or section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Mr Ankur Mittal, who appeared for the Petitioners, argued that no law permits taking over the private land without following the procedure laid down in the Land Acquisition Act and without paying the compensation to the owner.

It was also contended by the Petitioners that the fact that the colony was unauthorised would not affect the ownership of the land by the private person and go on to vest the same with the state.

The municipal body, on the other hand, submitted in its counter-affidavit that since the colony in question was an unauthorised colony, as per the Regularisation Scheme, existing structures in the colony were to be regularised only after bringing them in consonance with the lay-out plan and after keeping clear spaces for roads and other community facilities.

NDMC went on to argue that widening of roads was an essential part of the Regularisation Scheme and layout. Moreover, since Petitioners' houses extended onto the public road, no notice was required for removal of encroachment on public land for widening of the road.

It was also submitted in the counter-affidavit that since the colony in question was an unauthorised colony, as per the Regularisation Scheme, existing structures in the colony were to be regularised only after bringing them in consonance with the lay-out plan and after keeping clear spaces for roads and other community facilities.

Rejecting the claim of the Respondents, Justice Bhambhani went on to opine that the NDMC failed to cite any provision of law or any precedent to bear-out the contention that the Petitioners can be deprived of the subject land without the municipal body acquiring it, either by agreement or under the Land Acquisition Act (through the Delhi Government) and after payment of requisite compensation.

The court agreed with the contention of the Petitioners regarding the ownership of the land and noted that the ownership of the land comprised in a colony would not depend on whether the colony is authorised or unauthorised. An owner cannot be divested of title merely because the land is situate in an unauthorised colony.

Therefore, a mandamus is issued restraining the North Delhi Municipal Corporation from disturbing the peaceful, physical possession of the Petitioners.

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