M A I N   N E W S

SC upholds compensation for land acquired by Army
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 29
The Supreme Court has upheld the award of Rs 40,000 compensation per acre to the residents of five villages in Amritsar district for acquiring of their land by Army for expansion of cantonment in 1977, fixed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Dismissing an appeal by the Union Government challenging enhancing of the compensation from a maximum of Rs 25,000 to a uniform amount of Rs 40,000 by the High Court, the apex court said there was nothing wrong in assessing the market value of the land in question in villages of Hamidpur, Gumanpura, Khurmania, Kathania and Wadala-Bhitewad.

A Bench of Mr Justice Ashok Bhan and Mr Justice Altamas Kabir also upheld the High Court order directing the Government to pay statutory interest and solatium at the rate of 30 per cent on the amount to be paid to the farmers of Kathania and Wadadla-Bhitewad villages under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for reasons that the Collector had made the award after April 30, 1982 in their cases.

The Defence Ministry had acquired 721 acres of land of the farmers from the five villages for the expansion plan of the Amritsar Army cantonment and notifications for this were issued in three phases between June 1977 and May 1978.

The District Court had placed the land in three categories and fixed Rs 50,000 for the first belt, Rs 40,000 for the second belt and for the remaining categories it ranged between Rs 8,000, 18,000 and 25,000.

The High Court had consequently fixed it at a uniform rate of Rs 40,000 considering the fact that it was fixed at the same rate for the land acquired in adjoining Kala Ghanu pur village almost at the same time.

The apex court said since there was no contemporaneous document on fixation of market value of the land, the compensation of Rs 40,000 fixed for Kala Ghunu Pur village would be appropriate for determining the uniform compensation for the land acquired in the remaining villages.


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