M A I N   N E W S

Owners of acquired land must get relief in 2 years, rules SC

New Delhi, October 25
Land acquisition proceedings lapses if the government fails to make the award within the stipulated two years from the date of declaration, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A Bench of Justices GS Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya said the time consumed by court litigations should be excluded.

A reading of the relevant provision makes it clear that the Collector is obliged to make an award within two years from the date of the publication of the declaration.

“If no award is made within that period, the acquisition proceedings automatically lapses. By virtue of the explanation, the period during which any action or proceeding to be taken pursuant to the declaration is stayed by an order of a court is to be excluded in computing the period of two years,” Justice Singhvi while writing the judgment said.

The court passed the ruling while allowing an appeal filed by R Indira Saratchandra and others challenging the acquisition of their land by the Tamil Nadu Housing Development Corporation.

In this case, owners challenged the acquisition on the grounds that the government chose to pass the award beyond the stipulated two years after the Madras High Court had upheld the acquisition in August 1996.

Subsequently, a single-judge Bench of the High Court on a fresh petition filed by the aggrieved owners quashed the acquisition as the award was passed two years after the declaration made by the government. A Division Bench however, reversed the decision and upheld the government’s decision following which they moved the apex court.

The state defended the delay on the grounds that there was a delay in receiving a copy of the High Court judgment.

Rejecting the state’s claim, the apex court said, “There is nothing in the Section 11A from which it can be inferred that the stay order passed by the court remains operative till the delivery of copy of the order.” — PTI





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