The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government of Himachal Pradesh to treat certain land, which was used for the construction of the road in 1972-1973, as a “deemed acquisition” and pay appropriate compensation, saying that it is obvious that the actions of the state have aggravated the injustice. handed over to landowners.

The Supreme Court observed that the facts of the case reveal that the state “covertly and arbitrarily” actively attempted to limit the payment of compensation as required by law only to those for whom it was specifically “court-induced” rather than to all who were entitled to it.

A bench of Judges SR Bhat and PS Narasimha delivered their verdict on an appeal against the judgment of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh which had disposed of the petition for writ filed by the appellants with liberty to bring a civil action pursuant to the law.

“Given the disregard for the fundamental rights of the appellants which led them to come to this tribunal and seek redress decades after the act of dispossession, we also find it appropriate to order the defendant state to pay the costs and costs of Rs 50,000 to the appellants,” the bench said while authorizing the appeal.

The Supreme Court, while referring to an earlier verdict, noted that it had been found that the forcible dispossession of a person from his private property without following due process was contrary to both his human right and his constitutional right under Section 300-A of the Constitution.

The High Court noted that the appellants before it claimed to own the land located in the Sirmaour district.

He noted that the State had used the land in question and the adjoining land for the construction of the “Narag Fagla Road” in 1972-1973, but that no procedure for the acquisition of land had been initiated and that no compensation was awarded to the appellants or to the owners of the adjoining land.

The bench said that under a High Court judgment ordering the State to commence land acquisition proceedings, notification under section 4 of the Land Act 1894 acquisition of land was issued in October 2001 and the award was rendered in December 2001 fixing the compensation. at Rs 30,000 per ‘bigha’. Subsequently, some landowners initiated proceedings under the law for an increase in compensation, and an award was rendered in 2005 by the referring court in their favour. The appellants later filed a petition for an injunction in the High Court in 2011 seeking compensation for the land in question or the commencement of acquisition proceedings under the Act. The High Court held that the case turned on disputed questions of law and fact to determine the starting point of the statute of limitations, which could not be decided by order. During oral arguments before the Supreme Court, the state’s attorney argued that the petition was “tremendously overdue” and risked being dismissed on that ground alone.

“While the right to property is no longer a fundamental right, it is pertinent to note that at the time of the dispossession of the subject lands, this right was still included in Part III of the Constitution. The right against deprivation of property, except in accordance with due process established by law, continues to be a constitutional right under Section 300-A,” the bench said.

He said that in the case of private property, the higher court upheld the high threshold of legality that must be met to dispossess an individual of their property, and even more so when done by the state.

“Given the significant protection given to an individual in relation to his or her private property (previously embodied in Section 31, and now as a constitutional right in Section 300-A), and the high threshold that the state must observe when acquiring land, the question remains – can the state, simply by reason of delay and default, avoid its legal liability to those whose private property has been expropriated?” he noted.

The bench stated, in these facts and circumstances, that it finds this finding unacceptable and warrants intervention on grounds of fairness and justice.

“Viewed holistically, it is evident that the actions of the state, or lack thereof, have in fact compounded the injustice inflicted on the appellants and compelled them to come to this court, albeit belatedly,” a- he declared.

The bench noted that the opening of acquisition proceedings initially in the 1990s had only taken place at the request of the High Court and even after such judicial intervention the State continued to fail to extending the benefit of court instructions only to those who had specifically applied to the courts. “The state cannot hide behind the motive of delay and laxity in such a situation; there can be no ‘limitation’ to doing justice,” he said.

The bench said the state was unable to produce any evidence that the appellants’ land had been taken over or acquired in the manner known by law, or that they had ever paid any compensation. . “In view of the above discussion, in view of the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court under Sections 136 and 142 of the Constitution, the State is ordered to treat the lands in question as a deemed acquisition and to pay appropriate compensation to the appellants under the same conditions as the order of the referring court of October 4, 2005…”, he declared.

The bench ordered the state to ensure that the tax collector with jurisdiction over land acquisition calculates the compensation and pays it to the appellants within four months.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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