Land Acquisition: If no award is passed, then ‘lapse of award’ can be held, rather passing of award can be directed by the Court in the specified period
Civil Appeal No. 4821 of 2016
Bench: Justice Kurian Joseph; Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman
Case Brief: In the present case, an appeal is preferred against the decision of the High Court, where that Court had allowed the challenge to the acquisition on various grounds as was preferred by the Respondent no. 1 here. In the facts of the case, the Appellant took steps for acquisition of the land belonging to the Respondent no. 1 under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 in 2004 and with the same, Appellant had also invoked the emergency clause under the provisions of the Section 17 followed by section 6’s declaration. The High Court while allowing the writ petition of the Respondent No. 1 quashed the notification under section 4 of the Act and this view adopted by that court on many reasons, and one of the main reasons include that after invoking emergency clause, no award was passed even after the expiry of 4 years. As such, feeling aggrieved the Appellant preferred appeal before this bench. The bench also observed that, when the matter was pending before this court, the owner of the land filed application that Respondent no. 1 is entitled to a declaration that acquisition proceedings have lapsed in view of the operation of Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, as no compensation has been paid to the owner, nor even the Land Acquisition Collector has taken possession. Appellant replied to this stating that compensation has been deposited with the Collector, moreover, possession also taken and colony is also developed thereon. However, bench observed that there is admittedly no award either under Act of 1894 or 2013 was passed in respect of land of respondent no. 1.
The Bench, then analysed the provisions of Section 24 of the Act of 2013 and specify its provided situations where award can be lapsed. Later this bench observed that as there was no award passed, the question of lapse of award cannot arise. The bench decided to continue the land acquisition proceedings but with the rider that the award will have to be passed and compensation determined under Act of 2013. Thus, the decision of the High Court is set aside and the appellant and acquisitioning authority are directed to complete the acquisition proceedings by passing an award in a given six months’ period. As such, appeal is disposed of, with such directions by this Bench.
Read the Judgement: Aligarh Devt.Auth. Vs. Megh Singh & Ors