10 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Delhi Development Authority Vs. Jagan Singh and Ors.

MANU/SC/0761/2023

13.07.2023

Land Acquisition

When acquisition proceedings under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 continues to be valid, claimant not entitled to get compensation under Right to Fair Compensation Act, 2013.

The first Respondent filed a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 before the High Court for questioning the acquisition of the lands. On 25th May 2015, the first Respondent filed a Writ Petition contending that in view of Sub-section (2) of Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the acquisition shall be deemed to have lapsed. By the impugned judgment and order, by relying upon a decision of this Court in the case of Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki and Ors., the High Court held that Sub-section (2) of Section 24 of the 2013 Act will apply as the compensation has not been paid to the first Respondent although physical possession of the acquired land has been taken over by the Appellant. The High Court, however, directed the Appellant to pay compensation to the first Respondent in accordance with the 2013 Act.

A liberal and justice-oriented approach needs to be adopted in the matters of condonation of delay so that the substantive rights of the parties are not defeated only on the ground of delay. The power under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 must be exercised in a very meaningful manner which will serve the ends of justice.

In this case, admittedly, the acquired land has been used by DMRC for the metro depot and the metro depot exists on the acquired land. Thus, when the Writ Petition was filed invoking Sub-section (2) of Section 24 of the 2013 Act, the acquired land was already put to use for an important public purpose of the metro depot. The use of the land for public purposes for the last several years is certainly a relevant factor for adopting a liberal approach while considering the prayer for condoning the delay. The petition invoking Sub-section (2) of Section 24 of the 2013 Act was filed by the Appellant nearly seventeen months after the 2013 Act came into force.

The High Court has issued a direction to pay compensation to the first Respondent in terms of the 2013 Act. The said direction was issued in the context of the fact that the Court was declaring the acquisition as lapsed notwithstanding the fact that the acquired land was already used for an important public purpose. Once it is held that the acquisition under the 1894 Act continues to be valid, the first Respondent is disentitled to claim compensation payable in terms of the 2013 Act which was not applicable to the acquisition. However, the claimant is entitled to receive compensation already determined under the award made under the 1894 Act. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Compensation Direction Legality

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