18 May 2020


Judgments

High Court of Bombay

Ramesh Narayan Patil and Others v. The State of Maharashtra and Others

MANU/MH/2708/2016

20.12.2016

Land Acquisition

Deposit of compensation amount in government treasury is not equivalent to compensation paid to landowners/persons interested

Instant Petition by Petitioners claiming to be legal heirs of owner of land situated at Talavali village, Taluka and District Thane within municipal limits of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation are seeking declaration to effect that, acquisition proceedings in respect of said land, resulting in award dated 31st August, 1984 deemed to have lapsed in view of Section 24 of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Learned Senior Counsel for Corporation, land owner having refused to accept amount of compensation, benefit of Section 24 of Act of 2013 will not be available to Petitioners. Issue involved is whether offer by Special Land Acquisition Officer to pay compensation amount to land owner and denial to receive same by him and thereafter deposit of it by SLAO in Government Revenue Account can be treated to be compensation “paid” within meaning of Section 24(2) of Act of 2013.

As per Section 31 of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, on making an award under Section 11 of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, Collector shall tender payment of compensation awarded by him to the persons interested entitled thereto according to award, and shall pay it to them unless prevented by some one or more of contingencies mentioned in next subsection. If they shall not consent to receive it, or if there be no person competent to alienate the land, or if there be any dispute as to title to receive compensation or as to the apportionment of it, Collector shall deposit amount of compensation in the Court to which a reference under Section 18 of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 would be submitted.

For purposes of Section 24(2) of Act of 2013, compensation shall be regarded as “paid” if compensation has been offered to person interested and such compensation has been deposited in Court where reference under Section 18 can be made on happening of any of contingencies contemplated under Section 31(2) of Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Compensation may be said to have been “paid” within meaning of Section 24(2) of Act of 2013, when Collector (or for that matter Land Acquisition Officer) has discharged his obligation and deposited amount of compensation in Court and made that amount available to interested person to be dealt with as provided in Sections 32 and 33. Deposit of compensation amount in government treasury is of no avail and cannot be held to be equivalent to compensation paid to landowners/persons interested. Subject land acquisition proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(2) of 2013 Act.

In view of judgment of Supreme Court in case of Pune Municipal Corporation and Another v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki and Others and Section 31(2) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 which provides that if amount is not consented to be received, amount of compensation is required to be deposited in Court to which a reference under Section 18 would be submitted, contention of Senior counsel for Corporation that, deposit of compensation amount in Government Revenue Account on refusal of owner to receive the amount would debar Petitioners to get benefit of Section 24(2) of Act of 2013 cannot be accepted. If amount of compensation was offered to land owner and he did not give consent to receive, it was duty of the SLAO to have deposited amount of compensation in Court to which reference under Section 18 would be submitted. SLAO having not done so, Petitioners are entitled to get benefit of Section 24(2) of Act of 2013. High Court allowed Petitions and held that, subject land acquisition proceedings deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Act of 2013. Consequently, actual physical possession of subject land is ordered to be restored to Petitioners.

Relevant

Pune Municipal Corporation and Another vs. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki and Others, Section 24 of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

Tags : Acquisition Compensation Proceedings Lapse

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