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When Acquisition of Land is Deemed to have Lapsed under section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013?

Government of NCT of Delhi and Anr. V. Khajan Singh and Anr.

January 20, 2023

This appeal is due to dissatisfaction with the order passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Writ Petition.

Facts:

The High Court has allowed the said writ petition and has declared that the acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 with regard to the land in question is deemed to have lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The Govt. of NCT of Delhi has filed the present appeal.

 

Appellant’s Contention:

It is submitted by the counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant that the acquisition of land is deemed to have lapsed solely on the ground that the compensation was not paid. The High Court relied upon the case of Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. (supra), which decision of the court has been specifically overruled by the Constitution Bench of the Court in the case Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal and ors. Under the provisions of Section 24(1)(a) in case the award is not made as on 1-1-2014, the date of commencement of the 2013 Act, there is no lapse of proceedings. Compensation should be determined under the provisions of the 2013 Act. The proviso to Section 24(2) of this Act is to be treated as part of Section 24(2), not part of Section 24(1)(b). It is prayed to allow the present appeal.

 

Respondent’s Contention:

It was contended by the counsel that though the possession of the land in question was taken over on specific ideas mentioned in returns/counter affidavit but as the compensation was not tendered, the acquisition is deemed to have lapsed. Even the High Court has also not disputed that the original writ petitioners were dispossessed on specific dates mentioned in the return affidavit. In the writ petition also, the landowners have admitted that they were dispossessed.

Principles and observations:

In Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra, the aspect with respect to the proviso to Section 24(2) and whether “or” has to read as “nor” or “and” was not placed for consideration. That decision cannot prevail, in the light of the present judgment. If possession has been taken, compensation has not paid then there is no lapse. If compensation has been paid, possession has not been taken then there is no lapse. If the land owners have refused to accept compensation or who sought reference for higher compensation, cannot claim that the acquisition proceedings had lapsed under Section 24(2) of this Act. In the present case, it is admittedly the possession of land in question was taken over on the different dates as mentioned in the counter affidavit before the High Court.

The court has laid twin conditions, namely, possession not taken and compensation not tendered are required to be satisfied. Even if one of the conditions is not satisfied, there shall not be any lapsing under Section 24(2) of the act.

 

Judgment:

In view of the facts and law laid down, it is held that the impugned judgment of the High Court is unsustainable and the order is quashed and set aside, The present appeal is allowed.

Writer’s Name: Harishri S
Course: BBA LL.B (Hons.), II Year
College: SASTRA Deemed-to-be University

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