SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS DELHI GOVT’S LAND ACQUISITION

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THE Supreme Court has ruled that the government can issue piecemeal declarations under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, pursuant to notification under Section 4. It is not mandatory for the authorities to issue one such declaration for whole of the areas acquired within three years from the date of issue of notification under Section 4 of the act, said court upholding more than 50,000 bighas of land acquired for planned development of capital.

“No doubt, it is true that language of Section 6 of the act implies that declarations can be issued piecemeal and it is not necessary to issue one single declaration for whole of the area which is covered under notification issued under Section 4 of the act,” said a bench comprising Justice V S Sirpurkar and Justice Deepak Verma.

“Parliament was aware of such type of situation and that is why such a right has been carved out in favour of the state. In many cases, urgency clause may be invoked, therefore, the right of filing objections under Section 5A of the act would not arise.

In some cases, even though objections might be preferred under Section 5A of the act, but, may not be pressed in spite of knowledge of acquisition of land. Some land owners may not prefer to file any objections at all. In order to meet such exigencies as may arise in the case, power has been given by the Parliament to the executive to issue declarations in piecemeal under Section 6, wherever it may be feasible to implement the scheme.”

The apex court dismissed a bunch of petitions challenging issue of declarations by the Delhi Administration under Section 6 of the act pursuant to the notifications issued by the Lt Governor under Section 4 of the act on November 05, 1980, and November 25, 1980.

More than 50,000 bighas of land situated in 13 different villages falling within Delhi was acquired for developing the capital.

According to the petitions, the notifications under Section 4 of the act were issued on two different dates, of November 5, 1980 and November 25, 1980, but pursuant thereto, further declarations/notifications as contemplated under Section 6 of the act were issued on May 20, 1985, June 6, 1985, June 7, 1985, and February 26, 1986.

It had said, such declaration should have been issued within three years from the date of issuance of notifications under Section 4 of the act. But no such declaration was issued within the statutory period of three years. Thus the acquisition of such land itself was illegal and void, petitions had said.

Aggrieved land owners had filed writ petitions in the Delhi high court. The high court had dismissed and its order had attained finality in view of the fact that it was not challenged in the apex court.

However, petitions were filed in the high court challenging the declaration / notifications issued by Delhi Administration under Section 6 of the act. It was rejected by the high court. The petitioners then challenged the verdict in the apex court.

The court perusing its earlier order turned it down and said, the notification under Section 4(1) of the act being composite one it would not be proper and legally justifiable to quash the same more so when most of the appellants had not filed any objections under Section 5A of the act. Thus, the declarations issued under Section 6 of the act cannot be quashed, court added.

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