SUPREME COURT CAUTIONS STATES ON USE OF LAND ACQUISITION LAW

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THE Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot acquire land invoking the emergency provisions of the Land Acqusition Act by depriving the land owners of their right to raise objections against acquisitions.

   A bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph perusing two earlier decisions of the apex court said, a great deal of importance has been attached to the right of a citizen to file objections under section 5-A of the Land Acquisition Act.

   The court said, such right was elevated to the status of a fundamental right (according to such apex court orders), is in itself sufficient to indicate that great care has to be taken by the authorities before resorting to section 17(4) of the Land Acquisition Act( acquisition of land on emergency basis).

   The authorities has to satisfy themselves that there was an urgency of such nature as indicated in section 17(2) of the Act, which could brook no delay, court said.

   The bench perused one such earlier order of the apex court which had also cited another apex court ruling on the matter. It had said, a right under section 5-A of the act of 1894 (to file objections against such land acquisitions) is not merely statutory but also has the flavour of fundamental rights guaranteed under articles 14 and 19 of the constitution.

   It had further observed that even if the right to property was no longer a fundamental right, article 14 would continue to apply in full force with regard to section 5-A of the act.

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