Interpretation of Section 24 of Right to Fair Compensation, Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

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With a number of cases involving constitutional interpretation pending before the Supreme Court, the top court has set up a five-judge bench which will start hearing on a number of matters.

The five-judge bench, will be hearing a series of cases, starting with a batch of petitions on the interpretation of Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement act 2013.

Section 24 of the new land acquisition Act allowed the acquired land to be given back to its “original owners”, in case the government does not complete the acquisition process within 5 years.

The issue will affect thousands of landowners and development projects across the country.

The pleas, with the title case filed by Indore Development Authority, were filed in 2016.

Section 24 of Act, 2013 is reproduced hereunder:

24. Land acquisition process under Act No. 1 of 1894 shall be deemed to have lapsed in certain cases.–(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, in any case of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894,— (a) where no award under section 11 of the said Land Acquisition Act has been made, then, all provisions of this Act relating to the determination of compensation shall apply; or (b) where an award under said section 11 has been made, then such proceedings shall continue under the provisions of the said Land Acquisition Act, as if the said Act has not been repealed. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), in case of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1 of 1894), where an award under the said section 11 has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of this Act but the physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid the said proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed and the appropriate Government, if it so chooses, shall initiate the proceedings of such land acquisition afresh in accordance with the provisions of this Act: Provided that where an award has been made and compensation in respect of a majority of land holdings has not been deposited in the account of the beneficiaries, then, all beneficiaries specified in the notification for acquisition under section 4 of the said Land Acquisition Act, shall be entitled to compensation in accordance with the provisions of this Act.