SC: Courts can Decide any Issue Except those Falling u/S 24(2) of Land Acquisition Act

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May 22, 2018

In a recent order passed by Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Anita Mittal v. State of Rajasthan, the Court allowed the High Court to decide on any issues pertaining to land acquisition cases except those falling under Section 24(2) of the Land Acquisition Act 1894. The Apex Court held as under:

However, it is made clear that it is open to the High Court to decide any issue except the applicability of Section 24(2) of the Land Acquisition Act which is pending consideration before the Constitution Bench of this Court in Indore Development Authority and Ors. Etc. v. Manoharlal and Ors. Etc., in SLP(C)No.9036-9038 of 2016 and connected matters Pending applications, if any, shall also stand disposed of.

Also read Important Judgments on Lapse of Land Acquisition under 2013 Act

Here it would be germane to mention that in the case of Indore Development Authority and Ors. Etc. v. Manoharlal and Ors. delivered by the Apex Court in February this year, the Court stated that land acquisition would be deemed to have lapsed and would be covered under the The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (2013 Act) entitling the land owners to higher compensation if compensation for land acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 has not been paid to the land owner.

The Supreme Court in Indore Development case held decision of a co-ordinate Bench in the case of Pune Municipal Corporation & Anr. v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki[1] as per incuriam. In Pune Municipal case, the Supreme Court held that land acquisition would be deemed to have lapsed and would be covered under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (2013 Act) entitling the land owners to higher compensation if compensation for land acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 has not been paid to the land owner.

In view of the divergence of opinion (Land Acquisition Act: SC’s Dichotomy of Opinion, Matter referred to Larger Bench) in the aforesaid two verdicts by co-ordinate Bench of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana v. M/s G.D. Goenka Tourism Corporation Limited & Anr. taken up by it on February 21, 2018 while hearing a case involving interpretation of Section 24 of 2013 Act requested the concerned Benches dealing with similar matters to defer the hearing until a decision has been rendered one way or the other on the issue whether the matter should be referred to larger Bench or not.

The Supreme Court yesterday has now in view of the aforesaid developments referred the issue to a larger Bench of the Supreme Court.

Read the order here.

[1] 2014 (3) SCC 183