Land Acquisition- Govt. not Obliged to Provide Alternate Housing in all Cases- Supreme Court

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July 04, 2019

In the recent case of The State of Tamil Nadu v. Dr. Vasanthi Veerasekaran, the Supreme Court has succinctly ruled that in every case of land acquisition, the Government is not obliged to give an alternate housing site to the displaced persons.

In the case, the impugned property was owned by the private respondents and was acquired for a project of Railways. The aggrieved respondents approached the High Court and prayed to issue direction to the State Government to allot lands from any one of the Housing schemes in the city. The High Court allowed the plea of the respondents on the assumption that the State Government was obliged to provide an alternative housing site to the private respondents. While passing the judgment, the High Court mainly relied on Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Lakhjit Singh Vs. State of Punjab[1].

The State approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court of Tamil Nadu’s order in the case.

Bench’s Verdict

The Supreme Court while ruling in favour of the State, made the following observations in the case:

That no scheme has been formulated in relation to the the stated railway project implemented by the Central Government for providing alternative housing sites to project affected persons. That in the absence of such a scheme, it is unfathomable that the High Court could still issue a direction to the State Government could still issue a direction to the State Government and Tamil Nadu Housing Board, in exercise of writ jurisdiction to provide alternative land to the private respondents as a special category of displaced persons.

That it would be a different matter if the State had come forward with a proposal to provide an alternative site but that principle cannot be extended as a condition in all cases of acquisition of the land that the owner must be given an alternative site or flat[2]

In view of the aforesaid observations and precedents, the Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside the High Court’s order.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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[1] 1993 AIR SCW 2938

[2] New   Reviera   Coop.   Housing   Society   and   Anr.   Vs.   Special Land Acquisition Officer and Ors., 3 (1996) 1 SCC 731