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Govt of J&K to pay Rupees ten lakhs as compensation for acquiring and utilizing the land of the petitioners without any authority of law: J&K High Court

The Division Bench of J&K High Court at Jammu comprising of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani has directed the Govt of J&K to pay Rupees Ten Lakhs as compensation to the petitioners for depriving them of their land without any authority of law.

The Court held that the respondents are clearly guilty of violation of the human rights of the petitioners and they are liable to compensate them for such infringement.

In the instant case, the petitioners had approached the High Court seeking compensation on the ground that their land have been acquired and utilized by the respondents without adopting due course of law. The petitioners alleged that the respondents needed a land for the purpose of construction of the multi-purpose community hall at Village Batroo, District Ramban and a notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on 09-01-2018. After doing so, the respondents took over the possession of the land of the petitioners and also constructed a community building without issuing any notification under Section 6, 9 or Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1990 till date.

The Court observed that the that the land of the petitioners has been utilized for the construction of a multi-purpose community hall but without there being a formal acquisition inasmuch as till date no declaration under Section 6 of the Act has been issued and published. The hall stands constructed without acquisition of land and without payment of any compensation.

The Court importantly observed that Right to Property/Land used to be a fundamental right but now it has been recognized as a constitutional right vide Article 300A of the Constitution of India. It provides that no one can be deprived of his property save by authority of law. The aforesaid constitutional right has been acknowledged to be akin to a fundamental right and more importantly a basic human right. Thus, no one can be deprived of his property without following the procedure prescribed in law and payment of adequate compensation.

The Court while referring the law governing the field observed as under;

“12. The proceedings for acquisition of any land commences with the issuance of notification under Section 4 of the Act proposing to acquire the land for public purpose. Once the Government is satisfied on consideration of the report of the Collector that the land is needed for public purpose, it directs for issuance of a declaration under Section 6 of the Act. Such a declaration is the conclusive proof of the acquisition of the land.”

The Court said that the action of the respondents in constructing a community hall on the land in question without waiting for the final acquisition of land and in the absence of the invocation of the urgency clause, is nothing but an abuse of the process of law depriving the petitioners from their valuable right to possess property.

Ultimately the Court issued a writ of mandamus commanding the respondents to forthwith distribute the estimated cost of acquisition of the aforesaid land which has been worked out to be ₹15,00,000/- within a period of one month from today and to conclude the acquisition proceedings by issuing a declaration under Section 6 of the Act and pronouncing the final award within a period of three months from today and to pay the compensation as per the award to the petitioners forthwith subject to any reference or appeal that may be preferred against the award.

Further issued a writ of mandamus thereby directed the respondents to pay a token compensation of ₹10,00,000/- to the petitioners for illegally depriving them of their land without any authority of law and thus violating their human rights. This amount shall be paid to the petitioners within a period of two weeks from the date a certified copy of this order is placed before the Secretary, Rural Development Department, Government of J&K.

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Case Details:
Title: Krishan Singh and another versus State and others
Case No: WP (C) No. 2670 of 2019)
Counsel Details:
Sh. Rajdeep Singh Thakur, Advocate, appeared for the Petitioners
Sh. S. S. Nanda, Sr. AAG for R-4. Sh. Ravinder Gupta, AAG for R-1 to 3, appeared for the Respondents.