Team  SoOLEGAL

HEARING COMMENCED BY SUPREME COURT FOR DETERMINING THE ACTUAL INTERPRETATION OF SECTION 24 OF THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT, 2013

Team SoOLEGAL 4 Apr 2019 12:03pm

HEARING COMMENCED BY SUPREME COURT FOR DETERMINING THE ACTUAL INTERPRETATION OF SECTION 24 OF THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT, 2013

In the year 2014, section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act was interpreted by a three Judge bench as acquisition proceedings initiated under the 1894 Act five years prior to the coming into force of the 2013 Act would lapse if the acquired land was not taken possession of by the State, or compensation was not paid to the displaced farmers.

Chief Justice R.M.Lodha and Justices Madan B.Lokur and Kurian Joseph comprised the bench and held that if compensation is refused by the landholder, then the amount must be deposited with the appropriate Court. The Government treasury should not be involved in this.

Another case in which the said provision was interpreted was Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra. It was held by the bench that the landholder cannot take advantage of his own wrong by refusing to take the compensation under the old Act, in order to make it lapse, so that he could get the benefit of higher compensation under the 2013 Act. 
Recently, the Apex Court had interpreted Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013.
As the Supreme Court called for deliberation the interpretation of section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 on Tuesday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta threw light on the content of the provision as follows:

"If no compensation is paid, the proceedings lapse by virtue of 24(2), but there is a proviso that lays down that if the award was made but the compensation was not paid to the majority of the beneficiaries, then the acquisition doesn't lapse, but all are entitled to a better compensation under the new Act"
The SG advanced the following:

"In this section, the legislature is providing what would happen to acquisition proceedings initiated earlier (under the Act of 1894). This is an exception to the rest of the Act in as much as it begins with the term "notwithstanding". Without giving any color to the interpretation, I would say that neither clause (a) nor (b) (of section 24(1)) provides for lapse (of the acquisition) where there is no award but only that for the determination of the compensation, the new Act will apply and and that if the award is made, then old Act will apply wholly.

The only provision which deals with a lapse (section 24(2)) speaks of two contingencies- where the physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid. Only when these two conditions are fulfilled, the proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed and the land acquisition may be started afresh under the new Act. In that event then the modalities of social impact assessment, rehabilitation etc. have to be complied with. The proviso (to section 24(2)) saves this lapse."
The SG was given time till Thursday by the bench for developing issues for its consideration.

Tagged: Supreme Court   Section 24   Land Acquisition Act     
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