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Award for land owners must be made within 2 years: SC

Source: PTI
October 25, 2011 16:03 IST
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Law booksLand acquisition proceedings lapses if the government fails to make the award within the stipulated two years from the date of declaration, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya said the time consumed by court litigations should be excluded.

A reading of the relevant provision makes it clear that the collector is obliged to make an award within a period of two years from the date of the publication of the declaration.

"If no award is made within that period, the acquisition proceedings automatically lapses. By virtue of the explanation, the period during which any action or proceeding to be taken pursuant to the declaration is stayed by an order of a court is to be excluded in computing the period of two years," Justice Singhvi writing the judgement said.

The apex court passed the ruling while allowing an appeal filed by land owners R Indira Saratchandra and others challenging the acquisition of their land by the Tamil Nadu Housing Development Corporation.

In this case, the acquisition was challenged by the land owners on the ground that the government chose to pass the award beyond the stipulated two years after Madras high court had upheld the acquisition of land by its judgement of August 29, 1996.

Subsequently, a single judge of the high court on a fresh petition filed by the aggrieved land owners quashed the acquisition as the award was passed two years after the declaration made by the government.

A division bench however, reversed the decision and upheld the Government's decision following which they moved the apex court.

The state defended the delay on the ground that there was a delay in receiving a copy of the high court judgement.

Rejecting the State's claim, the apex court said, "There is nothing in the Section 11A from which it can be inferred that the stay order passed by the court remains operative till the delivery of copy of the order."

In this case since the two years stipulated period has lapsed, the acquisition had become invalid, the apex court said.

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