Supreme Court Judgement
Section 24(2) land acquisition
Section 24(2) land acquisition: Section 24(2) states that in case of land acquisition proceedings, if a developer fails to take possession of land acquired under the old laws for five years, or if compensation is not paid to the owner, the land acquisition process would lapse. The process would then have to be re-initiated under LAAR, which would allow the owner to get better compensation.
Section 24(2) Land Acquisition, Right to Fair Compensation Act, 2013, clarified by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in INDORE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY VS SHAILENDRA THROUGH LRS & ORS
In the year 2014, the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case titled as PUNE MUNICIPAL CORPORATION VS HARAKCHAND MISRIMAL SOLANKI held that the acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 which were initiated before five years prior to the enactment of 2013 Act, will be lapsed if the possession of land has not been taken or compensation was not paid. This judgment was a big relief for the land owners.
However, in the year 2018, with regard to Section 24(2) Land Acquisition, the three judge bench of Hon’ble Apex court delivered the contradictory judgment in the case titled as INDORE DEVLOPMENT AUTHORITY VS SHAILENDRA THROUGH LRS & ORS, and overruled the PUNE MUNICIPAL CORPORATION VS HARAKCHAND MISRIMAL SOLANKI and declared it as per incuriam. That means the Hon’ble Apex Court set it as not a binding precedent, which does not have a legal force.
Later on, the said Indore Development authority judgment was stayed and the matter was referred to the larger bench of five judges.
Now, the Supreme Court has delivered an important judgment impacting a large number of pending cases under the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, and clarified that the conditions under which the land acquisition proceedings will lapse and will need to start afresh.
It has ruled that fresh proceedings under the new land acquisition law will need to be initiated only if: Possession of land hasn’t taken place, and Compensation amount hasn’t been paid to landowners. Here, payment of compensation not only means that money must be paid to landowners or deposited in court, but the amount deposited in a government treasury will also be considered. This means even if the compensation amount was deposited with the government, fresh acquisition under the 2013 law will not apply.
“In other words, in case possession has been taken, and compensation has not been paid then there is no lapse. Similarly, if compensation has been paid, possession has not been taken, then [too] there is no lapse’’
The Apex Court has also held that if landowners who have refused to accept the compensation cannot take the benefit of deemed lapse of acquisition under Section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013.
Advocate, Anoop Verma