[S. 24. LA Act] CB Judgment Creates Confusion, CJI Asks For How Long Acquisition Could Sustain Where Possession Taken But Compensation Not Paid

first_imgTop Stories[S. 24. LA Act] CB Judgment Creates Confusion, CJI Asks For How Long Acquisition Could Sustain Where Possession Taken But Compensation Not Paid Mehal Jain28 Sep 2020 8:03 PMShare This – xAsserting that “it is our judgment” and that “with all humility, we cannot leave it like this”, Chief Justice S. A. Bobde on Monday raised a question of law, *which, he remarked, is apparently unaddressed by the five-judge bench decision on section 24 of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act, delivered on March 6. “The Constitution Bench judgment creates confusion, *leaving somethings…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginAsserting that “it is our judgment” and that “with all humility, we cannot leave it like this”, Chief Justice S. A. Bobde on Monday raised a question of law, *which, he remarked, is apparently unaddressed by the five-judge bench decision on section 24 of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act, delivered on March 6. “The Constitution Bench judgment creates confusion, *leaving somethings unsaid…Where there is a property which is acquired, but the government has neither taken possession nor paid the compensation, then the acquisition will lapse? Correct? But if the possession is taken and the compensation is not paid, then the acquisition doesn’t lapse?”, asked the CJ.”That would depend on the meaning of the word ‘paid’ as read by the constitution bench”, replied SG tushar Mehta. He also added that ‘or’ in section 24(2) of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act has to be read as ‘and’, per the CB. Section 24(2) provides that in case of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1 of 1894), where an award under the said section 11 has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of this Act but the physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid the said proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed and the appropriate Government, if it so chooses, shall initiate the proceedings of such land acquisition afresh in accordance with the provisions of this Act:.”That is if the government has done nothing of the kind- neither paid compensation nor taken possession…but what where the possession has been taken, while the compensation is not paid, in any way, either by deposit or otherwise. In such cases, the acquisition doesn’t lapse…but for how long? That is the question…for how long will the acquisition continue?”, inquired the CJ.”In some cases, the compensation or the possession could have been halted because of the court’s interference…”, ventured the SG.”We are on the CB judgment, not on the facts of any individual cases…”, clarified the CJ.”Then penal interest would be payable as per the provision…”, suggested the SG.”But the compensation is not paid!”, pointed out the CJ. “Compensation with penal interest will be paid”, pressed the SG. “That is assuming that the compensation was paid…penal interest is a deterrent, to encourage the government to pay quickly so that it does not incur the liability of penal interest…”, explained the CJ.”See, 5 years is the period given by parliamentary law. If for 5 years, the possession is taken, but the compensation is not paid, even then the acquisition shall not lapse. That is the finding of the CB….But for how long will it not lapse? Forever?”, observed the CJ.The SG sought to submit that the answer would depend on the facts of each case.The bench reiterated that it is not on individual cases, but the proposition of law and the interpretation of section 24.”I have certain questions in my mind. I haven’t read the full judgment and I also need to discuss with my brother judges….the Parliament said that once the award is passed and the acquisition is permitted, the government cannot refuse to pay compensation or to take possession. In either eventuality, the acquisition would lapse. But the court said that only if both of these are not done, that is, neither compensation is paid not the possession is taken, only then the acquisition would lapse…so the court has given a laxity which the Parliament didn’t contemplate – of reading these two conditions in addition to each other (‘No, No…’, the SG sought to interject)….so the government can withhold compensation. But for how long? That is the question”, explained the CJ.Indicating that the constitution bench judgment did not intend to result in such a situation, the SG sought to assist the court.”We will read up the judgment and take the appropriate decision in 2 weeks… Mr. Mehta, you may also help us…”, said the CJ.That matter had come up before the three-judge bench on account of the 600+ cases pending in the Supreme Court and numerous others before the different High Courts , which were kept in abeyance as certain questions of law were referred to a five-judge bench of the top court. At the outset, the SG had sought to suggest how these matters may be disposed off – “The CB judgment would operate differently in the facts of each case- depending on the date of award; whether there was any stay, as the period of stay has to be excluded according to the CB decision; if, and when, the possession has been taken…So we can all give one-page synopsis for Your Lordships to see if the CB judgment would apply…or Your Lordships could remit the matters to the High Courts to decide the questions of facts, based on the CB verdict…like in this one case, there was a stay and the High Court said that it can’t be considered. That is why the party is before Your Lordships. You can ask the High Court to revive the matter and decide as per the CB judgment”.Senior Counsel Mohan Parasaran had raised an issue as regards which shall be construed as the date of the award- when it is passed or when it is communicated. “If Mr. Parasaran’s concern has nothing to do with the CB judgment, why should we hold up these kinds of matters?”, asked the CJ. The SG replied that even the said issue has been addressed by the CB judgment. Next Storylast_img read more