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Invoking the provision of the land Acquisition Act by issuing Gazette declaration: Cuttack High Court

The state has resorted to a colourable exercise of power to invoke emergency provision is found without substance in absence of any material to suggest any fraud, malice or corrupt purpose. The purpose for larger public interest in the acquisition is apparent from the case held by the Hon’ble Cuttack High Court before the Hon’ble Justice B.P. Routray in the matters of Mr Rutwik Panda v. M.S.Sahoo, AGA. [Writ petition civil No. 4382 of 2008].

The purpose of acquisition and the importance attached to it for the justification and subjective satisfaction of the authority in the matter arising from the case that the petitioner contends that land acquired belongs to the petitioner and without following any procedure, the land was forcible occupied by the opposite party. Also, the petitioner pray for a declaration that the initial notification send is illegal and conferred all the consequential benefits. First appeal in the Addl. District Judge was dismissed with the observation that the legality and correctness of the land acquisition proceeding can only be examined in the proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The respondent stated that the land in acquisition proceeding was initiated and completed following all procedures including invocation of the urgency clause under Section 17 of the L.A. Act. A total sum of Rs. 4,094/- towards compensation has been awarded under Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act (L.A.Act) and Section 12(2) notice has been served to one of the co-awardees. Not following due procedure and without granting any opportunity to submit their objections have forcibly acquired the land contended by the petitioner. The entire proceeding is liable to be quashed, particularly for not granting an opportunity of being heard on their objections. Since the land remains unutilized to date and the purpose it was acquired for, it has to be returned to the owners. 

The urgency clause under Section 17 is invoked, the right to objection and hearing as stipulated under Section 5-A is dispensed. The court exercised Judicial review by invoking Section 17 of the L.A. Act. In regard to such a situation, the Administrative authorities have to form certain opinions before taking the actions necessary to be empowered. 

The Hon’ble Court held that, “the undoubtedly discretionary power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to quash the notification under Section 4 and the declaration under Section 6 of the L.A. Act”. Therefore the project invoking the provisions of the Land Acquisition Section 17 notification is issued by following Gazettee declaration.

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Judgment Reviewed by Kaviya S.

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