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Publication of preliminary notification under Section 4 of the Old Act amounts to initiation of the land acquisition proceedings for the purposes of Section 24(1) of the New Act: Bombay High Court.

The Bombay High Court passed a judgement on 17th December of 2021 in which it answered the query of the division bench in regards to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. This was seen in the case of Sandeep S. Metange And Others Vs The State Of Maharashtra, Through Secretary, Dept. Of Revenue And Forest, Mumbai And Others (Writ Petition No. 2776 Of 2018) and the judgement was passed by The Honourable Mr. Justice A.S. Chandurkar, The Honourable Mr. Justice V. G. Joshi And The Honourable Shri Justice G. A. Sanap.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The Division Bench of the Court was conflicted with an issue, as to which stage of the land acquisition proceedings shall be construed as ‘initiation of proceedings’ within the meaning of Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (the New Act). In other words, whether issuance of preliminary notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (the Old Act) or declaration under Section 6 of the Old Act amounts to initiation of land acquisition proceedings within the meaning of Section 24 of the New Act.

The entire conflict centres around the question as to what amounts to initiation of land acquisition proceedings, in given cases. Admittedly, in those cases, preliminary notification under Section 4 of the Old Act, was issued before the datum line whilst declaration under Section 6 of the Old Act, was issued thereafter. Differing claims were put-forth about the applicability of the Old or the New Act by interpreting the term “initiation of the land acquisition proceedings”. Petitioners have challenged the awards by contending that on issuance of declaration under Section 6 of the Old Act, the proceedings have deemed to be initiated. It is contended that, since preliminary notification under Section 4 of the Old Act was published prior to 01.01.2014, it does not amount to initiation. On the other hand, rival stand was taken by respondents stating that, no sooner preliminary notification under Section 4 has been published, it amounts to initiation of land acquisition proceedings within the meaning of Section 24(1) of the New Act. The controversy is obvious as it would decide the applicability of the provisions of the Old or New Act, while determining the compensation which has different parameters.

In the light of the controversy, the Full bench was called upon to answer the following questions:

  • What amount to ‘initiation of land acquisition proceedings’ for the purposes of Section 24(1) of the 2013 Act?
  • Whether publication of preliminary notification under Section 4 of the Old Act amounts to ‘initiation of land acquisition proceedings’? OR
  • Whether publication of declaration under Section 6 of the Old Act amounts to ‘initiation of proceedings’?

JUDGEMENT:

The court in its judgement said publication of preliminary notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 amounts to initiation of the land acquisition proceedings for the purposes of Section 24(1) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Hence the case is placed back in the hands of the division bench for further consideration of the writ petition.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY TANAV ZACHARIAH.

Click here to view the Judgement.

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