Case Title: M/s Deco Equipments Pvt Ltd AND The State of Karnataka & others.
Case No: WRIT PETITION No.33180 OF 2016
Date of Order: 29-08-2023
CORAM: HON’BLE JUSTICE S Sunil Dutt Yadav
The Karnataka High Court has clarified that if the award for land acquisition under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 is issued after the enactment of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, the market value of the acquired land should be assessed according to the guidelines outlined in Section 26 of the 2013 Act.
In this case, a single bench of S Sunil Dutt Yadav considered a petition filed by M/s Deco Equipments Pvt Ltd. The petitioner challenged the validity of an Award dated 20.01.2016 passed by the Land Acquisition Officer of Mysore District. The case revolved around the acquisition of land and determination of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
The acquisition process began with a Preliminary Notification issued on 15.03.2008, followed by a Final Notification on 05.06.2009 under Sections 4(1), 6, and 17(1) of the 1894 Act. The petitioner contested the validity of these notifications, and after some legal proceedings, the matter was remitted for fresh consideration. During the course of the proceedings, the 2013 Act came into effect.
The petitioner ultimately sought compensation under the provisions of the 2013 Act. The Special Land Acquisition Officer passed an Award determining compensation based on the sale consideration from a Sale Deed dated 21.04.2007 and using norms outlined in the Gazette Notification dated 04.07.2013.
The key legal issue was whether the proceedings initiated under the 1894 Act could be subjected to the compensation determination provisions of the 2013 Act, especially considering the changes introduced by Section 24(1)(a) of the 2013 Act.
The bench examined the relevant provisions, specifically focusing on Section 24(1)(a) of the 2013 Act. It noted that if no award had been made under Section 11 of the 1894 Act, the compensation determination provisions of the 2013 Act would apply. In this context, the court concluded that even when acquisition proceedings were initiated under the 1894 Act but the award was being sought after the 2013 Act came into force, the compensation determination provisions of the 2013 Act would be applicable.
The court observed that the petitioner had settled for compensation under the 2013 Act during the proceedings, even though they had initially challenged the validity of the acquisition proceedings. Consequently, the court allowed the petition and directed the Land Acquisition Officer to pass a fresh Award. The compensation was to be recalculated in accordance with the principles discussed in the judgment, and the officer was instructed to adhere to the guidelines of Section 26 and other applicable rules under the 2013 Act.
In essence, the court’s decision highlighted the applicability of the compensation determination provisions of the 2013 Act in cases where the award was sought after the 2013 Act came into force, even if the acquisition proceedings were initiated under the 1894 Act.
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Written by- Shreya Sharma