HC upholds land acquisition right

HC upholds land acquisition right

Directs state to pay compensation to land holders at Kharbutang Grid in Kargil

Srinagar: The J&K High Court disposed a petition on land acquisition and compensation and directed state to pay compensation to the petitioners according to the latest market rates within four weeks.
Court directed the authorities to make payment of compensation to petitioners for acquiring the land for construction of Grid Station situated at Kharbuthang, Kargil according to the prevailing market rate.
“The respondents shall do well to undertake and conclude the process of making payment of compensation with respect to the land acquired,
in favour of petitioners as also giving them any other benefit as is available under applicable rules, preferably, within four weeks from the date of receipt of copy of this order,” Justice Tashi directed.
In the year 2003, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council was constituted and in terms of its Section 42, all land was transferred to LAHDC Kargil and an SRO182 dated 6th June 2003 was also issued, delegating the executive powers of allotment, occupation, efficient
use and management of land to the Council, but the formal orders of allotment in favour of each individual were not issued.
It is contended that after issuance of SRO 182 of 2003, Deputy Commissioner/CEO, LAHDC, Kargil vide order dated 19th June 2015, transferred the State land measuring 65 Kanals 19 marlas under Khasra/Plot no.4, 6 and 26, situated at Kharbuthang, Kargil, in favour of Executive Engineer, Electric Sub Transmission Division PDD, Kargil, for construction of 220/66 KV Grid Station.
Later on the resident of village Baghi Khumini and Baroo submitted a representation to Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, on 23rd June 2015, objecting passing of order dated 19th June 2015.
A writ petition, registered as OWP no.1220/2015, was filed, wherein Court vide order dated 18th September 2015 directed that while dealing with the immovable properties of petitioners, state must follow procedure established by law.
The court observed that personal benefit must give way to public interest and public interest cannot be blocked for private interest.
Justice Tashi Rabstan said it was not a case where petitioners are deprived of their property without following due procedure of law but the land was being acquired after following due procedure and mode of acquisition.
“So long acquisition is for public purpose, individual rights are to yield to public interest. In every acquisition by its very compulsory nature for public purpose, landowner or landholder may be deprived of the land and livelihood” reads the judgment on the issue of land acquisition and compensation paid.
The court said that compulsory acquisition of land for public purpose on payment of compensation is the mode recognised under law and if land is so acquired no grievance can be made of infringement of fundamental rights.
The court further said that it is relevant to mention here that the advantages in completion of mega project outweigh possible disadvantages. The principle that has been ingrained is that if a project is beneficial for larger public, inconvenience to smaller number of people is to be accepted.
He also referred to the judgement of the Supreme Court of 1997 in which High Courts were cautioned while interfering with the land acquisition proceedings, as the country had “launched upon an ambitious programme
of all-round economic advancement to make our economy competitive in the world market.”