‘Land Acquisition Act 1897 stands repealed from Oct 31, 2019’
Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Friday ruled that if land acquisition proceedings are initiated under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and the award has not been pronounced under Section 11 of the said Act, then the provisions of the New Act relating to the determination of compensation shall apply.
“The award has to be done in accordance with the New Act,” the court said.
The court recorded that the previous/old Act stands repealed in its applicability to J&K with effect from 31 October, 2019, and, as such, its provision cannot be applied thereafter except to the limited extent where award has already been made under the previous /old Act, in which condition the proceedings will be permitted to continue under the provisions of the same Act.
The Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul while giving reference to Supreme Court directives in case of Indore Development Authority vs. Manohar Lal laid down that in view of the provisions of Section 24(1)(a) of the new Act, in case an award is not made on date of the repeal of the previous/old Act, or the date of the commencement of the New Act, compensation has to be determined under the provisions of the New Act.
The HC said this while hearing a number of pleas wherein the petitioners alleged that the land acquisition proceedings stand vitiated on account of several illegalities, basically for the reason that the proceedings were initiated under the J&K Land Acquisition Act Samvat 1990, which stood repealed vide J&K Re-organization Act 2019 with effect from 31st October 2019 and therefore no award could have been passed under Section 11 of the said Act.
The court noted that in the present case as only the notifications to acquire the land were issued under the provisions of the Act which was repealed and there was no award under Section 11 of the Act, therefore, the compensation was liable to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the New Act after the New Act became applicable to the UT.
“However, as the compensation has been determined by an award dated 20 February 2020 passed under Section 11 of the previous Act without referring or applying any of the provisions of the New Act, the award dated 20 February 2020 is clearly in conflict with Section 24 (1) (a) of the New Act,” the court held.
The Bench recorded that in the light of the aforesaid discussion, it was of the opinion that in the first instance, there is no proper and valid publication of the notification issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act and, secondly, the award dated 20th February 2020 is not within time and has been made under the repealed enactment in clear violation of the provisions of Section 24(1) (a) of the New Act.
“Accordingly, we declare the award to be illegal, without jurisdiction and null and void and that the entire acquisition proceedings are invalid in law,” the court ruled.