AMC’s move to acquire land under old law stayed by HC

AURANGABAD: The civic body’s development plan received a major setback on Thursday when the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court stayed its move to acquire properties in the Rangargalli-Kumbharwada area for widening of roads to 15 metre.

The petitioners said the bench — comprising justices VM Kanade and Sangitrao Patil — said “we were not against the development plan, provided the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) pays compensation according to market rates”.

The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation had issued a notice to the property holders on December 28, 2016 asking them to hand over the properties or it will forcibly take over the possession, pointing out that it had deposited the compensation amount granted in 2006, with the special land acquisition officer. The civic body wanted the property holders to vacate the land by January 5

The property holders, however, approached the high court through lawyer Devdutt Palodkar, challenging the notice while pointing out that the old law under which the notice was issued has already lapsed. The new land acquisition law that came into effect from January 1, 2014 has stated that the process to acquire the property prior to five years of this new Act shall stand lapsed if the property had not been acquired or compensation was not paid.

Palodkar pointed out to the court that “the properties of the petitioners are affected by reservation in a sanctioned development plan for widening the existing road. The development plan was sanctioned in the year 2002 for the area wherein the properties of the petitioners are situated”.

“We received notices on December 28, 2016 u/s 16 issued by Special Land Acquisition Officer u/s 16 of Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The notice issued by Special Land Acquisition Officer (special unit, Aurangabad) stated that the award in respect of properties of the petitioners is declared u/s 11 of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 on March 7, 2006. And that the possession of the affected area shall be delivered on or before January 5, 2017; otherwise, forcible possession would be taken,” said the petitioners.

The petition pointed out that though the award was declared by the special land acquisition officer on March 7, 2006, no compensation was paid to the petitioners and possession was also not taken by the respondents.

Palodkar argued that “Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 or LARR Act, came into force repealing Land Acquisition Act, 1894. As per Sec. 24 (2) of LARR Act, the award in question is passed prior to five years from the date of enforcement of LARR Act and if neither possession is taken nor compensation is paid to the owner, acquisition proceedings stand lapsed. Hence, the award dated March 7, 2006 is required to be quashed and set aside and the respondents are required to be directed to initiate the proceedings of acquisition afresh, if they desire of the same”.

Following the arguments, the court stayed the civic body move while issuing notices to the government, the AMC, district collector and special land acquisition officer returnable after four weeks.

Credits ET Realty

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