BDA loses possession of land which it failed to acquire over 13 years

Even 13 years seemed to be inadequate for the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to pay compensation and take possession of a land. Now, it has lost the two acres 6.5 guntas of land that was meant for Banashankari VI Phase.

The high Court has ruled that the BDA’s acquisition proceedings in respect of the land have “lapsed and have been abandoned”.

NR Sumanth Kumar and NR Meghana, the owners of the said land in Gubbalala village in Bengaluru South Taluk, had approached the High Court, challenging the acquisition and seeking the court to declare that the “land is free from acquisition as the land has not been utilised for the purpose for which it was sought to be acquired”.

The preliminary notification for acquisition of the land was issued by the BDA in November 2002 for formation of Banashankari VI Phase.

The final notification was passed in September 2003. An award was also passed in February 2004; but the BDA failed to do the most crucial thing of paying compensation and taking possession of the land.

Although the BDA claimed initially that possession has been taken, the court noted that “fact remains that to the specific query posed to the learned counsel for respondent (BDA) as to whether actual possession of the land has been taken, it is pointed out that actual possession of the land has not been taken over.”

A document produced by the land owners “which is an extract of the note sheet maintained by the BDA wherein it is specifically noted that possession of the land has not been taken over,” was also considered by the High Court.

The High Court noted that although nearly 13 years had lapsed since the date of issuance of the final notification, the BDA had failed in its obligations. “It therefore emerges that the BDA has abandoned the acquisition of the land for formation of the layout in question,” the court said.

The court also said that after the lapse of so many years, the BDA cannot proceed to acquire the land by passing an award as it would determine the market value as of 2003 which would deprive the owners of “just and fair compensation within a regional period.”

Declaring that the acquisition proceedings in respect of the land “have stood lapsed and have been abandoned,” the court said “the land owner has got statutory right which has been constitutionally recognised as per Article 300A to get the compensation for the acquired land. He cannot be deprived of his right to get just and fair compensation within a reasonable period because of the negligence or omission on the part of the beneficiary of the acquisition or the acquiring body.”

Credits Bangalore Mirror

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