SC allows owners to contest land acquisition for layout

SC allows owners to contest land acquisition for layout

Picture for representation only

The Supreme Court has stayed an order passed by the High Court of Karnataka, allowing a group of landowners from southern Bengaluru to oppose the proceedings initiated by Poornaprajna House Building Co-Operative Society Ltd before a trial court for removing them from a portion of 120 acres of land acquired by the state government for creating a residential colony. 

A bench of Justices R Banumathi and Indira Banerjee issued a notice to C Bhagya and others on a special leave petition filed by the housing co-op challenging the validity of the order passed by the high court on January 11. 

"Issue notice. There shall be (a) stay of the proceedings until further orders from this court," the bench ordered on the petition argued by advocate Sanjay M Nuli. 

The housing co-op claimed the high court allowed the landowners to file documents and written statements before the trial court, condoning a delay of three-and-a-half years in contravention of the Civil Procedure Code which prescribed a limit of 120 days for the purpose. It further contended that the landowners had entered an appearance in the trial court in 2012 but chose not to file any written statement. 

The housing co-op had filed a suit before the trial court for the declaration of the title and demolition of illegal constructions over three acres and 11 guntas of land in Uttarahalli hobli, Bengaluru South taluk. 

The high court, in its order, however, noted there were 79 landowners and some of them entered into a compromise with the housing co-op. It would be a grave injustice if other landowners were not allowed to contest their case. The high court also noted that the time limit put under the CrPC was not mandatory but only directory and thus it did not put an embargo on the power of the court to extend the time. It imposed Rs 24,000 as a cost on the writ petitioners but directed it to be paid by the Legal Services Authority.