Govt bound to compensate land losers: SC

Govt bound to compensate land losers: SC

State must pay 'just' award for acquired property

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said the courts would have to examine the law concerned in each case to decide the quantum of compensation.

“Courts will have to examine the scheme of the impugned Act, its object, purpose as also the question whether payment of nil compensation or nominal compensation would make the impugned law unjust, unfair or unreasonable in terms of other provisions of the Constitution,” it said.

In a judgment upholding validity of Karnataka’s law acquiring properties owned by famous Roerichs at Bangalore, the bench said it would be incumbent upon the state government to decide the issue relating to compensation while acquiring properties under the Constitution.

“A law seeking to acquire private property for public purpose cannot say that “no compensation shall be paid”.

‘Nil’ compensation
However, there could be a law awarding “nil” compensation in cases where the State undertakes to discharge the liabilities charged on the property under acquisition and onus is on the government to establish validity of such law. In the latter case, the court in exercise of judicial review will test such a law,” the Court said.

After the 44th Amendment Act, 1978, the constitutional obligation to pay compensation to a person who is deprived of his property primarily depends upon the terms of the statute and the legislative policy, the Court said.

“The right to claim compensation or the obligation to pay, though not expressly included in Article 300A, it can be inferred in that Article and it is for the State to justify its stand on justifiable grounds which may depend upon the legislative policy, object and purpose of the statute and host of other factors,” the bench said.

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