DKS project on disputed land

Legality of Purva Midtown Residencies questioned

Rules under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, prohibit transfer of land or a part of it notified by the government for a public purpose under Section 4(1) and so do the BDA rules.

A BDA official told Deccan Herald: “Transfer of land either by sale, lease or through a gift deed is not legal after the preliminary notification has been issued for the acquisition of the land. This particular clause is included in the land acquisition notices issued to the owners.”
But B K Sreenivasan sold 4.20 acre of land to Shivakumar on December 18, 2003 even as BDA’s final notification issued on October 23, 1986 for acquisition of the same land was still valid. The denotification took place only in 2010, seven years after the sale.

The Supreme Court, in the cases of Y N Garg versus State of Rajasthan (1996 (1) SCC 284), and Sneh Prabha versus State of UP (1996 (7) 325), had held: “Alienation made by the erstwhile owner of the land after publication of the notification under Section 4(1), do not bind either the State government or the beneficiary for whose benefit the land was acquired. The purchaser does not acquire any valid title. Even the colour of title claimed by the purchaser was void.”

However, Shivakumar makes Prudential Housing and Infrastructure Development Limited, represented by its Director Nani R Choksey, represented by H G Nagananda, who held the Special Power of Attorney, the confirming party. The confirming party, in turn, nominated Puravankara as the developer in 2004 on a 73:27 ratio, with Shivakumar getting 27 per cent.

Jackbastian Kaitan Nazareth, the Chief Operating Officer of Puravankara, after consultation with his legal team, said: “Shivakumar has made a honest purchase of the land.”

The  previous owner (Sreenivasan), Nazareth said, had written to the BDA seeking the status of his land in 2001 and claimed that BDA had replied stating that it had not used about 4.20 acre of the said land. Thereby, he argued that the owner was justified in selling the land. However, experts point out that the land was still not de-notified for the sale to take place and that the then owner required to file an application seeking permission for transfer of land.

In Puravankara’s defence Nazareth, quoting a High Court of Karnataka judgement, said that the acquiring authority cannot endlessly hold the land acquired for a purpose and that the acquisition would lapse in such a case. Experts agreeing with the observation, however said: “...In that case the then owner should have sought for de-notification. But selling the land at his discretion may not comply with the laws.”

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