Govt can't denotify land at its will: SC

Lays down six criteria in Arkavathy Layout case

Govt can't denotify land at its will: SC

Curtailing the ‘discretionary’ powers of successive State governments that have indiscriminately doled out denotification orders, the Supreme Court has now laid down a set of criteria that must be implemented by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) while denotifying lands in its possession.

The Supreme Court on May 5, 2010, upheld the High Court observations on denotification while hearing a case on Arkavathy Layout, and laid down six criteria to be implemented by the BDA in the future.

In the case of Bondu Ramaswamy and others vs BDA and others, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and D K Jain said that landowners who seek the dropping of acquisition proceedings can ask for it under six provisions.

The provisions being –– “on the grounds that (a) their lands are situated within green belt area; (b) they are totally built up; (c) properties wherein there are buildings constructed by charitable, educational and/or religious institutions; (d) nursery lands; (e) who have set up factories; (f) their lands are similar to the lands adjoining but not notified for acquisition at all, are permitted to make appropriate application to the authorities seeking such exclusion and exemption and producing documents to substantiate their contentions...”

The ruling, which will have a ripple effect on future denotification of land for development, has been implemented by the BDA in Shivram Karanth Layout. The layout had been embroiled in controversies after allegations against the BDA of ‘denotifying’ close to 720 acres of land meant for its formation.

“Following the preliminary notification of Shivram Karanth Layout, the BDA was flooded with calls for denotification of land. Landowners were trying to get a reprieve from the notification process. As a result, officers at the ground level were asked to look into the validity of these claims for denotifying land, before the final notification,” said a BDA official.

According to officials, 3,456 acres of land was initially acquired for the layout. “Of these, there has been a proposal by acquisition officers to denotify 400-odd acres under the said criteria,” said a BDA official. The BDA will now carry forward the proposal to the Board for its ratification, before sending it to the government for approval.

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