Supreme Court sets aside K'taka HC judgement declaring provision of Karnataka Slum Act unconstitutional 

A single bench of the High Court had struck down Section 20 of the Act as unconstitutional
Last Updated 28 July 2022, 16:15 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside a Karnataka High Court judgment which held the Section 20 of the Karnataka Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1973-- related to computation of compensation of land acquired under the law -- as unconstitutional.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna said the High Court dealt with the matter in a "casual manner" without analysing all relevant aspects.

Maintaining that there is a presumption about the constitutionality of the law made by the Parliament or State Legislature, the top court relegated the parties before the High Court for reconsideration of the writ petitions afresh, including in relation to the question of constitutional validity of Section 20 of the 1973 Act.

"To do substantial justice to both the parties, we deem it appropriate to relegate the parties before the single judge of the High Court for reconsideration of the writ petitions afresh on its own merits and in accordance with law with liberty to both parties to amend the writ petition or file further better affidavit to defend the provisions in question and the action of acquisition, as the case may be. The parties may do so within six weeks from today," the bench said.

The court passed its judgement on an appeal by the Karnataka government.

A single bench of the High Court had struck down Section 20 of the Act as unconstitutional. It had held the method of determining the amount to be paid to the land losers following the acquisition of land under the Act is not just and reasonable and it ought to be as per the prevailing market value of the land; and not on the basis of three hundred times the property tax payable in respect of such land, as mandated in Section 20 of the Act.

The division bench had upheld the findings of the single bench.

In its judgement, the top court held that the declaration issued by the High Court regarding Section 20 being ultra vires stands effaced and that provision should be given full effect until further orders of the High Court in the matter.

(Published 28 July 2022, 16:15 IST)

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