Legal issues for determination on land acquisition: SC

Legal issues for determination on land acquisition: SC

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought to know the questions to be determined arising out of a batch of matters related to the acquisition of land and compensation after one three-judge bench had overturned the decision of another three-judge bench.

A five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the parties to frame the questions to be decided by the Constitution bench and file it in the registry by Wednesday.

"As the questions which are required to be answered have not been formulated, we leave it to the counsels for the contesting parties to formulate and suggest questions on which decision of the Constitution Bench is required," the bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana, D Y Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said in its order.

The court put the matter for consideration on Thursday.

The top court had earlier decided to refer to the Constitution bench to examine the correctness of two separate verdicts passed in Pune Municipal Corporation case and Indore Development Authority case which dealt with the issue of interpretation of Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

A three-judge bench then presided over by Justice M B Lokur (since retired) had on February 21, last observed that if "judicial discipline" and propriety were not maintained, the institution will "go forever" while referring to the February 8 verdict passed by another three-judge bench.

In its February 8 judgement, the apex court with a 2:1 majority view, had held the 2014 verdict of another three-judge bench in Pune Municipal Corporation case was passed without due regard to the law (as per incuriam) and had said that land acquired could not be quashed due to delay on part of land owners in accepting compensation within five years due to litigation or other reasons.

The 2014 verdict was rendered unanimously by a three-judge bench which had held that "the deposit of compensation amount in the government treasury is of no avail and cannot be held to be equivalent to compensation paid to the landowners/persons interested".