New Delhi: Amidst growing land acquisition rows across the country, the Supreme Court today suggested the government come out with a “reasonable compensation policy” to meet the genuine grievances of land owners.
A vacation bench of justices G. S. Singhvi and C. K. Prasad felt if a proper monetary compensation policy was evolved by the government the frequent disputes over acquisition of lands by government would not arise.
“We think if the state formulates a reasonable compensation policy, then these type of disputes would not arise. We are frequently witnessing these type of problems. Why don’t you come out with a proper compensation policy for the land owners”? the bench told Additional Solicitor General P. P. Malhotra.
The counsel agreed with the suggestion that a proper compensation policy ought to be set up to avert such disputes. He said the government was already in the process of coming out with a suitable mechanism to deal with the issue.
Bhatta Parasul in Uttar Pradesh was in the news recently over alleged arbitrary land acquisition by Mayawati government even as the Singur and Nandigram land acquisition disputes were considered to be a prime factor for the recent rout of the CPM-led Left Front government in West Bengal.
The apex court made the remarks while granting time to Delhi government to explore a compromise with certain land owners at Harsh Vihar whose 80 acres were acquired for the ostensible purpose of setting up a power grid by Delhi Transco for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Darshan Lal Nagpal and other owners had moved the apex court after the Delhi high court upheld the acquisition of their land by the government.
The bench ticked off the government for invoking the urgency clause under Section 17 provided under the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring the land without even extending a formal hearing to the aggrieved land owners.
“What was the urgency involved?” the bench said pointing out that while the actual proposal for acquiring the land was made as early as in 2005, the land was actually acquired in October 2009.
Under Section 5A of the Act the government has to give a mandatory hearing to the aggrieved land owners before acquiring the land. However, in emergency cases by resorting to Section 17, the government can acquire the land even without extending any hearing to the owners.
Hence, it asked the Additional Solicitor General to work out a compromise formula with the land owners for paying them suitable compensation and posted the matter for further hearing to next Monday.
However, the apex court permitted the government to lay the necessary road on the acquired land for transporting the material to the grid, subject to the condition that it would be dismantled if the final verdict goes against the administration.