The Supreme Court recently ruled on a land acquisition case where the first respondent had
filed a writ petition challenging the acquisition of lands under the Land Acquisition Act,
- The acquisition process had commenced in 1989, and an award was made in 1992. The
first respondent’s previous writ petition challenging the acquisition had been dismissed in
- The appellant took possession of the acquired land in 2006.
In 2013, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act came into force, repealing the Land Acquisition Act,
- In 2015, the first respondent filed another writ petition claiming that the acquisition had
lapsed under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act due to non-payment of compensation.
The High Court, relying on a previous Supreme Court decision, held that the acquisition had
lapsed, but directed the appellant to pay compensation in accordance with the 2013 Act.
However, in 2020, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court overruled the previous
decision and clarified the interpretation of Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act. The Bench held that
if possession of the land has been taken, the non-payment of compensation does not result in
the lapse of acquisition.
In the present case, since the acquired land had already been put to use for a public purpose,
the Supreme Court concluded that the acquisition had not lapsed. The Court also considered
the delay in filing the appeal and decided to condone it due to the peculiar facts of the case.
As a result, the Supreme Court quashed the High Court’s judgment and dismissed the first
respondent’s writ petition. The Court directed the appellant to pay costs to the first respondent
and ordered the first respondent to provide bank account details for the payment.
Additionally, if the compensation determined under the 1894 Act had not been paid, the
appellant was instructed to pay it within one month.
The Supreme Court also highlighted the unauthorized use of a part of the acquired land by
vendors and urged the authorities to take immediate action to rectify the situation.
This ruling clarifies the applicability of Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act in land acquisition
cases and emphasizes the importance