While rejecting claim of the Petitioner, the Court reiterated the legal position that once the land is vested in the State, free from all encumbrances, it cannot be divested and proceedings under the Act would not lapse, even if an award is not made within the statutorily stipulated period
An exemption was sought in the present matter from acquisition. The notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (Act) was gazetted and notified in the year 1987 and the award was made in the year 1990 and the disputed plot was also part of the acquisition proceeding. It was contended that the Petitioner in the instant matter was running a factory over the plot in question and same was mutated in the Nagar Mahapalika and the Petitioner continued to pay the municipal tax in that regard. It was also brought into the notice of the Court as per the survey conducted by local revenue authorities there was factory and abadi over the relevant plot and further submission was made that the relevant state Authority has taken only symbolic possession whereas Petitioner was in actual possession over the property in dispute. Accordingly, the Petitioner sought benefit of Section 48 of the Act or in other words exemption from application of acquisition proceedings.
On the contrary it was contended that land in question was required for the specified purpose and acquisition was strictly in consonance with the provisions of the Act and also detailed information were also sent by the concerned authority to the State Government by which it was also been informed that land was acquired under the grave urgency for industrial development. Further, the claim of the petitioner regarding factory or construction was also stated to be not sustainable in the background that due to some illegal construction over the land, the requisite statutory notice had also been given to the original owner of the property in question in the year 1987. The petitioner in the present matter had himself purchased the disputed property in 1986 and he was in possession since 1996.
The claim of the Petitioner was thus challenged on the ground that once the possession had been taken over by the authority in the year 1995 then there was no occasion for retention of the said plot by the Petitioner and further once the possession has been taken over by the competent authority and thereafter if tenure holder claims to be actual possession of the land in question the same tantamount to illegal encroachment over the acquired land.
While rejecting claim of the Petitioner, the Court reiterated the legal position that once the land is vested in the State, free from all encumbrances, it cannot be divested and proceedings under the Act would not lapse, even if an award is not made within the statutorily stipulated period. Once the land is acquired and it vests in the State, free from all encumbrances, it is not the concern of the land owner, whether the land is being used for the purpose for which it was acquired or for any other purpose. He becomes persona non-grata once the land vests in the State. He has a right to only receive compensation for the same, unless the acquisition proceeding is itself challenged. The State neither has the requisite power to reconvey the land to the person-interested, nor can such person claim any right of restitution on any ground, whatsoever, unless there is some statutory amendment to this effect.
[Asha Ram vs. Pramukh Sachiv Avas Evam Shastri Niy. and Ors.]
(Allahabad HC, 11.02.2014)