Subsequent purchaser can seek declaration as to that acquisition has lapsed #indianlaws

There is no bar for a subsequent purchaser to seek declaration as to the scheme of Acquistion having lapsed.

Present was amongst the few initial decisions which took into reference the impact of Section 24 of the newly enacted “Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (‘Act’) that became effective from 1st January, 2014. In doing so, the Court followed the principle laid down while interpreting Section 24 by the Apex Court in its recent judgment in Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki.

The instant matter came up in the wake of Petitioner’s case that by virtue of the directions passed by Higher Courts, the concerned authority was under the obligation to take a decision to the claim of withdrawal from the acquisition of concerned sites. Since the said concerned authority instead of acting on the Petitioner’s representations, chose to ignore the same and the Petitioner anticipating threat of dispossession moved the present petitions, contending that the sites belonging to the Petitioner were never the subject-matter of acquisition, as she was not the notified owner and the lands, though indicated as Government lands at the time of issuance of the notifications, by virtue of subsequent proceedings that have been initiated, is no longer shown as Government land and the petitioner’s title stands perfected by virtue of the subsequent events and therefore, the acquisition proceedings cannot be completed insofar as the petitioner’s lands were concerned without appropriate steps being taken in that regard.

The Pune judgment was relied upon and accordingly it was pointed out on two counts namely, that since the possession of land was not taken and also that no compensation was paid, as there was no award passed in favour of the Petitioner, the proceedings have to be deemed as lapsed.

The concerned authorities on the other hand opposed the above contentions on the ground of delay and laches stating that the acquisition notifications were subject-matter of challenge by several landowners and the same has attained finality in the acquisition having been upheld.

The Court taking note of chain of events and also of the fact that the final notification was issued by the concerned authority in the year 2004 and there was no substantial implementation of the scheme i.e. it was only implemented in parts, the Petitioners land could not be subjected to scheme and thus it has to be treated as lapsed. The concerned development authority did not chose to even reply to the Petitioner’s representation it was held as just to declare that the acquisition insofar as the sites belonging to the Petitioners, of which petitioner 1 was the erstwhile owner, stood lapsed (by virtue of Section 27 of the Bangalore Development Authority Act).

The Court further held on locus standi of Petitioner No. 1 was the erstwhile owner of the land in question and other Petitioners were the subsequent purchasers to challenge the acquisition proceedings, that there is no bar for such a subsequent purchaser to seek declaration as to the scheme having lapsed.

[Dr. Pushpavathi and Ors. vs. State of Karnataka and Anr.]
(Karnataka HC, 20.02.2014)