The Supreme Court ruled that the land owners, whose land has been utilized 40 years back, now cannot be compelled to pay the development charge.
The case has a history of repeated litigation by land owners to get compensation of the land owned by them.
The land owners’ land was sought to be acquired for the purpose of extension of the Nehru Zoological Park.The Notification under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and final Notification under Section 6 were issued. Despite taking possession, award was not passed and no amount of compensation was paid.
The land owners had filed Writ Petition before the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which was disposed of directing the respondents (Revenue Department) to pass an award within a period of three months from the date of receipt of the order.
Only thereafter an award was passed in case and a meager compensation @ Rs. 6 per sq. yard was awarded to the land owners.
Senior Counsel for the land owners submitted that a prayer was made before the Reference Court to compute the compensation @ Rs. 1000/ per sq. yard with solatium @ 30% on the market value as provided under Section 23(2), 12% p.a. additional market value under Section 23(1)A of L.A. Act from the date of notification under Section 4 till the date of award along with statutory interest.
Revenue Department urged that out of compensation so awarded, development charges have not been deducted and the area required for development has not been reduced while computing the compensation at the rate so determined by the High Court and prayed that the appeal filed by the Department may be allowed dismissing the appeal filed by the land owners.
The division bench of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice J.K. Maheshwari in absence of having any material on record, observed that the Reference Court rightly relied on sale deed of adjacent Village Bahadurpur. The acquired land may have been situated in Village Attapur but it is adjacent to Village Bahadurpur, where the land value was fixed as Rs. 200 per sq. yard.
“The land owners, whose land has been utilized 40 years back, now cannot be compelled to pay the development charge for the development which has already taken place, only for a parcel of land to which they have not given compensation up to decades. Therefore, the plea taken by the Revenue Department sans merit” the court said.
The court ordered that the amount of compensation, as determined by the Reference Court, be calculated and be paid now within a period of two months.
Case title: The Revenue Divisional Officer & Anr. v/s Ismail Bhai and Others
Citation: Civil appeal nos. 872728 of 2022