Forcible Dispossession is Violation of Fundamental Rights of a Person: Supreme Court

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    The Supreme Court in its Judgement held that forcible dispossession of private property is violative of the fundamental rights of a person. It also violates Human rights, added by the SC.

    The Division Bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice PS Narasimha while deciding on an appeal wherein the land was acquired by the Government Officials without legal proceedings for acquisition and compensation, noted that nobody can be deprived of liberty or property without due process, or authorization of law.

    Case Facts –

    The appellant party is not satisfied by the final judgment of the Himachal disposing of their writ petition, with liberty to institute a civil suit in accordance with the law.

    Pursuant to a judgment by the Himachal Pradesh High Court wherein award was passed in favor of neighboring land whose lands were similarly utilized for the construction of the same road owners fixing compensation, directing the State to initiate land acquisition proceedings, a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, writ proceedings before the High Court by similarly situated landowners. They were allowed with the direction to acquire lands of the writ petitioners under the Act, with consequential benefits.

    However, the appellant’s writ was dismissed by the court and it was held that the matter involved disputed questions of law and fact for determination on the starting point of limitation, which could not be adjudicated in writ proceedings.

    Counsel for the appellants argued during the proceeding that the State had illegally usurped the appellants’ lands, without following due process of law. Reliance was placed on Tukaram Kana Joshi & Ors. Thr. Power of Attorney Holder Vs. M.I.D.C. & Ors., 2012 Latest Caselaw 633 SCState of U.P.& Ors Vs. Manohar, 2004 Latest Caselaw 718 SC.

    Counsel urged that the State’s inaction is arbitrary, given that the lands adjoining the subject land were acquired under directions of the High Court, despite it being used for the same purpose. He highlighted that the Respondent-State had not disputed that the appellants were owners of the subject land and thus urged that the High Court had erred in dismissing the writ petition, in light of this court’s decision in Air India Ltd. & Ors Vs. Vishal Capoor & Ors, 2005 Latest Caselaw 512 SC.

    In view of the above, the Court noted that given the important protection extended to an individual vis-a-vis their private property and the high threshold the State must meet while acquiring land, the Court questioned that can the State, merely on the ground of delay and laches, evade its legal responsibility towards those from whom private property has been expropriated?

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