Acquisition of land by the Mysore Urban Development Authority for the purpose of developing an engineering college, held illegal

Supreme Court: Answering an appeal preferred against the judgement of the High Court of Karnataka, the Division Bench of Ranjan Gogoi and N.V. Ramana, JJ., held the impugned acquisition of land by Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA), for the purpose of developing an engineering college as illegal, as the mandatory provisions of the City of Mysore Improvement Act, 1903 have been breached in the process of acquisition.

The present case had arisen because of the Notification issued by the Government of Karnataka to acquire a total area of 94 acres 28 gunthas of land located in Vijayashreepura village for the improvement of Mysore City, of which 55 acres was allotted to the respondent. A.K. Ganguli, counsel for the appellants, contended that the preliminary Notification to acquire the said piece of land was issued even prior to the publication of a scheme which is a condition precedent to the issuance of the Notification under Section 16(1) of the 1903 Act. On the contrary the counsel for the respondents contended that the object of the said Act of 1903 is to acquire land for a public purpose i.e. for the improvement and the future expansion of the city of Mysore and that the development of the engineering college is in consonance with the provisions of the Act.

The Court giving regard to the fact that a full-fledged academic campus has come up on the 55 acres of land and, taking note of the utility and benefits of the said infrastructure, directed the respondent to surrender a compact vacant area of minimum 15 acres and to pay compensation to the person(s) so entitled as per the Land Acquisition Act in so far as the remaining 40 acres of land is concerned, thereby striking a balance between equities in a situation where the landowner is being denied the return of the land and the beneficiary of an illegal allotment is permitted to retain the same in larger public interest. [K.B. Ramachandra Raje v. State of Karnataka, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 1323, decided on 16-12-2015]

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