Constitutional validity of Land Acquisition (Goa Amendment) Act, 2009 upheld

Supreme Court: In a case where the Constitutional validity of the Land Acquisition (Goa Amendment) Act, 2009 was challenged, the bench of Ranjan Gogoi and PC Pantt, JJ held that a judicial pronouncement, either declaratory or conferring rights on the citizens cannot be set at naught by a subsequent legislative act for that would amount to an encroachment on the judicial powers. However, the legislature would be competent to pass an amending or a validating Act, if deemed fit, with retrospective effect removing the basis of the decision of the Court.

It was further said that though the consequence may appear to be an exercise to overcome the judicial pronouncement it is so only at first blush; a closer scrutiny would confer legitimacy on such an exercise as the same is a normal adjunct of the legislative power. However, where the Court’s judgment is purely declaratory, the courts will lean in support of the legislative power to remove the basis of a Court judgment even retrospectively, paving the way for a restoration of the status quo ante.

In the present case the retrospective amendment of Section 41 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was challenged which said that if in any agreement entered into between the Government and the Company, there be any clause prohibiting the Company to construct any building or structure in the acquired land, such clause shall deemed to have been deleted with retrospective effect from 15-10-1964. The Court held that the State Amendment, by no means, sets the law in a collision course with the Central/Principal enactment. Rather, it may seem to be making certain additional provisions to provide for something that is not barred under the Principal Act. Hence, the validity of the impugned Amendment Act was upheld. [Goa Foundation v. State of Goa, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 279, decided on 29.03.2016]

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