Kar HC | Jurisdiction of Court under Art. 226 is equitable and discretionary; writ appeal dismissed for delay of nearly four decades

Karnataka High Court: The Division Bench of Abhay S. Oka, CJ and H.T. Narendra Prasad, J. dismissed the appeals on the ground of delay and laches.

Under the provisions of Karnataka Acquisition of Lands for Grant of House Sites Act, 1972 (the Act of 1972), lands of appellants were acquired. The complete process was followed. Firstly, the Preliminary Notification under Section 3(1) of the Act of 1972 was published on 24-07-1976. Secondly, the final Notification followed on 22-01-1979. Lastly, an award was made for compensation on 09-04-1982 and redetermined dated 04-02-1999.        

Counsel for the appellants, K.N. Nitish submitted that the lands were never acquired. As per Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the acquisition proceedings had lapsed. It was further submitted that no record was placed by the respondents to show that the land was acquired by the fourth respondent (Town Municipal Council). The counsel also submitted that the fact that compensation was not accepted by the appellants was not disclosed by the respondents. The appellants remain aggrieved as they have not been paid the redetermined compensation. 

The Court observed that the writ petitions were filed thirty-four years after the award was made and forty years after the first preliminary notification was issued. Considering the enormous delay, the Single Judge rightly declined to exercise the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The Court upheld the view taken by the Single Judge. [K.M. Krishna v. State of Karnataka, Writ Appeal Nos. 777-779 of 2019(LA-HS), decided on 18-06-2019]

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