Ker HC | Provisions of Land Acquisition Act relating to  payment of solatium and interest on solatium shall be applicable to acquisitions made under National Highways Act

Kerala High Court: Devan Ramachandran, J., directed the District Court to reconsider the petition challenging an award.

The present appeal has been filed by the petitioner challenging the order passed by the District Court wherein her challenge to an award passed by the District Collector under the provisions of the National Highways Act, 1956 (“Act”) had been rejected for the reason that the petition did not disclose the ingredients under Section 34 (2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

The counsel representing the petitioner, KS Bharathan submitted that the impugned order of the District Court is untenable because the Arbitration Award has been assailed only to the extent to which solatium and interest on solatium had been denied by the District Collector, while issuing it. The counsel placed reliance on the Division Bench judgment passed by the present Court Special Deputy Collector v. Vinod  Kumar, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 1029 which had decided that since the Supreme Court has struck down Section 3-J of the Act, the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 relating to payment of solatium and interest on solatium becomes applicable to the acquisitions made under the Act also. Counsel, therefore, prays that the impugned order of the District Court be set aside and his client’s claim for solatium and interest on solatium be acceded to.

Senior Government pleader representing the respondent, M.V. Anandan, conceded that the law has been now settled by the learned Division Bench as afore and the solatium and interest on solatium cannot be denied to the appellant.

The Court upon perusal of the arguments of the counsels stated that since the admitted position of the law is as afore, the present appeal deserves to be allowed. The Court also expressed that it will not be proper for the Court to grant the reliefs sought for hence it will direct the District Court to reconsider the original petition and take an appropriate decision thereon. [Prabha E.K. v. Deputy Collector, Arb. A. No. 54 of 2019, decided on 09-03-2020]

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