Kerala High Court: Raja Vijayaraghavan V J., allowing the present writ petition, held that the provisions for compensation and payment of interest under the Land Acquisition Act shall also be attracted in the cases of acquisition by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
The property owned by the petitioners herein were acquired for the development of Mannuthy-Wadukkumcherry section National Highway 47 invoking the provisions of the National Highways Act, 1956. Aggrieved by the amount of compensation fixed by the Land Acquisition Officer, the petitioners challenged the same before the Arbitrator. Though the amount of compensation was modified, no sum was granted towards solatium and interest on solatium. The present Writ Petition is filed to seek a writ of mandamus against the concerned authorities, in order to acknowledge the pending claim over solatium.
Whether the claim raised by the petitioner sustainable in the eyes of law?
The Court placed reliance over the following cases pursuant to its decision;
- Union of India v. Tarsem Singh, (2019) 9 SCC 304; “We, therefore, declare that the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act relating to solatium and interest contained in Section 23(1A) and (2) and interest payable in terms of section 28 proviso will apply to acquisitions made under the National Highways Act. Consequently, the provision of Section 3J is, to this extent, violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and therefore, declared to be Unconstitutional”.
- Special Deputy Collector, Thrissur v. Vinod Kumar, 2020 (2) KLT 399; “Para In the light of the aforesaid judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court which struck down Section 3-J of the Act and the judgment of the Madras High Court, the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 relating to the payment of solatium and interest will apply to the acquisitions made under the Act. In so far as the directions in the impugned judgment to make payment of solatium and interest are concerned, we observe that the statutory authorities are bound to compute the compensation in terms of Section 3-G of the Act and grant all benefits provided under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The benefits shall be given within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.
While allowing the present petition the Court directed the concerned authorities to duly consider the representations made, and further act upon as expeditiously as possible.[K.B. Bhami v. Arbitrator (NH), Thrissur, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 4505, decided on 15-10-2020]
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