The Tribune, December 24 2014,Chandigarh:In a significant judgment benefitting landowners, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the period of stay granted by the courts has to be counted while computing five-year period prescribed under the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 for release of land.
The ruling is important as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, says proceedings shall deemed to have lapsed if the award is passed more than five years ago, but possession of the land has not been taken or compensation has not been paid.
It now means that the stay period will be taken into consideration. In case of inability of the state to take possession of land due to stay by the courts for five years or more, the proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed.
The matter was placed before the High Court Bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta, GS Sandhawalia and Kuldeep Singh. Justices Hemant Gupta and GS Sandhawalia ruled: “We hold that irrespective of any interim orders passed by the court, the proceedings shall stand lapsed”. Justice Kuldeep Singh, however, gave a dissenting note on certain issues.
The Bench was assisted by a battery of lawyers, including ML Sarin, Mohan Jain, Hemant Sarin, Nitin Sarin, Shailendra Jain, RS Rai, Puneet Bali, Fateh Saini and Dr Ashwani Kumar. The vital question of law before the Bench was whether the period of stay granted by the courts is to be excluded while computing five-year period prescribed under the Act.
Appearing on behalf of landowners and farmers, Mohan Jain said the state government was handing land to private builders after acquiring it from farmers and land owners. He argued most of the acquired land had been given by the government to private builders. He said the purpose of the right to fair compensation could be defeated if the period of stay is excluded while counting five-year period.