`No casual land acquisition under urgency clause`
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Last Updated: Friday, January 06, 2012, 00:03
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said that the government cannot compulsorily acquire private properties by casually invoking the "urgency clause" unless there was a genuine need which cannot brook any delay.

"The invoking of the urgency provisions can be justified only if there exists real emergency which cannot brook delay of even few weeks or months," the apex court said.

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya said if the State failed to give a fair hearing to the land owners and invoke the urgency clause without proper justification it would be deprivation of the citizen's fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution.

"What needs to be emphasised is that although in exercise of the power of eminent domain, the State can acquire the private property for public purpose, it must be remembered that compulsory acquisition of the property belonging to a private individual is a serious matter and has grave repercussions on his Constitutional right of not being deprived of his property without the sanction of law Article 300A and the legal rights," Justice Singhvi, writing the judgement, said.

The apex court passed the judgement while quashing the Delhi government's acquisition of private lands of Darshan Lal Nagpal and others at Mandoli village for establishing a electric sub-station by Delhi Transco Limited.

Setting aside a Delhi High Court judgement which had justified the acquisition as for being a public purpose, the apex court said that in the present case though a decision was taken for establishing the sub station as early as in 2004, the compulsory acquisition under Section 17(emergency clause) were made five years thereafter.

Under the Land Acquisition Act, the land owners have to be compulsorily heard under Section 5A.


First Published: Thursday, January 05, 2012, 21:20

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